Sunday, January 31, 2010


Sometimes Willie's bottom lip sticks out and it's really funny.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What's a Madrigal?

People ask us this all the time. We did not name the boat ourselves. "Madrigal" was the name given by the previous owner, and I myself had to look it up when we bought her. I knew it was musical, but that was all. Anyhow, according to wikipedia: "A madrigal is a type of secular vocal music composition, written during the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Throughout most of its history it was polyphonic and unaccompanied by instruments, with the number of voices varying from two to eight, but most frequently three to six." Neat. I like that well enough. We originally thought about changing the name, and we even blogged about it. We had eventually decided on Norombega, but we took so long debating that Madrigal had finally begun to feel like Madrigal, and to call her anything else would have been wrong. (and I know about all the bad luck involved as well, wrath of Poseidon and all that jazz). So, Madrigal she stays.

Previously, I had only known the word because of the infamous Norwegian Black Metal band Ulver. They once released an album titled 'Nattens Madrigal' full of fantastic sweeping black metal recorded raw, but organically and wonderful. Below is the first track from this epic album.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Freedom

You know, anytime somebody titles a piece of writing with "On Something" it is going to be an overblown, self-loving, pompous piece of work. This may be true, but I can't resist the title anyhow. :) That said, I really wanted to write up a little piece on freedom in regards to what it means to Jenny and me in terms of cruising, sailing, and living aboard. It is a very important part of our lives and our goals. Visiting our friend Mike, a full time cruiser, in the Virgin Islands for a week really changed the way we look at things.

Part 1: Financial Freedom -

I'll have to start at the beginning and hope that I can use a bit of a story format to convey my thoughts in a remotely intelligible manner. Once, I had a house. I had a mortgage. I was broke. Incessantly. I had to work nonstop to make house and car payments and although I may have wanted to move, I couldn't. I couldn't move about the city even. All my friends in apartments had moved to the other side of town and I had to drive across town to get home every day. That sucked, but there were worse things in life, like bad housing markets. My house was small, but entirely remodeled and very pretty inside and out; however, it was in Lansing Michigan amidst closing car factories and slumping economic times well before the rest of the nation caught up. When I got divorced I wanted to move and to go to grad school, which had always been my intent anyhow. I couldn't. The house would not sell in such a market. I HAD to stay and pay for a house I did not like. I couldn't move the house or myself. There were no better jobs in town. When Jenny came along personal life got better and eventually we had decided to rent my house out and move to Boston, on a boat. I LOVED the idea. Moving across town when I want to will become an option. Moving to a new city will become an option, whenever I want. This was my ideal vision.

Boats and marinas, however, cost money. Significant amounts thereof. The saving grace is that a liveable boat can be bought for cheap money. Our first boat, the Fitzcarraldo, was a powerboat which cost $10k in really rough shape. We overpaid a bit, but it was exactly where we wanted it (I had no idea how to drive a boat at the time) and it was convenient to buy from a seller who was friendly and helpful. Soon we realized the limitations of a powerboat and within a year we bought our Ericson sailboat from a friend who was in a hurry to get rid of one. Madrigal only cost us $6500 as a sale price. We lost a fair bit of money on the Fitz and had to roll it all into a loan of about $14k for both boats, cost of having 2 boats for a while, haulouts, surveys, etc... What it all came down to, was a little bit of that freedom we sought had been lost to debt and job tethers. Jenny is working constantly. I work part time, but have to go to school as well. The marina is expensive, and we've had a boat loan (personal loan) to boot. In the meantime, the market took a dive, I lost my renters, and we decided to just let my house be foreclosed and go back to the bank. A house I had paid $58k for in 2003 sold for $15k in 2009. Ouch. But we have been VERY happy with that decision. We both hate credit, and have sworn off new loans as terrible ideas. What it all boils down to is that the same week we went to visit Mike in the Virgin Islands is when we finally paid off our boat loan. We've also found a cheaper marina within distance of our jobs for next summer. And a beautiful little quiet marina at that, with better access to the somewhat remote Boston Harbor Islands.

