Sunday, May 30, 2010

Free From the City

We spent nearly an entire month at the docks before we were able to find the time to go sailing. We were busy for various reasons, and wanted enough days in a row to make the trip a little more worth it. I suppose oftentimes, we're the sailors that like to go places, and less of the "let's go for a short sail" kind of people. We like to let the anchor explore new bottoms and actually get away for awhile.



Our plans never quite seem to work how we want them to, and so a trip to Scituate turned into a trip to Cohasset turned into a trip to World's End turned into a trip to Peddocks Island. Let me explain.

The plan was that we'd sail to Scituate and anchor. We spent the money on a nice anchor for a reason, but after scouting out the charts for anchorages and not finding any, Justin called the harbor master. Upon finding out there was no place to anchor in Scituate OR Cohasset, we decided to turn around. We wanted to get somewhere before dark. World's End is not far off from where we live now, but we had never been there so we thought it'd be a good place to go. Also, we knew they allowed people to anchor there, so it seemed a safe bet.

Once we got there, we threw anchor and within five minutes, the Hingham harbor master was asking us how long we planned to stay. Turns out, they didn't really want us to anchor there either. From what I can find online, we should have been given 48 hours to anchor but what he said didn't line up with that - he said he'd make an exception and let us anchor overnight, but that in the future we wouldn't be able to do so. Turns out, they're putting 40-some mooring balls in there soon, so it doesn't sound like there will even be room to anchor.

Before the storm

That evening there was a crazy thunderstorm. The lightning never got too close, but there was a lot of it which made it fairly hair raising for awhile.

The next morning we made our way over to Peddocks Island since we've anchored out there many times and didn't want to risk our luck. Some friends came out a couple of nights later and rafted to us for a few hours, and afterwards we went ashore and got to know some of the locals. It's funny - we've been there numerous times but have never stopped to talk to them. We weren't quite sure if they'd prefer us to leave them alone, but they were very friendly. There's quite a history to the island and (what's left of) the locals that I'll have to write about sometime.

Anyway, this trip was fairly significant because it was the first time I was freelancing at anchor. Well, that's not entirely true. I've worked from anchor before, but this is the first time as a full-time freelancer. It was amusing to motor around the anchorage and choose our spot according to the wind, the depth AND the strength of my cell phone signal. Cell phone signal = internet connection, which was vital this week.

The anchor riding sail that Justin and I made seems to help.

Taking a break from work to get some freckles.

Christina's favorite pasttime.

Ahmet and Danielle came to visit with the whaler.

Even Marley came to visit.

Mark and the sunset.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

settling in

We are finally beginning to feel settled in. I worked some long hours the last couple days and the commute started to feel normal. Then, when I got home, I felt like I was 'home'. I didn't realize it until today, when I had the day off (we went shopping for Jenny's 28th birthday :) and we after we got home and made dinner I realized how normal it felt to be here. It's really fun living on a boat. Moving our house around is exciting. I like it.

And tonight we are all cozy around the fire on a rainy night. I'm messing about on the computer while Jenny does some indexing. Yep. Home.

Oh, and there is whisky involved.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Double Rainbow

We saw a neat double rainbow the other day. Sadly, it was hard to get a good picture because it was still raining and I didn't want to get my camera wet.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thrasher Spanker

That's right, we have a "Thrasher Spanker", more commonly known as a Spinnaker. Yes, we've made a grand new purchase. We just happened to find a perfect fitting, perfect color, perfect condition, perfect price asymmetrical cruising spinnaker on craigslist this week.

We've wanted one of these for quite some time, but I never expected to find one locally used that fits our boat so well. The pictures were taken at the dock today while we were testing its fit. Hopefully we'll get out on the water with it next week or so.

