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September 2010
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November 2010

October 2010

Darn It and Woot!

Regular readers will be able to tell that the two most recent posts were not published in the correct order. Probably my fault. I'm working on learning how to write posts to appear when we are actually "At Sea". Will lick this at some point.  Cheers!

We are on the dock in an undisclosed location (actually in Portland). EW is fixing the furnace. We have time to do this because we are planning an overnight to the Cape Cod Canal. I have one more thing to check before we leave, but I think we can safely navigate through the canal anytime between 10 and 3 on Tuesday. We will leave here around 2, and sail (hopefully) or motor with the wind on our nose (more likely).

Late Tuesday afternoon we will drop the hook in Onset, on the other side of the Cape Cod Canal. 

So far, we have gotten a lot done on the boat, safely used our old navigation software, anchored with the new anchor, eaten well and slept 9 hours. I have dreadfully missed tweeting and am working to get BarbAtSea on EW's (now our) IPhone. I miss my Blackberry and Ubertwitter more than I ever imagined. 

So that's the update. More later! 

I love your comments!  Thank you all.


Where Did We Go on Sunday?

Well, not to Gloucester, Massachusetts. As we were working on the boat and tying up loose ends yesterday, EW spoke with a sailing friend in Portland. He and his wife have sailed and lived aboard in Greenland and Newfoundland.

He closed the phone call with this comment: "You don't leave when you are ready, you leave when you are seaworthy."

That is true. We knew we weren't going to be fully ready before taking off on Sunday, but we did expect to be seaworthy. We did not meet that expectation. It was a day filled with lost items, mishaps, and still more teary goodbyes. 

I admit it. I lost it. At about 7 on Saturday night I started sobbing. Thankfully EW simply held me and let me cry. Then we made a plan and that plan did not involve a 12 hour sail on Sunday. We would not be ready, we would be tired and prone to make bad decisions. We would not be seaworthy. 

So we made a new plan. We would stow as much gear as possible to allow us to sail and we would leave the dock as early as possible on Sunday and sail just 3 hours away to one of the many protected harbors in Maine. There we would have the time to get La Luna ship shape and sea worthy and to give ourselves the time to decompress and become sea worthy again. It's a good plan. I relaxed and we moved mountains. 

Don't worry about us. These are the tough decisions safe sailors make. That's a good thing. 

Running Errands with EW

For the past week, EW and I have had to leave the boat during the workday. So, despite being “retired” we have set the alarm for 6:00 AM as Mickey-the-Amazing-Systems-Guy likes to start at 7:00. We usually greet him and get off the boat. I work hard to stay off the boat because I want Mickey happy to be working aboard La Luna, but when I show up he feels he has to turn off his music. (He’s afraid I’ll find it offensive. EW said that it was like the music Favorite had on when we borrowed his van. Oh.) 

So, we run errands and shop and I go to the Bowdoin Library to write and get on-line. It has been an interesting week. Frustrating for us as we would much prefer to work on the boat ourselves. EW has been able to complete some on-deck tasks, but we can’t work below as Mickey has the companion way ladder out and all access to the engine opened – since there is access on three sides, he takes up space in the galley, main salon, and pilot berth area. The forward cabin is full of all of the stuff we a) haven’t found a home for or b) had to put there to make room for Mickey.

On Wednesday, EW and I set off at 8:00. Here’s what we did:

1. Went to Brunswick for errand one.

2. Got a phone call asking us to be back to the boatyard to see friends at 9:00. This displeased EW at first as he had plans for that moment in time. Those friends had done us a great favor, so I was delighted! Thank you E!

3. Left Boatyard at 9:30 and got coffee at Dunkin Donuts and went directly to EW’s planned destination – the Brunswick Topsham Swing Bridge. Earlier this year I had mentioned that I’d always intended to stop and walk across the bridge. EW remembered that and thought it would be the perfect day for a stroll. He was right. IMG02121

It was a beautiful day and that is a terrific bridge, with a delightful park on the Topsham side. 

We are frazzled, excited, nervous, anxious, tickled pink – overwhelmed – with what we are doing and with all that needs to get done.

This was a great moment to remind ourselves WHY. We love to explore and see new things. We love to travel together. Walking the bridge, I imagined walking foot bridges and sandy beaches all over the world.


4. In a wonderful frame of mind we left the bridge to track down a hard to find (impossible?) accessory for EW’s Dell and to check out a warning light on the car we are selling.

5. Success with the latter item was followed by lunch at Beale Street Barbeque in Bath.

6. That fortified us for a provisioning trip to “Wally World”.  (I’m not fond of that store.) We spent two hours there. Oh. My. God. We survived.

7. No time to unpack the provisions, we left the things that didn’t need refrigeration in the car and got ready to visit a friend who knows the Bahamas. We spent 2 hours with him and a lot of charts and have a clear plan for December through March. Can’t wait. The beaches are calling me.

8. Back aboard La Luna, I worked with the vacuum bagger until 10 PM – and got all the frozen food bagged and in the freezer.

Aye! The cruising life’s for me! 

Are we having fun, yet?

Electrical Woes - Why We Haven't Gone Cruising Yet

I haven't written much about the massive project underway aboard La Luna. 

You know we needed a high output alternator. You may know that this problem effectively killed the other two alternators. Those were repaired by an amazing electrical motor guy in Brunswick. He works at Morin's. He. Is. Amazing.

