Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcome, Spring!

It's still not that warm, but we are ripping through the annual maintenance list.  I also managed to repair the bimini window I busted over the winter.  Got the materials from a local shop...Frank went in asking to buy a remnant, but the guy gave it to him for free because it was "nice out."  Love that.  Anyway, taking down the bimini revealed that I had a lot more than a window to fix.  Many seams were suffering from serious UV damage, so I did a lot of reinforcing.  I stitched the new windows over the old, then cut the old out.  Not perfect, but pretty good and hella cheap!

We biked, worked, celebrated a neighbor's birthday/retirement...a really good weekend, but we are ready to get our genoa and outboard back so we can get out!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Slippery situation!

Freezing rain through the night made for a treacherous walk on the dock this morning.  I'm glad I was wearing my life jacket!  The worst part was getting up the little hill to where my car is parked!  It's pretty, but we are ready for a taste of spring.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Escaping the tundra

This winter has just been brutal!  So I decided to use my airline miles to escape to Houston for a weekend with one of my friends.  It was so nice!  Temps near 70, wearing boat shoes, not wearing a jacket...aaaahhhhh.  Now, time to head back to my chilly reality!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow day!

Wow!  This morning we woke up to lots of snow!  It's about 7 inches deep on the dock, which is impressive given how much wind there was.  It's a nice, dry snow so removing with a deck brush was pretty easy.  A flexible cutting board also made a nice "shovel" for scooping it off the deck.  But my excitement got the better of new!  While "punching" the canvas bimini to pop the snow off, I forgot to account for just how brittle eisenglass would be at below-freezing temp and busted right through one!  Fortunately it was a small one.  Now I get to use my industrial sewing machine on a new project!

As for the inside of the boat, things are better.  Super glue repairs to the freshwater strainer cover worked and the lines have thawed out.  We didn't tighten it on super tight so there is a little drip, but we are good for now.  The only other damage to the freshwater system was a cracked faucet head in the kids' head.  Rescue tape fixed it for now.  West Marine is still closed so we can't do any better today.  The heads have thawed and can be used again.  That said, we are completely iced in so it will be a while until the pump out boat can visit us.  Still didn't start the engine...waiting a while for that.

We had a nice mix of clearing and snow, playing in snow, and knocking out chores while the Captain teleworked.  We made a big pot of chili to keep us going.  We even got to see one of our non-liveaboard neighbors and helped him rig a bubbler that will actually benefit us a little, too.

The only real bummer is that this is about the warmest day we will see all week and the freshwater at the pier head is completely frozen.  We last filled about 2 weeks ago so we are in ultra conservation mode.  Hopefully it will get warm enough this coming weekend.  The rest of the week looks to be record-setting cold.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A difficult end to a very "cool" weekend

Despite the crazy cold forecast this past weekend (and the Captain's concern about leaving the boat given that forecast) we headed to Williamsburg, VA for a long weekend of history!  We missed a pretty stormy night Saturday, but with both our electric and diesel heat on the boat, we felt ok leaving.  With a decent snowstorm forecast for Monday night we cut our visit to Yorktown short and headed home.

We returned just as the snow started.  I opened the hatch and immediately knew something wasn't right.  It was too dark, too quiet. The electric heater wasn't on, and the diesel wasn't working either.  Clocks and displays that ran on batteries were dark.  Icicles trailed from the faucets.  And it was COLD.  In the words (or rather, word) of Robert Redfearn's character in "All is Lost," "FFFFF$$$$$$&&&&&&&KKKKK!!!!!"  

Ok, so we had lost power, probably Saturday night.  A breaker had tripped so that was an easy fix.  The diesel heater wasn't cycling on, but why?  Quick inspection revealed a big pool of the antifreeze mixture in the bilge.  Grrrr!  We found a likely source of the leak, tightened a screw, and added more fluid to the system.  That's the abridged version!

