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


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!