Thursday, December 31, 2009

Battery excitement!

So Frank came home early today and announced he'd done lots of research on batteries/power. "If we get a [something] for $1100 and a [something else] for about $900 and maybe a [not really needed but will make it all more efficient or something] for $250, I think we'll be all set!" Sadly I had my wife ears on instead of my interested-first-mate ears, so that's all I heard. There were a few other dollar values thrown about later in the day...perhaps he'll get on here and explain all of this in perfectly garbled boat-talk.

In other news, we got the new grill, a Magma Catalina, installed despite a biting cold wind. She's purrrrty!
Where in God's name is the champagne??? Happy New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A big education on batteries!

Last night Frank was expressing some concern over the level indicated by our batteries and after some research decided we should look into getting some new, beefier ones. Meanwhile we ran the engine for a little bit to give them a boost. He pulled the plug on our Christmas lights for a little conservation, then we headed to bed.

Sometime in the middle of the night warm air stopped coming from our vents--the fuel pump didn't have enough electrical juice to keep going. Then when we woke up (to a 50F house!), Frank went up to start the engine and all he got was that grinding, horrific sound--she wasn't turning over. After some debate, a little reading, and realizing that our start battery had not been isolated as he believed it had been, we decided the best thing to do would be to get a new start battery. We headed into town, got info on a cab company (that did NOT answer its phone on a Sunday morning!), and found a local auto parts store that was open. The kids were unruly and without transportation, we decided that Frank should go on a solo mission for the battery and I'd watch the kids.

The kids and I played around in the park and when they got cold we headed to Hot Shots Java for some cocoa and coffee. Frank, bless his heart, hiked down the hill with that god-awful heavy battery. We hit Sluys' for one last box of fat and sugar and headed back to the boat. Within minutes, the battery was replaced and we were good-to-go. With that, we were ready to head home.

The cruise home was uneventful (~2kts wind) and we got to the fuel dock at sunset. We had a thin layer of ice in some parts of the marina, but our slip was clear. We moored, off-loaded tons of Christmas trash, and settled in for the night.

Once again, I have to thank Frank for an amazing weekend. Despite the adventures along the way, it was absolutely wonderful! We have a long list of "things to buy" now, but for the moment I'm content to focus on a movie and relax... :)

The Powers family takes on Poulsbo!

Today we spent a nice, though cold, day in Poulsbo. Our morning trip to town took us to a geocache and the famous Sluys' Bakery for doughboy donuts. Then it was back to the boat for a little nap...

For our afternoon trip we pretty much just walked around town and did some window shopping. Frank tried to entice me with a stop at Blue Heron Jewelry, but I just don't get enough opportunity to wear that stuff. Instead we ducked in to the Cargo Hold, a great little nautical treasures shop. There we stumbled across a book set containing all the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels. After chatting with the shopkeeper briefly, he offered us 10% off the set and I said, "we'll take it!" Frank was very happy! From there we headed to Sluys' for an afternoon cookie and I ducked into Indigo Plum for some shoe shopping (Frank scores again with a replacement pair of his favs for 50% off!). As our bags were full and it was getting dark, we headed back to the boat. But...

Ready for a break from ham, we loaded back into the dinghy for one more trip to Poulsbo for dinner at That's A Some Italian. Good wine, good food, a waitress that Trent adored...a good evening to be sure! We tried to hit a bookstore, too, but Trent filled his diaper and Katreina had a meltdown, so back to the boat we went. A full, nice day!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, it was our first Christmas on the boat and I LOVED IT! Katreina was, of course, up before the sun. Heck, I hardly slept all night because I was so excited! She immediately started picking out which presents were hers, but I made her wait for her brother.

Katreina was very excited to see how many presents were under the tree!

Once they were both up it all went pretty quick! They got some great gifts and seemed to be very thrilled with their presents from Santa--a baby doll (with all the accessories!) for Katreina and a pirate ship for Trent.

The kids tear into their presents from Brandi and Nathan.

Trent practices aiming cannons right at Mommy.

After a little breakfast and the first round with all the new toys, we headed to the island to explore and geocache. It was such a beautiful day and the kids handled the really long hike reasonably well. Frank and I got a heck of a workout carrying them! We were back to the boat in time for a late lunch and some well-earned naps for the kids.

Then we got underway and sailed around Blake Island under a cloudless sky. The day was just perfect and the sailing was nice. The kids were pretty well entertained with their new toys, too, so I managed to get some time up on deck! We had the full push of the tide against us through Rich Pass but still managed to drop the anchor in Poulsbo right at sunset. From there I headed in to put the finishing touches on our big Christmas dinner. The ham didn't exactly fit in the oven, but with some reconfiguration of the rack I somehow wedged it in. And everyone seemed to like it!

The Christmas feast--ham, potatoes, green bean casserole, pineapple, and rolls. Nothing too fancy, but everything we like!

This was a most wonderful day. I miss seeing our families, but at the same time I really loved enjoying a relaxing day with just our little family. It's tough--I want it all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Then one foggy Christmas eve..."

What a day! After heading out for one last trip to the post office (where I got berated by the not-so-helpful clerk), a bag of ice, a horn, and some lattes, we were off! Destination--Blake Island State Park, which is just south of west of Seattle.

The first big excitement was that I drove us away from the dock! I'm usually the line handler, but today I took to the wheel and surprisingly got us underway without any problem. I drove us out of the marina before handing it back over to Frank. Then after a quick check on the kids, I headed to the bow to be a lookout as it was CRAZY foggy out. We were even compelled to use our fog signals. The real joy was hearing a large vessel report its underway from Everett, SOA 17kts, heading the same direction we were. We heard him, once very close, and could not see him at all! Then there was there were the ferries...we decided to go close to their piers at Clinton to try to minimize how many times we'd run across them. Well, just as we got there we heard the loud blast of their horn--close! And I couldn't see a damn thing. Frank saw the ferry briefly, but then nothing but white. I won't lie, it was scary! We could only see the coast off our starboard beam when we were like 200yds away from it. We decided to drop the anchor before getting to Possession Point and assess the situation...

After the kids got lunch and were down for naps, we decided we should go out a bit and see if it improved. I also installed the AIS app on my iPhone and we got a glimpse of the big traffic out in the sound. Seeing it was pretty light for traffic we headed out and I'm glad we did! Shortly after passing Possession Point we were out of the fog bank and were treated to a beautiful day! We could clearly see Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, the Olympics, the Cascades, Seattle...a truly glorious day!

Frank quickly got us moving and we had a great afternoon cruise. After the kids got up we made some cookies for Santa and watched Polar Express. We moored to a mooring ball for the first time ever, which I can say wasn't bad, but wasn't wicked easy either. Whatever, it was sunset on a beautiful night and we were one of 2 boats moored on that side of Blake Island.

Our home for Christmas Eve.