So things are looking up financially, which is key to cruising. Cruising under debt is next to impossible without high paying work-from-home jobs. We have student loans, but those are small and we've been paying on them all the while. We should be able to pay those while cruising as long as our Jigsaw Indexing company keeps growing as well as it has been lately. We also get some income from small archaeology jobs that I do on the side and from ad revenue on various websites and blogs we keep up, much like this one.

Madrigal, at $6500 for a purchase price, was not and is not in cruising condition. We've put a ton into her, and she is much closer to being ready. By next year at the latest we should feel more than comfortable as far as the boat is concerned. We need a new sail or two, some new rigging, and better ground tackle, at the least before we can go and go safely. That should be roughly doable.

So as it stands, we may have finally achieved enough financial freedom to be able to think about cruising in the next year or two. It is a wonderful feeling. Accomplished and prideful, but it also keeps us respectful to all those who have already been able to leave and knowing how hard they had to work at it.

Part 2: Political Freedom -

Politics and freedom are touchy topics when placed together and viewed critically. I'll try not to say too much on here, so as not to offend anyone with my anarcho-libertarian-capitalist-pig-dog-freemarket-Austrian school economic views. But this article by Lew Rockwell is a good starter.

Basically, my own country scares the daylights out of me more and more with every passing day. I've never seen anything like it. Unending war. The federal reserve prints money out of thin air like there is no tomorrow. The US Dollar is most obviously being inflated away. George Bush started a regimen of stripping away liberties and imposing 'Homeland Security' forces in a very startling and scary kind of way. It has fascism and national socialism written all over it and I sure don't see Obama rolling any of that back. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean this in an America-bashing kind of way. Our founding fathers, the drafters of the Constitution, founded a very good thing. I've been happy growing up here, but the more we kill random people in foreign countries because we have some obscure fear of 'terrorism' the more it scares me. I see much of our original country eroding away. And really, the economics of it all is my biggest fear. I do think the dollar has a limited time on this earth, and the economic crash that is looming on our horizon will be dreadful. Having a sailboat, having our own solar and wind power (which we don't have yet, but hope for soon), having our own means of transportation via the coasts of the world is a great freedom to know that we have. I keep a blog at with an ongoing critique from a few individuals of our current situation regarding economics and freedom.

In the end, freedom and the concepts thereof, are big factors in our life. Spending a week in the islands with a full time cruiser was kind of life changing. We'd stop at a new anchorage, he'd look around and say, "hmm.. . I like this, maybe I'll live here for a few weeks." He works from home, at his own pace, and makes enough to live and enjoy himself, but lives within his means all the while. It is a good way to avoid excess expenses, absurd prices of city living, and all the rest that goes with life on land and a full time overly ambitious "career". We want to live simply, live within our own means, and live on the ocean. Wherever we want. Free.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In a time where people are trying to be more frugal and eat healthier, all while living the go go go lifestyle, I continually tell people to BUY A PRESSURE COOKER.

After reading a lot about them on the Living Aboard forums, I decided to ask my parents to buy me a Presto 4qt. (stainless steel) pressure cooker. This thing is freaking awesome. For awhile, we went without any sort of oven, and I baked bread and made pizza in it.

The tastiest cinnamon bread ever baked.

When a fellow dock mate had caught too many flounder, we pressure cooked one and baked the other. The pressure cooked version was MUCH tastier, as it kept all the flavors locked in. Speaking of which, pressure cooking your vegetables is the much healthier option, as you're not boiling away the vitamins.

Flounder from Bruce.

One of the best things about it is the length of time it takes to make food. Justin's favorite is corn, because not only does it take 5 minutes from the time you husk it to the time it's on the table, but if you happen to forget you've bought corn and it's gone sort of wonkey, it still comes out tasting amazing. Potatoes are one of my favorites, as they are another five minute task.

