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