Monday, August 29, 2011

The Fury of Storms

Why is it that no one is ever satisfied with a storm? Either the storm is "too small" or "too big", but rarely is it the perfect amount of fury mixed with little damage to satisfy a crowd.

Hurricane Irene turned into a tropical storm before she reached the Boston area. The night before the storm, everyone was "hoping for the best". But after many many hours of preparation, I suppose people are hoping for a little bit of weather to prove that their hard work paid off.

Our spot at Thayer's Landing seemed to be quite protected - more so than our friends in Winthrop and Boston who were battered a bit more than us (although I did find out later that Weymouth did see a fair bit of tree damage).

We stayed at Jeff's house and spent much of the day out on the porch, waiting to see the gust that would make our hearts race. Had the boats not been prepared, the amount of wind that we had seen may have done more damage. Jeff's docks may not have held up so well had the majority of the boats not hauled out. With the low profile of our sailboat, we were able to stay in the water with being less of a threat to the integrity of the docks. Our boat was one of the few to stay in the water at Thayer's Landing. Other marinas who did little preparing saw more dock damage - we saw none. But without that preparation, Madrigal may have hit the docks as she heeled with the wind. Our things on deck could have been easily picked up by the wind and thrown into the water had they not been stowed.

We heeled a bit.

Ivy entertains us all.

Both north and south of us saw far worse damage - New Hampshire and Vermont were hit very hard, as were places on the Cape.

We were lucky. So lucky in fact, that we even attempted (and failed) to fly a kite.

I'm glad we made it out of the storm safely with no boat damage. Both Madrigal and Creeky were fine. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was hoping to see a bit more weather, but I'm thankful that we aren't dealing with a terrible aftermath. Many people are still without power and many are still dealing with downed trees and flooding. A boat sank in Winthrop and quite a few boats were ripped from their moorings and slammed against the rocks. I'll take our undamaged and "boring" view of the storm over that outcome any day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Things are abuzz as we continue to prepare for the hurricane. We will be staying at the marina owner's house, where we will be able to watch everything unfold while staying safe.

There's a lot of preparation to do (especially with two boats) but Justin has been making good progress with everything. Our marina is over half empty now, as most boats have hauled out to be on dry land. Madrigal will be strung between two finger piers to protect it from hitting against the docks. Our sails are off and all our gear will be stowed inside. The lines are all protected with chafe guard. Creeky is as prepared as possible.

Thayer's Landing is probably the safest place for Madrigal right now, as Jeff is meticulous with everything, especially hurricane prep. He installed some new chain for the docks yesterday (massive chain) and we'll all be throwing anchors out later on today to secure things even further.

I've started to pack our bags, as we'll be staying at Jeff's house both tonight and tomorrow night. I am very thankful that he offered to let us all stay there - Jon (aboard s/v Fattycakes) will also be staying with us and I'm sure we'll all enjoy the safety of the house.

I'm charging the batteries on my camera and plan on taking as many pictures/video as I can and will try to post it as soon as I can next week.

The eye of the storm is set to hit North Carolina around 2pm today, which is when we'll get a bit more information about how the storm is going to react. It's cloudy this morning, which is the first signs we've seen of the hurricane coming our way. The forecasters say it's the size of Arizona and only moving up the coast at about 14 miles an hour (or 11? somewhere in there). Much of New York City has been evacuated and the city of Boston has declared a state of emergency.

We're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Living Aboard a Boat with a Baby

Well, I've waited four months to write this post. I wanted to get used to living aboard the boat with Ivy before jumping to any conclusions about what living aboard a boat with a baby was really like and how it might differ from living in a house or apartment with a baby.

When people initially ask this question (and they inevitably do), I tend to tell them that it's not that different. In some ways it's true, but the more I think about the question, the more I see the differences. Let me explain.

Madrigal's head is pretty small. Our shower is the sink faucet that extends out to be a shower head, and we essentially shower with the toilet. It's certainly not glamorous, but it gets us clean. I've given Ivy a couple of showers in there, but it doesn't work out as well as her tummy tub. We are thankful to have hot water, so we don't have to heat water up on the stovetop to get her water warm. The bonus? We can give her a bath out in the cockpit on a nice day (which is what I plan on doing when she wakes up from her nap!) I don't feel like she's missing out on anything here, and I'm actually very pleased with this tub. She loves it, we love it.

