Pets on Board Feed

Shamed Into Doing Good

Plastic route

EW has a ten-to-fifteen-minute dinghy ride to and from work each day. Some days I play “suburban wife” and drive him to work so I can have the dinghy. We live at the yellow mark #1964, off the top of water island, and EW works at the green mark across the water from the southern tip of Hassel Island.  If the seas aren’t too lumpy, we take the short cut outside between Water and Hassel Islands, but I more often take the inside passage, going through the cut between Hassel and Frenchtown, which is a more protected, but not necessarily drier route.

On the day in question, shortly before my trip to Maine, I had kissed EW good-by and scooted back around Hassel coming through the cut heading to Crown Bay Marina -- moving right to left along that orange route line -- when I noticed a lot of floating garbage. I’m ashamed to say that I sniffed in distain and powered on through, intent on my own to-do list and mission. A few weeks later, I can’t even remember those all important tasks.

Just as I made the right turn to Crown Bay, I saw another woman in a dinghy, with a lively mid-sized dog on board, picking plastic bottles and bags and Styrofoam lunch containers out of the water. I sped past, then looked around and paused. The area in the bay from the cut at Hassel to the cruise ship dock at Crown Bay was broadly sprinkled with plastic debris, and my rhumb line – that orange route -- ran right through the middle of it. I began my own clean-up campaign.

Now, the thing about starting a project like this is that it’s impossible to stop. Once you tackle a mess and dedicate yourself to cleaning it up, you’ve got to keep going until it’s done. While my unidentified friend and her pup patiently attacked the debris field closer to the source, I committed myself to gathering all of the more broadly spread pieces – those items that had gone past her area.

The next time EW loses his cap from the dinghy, I’m pretty much going to be able to swing around and grab it in one pass. Practice makes perfect and I practiced a lot. I’d choose a small area to attack, count the items in that imaginary circle and scoot around with the dinghy, picking up bottles, yogurt containers, plastic bags, and foam boxes. It was boring, but the weather was nice and I was in the Caribbean. I kept at it until I couldn't see any more debris in my self-designated area and then headed into the dinghy dock at the marina.

At which point, I realized that getting this mess to the garbage container was going to be a challenge. No problem, I’m a boater and boaters help other boaters. Two British gents were enjoying their breakfast on deck. Their boat was tied to the dock and obviously ready for season’s end. Still, one of them knew where the garbage bags were stowed and they passed one down to me, no questions asked.

IMG02174Once Lunah Landah was tied to the dock, I snapped a photo with my trusty old Blackberry, and completely filled a large black garbage bag with plastic items that would be deadly to the marine animals we love to see. I’m still not sure whether my mentor was on her way to take her dog to shore, or on her way back to the boat with a wet, hungry dog. In either case, she definitely had the more arduous task than I, but she never even thought about stopping to clean up the mess. She just did it.

I thank her for the lesson.

Sorry. Blame it on the Windward Islands

We’ve been out of touch for a bit, and now folks who watch these things know that a potential hurricane is brewing south west of us. I’m sorry if you’ve been worried. We are watching the weather and listening to the reports and talking with our boating neighbors.

Let me tell you about our “neighborhood”. Now that it’s summer in the Caribbean and we are below 13 degreesP7200040 North, our boating neighbors fall into two categories: Bareboaters and Cruisers. As snobby as this sounds, the two groups rarely interact. Oh, we’re nice to each other. In the grocery store at Rodney, Bay, we had a lovely chat with some young men who had rented a catamaran for a week. They were stocking up on the essentials, beer, soda and sea sickness tablets – and lots of meat. Nice guys. We hope they had a good time. The other day, EW and friends tried their darnedest to  reach a bareboat before it banged onto a small reef here. They didn’t have their radio on,  and paid no attention to the yelling, gesturing cruisers so they banged the cat onto the reef and backed off. Now we know why that reef is known as “Bareboat Alley”. Really. But bareboaters are here for a week or two in good weather, sailing boats that aren’t theirs. They may have been cruisers or they may become cruisers. Right now they have their own agendas.P7200041

We are cruisers and have “joined” this group of like-minded folk on sloops, cutters, and cats who have all madeP7200039 their way here from South Africa, California, New Zealand, Florida, France, Maine (three boats!), Germany, Nebraska (not sure how they did that), England, Rhode Island, and many other U.S. States. We are all neighbors and form friendships, share ideas and recipes, and keep track of each other. Most mornings, EW and I check into the Coconut Telegraph, a scheduled opportunity to let your neighbors know where you are anchored, when you are underway, and where you are headed. If we were missing from the net for a few days, folks would wonder about us, and contact us on the radio. We are not totally out of touch. And we have parties. These first photos are from an impromptu cocktail party aboard La Luna – attended by 12 or 14 people.