We made a call to the family in IL and got to hear some of the excitement there as our nieces and nephew opened their gifts. After dinner we let the kids open one present from us and exchange their presents from each other. Trent was very happy with his singing Thomas train car and Katreina loved her Silvermist doll! Then we lowered the table to make a fun place for Christmas morning, wrote a note to Santa, and left him some treats!

"We're ready for Santa and the reindeer!"

With the kids all snug in their beds we had a new challenge...how to get all this stuff "under" the tree without waking them up! Somehow we pulled it off!

Our bathroom became the hiding spot for all the gifts!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What deployment really means:

As we get ready for Christmas on the boat, I've become all too aware of what next year will bring for me and the family. Due to deployment, I will miss Thanksgiving, Trent's 3rd birthday, my anniversay, Christmas, Frank's birthday, and Katreina's 5th birthday. 5th birthday! Ugh, to miss such a big one! And that's just from the deployment. I'll miss a lot more as we get busy with work-ups. I knew this was coming. We knew it before we even took the orders. But now, after celebrating Trent's birthday and getting set for the holidays, I'm just getting pretty down. I'm mom. I'm supposed to be here for these things! I think I may have gone a little overboard on gifts this year and this may be part of it.

Everyone seemed to be a little sick this weekend, so we didn't do much. Probably gave me too much time to think! This weekend should be better...will Santa visit us at anchor??? :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Goodbye, ice!

After a few days of 40F+ temps and some steady rain, the ice is all but gone. The fishing boats have made it out of their slips and our pump-out guy made it to us. I actually learned of the pump-out's presence as I was completely suds up in the shower, under a hatch that lies ~6 inches from where the forward holding tank gets pumped when I felt his boat lie to against ours. YIKES!!!! I slid the shade shut fast, hopefully in time! Ah, the excitement of living on a boat!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Break-in :(

On the way back from Leavenworth yesterday we decided to check on our cabin in Index. Good thing we did. For the first time since I acquired the property in 2002, our cabin was broken in to. Frank first noticed a broken step on his way up the walk, then turned the door knob and it was open. The jamb was busted and pretty quickly he noticed the stove was missing!

Busted door jamb.

Where's the stove???

Further investigation found that the stove, propane bottle, a comforter, a sleeping bag, and towels were missing from the main cabin. While cabinet had been searched, no furniture was damaged. The pots and pans had even been removed from the stove and left behind! Oh, 2 little hooks from the back of a quilt my mom had made were missing, too. That might be the strangest thing!
The shed out back had been broken into, too, and axes were missing. The table saw, mower, and tools were all still there. We called the police and headed west to try to find some stuff to reinforce the doors with.
In the end, the thief(s) only took stuff that was survivalistic in nature. We are torn between feeling sorry for them and being vengeful. The damage to our cabin could have been much worse and in no way was anyone in our family hurt. It was a big inconvenience to our plans for the day and our door is a bit of an eyesore now.
We've removed the antique Two Grey Hills rug and my mom's quilt. In the spring, we'll have to do real repairs (including some electrical work that was already on the list) and will likely put it up for sale. We were already heading that way before the break-in. Now we just have more work to do.

To Leavenworth we go!

Since the boat is locked in ice, we decided to head to Leavenworth, WA for the holiday lighting festival after somehow scoring a room there on short notice. It was a VERY cold weekend! Our room at the Alpine River Inn was cozy though, so after naps we headed into town. Cold, cold, cold, but it was great to see so many people out enjoying the season. We dined at the Renaissance Cafe and emerged after sundown to the joy of lights!

Front St., Leavenworth

K checking out the lights from Daddy's shoulders.

Trent and Dad taking in Front St.
We walked the streets for a bit then hit our favorite little bookstore there. Everyone scored new books except Mom! From there we watched kids sledding down the hill in the park and geared up to watch a school band perform, but suddenly the kids were a mess of tears! We tried hot chocolate to warm them up, but it didn't work. We threw in the towel and tried to hustle back to the hotel. The kids were painfully cold. It was about 15F outside and their little fleece gloves weren't cutting it. We got back, warmed up reading books, and finally had them warm enough to get them into the tub. I felt so bad for them. Thank goodness the next day they reported that they'd had fun!
Left Leavenworth after a morning geocache and got to see flurries through the pass...a pretty decent little trip!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "ice rink"

Figured a picture would do the situation justice. That is solid ice, and much of the marina looks this way. I'm definitely looking forward to the 40F and rain forecast for early next week.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lots of ice

I promise I won't give a daily ice report! But...when I woke this morning my moving about the boat caused crushing ice sounds outside. I could tell it was going to be ugly. Also, the heat had run straight through the night without shutting off and it was only 67F inside (the thermostat usually shuts off at 70F). I decided to leave the hydronic heat on during the day. We typically shut it off and just run a little space heater to keep it around 60F, but I really didn't think that would cut it. I'm honestly a little scared our water tanks/lines may freeze since it's been below freezing for so long! Probably a silly concern, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I came home for lunch today and found ice all around the boat, even locking the fenders in place. I broke up the ice that was right next to the boat with the boat hook (1/2" thick now), but by the time I got home with the kids it had all reformed. I'm losing the battle.

The boat feels different to me. She doesn't move under your foot like she used to. And the forecast doesn't have a big warming trend any time soon. How thick will it get?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ice

It stayed below freezing last night and it's starting to show. I got off work early today and came back to find the boat almost completely locked in ice. It was just under 1/4" thick and I took to the dinghy to try to break it up some. It made horrible noises! I broke up about the 4' around the boat, but that was it. The forecast doesn't have us getting above freezing for a few days. I'm nervous about tomorrow. Oh, and I'm dealing with this SOLO!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Underway again!

I guess I should back up a little and list a "first" since our last post! Friday night, we had our first babysitter on the boat! She stayed for a few hours while we went to the Admiral's house for the command Christmas party. All went well! The only casualty was the DVD player on the TV--could be from Trent hitting it all the time!

Saturday morning we had breakfast with Santa on base. On the way back to the boat, we noticed a little ice forming in the shadows along the pier...no better time to get underway! This weekend's destination was Port Ludlow, just a few hours away on the other side of the sound. It was a great trip across, but it was COLD! A little above freezing all day so I'm sooo glad Frank likes to drive! We anchored with ease and bundled up the kids for a dinghy ride. Rode around "the twins" before heading to town. Wait, I meant the marina. That was pretty much all that was there. I can guess there's a little more draw in the summer when the resort is kickin', but for us it turned out to be a nice walk along the water and a geocache at a totem pole.

