Monday, July 19, 2010

A busy weekend

This weekend we had guests aboard the Knotty Cat.

Hans hockey friend Bob came along and brought his son Sean, and Sean's friend John.

Thank God we were able to fix the water pump that decided to go on strike the night before they were due to arrive. This time it threw its belt, and after descending into the engine/sauna room, tearing the little bastard to pieces and giving it what for, Hans got it to working again and it's not even leaking now!

Day one: no wind and we had to motor.

Wilbur made up for this disappointment by showering everyone with much wanted slobbery kisses, and showing everyone his lap dog impersonation.

Day two: we has some wind, and we were able to sail along at a nice clip. Wilbur celebrated by giving everyone slobbery kisses and to every ones delight, demonstrated his potty patch abilities!

We were able to get a game of Scrabble in on Saturday night (I lost but only because I was trying to be a good hostess), but our Sunday 'lets play in the cockpit with a flashlight because it's so stinking hot down below' game of TriBond (which John went and bought for us!) was interrupted by a thunderstorm that came with threats of 60 knots of gusting wind! We were in a very protected anchorage and only had a small amount of wind and our anchor held just fine.
Maybe the next time Bob comes along, he and Hans can play some chess.

Suddenly it was time for our guests to leave and Wilbur showed his disappointment by flinging himself about like a lunatic. I know it never fazed him and he didn't feel a thing, but I have a huge lump on my shin where he ran into me with his big stupid head!

Here is Hans dinghying about.

Tangier's Island is in our future so Wilbur is doing a bit of research by reading Isle of Dogs by Patricia Cornwell.

Oops, Wilbur's been warned that the people of Tangier's are not at all happy with how they were depicted in the book and we have to get rid of it before we get there!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sailing along.

The people at Stepps Harbor View Marina said it was fine for Wilbur to swim in their pool.

This was a first for us.

Anyway this dog can swim like the dickens. He's like a mini locamotive and after one swim it was difficult to keep him out.

Here is Wilbur and I at Belmont Bay Harbor. We ended up having to tie up as there was no place to anchor. Super nice people and very pet friendly.

Gentlemen, take note that the dock girls all wear bikinis and look as cute as can be! I have a feeling we'll be back.

Here's Hans at the Jefferson memorial. He thought he should pay his respect to the founder of his alma mater, University of Virginia.

This is a house boat at the Capital Yacht Club in DC. There are a few of them around and while they're cute they tend to be a problem so they've grandfathered the ones that are there. and no more are allowed to dock here.

This was right after we sailed under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

The Capital Yacht Club. We anchored in the Washington Channel and for $15.00 per day we had full use of their fabulous facilities. Last night we attended a spaghetti dinner and met some of the members. I used the laundry room and Hans sat in the air conditioned dining room where he worked on his computer.

I'm amazed at how friendly everyone is at the marinas we've visited (and we've been to a lot!).

Boating people really are the best!

Wilbur is ready to pull the winch handle out at a moments notice.

He's quite the salty dog.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Washington DC, here we come!

After our 'perfect day of sailing' we've had to motor for two straight days.

I called my mother as we passed Mount Vernon as the only time she ever got to go there it was closed. She was only 4 years old at the time.

It seemed so rural as we traveled along the Potomac and then all of sudden there it was!
The Capitol Building (although I didn't get a picture of it).

Here is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and I just now had to jump on line to make sure it was tall enough for us to pass under.

It is!

Look out Obama, The Knotty Cat has arrived!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The best sail ever

That's what Hans says we experienced yesterday as we zipped up the Potomac on our way to Washington DC.

We kept up a pace of 5 to 6 knots for 35 nautical miles and sailed for about six hours. It was a beautiful day and after anchoring we managed to grill a steak before the dark set in.

Today is a different story.

The rain moved in around midnight and by nine this morning it was just pouring. Of course the wind direction today is exactly opposite of what we need and we're now motoring into the wind and against the tide.
We have about 25 more miles to go so needless to say we'll be anchoring again tonight.
Here is Hans in his foul weather gear.

Wilbur is lying as close to the helm as possible in an attempt to keep out of the rain.
He wouldn't mind having a set of his own foul weather gear.

We're using our running lights and radar since visibility is a bit hazy with the rain.

This is a split screen of the chart plotter and the radar.

Maybe we should have been using radar the other day when we went by one of these markers.
We had the jib pulled in close which of course cut off our view on the starboard side of the boat. We knew we had markers ahead but since it was a nice slow lazy sail we didn't pay as much attention as we should have.
All of a sudden I thought I saw someone walking along the side of our deck (which I also knew wasn't possible). I no sooner jumped up than a marker just like this slid on by us. I could have reached out and touched it!
I don't even want to think of how much damage it could have caused if we'd hit it head on!


