Sunday, May 31, 2009

A no-sail weekend

We dedicated this weekend to some minor maintenance projects around the boat and tried to get Frank enough rest to finally feel better. We managed to get the TV put in, replace the anchor light, equalize the batteries, and put up a Level-O guage (so I can see how far we are really heeling!). We also hit Kate's for breakfast both days (soooo yummy!), got out on the kayaks 4 times, hit the local farmers market (via kayak!) and co-op, took Katreina to a princess party, and got to right now, with beer and wine in the cockpit as we enjoy the sunset.

Trent was tuckered after all that work!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Au Pair is here!

Yes, it's true--the TV is here! Frank masterfully selected and installed a 12V TV/DVD combo flat panel TV. We got it put up after the kids went to bed so tomorrow morning will probably be like Christmas for them. It's still not television in the traditional sense though as we aren't sporting a dish or anything like that so we still have to go to the internet to watch "Lost." So really it's like a fancy DVD player hanging on the wall. Whatever, at least now Trent can't close the movie on his sister (that's his favorite little game when she's really into a movie--slamming the portable DVD player shut). I'll add pics soon!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Box wine, "thumbs up"

Why? The bottle doesn't break, the square box (some brands have a better shape than others) fits nicely on my counter/in my fridge, the package is relatively eco-friendly, it goes nicely with my plastic wine glasses, and 4 BOTTLES IN ONE BOX! What more could you ask for? The wine from your wedding to come in a box??? DONE! I found Powers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon in a box at the local co-op and it is just as good as I remember. Happiness!

Monday, May 25, 2009


I'm not sure if we could have had a more perfect weekend. Normally I downplay what a great time we're having out here, but not this time--it was AWESOME! The weather was amazing the entire weekend and we had just enough time to sample a little of the beauty of the San Juan Islands.

We got underway flawlessly Friday and made it up to Utsalady Bay for an easy anchorage and enjoyed some yummy veggie tamales. We got a VERY early start Saturday thanks to the kids, but it put us in perfect position to go through Deception Pass on the 9 a.m. slack tide. The kids didn't appreciate the beauty, but I sure did! Hit a bit of rough water in Rosario Strait, then the psycho power-boater, then a wonderful day of sailing.

Early afternoon we dropped the hook in Massacre Bay. It was time to get the kayaks wet in the San Juan Islands! We paddled over to Skull Island State Park. Despite the morbid names this is an awe-inspiring place, wrought with tidelands full of life. We beached on the SE corner and started to explore. The kids discovered starfish before we took them up to the top of the small island. There was a great view from here and a small memorial plaque to a beloved family member. Instantly Frank started crafting his next EarthCache. A couple joined us and the kids ran up to them and gave them hugs--you'd think we'd had them away from civilization for weeks! We decided to head back to the boat, hitting more tidepools along the way. The number of 12"+ starfish was just mind-numbing, and Katreina got real good at spotting them both below and above the water line. After a dinner of phad thai (did I mention I love food???) we couldn't resist--we had to get back on the water! We all piled back in for a sunset paddle.

Playing around on Skull Island State Park.

Anchored, Massacre Bay

Sunday began with yet another paddle over to Skull Island and more climbing/exploring. Katreina simply loves to climb and despite the fear I have watching her scamper up rock faces, I secretly love it, too! Frank made all the necessary notes for his Geocache and we headed back to the boat. Getting the kayaks onboard was easy with the help of a spare halyard and a winch, and by lunchtime we were back out to sea, headed for Deception Pass and the afternoon slack water. Currents were a little more than we expected in Rosario Strait and we actually missed the slack by about a half hour. Thankfully the transit was still pretty easy. Our "Plan A" moorings at the state parks just east of the pass were already taken (it was about 5 p.m. by this time), but we found great anchorage on the south shore of Hope Island State Park. A group of folks was camping on the shore, but otherwise the spot was ours. Very nice. After another great meal of chicken grilled up by our wonderful Captain, Katreina actually asked if we could paddle! I love her! But is was almost bedtime so we just played on the boat and got rocked to sleep...

Monday greeted us with more fabulous sun and occasionally enough wind to sail! As much as we wanted to play on Hope Island, we decided to save it for another trip and head home to the marina as the kids were anxious to head to a playground. We came in around 3 p.m. with about a dozen or so other boats, but were happy to find the fuel/pumpout dock open. Frank eased us into that dock and we gassed and dumped and were on our way! The kids were being surprisingly good, too! Frank made one pass at our dock, I did a jump that wasn't all that tough, and we were home. It was near perfect! We tied up quickly, chatted briefly with some neighbors, and headed off to the very busy park at the end of Marine View. We were happy. The kids were happy. And I am happy to tell the world I had an AWESOME weekend!!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

HELLO! I'm sailing here!

Less than 10 minutes ago we, no kidding, about got run over by a power boat. We're cruising amongst the San Juan Islands under sail and I'm watching this guy continue to close us but stay at the exact same bearing (for you non-Navy, non-boat folks, that's constant bearing, decreasing range, or CBDR, or better known as someone better make a freakin' move!). Being under sail, we're the stand on vessel and it's his job to safely get around us. Well just as we're about to blast the air horn at him he slows and looks to be planning to cross our stern. Then he scoots in behind us, like RIGHT behind us, about 20 feet directly off our stern. Frank called him on bridge-to-bridge to ask WTF and I'm pretty sure the guy said, "we're good." Couldn't hear him though because as the wind shifted slightly we slowed, he came even closer, and Frank started the engine up and barked "Just avoiding a collision at sea here!" as he gunned the engine to keep the power boat from riding up our stern. Insane! Never mind my freaking kids are asleep in their AFT BUNKS! We are in a very open waterway in the islands and are the only two boats around. I'm appalled that he couldn't have cleared us a little more safely, especially with his big 'ole gas chuggers pushing his boat. A-hole. Read your nav rules and be more considerate!

