A snapshot into our daily life

I think many people have the idea that living on a boat and sailing is luxurious. In one sense it is – it is a huge luxury to take our floating home with us to visit new places. On the other hand, it has really made all of us appreciate things that we took for granted previously. A typical day includes fixing something that has broken, feeling pressured about getting into a port safely or making sure our anchor is holding so we don’t ruin our boat, spending a few hours attempting to teach the kids, cooking, cleaning, walking far distances and carrying heavy loads, and of course seeing and experiencing amazing things!

Fixing a gross clog caused by a little girl throwing a glass figurine into the toilet and not telling anybody.
Fixing a gross clog caused by a little girl throwing a glass figurine into the toilet and not telling anybody.
Riding bikes through Central Park!
Riding bikes through Central Park!
Exploring!
Exploring!
We took advantage of renting bikes in central park to go find a gas station and fill up our dinghy tank!
We took advantage of renting bikes in central park to go find a gas station and fill up our dinghy tank!

The other night at dinner, Grant said he was grateful we had drinking water, food, and a warm place to sleep. I am always especially thankful for being able to bathe and do laundry. These are things we think about daily. We need to make sure we have enough drinking water, cooking gas, dinghy gas, and diesel before we are away from a port with services/provisions for several days. We have limited space so we are grocery shopping about every 3-4 days. It’s a huge relief when we’ve found a safe place to anchor/moore/dock at night in a new place. We are always grateful for fair winds and following seas as these define our ability to enjoy our time at sea and at anchor. We are always making sure we aren’t using too much energy, especially on a cloudy day when our solar isn’t working at its best and give thanks for sunny days.

Weather is key to our existence on a boat. Recently there was a big storm coming and we decided to stop our journey south for a couple of days and the nearest port did not have moorings. We ended up having to dock at a marina that had all kinds of luxuries we are not used to. We had clean, fancy showers, a nice lobby to ride out the storm, free transportation to town so we didn’t have to walk miles, access to water to fill our tanks, drinking fountains with filtered water we could load up on, good reliable wifi (this meant the kids could watch a movie!), and a clean laundry facility. That brief stop really made us realize the little things we used to take for granted. I love that it is the kid’s new reality to be grateful for even the “little” things.

Taking advantage of all of the amenities of the marina.
Taking advantage of all of the amenities of the marina.
Feeling fancy at the marina.
Feeling fancy at the marina.

We are currently watching hurricane Matthew and we think we may need to head up the Hudson River and take cover next week if it continues up the east coast. We have been in 50 knot winds and it is no joke. The hurricane currently has 150 mile per hour winds. Let’s hope he heads back out to sea and dissipates soon.

FINALLY headed South!

We were all set to get back in the water Thursday afternoon. All we had to do was pull the rudders back up (they had been pulled down so we could paint them). Pulling them up was easy, then we had to put a pin through the rudder shaft and a collar that holds it up. The same pin that fit it the same hole a week prior now would not go through the back side of the collar. We spent hours trying to figure this out, asked for help from the boatyard guys, still no luck and the clock was ticking. If we couldn’t get the rudders up by the end of the day it would be another day in the boatyard and then potentially another weekend! Around 4:00pm one of the guys at the yard suggested that he could use his grinder to create a beveled head for the pin to see if it would slide in easier that way. It worked! Hallelujah! We were beyond happy to have figured this out and still be able to get back in the water that day. As the boat was being lifted, Dave, the fiberglass guy that we worked with quite a bit came by to take a picture of us – he’s a tough guy on the exterior but I think he developed a soft spot for our family during the 3 weeks we were there. That night we broke in our new heads (bathroom), only to find that one of the new tubes was leaking at its connection point. I’ll spare you the details on how we found that out! So, our plans to leave for Portsmouth the next morning were thwarted once again! The next morning the plumbing guy, Will, came by first thing and made a quick adjustment to the line and voila, it was fixed! It was about 9:00am by this point and we decided to get out of dodge and try to make it to Portsmouth. It was a chilly morning, reminding us we need to get South at a pretty quick pace.

