Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
But lately Hans has taken to critiquing my stories.
Now I'm a bit of a control freak and there are two areas I will not tolerate any interference, those being my galley and my writing.
Hans already knows it's an unwise move to go anywhere near the refrigerator. I can feel my upper lip rise in a snarl like that of a bitch guarding her new born pups if he even gets close to it. If you want something, ask for it as I know where every single item is and can snake it out of there in a heart beat. Other wise Hans throws the door wide open (you can practically hear the ice melting), asks where the jerky is, and then still can't find it anyway even after I tell him it's in the top cooler on the left hand side, and underneath the pepperoni.
About my blog.
"Why haven't you posted about the wonderful sail we made from Annapolis to Oxford all in one day with just the jib?"
"Why don't you tell everyone that the main sail looks fabulous now that all the battens are in place?"
"During the storm you should have mentioned that it lasted about ten minutes and the winds came out of the northwest, and then shifted southeast..."
I told him I'd be glad to pass that information on except that for every good thing that happens, three bad things take its place. And I'm sorry but no one wants to hear about the boring good stuff, it's the bad stuff that's fun to read. It's like getting those awful yearly Christmas card updates from friends who can't wait to brag about their kid who received a full scholarship to Harvard when your kid had to repeat pre-school.
"Do you really think it was necessary to use the 'F' word and 'a**hole' in the post about the police?"
I didn't use those words, the drunk people on the other boat did, was my defence.
"But do you think you had to write it that way? It might offend someone."
Well, gosh darn gee whiz!! This blog is about what's going on in our lives while we live on board, and that really happened!
So ^%*$@ there!!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Last night we anchored through our first thunderstorm. We were in the cockpit when the lightning started and Hans was counting the seconds between flashes of light and thunderclaps.
"It's two miles away." He announced with confidence and within seconds the storm was on us.
I scrambled to close the hatches and Hans started up the engines which was a very smart idea because if our anchor hadn't held we'd have smashed into the wall behind us. A 40 knot gust of wind hit us and our brand new grill cover went whipping away (just a sick reminder of losing our sun pad on the first day out!).
We stood in the cockpit under the bimini while again and again we were slammed with wind and rain, and the sky was alive with lightning. Wilbur stayed right with us and was a very good boy. Chlorox hid in her litter box.
Then with one final ear shattering boom of thunder directly over our heads that literally shook my fillings, it was over.
That's when Hans decided to take the dinghy out in order to retrieve our grill cover that we could see bobbing happily along some docks (probably trying to find a better home, like one without a dog and cat!) a few hundred feet away.
After picking it up out of the water with a boat hook and emptying it of what he said felt like a ton of water, he was back. I had been feeling guilty about it blowing away because I was the one who'd cinched it over the grill. Then I saw that the plastic slider that holds it in place was twisted and actually ripped apart.
That's how strong the wind was!
Wow, we thought! We survived a big blow, and to celebrate we sat back for a well deserved beer (Hans) and bourbon (me).
Then the police showed up.
Hans and I were puzzled but Wilbur, with tail wagging glee, was very happy to see Mr. Policeman and wanted to give him a big smooch.
Mr. Policeman informed us that Mr. Landowner in one of the houses on shore said he watched Hans dumping garbage into the river from our dinghy! We explained ourselves and after Mr. Policeman informed Mr. Landowner of what Hans had really been up to we were exonerated.
As we sat in the cockpit and discussed the accusation I suddenly realized that in order to see Hans all the way across the creek picking up our grill cover, Mr. Landowner must have been using binoculars and I was appalled!
"What kind of sick person does that?" I exclaimed and fed Wilbur some more bourbon soaked ice cubes (they soothe his itching).
The more we thought about it the angrier we got. "Honestly, sailing people are some of the most upstanding people in the world! The best! Probably even better than the best!"
And then one of our Knotty Cat's seedier relatives sailed into our anchorage.
Our boat is one of 40 built by Bob Johnson back in the 90's. It's the only catamaran he ever designed, and has a very distinctive look to it. This is the first time we've encountered a 'sister boat' and wouldn't you know it had to be last night.
"Hey!" The captain hailed us. "You have a cool boat!"
"We have a cool boat!" He shouted.
"Wanna party?" He called out and headed our way with what I'm sure were intentions of rafting up, and that's when I realized he was drunk.
I hoped Mr. Tattletail Landowner wasn't watching with his binoculars, and prayed that the air conditioning was going full blast in his house and he couldn't hear us.
"You don't want to anchor here." I called out. I then gave him some vague police story, and that this wasn't really an anchorage, and then I lied and said we'd need to leave in the morning.