We returned to the boat and powered up the up-and-overs (the tree and wreath were already going strong on their batteries) to light up the bay. We used Pandora to get some great Christmas music on the iPhone and danced and sang! That was the best part of the weekend for me...all lit up at anchor and enjoying the season with the kids. :)

This morning was, well, chilly! And Happy Birthday to Trent! We headed to one of the twin islands to nab one last geocache before weighing anchor. Then the swells started. We knew there was a small craft advisory in the sound but I was impressed at how soon we felt the swells. Almost immediately we got kicked around. I was frantically trying to get the breakfast dishes cleaned before it got too rough when I turned and saw her. Katreina had just taken a drink of water and was bent over the bench seat staring at her hand. Poor girl had gotten sick, our first official case of sea-sickness on Lehe Paine! Trent just crashed on the bench and never got sick, but you could tell he was feeling it.

Poor girl!

It calmed down after noon and everyone was feeling better. We spent the afternoon watching football and getting ready to party. I still can't believe our little guy is 2!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Deck the boat..." Part 2!

Frank took the dinghy out after dinner to try to get some better pics of the lights. :)

"Deck the boat with boughs of holly..."

We made an epic trip to Target this morning to fetch some lights for the boat. While the kids napped, we got 'em all up! There are white up-and-overs, candy cane ropes around the top life line, a lit wreath, and a little lit tree. Not bad for our first boat decorating attempt!



The inside was decorated a little bit, too. Stockings and some window clings are up. Not much, but it sure is enough to get me in the mood!

May have to add some better "after dark" photos later...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pretty awesome day here aboard Lehe Paine as we prepared our first Thanksgiving meal on the boat. After the kids slept in (THANK YOU!), we had a lazy morning of a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and football. Katreina took a few moments to pick toys to give away this holiday season and I'm proud of her for making some very tough choices! Trent and I took a nice long walk outside before a light lunch and naps for the kids. Then I got down to business for our early dinner feast!

Getting to work on the deviled eggs first. Check out my new apron--thanks Mom!

I felt like I was always doing dishes, but with breakfast, lunch, and the need to keep the workspace free, I had to!

After the birds went in the oven, we all headed out for a little dinghy ride. The kids really wanted to see the ducks so we took some bread with us and gave them a little T-day feast of their own. We weren't out for long since I was a little anxious to get back and check on dinner. Katreina and I stayed put and drank some hot chocolate to go along with the "Hot, hot, hot, HOT CHOCOLATE!" song in Polar Express while the boys went on a little diesel run. It was all coming together!

In the home stretch...had to put the board over the sink as everything was coming out of the oven and off the stove. I can't believe it all worked out!

My awesome family! A 4pm dinner of Cornish game hens, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, corn, cranberry sauce, and cranberry rolls. Pumpkin pie came out way later!

Frank served up the birds and we all ate LOTS of food!

I seriously loved being here in our little boat as a family, enjoying a holiday tradition. Katreina sweetly recounted a LONG list of things she's thankful for, including her family, her friends, her Aunt Brandi, rock climbing, her cousins...and it went on and on! I'm very thankful for my wonderful family who so willingly embarks on adventures.

After watching a Christmas movie, we had some pumpkin pie and the kids played. We had an especially fun game of hide and seek. In one round, it took Katreina, no joke, at least 5 minutes to find me. Hello! Our boat is not that big! Their bathroom is apparently a really good place to hide. ;)

All quiet now...and for that I am very thankful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!!!

It'd be funny if this wasn't true! So we moved back in Saturday morning and decided to celebrate with a yummy dinner of steaks. It was pretty windy and Frank had to babysit the grill to keep it going so he stayed up in the cockpit while cooking. All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see orange flames shooting out of the grill, almost licking the canvas dodger. YIKES! And there was Frank, hopping around, trying to get the gas to shut off. He had to shut it off at the actual propane bottle. The flames subsided and Jay-Z boomed from the iphone...quite a party!

Sunday night he worked on the grill a little, cleaning out some of the vents, then slapped our chicken drumsticks on. Wicked windy again and a little flare-up! Not as bad as the previous night, though.

Not sure if I really want to put those burgers on the grill tonight...I like our canvas!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

We're home!

We were up early this morning for a chilly 8:30am launch. The lift operators were awesome and hung the boat perfectly level with the ground so we could walk the kids on. They were happy to be back with their movies!

It took a few tries to get the engine rolling...it was 34F outside! After a little warm-up we were off and about a minute later we were docked at the slip. Everything went so smoothly. I immediately fired up the space heater but after 2 hours we're only up to 47F in here and that's with the boost from the stove. Frank has just finished up installing the heater and, wait--yep, that's warm air blowing!


Time to get warm, get some cleaning done, and re-stock the fridge. We're home!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Slight setback

Now we're pushed to a 3:30pm hang (so they can paint where the stands were) and an early Saturday morning launch. Not a complete bust, but I am sick of moving between hotels! And honestly with the deluge we're getting today I'm not confident this schedule will hold either...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good news!

Got a call today while we were out walking with the kiddos--Harbor Marine is shooting for a 1:15pm launch on Friday! Work on the boat has moved along nicely. We even did about a dozen drive-bys after getting the call to check out the detailing work. She's perrrrrty! Keeping my fingers crossed that we can stick to this schedule!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BOAT=Bring On Another Thousand! (or 2...or 3...)

Made it back to WA safely today and upon landing found we had a message from Harbor Marine, the folks doing all the work on our boat. The message? "We need to talk about some things before we start the work on the bottom." Start? We've been gone for 4 days! Ok, so the weather sucked while we were gone, but it was still hard to hear.

Frank gave them a call--they found that essentially the primer between the hull and the old bottom paint was possibly not put on so great and that now the bottom paint was flaking off. We had 2 options for moving forward--a band-aid fix or sand it all down and start again. We went for the real fix of sanding it down and doing it all again. This adds not only something like $800 to the cost of the bottom work, but also delays our re-launch. That means more money on hotels and eating out. While he had them on the phone, we got the quote for the detailing, too. $500 for the hull, $800 if they did topside, too. Why not?!?! We are going for the full monty. What's another couple hundred bucks at this point? They are going to try to get it done quickly since they know we live-aboard, but this could be a lengthy hotel stay.

As we left the airport we decided to check in with Sure Marine, the guys that were working on our heater, to see if it was ready and low and behold, it was! We headed over to pick it up...after giving them $400. Seems the part that we thought was $100-ish was actually $290. That, plus labor...what does BOAT mean again? Hopefully this new burner does the trick.

After that we grabbed some $4 lattes (might as well!) and made it up to our home for the week, the Inn at Port Gardner. We're exhausted, and well on our way to broke, but we still love this damn boat!

Monday, November 9, 2009

El Cid Homecoming Weekend

What an amazing weekend! We flew overnight Thursday to get to Frank's 10-year at the Citadel. The flights didn't go that great with the kids, but we made it!