I call it a "Spanker" because of the reference in this informative little site:

And I call it a "Thrasher" because it came with a nifty sailbag that has THRASHER stenciled on the side of it. Being a fan of old thrash metal, this is a particularly nice perk for me :)

It also came with a fully functioning dousing sock and all the necessary lines. Happiness :)

In other news, Jenny and I will be spending the next two days scuba diving. Last summer, as a wedding present, a bunch of the fine folks at constitution marina got together and purchased us a gift certificate for dive lessons at United Divers in Somerville. It's taken us until now to find the time to actually take the lessons, but we are both pretty excited. Thanks everyone :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Strawberries, Exploring Weymouth, and Sugar Wine

Well well. What a neat little place we live in. We've been exploring our new neighborhood and have been finding some gems! We came across a farm stand yesterday that had fruits and veggies galore, along with plants for purchase. We found a small corner that had a few things discounted so we got an enormous bag of strawberries for 99 cents.

The largest appliance we own is a food dehydrator, which we just can't seem to part with. It has made us many tasty batches of beef jerky and has given us abundant dried fruits that store well for an incredibly long time. It turns out dried strawberries are amazing. We filled the thing up and voila! tasty treats.

There's a cute little park really close by that we've been taking Willie to. It's hilly, and sometimes a dog trots her way over from the other side of the road to bark at us and sniff Willie. We call her Beefcake.


The park.

Indexing has been a gift and has allowed me so much more time in my life. I've actually not had a book to work on in a little over a week (ok, that's a little scary) but I've been working hard at revamping the website (it's going to look GOOD), organizing lots of little things, and contacting a ton of publishers. Today was by far the best day for responses, so I'm feeling really good about things. I'm lined up for two projects at the moment (one isn't for a few months, but at least it's something) and I work with enough publishers quite regularly that I'm not really that concerned. But still, I'm putting full-time hours (or just about) and because I don't have to commute (or index when I get home from a full-time job) I've been granted gobs of time to enjoy life again. I take the time to hang out with the mutt, I've been cleaning, and I've been reading for pleasure. Seriously! I can't remember the last time I read a book just to read it. Amazing.

And hobbies. Justin and I have been picking up hobbies again! Because I was so busy working and indexing (and he was indexing too), we really had to stop focusing on so many things and we simply worked, minimally cleaned, etc.

So, we finally took a couple of hours out of our day to pick up the Alaskan Bootlegger's Guide (that we spoke of here) and we took good ole Leon's advice and started with the simplest wine we could make - Sugar Wine. He says "You can even drink this stuff, but don't expect to impress your true love with it during a romantic candlelight dinner." As you can see in the pictures below, this is really bottom shelf stuff we're making. We used bread yeast, for goodness sake. But who cares, we're not selling it and it's more for enjoyment than it is for anything else. It was nice to have the time to carefully sterilize everything and do things the right way (as right as you can with sugar wine, haha).

Somewhere along the way, Justin decided it was best to keep his hair out of his face.

Anyway, we're really enjoying ourselves here. It's starting to feel like home already. We're still one of the only boats here, but I expect that a lot of people will be coming in this weekend to snuggle into their new summer homes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Move to Thayers Landing

Well, we did it. We moved our boat and our lives to Weymouth Massachusetts. It was a strangely happy and sad farewell all at once. Not like we are 1000 miles away or anything, but it is still a weird feeling to have left all our friends and our daily routines. We had a great trip over here. At one point our friend Mike, who lives on an oversized speedboat, came racing out with a small crew of our friends to do circles around us as we luffed in a squirrelly breeze. It was a fun, and it made for a nice goodbye gesture. But with no further adieu, here is our boat snuggled away at its new dock.

Madrigal at Thayer's Landing

So far it has been a very pleasant experience and I think we'll be very happy spending the summer here. It is so completely different from Constitution Marina. First off, it is quiet. So pleasantly quiet. A train goes by once every 1/2 hour or so at most, but even that sound is muted and minimal compared to the constant traffic over the Charles river bridge that we are used to. Also, I don't think I've heard an emergency siren once! Nice. Aside from quiet, it is very green looking and pleasant smelling. That's surely a change. Jeff's backyard is full of lilacs that smell way better than exhaust.