Anyhow, I can't say enough fantastic things about pressure cooking.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Windswept II

So this is fun. Madrigal's previous owner, Bill, lives at this marina again on another boat and we talked to him about a bit of Madrigal's history. Apparently her name used to be Windswept II until he changed it to Madrigal. He sent this picture along to us as well.

We are the fourth owners of her. Originally a woman from Marblehead had her as a race boat up there for a number of years. Then some guy outside of Boston bought her and let her sit in a yard uncovered for about 5 years while he failed to use her or take care of her. Bill stole her away for a very short money and put a lot of work into her... Reglassing things, reinforcing the mast step, rudder repair, mostly rebuilt the Atomic 4, new electrical and plumbing etc. Then he was forced to sell her due to illness with his wife. That's where we came in and bought her, then finished out the interior woodwork etc. This spring she'll be due for a haulout again for some new bottom paint etc. I've been working on the topdecks as well with the seahood and whatnot. All in all it is a fun story. Neat to see new life breathed into the old girl. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gaia, Part Two

Charlotte Amelie

In November of 2008, we blogged about Gaia and her crew. While things didn't work out quite as planned and Mike is now sailing solo, he is safe and happy, anchored in a peaceful cove somewhere in the Virgin Islands.

Mike was in Boston recently, and began telling us of his thoughts of potentially sailing Gaia north, where he would resume a 9-5 job and live his life with cruising all but a memory. Of course, Justin and I took this as an open invitation to come visit Gaia while she was still happily sitting upon blue waters, basking in the sunlight and warmth of the tropics.

So, in a somewhat spontaneous motion, Justin and I purchased plane tickets to St. Thomas, where we would live with Mike for the week and get a small glimpse of what his cruising lifestyle had been all about.

In a whirlwind, we left Boston and made the hop to Puerto Rico, then onto St. Thomas from there. The 25 minute PR to USVI was the most hair raising experience we had ever encountered in flight, but the islanders were so kind as to greet us with shots of rum as we stepped off the plane.

Mike was also there to greet us, and as I gave him a hug, I noticed how sickly pale I had become with living in our bubble home over the past few months.

We arrived oceanside about 45 minutes later, and I immediately saw some fish skirting around a megayacht. The water was clear and blue, and I quickly noticed how warm it was as we dinghied to Gaia on her anchor. Sadly, it was raining when we arrived, and didn't appear as though it was going to let up any time soon. We had to grocery shop the next day, and in the meantime found some food on land, at a place called Tickles Dockside Pub. Tickles is a pirate themed bar... I don't know about you, but I can't imagine meeting a pirate named Tickles. I'm just sayin.

Aboard Gaia

Oh the rain rain rain

This plane landed so close!

The next morning it continued to rain. Part of our daily routine became making plans, then altering them as the rain refused to let up. We had planned on sailing to St. John, but instead went grocery shopping and then motored to a new anchorage on St. Thomas, where we made dinner for some fellow cruisers that Mike had met in Luperon. Keli and Stuart are aboard Beannacht, and Brian, Alicia and Louie are aboard Sarabande (they also had a friend visiting at the time). We had a wonderful evening chattering on about cruising, living aboard, sailing, and "plans". It was interesting to hear the plans of cruisers, as I often think of cruisers as not having any plans at all. Really, I'm not sure why. Regardless, Justin and I later discovered this to be the most pivital point of our whole trip, and we'll never forget about the new friends we made that night. We also are quite certain that we want to give cruising a try. We've always talked about it as if this is what we wanted to do, but we've also had our hesitations along the way for various reasons. The evening gave us a chance to realize that we're sitting in a nearly perfect position to raise the sails and go, returning only if we choose and not because we have to return to work the next morning.

Brian and Alicia's Boat

Mike has long ago mastered the Zissou Point

Love at first sight!