But we have been missing from the Internet for a few days (A week? Two?) and I know folks are wondering about us.  Here’s a brief recap

  • We loved Bequia and had a hard time leaving. I have posts about that visit partially written. When we didP7230097 leave, with dear friends John and Dora on S/V Windrifter, we decided underway to visit Chatham Bay on Union Island – the last island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Chatham Bay was idyllic – nearly deserted, good snorkeling, turtles, and very few boats. No town or Wi-Fi.  We stayed there for three days.
  • When we left on July 25th, we went to the other side of Union Island to Clifton,to check out of the country and we could  have gotten on-line. However, the anchorage was very crowded so instead of staying the night, we picked up a mooring for three hours, went to shore to check out, eat lunch, and get produce and left that afternoon for Petite Martinique.
  • We anchored in PM (as it’s known in these parts) a small island in the country of Grenada. It does not have a customs office but they do have a store with great prices on good wines – so we stopped for the night, went in the next morning to load up, and raised the anchor for Carriacou – the first major island in Grenada. We dropped the anchor in Hillsborough, checked in, raised the anchor and moved over to Tyrell Bay, on the afternoon of July 26. That’s a lot of anchor up and anchor down, so no Wi-Fi.
  • There was a regatta in Carriacou – a local festival that cruisers have participated in for the last 13 years.P7280025 Events for cruises included races, barbeques, parties, an auction and more. EW had the chance to race on a modern classic, Spirited Lady, owned and captained by Susie, from England. Susie has a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel, Jester, who is only eight months old. Jester doesn’t race so I traded EW for Jester on race days. I also made lunch for the crew one day. They loved my macaroon brownies.

In addition to the racing, we’ve been very busy here yoga, auction, taking a bus to town and attending the Carriacou Regatta – great photos of classic boats and their classic beach start.

We’d planned to take a mooring at Sandy Island before leaving as we hear they have great snorkeling, but the weather news was iffy so we decided to leave Carriacou on Monday. Emily was no longer a threat (actually she wasn’t even Emily at that point) but there is another Tropical Wave forming and Monday was a calm day for moving, so we hauled anchor at 8:00 AM and headed south with S/V FoxSea and S/V Sanctuary.

Since there is potential for squalls with south winds at 30 knots, we opted to follow Sanctuary into Calvingy Harbor, a very protected (two reefs, narrow entrance) harbor on Grenada’s south shore. We’ll stay here for a couple of days before moving to Prickley Bay.

EW and I have priorities for the next few months – boat projects, writing projects, euchre, dominoes, volunteering, cruising kitty projects, fun, and self improvement. I’ll finish all the partially done blog posts and share stories and photos. For the next few days we’re going to learn the area, make some plans, and figure out what Carnival activities we will join. So many things to do, so little time.

So, I’m sorry that you haven’t heard from me. Know that we are happy and safe and keeping an eye on the direction and intensity of any potential storm. We’ll have plenty of time to head to safer waters if we need to. We are far from our families and many close friends – but we are among friends here and we all watch out for each other. We are not alone. We are not at sea. We are not totally out of touch, even though it may seem like it.

And we’re having a great time.

Loving Puerto Rico

We are at anchor at Marina de Salinas – a restaurant/bar/hotel/marina in Salinas Puerto Rico. They are Mangroves and Harbor from the bar deck 3-29-2011 4-24-03 PM friendly – even to folks like us on anchor – clean, and have a laundry matt. Unfortunately their wifi is down, which is a bummer because I could have picked it up from the boat, so EW and I will have to have dinner at the empanada place we discovered the other day and use their wifi. Oh darn. Here’s a photo from their bar deck. Note the mangrove suckers, seeking water and mud.

We had been told that we could rent a car for $30.00 for a day and since we had to check in with customs at Ponce we called Sydney to reserve a car. He showed up promptly at 8:00 with a little 2-door Mazda, a basic model with air conditioning, gave us the keys and said, “You pay me tomorrow.” No muss, no fuss, no paperwork. EW had high hopes of checking in with customs, “doing” Wal-Mart, going to a supermarcado for provisions, unloading on the boat and driving an hour and a half in the other direction to Farjardo to “do” West Marine. In one day. In reality we checked in. provisioned for 4 months at Wal-Mart and the supermarcado and took two dinghy trips to get everything on board.  I stowed the perishables, and we went out to Drakes for a bite of gringo food. In the meantime, I called Sydney and asked if we could have the car for another day. “No problem. Keep the car.”

