Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Lehe Paine!

We had a wonderful Christmas and hope that all our friends and loved ones did, too.  The kids got some nice gifts from the family and were thrilled with this year's big present from Santa--a Wii!  They got a few games and can't wait to try it out--I'm just happy to see it fits nicely in the one spot we have for it!  Katreina's request for "food for starving kids" was fulfilled via food pantry and shelter donations in Illinois and a Heifer gift of chickens.  I'm immensely proud of her for asking for that, and even more proud that she was happy when she actually got it instead of a bunch of toys.  We were even surprised by a visit from some of our dock neighbors, and we were all spoiled by the crew of Libre Vie.  We ended the festivities with what has become a new favorite boat breakfast--Immaculate Baking Co. cinnamon rolls.  Yum!  Now we're off to Gaithersburg to visit Frank's family and continue the holiday gluttony with shrimp and grits.  After a great trip this has been a great Christmas.  I can't imagine topping it next year!
The kids were very happy!

Thanks, Libre Vie!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We're ready!

We made it home early today as the train was 2 hrs ahead of schedule--when has that ever happened when flying?  That gave us plenty of time to check the mail, unpack a little, make a nice Christmas Eve dinner, and bake cookies.  The kids are showered, presents of pjs have been exchanged, the table has been lowered, the tree has been brought inside, and the snacks are in place--we are ready for Santa!  Now it's time to get to bed--NORAD has him about to cross the Atlantic!
"Please come to our house, Santa!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Warming up in FL

Where, oh where have we been?  Florida!  While cruising there would have been great, we still have to work so we took a new (for us) landlubbers method--the train!  We actually took the auto train overnight from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL (just north of Orland) and it was a wonderful experience.  Roomy, relaxing, and we arrived well-rested for a week of Disney fun!  My sister and her family, as well as Grandma and Grandpa Powers, joined us at Shades of Green resort which is right on the Walt Disney World property.  It was just a wonderful trip! 

The weather was amazing and my sister and I relaxed by the pool the very first day.  We visited Downtown Disney, went to a Very Mickey Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, spent 2 days each at Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, and made a quick stop at Hollywood Studios.  The kids (of all ages!) had a blast and it was a marked difference for me, having spent last Christmas in Dubai and away from the family.  Frank and I were really surprised at how our kids have grown into the rides, really enjoying the roller coasters and water rides.  I loved seeing all the animals, but really it was just awesome to get away from work and enjoy time with the family.  It was especially nice getting to see the cousins all play together. 

Now it's back to MD to make preps for the big guy to come tomorrow night!
We're ready to see Santa and Mickey!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Party Time!

It's getting colder here at Herrington Harbour, but we're keeping it warm on Lehe Paine!  Tonight was cause for great celebration as Trent turned 4!  He's a crazy, fun little guy and we love him a bunch!  He chose a Spiderman theme for his party and got "the" gift--a new scooter!
Happy Birthday, Swabby!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It's tough to tell from this photo (and it is ALWAYS dark when I get home!), but the arch did indeed get installed on the 1st and we have our lights up!  Candy cane rails, up and overs, a wreath on the helm and another on the ladder, and a tiny Christmas tree atop the new arch.  The inside is decked out, too, and I love the glow of the lights off the cherry wood interior.  There are a few other boats in the marina that are decorated--U and T docks are looking good!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


After a rather challenging day at work for both of us and a trip to Dunkirk for dinner and some shopping, we returned to the marina to quite a surprise!  Our radar arch, which is scheduled for install tomorrow, is hovering in position over the stern of the boat already!  Honestly, I started to question what day of the week it was when I first saw it.  Very excited for tomorrow.  This thing has been on order for months from Beneteau, got shipped to the wrong place initially, and is FINALLY here!  No more tripping over the dinghy on the bow!!!!!!!!!
The arch!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Can this day get better? YES!

Whew! Today started with all sorts of disaster! After hitting bad traffic on the commute in, the little guy puked all over my car just as I turned in to his daycare. Grrrrrrrr! I stayed at home with him and did 6, yes 6, loads of laundry and cleaned my car. Not exactly a wicked fun day! But then, the tide turned...

Our new mattress arrived! After a rather comical display of us muscling the beast aboard it was in and oh so comfy! Who knew that pillow-topped latex could be so amazing?!?!?? Zzzzzzzzz...

