Monday, February 20, 2017

Beginning Spring Preparations

Well, we did it - we removed the remainder of our winter cover in preparation for spring, just in time for it to get cold again.  Oh well.  For those that don't know, we removed the reinforced poly tarp about a month ago during a severe windstorm (80+ knots) but still had the frame up, making Kyrie look a bit like a whale skeleton.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Brrr.. It's Cold Out There!

This winter (our first real winter aboard) has been . . . challenging.  While we are still enjoying living aboard winter in Alaska on a boat is not for the faint of heart.

The last 3 months it has been a roughly constant pattern.  Temps in the 30's and low 40's with lots of rain and heavy wind 40-50mph frequently for a week, then a sudden shift to clear and cold, along with more wind.  This week it is doing the same thing, just now shifting to around 28 for a high, 14 for a low, and heavy Taku winds.  For those not from the area, Taku winds are katabatic winds that affect downtown Juneau and Douglas, and the gusts can reach 90 miles an hour or stronger.  Two weeks ago, one of those windstorms with a steady 40, gusting to 80 plus took out our winter tarp cover.  We had used Scotch Tough poly and tarp tape where we had to have seams in the cover to allow the rigging and mast to pass through.  One of the strong gusts split the seam wide open, and was about ready to forcibly remove the tarp.  At that point, Kristen and I made the call to just cut it down before it did any damage, as the windstorm was supposed to last for another two days.

15 minutes with a utility knife and a full day's work from putting up the cover was undone.  The good thing is the windstorms don't really affect us much anymore.  The bad thing is we lost the still air inside the poly tarp which helped us retain heat a bit.  With the temperatures dropping again, Kyrie tends to do fine until temperatures hit around 25 as we are trying to solely use electric for our heat.  After it gets below 25 the three little electric heaters can't keep up, and we have to use the main boat heater - a Webasto hot water system.  With all three electric heaters running on low we don't blow electric breakers, and with the Webasto we are comfortable inside until temps get into the single digits.

We are fortunate that Kyrie is fully insulated, although not quite enough for Alaskan winters.   We are all anxiously awaiting the time we can pull her away from the dock again - hopefully sometime in March!

Friday, January 20, 2017

One year already?!

     I haven't written anything on this poor neglected blog in months, but today is a very appropriate day to pick it back up again. Much to my amazement, we have been living in our floating home for exactly one year today. How is that possible? I look back at the past year and can't believe everything that has happened.
     We left Juneau and picked Kyrie up at Point Roberts, moved in and moved her to Blaine, Washington. Joe worked in Bellingham and we tried to figure out where exactly we would be longer-term. We had a fantastic time cruising around the area before finally making the decision to take Kyrie north and back home.
      Kyrie has so far been a great home and we're slowly learning how to be a boat family. This winter has been a little rough, especially when a crazy windstorm hit and forced us to cut down that tarp Joe and I worked so hard to put up! Nevertheless, kids and parents alike are doing well and are waitng anxiously for warmer weather so we can put the sails back on, fire the motor up and go explore some more of Southeast Alaska in our floating home!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Adjusting to the weather

     We finally caught a break in the weather. The wind finally stopped! It all started nearly two weeks ago, when Joe and I had been given the gift of a weekend off. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. After being busy with getting Kyrie ready for winter and all the work needed to be done on the house, we were finally facing a weekend with no work that needed to be done. Not only that, but our theater date had been rescheduled for this particular weekend, so Joe's parents would be taking the kids for Friday night as usual. This time, however, they had offered to take them for the entire weekend! A weekend of no major work to be done, to be enjoyed without the kids?! Fantastic!
     You know what they say about best laid plans... Late Friday night, the wind decided to kick up, and kick up hard--we're talking gusts of at least 40 miles per hour that came from the south and hit us broadside. Not that we haven't gone through gusts like that on Kyrie before this, but we didn't have this crazy tent up to create a big sail that covers the entire boat! Needless to say, with the wind gusting, the tarp flapping and us worrying about said tarp holding up to the punishment, we didn't get much sleep. Don't worry--we still enjoyed our weekend immensely!
     It would have been one thing if it was just that one night, but it wasn't. There has been a warm current coming north in the Pacific that pushed a pressure system our way and gave us over a week of wind that decided to blow us around, starting every night around 11:00 and lasting until, oh I don't know, 4:30 in the morning or so? I seriously debated trying to change my sleep schedule in order to get eight hours' sleep before the wind kicked up!
     Thankfully, the pressure system gave up and the wind died down. The skies have cleared and now the cold is hanging on us. I don't know how cold it was this morning since our temperature sensor is actually inside the tent, but the dock was covered in frost. Since this is Juneau, I don't think the cold will last long before it warms up and stays above freezing for a while, but it will definitely be interesting to see how well the insulation in our walls and our little electric heaters work to keep us somewhat warm this winter. In the mean time, I'm going to dream warm dreams of Mexico and the South Pacific!