Betsy's Bar

The next morning, we awoke to more rain. But it was time to move on for sure. We chose Cruz Bay as our first destination on St. John, as it was fairly close and I was seasick and not wanting to go further. We found a spot near the car ferry, and there was something of a bird sanctuary situated near us - I haven't quite figured out exaclty if that's what it was, but it was spectacular indeed. The anchor dug deep, and we set off. I needed to get on land and put the sea sickness at bay. We also needed some food. After wandering the streets of the small town, we found Crazy Crackers, and realized the rain had let up just enough that we could sit outside. The food was amazing, but portions were small. We were determined to eat well, and so we went back to Gaia and made hummus! Along the way, we spotted a man atop a coconut tree, pestering the tourists.
There's a man in that tree...

The next morning, we awoke to yes...more rain. We decided that our plans for the day would be to motor to Reef Bay, a quick little jaunt from Cruz Bay. I had read about a nice hiking trail there and we all agreed that hiking in the rain would be far better than swimming in it, so off we went. Reef Bay Trail allowed us the opportunity to see much of St. John's wildlife, and it started with flocks of bats in the old sugar factory. Shortly thereafter, we saw a mongoose, who somehow failed to see us for quite some time. It was awfully amusing when he finally looked up from whatever it is that he found to be so entrancing, and you could see the fear in his eyes as he scurried off into a hole. The trail was home to many many deer, and while some sites say that they are simply white-tails, I believe they were much too small and seem to be some other breed. I may be wrong. They were friendly and unafraid - this was national forest and it appears as though they have no predators and nothing to worry about. They looked well fed and happy, and I don't think we spooked a single deer until the end of our trip. The anoles were also amusing, and one challenged Justin to push-ups. Justin knew that he had no chance of defeating this little guy, so we went on our way before he really put Justin in his place. The rain finally let up just enough for me to snap pictures, and this was the only place that we got a picture of the three of us (good thinking, Justin!) Otherwise, I was taking pictures with my camera safely enclosed in a ziplock...which made for some strange shots.

Soaking wet!

Saving my camera from the rain...

The next day, we woke up to SUN! We couldn't believe our luck, so we quickly stowed our things and sailed our way to the north end of St. John - destination: the beach. We chose Cinnamon Bay, and were not disappointed. The beaches here were beautiful, serene, and somewhat surprisingly empty. There were just enough people to make it feel like a real beach, but not enough to make it feel packed. We grabbed a mooring and instantly saw sea turtles checking out the boat. There were two large ones and later on we saw a smaller one. They were just of my favorite parts of the entire trip. They seemed so very curious, but have such frowny faces. They're amusing and beautiful all at the same time.

We chose to walk the beach for a bit before snorkeling, and who did we see but Alicia and Kate! They were also taking advantage of the sun and took a ferry over from St. Thomas to lay in the sun. It was pretty amusing, considering the vast amount of beaches that they could have chosen. We spoke with them for a bit but didn't end up meeting back up with them before they left.

This is what it looks like on a sunny day!

The snorkeling was amazing, and I'll never forget the crazy looking worm/snake/centipede looking thing that Justin pointed out to me! It took some time to get used to breathing with a snorkel (and longer to feel comfortable hearing myself breathe), but it was well worth it. We saw lots of fish and sea life - it's amazing how colorful everything was!

We did some more snorkeling and swimming the next day too. We decided that since it was our last day, we'd try to find some civilization and a little town. We definitely didn't get to do anything too touristy, so we figured this was our chance. We also knew that this was our last chance to sail and so we really took advantage of that, and I'm glad we did. We sailed far more west than necessary, which gave us a chance to pull out Mike's spinnaker and sail with that for a good long while! It was such a peaceful sail, and none of us were the least bit seasick that day!

That evening we made it to Red Hook and the town was a bit smaller than anticipated, although Mike said it seemed huge compared to some of the places he's been in the past year! We ate Amigo's Restaurant and the food was amazing, affordable, and the servings were HUGE! Very very tasty. We went to the bar downstairs afterwards and Mike talked to the locals for some time. We also did a dock walk at the marina in town, and there were some huge Tarpon swimming in the water. We were all pretty exhausted, so we went back to the boat and called it a night.