8 1/2" pillow-topped latex from Handcraft Mattress Co.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baltimore weekend wrap-up

"Black Friday" was a mix of fun and pain for us.  Fun since the kids and Dad headed to the Maryland Science Center (which was about a 2 minute walk from the boat!), pain as I was doubled over with sharp pains in my upper abdomen for most of the day.  We tried some of that traditional, post-Thanksgiving medicine, Gas-X, to mend me and after lunch I ventured out to the Science Center with them.  I still had bouts of pain, but I can say I still enjoyed it--that place is a blast!  After we left the Science Center we stopped in to visit with Santa.  The kids were a little shy, but I think they liked it.  From there we headed over to a carousel the kids had been eying since we arrived--it was finally open and it made for a fun sunset activity!
The kids and I loved this old, wooden carousel!
We returned to the boat for dinner and to consider what to do with me.  I had fallen asleep at 8pm the night before, felt tired all day Friday, had this crazy pain that didn't go away after plenty of Gas-X, and I was running a fever around 101F.  A call to the doc of internal medicine in the family offered up a few possibilities, appendicitis being one, and we decided to track the timing/length/location of the pain for a while.  Within a few hours I was asleep! 

Saturday morning I was feeling better--still had some pain, but it was duller and less frequent and my fever had subsided.  Perhaps this was just a stomach virus???  We decided to make the most of our last few hours in Baltimore with a trip to the Constellation.  LOVED IT!  That ship is beautiful!  You can learn so much on a visit, and our kids even helped with morning colors.  The kids ran through it way too fast, but I still managed to enjoy it.  Such a great piece of history!

The First Mate and Captain await the opening of the Constellation.
Trent and Katreina help raise the colors.
We got underway easily from Baltimore before noon.  After a quick stop for fuel, we motored down the Patapsco River and headed south.  With no wind, we made good time motoring (while I made chili!) and ended up on a free USN mooring ball in Weems Creek.  It was a beautiful little spot that would have been perfect were it not for some alarm going off on a nearby boat all night.  Keeping with the theme of the day, we did movie night with "Master and Commander," comparing Surprise to the Constellation as we watched.

Today we are heading home, and I can't say I'm too excited.  This has been a nice break, and a great time with just our little family.   We had lots of sleepovers with the kids, fun in a new town, and lots of sleep!  I'm still having some stomach pains, and now Frank has a slight fever.  More and more I'm thinking we have some sort of virus.  Can't wait to get home, rinse the salt off the outside of the boat, and scrub down the inside!  For now we are motoring, with winds on the nose and a small craft advisory in effect.  In hindsight, we went the exact opposite direction for our trip in relation to the winds, but I'm glad we did.  I liked Baltimore and have added to my list of places to return to by boat, or even to visit during a deep freeze in winter! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

With all the shops and museums (rightfully) closed today, we basked in the sun and took to some of Baltimore's great outdoor areas.  But before we could even leave the boat, we had to repel boarders! With the tide low our deck was at dock level and tourists kept hopping on for photos!  I was a little shocked by this.  I guess that's part of being at a city dock though, and I guess there are some cultural differences to consider!  A sign and some chains we found around the pilings, likely for that very reason, seemed to do the trick.
Our attempt to repel boarders.

Once we were "secured," we headed out.  First up, Federal Hill!  The kids loved scrambling up this massive hill, and were pleasantly surprised to find a small playground at the top.  We even managed to find a geocache!
The view of our berth from Federal Hill (we're by the yellow boat to the left).
The kids help to defend Baltimore.

After a stop by the boat for lunch, the kids and I headed out for a walk around town so the Captain could relax in peace.  Then they all played football in a grassy area by the pier while I got to work on the feast--game hens, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, corn, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, and a pecan pie pumpkin cheesecake (compliments of the Cheesecake Factory).  Dinner came together nicely and I have to say we had a great day overall!  I am very thankful to have a husband that does so much for our family and kids that have a sense of adventure.  Can't wait to check out the Maryland Science Center (chosen via coin toss) tomorrow!
Our very own pilgrim and Indian.
The feast!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A weekend of Baltimore!

We took some time off work this weekend and after a short few days at the pier got underway Wednesday to head to Baltimore.  The whole week we'd been watching the weather, with a cold front forecast to come through Baltimore Wednesday night with a big pickup in winds.  Our plan was to get underway shortly after sunrise Wednesday morning and try to make it the whole 42nm in one day.  So, how did the plan work? so.  We got underway early, but there was almost no wind so we found ourselves motoring up to the Bay Bridge.  After that, we started to see some wind so we shifted to sailing only to have the winds ramp up quickly to 30-35kts, and clock rapidly to the north.  This was around noon--the front was coming through early!  Frank did his best to hold on, and we were heeling at 30 degrees for a good little run.  That's probably nothing to a racer, but to a live-aboard?  Well...
A small sample of the havoc caused by our significant heel.  See those fishing rods?  They normally live in the cockpit!