What else?  Opened the engine obvious sings of rupture or damage, but we decided to very slowly warm everything up and monitor it.  Oh!  While tracing heater issues we discovered that the filter cover on the freshwater pump had frozen/shattered, freshwater, even if the lines weren't frozen solid!  West Marine?  Closed due to weather.  Hardware store?  Ha, no Jabsco parts there!  But guess what?  I'm a whip with superglue!  Need to use the head?  Too bad!  Frozen solid, and the aft one had some leaking of odoriferous fluid so we weren't sure if there was serious damage.

It all amounted to a realization of all of Frank's worst fears about leaving the boat this weekend.  Would the engine be okay?  Had any lines/fixtures/connections been seriously damaged?  Time will tell.  By 6:30 the boat was warming nicely and the crew was hungry.  We were ready for $6 half-pound burgers at the marina bar!

By bedtime things were beginning to thaw out.  We had to use a pot of water from the marina heads to brush our teeth, but the boat was afloat, we had power, and we had heat.  I'm thankful for it all!  Oh, and we have a snowstorm tonight that just caused OPM to close federal offices in the DC area tomorrow!  Woo hoo! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Brrr, it's chilly.

We are actually dealing with winter this year.  The water in Herring Bay is starting to freeze over.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

NYE 2014

It's really become quite the tradition for our family--freeze your booty off to get the best view of NYE fireworks on the Bay!  This year did not disappoint!  I love the peace of being on the water, darn near alone.  This year we mixed it up a little, joining our dock neighbor on Compromise for dinner and the first round of fireworks.  And once again, the show was awesome!  I am definitely going to miss this next year.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Last stop--Harness Creek

After a completely lazy Christmas Day, we took advantage of a light breeze yesterday to shift to Harness Creek so that we could stretch our legs in Quiet Waters Park.  It was some pretty sweet December sailing!  Slow and steady...  We got to the park in time to hike and geocache for a few hours--it was a splendid afternoon!

On the way back to the boat we realized that there was an ice rink in the park!  The kids begged, but we headed back to the boat....and Trent lost his first tooth!  Woo hoo!!!!!  

And...we went skating this morning!  It was great!  Trent struggled for about 2 hours, but he never gave up and started to get the hang of it.  I'm so glad we decided to come back to the park today!

Alas, it was time to return to our "home" marina.  There are chores and homework to get done, and I have a date with a friend tomorrow.  Of course we came back just after low tide, on a barely positive tide.  And rather than wait since we wanted to get fuel, we just plowed through the mud between the 3 and 4 markers!  Good times!  We got our fuel, may have plowed a little more mud on the way to our slip, and got settled in with time to toss the football on the beach before sunset.  It's been a great holiday!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

"Santa came!  Santa came!"  Amazingly it was about 8am before we heard the kids cry that out, but indeed, Santa had come!

We were completely spoiled by our families!  And just as we were baking our traditional cinnamon roll breakfast we heard something.  Voices?  Singing?  It was kayaking carolers!  Such fun!  It was a couple from a nearby house, stopping by to thank us for the light display last night!  We chatted for a bit, they gave us a yummy bag of cookies, and Trent showed them all of his new Legos.  It was so nice to have visitors!

We stayed in our pjs most of the day, and even got some good family pics!

We are staying here for another night, then maybe we will move tomorrow.  We have a big Christmas feast in our bellies!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve on the Bay

The Captain was sick.  The forecast was calling for a breezy Christmas. It was super foggy out.  There is a tiny leek somewhere in the engine.  Let's get underway!  Yep, despite all of that we really wanted to spend our last Christmas here out on the bay.  I took the helm so Frank could rest, and of course our radar wasn't working!  Visibility <1/4nm most of the way...the wayward crab pot here and there...but we made it to a cozy spot in the Rhode River!

The fog enveloped us, like we were out there all alone.  Still we turned on all the Christmas lights, had the kids exchange one gift, made cookies, and readied the boat for a visit from Santa.  We even got to Skype with the family back in Illinois.

Now...we wait!

Sea Change

I've been putting off this post for a while...not sure why, but I have.  The thing is, it really is about good news!  This fall, shortly after my promotion, we found out that I'd screened for command.  Command!!!  It's the most humbling news ever!  Next summer we'll be heading south as the command is in Mississippi.

