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!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rain + Relatives = Reunion!

The rain has returned to Juneau with a vengeance, and naturally, just in time for our family reunion that starts today. I’ve really been looking forward to this reunion for a number of reasons. I’m looking forward to seeing so many family members, of course. This is for the Dvorak side of the family, which is Joe’s mom’s dad’s family. (Did you catch all that?)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Farewell to a furry friend

                Kyrie lost a member of her crew a few days ago. Some time early Saturday morning, Desi, our beloved boat kitty, died in her sleep. She was about eighteen and while it wasn’t unexpected—she started going downhill about a week ago—it was still incredibly sad.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"Go to bed, go to sleep..."

   Joe is still out working on the tender. It's keeping him really busy and it's pretty decent money. We see him occasionally--he got home around 2:30 Saturday morning and then had to be back on the boat late Sunday morning. Even for that short amount of time, it was REALLY good to see him. I, for one, am very much looking forward to him being done with this fishing gig.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Already living the dream

     It's been over a month since we arrived back here in Juneau and I've been struggling to come up with something to write about. We've taken Kyrie out several times since--Taku Harbor with the sailing club for Memorial Day weekend (which I really ought to write about since a scary yet amazing thing happened on that trip), another trip down there just with our family, and an overnight getaway with just one kid along while the big two spent the night with friends--and while they have all been fun, for some reason, with the exception of Memorial Day weekend, nothing seemed really blog-worthy.
      And then I stopped and kicked myself for even thinking something so silly! My family lives on a boat--an amazing, beautiful, nearly-everything-we've-wanted-in-a-boat catamaran! How on earth can I not think this worth writing about? Even if no one else reads this, it's still worth mentioning. So, having given myself the swift kick I needed, and will need again from time to time, I can move on.
       I have Kyrie nearly all to myself as I type this. Joe is currently working with/for a friend on a packer, which for any who may not know, is a big boat that goes around, buying fish from the fishing fleet, and delivering them to the cold storage facility, where the fish are processed, packaged, and sent to various locales around the world. He will be doing this for the next month and we'll see him from time to time. For example, he called around noon today, saying he would be at the harbor (on the other end of town!) for about two hours. The girls and I dropped the little bit we were doing and drove to see him!
        Levi left this morning to go to camp for the next four days. It's his last year at Colt Camp, which is for the 7-9 year-olds. I know he's excited about being with older kids next year, but I don't know if I'm ready! This was his third year going to Echo Ranch so leaving Mom for a few days is no big deal anymore. I think Rachael will miss him more than he misses her!
        So, it's just me and the girls until I pick Levi up Thursday evening, unless Joe gets to come home for a little while. Rachael is off at the pavilion across the street, playing with the boys off Midnight Sun (should I be worried? 😉), which is another family boat here in Douglas. Megan is taking a nap, so currently, it's just me and Desi, hanging out in the cockpit, savoring this warm Southeast Alaska day.
          At some point, we'll be ready to cast off lines and get started our next big adventure, but until then? I'm living a dream right now. It may not be everyone's dream, but I'm enjoying it, and every day, something happens that someone, somewhere, just might enjoy reading about.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Traveling the inside passage . . . Lessons Learned

Well after having a couple weeks to think about it, I am finally ready to post on lessons learned from our passage north, also some items that worked and some that did not work so well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kyrie's Big Adventure North, Part 2

It took a while to get it all together, but here is the second half of our big adventure north. I'm really bummed to realize I didn't take as many photos as I thought I did, but there are still some good ones. Enjoy reading about the rest of our adventure!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kyrie's Big Adventure North, part 1

It's taken way too long, but I'm finally getting all my notes typed up and pictures off the camera, so at long last, I can post about our great journey back to Alaska! It's going to take a few posts to share everything, so hopefully you enjoy reading it and seeing in photos some of what we got to experience during our first major trip in Kyrie. Cruising the San Juans was a lot of fun, but this was so much more. Despite giving up hope it would happen, Kyrie is actually in Juneau!
Without further ado, here it is--Kyrie's Big Adventure North.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Promises of more coming

     So I feel like it's been ages since I posted anything and I promise there's a good reason. We spent the last two weeks transiting Kyrie from Blaine back up to Juneau and I had very little internet during that trip. However, I kept a journal of the trip, so once we settle in up here, I promise I'll type up that journal and post it, along with a bunch of pictures. For now, I'm just tickled that Kyrie is actually in Juneau, and that she and her crew survived the journey almost completely unscathed!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Boat Projects . . .