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Unfortunately, the seas were rough, the wind at 20knots on our nose. We were forced to motor and even then we were going slow. Everyone felt sick so we decided find a closer port to spend the night. Wells Harbor was close (just south of Kennebunkport) and I called the harbor master to see if we could get a mooring for the night. He mentioned the draft at low tide (which is when we would be entering the harbor) was 4.5ft. The draft of our boat is 4 ft. Eeek! He did not mention the massive waves at the entrance to the jetty that we would have to navigate. Holy cow, that was an experience. We lined ourselves up in the middle of the jetty and waited for a wave to take us in. The kids were under their blankets in the cockpit and we were all unexpectedly hit with the wave in the cockpit as it crashed over the boat. We surfed right on into the entrance to the harbor where we saw a dog walking on the sand next to us – not exactly what you want to see in a sailboat. We decided to hangout in the entrance until the tide came up just a bit more to play it safe. Wells Harbor was beautiful – there were miles of white sand beaches, tall grass and beautiful rocky cliffs. It really had it all. The locals were friendly and provided us good advice on how to leave the harbor the next morning without grounding or getting knocked by the waves. We went to dinner at the waterfront restaurant for my birthday and had an awesome dessert.

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The next morning Noah was fishing on the dock and didn’t look down as he was walking towards the water to cast. He fell in and lost the fishing pole. Luckily it was low tide and the water was only 4-5 ft deep. I’m glad he got that scare somewhere relatively safe than out in the big blue. Later that morning the harbor master let us watch the video of ourselves entering the jetty the night before – it felt way more dramatic than it looked on video!

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We set sail for Portsmouth and actually had decent winds to sail instead of motor! Portsmouth is known for its strong current in the river entering town. We had a reservation at the public dock downtown (thanks to our friends from S/V Secret Story for the recommendation) and some local boaters were there to help us dock as it’s pretty tricky with the current pushing you back and away. Our dock line was not secured to our cleat very well and the woman who took the line pulled, the line came loose, and she fell backward off the dock and into the water. Oh man, we felt HORRIBLE and super embarrassed. We got docked and brought her a bottle of wine. Their family was really nice and we ended up having sundowners on the dock. We explored town that evening – it was adorable! We spent 3 nights here because thunderstorms were forecasted for a couple of days and I had 2 meetings scheduled for Tuesday that I wanted to be in a port for. Portsmouth is a very historic town, as much of New England is. We took that opportunity to see some sights to incorporate into our boat school curriculum. One of the most impactful visits we had was to the African Burying Ground Memorial Park, right in the center of town. When slaves died they were buried in unmarked graves. In 2003, construction workers were digging and found coffins with remains. It was determined they were the remains of slaves. Construction was stopped and this memorial was built on top of the site. We are looking forward to the kids learning about the American Revolution, slavery, and the Civil War as we make our way through New England. On a very important side note, Hope finally mastered the monkey bars at park in Portsmouth!

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We set sail to Boston with a stopover in Gloucester and had a great weather and winds. We finally got to test out the new (to us) kayak we bought on Craigslist in Portland.

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We moored at an awesome marina located in downtown Boston. This place had the cleanest showers/bathrooms, great security and although we were right by the tour boat dock, we really didn’t get rocked much. The first afternoon we were there we explored downtown and met up with one of my good friends from high school. I love being able to see people I normally wouldn’t – it was really great catching up even though it was brief. The next day we walked the Freedom Trail and saw many historic places relating to the Revolutionary War, climbing 294 steps at the Bunker Hill monument, and signing our names to the new hull of the USS Constitution. The USS Constitution Museum was free and one of the best I’ve been to. It was engaging for the kids, we got to tour the ship, and we all learned a lot! The kids were troupers as we did A LOT of walking. The next day I needed to do some work so I went to a Starbucks downtown for wi-fi and Pat took the kids to the Children’s Museum. We met up that afternoon and let the kids play at the park downtown and then we took the “T” to Harvard.

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We left early this morning for Onset Bay just south of the Cape Cod Canal. We did our first heave-to to wait in the bay until the current was weak enough for us to enter the canal. It feels so good each time we learn something new like this! We had a nice sail, but it was a very long day. We hope to get to New York by the end of the week, but the weather looks a little sketchy so, as always we are playing it by ear.