Another amazing guy is Mickey, one of the systems specialists at Great Island Boatyard. Mickey has basically moved aboard La Luna during the day. EW and I try not to think of how much this will cost. The cost doesn't seem important when Mickey finds and fixes things like this:

Burned Electric Bridle
This is a wiring harness -- a group of wires run together. Before we bought the boat some yahoo ran this bridle of wires up next to the manifold. The manifold gets hot when the engine runs. We aren't sure why our surveyor missed this. We also aren't sure why anything worked. Ever. We also aren't sure why the boat hadn't burned -- or when it would have if this hadn't been found. In addition to installing new and old alternators,

Mickey is fixing stuff like this. Costly. But priceless. 


P.S.  I have to confess how little I know about this stuff. When I wrote this -- but before I hit "Publish" I had called this part a "bridle". Knew it was a horse thing. Thankfully EW returned my call in the nick of time! 

Nine And a Half Months

No, we haven't left yet. I feel like a pregnant woman whose baby is overdue.


    "No, I haven't delivered yet."

    "Yes, I'm more than ready."

    "Yep, I feel as big as a house."


In our case it's, 

    "No, we haven't left yet."

    "Yes, I know it's getting colder."

    "Yep, I'm anxious."


The update is: we are on the dock in Harpswell as we do have to get a high output alternator. We had suspected it before the alternator we had died a week ago, causing the refrigeration to turn off due to low voltage. Mickey, an incredibly knowledgeable systems guy at Great Island Boatyard (and Landing School Graduate) is "on it". He has been working on La Luna since the middle of last week. He has been doing a lot of necessary re-wiring, fixing prior bad acts and will install the new alternator tomorrow. 

In a nutshell, our Perkins Diesel engine came with a regular alternator that is designed to start the engine -- just like in a truck. It is not designed to charge up a huge battery bank and ultimately it died a slow, painful (to the batteries) death. 

We are getting a 200 Amp high output alternator from Great Water in Brunswick. Mark met us on the boat last week and worked with EW to figure out our options. Mickey is creating magic with those options. 

Yes, I wish we had realized this was the issue in July -- but them's the breaks. 

Trust me, there is nothing funny you can say to me about still being here that I haven't heard. 

Here's what I know: 

    1. When I purged last spring, I got rid of too many of my socks. I've stolen a pair from EW twice so far. (Don't tell him, he won't know since he hasn't had time to read the blog.)

    2. Saying good-bye to close friends and family is harder when you don't go after saying goodbye. 

    3. Both EW and I keep singing a Dan Hicks song (We love Dan Hicks) "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away"

    4. When we go we will leave very early in the morning and head to Gloucester, Massachusetts. If weather and tide are good we'll stay one night and head to the Cape Cod Canal. After the canal we'll stay overnight and (if the weather is good) head outside of Long Island to Delaware Bay. That leg will include an overnight passage. If the current and winds are right we'll go up the Delaware Bay to the Delaware Canal that will take us to the Chesapeake. If the current and winds aren't right we'll probably anchor in Atlantic City as we've been told that has a good anchorage. Once we get to the Chesapeake, we'll anchor there, visit with friends and family and continue to work on the boat. We cannot go south of Hatteras SC until after November 11 due to insurance (hurricane season). 

    5. I'm trying to enjoy the moment and embrace my inner cruiser. But I don't always succeed. 

So, to end this post, I give you three funny stories from the past week:

Story #1

    I was in Portland and EW was aboard La Luna rearranging things so that Mickey had room to work. EW called to let me know that we were invited to lunch the next day with a friend who was celebrating his birthday. I said, "I think there are some good birthday cards in the forward cabin."  EW  immediately replied, "There is no forward cabin." We bought a card. The forward cabin is currently lost under a pile.

Story # 2

   I was in Portland to have a "last" lunch with K, a woman who has been a dear friend since we were 10 years old. This was a tough good-bye lunch and also celebrated my October Birthday. (More about that later.) When K presented me with the perfect birthday card, I immediately teared up. She waved her finger and said, "There is no crying at lunch!" Really? Well there wasn't but there was crying at Borders when we finally parted after shopping together. "There is no crying at lunch" has become my response to a number of things. 

Story #3

   This morning, EW dropped me off at the Bowdoin Library so I could get some work done on the computer while he ran errands. One of those errands was to drop the returnables off at CLYNK . I told him that the bag may not have a sticker but I had one in my purse, found it for him and put it on the console. I didn't hear a response. "Hello?" I said. "You there?" (I'm sitting next to him in the car, remember.) "What?" Said EW. "Did you hear me about the sticker, you didn't acknowledge me." "I did," he said. "I said, "huh". I started to giggle, then I laughed until I cried. He started laughing at me. Finally I said, " 'Huh' is not acknowledgement. 'Yes, Dear' is acknowledgement. 'OK' is acknowledgement. A soft unheard 'huh' is nothing." Just so he knows.  I also taught him to text so he can contact me at the library. He's all over it. And he acknowledges every one of my texts. Lesson learned. 

Finally, today's disclaimers.

1. I mentioned and provided links to Great Island Boatyard, Great Water, Inc., The Landing School, and CLYNK today. None of them know I did this and none of them paid for any advertising. I did not ask for any discount. They do good work. Mickey is this week's boatyard hero. 

2. EW is a good sport. Thank heavens. 

3. I'm thrilled we are going and we are going. You will know when it happens. I promise.