Thoughts on Living Aboard: One Year!

June 7, 2015 Leaving the dock

June 7, 2015 Leaving the dock

We left the dock one year ago today to begin our adventure of living aboard our 37’ Tartan sailboat.  I couldn’t let today pass without posting some thoughts about this past year.

First, because I hardly ever post blogs that show a bad day, I need to mention this isn’t life perfect, some Jimmy Buffet song and picturesque sunsets every day. Some days have been hard. Things break down, new installations need to be done, inclement weather happens and you don’t have time to get away from it, or, you have to wait someplace safe for it to come and then pass. This is home now and if it breaks we have to fix it with the resources on board, or those available to us in the location we are.

We have both had to adjust from living on dirt, as our friend Lori so aptly puts it, to living in a much smaller space, 24/7 with our partner. This alone is a huge adjustment after so many years of working. I can tell you, I’m messy and set things down and forget them, and the Captain picks up after me, when I was going to get it in just a minute. I haven’t found all of the Captains annoying habits yet, but I’m willing to get to the bottom of each one of them. There may have been just a few sparks flying around here every once in a while.

This living aboard is a little harder than living on dirt. I just hauled 30-40 pounds of laundry from the boat, to the dingy, to a dock, up the dock to a laundry, and back…weighing much more on the return, because I refuse to pay $5 per load to dry it after paying that much to wash it. Then I hung it all over the boat’s life lines to dry. I still have to take it down and fold it. The good news is we use way less cloths or wear them more or something, because I don’t have as much laundry as I did at home, but when I do…

Cooking is different, thinking and planning about meals and storage has  been an interesting challenge, think, I want to cook spaghetti, which locker or what part of the bilge did I store those jars? And finding stuff in the refrigerator is a real pain in the ***! I am learning to do without some things I didn’t have to at home, because of cost or inability to store certain items, and I’m learning to enjoy a lot of some things, when they come our way, think a big fish or an entire stalk of bananas, before they go bad.

Cleaning has to be done more often. With two animals and two people, one people is sure she will be bald by next year, our little space gets yucky quickly, but, it doesn’t take as long as it did at home to clean.

And, now that we are out of the country, phone calls and messages, aren’t as easy or as affordable as when we were home.

Before you tell me to go home because it looks like a miserable existence, I have to say.

I LOVE THIS!

I LOVE LIVING ABOARD, even on bad days.

I will gladly haul loads of laundry and look at the gorgeous view while it spins. I will do without, space, cold cokes, and five course meals, to have conch salad until I don’t want any more. I will take the dog to shore in the rain, again today, because tomorrow will be beautiful once more. I will get sea sick to cross the ocean too.

Because,

I am making new friends and life-long relationships with people I might have never met, had I stayed at home.

I am exploring and learning about new things every day, not just new places, but how things work, how to make living aboard more comfortable and stuff I never new I needed to know.

I am learning anew how to improve my relationship with my husband. And, get to the bottom of any annoying habits he may still have. Then, remind myself that I don’t have to fix them.

I am learning more about what I am capable of.

I don’t miss the stuff at home as much as I thought I would, except for people. But, fortunately I live in the time of Face Book, Messenger, Face Time, and Wi-Fi, so I am able to keep in touch better than I might have years ago, and of course going home can always be added to the agenda.

So my summary for our first year, let’s do a second year, Captain.

June 7, 2016, Hope Town, Bahamas

June 7, 2016, Hope Town, Bahamas

 

‘Hamas: The Next Adventure!

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Old Bahama Bay, West End Bahamas (Nyah ready to go to shore!)

We have made it to the beautiful Bahamas! Around here we call them the ‘Hamas, it’s Nyah’s fault, she can’t make “b” sounds all that well.

This will be the shortened version of our last week. When you arrive in the most beautiful places, technology doesn’t always follow. (Maybe that’s why they are still so beautiful.) I had prepared a wonderful, lengthy post and it sits in lala land where I can’t get it for now. We have a limited internet data plan and I really need to focus on enjoying all this beauty. So here’s the cliff notes, more detail will follow when we get closer to civilization.