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Stay tuned for an update on boat schooling now that we have started in earnest!

Boatyard Living

Although Portland, ME is a great city, we have been here way too long. We waited a week to be hauled out in a very rolly mooring field frequented by cruise ships, ferries, and many fishing boats going full speed about 20 feet from our boat. We’ve now been on “the hard” for a full week and the projects seem to have just started. A boat yard is an industrial place where fishing boats are hauled out and salty fishermen are working hard on their boats. We’ve made friends with a couple, and learned a lot about their world. This is a picture of our next door neighbor.

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We’ve also learned new words like “lobstah”, “beah”, “dinah”, and “wicked pissah”. The boat is on stilts and we are about 10 feet in the air. We are constantly watching the kids to make sure they don’t fall off the boat (much scarier on land than in the water!). When the kids want to get off the boat we are watching them to make sure they aren’t playing near the gross water nearby (we are located right next door to a lobster cannery), they aren’t playing with chips of paint, in oil puddles, or with a rusty bar. They did make friends with our next door neighbor’s kids.

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We have become used to the gross smell of the cannery and it will be a welcome treat when we can go outside on the trampoline and watch the stars without having to plug our noses!

We broke down and decided to rent a car to get the kids out of dodge during the day. It felt so foreign to be behind the wheel again. It was much needed as we had many errands to run getting items for the boat, taking a shower (about half a mile down the road at the “good” boat yard location), entertaining the kids, etc. Pat and I have had to take turns working on the boat and taking care of the kids. Here is a list of projects we’ve been working on:

– Replace plumbing in heads (thank goodness! The smell was KILLING me!)
– Replace toilet seats
– Build a floorboard for the heads

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– Glue headboard strip in 2 cabins
– Sand the hull and scrape looking for bubbles in the bottom coat
– Bring rudders down for inspection and repair
– Sand rudders and keel where needing repair
– Inspect stanchions for leaks and remove putty previous owner put on them
– Install battery insulators
– Remove VHF and send to manufacturer to get a new MMSI
– Replace helm chair that cracked in half on our crossing (rotten wood inside)
– Replace speakers
– Replace deck shower
– Reinstall life raft after being serviced
– Clean & Buff boat (don’t get me started on how long it took us to prep for this – apparently it’s more complicated than meets the eye).

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Pat polishing the boat – harder than it looks!

– Try to figure out where the anchor light wiring is in the mast! Ugh, still no solution on this one.

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An inside look up the mast.

– Install solenoid on LPG tanks
– Waiting for a rigging/mast inspector
– Waiting on an engine guy to look at our sail drive
– We will fix leaks in rudders, repair fiberglass damage on the keels, and then spot paint the areas on the hull that were bubbling.
– Replace broken valve on hot water heater
– Replace deck shower “mixer”
– Replace engine compartment latch
– Replace zincs on hull
– Take advantage of having a car to get items like toilet paper that can be flushed in our new toilets (yay!), get 3M hooks to hang decorations in kids cabins, get waste baskets, laundry tubs, shower caddy, etc, etc.

So, we’ve been busy. We are really looking forward to being back in the water with all of these items checked off the list – hopefully late next week if we’re lucky. Although it is taxing, it is nice to be using our bodies everyday. We felt this the first day we were on the boat. Everything you do is physical – it really makes you feel alive. I used to sit at my desk for 8 hours a day and would be too tired to exercise in the evenings. Now, being physical is just a part of life. If we’re not working hard on the boat, using our core to balance ourselves in the water and trim/put sails up, we’re playing hard on the beach or walking a mile to get groceries, dinner, or sightsee. Feeling sore at the end of the day is a reminder that we’ve lived.

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Taking a break for a little beach time.
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The boys trying out their new boogie boards.
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Tucker, our new friend at the boatyard.
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Happy that the boat is finally hauled out!
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The kids with Tucker.
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The kids actually excited to start boat schooling!

 

Nova Scotia to Maine

So, we’ve been quiet for a while because we’ve been so busy! I thought this lifestyle would afford more relaxation but it seems that getting the boat and ourselves up to par takes a lot of time and effort! I’m going to provide a quick update on what we’ve been up to!