Well, after our short cruise, we figured out we have a bit of maintenance and projects to complete to make the boat much more livable.  As we spent 9 nights in a row on the anchor, we are now pretty versed in using our anchor bridle, but needed to make something more permanent.  So - off to the store and 25' of 1/2" three-strand nylon rope and an appropriately-sized thimble for the chain hook end.

Well, let me (Joe) say I've never attempted to splice rope before, so this was an entirely new challenge, but after about an hour and a half of tinkering I got it!  We now have a nicely spliced anchor bridle!  Don't laugh at the duration, I had to make 4 separate splices - not too bad for a newbie.

For those of you that want to try your own, I used youtube videos and the following guide to get it figured out.

Then came the engine maintenance. I wanted to change the oil and the raw water impeller just to have a fresh start - I'm not sure how long the old ones have been in there.  Well, as most boat projects have a tendency to, this one grew.  I took off the raw water pump (it simply unbolts on a Yanmar 3GM30) and found out the pump was leaking - substantially - to the tune of about a drip a second.  Well, thinking a new seal was in order, I went down to the dealer, only to find they don't have one, and to ship one in would be $10 for the part, and $100 shipping, unless I was willing to wait 3 weeks for the part.  I said no way and set about finding one in town, and tore down the pump for a rebuild.

During the tear down, I discovered that the bearings were SHOT in the pump, which was why the seal was leaking in the first place.  So, out again I go to find the bearings.  After about an hour at NAPA, they have the bearings on order, but they can't get the right seal.. Ugh..

So, online again.  Thankfully I found a new seal that could be here tomorrow!  Finally--I now just have to wait a day and the bearings and seal will be here for my installation pleasure.

Fast forward another day, the parts arrive, and I reassemble the pump, only to get it installed and find out the darn thing will not self prime - thankfully the new impeller I bought came with the impeller lube, and I used it all - so I didn't burn the new one up.  It took about another hour, but I finally figured out how to bleed the system so it will properly draw water and keep the engine from overheating.

So, 5 trips for parts and a total of 3 days, and I now have the oil changed and a new impeller in the engine - no one ever said boat projects were easy!

A taste of the cruising life, part 2

     I'm sorry I haven't posted any pictures. I'm still trying to figure out how to get photos from our phone or the iPad on to this blog, plus I admit to being terrible at remembering to take pictures when I really ought to!

Monday, April 25, 2016

A taste of the cruising life, Part 1

     Life has thrown us a few curveballs lately, so we decided to make lemonade--don't you just love my badly mixed metaphors--and really get out on the boat for a while.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It's good to be home

     Well, it has finally happened. I have completely settled in to living on a boat, and I know this because we actually left Kyrie and went on a short vacation for Easter. We spent Easter itself with my parents and sister in Newport, on the Oregon coast, and then drove inland to Newberg (no wonder my kids can never remember who lives where!) to visit a bunch of Joe's family and celebrate his niece's first birthday by going to a Portland Trailblazers game! On a side note, that game was awesome. We reserved one of the skyboxes and let me tell you, with 15 people, 5 of which were children under 9, that was a great way to watch the game.
      It was funny because I remember each night we were away I was thinking, "Gosh, I miss my bed." It also felt a little weird to be sleeping somewhere that didn't move around! Michael Robertson, a writer and cruiser aboard Del Viento wrote a great article a couple of years ago about caring for your cruiser and while it's somewhat tongue-in-cheek, there is a lot of truth to it! We've only lived on Kyrie for a little over two months, but I can identify with some of the suggestions already. The one about sleeping arrangements cracked me up. At my parents' house, we slept on a hide-a-bed, which was hilariously sloped toward the middle, but at least there was space around the sides. At Joe's grandparents' house, I made some comment about how the bathroom was bigger than our galley and dining area combined!
      Although we had a lot of fun and it was hard leaving everyone, it was amazing to me how much I was looking forward to getting home. It really is true that there's no place like home, whether said home has a solid foundation in the ground, or it floats in a harbor.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Enjoying the sun


      I just had to do a couple of pictures on here today--partly because I seem to forget to post pictures, and mostly because these just epitomize my kids and how they have adjusted to boat life already!
Levi decided it was too nice a day to be cooped up inside
even if he did have math work still to finish!

And Rachael decided to grab one of her
books and follow suit.

      This is one of those days that make me glad to live on a boat, especially after those stormy days we had last week! It also frankly makes me long for the days ahead when we will be in warmer waters, not tied to a dock, but hopefully bobbing at anchor. We're hoping for that to happen in about a year and a half, but it all depends on work and how much we can put into the cruising kitty in the interim. 
     I'm beginning to wonder what I can do to step up my writing and blogging game to help contribute so Joe doesn't feel like the burden of earning is all on him. I know I don't have a ton of readers yet, but for those are reading this, I would love any suggestions on improving readability, aside from the obvious of writing more often! :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

We survived!