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Sunrise, Atlantic Ocean 2016.04.14

We made a 33 hour passage from Marathon, Fl to West End Bahamas on April 13. It was the best crossing ever! I didn’t get sick!!!! It was flat calm, and we caught fish! We made the crossing with our friends Jack and Cheryl on S/V Zig Zag.

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Captain landed a beautiful bull dolphin during our crossing

After clearing customs and staying the night, we made a quick run for Great Sale to duck out of the wind from a cold front. We stayed until Tuesday, April 19, then made a five hour run to Fox Town for Bahama bread and SIM cards. We stayed one night and moved across the way to Allen Pensacola, which is where we are calmly taking 20-30 knot winds. The island has plenty to explore and nice beaches all around, so we can pick one out of the wind.

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Allen Pensacola, windy but nice

All is well with the crew of No Ka Oi, we hope the same for each of you! We have limited communications, but get messages here and on Face Book as wifi permits, we would love to hear from you.

 

My Five February: Reasons I Go to Boat Shows

 

3954149325e945f280c81bc6356bb14bI have lost count of the amount of times in the past 15 years the Captain and I have gone to boat shows. Our main shows have been the St. Petersburg and Miami Boat Shows, because of their sailboat emphasis and proximity to home. My bucket list includes going to the Annapolis Boat Show some day, just because I think every boater should attend it at least once in a life-time. We have never been able to go because of work schedules and distance, but at least one of those is no longer a problem.image

  1. Comparing boats. Back in the day, before we purchased No Ka Oi, we went to boat shows to look at boats. So we could dream, drool and dillydally. Of course for those of you who do not yet have a boat, this is reason number one to go to a boat show. Even if you cannot afford a new boat, or aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, boat shows are the place to see many different boats in one location. You can compare what each brand offers, what you like and don’t like in lay-outs, hull designs, size and amenities. You can also begin to narrow down your choices, and come to terms with what you may have to do without, unless you have an unlimited budget! There is nothing more magical than going back and forth between your favorites and visualizing sailing away.
  2. Hands on comparison of gear and equipment, and boat show pricing. Pictures of the water maker and seeing the actual size of the components can be eye opening. how items actually work can also help you narrow down your selection. We purchased a set of life-line fender holders after seeing how smoothly they worked, after taking them home and putting them to the test, we purchased another set. Allow time to see new widgets and paraphernalia, get ideas for things to budget for in the future or to go back and improvise your own similar solution. Always ask how long their show prices are good for, some only offer specials for the actual show dates, others will offer them for a month or more out.image
  3. Returns, exchanges, and talking to the manufacturer in person. Last year we were focused on resolving our electronic navigation chart needs. Our Ray Marine system came with Navionics chart cards, but we found out that we could trade in our current cards for another brand. After going back and forth between vendors with our various questions and concerns, and by being able to view and compare the actual workings of the charts, we decided to stay with what we had. This year we wanted to talk with the manufacturer of the SSB system we were looking at before we met with the vendor to finalize the purchase and get the best show price. These tasks were made much simpler by having everyone and everything at one convenient location. We have exchanged items that were defective, been handed brand new replacements (thank you Magna Grills,) and determined that we should shop for a new dinghy, when it became clear that the manufacturer of our slightly out of warranty one, that was literally falling apart at the seams, wasn’t going to be help us.imageimage
  4. Clearance items and show specials. We have purchased line, cushions, fabric, clothing and a variety of miscellaneous items on clearance. Vendors usually have an item or two they have brought to the show that they would rather not pack up and take home or last years model on clearance to make way for the new. Last year we purchased off shore life vests with tethers for a great price because they were the previous year’s model. This year the Captain got a great jacket because they didn’t have the clearance one in his size, but offered him a similar style at the clearance price.image
  5. Seminars and experts. Look at the seminar offerings and pick ones that are helpful to you and attend. Also, go to the book tables and talk with authors who have expertise in what you are planning on doing. Buy their books if you have the budget and space, but even if you don’t we have found them to be helpful resources. We were able to attend a seminar by Chris Parker this year on weather and speak with him about some of our questions on the best way to receive his broadcasts. In previous years we have attended cooking, provisioning, and gear seminars. One year, I had several great conversations with a gentlemen who wrote a book about re-using jars of all kinds for canning foods aboard.imageI won’t break my rule of five by making this an item, but, yes we have purchased things we thought were a great idea in the moment, but in the end were just trappings of impracticality…think Ginza knives and Fuller brush salesmen. The best way to avoid these purchases is to have a list before you go to the show, make a wish list of items for the future, and budget for an unexpected purchase. Walking away and coming back if you still think it is a good idea in a couple of hours can also keep unnecessary items off your boat. There is probably nothing wrong with the mooring ball grabber that we purchased, but now that we are actually out here, we aren’t grabbing mooring balls all that often. The money spent on this item may have been better re-allocated to something we needed more or at least a bottle of rum.