We finally got a good opportunity to pull the sails in and motor again, but by then the seas had really built to the 4' range and the bow was slamming pretty hard.  As we pointed the bow up the Patapsco River, the pounding got worse, with the entire front half of the boat seeming to go airborne at times.  We pressed on since there was really nowhere to bail and because we knew with the wind coming straight down the river the waves would eventually diminish due to the reduced fetch.  It was not an easy ride, and Captain Frank bore the brunt of it, but we eventually made it!  Though the winds were still pretty strong, the lack of seas made for easy docking at the City Dock.  And once again, we were the only boat there!
Lehe Paine in the Inner Harbor
 We took advantage of the remaining hours of daylight to pay our dockage fee and check out our surroundings.  We learned that not much of anything was going to be open on Thanksgiving, but there was tons to do within walking distance.  Historic ships, museums, the aquarium, and parks were all right there!  We will likely rest and relax tomorrow, and tear up the town on Friday!
The 9-11 memorial outside the Baltimore World Trade Center

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back to Annapolis

This weekend had great winds forecast for another trip to Annapolis!  We were able to make the whole trip under sail, downwind with ~15kts at our backs.  Arriving in the mooring field, we had our pick of the balls and took #1, right off Ego Alley.  We headed into town and took a long walk around the Academy campus where we checked out their impressive fleet of boats.  Then, of course, it was time for ice cream! No matter how cold it is, the kids are always up for ice cream!

Downwind run into Annapolis

The lone boat in the mooring field!

Still loving that ice cream.  Brrrrr!

Saturday night was spent peacefully watching a movie.   Sunday morning we went on a long dinghy ride up Spa Creek and went ashore at Truxton Park.  It was soooo nice!  I love the crunch of leaves underfoot.  We even managed to find a geocache while we were there!

The boys enjoy a walk along the trail.

We left Annapolis around lunch, getting underway from the mooring under sail for the first time ever.  Figured an empty mooring field was a great place to try!  From there it was a day of total sail.  We didn't have to start the motor until just outside of the marina, and we made it to the dock just before sunset.  THAT was a great sailing weekend!
Our Captain enjoying steady breezes at the helm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

St. Michael's, Take 2

Our first visit to St. Michael's was in the height of summer and we swore we'd come back when it was a little calmer. This was the weekend! We left early Saturday with 18-20 knot winds from SSE giving us a nice push across the bay. Unfortunately the 2-4 foot seas on the quarter made the kids a little queasy, but not nearly so bad as last weekend! We anchored early in the afternoon and we're the lone boat for only a short time. Surprise, surprise--our dock neighbors, Libre Vie, were now our anchorage neighbors!

A quick trip to town afforded the kids the opportunity to play at the park, eat ice cream, and check out the great toy store. It also reminded us that we really need a long weekend here so that we can really check out the Cheaspeake Bay Maritime Museum. With the sun getting lower in the sky we stopped by Libre Vie for some wine (and orange soda for the littlest mariners!) and conversation before heading back home for movie night.

This morning we motored home with winds right on the nose. We decided to take advantage of what might be the last weekend with water at the dock to give the boat a good scrub-down. Still loving fall!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Solomons Island

Perhaps we were motivated by the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, or maybe we were just really anxious to leave the pier. Either way Saturday we got underway in 20-ish knots and took a hell of a pounding as we left the marina. 3 (and sometimes 4) foot seas on the nose, short period...just rough! As we turned south towards Solomons, the ride smoothed out a bit, but that put the seas on our port quarter and still made for an uncomfortable ride. I think everyone got nauseous at some point, but Trent was the winner with 2 purging runs to the head. Bless his heart, he made it to the toilet both times!

We made it to Solomons Island mid-afternoon and were a little surprised at just how much dockage is available there. But of course we anchored! We dropped the dinghy, were thrilled that the motor was working well, and cruised the town. We may have missed something, but I didn't see the draw of the area. It wasn't bad, but I didn't see much worth going ashore to check out. Maybe we need to read up on it and head back sometime. I was happy to head back to the boat (after checking out a boat that had the radar arch we have on order!) and enjoy movie night with the family.

