Thursday, April 17, 2014

Next stop, Coupeville

     It was a beautiful, sunny day, though no wind and the water had a glass-like surface, we would have preferred to raise the sails, it just wasn't in the cards.  Today was 3 and a half hour tour.  No cussing, no stress, just a nice pleasant day.  We left Langley at 9:30 am and arrived in Coupville at 1:10 pm.  18 miles in 3 hours motoring at 2000 rpm.  We had bologna sandwiches, fritos, and chocolate milk on deck while underway. It was pleasant.




     Oh! Yeah! I have to say that before we left Langley I practiced backing and jogging the boat in place, it was about a 45 minute lesson.  I feel much more confident about our next anchoring experience.

     We tied up at the dock in Coupville, walked into town, the boys had ice cream and I had a nice cold beer.  It was a good day.

The first leg

     We are doing it, really doing it.  We left Port Townsend at 8:15 am on April 12, 2014.  We are keeping a decent log so far, and kept on course surprising well.  We arrived in Langley, Washington at 4:30 pm.  We motored most of the way because we had the wind at our stern and it was one jibe after another.  It was pretty stressful and yes, there was some cussing. By the time we arrived we were ready to tie up at the dock and take a few deep breaths.  Funny thing though, there was a motor boat gathering in Langley that day and there was no dock available to tie up to.  We were instructed that we could raft up with one of the motor boats or anchor out.  We opted the latter.  Scott's words were, "How appropriate," My thoughts were, "What the *@##*, I am not ready for this!"

       I learned something....I didn't know that I didn't know how to back the boat with the wind pushing the bow.

     Our first attempt at anchoring in Langley was a failure.  Scott pulled the anchor back in and the chain pile fell.  Our no yelling rule (we try to use hand signals while anchoring) went out with tide.  There was yelling and I was quite sure I could not handle the job of backing to secure the anchor.  Eventually we prevailed and the anchor was secure.  The water was rough and the wind was windy.  We tossed the idea of rowing Fresh into town, but that was as far as we went with that. Tossed it and forgot it.

     This was our first experience of not being plugged into electricity.  It felt so primitive, yet so freeing.   We were self sufficient.  Our solar panels fed the batteries and we have a lovely lantern that lights the salon.  Plenty of propane and food for two weeks.  We had hamburgers (with catsup and pickles) and peaches for dinner.

     We snuggled into our home on the rolling waves our beloved diesel heater doing it's job and keeping us warm and cozy.  Around 8:30 we were ready for a good sleep.  Then came the thought of,  "What if the anchor isn't set and we drift ashore?"  Does this mean someone will stay up and keep watch?  Yes, that is exactly what that means.  And we will take turns doing it.  Long story short, the boat drifts with the current (we weren't aware of this fact).  At midnight we were up and outside ready to reset the anchor.  We checked our position, and although we appeared to be drifting, the boat was simply going with the flow and the anchor was firmly in place.  All was well.  Still I didn't rest too well.  Morning came and what a beautiful morning it was.  We survived our first day out and our first night anchored from what I would call civilization.  SUCCESS!

Looking in to Langley from Velvet Sky

Good Morning, Bucket....what do you see?
(leaving Langley)


   

Love to All

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ready.....OKAY!

Ahoy!
   
     Today we tie up the final loose ends.  Laundry, one more trip to the grocery, tie the bikes on deck, and say a few "fair-the-well."  We are ready to throw off the dock lines and set sail at 70 degrees NE (M).   We will leave Saturday or Sunday (tomorrow or the next day) early morning, around 8:30.  We will travel around Whidbey Island to Langley and that will be our first anchorage this leg. We figure about a 6 hour trip.  We will take photos, and update whenever possible.  I added a few photos to the gallery this morning.

Love to All!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Photo Gallery Update

Ahoy!

     I decided to relieve you of the thousand words for this blog and post the photos we have accumulated over the winter (you can find them under the gallery tab).  I have added a caption to each photo.

Fair Winds and Oceans of Love.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bucket turned 4

     I was sure I was going to create the number 4 out of a white or chocolate
 rectangular cake and ice it probably blue.   Not the case.  I had a request from the birthday boy for a Batman cake.  He wanted the inside to be cherry flavored.  An easy task if we lived in a city with craft stores  and options upon options of cake flavors.
 
     This was an eye opener for the experiences we will encounter later on as we travel to foreign places.    
We are in Port Townsend.  A small coastal town (a very pleasant community), which, for as far as I know, one would find it hard to buy a pair of underpants, let alone black frosting for a batman cake.  There are a couple of "kitchen gadget" stores downtown.  I had to give the shelves a once over in hopes of finding coloring paste.  Long story short, no.  I did my hunting and searching, and came up empty handed.  Now it was time to throw a fit and stomp my feet like a four year old.  Back at the boat I did just that! The scene went something like this.