Cloth Diapers:
Cloth diapers are definitely more of a chore for us than if we lived in a house with a washer and dryer. No doubt about it. We keep them in wet bags so they don't stink (which works great) and wash them by hand every few days. Disposables would have been another option, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. We spent $100 on her entire stash of diapers, and every one of them is going to last until she's potty trained. It would be easier to have a washer and dryer for them, but I'm happy we don't. I enjoy washing them by hand, I love hanging them on the lifelines, and I love how much money we're saving by doing so.

Which brings me onto another topic - elimination communication, or infant potty training. That's right, Ivy's mostly potty trained. It's weird and I won't get into it too much, but I'd say she's about 75% potty trained. We still keep her in diapers at all times, but for the most part they're staying clean and dry now. Ivy loves it because she hates being wet more than she hates anything else, so it's also cut down on the crying about 75%.

Well, this one's pretty simple and would be the same in a house as it is on a boat. Ivy's 100% breastfed. We own a bottle (somewhere) but she doesn't use it.

Ivy's playtime is ever evolving as she gets bigger. She started using a johnny jump up at two months old. It hangs from a handrail and she can push off of the cushion and bounce. She has a bumbo, but she's never been a big fan of it. Aside from that, we don't have any fancy contraptions for her to sit in/lay in/play in. No playpens or pack-n-plays.

She's just about sitting up on her own now, with a few topples here and there, so I decided to start dropping the table down to make one big play area for her. It's safe, it's cushy, it's fun. And I can sit over there with her while she plays, so there's currently no need for any safety netting. I know that's only going to last us a few weeks, so I've started figuring out the best way to make it safer for her. We have some extra lifeline netting that I plan on putting up very soon. She'll be able to practice crawling and standing up there, and it's a really nice sized area for her to play in.

She obviously doesn't have a lot of space for a lot of toys, but I'm sure most parents would say "oh, you're lucky!" She still has a good amount of things to play with - toys of different sizes and textures. Toys that squeak and teething toys. Fabric toys and wooden toys. She's certainly not missing out on anything there.

Ivy sleeps with us in the v-berth. She sleeps like a champ. It's awesome. But there are times when it's harder to live in such a small space with her because of the issue of sleep.

For instance, she likes to wake up at 4am sometimes. I like to let Justin sleep, since that's only 4 1/2 hours after he gets home from work. Usually it's just fine - I can take her out of the v-berth, shut the door, and we're fine. But if she's having a rough morning and screaming, that door is pretty thin and she keeps him awake. When she gets up at 4, she's usually ready for a nap at 6. The easiest way to get her to nap is to take her back into bed (well, that or the Ergo, but at 6, I'm always hoping for a bit more sleep as well). If Justin's still in bed, then we end up waking him up until she goes back to sleep. It's not a terrible setup by any means, but I imagine that naps with a baby in a house go much differently than this.

And then there are the daytime naps. The time where I think "Yes! I can do the dishes and vacuum and clean up the boat!" Except...I can't. I don't dare do the dishes, because if I drop a fork, she wakes up. And if she doesn't get enough sleep, she'll be cranky. So either I do dishes when she's awake and happy and playing somewhere safely, or I do them when she's in the Ergo, or one of us does them when we're both home.

Another silly thing that we have to be very aware of is Willie's collar. We've discovered that Willie loves to do that doggy shake that dogs like to do. It makes his tags jingle SO loudly, and sometimes that wakes the baby. So we're always frantically trying to get his collar off before he wakes her.

I do turn on white noise for her, which helps with most things. It allows me to worry a bit less about waking her.

Naptime for Ivy is quiet time for everyone. It's the time when I nap with her when she's woken me up too early, the time that I do indexing, or the time that I update the blog. It's a great way to force myself to relax a little, because soon she'll be awake and needing this and that. Naptime is me time, and I am very thankful to have it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Great great news. When we got our Creekmore for free we had the option of buying an old Westerbeke W80 along with it for $1000. The westerbeke was not in the boat, it was just on blocks in Henry's garage. It is a 1981 model and had NEVER been started. Once. So essentially brand new, but 30 years old. And of course the w80 model didn't sell so hot or last too long. So it was a real gamble to buy the engine. We bought it anyway. Of course.

Monday, our friend Miles came down to help me try to start it for the first time. We rigged up a diesel day tank, a new starting battery and a garden hose to the engine, which is loosely mounted inside the Creekmore.

It started instantly on the first turn of the key. I was amazed. So so amazed and so incredibly relieved. It didn't leak a single thing. It seriously ran like a brand new engine... which really... it is.

The only thing we didn't do was run the exhaust water out (since there is no thru hull for such a thing yet). So don't mind the water blowing all over into the bilge haha. That was planned!

This week, we are very proud of our Westerbeke. Every once in a while it's nice to have part of the plan fall into place.