"You have a cool boat!" he yelled again. "A really fucking cool boat!" And a girl on the bow called Mr. Landowner an asshole.
They finally motored away and I'd love to know how one anchors a boat in the dark while totally trashed.
And while Mr. Landowner might think Hans and I are The Beverly Hillbillies with our towels etc... hanging from our lifelines with clothespins, he ought to thank his lucky stars that the Deliverance Crowd decided to darken someone else's shore!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Of course it's not storming and isn't going to (big surprise!) but luckily we found ourselves at Solomons Island.
Lucky for Wilbur too because there is a vet within dinghy and walking distance.
Yes, that's where we spent our morning and our pooch now has a bottle of $34.00 shampoo in addition to four different medications.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I suppose that could be true (if we liked Margaritas, which we don't) but it's been more like a bad tequila nightmare.
Every morning I arise at six AM when Wilbur's inner alarm clock tells him he's lonely and desires my company.
After some wild gyrating (on Wilbur's part) I take him to the 'poop deck' for a visit to his potty patch. We then retire to the salon area where I can sometimes coax him into taking a mini nap.
Next up is boiling water on the stove for coffee, and we use a french press since we don't have electricity at anchor. Breakfast is usually cereal if the milk hasn't gone bad and I learned my lesson early on and we now use powdered milk (don't knock it, it's better than nothing). I also had to forego real cream in my coffee and I owe the good people from Cremaora an apology for ever sneering at their wonderful product.
Making any meal on board involves very careful and calculated moves on my part to keep any refrigerator door openings to a minimum. It also requires some fancy footwork in order to avoid stepping on the dog who thinks the galley floor is a fine napping area.
Before we set sail I remove heavy items from shelves and lay them on the settee so we don't have a reenactment of our first day at sail where we had horrible rolling waves and watched the TV fly through the air just missing the dog. The remote however hit him right between the eyes.
As soon as the engines are running (using battery number one! but remember to switch to number two when at anchor) I get to turn on the inverter, switch the batteries to ALL for optimum charging, plug in the computers, phones, cameras, and my absolute favorite; turn on the refrigerator. It won't freeze anything on battery power but it will slow down the melting process of the three bags of ice I have stowed away (I'm not sure what will happen if the day arrives and there's no ice for my bourbon!). We can also take advantage of the extra power and take showers.
Hans usually waits until I'm in the middle of cooking, washing dishes, rinsing the potty patch etc...to suddenly announce "Let's hoist the jib, the sail, the genoa..." and nothing is more fun than bashing your elbow on the outboard motor we have mounted to the rail when you're wildly winding the winch in order to haul up the jib.
This whole process is reversed when we turn the engines off and we can do that any number of times during the day.
Entertainment, in addition to my binoculars (when we're in the middle of the bay they're not fun at all but maybe Hans should keep an eye on the freighters), is:
Fly swatting (Hans may be more accurate but I'm vicious!).
Keeping the cat on board while tied to a dock (our laughter over Chlorox's sneaky foray to the deck turned into into hysteria when she took a graceful leap to shore for a look see).
Find the cat (who can hide in the tiniest corners and I'm waiting for her to venture into the engine room at the wrong time).
Staying away from the big boys in the freighter channel and let me tell you they do not fear the Knotty Cat.
Comparing our very colorful and many bruises, and after three weeks it would appear we've taken to beating each other with winch handles. My shins now look like a toddler's (when my kids were little I referred to them as 'bad banana' legs).
Trying to find some way, any way, to keep cool!
We tied up to a dock last night and with 14 wonderful hours of electricity we slept with the fans on and I virtually turned the refrigerator into a freezer. I nearly fainted when I found out the marina bath house was air conditioned and seriously considered writing Hans a Dear John letter, and then hiding in there for the rest of the summer.
So if doing all the above with the added pleasure of feeling and looking like a greasy sardine all day long appeals to you, buy a boat (I know where you can get one!).
I wonder if I could sue Jimmy Buffet for false advertising!
Chlorox is thinking, "If I look innocent enough maybe they'll leave me alone and I can make my escape."
Right before she went on the lam.
Not a good picture but one of the many freighters we've seen.
Yesterday one crossed our bow from just a few thousand feet away!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
However Wilbur doesn't just cavort, he goes absolutely ape shit and after sticking his head completely under water and then swallowing all kinds of icky seaweed things, he charges out of the water like he's just been goosed by a thousand watt eel! It's all I can do to hold on to him and yesterday he managed to snap the plastic D-ring on his pink polka dot life jacket. Don't' worry it's been fixed and now a pretty purple knotted line has taken it's place.