     Cindy is pacing the 20 or so feet of open floor space in the Velvet Sky.  She is opening the refrigerator and peering in (looking, just looking), pacing, pacing, straightening couch pillows, dusting the desk as she passes.  Pacing, pacing, like a caged wild cat.  At last, an explosion of frustration comes from her mouth in the form of words.
     "It used to be I had whatever I wanted, when I wanted it!" "I had convenience!" "Everything is a struggle!" "I live in a town that has nothing!"
     The search for black frosting and cherry flavored cake and coming up empty handed had broke me. But wait, here comes my Knight.  "Cindy," he says, "look around, we have everything." Shaking my head in frustration, "What are you talking about?" "We don't have black food coloring!" I heard the words come from my mouth. Then I heard his words again, "We have everything."  Then he continued,  "I laugh when you say this town has nothing."  "Wait until we get to other countries and it becomes hard to find eggs."  Reality Check.....(yeah, the idea is a bit frightening. We have only just begun this crazy adventure.  "Living the Dream," as some would say.

     I surrendered to the idea of combining all colors in the box to create grey icing. And surely the local grocery store would have cherry chip by Duncan Hines, right?  So off to the grocery store.....la la la la.
No cherry anything cake. But, would you believe....BLACK icing! Life is such a trip!  I picked up two cake mixes, to give the Bucket a choice.  He could have a rainbow chip or a tye dye Batman cake.

Two layer The Dye

Batman logo
I am 4 and can cut the cake

Taste better than it looks


 
   

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring is Springing


(Yawn, stretch, moan, stretch)

     Whoa, whoa, whoa....what?  March? It's March?  Time to come out of hibernation.

      It has been a long, sometimes monotonous, no so eventful winter.  Although, thinking back, and recalling the photos that were taken (not yet loaded onto the computer), I believe there may be a few incidents and activities to report.

     We started out using electric heaters to keep us warm here in the Velvet Sky.  They did the job.  They also shot the electricity bill up about 120 dollars a month.  I certainly did appreciate the heat they created, however they did not do a very good job of keeping the moisture down.  And they were kind of in the walk way. Cords, and amp suckage, and space takers, oh my! Most importantly, they were not  something we could heat the boat with while we are underway.  Impractical on so many levels. So, Scott, being the caretaker he is began researching diesel heaters and installation.  He found the winner! I will have him do the report on the technical aspects of his great find.  It will eventually get on the blog under a different tab.  I will tell you what I know.  It is warm, convenient, and keeps the boat delightfully dry.  It has made this hibernation period much more pleasant.



Ahhh...the convenience of a thermostat
   
Space saver

Nice fit in the lazarette
   

Installed and ready to do it's job
      Now, we are ready to take on the inside passage to Alaska (planned to begin April 19-22).

     Although that was the most exciting thing added to the boat over the winter, there are still a few more things worth reporting.

     The Bucket made a visit to Idaho.  He spent a week with his Aunt Shawn and Uncle Gary and three weeks with his Aunt Hopey and her family.  A month was a long time for us to apart from that little guy, though I know he enjoyed his vacation.  While he was there he got some education materials.  He is learning to write the letters of the alphabet.

Super Bucket learning to write the letter "Z"
     

     I have to mention that when I went to Idaho to retrieve the boy, my Mom taught me to crochet.  So far I have made three headbands, one hat for myself, two hats for Zayden, and one hat for Scott.  We are covered on the cranium.  

     When Zayden returned from his vacation he began swim lessons.  He is now in level two of his lessons, and learning to hold his breath under water.

The Bucket's first day at "swim school"
     I am going to post this much for now.  I have a few more topics I would like to get out to anyone interested.  The sun is shining and it is fairly warm outside.  I am in the middle of stitching a leather wheel cover on the helm wheel.  I am going to take advantage of the break in spring showers, for we cannot use the helm until that job is complete.  So, "Cheers," for now to my friends and loved ones, I shall return to the keyboard soon.





Friday, January 3, 2014

Our New Addition

     January 2, 2014 we took the ferry back to Whidbey Island.   I fell in love with her the moment Dave  (The caregiver and previous owner) took the tarp off.  I think Scott did too.  She doesn't have a name (never has), and hadn't been in the water for 17 years.  Our new dinghy is a Montgomery 10.  It is everything we hoped for in a dinghy.  She came with oars, full sailing rig, and a beautiful white sail.  The Bucket is on vacation through January.  He will be the one to name her when he returns home.

     Originally we were planning to use an inflatable and have been watching the ad board here in Port Townsend as well as Craig's list for a used one.  Scott began researching and through that discovered that an inflatable just was not for us.  Together we decided that we wanted something lightweight and we could row, sail, or motor.  And this is what came into our life.  Lovely!  