Friday we got freshened up in the hotel bathroom before heading over to the waterfront park to enjoy a perfect, low-key picnic lunch with some friends. Mmmm...fried chicken! We haven't seen any of these guys in 5 years so it was great to see them all (and I got to meet a few I hadn't met before!). The kids had a blast running up and down the pier, too. After a little nap (for everyone!), we took Frank downtown for the big alumni party before heading back for a calm night in for the kids and I. Thankfully Sticky Fingers delivered to our hotel room! :)

I have no idea what time Frank got in Saturday morning, but we somehow managed to get everyone up, ready, fed, and at the Citadel just minutes before the 0850 Summerall Guards performance. Frank was pretty anxious to show the kids what he used to do. After that we toured the barracks and heard all about how much worse it was back in '99... We toured campus a bit then, stopping by the chapel to relive a little of our wedding day. Crazy that we were married there almost 5 years ago! We met up with the usual Echo Company suspects before the parade and all us wives watched proudly as our fellas saluted their company as they marched past.

Next up was the CE cook-out. Food was good there and I really liked getting a chance to sit and chat with the girls for a bit. Mid-lunch Frank and Trent headed to the car to fetch a fresh diaper and the stroller. The rest of the gang decided to head toward the stadium and just pick up Frank along the way. This is where one of the best stories of the weekend comes in...as the boys were walking along happily Trent said, "hey look!" To Frank's horror Trent was showing off a poop-covered hand! "Hey look" is now NOT a good phrase in our house! They got cleaned up just before we made it over to them and Frank was more than ready for a beer so we headed to the Class of '99 tent at the stadium.

More good food and lots of beer here. I tried desperately to entertain/contain the kids and encourage them to nap while Frank mingled. The guys did their march on while most of us ladies hung out in the tent. Eventually we all filtered in to the game. The kids were holding on by a thread by now so after halftime we headed out to get them some naps. Trent lasted until he was back in the stroller before passing out while Katreina hung on until she was in the car. They needed some sleep!

After a few hours on the pillows, we headed into downtown to meet up with Tyke and Shanna, Matt and Sarah, and Ryan and Jenny for dinner. The kids were reluctant at first, but Katreina perked up about the idea when she learned Matt would be there! We had a rough start to dinner as Trent fell and busted his lip open, but it ended up being an awesome night. Katreina was super well behaved (and played with my iphone most of the evening), and Trent and I spent most of the night out on the sidewalks around the restaurant. I would have preferred to be inside enjoying the company, but am happy that Frank got to spend the evening with his friends. It was great to see them all one last time.

Sunday was family day! We visited with Laurie, Jerrry, and Lyle in the morning and got to enjoy some yummy shrimp and grits before heading out for our last bit of Citadel fun. This included a trip to the gift shop for all sorts of important Bulldog gear, including a flag for the boat! Eventually the day was left to us and while the kids snoozed we drove around checking out the sites and visiting some key locations from our wedding. We even did a little geocaching in the park where our wedding pictures had been taken. And finally, we got to do a family dinner at Sticky Fingers.

Geocaching at Haygood Park

Recreating the kiss from our wedding day 5 years ago with Frank's new lady!

Our reception location. Ah, memories!

Stuffed, we are ready to head home! It was such a great weekend and we had a great time catching up with old friends. Wish we could have stayed longer!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tense times--my first haul out!

Today was built to be insane! Work, class, lunch, haul out, climbing, dinner, red-eye to the east coast... Wait, haul out? You read that right! Since we're heading out of town for a long weekend we decided there was no better time to get the bottom paint, zincs, and some detailing attended to. Easy, right? Sure, only I am wicked nervous since I've never done this before, I saw a boat slip out of the slings once, and, oh yeah, this is my house! And just for fun, the forecast was for rain and 20-25kt winds. YIKES!

After pounding way more Taco Bell than any human really needs, Frank and I got the boat prepped with plenty of time to spare. Then we waited. And the wind sounded ferocious. And I felt like I was going to throw up (from nerves, not lunch!). Finally we saw the Travelift in position so we headed up to chat to the guys. They told us to just back her in. Ok. Sure. Back her in. Our original slip in this marina had been so painful because we had to back the boat in and she has crazy prop walk. Did I mention the wind?

In the end, Frank backed it all the way from our slip to the lift so she had some good way on. We made it over there fine and the lift operators were able to manhandle the lines and get her in the slings. The wind pushed us around a little, but the rain had stopped just long enough and the whole deal was honestly pretty painless. Kind of fun, actually! It was so weird seeing our home out of the water. She looks good, though! Definitely needs bottom paint and there is some fishing line around the prop, but the zincs looked pretty good as did all the through-hulls. Finally, I can breathe. Heck, I'm so chill now I'm treating myself to a mani/pedi!

In the slings and getting a bath.

On the move through the parking lot at the marina.

Next adventure--overnight flights en route to South Carolina!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Loss

This blog was to be as much about my life in the Navy and what it's meant to my family as it was about living on a sailboat. This entry is geared toward the Navy, and one of the great people I met along my Navy journey.

Today I learned of the passing of Elwood "Ellie" Eldridge. I met Ellie while I was dating his son, shortly after my commissioning in the Navy. While in ROTC I had met many veterans and was frequently confronted with older men that kind of told me they didn't think I should be in the Navy. "This is a hard life, honey...a hard job." "Have you thought about nursing? I bet you'd make a nice nurse." "Ships? Are you sure?" Though disappointed by their comments, I accepted them as part of our generational differences. Then I met Elwood, a WW II veteran. He didn't say anything like that. He listened as I told him about the path I was taking in the Navy. He excitedly pulled out a photo from Fleet Week in New York, describing all the ships on the Hudson and pointing out where he was. He told me about how great it was to be out in the city, and sounded so proud of his service and excited about the experiences he had had. And he shared it all with the underlying tone of "you, too, will have a great time." I loved that.

The entire time I lived near Ellie and his wife they were wonderful to me. I felt like family with them all...cared for...and while I didn't entirely realize how important that was early in my career, I now greatly value the handful of friends I have scattered about the country who do genuinely care about me. Even as the relationship that introduced me to them changed, the Eldridges remained a part of my life. We exchanged letters and emails, and they even welcomed me to their home with my husband and infant daughter years after I'd last seen them.

I don't think he ever knew how his tiny gesture of sharing his story with me impacted me, and I'm saddened that I didn't tell him so. I don't want to make that mistake again. I hope the rest of the family knows that they were and are still part of my world and that I grew through my experiences with them. And they are at the front of my thoughts tonight.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Arrrr! Happy Halloween!


Such a great day! We had lots of errands to take care of in the morning, but had a GREAT time carving pumpkins with our friends Michelle and Doug in the afternoon. They let us get pumpkin goo all over their dining room and Michelle roasted up lots of yummy pumpkin seeds--the kids loved them! But candy was calling...