The next day we drove to Farjardo via the scenic route. Oh my goodness. We drove east along the coast until the Atlantic Ocean Along Route 3 3-31-2011 9-24-31 AM route turned north through the mountains. It felt like we were driving in the Blue Ridge Mountains – except for the palm trees. The road was well maintained, but only really big enough for 1.5 cars and full of hairpin turns. Puerto Rico doesn’t use those signs we see on the mainland US with pictures of trucks on a steep hill, or S curves warning us of the upcoming turns. We had to try to decipher the Spanish signs and didn’t always get it right. Since we were mostly only going 35 miles per hour, there was no danger. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop for photos, but the views and the houses perched on the mountain side were breath-taking. There were huge boulders on the right and one home had been built in the trees, above the boulders. I’m sure they had quite the view.  Both EW and I believe that a movie should use this road for a chase scene. 

West Marine was West Marine. We got ‘er done, and headed home on the highway. At rush hour, which reminded EW of Route 128 in Boston. These people do not use blinkers unless they have them on for miles without turning or changing lanes. We have a family phrase, courtesy of EW’s late brother-in-law, “Boston him out”. Boston, in this case is a verb and to “Boston him out” means to show no fear and give no quarter so that the other guy yields. Puerto Ricans can teach a course in the subject. They out-Boston, Massachusetts drivers. EW did great, I navigated an we made it back before dark.

When we had rented the car, I had posted a Tweet about how sanguine Sydney was about giving us the car, no paperwork, no ID’s, no deposit. A travel savvy Mainah Tweeted back that we should have taken photos of the car as it was when we got her. That would have been a good idea, but turned out not to be necessary at all. When we started her up, EW realized that we also had no gas – or not much. So we filled the tank for $35.00 and kept the receipt to show Sydney, and we kept the car two days and drove quite a distance. When EW met Sydney to pay him and return the keys, he showed him the gas receipt and Sydney told us to just pay for one day. EW told Sydney that wasn’t fair and negotiated up.  We ended up paying Sydney $40.00 for two days rental; plus what we paid for the gas.

We had been “introduced” to two boats who had been in Luperon before us and have enjoyed spending time with Art and Denise, and Brad (who is waiting for his finance, Dana to join him). We ran into them at West Marine.  Louis at West Marine 3-31-2011 1-40-55 PMAt one point, I watched Louis for Brad. He’s a good old boy dog, who responds to the phrase “dinghy up!” and jumps into the available dinghy – or cart.  Both of our neighbors have a kayak aboard, and Denise and Dana have been going out each morning during their cruise through the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. Brad offered me the use of his kayak so that I can join Denise and we’ve had two wonderful mornings exploring the mangroves and islands near the harbor. I see a kayak in my future. Denise always has company aboard the kayak as Gizmo enjoys the ride. We’ve seen lots of birds and one manatee. It’s a great way to start the day. P4010033

Here, Gizmo shows his style when no birds are in sight. He’s a relatively laid back terrier. In fact, when we saw this tree of birds, Birds in Tree 4-2-2011 7-46-09 AM Denise let her kayak drift in quite close until Gizmo could no longer control himself, and the birds took off.




Denise, Gizmo and Birds 4-2-2011 7-47-04 AM

I’m writing this while doing laundry as EW works on some boat project and stores the stuff from West Marine. Later on , I’ll go back to the boat and get the rest of the provisions stored. Then it’s empanadas for lunch with some time on-line. Since we have to get to Antigua by April 22, we can’t take the time we want to spend in Puerto Rico, but we’ll be back to circumnavigate the island and see it all – and we’ll drive on the highways as little as possible.

Leaving Again

We will say farewell to Hampton Virgina tomorrow around noon. The weather looks good for a trip around Hatteras and wind to Cumberland Island. We expect to be "at sea" for 4 or 5 days.

Right now, the boat looks nearly as messy as it did a few days prior to leaving Maine. 

EW has been running wire, fixing surprise problems (big huge one with the auto pilot), and installing what we can. I've been the runner. Going to town to get whatever he needs. Today I'm off to West Marine and Lowe's.

