Thursday, December 28, 2017

Where the f%#* is all the water?

Seriously! Where is the water?!?!?? I finally take some leave from work, the kids are off of school, and we are trapped! Sure, it is freezing outside with single-digit wind chills, but that hasn’t stopped us before. Lack of water beneath the keel, however, is the ultimate party pooper. At today’s high tide, our fatho was showing 7 feet—as we draw 6’3” (and plan for 6’6” as a loaded liveaboard!), that wasn't much wiggle room. We stayed put again, hoping that the wind shift tonight will help bring water back into the bay. Right now we are sitting on the bottom and still have 80 minutes until low tide. I am crushed!
We draw 6.25-6.5 ft... problem!
Tough to see, but that's a boat that's listing to port as the keel sits on the bottom.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A non-traditional Christmas

Oh, how I've longed for a Christmas at anchor for the past 2 years! But alas, it wasn't meant to be. After filling water and warming the engine to get underway on Christmas Eve, we got stuck on a hump of bottom as we tried to leave the dock. Rather than get stuck in the channel, we pulled back in and changed our plan. Just based on the tide charts, we should have been fine, but when winds are out of the north the Chessie tends to empty a bit and tides can be lower than expected. We could have made it happen, getting underway or anchoring in the dark, but our desire to relax and goof off with the kids was strong, too. Winds on Christmas were forecast to be "sporty" so it all just kind of worked out.

We had a LAZY holiday! We played games, watched movies, and of course exchanged presents! I scored a ukulele, the boy loved his new Barcelona Messi jersey, the girl got clothes and books, and the Captain got a new back-up plotter/game platform. ;) And the whole family is going to head to the mountains to try our hand at skiing. It was a very merry day!

Time for a little Star Wars action--we have tickets to go see the new movie later this week!

Saturday, December 9, 2017


We got our first decent bit of snow this weekend! It didn’t stick well to the warm ground, but piled up nicely on the docks. And this was good snowball snow! It didn’t stay too long, but it was fun while it lasted!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Deck the lines with LED magic! Falalalala, lalalala..."

Ok, the leftovers are in the fridge so it is officially time to decorate the boat for Christmas!  I love having the lights to get us through the dreary days of winter!  For those that are curious, we don't keep all of this stuff on the boat.  It lives in our 5'x5' storage unit in the marina.  And everyone got involved this year to hang our new up-and-over strings!  I love it!  And as always, decorations are hung with sailing in mind--we are still able to cruise under full sail with all of these lights up!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Return to Quiet Waters

Man, it's great to be back on the Bay!  After our delayed start we hit one of our favorite off-season anchorages this weekend--Harness Creek.  This is a great (albeit tight in the summer) anchorage for visiting Quiet Waters State Park.  We had the creek mostly to ourselves but found lots of other folks out hiking and enjoying the park.  We hit the ice rink early and skated for a few hours.  We are going to be so sore!
Our peaceful anchorage.

The crew heads ashore.

Skater Swab
Skater Mate

Friday, November 24, 2017

Giving Thanks

This year I am once again thankful for a family that can just go with the flow! We had planned to enjoy our four days off of work and school on the hook in Chesapeake Bay, but a quick check of systems Wednesday night left us scratching our heads over a hydronic heater that just wasn’t kicking on. We haven’t used it in a few years, and with lows around freezing at night we need it at anchor. Time for...
Plan B! How about Thanksgiving at the dock? We started the day with fresh, hot donuts from The Country Bakery in Deale, MD (if you stop in Herring Bay, definitely worth getting a ride to see these guys!) and lazily cooked, played video games, and watched football. Somewhere in there Frank found the misaligned valve in the hydronic system and topped off its fluids.
Cooking a big meal on the boat is always an adventure and this year didn’t disappoint! My little turkey breast was still too big for our oven, so I shifted to the pressure cooker. I used essential oils in place of some fresh ingredients (and got amazing flavor!), and even with only two burners I managed to bust out a decent traditional feast—turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, and gravy! I made my own for the first time!
One of my helpers!
DoTerra Wild Orange in the cranberries!
DoTerra Rosemary for the herbed butter
Darn thing barely fit in the pressure cooker!
Using my 2 burners to keep 3 pots warm.
The boy made the eggs!
The happy (hungry) crew!
Ta da!