Sunday was much calmer and we had to motor a good deal of the way back. The highlight for me was checking out the fall colors from the water. The pelicans were cute, too! On this trip we also got to try out the new radar (sweet!) and our new battery bank (also sweet!), so it was a good trip overall.

Now to plan our next fall trips before it gets too cold! On that note, today we learned that many of our neighbors are heading ashore for the winter. In fact, we are one of only two live aboards staying put at this point. Are we crazy? Or are we just going to have a fun winter with our other hardy neighbors? Time will tell!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Home Improvement Season

Like most American families we are excitedly getting ready for the holiday season by completing a few home improvements.  I am happy to announce that I got my new Fagor pots and pans in the mail and successfully cooked eggs and a real dinner this week!  What else???  Oh, I know--our radar got installed!  Finally the weather cooperated and today we added a sleek new radar to the mast with the help of the folks at Atlantic Spars & Rigging. 
The latest addition--a Raymarine radar.

Can't wait to try it out this weekend!  Now if only the new mattress would hurry up and get here...  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Our little monsters had a blast tonight! They were positively spoiled by our dock neighbors on Renaissance Lady, Nana Maria, and Libre Vie, then filled their buckets in under an hour in the town of North Beach. We may have to host a party soon to offload some of this candy!

Spiderman and the Princess Fairy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More changes

For a nice, calm autumn, we sure do have a whole lot going on! Yesterday we got measured for a custom mattress and our new bed should be here in about 3 weeks! We went with the super froo-froo latex pillow-top job. Should be nice! We also turned in the old batteries and picked up our new barometer (LOVE the lifetime warranty from Weems & Plath!). As if that wasn't enough we FINALLY received word from Beneteau that the radar arch we ordered forever ago has shipped. And if the weather holds our radar will be installed tomorrow. It's not all good news, though. Last night we had some gusty winds and Captain Bandana's body separated from his skull, crashing to the deck. His body is now lounging in the cockpit while his head remains dangling from the yardarm! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


While we had been looking forward to October for some time out on the water, life had other plans. Right before the boat show we celebrated the marriage of our dear friend Jesse. That week we learned of an ailing family member, and this weekend we laid her to rest. Through all of this we have been enjoying a good deal of family time with the extended family, and it has been great to celebrate a wonderful woman's life and legacy.

While we've been off the water we have made some key improvements to the boat. For starters, skull lights and "boo" stickers are up, and a skeleton dangles from the port yardarm. We've also offloaded some of the summer clothes in favor of warmer garb. We even have new Fagor nesting pans on order so that we may stop ingesting flakes of Teflon from the old T-fals. But the biggest improvement came today, compliments of the Captain's hard work, in the form of new batteries! Now we can enjoy a weekend on the hook with the heat on without draining the bank. I can't wait to get out on the water this weekend and try it out!
"Captain Bandana" swinging from the yardarm.

Look at all that power!

Monday, October 10, 2011

US Sailboat Show

With the little girl in school today, Trent joined us for a day of gawking at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis. The lusting began early, with enticement awaiting us in the very first tent. Custom mattresses, folding propellers, shiny new dinghies, and the possibility of getting our barometer repaired all looked great to us! But who were we kidding? We were there to look at boats!

We went straight for the Lagoons and much to my surprise I was not all that impressed. The interior just wasn't the quality I was expecting. The next stop at Fountaine Pajot panned out quite a bit better. We checked out both the Lipari 41 and the Orana 44, but actually preferred the smaller Lipari in that line. After a bite to eat we checked out the Beneteaus and were treated to a demo of the dock-and-go system--wow! The boats were nice, but we still love ours the most! Next up were the Leopards...39, 44, and 46. I really liked the 39, but then we went on the 44 and I was completely smitten! I LOVE the forward cockpit, even if it does rob a little of the seating room from the saloon, and the separate heads for the guest cabins were a nice touch. After that the 46 didn't really add much for me. I mean all the cats had an impressive amount of room and storage (and 3-burner stoves!) over our boat, but a few really stood out for us.

So, the official lust list from the show is:
1. Leopard 44 catamaran
2. Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41 catamaran
3. Leopard 39 catamaran
4. Walker Bay Genesis FTL dinghy
5. Handcraft custom mattress
6. Flexofold folding propeller
7. and many more!

That's it for this year!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Sailing

 Yesterday, after a tough week of work, we got underway, destination unknown!  We headed north, thinking we might make our way towards Baltimore.  We were rolling under full sail!  As the winds started gusting with a squall line, we had to reef.  Of course I was in the middle of making dinner (make-your-own pizza) and burned my hand a few times moving pizzas around.  While the speed was great, the other benefit of the squall was a great show of rainbows...