     Yes, I feel like that is an appropriate title! The Northwest received two big windstorms this past week--one that hit Thursday morning and one yesterday (Sunday). You can read a bit about the one Thursday here. That one was crazy for us mainly because we somehow were not prepared for it. We heard about high winds coming to the Seattle area, but somehow we missed the memo that it was coming to our area as well. As it was, Joe and I were awake periodically from about 1 am to 4 am, when one of our docklines broke because of the storm surge!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Here comes number three!

    Storm number three for the week is settling in around here. Figures, since my parents are coming to visit this weekend... The one upshot is that it gives me an excuse to not drag the--um, what can I nicely call it? That lovely device that cleans out our holding tank? Anyway, it's too windy for me to have any desire to haul that thing over here and suck out the tank.
     In the meantime, these windstorms are doing one thing--helping us get used to this rock n roll life known as living on a boat. Kyrie does do some rocking in this wind, but nothing like some of the other boats. It's amazing to me how quickly this has become normal. I remember other times being out on Shiva and after we hit dry land again, it felt like everything was moving. Not anymore! Even now, looking out the windows and seeing how everything is moving doesn't bother me. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting here on my bed, watching all the boats bouncing up and down, knowing Kyrie is doing the same thing and I feel fine! In the past, I have had some seasickness to deal with, and that made me nervous, going into living on a boat. I'm sure there will still be plenty of options while underway somewhere for the queasiness to set in, but I'm glad my system is off to a good start adjusting. The kids all seem to be dealing with the motion fine, and even Desi, who frankly I was the most worried about, doesn't seem to mind!
       Hopefully this storm will blow itself out soon. I'll have to go double check the dock lines, just to make sure they haven't loosened at all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Beach day and a science lesson!

     It's supposed to rain all the rest of this week, but this morning was decent, although cold, so the kids and I headed out to the head of Semiahmoo Spit to play on the beach. Playing on the beach around here is like playing on the beach at Auke Rec, for all my Juneau friends. It's a rock beach, covered in stones of all sizes, rubbed smooth by the waves, shells in all manner of condition, including our find of the day!
     Rachael had been scouring the beach for shells while Levi threw rocks in the water and I tried to keep Megan from sucking on the rocks she was looking at. She found a bunch of crab pieces and kept bringing them to me to hold on to. Then she discovered a whole crab!

The first crab Rachael found

Still life of beach finds

     This little girl of mine is fearless when it comes to stuff found on the ground. She is the one who rescues worms from the pavement and returns them to the grass. She found the rolly-polly on the bridge out to the beach and wanted to pick it up. And she had zero problems picking up what turned out to be a dead crab. I sat in amazement as she stared at it on the beach for a moment, before using a stick to flip it over to make sure it was really dead. Once she had flipped it back and forth a few times and was satisfied, she picked it up and brought it to me so I could see it too.
      Rachael set it down long enough for me to take the picture of the crab with some of the other shells we found, and then, to my surprise, she picked it up and carted that dead crab with her all over the beach! She decided to see if it would float in the water, which it did. She admonished her brother not to throw rocks near her and the crab because she didn't want it to get broken. Between handing rocks to Megan for her to look at, watching Levi throw rocks as far as he could in the water (and hoping the ducks had the sense to stay far away!) and watching Rachael play with the crab, I had an rather amusing time this morning!
      When it was time to leave, we made one more discovery--another crab body waved at us from under a big log. No surprise, Rachael ran over and picked that one up as well. We all looked at both crabs, comparing the sizes of the claws. Levi asked if we could look up crabs on the internet when we got back home. Hello science lesson! 
These are Dungeness crabs that Rachael found. The abdominal flap tells us the sex of each one. In this picture, the male is on the left, with the narrow abdominal flap, while the female on the right has a wider flap.

     I asked Levi to write something after he read about Dungeness crabs and here is exactly what he wrote:

   "We were at the beach today when Rachael found a Dungeness crab and here is something interesting about the crab. Female crabs molt right before she mates with a male. After that they prepare to have babies. The female crab lays eggs, but they remain unhatched for a few months, attached under her stomach."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A wind symphony in Semiahmoo

Sunset at Semiahmoo
     That picture was taken a few days ago, before we moved from our transient spot at the fuel dock to our long term slip. It was so beautiful that night! Last night, however, I was really glad we were in the middle of the marina, at least slightly sheltered by the breakwater and all the other boats around us!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mostly moved in

     After not writing anything for a month since I didn't feel I had anything to report, I can finally get back on here and say triumphantly, "We're here!"