We woke up the next morning and packed our bags. Mike was happy with his anchorage, so we decided to take a taxi back to the airport instead of sailing back to Charlotte Amelie. The taxis there are amusing - trucks with bench seats in the back. They all have handles in front of the benches for a reason, and the woman who drove us to the airport was flying around corners and we made it in record time. And I thought Boston drivers were crazy!

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. It really made us realize that we'd like to try cruising sooner than later, so we've been talking about that a LOT over the past week!


A slightly inaccurate map of the places we visited...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

La Loupiote

In the dead of winter, I dream of one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen-right at my own marina.

We noticed their boat instantly - bright yellow, just like ours. The next day while I was at work, Justin met Franck. They hung out a bit, and Justin found out that they were staying for about a week at Constitution Marina and would be performing for us at the end of their stay. At the time, I wasn't quite sure what kind of performance this would be, and I suppose you can say I had my doubts about it but was still curious enough to make sure not to miss it.

Well well well. It turns out, that Franck and Delphine were quite the amazing couple and their children also quite amazing. They perform for a living while cruising their (beautiful) boat, and have found a way to make it all work. It never ceases to amaze me at the clever way people will find to be able to cruise if it really is their passion.

They had to purchase their boat specifically for their acrobatic performances - you'll notice in the pictures the flush deck which allows them to more easily jump around as necessary without too terribly stubbing innocent toes. Also, the sound system they have set up is AMAZING, and the morning of the performance I could hear them preparing from 1/2 a mile away while walking Willie. Aside from that, they really utilize what their boat already provides for their performance. It's fascinating to me how a boat that you live/cruise isn't just a boat, but it becomes a part of you. It's no wonder that a boat is a "she".

And so, here is their website, and a few pictures to capture your imagination.

La Loupiote

Many thanks to our friend Mark Orr for the photographs!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top Ten: questions we get asked about living aboard

People are generally fairly curious about our lifestyle. Especially those who don't know much about boats or those who are considering living aboard. Here are the top ten things we get asked from those people.

1. How do you stay warm in the winter?
As I've been asked this question so many times, my answer has become more and more bitter/sarcastic. "We turn up the heat." I suppose it is slightly more difficult than that, but that has become the easiest and most accurate answer. And I find it funny. Basically, our main source of heat is a Dickinson propane heater, the Newport P-12000. When we aren't shrink wrapped we have a fiberglass propane tank that hangs on the stern rail. When we are shrink wrapped we have a few extra steel tanks that we just set on the helm seat in the cockpit. A tank lasts about a week running it whenever we are home. When we aren't home, or when it is very cold and we need extra heat we just use space heaters. With our shore power we can have one 1500 watt space heater, or usually we run two smaller ones totaling 1500 for better heat distribution. The shrink wrap itself provides great heat in the daytime and we generally only run about 700 watts of heat during the day, if that.

2. Do other people live there?
Yes. In fact, lots of people. We have somewhere near 75-100 year round liveaboards. Liveaboards are slippery creatures and are sometimes hard to keep track of. Our homes move and many liveaboards winter and summer in different places, so it is hard to count for sure. But Constitution Marina is very liveaboard friendly and has a great community to live in. Now, next summer we are going to move to Weymouth at Thayer's Landing Marina. That marina is so small that we'll be the only ones living aboard, but we'll be close to the islands which our current crowd attempt to overrun every weekend. I have no doubt we'll be able to keep close communication with our liveaboard brethren. Also, we'll be back at Constitution Marina in the winter.