    "I don't have opposable thumbs, I can't use it!"

    “I don’t have opposable thumbs, Mom, I can’t use it!”

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For Sale, unused boat show purchase…

Finally, dress comfy. Unless your boat shoes are as good to walk miles in as your sneakers, leave them at home, most brokers won’t let you wear shoes on their boats anyway. I also suggest planning more than one day if your list is long. We have actually drove to Miami two times in one weekend, because our one day wasn’t enough time to do everything we needed to accomplish. And don’t forget pre-sale tickets are cheaper.

What’s your best boat show how too or your worst impulse purchase??? We would love to know.

 

 

Happy Anniversary, Captain

 

 

 

 

2015_10_23 IMG_8451 17th anniversarySeventeen years ago I married this guy.  Our recessional song was Steven Curtis Chapman’s, The Great Adventure, and let me tell you life has been nothing less for us.

Saddle up your horses

We’ve got a trail to blaze

Through the yonder of God’s Amazing grace

Let’s follow our leader into the Glorious unknown

This is the life like no other whoa whoa,

This is The Great Adventure

I would be lying to say that every day was perfect, but I still think I’m the luckiest girl in town.

Here are a few pics from our special day spent in Fernandina Beach.

Lunch at Timoti’s Seafood Shack!

2015_10_23 Timoti's

2015_10_23 Fabulous food at Timoti’s Seafood Shack

 

Captain having fun, makes picture taking to new levels.

 

2015_10_23 Anchors Aweigh

2015_10_23 Anchors Aweigh

Shopping with the Captain, only the shirt came home.

Shopping for another shirt to stain

2015_10_23 Shopping for another shirt to stain

A little afternoon break from bike riding, picture taking and shopping.

2015_10_23 Break at the Green Turtle Tavern, Fernandina Beach

2015_10_23 Break at the Green Turtle Tavern, Fernandina Beach

We confess our sins…coveting. Anyone want to go in with us? only 37 million. Go check her out at the Laudale boat show, she’s heading that way we hear. But, if you find your dream boat here, we want a 1% commission, that should help our cruising budget.

'69 Berger for Sale

151 ft ’09 Berger C18 for Sale

We really did enjoy lunch, but Pablo’s Mexican Grill was above the top for dinner.

2015_10_23 Pablo's Mexican Grill, Organic Margaritas and over the top food

2015_10_23 Pablo’s Mexican Grill, Organic Margaritas and over the top food

Fernandina Beach has some strange people, no wonder we felt so at home.

We fit right in

2015_10_23 We fit right in

Beautiful end to a wonderful anniversary.

2015_10_23 Fernadina Beach Marina

2015_10_23 Fernadina Beach Marina

I love you Russ, better get some BenGay for your butt, this adventure ain’t over yet.

2015 July|August

Our new version of Step-off pad, no shoes beyond this point

Our new version of STEP-OFF PAD, no shoes beyond this point

Welcome to July and August. We have now exceeded “vacation status” and have new and exciting things to learn. Getting acclimated to living aboard is coming with a few challenges.

Strainers that disintegrate and how to organize everything from a shopping trip to Sams, without the convenience of the freezer at the house, are just a few of the new challenges we have had to work through. I am compiling a nice list of live aboard work arounds and Russ is working out maintenance schedules for keeping filters, strainers and such clean and working. Troubleshooting quirky sounds is also on his list. There was a wee whining from within the engine compartment after cleaning a strainer, yep, it was Pepe Le Pew, who went exploring and got himself locked in. I hope to come up with a post or two about our “systems,” but not this week.