But...(there's always a "but") that presents a decision point.  "Down South" is where we have a house, a real brick and mortar place that we bought the last time we were stationed there because it was right by a great elementary school.  But we currently have a great renter in it and moving in there will cost us more.  But getting the boat down there will take time and patience, especially as my move is right in the middle of hurricane season.  But the school by the marina isn't rated as highly as the school by the house.  But the kids' school starts in early August down there.  What??!??!?  That's seven weeks after they finish the year up here!  And I have training to go to in August!

It seems we may be swallowing the hook for a bit.  It's for all the right reasons, and we can spend that time finally purging the remaining "stuff" and giving both the house and the boat some TLC, but it's still a tough pill to swallow.

Lots of details to work out, but for now, it's time to enjoy the season with my amazing family.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My philosophy on butter rum cake

It was February 1, 2013.  It was cold out and we definitely weren't getting underway with all the ice in the marina.  What to do, what to do???  Ever notice how the Philosophy line of body washes have recipes on them?  Well, they do and I had always been a wee bit curious about that...were the recipes for real?  Hmmm...I had a bottle of Philosophy's Butter Rum Cake body wash, the wrong type of pan, and an oven that required a good deal of overwatch to maintain a steady temp.  Perfect for an experiment, right?

1 pkg. yellow cake mix 
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 C water
1/2 C cooking oil 
1/2 C butter (softened)
1/2 C dark rum (Myers's works well)

Combine cake and pudding mixes.  Add eggs, water, butter, oil, and rum.  Pour into a greased bundt pan.  Bake at 350F for 1 hour.  Let cool.

1/4 C water
1 C sugar (I like raw sugar for this)
1/2 C dark rum
Crushed walnuts (optional)

Boil water and sugar for 5 min.  Stir in rum.  Glaze top and sides of cake.  Sprinkle with walnuts if desired.

So, how did it go?  Well, it wasn't pretty in my rectangle pan, but it sure tasted good!

It was so good, in fact, that I decided I needed a bundt pan as part of my onboard cookware!  The next time it came out yummy AND pretty!

And that, my friends, is my philosophy on butter rum cake!

Let there be LIGHTS!

This is one of my favorite weekends on the Bay!  I love heading to Annapolis for the Eastport Yacht Club's Lighted Boat Parade!  We had some sweet sailing yesterday and got a front-row mooring by mid-afternoon.

We had to fiddle with our light strings a bit, but enjoyed a peaceful afternoon and early dinner before bundling up on deck for the parade.  It was such a great show!

As we warmed the engine this morning we got a special treat--Santa and the elves from East of Maui ski/surf/skate came by the boat.  It was awesome!

Headed back to our home marina now to prep for another crazy, pre-holiday week at school and work, but it's been a fabulous weekend on the water!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

10 years!

Today we celebrate 10 years of marriage.  And amazingly we've lived on the boat for over half of that wedded bliss!  So looking forward to the next 10 years and all the adventures they will bring!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fabulous Fall!

With temps nearing 70F and plenty of wind in the forecast, we had to get underway!  We decided to head to a new anchorage in Whithall Bay outside of Annapolis.  After a great start, it got super gusty at the mouth of the Severn and we got to experience our first round-up!  I lost some skin on my hand while trying to ease the mainsheet, but otherwise we did well.  We even saw 8kts through the water under reefed sails!  Woo hoo!  ��

We took the tight entrance to Whitehall Creek very slowly and toured past the marina before turning around and settling on a spot in Ridout Creek for the night.  It was a really great spot that afforded us opportunities for paddling and dinghy rides.

Today brought more adventurous sailing! After a peaceful morning we got underway and got to see our first 25kt gusts again at the mouth of the Severn.  With a scrap of genoa up we managed to make between 5 and 6 kts the whole way back.  The timing put us back home with only a +0.25' tide.  That, combined with the stiff breeze on the beam, led us to decide to drop the hook outside the marina while we wait for the tide to come up a little.  We will get underway shortly, and return home to clean the mud and salt off the boat and carve pumpkins!