   





The New Year

      Happy New Year!  It is January 3rd, I know, but if there is one thing I have learned living here in the Puget Sound, it is "Island Time" really does exist.  And it is the new year.  2013 is behind us and we have 365 days of new memories to create.

     We welcomed January 1st with open arms and determination to bring the Velvet Sky out for a sail.  We had met some new found friends of ours on the eve of the new year for a beer and good company.  They are just  beginning their adventures in sailing, the same as us.  They are Eric and Linda Ahlvin.  They are on a 42 foot Valiant, name Rover that just got splashed yesterday.  So, we had a beer, some peanuts, and good conversation, then went back to our own places to watch a movie and bring in the new year.

     January 1st morning Scott and I took the ferry over to Whidbey Island to look at a dinghy we were interested in purchasing.  We returned to Port Townsend around noon.  We were taking the boat out and it was a beautiful sunny day to do it.  The sun and the temperature were pleasant, however, the wind was not going to accommodate.  That was okay.  We would leave the sail cover on and motor out, ignoring the bad form of leaving the sail cover on.

     We were so pleased to have Eric and Linda join us.  We motored out (with our sail cover on) the sound was smooth and still with a mere 1.5 knots of wind.  No matter.  We were with friends, on our boat, on the water on New Year's Day. All was right in our world.

     Predictably, both Scott and Eric thought it appropriate to put the sails up, ("It is a sailboat." Said Eric).  It was made so.  Again, all was right in our world.  We returned to our slip around 2:30.

     It is my belief that if I am near the Ocean on January 1st, I must take the ceremonial dip.  We made the short trip to Fort Warden and I made my way into the icy water of the Sound.  I was refreshed and renewed as I allowed the salt water to embrace me completely and very briefly.

Going.....

Going......

Going.....
IN!

Blessed in 2014





Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Doldrums

     The doldrums made a visit to us here on the Velvet Sky the first week in December.  They came in with the national cold front.  We begrudgingly welcomed them with the extra electric heater we had stowed in one of the bilge lockers, extra layers of fleece, and a couple of extra blankets on the beds.  We had the idea that by welcoming and embracing the cold, the doldrums would excuse themselves, and activity would be the replacement.  Here we are 3 weeks later, lots of sunshine, cold weather, and no wind.   Three days ago we did the most exciting thing we had done since Thanksgiving.  We motored to the pump out station.  This was our first time.  And we did it all by ourselves.  It seemed like it was going to be a major deal.  It was easy as putting the vacuum on the waste valve of the boat, pushing the green button, flushing a bit of fresh water through the head, and motoring back to the slip.  From releasing the dock lines to warping the boat back into position, and plugging back in to electricity, a total of 30 minutes.  Not bad for the first time.  Now what to do? What to do? Go for a walk.  Do some baking.  Read a book.  Walk to the Post Office.  Watch a movie.  Play cribbage.  Repeat.

     I haven't told you about the moisture that builds up on a boat.  Yes, lots of moisture, every day.   We prop the beds up for ventilation and to keep our bedding dry.  We open the closet doors or the moisture accumulates and builds up creating small puddles which is readily absorbed by anything that is not in a ziplock or protected by some kind of plastic bag.  "Anything" includes shoes, coats, paper products, and any food in cardboard packaging.  There is daily cleanup and drying out.  And let me tell you, in case there is any question, entertaining a child in cold weather inside with very little room to jump, yell, or play, is the most time-consuming, challenging, frustrating part of this wintertime adventure.  We often find ourselves wanting to start the motor, put the sails up, and sail to the warm blue waters of Mexico before the weather or our plans permit.  We pull each other out of that fantasy frequently.  Alaska first, then sunshine, sweet, sweet, sunshine.  I am very well aware of the fact that we will be sweaty and hot and dealing with lots of bugs.  I am okay with that because we will find shade after run on the beach with our bare feet in the warm sand, and a nice long play in the emerald and turquoise waters.  Until then, I am so incredibly gratified by the activities of the holiday season.

     Raising the Bucket on the boat comes with a lot of challenges.  It also comes with a lot of smiles and heart warming memories.  Christmas this year held a lot of meanings for us.  It is the celebration of the birth of Christ, of the winter months winding down, the opportunity to be creative and make frosted cookies, and as my friend Shawn so eloquently put it, "The giving of gifts to a child without recognition."  Santa worked his magic and made his appearance on the Velvet Sky.  The Bucket asked for the simplest things.  A Christmas Tree, a candy cane, and a jingle bell. Last night (Christmas Eve), as we tucked our little guy in, his last words before "goodnight" were, "Santa is coming, Papa, that is so cool!"  "Yes, Bucket, that is so cool."

Cookies

Cookies

This one is for Santa

And more cookies

Milk for Santa

Milk AND cookies for Santa


Santa makes an appearance, in and out like a flash

What is it Papa?