3. Do you take your boat out?
Of course we do! To me, it would seem silly to live on a boat and not use it, though there certainly is a small faction of people who live exactly that way. I suppose the marina life in itself is fun and possibly worth it, but the people I've seen who don't move their boats are generally kinda odd ducks anyhow and don't particularly play well with others. Ah well. Anyhow, we try to get out every other weekend or so. Usually just to the Boston Harbor Islands, but sometimes further up or down the coast a bit. It seems that I work on the boat one weekend and we use it the next. I think it is a fair ratio and I know it is better than some people (aka wood boat owners) who generally just work on them....

4. What made you do this and whose idea was it?
Technically it was my (Justin's) idea, but as soon as I mentioned it, it became just as much Jenny's idea as my own. She was 100% excited about it right from the beginning, and sometimes may have even surpassed myself in her ambition to move aboard. For me, the idea started with a family vacation we took when I was about 14 years old. My mom, dad, sister, grandmother, and I all went from our homes in Michigan down to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky to rent a 60' houseboat for the week. The water was 87 degrees. We woke early each morning to fish and swim. It was awesome. I always said I wanted to live on a houseboat after that, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity. Flash forward many years-- Jenny and I were looking at apartment prices in Boston (eek!) and I realized that for the absurd prices they get, we could probably pay monthly on a houseboat loan instead. I mentioned this to Jenny (somewhat tentatively, expecting a rebuke) and she was thrilled. That was our first encounter with I haven't stopped visiting that website since. It didn't take long to realize that people lived on real boats too, not just houseboats. That eventually led us to our first boat, the Carver 33, which was about as houseboaty as a planing hull can get. Soon after moving aboard we realized how much we enjoyed the lifestyle and that we wanted to make it more permanent as well as be able to travel further, so a sailboat was in order. Hence, Madrigal.

5. How much does that cost?
Apartment prices in Boston are so high that it is probably one of the few places where living on a boat can actually be comparable to renting an apt in prices. Our boat loan weighs in at around $300 per month, and our dock fee is around $600 per month. Utilities are free in the summer, but in the winter we pay a liveaboard fee of $90 per month and everyone in the marina is stuck paying commercial electricity rates (EXPENSIVE!). Electric bills range from $50-$300 in the winter months, depending on how much we have to use electric heaters. Add on $15 a week or so for each bottle of propane used up and re-filled. Totaled out and averaged, we probably pay $11-1200 per month, not counting repairs. Repairs are a big expense- or can be. Our boat was in rather shoddy condition when we moved aboard, so we have spent a fair chunk of change making it livable and comfortable. It sails and operates nicely, but isn't perfect. New sails etc. are very expensive and we haven't gotten around to that yet. We also have bare minimal electronics aboard (a vhf radio and an old gps). Those will be big expenses when we get to them as well. Luckily, the boat is almost paid off, so that will be a big help for us in the coming months. We are both very excited about that prospect. Just for reference to Boston apt prices, our "cheap" one room studio in East Boston (as in, across the bay, kinda ghetto, near nothing of interest, complete with bed bugs, no counter space, walk up, with a poor view and shoddy appliances) was $800 a month. Anything actually in the heart of the city soars over $1200 easy, and that is still with no real bedroom, just a studio. So if we are under $1200 per month, with a one bedroom waterfront home (Madrigal) then I think have, far and above, the best deal in town. Of course, our expenses are helped when people click on the ads on this site.... hint ... hint...

6. What do (or did) you do with all your "stuff"?
Well, bags and bags and bags of stuff went to Salvation Army. And man did that feel good. Not so much the donating to a cause kinda feeling, but the getting rid of junk kinda feeling. I had my own house, albeit a small one, and Jenny had been in an apartment and then moved in with me. All said, we had a LOT of stuff. Getting rid of all the excess crap that you haven't used or touched in years is an extremely liberating feeling. "Why did I have all that junk?" is the question I ask myself. And I dunno really. Now we have just a couple plastic bins with some books and sentimental stuff residing in a warehouse at a friend's workshop. Everything else, resides in the boat with us.