Friday, October 28, 2016

The joys of baking... on a boat

   I had a bit of a cooking mishap a couple of weeks ago that nearly made me cry, I was laughing so hard. Believe it or not, this is supposed to be a loaf of banana bread...

Monday, October 10, 2016

Donning the winter wardrobe

 I think we may actually have Kyrie ready for winter! It's taken two weekends, but we managed to get the frame built and then wrestled one of the biggest tarps I have ever seen in my life over the entire wood and PVC pipe frame, not to mention the various furling rigs and stays. But after what seems like miles of a really sticky duct tape and boxes of screws, Kyrie has donned her winter wardrobe. And I have to say, while she definitely will not win Belle of the Ball, I think she will keep us comfortable this winter.

This is currently the view out the hatch over the salon table. Not the prettiest view anymore, I admit, but I think I'm going to like the greenhouse effect. On a sunny day like today, it's already warmer inside the boat, as well as on the deck. In fact, the kids dragged cushions out on the front deck so they could do their schoolwork outside. Hopefully there will be enough sunny days this winter so they can spend lots of time out there to do their work. I think the real reason they like it so much already is because we told them they don't have to wear their life jackets out on deck with that cover on.

Hopefully we don't have any issues with it tearing this winter. The tarp is reinforced, so it ought to hold up fairly well. Everything is screwed, zip-tied, and duct taped within an inch of its life. Let's see what this big sail we've built does once the famed Taku winds kick up this fall and winter. I love sailing, but I don't want to do it with a big pipe and tarp tent for our sail!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Living a life... on a boat

     I feel like I've abandoned this poor blog, like so many others I have started throughout the years. I am determined that will not happen with this one! :D Not long after my last post, life really kicked into high gear for us. I had somehow forgotten that we weren't actually on vacation on our boat, but that this is real life.
     We are back in Juneau, and one downside of not living in the marina at Semiahmoo anymore is the lack of amenities. We were rather spoiled down in Blaine, with showers and a laundromat on site. Now, we have to utilize what I refer to as M & D's Suds and Bubbles, otherwise known as my in-laws' house, for showers and laundry. And of course, that means packing up all three kids and the laundry, making sure the big kids have whatever schoolwork they need to finish, and grabbing the all-important blankie and stuffed kitty for the little one so she can take her nap! It's a bit of an undertaking to accomplish this chore now.
     Don't get me wrong. I'm really not complaining. It simply has taken some time to figure out how to plan our lives and get some sort of schedule going now that we not only have grocery shopping and laundry and other daily chores to take care of, but in addition, homeschool work and activities, and all the other activities a family of five living in a town in which they know a lot of people could possibly find themselves involved in! The big kids just finished two weeks of swim lessons every morning Monday - Thursday, for example. Joe travels nearly every Tuesday for work, plus I play Parks and Rec volleyball Tuesday nights. He just started a men's group Monday nights and, oh yeah, the kids have Awana (a kids' group through church) every Wednesday.
     It's frankly a pretty normal life and nothing that would make most other families bat an eyelash... if you live a normal life in a house. But go live that life on a boat, and that complicates things a mite. And you know what? That's okay. We do live a crazy life and we are rather busy, but I'm still enjoying it. And it makes me look forward even more to the day we cast off and head south on our next big adventure. We're looking at nearly three years away now, which may be a little farther off than originally intended, but Joe got a fantastic job that should last for close to three years. That will give us plenty of time to pay off some debts incurred and then save, save, save for travelling.
      In the meantime, we're enjoying being back, even if it means getting the boat ready for winter. I need to take some more pictures, but Kyrie is slowly acquiring her winter wardrobe. We took the sails down last weekend and starting building a framework for the plastic tarping that will protect her and hopefully cut down on the amount the heaters have to run this winter. Joe and I should be able to get the rest of the PVC ribs up this evening. Kyrie is gradually taking on the look of the skeleton of a beached whale!