To go along with our boating life, the kids were pirates for Halloween this year! Katreina was a sassy pirate and Trent was a traditional "Captain Jack Sparrow" type. The lovely WA weather killed our plan of cruising in the dinghy as a pirate family (Frank and I even had eye patches!), but we did go out trick-or-treating. We managed to stay dry until the last block and a half, and then we got soaked! Still lots of fun. And now we know that Trent really likes m&m's!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No heat...again

Good news--I've been feeling pretty good post-surgery (we went to the Navy Ball last Friday!) and am able to handle the kids solo. Good thing, too, as Frank is in Cali for a few days for work. Of course, as luck would have it, the heat got a little fritzy in the days before he left. And with my great luck, it went out completely last night. Chilly times with the munchkins. Hopefully we'll get it out and to the shop this weekend. We're down to about the last part we can replace before buying a whole new unit!

Again, the timing is great here. We have a space heater we can use to keep fairly comforatable while in port, but would have no heat if we were to spend a night out at anchor now. Since we can't get underway due to my busted gut, this really is perfect timing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A dead salmon? Seriously?

Ugh. I had surgery last Thursday for a double hernia repair and am now confined to the boat! I love this boat, but when you're not allowed to do squat it can get old very fast. Thankfully my sis Brandi sent me the entire Twilight book series for entertainment. Sadly, I'm almost done with them all!

But, convalescence has not been without excitement. As I sat here reading this afternoon while Frank and Katreina were out geocaching I saw "W" (it's Wade or Wayne or something) walking on the finger pier alongside our boat. It caught my attention as typically boaters only go down finger piers adjacent to their own boat and his boat is not next to ours. So I peeked out my bedroom window to find a salmon carcass at the very end of our finger pier, inches from our coiled bow line. WTF?!?!

I pulled myself up and shuffled (in my pjs and slippers, no less!) over to where he and a buddy were spraying down their boat. I asked if he put the fish on the pier and he proceeded to, as usual, treat me like a complete moron and tell me that birds eat them. When I asked why he couldn't simply put it on one of the several piers right near where he was he claimed that our finger pier was were he has always put that stuff so the seagulls wouldn't mess with his catch. Whatever, lame. I asked him to go remove it and he told me I could! Sure! NOT! I again asked him to go remove the carcass from next to our boat. His response was that the birds probably already got it.

Seeing I was getting nowhere with this infantile ass I headed back to the boat. My surprise was that his buddy walked down, too, and kicked the fish off our pier. I thanked him. I don't know why he hangs out with such an idiot.

I called Frank and let him know, then called the marina and talked to the director. Thankfully she didn't feel that was appropriate either, but I have to wait for him to do something again before they'll contact him again. Again, you ask? Because he's the same idiot that kept putting his boat in our slip when we were away and he already has gotten one letter from the marina thanks to us. Wonder if that letter and the fish are related???

The salmon stain. Seriously?!?!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No underway for a while

We're entering a new chapter in our live aboard story today--tied to the dock. I'm having a little surgery that will prevent me from lifting >5lbs for a while (that includes jumping on/off the boat and pulling on lines). Not thrilled, but at least we had the summer. It's turning to winter here in the PNW so it's as good a time as any. Thankfully we've got a few things to keep us entertained on the calendar...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

East-coast bound

Heading away for a bit on a whole different kind of adventure--a cross-country red-eye with the kids! We're heading to Maine this weekend for my 10-year homecoming at Maine Maritime. Should be fun and I can't wait for Trent to meet Kristy and Angelo's daughter, Sophia!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Whoa, Midwesterners are on the water!

We welcomed Grandma and Grandpa Katrein to Everett from Illinois over the weekend and loved sharing our water-based life with them. They also got lots of time with the munchkins!

Despite a deluge Friday night and some showers Saturday, we got underway Saturday afternoon for a mostly dry cruise/sail. After a bit of fishing we circled Hat Island and headed home. The kids slept most of the time allowing me more time above deck than I think I've ever had underway!
Anyone that knows me should be scared!
The kids also showed their potty-training skills to the grandparents. It cracks me up that they love to go two-at-a-time.
Katreina is very proud to show Trent how it's done.

Trent knows where the TP is!

Sunday was nice and lazy, with breakfast at Kate's, a walk through the marina, and a trip to the Farmer's Market. I even gave Mom & Dad a ride back to the Inn in the dinghy and they liked it! The real treat of Sunday was Date Night! Mom & Dad handled the kiddos for dinner and some fun in their hotel while Frank and I hit Anthony's for beers, apps, and Sunday Night Football! It was an awesome date!

I skipped out of work Monday so the g-parents could get more time with the kids. We shopped, lunched, I took Mom on a dinghy tour of the marina, and we played in the park. We ended the night with a big burgers and corn cook-out on the boat. As the cook, I must say it was wonderful!

I think my folks had a pretty good time and I'm glad that someone from my hometown can now comment on my living situation based on first-hand knowledge!

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Keurig, meet Boat. Boat, meet Keurig."

Coffee has a special place in our lives. Probably just because we're American workers who are/were in the Navy, but also because we are on our second tour through the PacNorWest, home to wonderful coffee businesses. Ever since we moved aboard I've been struggling with making our own.

French press was ok, but even with the coarsest grind from the grocery store it was a mess and I wasn't a big fan of boiling water in one container, then having to dirty another to actually make the coffee.

Percolator was nice and reminded us a bit of camping, but it, too, was full of grounds with even the coarsest grind. And as the galley slave I am not a fan of cleaning it, either.

Instant was, well, instant. Great for "anytime" and reminded me of our trip to Patagonia, but let's be honest--it sucks. Even blending it with some International Coffee foo-foo stuff couldn't really rescue it.

Enter Keurig! I've had the joy of using this handy contraption at Navy Lodges for the past few years and like it a lot. And as our coffee at work has been about 50% grounds lately I folded! I ran to Target today and picked one up. Figured we could try it out on the boat and maybe solve our greatest problem yet! Now, to get Frank onboard...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Will there be a doctor in the family???

This post is a little bit of catch-up...last week, pretty much exactly one week ago, I made a last-minute decision to put my hat in for a Navy PhD program. Translation? One week to take a GRE, get some letters of recommendation, track down my transcripts, get the whole thing endorsed by the Admiral, and get it in the mail. Yep, I was busy.

Why the procrastination? I don't know, really. Part of me doesn't want to go through all the work of a doctorate if I'm not really going to use it. I know plenty of great METOC officers that don't have PhDs--they are great leaders, an attribute that does not come from years in academia. Part of me thinks "Dr. Powers" sounds silly! Frank's work prospects in Monterey aren't that great and I don't want to hurt him. And I wonder if it will be rough on the kids at all. And even the bit of me that was thinking it might be fun to get back into research and an insane amount of academic toiling wasn't sure the timing would be good for my career and my current billet since I'd have to leave right as deployment is kicking off. In the end, I realized if I don't go for it I'll just never know if I could do it. I talked to my mentor and we decided the timing wasn't horrible and that since my desired field of study isn't offered every year (but is this year!), I needed to jump.

