Saturday, October 30, 2010
We gave up virtually all prepared foods several years ago and cook most every meal from scratch (check out Michael Pollan's book, "In Defense of Food"). Breakfast frittatas in the morning, Kung Pao chicken for lunch, and beef and broccoli stir fry for dinner - are examples.
We worked out our routine while spending a year at our land based home and moved it to the boat with just a few adjustments.
When we moved back on the boat this time, Dyna decided that she had to lay down in the middle of the galley during all meal preparations. In the beginning we would shoo her away but she was back before we could turn around.
So now we've adjusted the dance to include 3 bottoms - "Dyna, honey, can you please put your head down so I can open the refrigerator?" Why? Because we have spoiled dogs, of course. Haven't you been following this blog?!?!
As for Dylan, he perches at the edge just happy to be in the vicinity of food.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Around 3 pm the National Weather Service started issuing tornado watches for our area. We kept a careful watch on the front, got out our life preservers, and even re-fit them on Dyna & Dylan. We discussed emergency plans and were all ready.
At around 6 pm, it got quiet. Eerie quiet. An obvious front line was visible in the west. We prepared the boat, disconnected much of the electrical systems, lowered the antennas, removed the screens, and shot one video of the approaching front.
We decided that the safest place was in the stateroom below so all crew retreated there. The wind picked up to 40 kts, rain thrashed everywhere, and in 5 minutes, it was over. The red dot in the radar image above is directly on our location.
We stayed below for about a half hour watching the weather radar on the iPhone and listening to the handheld VHF.
The radar now shows another band coming in about 2 hours. No fear though. The crackerjack crew is ready.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
No, we're not sending out an SOS. But we can all use some help from time to time.
We had planned on leaving Solomons today but Jeff felt a bit under the weather yesterday so we fell behind. Today we are getting out an ActiveCaptain newsletter which will mean lots of emails, updates, and comments, so we decided to stay put one more day.
We had lots of folks asking for beginner's help using the ActiveCaptain site, so we've put up a Getting Started tutorial. Look for the big help button under the articles section.
We're also announcing some big discounts at two of our Co-Op marinas here on the Chesapeake, Bay Creek Marina and Severn River Marina.
It'll be a busy day with lots of time behind the computer. However, that doesn't mean we can't find some time for a dinghy ride with Dyna and Dylan to the swimming beach around the corner. Gotta keep the crew happy!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
October 10th - the day we all turn back into pumpkins. For the last 6 weeks we've been speaking at various rendezvous or preparing to speak at them. Yesterday's double session with the Krogen Cruisers annual rendezvous was our last for a while. This morning we awoke at anchor to see the 40 Krogens preparing to all take off from Solomons, MD enroute throughout the waterways. One thing about these Krogen owners - they know how to throw a party! We were dancing to live music until late last night...
We met many hundreds of people and made lots of new friends for life. We provided two types of talks at these get-togethers - the combination of our EMS/emergency medicine experience applied to cruising, and Q&A's about ActiveCaptain. It was all a wonderful experience and incredibly fun for us.
Now that all the speaking is over, finding a good swimming hole for Dyna & Dylan has become a priority. We'll stay in Solomons for a few days - we have some local knowledge about a beach good for swimming around the island. Then we're thinking of heading to St. Marys, the Piankatank River, or wherever the seas carry us. Having no plan is sometimes the best plan - for both pumpkins and puppies.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I called the City of Baltimore and attempted to get re-married at their courthouse. "But you're already married - we don't have a form for that" the clerk told me. "Do you have a form for getting a divorce?" I asked. Well not surprisingly, they do, so I asked if she could see the irony in that. I think while trying to figure out the meaning of the word irony, she hung up on me.
At a dinner party, licensed captains Steve and Diane Koch married us again on a boat but something else was needed. Something more fitting for the seriousness of a quarter century. Then I remembered Bones.
Captain Wayne Flatt (aka Bones) is the captain of Skinwalker with his wife Lynn, a cruising boat that I've had contact with over a few years. Wayne is also a reverend and a member of the Blessed Order of the Navigator Ecumenical Society. If that weren't enough, Bones is also captain of the P/V Fearless of Urban Pirates in Baltimore. P/V stands for pirate vessel.
So we met Wayne and Lynn for dinner and discussed the whole thing. Wayne researched our relationship and crafted a fine set of vows fitting for a pirate ship and a 25th anniversary. On Tuesday with rain threatening, we were remarried in a way I surely will never forget. Dyna and Dylan were able to attend and were little pirates themselves for the afternoon. They completely exhausted themselves by swabbing the deck with all paws until they fell asleep.
Monday, October 4, 2010
It doesn't take a festival to have fun in Fells Point but boy, what a festival there was this weekend. Sandwiched between two storm fronts, the weekend festival covered a few miles of closed streets with hundreds of booths, food items, and fun.
We found out about this festival by accident last week. It was a 10 block walk from the marina - hard to get much closer than that. I'm working on ways to get event information like this into ActiveCaptain because it would bring a lot of utility and enjoyment to cruisers planning where to go. An obvious solution is to have various chambers of commerce update information about major events in their towns. But is there a standard place to do this? How can we get coastal communities to update an online calendar so all of us can find and use the information?
Saturday, October 2, 2010
So imagine my horror when after a few months of marriage I came home to a dishwasher that wouldn't start and my husband's only response was, “Better call the plumber.”
Over the years I adjusted and developed a list of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other repair people. Then we bought a boat. The first boat was a 40 year old lobster boat, a tank we couldn't destroy even if we tried. Every Winter we turned the boat over to the the local boat yard for repairs and maintenance.
Next we bought a new Albin. Jeff had more trouble blindly putting this boat into the hands of another and started learning to do some of the work himself.
With our trawler we realized that self-reliance translated into independence. After 8 years of cruising there are few projects we don't dive into and complete ourselves - engine maintenance, new system installations, electronics, carpentry, finish work, and whatever else comes up.
Last week it was the washing machine – it wouldn't drain. It took about two hours for us to get the machine out of it's nook below and check all the hoses - which were clear. A quick search on the Internet led us to the pump with suggestions for what to check. Jeff changed a seal and cleaned it up although the pump was a little chewed up. Another couple hours to put it all back – it drained for 2 minutes and then stopped. We ordered a new pump online and two days later spent another few hours taking it all apart again (hey, we learned some lessons from the first time), replaced the pump, and we now have clean clothes again.
And the best part is these new found skills are finding their way to our land based home. Last time the refrigerator stopped making ice, my dear sweet husband said, “Let me take a look at it.” I call it The Boating Dividend.