Monday, June 30, 2014

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

After a recent visit with my nieces whom have started to wade in the waters of adulthood and independence, I started thinking about my personal trials and tribulations in my younger years.  More specifically, I pondered what I wish I would have known.  As we were returning to Hilton Head, I compiled a basic list of important things that I have learned along my path and in doing so, improved my life. 

1.  You manifest your reality.  Your thoughts create things and circumstances... So think good ones and monitor your inner dialogue. 

2.  Be slow to react.  It might make you feel better to instantly handle things as your emotions dictate, but it is wiser to let things simmer for a bit before taking action so you are coming from a place of logic.  

3.  Let go of the blame.  No one owes you anything.  Carrying grudges is only extra weight for yourself.  

4.  "Stuff" ie material possessions does not make the person.  You are not better because you have nicer things.  Be free and only buy what you can afford instead of entering the intrapment of debt.

5.  Everything happens for a reason.  Go with the flow.  

6.  Always be honest.  Always.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'm Gonna Make This Place My Home

  Traveling around Gunar's schedule has created an interesting oppertunity.  Instead of moving every few days as we had in the past when we were cruising through the Bahamas, I have a set period of time that I have to hunker down with the kids.  It gives us a chance to immerse ourselves in the place where our dock lines land and get to know the pulse of the town.  Each is so unique.  

  We have never planned where we stop to date on this journey with REFUGE.   We simply watch the calendar and make the best option in marinas when the time comes to do so.  I like to scour the area when we know it's marina time and read through Active Captain* reviews to come up with what I think is our best fit.  (*There is a network for boaters that amongst other things has an extensive review and reccomendation component that details others experiences online).  Not every marina will work for a sailboat with three youngish boisterous kids and a chihuahua.  I do my best to try to score something with a pool.  The more sailboats there, the better: sailors like us more.  More on that at a later date. 

  Once Gunar has to take off, I take distracting the kids very seriously.  It's not ideal that Daddy works apart from us, but it does make this lifestyle possible for us.  I figure if I keep everyone busy, the time will pass faster until our family is once again intact.  I set about googling the town for an events calendar/things for kids to do and come up with a game plan.  From presentations to classes to vbs to crafts, etc, I sign up my people to be a part of what is happening.  The local library becomes a frequent stop.  It doesn't take long before we become part of the community and people start to know us.  Then Gunar rejoins us, we move on to new waters, and the entire process begins again in a new spot.    

Sunday, June 15, 2014

G Star

Most of the time I look at other sail blogs I think why don't they talk about the boat and sailing. 

 I remember one particular sailboat race when the owner brought his new wife along. We pushed things a little too hard on a broad reach with an Asym and broached fast putting the spreaders in the water. She clung to the high side primary winch like an angry cat and actually hissed. I'll never forget the look on her face. Then the boat came up, the chute filled with an explosion that nearly parted the back stay. We careened to the mark, jibed for a third and got protested by some fool for swimming during the race. The wife swore she'd never sail again. But she did and learned to enjoy it. 

Tonight we are anchored in a protective cove next to Hilton Head. There's a nice ocean breeze and all is well. Jenny made yet another wonderful dinner and we sat on the bow counting stars and satellites as they came out. The kids have advanced so well in school they breeze through more academics in a day than they'd see in a week at the public place. 

Anyway back to the boat stuff.  We had shopped for over a year before we ended up with a G50 Sloop. Perfect for our plans and what we do. We looked at a number of Oceanis 50's but there's something about bolt on keels that make for extremely vivid dreams of disaster so we chose a well proven ocean traveler that was big enough for the kids as well as something we could afford. 
The boat is sort of vintage. Ours had two previous owners, the first was a highly decorated defense coordinator for our gov. He apparently didn't use the thing much. 
The second owner took her from the west coast around to the Caribbean and eventually to NC where we snagged her. We wanted a solid boat that we could take safely across an ocean. This boat has weathered some of the ocean's worst and, they've been known to win a few long distance races in the process. We'll see. 
We are about 1/3rd of the way through a basic refit. Refitting a boat is just like remodeling an old colonial home. All antiquated systems must be upgraded to meet new technology. It is quite the task but there is no compromise when your adventures take you far offshore. 

I don't have pictures but we were boarded not only by the Coast Guard but also the Sheriff yesterday in a "dual effort" or something They were very pleasant and gave us the Gold Star award for being uber safe but it is still disconcerting when cops roll up in your home and start looking around. But these guys ended up embarrassed as they left a jacket plus weapon plus ammo on our boat and broke our life line. Not cool.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Sweat box, laser beam, flashing light...

,,,You've got to feel the rush feel the spice of life."

In our case it was just a sweat box. The kids did have some glow sticks though. 