So the "boat" experience this weekend was a Saturday of salmon fishing (and catching!) while I attempted to study for the GRE. That didn't go well for me so Frank gave me a few hours alone Sunday to cram--much better!

Today I took the GRE and am happy to report that it seems I've gotten a smidge smarter than when I took it a decade ago! The whole thing miraculously came together this afternoon and I can finally relax. I'm sure that I'm up against some great competition so if I don't get it, at least I can say that I tried. I think this calls for a movie night!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Adventure

So what if "adventure" = "lazy weekend amongst 30kt winds"???

We got underway Friday night with our eyes on Hope Island as a final destination in hopes of some luck on this last crabbing weekend of the season. Small craft advisories were in the forecast for almost the entire weekend, but we figured we'd give it a shot. With strong winds from the south on Friday night, we headed to Penn Cove for anchorage right off Coupeville. We dropped the crab pot nearby and came in after dark which afforded a bit of excitement considering we "found" a few boats anchored without lights on. Set the hook easily and rode out a rather exciting gusty night there!

Saturday we got underway thinking we could make it up to Hope Island. First things first though--we had to retrieve the crab pot in 20+ kt winds. Took 2 tries, but we got it--empty. By then we realized the wind was going to kick out butts. Not impossible, but not fun when you have two little kids onboard. We headed back to our anchorage, or rather next to our anchorage as someone had slipped in while we were out. Still a good spot and 20kts sure will help you set the hook!


By the afternoon the winds had died down enough for us to venture into town. We walked the small downtown and found a few things to do...

Trent and Katreina walk the main street.

Ice cream!!! Yummy shop right by the marina.

The Coupeville Public Dock.

The kids play ball by the museum.

We stumbled upon a cute little park at the end of a trail along the bluff.

On our way home after a fun Saturday afternoon. That's Lehe Paine to the right of Katreina.

The forecast for Sunday was looking pretty rainy and windy, too, with some troughs passing through the area so we decided we'd just stay put at our nice anchorage. Saturday night and Sunday morning were both pretty rough with some good showers here and there. We never saw gusts over 33kts, though. We had a lazy Sunday morning of pancakes, movies, toys...Daddy got to fish. The skies cleared a bit and we rode into town for lunch at Kim's Cafe on the public pier--good Pho and Thai! We also decided to sample the coffee at Local Grown--yummy! Then it was back home for nap time. Of course by now the wind had picked up and I got absolutely drenched on the ride back. Trent did, too, but he looked like he was having a blast!

Katreina crashed out for the better part of Sunday afternoon.

I swear the kids are going through growth spurts as they've been sleeping in all weekend and taking ridiculously long naps. Once we finally got everyone awake we went back to town to try to burn some energy. We hit the park for a while then decided to just stay there for dinner (I'm starting to think the family doesn't really like my cooking!). After considering a few good looking options in town, we headed back to Kim's as it was the most kid-friendly place we saw. Sunday night was very peaceful...

Today I sent Frank in to the pier to grab lattes before getting underway. That was pure genius! Way better than instant or percolator coffee! Now we're at the fishing grounds south of Everett in hopes of bringing home a few fresh salmon.

Somewhat lazy, somewhat exciting, perfect long weekend with my family!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Off-boat fun

Given that there is really no room in our fridge for more salmon, we decided to stay put today. We enjoyed breakfast at Kate's then I busted through the laundry. In the afternoon we decided to head to see an Everett Aquasox game. Such a great time! Great prices and great family fun. The kids seemed to really enjoy the whole experience. Of course we had hot dogs and ice cream, but Katreina also got to play in a bounce-house and head out on the field after the 1st inning to meet "Pop Fly," one of the mascots. It was pretty cute! I was impressed that they kids lasted 6 innings plus pre-game fun considering they hadn't really had naps yet.

From there we headed into Seattle to check out the REI sale and let the kids sleep! Didn't pick up much there, but did get Grandma Powers a sweet new GPS she can use for geocaching. Merry Christmas, Grandma!

For dinner we took inspiration from World Wraps and combined salmon, rice, soy sauce, greens, and lime juice and wrapped it up in a garden spinach wrap. Yummo...yet one more way to enjoy the bounty of the sea!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More salmon!

Caught a total of 6 pinks today, one under sail! We are officially out of room in the fridge/freezer!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yum, yum...Salmon are on the run!

Got some good reports on the local fishing this week so we headed out yesterday to see if we'd have some luck with the pinks. Frank's first bite was a big guy, probably a small king, on his smaller rod--yikes! Sadly, it got away but we did get a look at it. Not much later while sail-trolling under a reefed genoa, we got a bite and this time it stuck! We of course realized then that we didn't have a big net to dip in the water so we had to walk the flopping fish into the cockpit. Somehow it worked and we opened the salmon processing plant right on deck! Within a few minutes (and several buckets of water), we had a clean fish ready to become steaks.

By the end of the day, we'd caught Frank's quota of 4. Nothing quick like fresh grilled salmon! :)

They only "suck" of the day was once again returning to our slip to find our neighbors there. I got the feeling after I'd talked to them about the first time that they kind of blew me off, but this proved it. I was honestly shocked at how immature a grown man could be when he had the audacity to tell Frank he didn't think it was a big deal and that he'd do it again if he wanted. We went to the marina office this morning and thankfully they didn't agree that it was ok, either. Not sure what they'll do, but we'll be contacting them to demand a resolution if it happens again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Whirlwind Visit!

Grandma and Grandpa Powers visited for the past week and we managed to do A TON! The got to stay in the Inn at Port Gardner and said that it was VERY nice. Can't wait for the next set of g-parents to get to try it out in September.

On their first day here I had to work, but was able to enjoy lunch at Meyer's Cafe with them and deliver them to the ferry for Jetty Island. Sue was eager to check out some geocaches there. And that night we got to share our yummy Dungeness crab cakes with them! Thursday I took them out to Index to see the cabin for the first time. While it was a quick trip, they seemed to enjoy it. Of course I took them to Espresso Chalet, too! After a yummy dinner of crab bisque, we headed over to the concert stage for an awesome evening of dancing to great music. I think Sue had a very good time there! We were all pretty tired by the end of that.

Frank was finally off work Friday and we were able to head out on the boat for the day. There was hardly any wind so we motored, dropped the crab pot, and trolled for salmon. No luck on the fish, but we did get one red rock and one Dungeness. We also scored with a great gray whale sighting on our way back in.

Saturday we decided to show the parents the Washington State Ferry system with a destination of "GeoLuau," which would be Sue's first caching event. It made for a long day of traveling with the little ones, but it was fun to show Sue an event.