On a good note, the radio works well and the engine starts up on a dime!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sick Day!

Frank's been getting sicker and sicker all week so last night I suggested he use some of that sick leave he has on the books to get some rest and try to get well for the long weekend. After the kids went to bed he shared an even better idea--take a sick day AND leave for the San Juan Islands in the morning! I had already shopped and done the laundry so other than an 8 a.m. physical therapy appointment I didn't have anything to stop me. I had planned to clean the cabin, but that could wait! We left just after 10 a.m. and are headed to an anchorage that will have us lined up for the slack water at Deception Pass tomorrow morning. Gorgeous weather...and I think the fresh air is helping Frank get over his illness!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Anyone that knows me knows I like to eat! I've had fun trying out the places around the marina and am so happy to have found the best co-op, Sno-Isle Food Co-op, just a few blocks away. Great produce, variety, bulk selections, ethics. I probably bought too much today, but I'm telling myself that it's all to get through the long weekend...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our first guest!

Today we wrapped up a visit from Frank's sister, Fawn. This wasn't just any visit either--it was an over-nighter and the first visit from any family! I consider this the check-in on us for Frank's entire family. She arrived Saturday and stayed 2 nights with us, sleeping on the convertible table/sette in salon. I was actually surprised at how easily I managed to get the bed set up Saturday night. The grand tour of the house took all of 3 minutes, and she seemed to think it was pretty cool. Then I showed her our closet in the master. That brought out a series of "WOW"s and even today we were joking that she still hadn't gotten over how small it is!

Thankfully it was a wonderful weekend for a visit. She got to enjoy sitting on the bow, sipping wine, and watching the sun set over the Olympic Mts. Sunday we went to Kate's on Colby Ave for breakfast--FANTASTIC--before heading out to Index to show her the cabin (and clear the landslide off our walkway there!). Frank had to work hard to clear the sidewalk, but we managed to show Fawn and the kids the property, drive through Index, gauk at Sunset Falls, grab lunch at Mt. Index Cafe, and of course, hit Espresso Chalet for a pick-me-up before heading back to the boat. We capped off the evening with dinner and a kayak tour of the marina.

Today we wisked the kids off to daycare and got underway before 8am. First stop was the pump-out station so that we could calibrate our holding tank indicator and show off the less glamourous side of living on a boat. Then we were off! The wind picked up and we were able to kill the motor for a little circuit of Hat Island. Frank spotted a whale, but Fawn and I only heard it. Some seals, a sea lion, and some bald eagles rounded out the perfect morning sail, and we docked beautifully! Good thing, too--our "neighbor" was there so we would have felt pretty bad using his boat as a bumper!

After another wonderful meal at Kate's, Fawn was off to Bremerton for a week of work. It was a great visit and we're so glad we got to share so much of the wonderful PACNORWEST with her in just a short amount of time.

The other tidbits? Our heat didn't work the entire time so we were using a space heater. We ran out of fresh water this morning while underway. I somehow broke a pelican clasp on the lifeline right after we got underway. And the real kicker? While filling up the water after we got back I put the deck fill keys in my pocket only to have them fall out and immediately sink somewhere beneath the boat while I cried out, "Frank, Frank, Frank! Oh no, Frannnnnk!" On the plus side, the lifeline is fixed, the heat was fixed after a quick call to the guys at Sure Marine, and I think I've found a replacement for the deck fill keys. Talk about a GREAT weekend!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boat Life, Part 1: The kids

When we hatched this crazy idea to live on a boat the thing that got most people was that we were going to do it with kids. Trent had just turned 1 and Katreina was coming up on 3. Sure, we were worried about their safety just like most people, but for me it was most of the same concerns I had with the kids on land--falling down steps, bumping heads on furniture (now that home would rock), falling out of bed. For the water, we have lifevests and strict rules. My other big concern was their happiness. Would they like the boat and their rooms? Would we be able to keep them entertained if we were underway? I'll admit that the entertainment continues to be an issue with a little boy who wants to run around, but it's working for the most part. For the rooms we had to start with the right boat--check! Each has a room and space they can call their own, which I felt was important in such a small home. But how do we really make their rooms theirs? Why decorate, of course! Here is where the kids' Aunt Brandi comes in and saves the day with cool peel-off wall stickers to get us started, then we finished with a big shopping trip to Target. The result?

A Princess suite...

And a race car garage!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"I christen thee...'Lehe Paine'!"

We just officially re-christened the boat! Frank did the honors, with a little shout-out to Neptune and Davy Jones, a splash of champagne on the bow, some champagne to the sea, and, you guessed it, champagne to the happy owners! To recap a little, the name comes from the Tehuelche language, a nearly extinct language from the Patagonia region of South America. We first became aware of it in 2007 on a trip to the region where one of the national parks is Torres del Paine. We learned that paine was "blue" (or light blue). When we began thinking of names for our boat, I kept coming back to that one word...paine. With a little research we learned the Tehuelche word for water was lehe. And thus, the idea to name the boat Lehe Paine was born! Our friends and family chimed in and the vote had a solid winner...and we love her!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Boat Repairs

I consider myself a pretty self-sufficient guy when it comes to fixing household issues that come up, whatever the problem. Boat life is a little different, though. We have a steep learning curve with all the new systems on the boat. For example, we have a hydronic heating system on our boat. It is awesome, but we woke up Friday to no heat. After many hours of troubleshooting, most of which was spent just getting familiar with the system, I finally fixed the problem- the in line fuel pump wasn't horizontal enough, which is important in diesel applications. Apparently something bumped it just enough to keep it from working. Who knew? I guess I do! The heat works now, let's hope it stays that way!!