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August 2009
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November 2009

October 2009

Living Aboard on a Beautiful Day -- As the Geese Fly South

What a beautiful day! And it is so unexpected. We've had too many nights of Northeast winds with water slapping (banging!) against the hull -- right behind our bed. Stew slept in the forward cabin last night as he can't get ear plugs to work for him. I stopped up my ears and slept in our stateroom -- like a baby.

This morning, the twit pic photo was of Portland under steel gray clouds. I heard geese honking overhead as I snapped the shot. This afternoon -- well look for yourself! I've had the furnace off and the companionway open for the past two hours. Can't beat that for late October.

While the geese are heading south, we are not. It is time to get La Luna ready for 6 months under wraps. Those who follow me on Twitter (@BarbAtSea) have expressed interest in those of us (crazy fools) who live on our boats year round in Maine. I promise to write posts that give you this year's play by play and posts that give you a retrospective from the past 6 years aboard. (Can you say Patriot's Day Storm?)

Next steps for us: We will sail La Luna to Great Island Boatyard in Harpswell on Sunday. Next week they will haul her out of the water and remove her mast and rigging. (Rigging is the stuff that holds the mast up. That is very important.) The outstanding crew at GIBY will re-rig the mast over the winter. We will motor back to South Portland next weekend, back into the slip so we can sleep better in the prevailing North winds, and make plans to put the winter cover on, sans mast. (I have been assured that is actually easier than doing so with the mast.) I promise to document all of the above and post blogs and tweets.

But first - we need to have the initial gathering of the '09/'10 winter live-aboards -- and have planned a chili party on Friday. We get to scare the newbies and tell them how we handle winter on A Dock in Maine. Stay tuned!

Choosing Fun

Whee! So yesterday I had a long to-do list and a boat that needed some house work done and what did I do? I went sailing of course!

Within a week we will have La Luna hauled in order to pull her mast. It is time to have the rigging and lights redone. We will then motor back to our home port in South Portland and put on the plastic cover for a 6 month stay on the dock. Yesterday's light breezes weren't enough for our big boat, but it was a nearly perfect fall day for Selene, my 17' O'Day sailboat.

EW had driven to the boatyard in Harpswell in order to show a boat. A couple of hours after he left, I called to tell him I was on my way to take him for a sail. He did not need any urging. "Come on!"

Stew Sailing Selene 10.25.06

As you can see, the leaves were at their peak on the coast. There were very few other boats on the water, hardly any noise at all. We listened to the lapping of the water against Selene's hull, the birds (gulls, cormorants, and roosters - really), and sounds of folks chopping wood on shore. We could have done with a bit more wind -- but we are not complaining. It was a nearly perfect day.

These are things I need to remember: Choose fun. Celebrate. Live.

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Living Aboard a Sailboat and Winter Dock Walking

Here is the dock as it looked the second time I ventured out this morning.

We are slowly getting ready for yet another winter aboard in Maine.

Summer clothes off the boat and winter clothes on board -- Check

Ordered the shrink wrap -- Check (It's here and in our shower.)

Boots and cleats on board -- Not yet

Turn boat around -- Not yet

Bring de-humidifier aboard -- Not yet

Ah well-- we are working on it. This was yet another frosty morning -- and frosty mornings mean slippery docks. I describe our walk to the car as similar to walking a city block, except my "sidewalk" moves and is surrounded by water.

This morning, my neighbor (a senior person with a bad back) thought twice about going down the steep slippery ramp and opted to enter the dock from the boat launching area. I joined him, as much to be there if he needed help as to provide myself with a safer route. There was still a slope but more areas were  frost free and we successfully made it back to our respective boats.

On the way, we cheerfully shared tips for winter dock walking:

  1. Walk gingerly. Small steps.
  2. If you fall, fall straight down.
  3. D'uh, wear cleats. Both of us had cleats -- in storage lockers ashore.
  4. Never let land lubbers or folks who don't live aboard leave your boat at night without an escort.
  5. Use zippered bags, totes and pockets and keep vaulables zipped up. If you fall or drop the bag keys, cell phones, and wallets won't skitter into the drink. I like shoulder bags or bags long enough to cross over my chest.
  6. Remember to stop and look around. It is beautiful here. New boats are coming and going as folks head south or queue up to haul out and as winter neighbors arrive. Don't forget to enjoy the beauty and the camaraderie of this unique lifestyle.

When I left for a meeting this morning, I put on my hiking shoes and those treads allowed me to safely traverse the floating sidewalk. Getting to the storage locker for the cleats is a high priority this week. The de-humidifier and turning our bow to the north winds will occur after our last sail of the season.

We are getting ready for another winter in Maine. I wonder what it will bring.