7. What if you want kids?
Have em aboard. Duh. Lots of people do so and they're kids are all just fine :) There is a family who lives aboard, mostly in our marina, who moved aboard with a 2 year old. Now, a couple years later, I have to imagine that that kid has more people looking out for him and who care about him than any kid living on dirt would generally ever have. And besides, what a cool adventure to grow up with!

8. Where do you shower, and... and... you know... umm... poo?
There is a full functioning head (bathroom) right in the boat. The shower is not separate, but the floor in the head has a depression in it and the faucet on the sink extends up to become the showerhead. We have a holding tank built right into the boat which gets pumped out by a waste removal boat once a week or so. We will likely install a composting airhead (we already have one just not on the boat) before next summer since the pumpouts won't be as easy to procure over at Thayer's Landing.
9. Did you have to get some sort of license for that?
Amazingly, not in Massachusetts (Taxachusetts). Not to own, not to operate. If you are going to charge people to take them out (charter) then yes, you needs some form of captain's license. The only real bummer is the excise tax and mooring permit. They are just pains in the rear, but don't cost an incredible amount. The excise tax is basically a luxury tax on any vehicle with a motor. Apparently they don't care that we live there and it isn't so much a luxury as a home to us.

10. How do you breathe under the shrink wrap?
No, seriously. We were asked this once. Yes, we can breathe just fine.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Things are just ducky, new years, and other such ramblings.

We had a fun new years, as these pictures can attest. We had a party up at the marina office, even though the pool was broken (it's usually heated like a giant hot tub). It didn't matter though. It was tons of fun anyhow.

Nate claims not to enjoy new years, but these first two pictures would claim otherwise....

Christina kept kissing people. Even when posing for pictures apparently. Hah!

Whoever says that white men can't dance hasn't met our friend Mark.
On second thought maybe they have met Mark....

We couldn't catch or friend Dave dancing on camera, but smiling on camera is a rarity enough. (Dave and Christina are the ones who bought our first boat, the Fitzcarraldo from us, btw)

It was a fun party and even without a giant hot tub it was a good way to get us all out of the cold. And really, it's cheaper to turn the heat down on the boat and all go hang out at the same place for the evening!

This duck however, is finding her own way to cope with the cold. Jenny recorded this just aft of our boat a couple days ago.

Monday, January 4, 2010

High Tide

So, two days ago we had a super high tide. There was a sea breeze (and a drawn out low pressure system just sitting on top of us) and a lunar tide. The combination gave us the highest tide I've seen in the 3 years of being here.

I took the two pictures below of the gate into the marina. This is normally the top of the gangway, but as you can see, it is under a couple inches of water. The water (ice water mind you!) was about ankle deep before you went 'up' onto the gangway and into the marina. It was crazy. Of course, I had a full dock cart with me at the time and Willie refused to step into the water. I had to tuck him under one arm like a football, steer the dock cart with the other hand, and wade through ice water. Sometimes, living aboard is hilarious.

And here is the other gate into the marina (we have two). This one wasn't swamped, and if I'd have realized it I would have went that way. But the picture is neat because it shows the slope of the gangway 'down' off of the ocean. That sure is a different feeling.

And, just for fun. Here is some great old prog rock from the band HIGH TIDE.


Sunday, January 3, 2010


Justin and I were lucky enough to make it home for Christmas again this year and see both of our families. It is always a somewhat difficult task, as our families are 7 hours apart on a day that the roads are good, and it has taken us as much as 10 hours to get from one family to the other during Christmas. The weather is somewhat predictable in Michigan in December, and it generally involves lots and lots of snow. Luckily nothing was too terribly delayed and while Justin was stuck for 14 hours in airports all across the country, we both still made it home.

It was fantastic to see everyone and we're thankful for the time that we were there. It never feels like long enough, but it was nice to get back to Willie who had a fun time with our friend Miles in Maine. Gollum (the cat) held down the fort at home, and while we're quite certain she has evil thoughts, she didn't sink the boat.