Lest I lead you to believe that our life is all work and no play, here is proof otherwise.

We went to scope out how riding our bikes into town for the July 4th would work out and ended up taking in the view of the fort from a shady spot under the oaks. There might have been a nap too, but we can’t remember:

Lazy St. Augustine afternoon 2015_07_01

Lazy St. Augustine day 2015_07_01

Nyah loves sharing the beach:

Nyah sharing the contents of her hole with me 2015_07_02

Nyah sharing the contents of her hole with me 2015_07_02

We made some new marina friends:

Juvenile sea turtles eating around the floating docks

Juvenile sea turtles eating around the floating dock 2015_07_25

The Captain grills some great ribs:

Captain does ribs 2015_07_25

Captain does ribs 2015_07_25

Kayaking to Faver-Dykes State Park:

Faver-Dykes State Park 2015_07_27

Faver-Dykes State Park 2015_07_27

Once in a Blue Moon it is nice to stay up late and sit on the beach:

Blue Moon 2015_07_31

Blue Moon 2015_07_31

I had a great time having lunch and spending the afternoon catching up with my best friend Pam, from high school. We haven’t seen each other for way too many years. No sisters were lost on this afternoon adventure, amazing:

Pam and I, 2015_08_01

Pam and I, 2015_08_01

Nyah is really an undercover secret agent and her mission is to keep us out of trouble. Fortunately it’s a secret mission, she’s not aloud to give out any details, so don’t ask:

Secret agent, Nyah on Sandbar duty 2015_08_05

Secret agent, Nyah on Sandbar duty 2015_08_05

With no room for a surf board, the Captain decided to bring a boogie board for a little exercise and entertainment, bigger waves would be helpful:

Boogie Boarding 2015_08_08

Boogie Boarding 2015_08_08

I’ll keep my dog, thank you. How would I ever find another to put up with all this? And who would Russ play with?

Nyah being a good sport 2015_08_21

Nyah being a good sport 2015_08_21

O’Steens speaks for itself, we are only sad that you weren’t here with us:

O'Steens 2015_08_08

O’Steens 2015_08_08

Then, there were our two weekends at the Lake House. The oak tree took a full on lighting strike. It traveled into the house, overloading the breaker box, disintegrating a breaker and knocking out the power. With no power, the fridge was a lovely treat (I’ll spare you the picture and you’ll be glad that computers don’t have smell capabilities yet.) We lost the stove and a microwave, but were very blessed that the damage wasn’t worse:

Lightning Adventure at the Lake House 2015_08_15

Lightning Adventure at the Lake House 2015_08_15

Will Albert be coming to film soon?

Gulls 2015_08_06

Gulls 2015_08_06

He is still my hunk:

My hunk 2015_08_06

My hunk 2015_08_06

We have been having a great time getting to know our marina neighbors, Steve and Cindy from Island Finz, and Georgette and Gary from 2 G’s, among others. We had another great marina potluck dinner. The star attraction being Alaskan salmon, caught and grilled to perfection by Gary from 2 G’s, unfortunately no photos of the night’s hoopla were taken.

Our daily trips to the beach for dog walking and sea glass collecting round out our days and we can’t believe how quickly the time passes. Thanks for following our blog, we are having a great time and appreciate hearing from everyone. Praying each of you enjoys each day and are working on living your dream.

Don't let that storm get you 2015_08_20

Don’t let that storm get you 2015_08_20

 

 

 

This Week

Purple Starfish on Marineland Beach

Purple Starfish on Marineland Beach 2015_06_26

My hope is that we don’t lose you this week, things are settling into a nice little groove, including the afternoon thunder storm…every day. With all this monotony, we hope you stick with us and continue to enjoy our adventure, because there is still a trail to blaze.

We started this week with a visit to Hammock Community Church, where Rev. Dr. Doran McCarty, gave us a great reminder of what happens when we think ourselves too important. Needless to say, living in a small space without humility isn’t easy, thanks for putting up with me, honey. I love you!