Friday, July 9, 2010

We're being held captive by a dog!

This is Wilbur (at 11 weeks of age) after being mauled by another dog.

My daughter emailed this to me directly from the hospital where she is a vet tech, and then begged me to adopt him.
Of course I refused.

He's now been with us for over two months.

Wilbur started out on a raw diet which consisted of chicken thighs (bones and all) that I spent hours pulverizing so that he could digest them. But we'd only been on the boat a week when I realized this raw diet thing was going to go right out the window. There was no way I could keep meat fresh for very long and not every market carries chicken.

Back when we were docked in Annapolis I was told I could catch a bus that would take me to a grocery store where I could hopefully find dog food.

After asking a city bus driver how I could catch the blue bus I needed, he yelled, "Jump on! I see one up ahead and I bet we can catch it."

We did, but that driver made me transfer to yet another one. The third driver was pissed at the second driver because apparently they were heading in the same direction and she saw no reason why she should have to haul my butt around! But she was very nice and even dropped me closer to the grocery store than she was actually required to do.

I was beyond thrilled to buy a twenty pound bag of Iams puppy food, and the very sweet, fish counter girl (who had a huge sucker bite on her neck) told me how to get back to my bus stop.

I was walking on the side of the road when I saw my blue bus pull out of an intersection and head for my stop. I ran like a crazy woman and nearly fainted when she actually stopped the bus, opened the door, and made traffic wait behind her until I climbed aboard.

At the next stop she told me I had to transfer, climbed off the bus with me, and got into a fight with another bus driver about break times while I stood between them clutching my twenty pound bag of dog food.

On our little excursion to the vet for Wilbur's yeast infection the vet said Iams food would be fine (at least she didn't scream at me and call it crap food the way my daughter did!), because with our vagabond lifestyle we would probably be able to find it at most stores.

We didn't, and I finally had to order a forty pound bag from Petco and have it mailed to a marina. We showed up a day before the food did, had to anchor for a night, and ended up being bombarded by a thousand nasty little bugs all night long. During all this Hans keeps reminding me that Wilbur's just a dog and not the next crown prince of Europe.

He's right. But at least Wilbur is cute!

"Go buy your own damn beer!" Wilbur said to this very aggressive cat who tried her best to start a fight.

This is the galley window that acts as a shelf to the cockpit.

Wilbur just ordered dinner.

"Make it as rare as possible with a little bit of au jus on the side, and while you're at it toss in some of those tasty organic (and very expensive) doggy biscuits. But take your time, I'm having a beer."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

To us!

It's been a month since we moved aboard, and what a month it's been. And check out my blueberry muffins complete with pirate flags (I have to find some way to amuse myself!).

I think we've learned a lot and if I were to ever do this again I would certainly do a better job of provisioning. We have a lot of room on board and I'd rather store 10 boxes of spaghetti purchased at three for a dollar than have to rely on a marina market and pay $2.50 a box.

I would also probably rethink the whole dog issue. We love Wilbur but unfortunately the U.S. is way behind the times with their no dogs allowed policies. This makes any shore trip a lot more complicated. In Europe we often see dogs in stores, restaurants, and even subways.

When we were in Solomons Island we met Steve, who's a liveaboard, and he invited us to a morning coffee get together at Woodburn's, a local grocery store/market, in order to meet other liveaboards.
One couple has lived on their boat for twenty three years! Another couple is starting on their thirteenth year. But the couple that I was in total awe of was from Sweden and they sailed their twenty six foot boat from Sweden to the states. They built the boat themselves and you should see it. I have no idea how two people can sit in the cockpit, it has a wooden tiller, no motor (except for a 2 HP for emergencies), and instead of a keel it has a centerboard!! A centerboard!!

Anyway, some people have generators, solar panels, wind generators etc... and everyone was eager to share their advice and stories.

I then met a woman in the laundry room at Point Lookout Marina and we laughed at our very similar 'starting out' stories. After two months spent replacing the transmission in their engine five times they finally got a new one before being able to set sail. They are just now finishing their first year and are going to have to decide whether they want to continue. They did get to the Bahamas and loved it but they were also stuck in Florida during last winters cold. That might not sound so bad but they bought their boat from a man who removed the shower, hot water tank, and refrigerator!

We have all of these features and I'm going to try real hard not to complain (I said I'll try!) in the future.

All I can say is that living on a boat is a totally different life.

Never in a million years would I have thought when asked if I thought I wanted a shower, I would sniff my armpits and say, "You know I really didn't sweat that much today, I'll take one tomorrow."