There is no first world drama worse than anchoring your yacht in a 95 degree swamp filled with bugs only to lose your air conditioning. Although I did manage to drop ten pounds overnight from sweat and an additional 5 pounds in blood loss to the local mosquito population. We arrived at our anchorage, exhausted from a couple of previous hectic days and having done 70 miles on the ICW, only to fire up the generator and have the gen pack not come up to voltage. Break out the fans. Open the hatches. 

and proceed to sweat. I passed out, made it to about 3:00 am where I woke up in a pool and moved to the cockpit where there was a semblance of a breeze. I passed back out and let the Mosquitos feast. Ever been so tired that a large bug landed on you and you didn't care?  It reminded me of Vietnam and I've never even been there. Have to add a new generator to the list. Then the anchor alarm went off about 4:30. I hit it like a snooze button and fell right back asleep. Bad captain. Mangroves are soft enough, right?

Anyway here we are swinging on the hook. We should be moving right now but everyone is still asleep. I don't have the heart to fire up the engine and disturb the peace. Well-rested kids equal happy kids equals happy mommy equals happy dad. I always have a plan. So for the moment I'll enjoy the sounds of nature and let everyone sleep. Charleston can wait. 

Lieutenant Dan?

The bat does not approve this message. 

 "Like the record spins on the trails we blaze
The walls are closing in but thats ok because Ive been waiting all week to feel this way and it feels so good, so good. 
Im on top of the world the coolest kid in the neighbourhood."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sailing By Kayden

Weeks ago, we got to Federal Point Marina and they had a swimming pool that we could swim in.  My dad worked as much as he could on the boat before he had to leave.  Once he left we swam and ate dinner and went to bed.

Days passed and we swam with our floaties.  Even though the pool gets freezing cold, you get used to it.  

One day we had to move the boat so my dad ordered a tow boat but the tow boat was really late.  It took two hours when they said it would take ten minutes.  We finally called and they said it would be a few more minutes so we hopped up in our car and went to get Mickey Ds real quick.  When we got back we ate and then we saw the tow boat coming.  We got out of the boat and watched the tow boat guys take the boat out of the marina.   Then we quickly rushed to our new marina.  

When we got to the new marina, we rushed down to the dock and grabbed the lines to tie the boat up.  Once the boat was tied up we went and asked the office lady if there was Internet and wifi.  She said yes but there was a very lite signal and it might not work.  We got home and tried to use Netflix but it did not work so then we gave up trying.  

Two days after we got to Joyner Marina, we went to go get Dad.  We went to the airport, got Dad, drove off, came back to the boat, and went to sleep.  

This morning we took off and started sailing.  And that's what we are doing now.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Salt Life

If I were stuck in a cubicle I would be day dreaming about the life we currently live. Every day is a wonder, a challenge, and an adventure. When you live on a cruising yacht you acquire a synchronicity with nature and the ocean that you could not. Once, a sea creature shoved our sailboat over like a toy.  Probably a large Manatee. 

On lucky mornings we are greeted by dolphines nearby. These sentient beings have a language nearly as complex as humans and their brains are significantly bigger with more folds than we have.

If you've ever looked at a drop of ocean under a microscope then you know it is not just dihydrogen oxide but a soup filled with life. So many small creatures live in a single drop of ocean water that there is potential to blow the mind.

After years of soaking in the ocean, watching it quickly heal your cuts and  scrapes it surely becomes part of you. 

There is an incredible peace you get from such a life style. Once we are back home in Michigan with a house and all that, I'm sure we will all look back fondly at our cruising days. 

Tomorrow we take off yet again and continue motoring south on the ICW. Today I fired up the old Perkins. After checking everything out I hit the starter and she came to life in a second after sitting idle for 45 days. We were fortunate to get a vintage diesel with few hours on the meter. So far she is reliable. Once our boat is weighed down with cruising gear however, I suspect the engine will be slightly under powered for the displacement. I will have to plan our maneuvers accordingly. 

Once in Florida We will hire another Tech to further upgrade the motor, check torque specs, and giver her another look see. Sailboats are also trawlers so having a bullet proof motor is essential. 

In the next 7 to 8 days we hope to make Brunswick, but there is no schedule and no time frame. Wherever we stop will be our new home for a couple weeks. 

Look at that tired windlass. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Everything Included!! except...

It's funny how you can buy the Unlimited Gold Premium nothing else needed Towing package that even covers your boat trailer and they still manage to zing you for a C-note on a ten minute tow. Only in Amerika. 
Like Kid Rock said, I don't give a damn about money I just need a bunch to be free. 
It's tough to see in this grainy picture but that sailboat is nearly sunk. I backed my tug down in the Calumet last night and noticed that our wheel wash was spilling over the deck of this boat. It wouldn't have been a big deal if it were some ratty old Bayliner but this thing was someone's labor of love.  I didn't even recognize the make but it was a pristine high dollar vessel in bristol condition. I hailed the Coast Guard and moved on up the river.  Check those seacocks. 

Here is a Lake Michigan sunrise. 

Only two more days of work and I can hop the shuttle home.