I took this picture just to show how amazed I was to see real living
trees and greenery outside our ports :)

After we settled in we both crashed out pretty quickly. It had been a long couple days preparing and then the 4 hour sail over added to our tiredness. But of course, we weren't so tired that we couldn't make some homemade pizza for dinner :)

Jenny making pizza dough.

Then came Sunday. It was a beautiful 85 degree day, and we were both free to explore our new surroundings. Sunday included a dinghy ride up the river and across to a park, a bike ride into town, and a walk to other nearby parks for Willie.

This is looking down the Fore River. The ocean is a few bends past those powerlines.

Speaking of those powerlines, the trip up the river was quite hair raising the first time. We have to go under the Fore River bridge (7 feet of clearance for us at high tide) and then under 3 sets of powerlines (about 15 feet of clearance at high tide). The visual perspective staring up the mast as you go under these things is all skewed. It looks like you are surely going to run straight into one of them. Of course, we cleared everything fine, but then there is the narrow channel to follow with very shallow water on either side. It was a bit tense, but really it went just fine.
A channel marker near our dock with some geese. (lots of geese here)

We seem to get the occasional swans as well.

Our dinghy ride to the park across the river (a 30 second dinghy ride-- I could probably push off the dock and coast all the way over) yielded some neat finds. There is moped quite similar to my Kreidler which is submerged in the lowtide muck. Perhaps some vintage Puch or maybe even a fellow Kreidler?
Moped in the gubbus.

A closeup of the moped in the gubbus.

The floodplain area of the park has some really neat swirled grass kind of stuff. It is strange and cushy to walk on. Willie really had fun running around in it.

Willie in the grass across the river.

We also discovered that this river we are in is technically a Marine Estuary with a really neat little segment of marine life in it. This placard below is posted in that same Park. If you click the picture it will give you a large version that you can read. Neat.

Estuary placard.

I don't think Willie's nose has stopped sniffing since we got here.

And this was from our dinghy ride up the river. That was about as far as
we could go before shallow water and a little dam stopped us.

So all told, we are pretty happy with things. It is going to take a while to get used to not being able to just be like "I wonder what Mark is up to?" and walking over to his boat to find out. And there was almost always a crowd of 3 or 4 already over there playing games and having drinks. Instead, it's just us. But I like it. It is more peaceful, more subtle, and more how I always pictured living on a boat with a beautiful wife and a sniffing dog.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our Last Day at Constitution Marina

Our last days at Constitution Marina were productive, fun, and (quoting Justin) pre-nostalgic. We really couldn't have had a better last day at the marina, as the weather was amazing, the grills were out, and we were able to gather with many good friends and enjoy everything about the marina that we have loved so much.

Early in the day, Justin borrowed a wetsuit and dove under Madrigal to clean off the prop and shaft, as we have been experiencing some slow motoring due to....gubbus. No, that's not the technical term, but it about sums up what was floating in the water after he was finished! Now our boat motors as it should, but we still need to get hauled out soon and get the rest of that crap off the bottom and paint it up. Soon, so soon. Everything costs so much money though, so it's never an easy thing to do.

The rest of the day, we spent the day cleaning, doing laundry, taking our last *real* showers (it's boat showers from here on out!) and packing things up in the boat (bikes, hoses, etc.) Once we were all finished with that, we went up to the grocery store and bought hot dogs, hot links, chicken, asparagus, corn, etc. for the grills.

It was great seeing everyone up at the grills again and the night was pristine and the weather was warm. Boats were going in and out of slips after dark and it was great to see the marina alive again. The food was fabulous and company couldn't have been more perfect. It was a night that will not soon be forgotten. We're both going to miss everyone so much, but we're looking forward to our new adventure and really hope that we'll be able to see everyone a lot over the summer, despite our new marina.

We sailed into Thayer's Landing yesterday and all went well. Tomorrow I'll post some photos and a little write up of how everything went!