With the sun setting we headed into Aberdeen Creek for the night.  Seemed like a nice little cove, but as the sun rose this morning we realized it was a very nice spot!  The houses and boats in here are unbelievable, and it's really peaceful.  It was a chilly morning, so we donned hats and tried out the fishing.  After a really lazy morning and a look at the winds, we decided to just stay put.  It seemed like a great day for fishing, movies, drawing, and relaxing, and it was!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The outboard--GRRRRRR!!!!!!!

I'll say it for Frank--that damn outboard is a pain in the @$$!!!  After paying a bunch to have it serviced, it crapped out while we were on the water in Annapolis.  And after 2 more carb cleanings by Frank, along with fresh gas, it still won't start.  I've watched Frank spend hours on this thing and I'm honestly about to spend the $1000+ on a new one and pop a bow on it for him just to be able to move on and enjoy fall sailing!  He's taking it back in to the shop again tomorrow, and I can only hope it goes well. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Annapolis, Take 2!

This past weekend we decided to hit Annapolis, this time hoping to avoid the mega crowds.  It worked!  I will say the sail up reminded us a lot of sailing in PACNORWEST waters as we were dodging tons of logs and debris in addition to the normal slew of crab pots.  But we made it!  We had no problem catching a mooring ball Saturday afternoon and even managed to get the dinghy motor working for a trip to town.  We did a little shopping (new shades!), sampled some ice cream, and even ran into Katreina's kindergarten teacher while walking around.  Dinner back at the boat, followed by cigarillos and cocktails on the back deck for the adults, made for a nice, relaxing evening.
1st Mate at the helm.

Today we decided to dinghy into town for breakfast at an Annapolis icon--Chick & Ruth's Delly.  The atmosphere was fun, classic diner and the food was good, too!  I had a crab omelet that I swear had a good 1/2 pound of meat in it, and the kids' OJ tasted perfectly fresh-squeezed.  Mmmm...  Katreina had a little drama with her loose tooth before we ate, but some ice made it feel better and in the end she was leading our trek through the alleys of Annapolis.  It was a great way to spend the morning!  We decided to tour the harbor in our dinghy before returning to the boat, but alas it wasn't meant to be.  The engine started sputtering out and we barely made it back before it died for good.  Frank is not happy!

Ready to get our eat on at Chick & Ruth's
We got underway for some great downwind sailing and had our biggest event of the weekend--Katreina lost her first tooth!  She was dangling her feet over the port rail and suddenly jumped up into the cockpit calling, "My tooth!  Mom, look!  My tooth!"  And there it was, tiny and frail, in her little hand.  I'm so proud of her for hanging on to it, and for being brave when it bled a little.  My little girl is getting so big!  [sigh]  Back at home, we had to celebrate with some ice cream.  Good times!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

U-dock fun

Tonight we made our first visit to our neighbor Tim's boat, "Kelly B."  Compared to our home, it is HUGE!  Had a great time visiting with neighbors Tim, Dave, and Carol, and met new friends Ed and Jan.  Such a great crew here at HHS!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Skylight work (a.k.a. The boat project from hell)

After a seriously long week at work we decided to stay put and get a few boat projects done. As we'd noticed some of the caulk coming out and had some leakage during the hurricane, we figured it was time to strip and replace the caulk on our cabin skylight. We removed the caulk easily enough then had to scrub the biology project that had been growing in the seam. After a meticulous tape job, I was ready to go. We decided to use some marine adhesive/sealant that said it was for port lights. I was a little leery as my comfort is with 100% silicone, but dove right in. Immediately I decided I hate this sticky, goopy, marine crap. I couldn't smooth it to save my life and it didn't seem to bond even to itself. To make matters worse, when we went to pull up the tape (nice 3M blue tape!) the paint on the actual window lifted with it, as did some of the lovely sealant. I was crushed. All that work and we had a botched job and had created another with the window paint. Despondent, I turned to the pool/bar for a pick-me-up.

This morning we got back to working on the window, cleaning out the adhesive and prepping it for an application of 100% silicone. Frank also started project #2--fixing the engine shutoff button at the helm. THAT was an AWESOME boat project! Seems the wire connection had jiggled loose right behind the panel. Easy fix! We cleaned it up, recaulked the cover, and voila! Done!

After lunch I applied the caulk to the window without any real issue. We did have a few showers move through so we had a tarp up to protect our work. So far so good, but I'm anxious to see how it holds up.