This is a photo as we left Shelburne headed on our first overnight passage (2 nights actually) to Maine. We could have sailed around the tip of Nova Scotia and had a shorter passage, but the tides and currents are quite crazy in the Bay of Fundy and we decided we would rather do an overnight than deal with that craziness.

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The pictures don’t do it justice, but the full moon was amazing. Unfortunately, we entered into thick fog about 3 hours into our passage. It was a bit disconcerting as the currents were also quite strong (we passed through an area named “The Rip” and “The Big Rip”) that tossed our boat when our engines couldn’t quite keep up with the current. We have radar and AIS on board, which allowed us to do this passage with comfort knowing even in fog we can see what is out there – it’s just a little more stressful in my opinion to not physically be able to see anything past my boat.

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Pat and I took shifts (4 on, 4 off).  It was cold and wet outside. Our new friends we met in Lunenberg who are expert sailors did this crossing a few days before us and saw dolphins on the bow. I was dying to have this happen for us, but I couldn’t stay outside for long with the weather. It was quite honestly exhausting. Neither of us really slept, worrying about the other out there by themselves. We had harnesses and tethers and would tether ourselves to the boat every time we went outside.

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I had the sunrise shift, which was such a treat and made the long night feel worth it. This never gets old.

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This no where near does it justice, but I had to include the picture as this was quite possibly the most amazing thing I saw. On the second night I was on shift as the sun went down and the moon came up. I was looking everywhere for the moon and as I looked behind me I saw this amazing, huge, vibrant, red, moon coming out of the ocean. I will never forget that – SO AMAZING.

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We navigated through what I’m sure was thousands of lobster pots on the way into Casco Bay in Portland, Maine.

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We met up with our good friends from Lunenberg again – the kids had fun on the beach and at the playground.
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The next day we went on the train near our mooring and……

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I got a haircut! Ahh, to feel semi-attractive for a few hours! Our boat does not accommodate a hair dryer, and it wouldn’t really matter if it did since I’m out in the wind and weather all of the time so to have my hair styled felt amazing!

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We met up with my friend Paula from my studies at UT Austin and she took us to the beach! The kids were quick to make friends and the boys learned to bodysurf – a new favorite pastime.

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In between trying to kept the kids entertained we’ve been doing a lot of work. We took the life raft in to be serviced (a big load off that we know it inflates!), we bought many little things we need to fix things on the boat, loaded up on safety equipment we couldn’t get in Canada, we replaced the speakers, the deck shower, ordered parts, set up a haul out and servicing at the local boat yard, and I started my semester with ASU.

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We are finally at the boat yard and the boat will be hauled out on Monday. Fingers crossed the bill won’t be outrageous, but I’m not holding my breath with the amount of work we need done.

The boys have been keeping busy fishing and have caught a few squid and several Mackeral. The harbor we are in is quite busy so we have caught and released.

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Once we have everything fixed on the boat, we’ll head South doing day sails – first Kennebunkport, then Portsmouth, Boston, New York,  etc. We can’t wait to get moving again!

***Below is a note I wrote while on night watch if you’re interested in what that was like! We’re slowly but surely becoming real sailors!

First Overnight Passage

I’m writing this during one of my night watch shifts (8-midnight). It’s about 11:15pm and I’m exhausted. I’m writing this as a means to entertain myself and stay awake. There isn’t a whole lot for me to do because we are motoring (we could sail in the dark, but with the crazy currents and unpredictable winds as you enter the Gulf of Maine, we decided against it). My main job is to make sure we are on course and that we stay out of the way of any other boats we see on radar or AIS. The radar screen is blank and the 2 boats that were near us earlier have now gone a different direction. I did some stretches, looked at pictures, tried to read (I had to stop because it was putting me to sleep), went outside in the cold, and have drank a ton a water. I was hoping for a nice night sail, and while the full moon is out, it is very foggy and cold. I’m staying in the cabin monitoring the instruments for the most part.

All I can think about is going to bed, but I know Pat didn’t get to sleep until about 9:30 and his next shift doesn’t end until 4am. I’m going to try to go a bit past the official end of my shift (midnight) so he can sleep a bit longer.