Everyone is nice in Hampton. Everyone. Kate, the Dock Master at the Town Dock said that a lady from the Carib1500 told her folks were so nice it was getting on her nerves. I love it. Have talked with a bunch of "natives" and been delighted. 

On Thursday, we thought the shuttle to West Marine was running and I had a list from EW and two propane tanks to fill. The UPS store is conveniently located next to West Marine. How cool is that? But .... they decided not to run the shuttle until Saturday and Sunday, so there I am in Hampton with on empty tank and one a third full. I asked Kate whether there was another place, close by and she gave me excellent directions, up Settlers Landing, Past Rite Aid and McDonalds. Left at MacDonals' Nursery, and left on Lockwood. She said it was about a "half mile" to the nursery. 

I can walk that far with propane tanks. B.C. (Before Cruise) I walked 3 miles a day 5 days a week. (Well, not that often since July, but I could have.)  So I set off. Rite Aid was just about a half mile, the tanks grew heavy, and no Micky D's in sight.  The Rite Aid clerk looked up the location in the yellow pages and said, "Whoa! You got quite a way to go! You sure you want to walk that?" Quite a way turned out to be another mile by her estimation and I decided to push forward and take a taxi back.

Just a bit down the road an older gentleman pulled over. "You planning on getting those tanks filled?" When I said yes, he confirmed the directions and said, "You should call a taxi." Turned out he owned the marina across from the Town Dock. "I'm Archie," he said, "you tell Kate she's all wet on that half mile thing."

I thanked him and set off. When I arrived at Arcan, I walked into a very nice commercial welding supply company with friendly staff. I had left the tanks outside and made my request. "Where are you parked, ma'am?" asked the youngest employee.

"Ah, I walked from Downtown Hampton. The tanks are outside and I'm going to have to ask you to call a cab for me when you are done." They all looked surprised but no one said anything. 

I sat and watched every one work and waited. 

A few minutes later a manager came from out back followed by the guy with my now full tanks.

'He said you walked here from downtown?!. 

"Yes, sir "(I'm getting into the vernacular here -- sir, ma'am) "I did." 

"I'll give you a ride back," he said. And two others at the desk offered to do so as well. 

I accepted. And learned that Hampton does, indeed have a rich history and did, in fact, destroy nearly all of their historical buildings. There are markers with where things used to be. When I commented on how friendly everyone is, he said, "Blackbeard didn't think so. The citizens of this town be-headed him and put his head on a piling at the entrance of the harbor." Cool.

Hampton has that carousel I mentioned. An Air and Space Museum and an Historical Museum and is exceptionally welcome to boaters -- even we cheap cruisers on anchor.  I'm ready to move on, but this has been a great stop. 

Small World

Coming from Maine, where the whole state is a small town, I'm used to running into folks who know my family or EW or me. This happened three times in Hampton.

1. A sailing cat was getting ready to anchor while we were on deck a few days ago when we heard the captain yell, Stew! Stew Hart! Turned out to be the guy who sold us the Hurricane Heating System we've had for 8 years. Had dinner with him and his wife last night. I made pizza since it was Friday night.

2. After the propane experience, I was at the Town Dock telling Kate to check her mileage when a guy standing there, asked me if I was Barb Hart. He's married to a colleague of mine from the Association for Consulting Expertise. He and a crew are taking their boat to Florida.

3. And my favorite. Got a comment to a post from a gentleman who is heading out with the Carib1500. He's been following the blog for a while. We're anchored within sight of his boat. 

Small world.

Today's EW's birthday. He got a card and a candle on his breakfast burrito. He's happy.

Tune in a few days to see whether we really make it to Cumberland Island in one passage.

    Did they go all the way?

    Did they stop in Beaufort or Hilton Head?

    How did the new navigation software work? 

Find out this and more when we next post at Harts at Sea!

Live Aboard Pets -- Dogs and Cats on the Dock and On Board

When we moved aboard in 2002, we had a 6 year old Black Labrador, Jake. AKA Jakie-Bubba, Jake the Sailor Dog and The Black Vac. He was a great live-aboard dog who passed away in September of 08

Jake was the quintessential boating dog and won the Maine Boats Homes and Harbors Boatyard Dog of the Year contest in 2005. He was featured in this article in Coastal Living Magazine. Jakie was simply the best. Ever. (I know you may disagree, but for us, he was the best live-aboard and boat yard dog every.)