So how did we celebrate? With a trip to East of Maui in Annapolis where I got a longboard! The guy working there didn't even make me feel like an old hag! I got a nice little Sector 9 board, checked out their selection of SUPs, then came home to skateboard. I love my board! I took one good digger in the tennis court, but otherwise did okay. It was a great release after this past week and weekend. And now...FOOTBALL!!!!! :D

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

We have been dealing with some lows, including the remnants of tropical storm Lee, for the past few days. It has made for some very loud nights on the boats. In fact, I just about peed myself with that last bit of lightning and thunder! At least the house floats!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend, 2011

We kicked off our weekend with a birthday celebration on Friday night for the 1st Mate (me!).  After a nice dinner at Mango's we all enjoyed cupcakes from Curbside Cupcakes (the cupcake truck in downtown DC).  YUM!

Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday morning we got underway with our sights set on Annapolis.  We had some great downwind sailing and passed at least 3 regattas on the way.  We weren't terribly surprised that there weren't any mooring balls available in the harbor, but there was plenty of room off the USNA quay wall so we dropped the hook and all 100' of chain in anticipation of higher winds in the afternoon.  We were planning to meet some friends in town so we dropped the dinghy (exciting in a stiff breeze and chop!) only to discover that the engine wouldn't work.  After some troubleshooting Frank though it was the fuel line from the gas can to the engine.  We caught a water taxi (thank goodness for that service!) into town so we could meet up with our friends, try to get the part for the dinghy, and of course get ice cream!  The whole gang caught the taxi back to the boat for a simple dinner of burgers.

Sunday morning Frank tried for a few hours to get the dinghy going, but it just wasn't meant to be.  Even after painstakingly cleaning the carburater it wouldn't run.  Seeing a few mooring balls had freed up, we decided to shift to a spot a little closer to town.  The moorings in Annapolis are great!  After the bit of relaxing we headed into town via the taxi again and walked amongst the crowds.  It was a little much!  After some treats and a nice walk we decided to head back to the boat.  We just aren't into crowds like that.  Frank put up the hammock, the kids got out their fishing rods, and we relaxed!

Captain relaxing in the hammock while the 1st Mate supervises the swabbies.

Kiddos hanging in there during some choppy conditions.

 Our trip back home today was a little rough!  There wasn't a ton of wind, 13-15kts on the nose, but the seas were square, ~3' and 3 sec period, and it was rough down below!  Poor kiddos didn't even feel that great up in the cockpit.  We made it home just fine though and after giving the boat a good scrub we hit the pool for about an hour before the rain started.  All in all, a decent weekend, though I could have done without the troubles with the dinghy and would really like to go back to Annapolis when the streets aren't so packed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Got the news that Katreina will get to start school tomorrow and she couldn't be more thrilled.  How to celebrate?  By finally checking out Calypso's, the restaurant up at Herrington Harbour North.  Good choice--it was $1.50 crab and $2 draft night!  Captain's happy! 

He's got crabs!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Slow start to the week

We got power back sometime in the wee hours of the morning, but it's still a slow start to the week. Katreina's first day of school was called off today so she headed into the city with Frank, and tonight we learned that school is still closed tomorrow. Poor girl is desperate to start kindergarten! But I guess the county still has folks without power so we'll be patient. The marina is already pretty much cleaned up, and the weather tonight is perfect. It's good to be home!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I talked to Frank this morning right before he went to bed (0745!) and he said that while it was loud and very windy through the night, all was well.  The surge was a non-event.  I stayed in Gaithersburg until after lunch to give him a chance to rest, but was anxious to return.  We don't have power or cable, but for the most part the marina faired well.  One tree partially fell on a boat and a few folks have head sails that are torn to shreds, but that's about it.  I'm a little surprised at how humid it still is, but we're working through it.  Frank has been a machine, getting all the canvas back up by himself, and I pitched in to take some of the spare lines off.  With that, we're off to take a walk and chat with our friends!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Plan B

This morning we added a few more lines (for a total of 13!) and got all the fenders in place. The wind had picked up a little, but it was still pretty calm. Nonetheless, the Captain ordered the women and children inland! Ok, of course I care about the safety of my children, but I had really started to get excited about experiencing this ordeal, good or bad, as a family. But the kids and I packed up and headed inland to stay with family in Gaithersburg while Frank stayed behind. It's a good thing he did as the fenders required repositioning. He's been hanging with 30+ knot winds since noon, and now it's up to 40. Just talked to him and he's doing well, as is the boat. The worst is yet to come, but I'm confident Frank and the boat will be fine.