Both Pat and I were a bit nervous about our first open water/overnight sail. We talked with our new friends we met in Lunenberg who are very experienced sailors and got a few pointers from them. We prepped the boat, prepped the kids, and tried to prep ourselves. We were able to sail for the first 3 hours or so until the wind shifted directions and we were “head to wind”. At this point we turned on the motors and shortly thereafter we were engulfed in fog. There were several islands, rip currents, and rocks we had to navigate through so it was a bit stressful until we were out in the wide open. Pat got the kids ready for bed, and I was at the helm. The kids seem to understand that they need to entertain and feed themselves. Noah especially has been extremely helpful so that Pat and I can either focus on sailing/navigating or rest.

I’ve read and heard people talk about how they “find themselves” during night sails. You are all alone in the ocean for hours – just you and the stars and moon and if you’re lucky dolphins playing at the bow.. I was really looking forward to that time, but honestly I am just too tired to have any deep thoughts or put myself through sitting in the cold and wet outside.

This is night one of two – the entire passage to Portland, Maine from Shelburne, Nova Scotia is about 44 hours. We left in the afternoon so we will hopefully arrive mid- morning (during daylight).

Observations of life on board with kids

imageimageimageimageHere are my observations on living aboard with children so far:

Crumbs are everywhere! This is probably my biggest pet peeve so far. The kids are naturally crumb makers. On a boat, there is no dog to lick them up, and because the living space is so small, the crumbs seem to be all over the place.

They make anything into an American Ninja Warrior challenge course. There is a deck that wraps around the entire boat, poles that are very sturdy and make good monkey bars, hatches to climb in and out of, and a trampoline. When the kids seem to have a lot of energy (usually just after several hours sailing when we are about to anchor), they make some kind of course.

Each having their own room makes a world of difference. They sleep better, can have alone time when needed, and they seem to be more entertained by going to each others rooms to play.

Three year olds are difficult. This is the same on land or on a boat. Hope hated getting buckled into her car seat on land, and now hates putting her life jacket on. I anticipate this to be an on-going battle (just like the car seat), and I think as she gets older (4 maybe? For some reason I remember the boys becoming a lot more reasonable around 4) and matures it won’t be such an issue.

As long as you have enough food, the kids are fine. This is again the same at home and on the boat. When they whine – “I’m hungeryyyyyyy!”, it is always helpful to have food readily available. I liken our sailing outings to a road trip. As long as they have food and entertainment, we’re golden. This was a lesson learned after our first outing. For some crazy reason we thought the kids would sit nicely at the cockpit table while we got the boat underway. Nope! That turned into a stressful fiasco.

They want to be independent- steering the dinghy, tying us off, throwing line while going through the locks, steering the boat, etc.. This is a great thing and a challenge all at once. Grant asked the other day why Daddy always says the word “critical”. This is a critical moment, go inside the boat. It’s critical we get this done correctly right now, maybe another time. Etc. Etc. Because Pat and I are both learning a lot right now, and many things on a boat are safety issues, we haven’t been able to let the kids learn as much as they want just yet. This has caused some disappointment, but I know it’s just a matter of time before Pat and I feel comfortable enough with what we’re doing to teach the kids without feeling stressed. We’ve tried to find easy things for them to do (steering the dinghy and tying us off, steering when we’re in open waters rather than channels, etc.). .

No iPad/TV = reading to each other, making crafts, playing war with Barbie’s, putting together electrical circuits, etc. This one is similar to home, but it’s so much easier because we don’t even have a TV to turn on so it’s not an argument. It’s been great seeing how they entertain themselves while Pat and I are busy sailing. When it gets a bit rocky, Hope goes into her room to sleep. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Keeping a clean house is just as difficult in a few hundred square feet as it is in 2700. Maybe even more so because the clutter/dirt is right in your face at all times. I feel like all I’ve been doing is cooking and cleaning.

We are getting to spend lots of quality time with the kids and they seem to be excited about having more of our attention and physical closeness. This is by far my favorite change from our previous life on land.

We’ve become intimately aware of each others bodily rhythms. Toilet paper cannot go into our toilet system. This means that every time one of the kids has to use the restroom we stay next to them to make sure they don’t forget this very important rule. The first day on the boat, Pat had to don a pair of rubber gloves and retrieve some toilet paper from the toilet. Now we know we’d rather stand by the bathroom every time than do that again!