Sunday was an AWESOME day! It was the Fresh Paint art festival in Everett and the Sunday market. After a trip to the park and lunch at Kate's, the kids went down for naps while I took Sue on a dinghy tour of the marina. Then she and I hit the art festival until the fellas and kids joined us. We picked up some fresh foods and cookies and got the kids faces painted before heading back. The wind was looking good, so we decided to get underway for an evening sail! It was wonderful, and I was glad we got to show Sue and Maury the peace of sailing. It was such a great, fun-filled day!

We spent Monday in Seattle, first visiting the Ballard Locks. That was so cool to see just how perfectly they orchestrated the movement of so many vessels. The gardens there are lovely, too. After that, we headed to Seattle Center for lunch and a trip up the Space Needle. We were lucky to have pretty good visibility when we went up and were able to see Mt. Rainier. With the day winding down, we headed to Pike Place Market. Once again, Sue seemed absolutely thrilled with all the sights and activity there. They got to see quite a few fish tossed, too! From there we headed towards SEATAC as our guests had an early morning flight out the next day. After a big dinner at Outback, we bid them farewell. It was so great to share our experiences with family and we were so fortunate that the weather was so cooperative!

Space Needle self-pic

Just to put a real zing on the end of the visit, we were probably no more than 10 minutes away from the hotel on our way home when Trent blew chunks all over the mini-van we'd rented. It's always a blast with that little guy!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The good, the bad, and the VERY ugly!

The good--This weekend started out in pure, spontaneous Powers fashion. We got underway Friday after work and quickly decided to head south, drop our crab pot outside of Agate Pass, then anchor in Liberty Bay, Poulsbo. It was a late night for mom & dad, but it was pretty nice motoring to anchorage under the stars and full moon. Peaceful...

In the morning we shifted anchorage to be closer to the town dock and headed into town. We walked Front Street before hitting Sheila's for a hearty breakfast, then walked around some more while we waited for the Marine Science Center to open. While Frank was heading into a nautical gifts shop, a necklace caught my eye in the window of the Blue Heron Jewelry Co. It looked like a wave made of blue glass and mounted in a silver setting. It was a very good day for me! I tried it on and Frank must have liked it because he got it for me! I love it. It's so reminiscint of our life on the water. After picking up snacks at the famous Sluys Bakery we put the kids down for nap and got underway to return to Everett. Still good... Managed to get one keeper in our pot, too!

The bad--Winds were favorable for using the spinnaker, so we let it fly. It took us several attempts to get all the lines run correctly. We were also trying to cross the traffic seperation scheme amongst 3 jumbo cruise ships and the ferries. Stressful!

The VERY ugly--As we tacked one time, the spinnaker slipped behind the genoa and got all twisted around. That wasn't entirely bad, but once I got that worked out and she filled with wind, I noticed a problem--the lazy sheet was on the wrong side of the boat, like it had gotten too much slack and slipped under the bow. I wish! As I tried to walk it back around the bow with the boat hook it became clear that the whole line had been in the water and was now twisting, alot. Frank had had the engine on in the attempt to clear the traffic lane and somehow the knot tied in the end of the sheet had come out and it had become wrapped around our prop. Very bad. We made a questionable decision to start the engine and put it in reverse while I pulled to see if we could unwrap it. Amazingly, it worked! We were EXTREMELY lucky. There could have been major damage, but somehow we got out of it.

Lessons learned:
- If it's sailing, sail it. Don't turn on the engine.
- Make sure GOOD knots are in the end of lines. Figure-8 is much better than an overhand knot.
- Always be ready to get wet. Time to get the wetsuit and mask onboard!

And back to the bad--The rest of the return trip was amazingly uneventful. Around 9pm we pulled into the marina. As we rounded the corner to our slip, I was shocked to see a boat in our spot! Thankfully someone was on deck so I yelled to him that he was in our slip. These guys didn't exactly jump to get out of our way and even kept kind of waving us off. After a few minutes of them trying to get their power boat out of our slip, he waved me off again, to which I responded, "Hey, take your time. We're only paying for it!" I was getting annoyed. They finally inched their way out and to my complete surprise, headed for the boat house 2 slips down from us--it was our neighbor (whom we've never met). After we got in and were tying up, Frank was out on the pier when the 2 guys came out of the boat house. They didn't say a damn thing to us! No sorry, no introduction, nothing. Just looked at Frank then turned away. I said, "Gee, good night!" and could swear I got flipped the bird. Sure hope I'm wrong on that one. Totally not like any other boaters we've met and certainly not neighborly.

And one more very ugly--we had some kind of short in our shore power connection and it's fried. Frank is trying to fix it now. Still a pretty good weekend overall, and we had a great time in Poulsbo, but man that's more "downs" than I'm used to!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sleepover!

Last night we welcomed our first sleepover friend to the boat! Katreina's friend Mia visited for the night while her parents got some rest after having baby #2. Pizza, toys, a dinghy ride, fishing, ice pops, and manicures--what more do little girls need? Surprisingly they managed to sleep together in the same bed (after about an hour of whispering and playing) through the whole night. The more surprising feat, to me anyway, was that I managed to get 3 kids ready for school in the morning!

Katreina and Mia hanging out on deck

Monday, August 3, 2009

A few firsts and another summer weekend gone by

While it wasn't a record-breaking crab weekend (only 3 keepers!), we did have success at a new anchorage, Port Susan. There were lots of jet skis and skiffs running around, but there was plenty of room. The crab pot kept filling with females and small males and Frank tried crab snares with the fishing poles. That was actually a success to some degree--no keepers, but we did snare some crab and dogfish! I was feeling a little under the weather and spent the better part of Saturday morning sleeping, but we did enjoy a trip to the local public beach/boat launch where the kids, especially Katreina, played a bit in the water. On the way back to Everett yesterday we busted out the spinnaker for the first time. LOTS to learn there! We got it all tangled up a bit at first, but eventually had it flying just in time for the wind to die. Pretty cool, though!
The mighty Neil Pryde spinnaker, sporting a sweet Beneteau logo!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good crabbin'

We managed to nab a total of 7 crab this weekend (6 dungeness, 1 red rock). Not a home run, but pretty good. The real treat was the weather. While it was smokin' hot with little wind, we got to witness (and not experience!) some great thunderstorms. Frank and Katreina were super sweet, sitting together on deck looking at rainbows! We ended the weekend with trips to the farmer's market and park so the kids were completely wiped from the heat. It's going to be sooooo hot this week.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Repairs and a rescue!

I left work early today with one mission--re-splice the anchor rode onto the anchor chain so we can get underway tonight and go crabbing! As I walked down the ramp to the dock around noon, I noted the very low tide. Heck, I could even see the bottom. Wait, I could see the bottom...could I see the GPS??? I ran down our finger pier and laid down to get a close look. I couldn't be certain, but something definitely looked square, but a small square, like the GPS was standing straight up. Low tide, a -2.0 tide at that, wasn't for another hour. I decided to work on the anchor and think about the GPS for a bit...