All tied up and ready to go!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preps continue...

Today Frank got all the canvas down, including the genoa, and lashed the dinghy to the deck. It was hot and humid (duh!!!) so we went to the pool, dined out, and had ice cream. Is there a better way to prepare? As the sun set we got to work adding lines and working the boat into her storm berth. We still have some back-up lines and 3 fenders to hang in the morning, but we have time. It will definitely be raining in the morning, but we are confident we can get adjusted in time. I've got my rain boots ready to go...good night!
Special forecast for Rose Haven created by the Aerographer's Mates I work with.  Awesome!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


After keeping an eye on the models for the past few days, it's looking like hurricane Irene will definitely be impacting us here. It's a little too early to guess at the surge we will see, but at this point it's pretty certain that we will see 50 knots sustained for a good stretch of time. The plan for now? Fill the water tanks, take down the bimini and dodger, clear the deck, move the boat forward, add some more spring lines and all the fenders, and hang on! Oh, and of course, get rum! If you think about it, we are sort of lucky here in that we have our own water and we are sitting on a floating generator--it's just that whole being on the coast during a hurricane thing that sucks. Most of our fellow U-dockers are planning to stay put, too. If it's getting too rough and we aren't close to the worst of it, we will move. It's not worth risking the kids getting hurt. Very interested to see what the weekend will bring...

In lighter news, Frank replaced the thermostat on the water heater today--we have hot water!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Don't rock the boat, baby!

Today's big event was to be kindergarten orientation, and while that was exciting another event stole the show--an earthquake! It was the event that almost wasn't for us...we were in cars and didn't have a clue it happened until I showed up at the little boy's daycare to pick him up (though in hindsight that wasn't a pothole that caused my car rock in a funny way). While the whole DC area got shook up pretty good, I took it as an opportunity to remember what's important and to live every day to the fullest. In that vein, Trent and I stopped off for an ice cream cone, then the whole family hit the pool and enjoyed dinner at Mango's. The weather was perfect and as we sat in the cockpit enjoying the evening we had some great chats with our neighbors. Word is the pilings swayed like crazy, but no boats were damaged. The only casualty was a potted tomato plant off of a neighbor's piling. All in all, not bad, but looks like a hurricane is thinking about heading this way soon...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Heating and Air Conditioning

As the daughter of a career HAVC-er, this post could be about the gas vs. electric, central air vs window units...but it is actually about the boat!  After seeing the water heater breaker unexpectedly trip a few times and not being able to rouse up any hot water Sunday, we've officially rendered the hot water heater broken.  Looks like the wire to the thermostat corroded and burned up, so the Captain/Chief Engineer is on the hunt for a suitable replacement.  In happier news, it was LOVELY out tonight!  It's amazing what 10-degree cooler temps and lower humidity will do for a gal.  We shut off the a/c and opened up the was so peaceful.

Tonight we also had an extremely low tide, so much so that I half joked about us being on the bottom at the pier.  Rest assured, we had a good 5 inches below the keel!  Geez....  It did make for a fun trip to explore the beach!
The boys exploring the shore at low, low tide.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life in port

It's been a gorgeous day here, but sadly the Captain is out of town so we stayed tied to the pier. No biggy--we walked, swam, waxed the boat, played shuffleboard, horseshoes, and frisbie, and went to a south-of-the-border themed party here at the marina, complete with awesome food, good music, and margaritas. Not bad for a "quiet" day!
Kids enjoying the spread at the Herrington Harbour South Slipholder Party.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

St. Michaels

We headed to St. Michaels this weekend since Frank's sister and her husband were heading there and we've been wanting to check it out.  The weather made for some sporty sailing, with 15-20kt winds the whole way across the Chesapeake (I drove!) and some gusts once we made it into the eastern bay, but we made it and secured a nice little anchorage just outside the harbor.  We put out all 100' of chain as there was a possibility of thunderstorms in the forecast and the area was reported to have poor holding.  Just as we dropped the hook, we caught sight of the tour boat that our family members were on and made preps to meet them in town.

The kids enjoy a little "rail time" during some calmer winds.
While not grossly hot, it was wicked humid!  As soon as we pulled up to the dinghy dock I was impressed with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  I can't wait to go back and give that place the time and attention it deserves.  The kids immediately found a playground and got to working up a sweat.  While we played Frank took his sister and her hubby, who had never seen our boat, out to the anchorage to check it out.  Of course the kids and I had to scope out the town's ice cream and toy offerings, and it didn't disappoint!
Frank, Fawn, and Darrell cruise past The Crab Claw on their way out to the boat.
It seems that we haven't completely scared off our brother-in-law as he did return to town and talk to us.  After a little more socializing and playground time we headed back to the boat--it was time to go swimming!  The water was cool...just perfect really.  The wind was creating a little surface current that challenged the kids, but we all had a blast and wrapped up with showers on the transom.  Then it was grilled steaks, cocktails, and bed!