Our first couple of weeks have been a bit abnormal as we are spending nearly everyday sailing all day to get back to the states. Our new normal after this long haul will be to anchor somewhere interesting for several days/weeks and I anticipate the kid’s energy won’t be as intense.

Grateful

feetTonight was the first time I was able to sit in silence and reflect. We motored to a secluded anchorage in Bras d’Or Lake (a big step for us- leaving the safety of the marina on our own for the first time). While we may have looked like crazy people while anchoring (a post for another time!), and we had a few stressors during our first outing, we finally got situated and Pat and the kids dinghied over to shore while I made dinner. I went out on the trampoline while the pizza dough was rising and finally breathed a sigh of relief. I looked around myself and just could not believe we were finally here. I don’t know how this happened. I just feel ridiculously lucky. We are fully aware that we are part of a very small population of people that are able to do this. We get to live in this beautiful boat, have a new, exciting, and gorgeous backyard every night. We get to see the sunset every night. When we were in our home, working 9-5 jobs, we would only see the sunset if it happened to be setting while we were driving home. We get to have a home cooked dinner together EVERY NIGHT. Most nights in our old lives we would not have dinner together as someone would be working late, a child was at sports practice, etc. We get to experience new things and learn new things in each location we go to. Today, the kids explored the shore of Nova Scotia and found pink and purple star fish, and a giant crab. They (they boys) are learning how to operate their dinghy on their own, and how to navigate through the water. We get to meet new, amazing people every day. Boaters are the nicest people. We have had pretty much every complete stranger we’ve come in contact with offer to help us.

As I laid on the trampoline, I looked at the tattoo on my foot. It’s of a blue bird and butterfly – the symbols for my Dad and Uncle. I love that I have this permanent reminder of them, and why we are doing this. Life is short, and I’m so grateful for their guidance during this journey.

 

The First 48 Hours

The first few days living on the boat have been exhilarating and stressful at the same time. It’s surreal that we are finally here and living on a boat!

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We explored our new home and quickly began unpacking. It was like Christmas- seeing our special items we haven’t seen for 2 months. The kids wondered why we weren’t sailing immediately and were a bit antsy. The first day consisted of sorting our belongings (much of which still needs to find its final home). The first full day on the boat we still had our rental van and we went to the larger town to get a few remaining items we couldn’t fit into the van when we arrived from Halifax.

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I am working right now, so I had to spend several hours that evening and the next morning grading. The second day we went sailing into the Bras d’Or Lake (a very large salt water lake) in Cape Breton. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect. We all decided to go for a swim, which was super refreshing – 72 degree water on a hot and sunny day. We learned a lot about the boat that day as we were out with the previous owners so they could show us the nuances of our new home.

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Meanwhile, we have been trying to figure out when/where we are going to buy items for the boat that we need to be US Coast Guard compliant. We are also still trying to find insurance for our boat. Currently, our biggest concern is how we are going to clear customs on the boat without the boat’s registration. This is a German registered vessel, in Canadian waters, now owned by United States citizens. We are waiting on the registration to get here from Germany, but it’s not clear if we have to wait to leave Canada until we have those papers. We will be doing more research on this tomorrow. The list could go on and on, but I won’t bore you with that.

We are also trying to decided when to head South towards Halifax – we will have good sailing weather for the next 2 days, but then not so great weather Thurs-Sat. I’d like to get closer to the US before weather starts getting colder (Sept.) as it will take us about a week and a half of sailing to get to Maine (and we can only sail on good weather days, which of course is an unknown variable). The flip side is Bra d’Or is a sailing destination for the rich and famous and we feel like we should take the time to explore it while we’re here.

It’s a bit daunting being on our own now. We have a steep learning curve ahead of us. There are so many systems on the boat that we need to learn (batteries, watermaker, solar, refrigeration, toilets, engine, etc.). We are trying to balance spending time with the kids and making sure they are entertained and doing everything we need to do to prepare for our first solo sail into remote areas without services.