We then headed over to Schooner's so Hans could watch some World Cup Soccer. Hans sat inside the air conditioned restaurant while I waited outside in the sweltering heat with a panting pit bull.
No problem though, I had a New York Times Crossword with me and enjoyed many draft beers with my late lunch.
Wilbur had a good time too and spread his Pit Bull Good Will Ambassadorship to all who cared to stop and give him a pat.
Back on the boat Wilbur and Hans enjoy a refreshment.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
We've been to the market where in addition to buying supplies, I managed to get a good bottle of wine, a couple of ice cream cones, and a used paper back book which cost a dollar and you just put the money in a can by the display.
I've also put the laundromat to good use and it's a bargain at $2.00 total for a wash and dry.
I got all worked up when I saw that the library was having a book sale and even packed an extra bag in my purse. I'll pay a little more attention to sale signs the next time because it wasn't until I arrived bright and early this morning that I noticed that it doesn't take place until September!!
This kayak went sliding by last night complete with a sheltie. Notice the dog has a summer haircut going on!
Wilbur had a chance to wade into some water and cool off.
He has difficulty with the heat and while on board I have to use the stern hose on him.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I spend the rest of the day preparing my speech for the local news casters (maybe I'll even get on The Today Show and meet Meredith) detailing my suspicions about the man who becomes known as the Back Creek Killer after he's discovered disposing of yet another body. I also hope we get to shore so I can wash my hair first.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Hmmm... I wonder what he's saying to the dispatcher? "OMG, they have a dog and a cat on board! Are they nuts?"
The next day Peter, our electrician, spent a full eight hours on the Knotty Cat.
Here he is at the top of our mast replacing our spreader lights. He also rewired the spaghetti like mess under the mast in order to repair our radar, and made sense of the batteries for the first time since we've owned this boat! The previous owner did a lot of work to the boat, didn't document any of it, and then couldn't answer any questions we sent him!
I swear, we now watch the batteries more closely than I watched my kids when they were toddlers!
We gave Wilbur his own knotty play toy (he likes to chew knots and thinks the jib sheets are yummy).
Here is our little rescue pup and he's probably wondering if it's possible to be saved more than once because this trip has been completely insane!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
He's been a very good boy about peeing on it but still needed to be taken ashore for the important stuff. Believe me this is an event worth celebrating, and I did a little happy dance!
This might not seem like a big deal to you but considering the fact that since Friday (it's now Sunday) weve been stranded at anchor and haven't been able to start our engines (which provide us with power for little things like running our fans, water, and lights etc...!), this is pretty good news.
It makes up for the fact that my hair hasn't been washed for four days and if I'd been meant to be a pioneer woman I would have been born two hundred years ago!!!
I thought this was supposed to be fun!
Wilbur's observation, "A little more to starboard! I think I see a fire hydrant!"
Thursday, June 10, 2010
But not in a good way.
Because of blustery weather, (and I just love NOAA's weather reports because ten knots gusting to fifteen really means twenty knots gusting to thirty and in the complete opposite direction forecasted!) we were forced to anchor in St. Michael's which isn't a bad place to be but we really needed to get to Annapolis.
Yesterday's winds were supposed to be favorable for our trek across the bay.
Supposed to be.
We are now minus a very big and very expensive sun pad. It took a flying leap off the front of the boat and is now happily floating somewhere in the Chesapeake.
I watched in horror as our dinghy zig zagged in an alarming fashion as we dragged it behind us, and the outboard motor (which is far too large for us) bucked and heaved like a crazed stallion. At one point when the dinghy was riding higher than us, with the motor jerking back and forth, and appeared to want to join Hans in the cockpit, I went below with the dog and shook.
We ended up in rolling, nauseating waves, with winds that gusted over forty knots at times. We were screaming along with the jib but finally had to take it down and use the engines in an attempt to get around Bloody Point (aptly named!). Then Hans put out a tiny amount of jib for the final ride and the wind took it in it's teeth and we flew into Annapolis where we landed at the City Dock. The Knotty Cat does very well in strong winds.
Our evening in St. Michael's lulled us into a false sense of security, and Wilbur and I beat Hans in a game of Sequence.
The next morning just before our trip across the Bay of Hell our (new last year!) water pump broke while I was brushing my teeth.
A monohull followed us from St. Michael's and they looked just like a giant dolphin. They would rise high up out of the water and then slam nose first into the bay. Again and again.
We ended up docking directly behind them at a bulkhead in the City Dock and we took each others picture.
"That was quite an exciting trip, wasn't it?" the captain of the other boat observed.
That's not quite how I saw it.
We originally wanted to go to Annapolis to get our newly repaired radio installed and ended up having to have the water pump temporarily hard wired.