We have been getting out in the early morning to walk or ride on the beach. Amazingly, no alarm clocks were snoozed even once in the process, I swear!

Russ and Nyah, early morning bike ride on Marineland Beach 2015_06_23

Sea glass, Marineland Beach, 2015_06_26

Russ and Nyah, early morning bike ride on Marineland Beach 2015_06_23

Russ and Nyah, early morning bike ride on Marineland Beach 2015_06_23

The sandbar at the Matanzas inlet lured us back for a couple of hours of floating in the cool water.

Nyah chasing jet ski, shadow selfie, "can I float too, daddy," Matanzas Inlet sandbar 2015_06_24

Nyah chasing jet ski, shadow selfie, “can I float too, daddy,” Matanzas Inlet sandbar 2015_06_24

We are loving the hard sand here and rode our bikes a few miles south to Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Rock climbing never gets old, even the short stacks, and Nyah loves being Queen of the mountain.

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Rock pillars, bike riding heaven, Queen of the mountain, time for a selfie stick, rock climbing, cooling off. Washington Gardens State Park 2015_06_26

 

We rounded out our week with a great visit with Lew and Lavern. Lunch at our new fav BBQ place, and a failed attempt to visit Fort Matanzas due to a looming thunder storm, gave us lots of time to catch up.

Lew, Laverne, Jennifer and Russ 2015_06_

Lew, Laverne, Jennifer and Russ 2015_06_25

A little dinner from under the boat never hurt the budget, I’m sure we are going to like this part of the adventure.

What's for dinner? 2015_06_26

What’s for dinner? 2015_06_26

We ended our week by squeezing in one more sandbar visit with our marina neighbors, Barbara and Emilio who sail Kurkuntela, from Saint Simons Island, GA.

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Thanks for sticking with us, come and visit while we are still close…we’ll try to coordinate appropriately for one of these not to happen.

Afternoon thunder storm 2015_06_22

Afternoon thunder storm 2015_06_22

 

 

 

 

We’re Retired?

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Sunset, ICW Marineland, FL 2015_06_19

Our first week has us asking, “we’re retired?” This is definitely a paradigm shift and I’m not sure who is having a bigger one, the newly retired, or me. I keep thinking that I am on vacation and will have to return soon, but as of today, we have been gone for two weeks, and Russ hasn’t worked for a month (just kidding honey.) We talked with an old salt, Duke, here at the dock the other day and he said it took him a while to get used to being retired, so here’s to getting used to something new.

We had time to visit with our son Damien, and daughter-in-law, Julie, on one of his days off…a Tuesday! We had a great time at the nearby sandbar and had fabulous BBQ at Captains BBQ at Bing’s Landing. Here are some shots from the sandbar, we were too busy stuffing our faces to get any BBQ selfies.

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Jennifer, Damien, Julie and Russ, Sandbar, Matanzas Inlet 2015_06_16

Sandbar fun, Mantanzas Inlet 2015_06_16

Sandbar fun, Matanzas Inlet 2015_06_16

On Wednesday, Russ couldn’t sit still, so he moved the boat around in the slip to face the other way. It’s a much nicer view looking out into the harbor and intercoastal, but it seemed like a lot of extra work to me.

 

No Ka Oi bow out, No Ka Oi, stern out 2015_06_17

No Ka Oi bow out, No Ka Oi, stern out 2015_06_17

We have been taking lots of walks on the beach with Nyah, she has met several doggies to run around with and loves splashing in the surf. I did some writing this week and had an article accepted for publication. We stuffed ourselves with Judy and Tom one evening on their awesome Chris Craft cruiser, docked next to us. Bike riding, a little kayaking, and sunset watching (see Russ’ photo above) rounded out the week. We’re not sure how we will like this retirement thing, I guess we will just have to keep testing it out.

 

kayaking 2015_06_19

kayaking 2015_06_19

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads and Happy Father’s Day to Ira Baringer, we hope we make you proud and we hope you are looking down and enjoy seeing us on our sailing adventure, we miss you!

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Ira Baringer, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL 2010