We ended the night with a movie, Star Wars Episode 7. I am so very thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Return to San Domingo

The kids had a few days off this week so we ditched work and had a lovely sail to one of our favorite places--San Domingo Creek in St. Michaels, MD.  I've missed it so much!  For some reason we had missed some real gems on the south end of town during our past visits, maybe because the kids were younger.  Anyway, we hit up Eastern Shore BrewingLyon Distilling, and St. Michaels Winery for the first time.  While the wine wasn't quite our thing, the staff was great and there was a good variety to try.  The brewery and distiller will definitely be part of our return visits.  We walked the town, sampled the ice cream, ran into some friends from another Navy tour, and relaxed on the hook. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

“Spider Boat” returns

One of my best memories from cruising the bay was getting hailed as “Spider Boat” on VHF one day. Well, it’s back!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Finally! My kind of shopping @ the Annapolis Sailboat Show

We resumed our annual tradition today after two years off and headed to the boat show!  Frank actually went on Friday as well where he snagged a great deal on a new clock at the Weems & Plath scratch & dent tent--it's a perfect match for a barometer I got as a gift!

Here they are installed.
A perfect match!

This year's list was pretty short.  The clock (check!), mattresses for the kid's rooms (check!  Portland Boat Mattress), and some leads on a good canvas shop to replace our dodger and bimini.  I also got to meet the team from Sailrite!  I love how they work hard to give their customers confidence to succeed with any project!

Eeeeek!  Celebrity sighting!

Otherwise, we did what any good sailors would do--ordered Painkillers from Pusser's and looked at boats!  Of course it rained (poured!) since I was there, but we still had fun.  A date lunch at the Boatyard Bar & Grill and a stop at Fawcett's rounded out the day. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hatching a weekend plan

It was a blustery, gusty weekend on the Bay so we decided to tackle part of boat chore list. The big winner? New hatch seals! We’ve had a leaky one and with 10+ years on the others it seemed like a good idea to replace them all. After reading some blogs (“It’s so easy!” and “It’s horribly difficult.”) and watching some YouTube videos, we were ready! We used genuine Lewmar replacements to increase our chances of success and figured the extra expense was worth it. We learned a lot on the first one and took time to clean up the frames and seal tracks. It took a lot of muscle, and getting the windows back on took some patience, but they turned out great!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The addition of a non-essential

That never happens. You NEVER bring stuff onto the boat that you don't really need, right? But what if it's sentimental? What to keep and what to get rid of is a big struggle for any family, but it can be gut-wrenching when downsizing this drastically. I have hauled this chunk of wood around since early 2004. It's not a remarkable chunk of wood, and it wasn't even a part of holiday memories. But, it was hers. I moved it and I stored it. And now that I've taken a paddle bit to the underside of it so that it can fit over the pot holders on the stove, it is part of our home and my memories of her are reinvigorated. Welcome aboard, Virginia Rose.
This was my grandmother's cutting board. I love it, and I love the extra prep area!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

On the Rhode again!

It's sort of a family tradition. When we all hop in the car to head somewhere, someone calls out, "on the road again!" This weekend we are enjoying the other "road," the Rhode River in Maryland. During our last time living in the area the Rhode was a favorite destination--good holding for the anchor, little road noise (though sometimes in the arrival path for BWI!), abundant wildlife, and a quick jaunt from our home marina--so it was a no-brainer as we headed out for our first over-nighter since returning. We anchored before sunset, had a great family meal on deck, watched the moon was perfect. I am at peace here this morning, anticipating a very lazy return trip in light air. But my mind is also on my friends in FL and fellow boaters across the Caribbean in the wake of Irma.

Friday, September 1, 2017


We have been back abooard for six days now. Six glorious days! It is admittedly a challenge to get the boat put back together while working full time and 2-3 hours of commuting daily, but we are making it work! The remnants of hurricane Harvey will slow us down a bit this weekend, but i have high hopes of a little underway time!