Jake Hanging in the Cockpit July 08
 EW had rescued him when he was two years old and Jake had very quickly become an important member of our household and neighborhood. We didn't have an ocean going boat at that time, but Jake's first person was a lobster man, so he knew and liked boats. We had restored an old Penn Yanand Jake loved to sit on the fore deck a small perch with a great view.

When we moved aboard, I was worried about Jake's dock manners. He wasn't a "barker" but he did let us know when company called. He also watch four neighbor houses as he seemed to feel he deserved a compound not just a home. We could not have a barking dog on the dock so I consulted our trainer who suggested that we let Jake bark once, as in "woof" when someone came down the dock. With just a little training, he figured out that boat manners were different than house manners. 

Jake went to work with EW, but we could leave him home alone for a day or evening. He'd sleep on our bed (and on our pillows) but he was fine. As I've mentioned during the recent posts about the February 25 storm, we had a policy of putting Jake in one of the cars when we had severe weather on the dock. That way if something happened and we had to evacuate we didn't have to worry about him. We still call severe storms "Dog Storms" to this day.  

Through the years we have had many year round pet neighbors on the dock: Logan,  Romeo, Sir Frances, Katy, Pablo the Pug and others.P3060002  


In addition, Pablo Ruiz the labradoodledoodle visits so often and stays with us without "mom" Lynnelle, that he has become a part time boat dog and is very adept at it.

What makes a good live aboard pet? Certainly one that is laid back and adaptable. I prefer dogs partly because I'm allergic to cats and partly because I prefer animals that don't poop where they live. (In other words I'm not fond of dealing with cat litter.) We have neighbors who have wonderful on board cats -- currently two Maine Coon Cats: Romeo on Windrifter, a Westsail 42, and Sir Frances (Frankie) on a Catalina 27. Frankie is a young cat who has been raised aboard, Romeo is a senior statesman who has adapted very well. 

Just like pets anywhere in most cases the attitude and actions of the owner are the primary indicators of whether a pet will be a good dock neighbor. 

  • Don't leave your pet alone on the boat (particularly on deck) if he or she will bark the entire time you are gone. 
  • On land or dock, clean up after your pet. 
  • Don't let the pet roam the docks unsupervised. (Though we make allowances for spring days when we are all out on the docks and decks. Loving having Frankie stop by for a visit. Katy used to stick her nose in the open galley port looking for a treat.)
  • Train your dog not to jump -- especially as a bouncing jumping dog could push someone, particularly a child, into the water. 
  • Let your vet know about the living arrangements. Our vet is a sailor and loved our lifestyle and that was a big help. Romeo's vet has prescribed kitty downers for rough days. 
  • Don't expect too much from an older pet. Jake never learned that it was OK to use the poop deck on long passages. After one sail to Nova Scotia we never again put him through anything longer than an eight hour day. 
  • Just as when you are boating with kids, leave time for trips ashore and to play. 
  • The Cham Wow and those similar products sold at boat shows are the best dog driers ever. Ever.
  • Get a life jacket or lifting harness for your pet. Jakie had a super special harness used by rescue dogs. He could swim and do all in it and we could have used it to lift him from the sea if necessary. 
  • Get a good vacuum. Or a pet that doesn't shed. I miss Jake, but don't miss the dog hair. 

We are not getting another dog as we had long ago decided not to take one when we set sail for our cruise. So we knew Jake would be our last dog for some time. I'm glad our neighbors and friends have great dogs and cats - because I prefer to have a fur fix every day. 

Good-by to Jake, Sailing Dog

The week before Labor Day, we had a nice -- now bittersweet -- vacation after which summer ended for us. 

Our beloved dog, Jake, was put to rest one week after our return. He was twelve; he was less active during our trip and it was apparent that this would be his last sailing vacation. The effort to get from dinghy to boat was simply too hard and he no longer easily tolerated the heeling of the boat on brisk sails. 

Three vet visits in a week confirmed canine bone cancer -- a death sentence. Stew had to make the final call as I was unable to do so. Knowing that this was the right choice for Jake did not make it an easy choice for us. 

 September 9 was the end of summer for us. We have wonderful memories of Jake on the boat, in the dinghy, and on many beaches in Maine. He was just over 12 years old and still full of love with an appetite as big as the world. Prior to the final visit to the vet Stew stopped at Reds Dairy Bar and presented Jake with a large dish of soft serve. Then, our long time veterinarian, Linda Bond, and four other vets and techs who knew Jake joined us in saying good-by and in giving him hugs and dog cookies. He went peacefully and with much love.