Now when you use water you have to turn on a faucet, switch on the pump, and then turn the water off before switching off the pump.
Tomorrow we hope to have it fixed along with our spreader lights.
Here we are at the dock. I didn't realize we were tied up at Ego Alley. Apparently people like to tie up their fancy yachts here and show off for everyone. I was standing on our deck when a man in a very loud shirt asked me if I knew whether there would be room for his 80 foot yacht. I really don't think anyone with an 80 foot boat is going to ask me for help.
He was probably a serial killer.
I did feel like a big fraud though and tried not to see if the other boats were sneering at our poor needy cat and spent this morning fixing our many light switches that decided to quit working. Using a screwdriver, butter knife, and a corkscrew (my favorite tool) I was able to get all but one switch in working order but only after I took the dog for an hour walk and before Hans woke up.
Right now I think Chlorox the Cat and I are of the same mind about this trip
Monday, June 7, 2010
I could go on ad nauseum about the unbelievable problems we encountered but I would probably bore you senseless, so go ahead and use your imagination with this:
The smeared blood stains on said dinghy belong to me but I don't know if they are from my knuckles, my knee, or my ankle.
I got to ride to the boat from the gas station with a leaking (later to be diagnosed as defective) dinghy gas tank between my knees. I implored Hans to please not go through any yellow lights, and begged him to not take up smoking in the immediate future. The awful smell of oily gas remained with me for the day and made everything I drank taste like moonshine.
For the record, the canvas guy did a fabulous job and we're very happy!!!!!!
Toasting Wilbur the Wonder Dog.
bought the damn thing!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
How on earth does one decide what to take and what to leave behind? I've learned through past experience that a summer sailing wardrobe is very simple; shorts, t-shirt, and boat shoes.
And since this isn't a fashion show, they can be worn more than once!
But how about excursions ashore? Well guess what? Not one soul will know that the sundress you're wearing today was worn somewhere else a few days ago!!
And since I have a feeling I'm in charge of laundry detail, if you want something washed, it damn well better be dirty!
Last week we hit the Carnegie Library Book Sale in Squirrel Hill and I ended up with 15 paper backs. Some marinas have a very informal 'library loan' plan where you drop off your used books and pick up someone elses. I hope we find a few of these as we make our way north because 15 books aren't going to last very long.
Our refrigerator and cupboards needed to be emptied and I had to decide whether to bring things like flour, sugar, baking powder etc... will I be baking bread or not? We are very lucky in that our galley has a lot of storage space (even more than some small apartments), and my mother gave me the cutest little baking set for my birthday and it fits our small oven perfectly.
Hans solved my how the hell do I pack all this shit problem, by suggesting we use our suitcases.
We filled two of them with the contents of my cupboards, and things like spices and cook books went into the front pockets! (the luggage will then be left in our SUV) Two huge duffel bags, beach bags, and tote bags are full of clothes, towels, sheets, shoes, books, toiletries, dog supplies, cat supplies... and in the morning we'll have to find a place for the dog crate and covered litter box! I'll also have to fill three coolers with the contents of the refrigerator.
I only hope I remember to drug the cat upon waking up or I may just strap myself to the roof for our five hour drive. Believe me, that would be a piece of cake compared to riding with a thirteen year old cat who can scream for hours without ever drawing a breath!!
I did manage to sew a bag made from the Sunbrella fabric I found at Loom, in the Strip District.
Loom is a fabric/notions store that opened last October. Good for me (but bad for them) I only discovered them a month ago. I've included a link to their store but you really have to physically get your butt there to see how really fabulous it is!!!
So here's my bag and while I'm not thrilled with the red cord (blue would look better and I can always change it) I think it will work just fine.
I also made a little zippered wallet to go with it.
I may wear the same thing every day on the boat but I insist upon being fashionable while ashore!!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
But we received another call this afternoon, and it said, "Oops, false alarm!" And we weren't so happy.
So, what's holding things up?
A simple little $3 part! That's what!
In order for our propellers to survive salt water, they need these adorable little donut shaped things called zincs! Zincs are sacrificial and they give up their life by attracting the corrosive salt water to them, therefor saving the steel props.
Isn't that heroic?
Anyway our boat has been on the hard for months now and this should have been taken care of a long time ago. But now it appears that our props are different, they are special, and while in some cases that might be an attractive trait, we're not finding it especially endearing at this time.
There was talk of having them overnighted (if they can even find them!) and guess who will be footing the cost of that? Certainly not the boat yard!
So after this initial false labor we're a little less inclined to get worked up when the next "C'mon down" phone call arrives!