Blow up Bopping Gloves

Oh! That is sooo cool

My own lunch box, now I don't have to use Mommy's

Entertainment (no batteries needed)

Again....(no batteries required)

A cool ninja blanket, it is so soft!  (Thank you Aunt Linda and Uncle Gary in Idaho) Also under the tree are cards and gifts from Great Gramma in Utah, Grandpa and Grandma Smith in Paris, and Grandpa Carl in Oregon.  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR LOVED ONES!

Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Readers, Love and Blessings to you ALL!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Do you like my hat?

     On the bright side.  The Captain is letting his hair grow and we get some good giggles.  I never knew he could grow such lovely locks.




This Stinks

     I had no intentions of sharing any of the down sides to living aboard.  I don't want to be one to burst a bubble, and, after all, most people want to think that "living the dream," is just that, and leave please leave the nightmares and trouble to those that are still living in "reality."  I am here to tell you that even dreams encompass reality.

     From the beginning, we have used the public restroom for showers as well as elimination process.  We decided that it was about time we open the head for business, both for our convenience and that of any company we have here on the Velvet Sky.  We have however limited the use of the head to urination only, no number two (great decision).  Scott never claimed to be a plumber and good thing, too.  It turns out when he did the toilet plumbing, he did it backwards.  The pump out hose was where the intake from the head hose should have been and visa versa.  We were trying to flush from the head into the holding tank via the bottom of the tank,  which in turn meant that the waste was going to be pumped from the top of the tank.  Gravity would have none of that.  We had no choice, the hoses had to be reversed and corrected.  I am looking for empathy here because I cried like a child who saw a monster in the closet when I was struck with cleaning up this mess.

 
     That is pee, and it was stinky, and yes, to me, a nightmare.  I hope that sharing this will bring awareness to those who plan or ever will plumb their own holding tank.  Don't make this mistake, it stinks (literally and figuratively).

   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Updates

     I am beginning to update "About the Boat" and "The Backstory." I imagine this will be an ongoing process.  Like I have mentioned, internet is sketchy and unpredictable.  I will write when the opportunity arises. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Day after Thanksgiving

     Though temperatures were in the high 40's, it was not raining, and we were going out, wind or no wind.  The agreement was even if we had to motor and the sails were flopping around like they never should, we were taking Carl out into the Puget Sound.  And it was made so.


Carl and the Bucket excited to see the Sound

Sunglasses make it official

It's a go
Carl takes the helm and Scott keeps an eye on the shape of the sails
The sails never did flail as predicted.  We motored only upon return to marina. The Velvet Sky hummed a beautiful tune as the wind filled her sails and she glided peacefully and easily around the Sound the day after Thanksgiving.  

Thanksgiving


 
     Our friend, Carl, made the announcement that he was coming from Oregon to visit us on the Velvet Sky.  He would arrive on Wednesday evening and stay through Friday.  Oh my! Let's see....how do we do Thanksgiving in Port Townsend? On a boat? Port Townsend does not have a buffet, although there is a buffet in Port Angeles which is about 30 miles away.  Yes! This is what we will do.
  
     No.  This is not what we did.  I just couldn't put myself or our company through that drive on Thanksgiving.  I took the challenge (Shawn knew I would).  I would just keep it simple and on a very small scale.  You know; turkey, potatoes, gravy, green beans, a nice bottle of wine and a pie bought from the Safeway bakery.                                                                              

     What can you cook in a 14X14 inch oven and on a three burner stove top?  A traditional Thanksgiving meal, of course (if you have the local butcher cut the 13 pound turkey in half). 



This is our oven and storage space for the dish drainer

Stove top and our 4 cup percolator
Also the refrigerator and freezer which doubles as counter space

Yes, we have a place for the dish drainer
     Other live aboard's tell me that our galley is deluxe.  I find contentment in this approximately 6 foot square area.

     Our Thanksgiving menu consisted of the following:

One half of a 13 pound turkey and two extra thighs, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, parsnips, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, hot rolls, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, and a good bottle of wine.
From this angle it just doesn't look like much

Pictures don't do it justice, the turkey was cooked to perfection

Just as I am posting this Scott and I are having a good giggle.  He says next year I will take the pictures.   I was sure I would be doing a bit more bragging.  The pictures just don't tell it as it was, honestly.  We enjoyed the food and certainly enjoyed each others company.  Besides, we were going to untie the bowlines and take the house, our company, and the left overs out for a sail on Friday.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Friends, Forts, & Flags

Friends

Here is the Bucket with his friend Taylor.
 We wandered off the beaten path to build a fort on the beach.
 As everyone knows, every fort needs a flag, and here is the one they made.

T + B= Taylor and Bucket

Supervisor

Just the right size, room for two.

Flag flying