Jake was our friend and companion, our mascot, and just the best dog. Jake was the trainer’s “teacher’s pet” in obedience school, he was the favorite dog on the FedEx driver’s route, and he was the greatest walking buddy in the world. He loved his family, the vet, the kennel, power boats, kids, babies, belly rubs, going to work, the Great Island Boatyard crew, cookies, and “the big munch” – not necessarily in that order. He took care of his family, welcomed visitors, enjoyed new adventures and respected tradition. He repelled possible borders at sea, kept an eye out for seals and whales, assisted on the foredeck, and “vacuumed” the galley and dining area. He made us smile, gave us comfort when we were sad or ill, and frequently made us laugh out loud. He gave lots of wet kisses, painless nose nibbles, and unconditional love to all. When Jake came into our lives as a young adult dog, he just wanted a loving home. We did our best to provide that. He did his best always. We will miss him.

Living Aboard a Sailboat With A Dog (Jake's Story)

Jake in Companionway

    Jake, our black lab was 6 when we moved     aboard -- not exactly an old dog but     certainly one who enjoyed a routine.     Moving was traumatic for him as he had     been semi-abandoned (he was a dog of     divorce) and as soon as the packing process     began he became as needy as a teething 9     month old baby. 

    We moved out of our house and into a     furnished rental while we got the boat ready     for launching. Jake did enjoy the gas fireplace -- but hated everything else about those 8 weeks. Each weekend, we would tie him to the jack stands and climb the ladder to the boat, leaving him below with water and a chew bone. As the snow melted and other boaters started arriving, Jake received a lot of attention and loving and treats from our neighbors - but he never really settled. 

 The boat was launched and almost immediately we began to move our things aboard. His reaction was amazing. He trotted down the dock, greeting the neighbors he had met, bounded up on the boat and easily jumped down the companionway to the main saloon. I'm sure he could smell familiar odors -- and we had already installed his bed in the forward cabin. He inspected the cabins and galley, moved forward to his bed and laid down with a big sigh. He was home. He's been an outstanding boat dog ever since. Now, five years later he needs help up the companionway -- and we are glad to give it. Jake and we are home.

Note that we also forgive a "little shedding". The "Black Vac" removes all food particles, but doesn't touch dog hair. 


Living Aboard a Sailboat - (or Don't You Get Sick of Each Other?)

There are a select number of phrases (usually exclamations) that we hear when we first tell someone that we live aboard. Depending on the person's point of view the usual comments are: 

    "Would you talk my wife into that?" 

     "Wow! No property taxes!"

    "OOH. No lawn to mow!" 

     "What did you do with your stuff?"

 and --today's topic? 

    "You really must love Stew/Barbara to live that close together all the time!" 

Well, we do love each other, and we have a great relationship -- but many of our friends have very strong marriages and they wouldn't do this. So it isn't loving the other person that makes this work (though it helps) it is loving and understanding the lifestyle. It can get close on board -- particularly in the winter. 

The dog (Jake, an 80 pound black lab) is allowed on the settee and the bed mainly to keep him from underfoot. There isn't a lot of floor space on the boat. We don't cook much together anymore. The galley simply doesn't allow it. And sure, there are times when one or the other of us is doing some small task and the other of us seems to be constantly in the way. When that happens -- we step aside and wait out the flurry of activity. 

Really, only two situations make the boat seem very small. The first is if one of us is working on a major project which takes up a lot of room. For instance, when Stew repairs the head, or when he changes the oil, or when he installed the furnace -- I simply leave. Sometimes I stay in the area in case he needs my assistance -- other times I abandon ship and let him have at it.  Similarly, when I took on the gargantuan task of making a new dodger (never again!) most of that work was done while Stew was working on weekends. 

 The second situation that makes the boat appear to be smaller is when one of us is ill. Whether cold, or minor surgery, or flu bug -- there is no place for the ill person to hide --- and no place for the well person to avoid the sounds of coughing and sniffles and kvetching. Our home had a family room on the first floor and a den on the second and we often enjoyed both rooms as a couple, but it is apparent to me now that we did separate when not feeling well. On board -- I strive for patience and we bump into each other reaching for the tissues. Whether fighting a stubborn oil leak or a seasonal cold we work it out and give each other space. That is a small price to pay. We do love each other -- and we love living aboard.