As I got the splice going I became more and more confident that I was in fact looking at the GPS in the water next to me and at low tide it should only be about 8 feet down. I finished up the splice (not pretty, but I think it will do the job!) and got changed. I decided to skip the wetsuit since it was going to be a short dip. When I got back out to the dock I was in for a shock--I couldn't see the bottom! Silt had been stirred up somehow. I was so close, I didn't want to back out now! I had to try. Shortly after 1pm I jumped in and INSTANTLY lost my breath! Chilly!!!! I hung onto a line for about a minute to acclimate then took a deep breath and went for it. Thankfully the water cleared up about 4 feet down, then almost instantly I was at the bottom, snatching our GPS that had been sitting upright in the mud. In what felt like one swift motion I was back on the dock.

Repairs complete! Rescue complete! I'm kind of proud of myself today!

Dinner and a show, and a rescue operation!

Last evening started out pretty great, actually. We had my friend Michelle over for a lovely dinner of crab bisque and wine. She was our first non-family visitor and since she lives part-time in a trailer she wasn't overwhelmed by our "crazy" living arrangement. All was well until Trent threw his partially chewed hunk of bread straight into Michelle's bowl! Then Katreina spilled her entire glass of milk, splashing our guest. She was a sweetheart though and didn't seem to mind our kids making a complete mess.

After she left, Frank headed out to retrieve our crab pot for the night while I set to prepping the anchor rode to get re-spliced. Frank returned without any keepers. While he was unloading stuff from the dinghy I heard the "plunk" sound of something falling in the water. I looked at Frank, who was staring at the water.

"What was that?" I asked.

"The GPS," he said more calmly than one would expect. "The GPS" just happens to be a Garmin 60csx, which is pricey in my book.

"THE GPS!!!" I jumped up, ran onto the boat, stripped down, donned a pair of Frank's shorts and a sports bra and ran back up to the dock. I was ready to go in for it! We checked and the water was 18ft deep. Doable. But as we discussed the brilliance of my plan the sun sank lower and lower in the sky. Suddenly, I chickened out. Without even being in the water I was almost feeling claustrophobic.

Now it was Frank's turn. He ran to the Naval Station to grab some dive gear essentials out of our storage unit there--wetsuit, fins, mask, and a flashlight. Oh wait--he forgot the freakin' mask!!! So he put everything else on then donned our daughter's pink & purple swim goggles. I knelt on the dock shining a flashlight straight down at the spot the GPS was dropped while Frank hopped in. It was cold, he said, but not deathly so. We figured it should take no more than 3 swift kicks with dive fins on to get to the bottom. After a couple of deep breaths, he was off! No, wait--he was flopping frantically on the surface, splashing gallons of water onto his wife! He paused a second, then did a strong kick that sent him straight towards the dinghy!

"What happened?" he said when he came up for air. After sharing my version of the story with him, he informed me that he did 3 strong kicks (which I noted by the volume of water soaking my clothes) and didn't feel like he had gone anywhere so he paused then kicked again. I kindly informed him that his fins had barely been below the water and therefore hadn't pushed him down at all. That's when I think it hit both of us. We weren't afraid of being in the water at night. We were both experienced at night diving (with sharks) and hadn't had any anxiety. Our issue here was the lack of an air source. The GPS was dropped within a tiny window of water between our dock, our boat, and our dinghy. If we hit one of those on the way back up, we would be fighting to get out all while our lungs were burning for more air. We decided to call off the mission for the night. I wasn't about to lose Frank for a GPS.

Things were settled down after 10pm. We did a little research and found out that our GPS was rated "Waterproof to 1m for 30 minutes." Waterproof? Sounds more like water-resistant to me! May still try to rescue it sometime during daylight.

At the end of the day, we got a damn good laugh out of this one. I realized I'd like to find room for a mask/fins onboard and would like to purchase a pony bottle. This way if we ever actually have to do something under the boat in an emergency we can do it without the major air issues. $240 for a little piece of mind? Sure, I'd buy that.

So let's see...what all have we sacrificed to King Neptune?
Spanner wrench (Jody)--$17
Crab pot/line/bouy/bait bags (Frank)--$180
Garmin 60csx (Frank)--$350

Living on a boat? PRICELESS!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Splicing

This afternoon I taught myself how to splice with a little test piece of line and it worked! Next up, anchor repairs!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The travel and company experiments

This past weekend saw our family divided--mom & kids off to Illinois, dad on the boat with friend Marty visiting for some epic geocaching.

For my part, I was beyond nervous about flying (a 4-hour flight at that) with both kids all by myself. I was so happy with how well the kids flew and got through security for me. Angels! We had a great time visiting with family, but by the end of the trip I longed for my little home. We'd be at the house, but grandma and grandpa could be in other rooms while we were in the family room. I realized how our little house forces us all to be together, to experience everything together, even if at times that means that I don't always get to relax or do what I want, or if it means the kids will make so much noise that no one can think! Good times and bad, we're stuck with each other and I've grown to love that.

The boys meanwhile were trekking all over western Washington on their geocaching adventure. From 16-mile hikes, to camping, to hiking through the woods with a kayak on their backs only to have to inflate it and then paddle to an island for a cache, they were doing exactly what they love!

When we returned Marty was still staying for another day so we got the chance to try something else new--the kids sharing one bed. While they did play for a bit, they eventually slept (albeit splayed all over the bed!) and I saw a new potential for having guests over. Little by little, we're learning new things!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Holy crab!

Ok, we have officially bounced back from Thursday's tragedy. After replacing all of our gear, Friday night we anchored in Elgar Bay and dropped the pot near the boat. We used the kayak to fetch the line and pulled the pot up deck. Good stuff here, got keepers to round out our quota.

Last night we shifted anchorage to Honeymoon Bay and Frank used the kayak to actually drop the pot in some deeper water, then pulled the pot onto the kayak and paddled it back to the boat. These crab were MASSIVE compared to the ones from the previous night. Beautiful, large male keepers! The only real bummer was snagging a jellyfish on the first drop and getting a few stings from the tentacles that were smeared all over the pot, but boy was it worth it! The grand total from 2 days was 9 crab and I had the pot of water boiling nonstop for hours to cook 'em all, two at a time.

Big fella!


Our Captain and lead fisherman!

Tonight is all about picking crab! We've had yummy crab cakes twice now and I think I'm going to try some bisque and dip this week. We even got enough crab to be able to give a few to my coworker Michelle who is always happy to share the bounty from her garden with us! Dare I say we're having fun!


7 of the 9 keepers of the weekend, cooked and ready for pickin'!