The trip home was pretty uneventful.  We had a nice sail for a bit, but motored to avoid beating into the wind.  It was too hot to delay getting to the pool!  Wrapped up the weekend with some grapefruit crushes and an amazing belly flop display by the kids.  Once again a great weekend.  It's going to be tough to go back to work!
The Captain and 1st Mate enjoying the pool.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Special forecast

My AGs (that's Aerographer's Mates for you non-Navy types) ROCK! Today they added a forecast and tide data to the weather brief for St. Michael's, MD, which is where we are headed this weekend. Looks like the winds will be a little brisk and there is a chance of showers, but I think it will work!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wax on, wax off...

I can not compare to a cleaning crew. For the past two nights I've danced with the weather in an attempt to scrub and wax the deck, even going so far as to chamois dry after a rain shower! The orbital buffer has helped, but between work, the weather, and the darkness, I've not made the progress I had hoped to. Still I managed to get most of the topside surfaces done, I just know that with a day or two off work (and maybe two more people on my crew!) I could really make some headway. Still I can't deny that it's nice to see that gleam and know that my work put it there. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Evening stroll

Tonight brought me back to another reason why I love our marina--the eco trail.  After dinner we decided to go on a long walk to check out radar mounts on other sailboats and oogle at the Leopard 39 cat that's tied up here.  As we walked along the docks to the east side of the marina, Katreina kept stopping us to read the educational signs along the way.  That, the slightly cooler air, and the many crab, snakes, and birds we saw, really made the walk nice. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Since it is crazy hot here and we're not underway, I might as well catch up on a little boat news. First, we have a radar arch on order! We had been eyeing one for some time, or considering it or dinghy davits, but went for the arch! Now we have a home for our dinghy and for solar panels (a future purchase!). In related, unrelated news, we have a radar! Of course we aren't planning to put it on the arch, but we did get it with a rig to mount it on a backstay. We weren't really out to find one, but couldn't pass up a crazy deal on Craig's List. So to recap, that's a radar arch on order and a radar in the storage unit ready to be installed! Stay cool everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Ok, these may not have been our first visitors, but they were the first visitors that we've had since we moved to Maryland, and the first time I've had a girlfriend see the crazy life I've chosen with my family.  My friend from college, Ashly, and her husband and 2 daughters passed through MD last night on their way home to TX and I was thrilled they were able to stop by and stay with us.  We managed to head out for a little sail, but the winds were approaching 20kts and little Audrey wasn't a fan of the choppy seas so we headed back in.  After perhaps our roughest docking yet (we WILL remember to remove the flagpole from now on!) we realized it was too hot and humid to do anything but swim!  We all headed over to the pool for some competitive diving and to introduce our guests to the world famous Orange Crush.  Dinner at Mango's followed, and the kids somehow tricked us into buying them ice cream from the bar.  Back at the boat, all 4 kids tucked into Katreina's room to watch a movie.  I loved it.  They all got along so well and were so sweet together--I could totally see us doing this again.  When it was finally time to turn in, we dropped the salon table and made the 4th bed up.  It's kind of quirky having to break down your family room to create a bedroom, but I love that Ashly and Jason were so cool about it all.  The marine heads didn't even phase this family!  And sharing our tiny home with their family didn't feel crowded at all. 

My only regret is that I didn't take a single photo!  I was so busy enjoying the moment that I didn't stop to capture it!  Maybe next time...I really hope we can all hang out together next year!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fun in the sun

Another great weekend! 4 hours at the pool yesterday--Trent jumped from the diving board for the first time (not bad or a 3-year old!)--then we had a great dock party/potluck and movie night on the beach. Today started with a slipholder breakfast followed by a great day of sailing, and I took the wheel for over an hour!  Then the kids and Frank hunted minnows at the beach..the highlight: Trent eating one alive!! I think we may watch too many survival shows on Discovery Channel. Tonight we're tidying up for our first visitors since the move! I'm so excited as this will also be the first time any of my old friends have seen our life afloat. Anxious, excited, and ready to see the Darnell family!
Great sailing on the Chesapeake!