The kids have been great – the boys are diligent about wearing their life jackets at all times – Hope is another story. She resists, but it is non-negotiable so we have had some power struggles. I’ve found it helps to tell her the police will take us to jail if she doesn’t have it on :). We are enjoying having time together without iPads, TV’s, etc. It has been nice eating together every night and we look forward to a time when we’re not so stressed (have I mentioned we still need to deal with getting new birth certificates/social security cards after they were stolen?) with urgent “to-do’s” and can enjoy exploring with the kids. It seems like for months now, we keep telling the kids that once we are packed, once we are on the road, once we are at the farm, once we are on the boat, once we are settled on the boat……. We’ll have more time and it won’t be so stressful. I’m hoping this is the last “once…” and we can truly start enjoying our new life and get into a bit of a routine.

Highlights of our time on the boat so far:
Sunsets
Meeting friendly sailors/Mariners
Jumping off the boat into the lake
Building confidence
Unpacking and beginning to feel like home
Our first dinghy ride
Receiving a text of our dog running and playing on the farm
Seeing the kids enjoying sailing
Waking up to the kids reading marine books instead of asking for their iPads

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Whirlwind preparations for moving aboard!

We finalized our boat purchase on July 14th, my brother got married on the 16th (lots of festivities that week), and we have been trying to get the following things done while also trying to ensure the kids don’t kill themselves or each other. We quickly figured out that Pat and I can’t both work on these tasks at the same time, otherwise the kids will start an all out war vying for attention. Here is a list of items to give you an idea of what needs to be done just prior to moving aboard:

  • Create bill of sale/wire money (this was a “by owner” sale)
  • Research United States Coast Guard registration process
  • Order part for boat (apparently something already broke that the seller advised us of – and although we have to order it, they will reimburse us!)
  • Order Dessert First decal for boat – so exciting!
  • Finalize cell phone plan/connectivity with Verizon
  • Apply for boat insurance (this is a very lengthy and tedious task)
  • Research best version and reserve outboard to pick up in Halifax
  • Enroll in ASU’s health insurance, re-up short term domestic health insurance until ASU employment begins
  • Set up mailing service with St. Brenden’s Isle (trip to town for notary, etc.)
  • Call banks, credit cards, USPS, etc. regarding address change
  • Plan navigation route from St. Peters Bay to Maine
  • Make provisioning/shopping list for Costco stop in Halifax (SO happy they have a Costco!)
  • Reserve rental cars/hotel for Seattle/Halifax.
  • Reserve flights to Halifax (and deal with double booking issue)
  • Prep van for sale (we will sell it in Seattle the day before we leave!)
  • Pack our 8 checked bags and 10 carry-on’s/personal items
  • Still teaching online!

As of this writing, nearly all of these items have been completed. I’m a bit nervous about selling the car and dealing with all of our luggage at the airport/Canadian customs. As of Tuesday evening, we will be moved onto our new home and all of this stress will be worth it! Come on Tuesday!

noahhope

 

 

World Schooling

World Schooling is a new term for me. I came across it as I joined Facebook groups for traveling families. It is an unstructured approach to “home schooling” that families use who travel. They take their experiences from traveling to educate their children. Without setting out to do this, it appears this is what we are doing! We are World Schoolers! Some people choose to supplement with curriculums, which is what we will do, but we will allow our travels and experiences help lead our education. For example, already on our road trip the kids have learned about:

History of Light houses
Lava cave formation and impact
Tide pool sea life
Yellowstone: geisers, mud pools, bison, bears, etc.
Tide tables: pull of the moon
Oregon trail
Tsunami’s
How to make a fire
Ice cream/cheese factory
Whale migration
How rock formations are made (Bryce Canyon)Hydroponics/farming

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We anticipate the kids learning a ton of history on the trip South along the East Coast. We’ll stop in NYC, Washington DC, Virginia, etc.

How cool is that?! The kids are interested in these things because they are experiencing them first hand. They are asking questions and retaining the information! Now, as we have been busy moving from place to place, we haven’t been able to sit down and create lessons around these things, but that is the plan in the future. As we experience new things in various anchorages, we’ll create lessons that are directly tied to what the kids are experiencing.

There is an awesome Facebook group of World Schooling families supporting each other. Check it out for some inspiration – https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldschoolers/