We finally have our first teaser video up and ready for your viewing pleasure!! Episodes to follow shortly, but we just wanted to give you guys a little taste of what we've been filming for the last year and a half! Enjoy!
-Keri, Josh & Frenchy
1. Make plans but know that they will probably change.
2. Chase your dreams, but remember to enjoy them when you catch them.
3. A day with dolphins is NEVER a bad day.
4. Dolphin sightings require shouting in a higher than usual octave.
5. Boats hurt. You're not a true sailor unless you are covered daily in scratches, bruises, bumps and bites.
6. Salt gets everywhere and is amazingly destructive. Fresh water = best friend.
7. In Southern Florida, 20% chance of rain means it will definitely rain. But only from every other cloud and only for 2 minutes each.
8. Sailors are some of the nicest, innovative, welcoming and most helpful people you will ever meet. They all have amazing stories even if they've only been in this life for 5 minutes - usually stories of what NOT to do.
9. The hardest part about meeting new people so frequently is saying farewell.
10. Always have extra snacks onboard. You never know when friends will happen or when you’ll be too seasick to cook real food.
11. You will learn things about yourself you never knew. You will be able to do things you never thought you could before.
12. Centre console powerboats spend more money on their stereo than the value of the boat itself.
13. Channel 16 on the VHF in Southern Florida is sometimes better than a soap opera.
14. Set the hook and ALWAYS back down. BACK DOWN!
15. There will be bugs.
16. No-see-um bites last for 3 days minimum.
17. Keep aloe on board.
18. Check your zincs! (See no. 6)
19. Canadian/American conversion sucks if you're Canadian.
20. American liquor prices. Beauty. It explains a lot of what we've read in the news.
21. It will be forever difficult to sleep on land after this without a gentle rocking and sound of lapping water.
22. No two sunsets are the same.
23. Palm trees are much more dramatic than any deciduous tree. A little gust of wind and they're all, "Oh no, I might fall over!"
24. Respect the elements. They were here before you. They shaped the earth. They will be here after you. They don't care what deadlines you have.
25. You can never have too many solar panels.
26. Alcohol is consumed quicker on the water than on land.
27. Don't stop boats with your arms. (Or any body part while we're on the subject).
28. There are always things to fix. Pace yourself. Small victories.
29. Rain = unlimited fresh water for showers!
30. Check your oil. Always.
32. Some days will be a lot more hard work than you expected. Other days will be a lot more amazing than you expected.
32. You will never be ready. Do it anyway.
Have your own tidbits of wisdom and insight to add to our list? Let us know in the comments!
Does anyone else picture this when you read that? No?
So our original plan: fix up the boat, move everything aboard and condense our storage into one unit, sell the cars, and sail away south until the butter melts. Experience life, have adventures, meet new people, learn new skills. Continue until we run out of money or get bored.
The funny thing about making plans is that life doesn't care what kind of plans you've made. This isn't a new lesson for us by any means, we just weren't expecting to be changing our plans so early into the adventure. But that's the whole point of adventure right? To experience the amazing and unplanned.
So, given that we are now:
We decided we need to reevaluate our plans and maybe pivot. PIV-OT!!!!
We headed back to Stuart, Fl with one of two options: sail our boat back to Catskill, NY or stay in Florida for a month before returning home for the storm season.
Option 1: Sail back to Catskill. Why, you ask? Well, first and foremost we had what sounded like a great job offer there. I won't go into too much detail on that, as I'm sure most of you can read between the lines on why a job offer in the US was a great and not great idea at the same time. Second, our insurance dictates that we either need to haul out for storm season, add a hurricane rider (read as: $$$) or be north of 40 latitude (New York) from June 1st through November 30th. Catskill is firmly outside of the hurricane zone. Perfect. It is also an extremely beautiful area (did your know Dirty Dancing was filmed in the Catskill mountains and those mountains inspired the story of Rip Van Winkle?), which would lend to a very agreeable summer. Finally, Catskill is only a short 5 hr car ride to get home should we need to.
Unfortunately the opportunity we had in Catskill would mean returning before the second weekend in May. Given that we only got back to Windseeker around May 1st, this was a less than desirable addendum. We spent all of November, December and January hauling ass to get to warm weather, and neither Josh nor myself really felt like hauling ass north, in the direction we'd just come from. Not to mention, the danger factor. You do NOT operate on strict schedules when sailing! It leads to poor decisions instead of respect for the elements (see: The Georgetown escapades!) While it would mean spending the summer aboard Windseeker, we'd still be far too far to really help out any family, and would likely be living where we worked (something that comes with it's own set of ups and downs). Finally, we would still have to haul out at some point to do the maintenance we so desperately need any way (leaky rudder post!).
Option 2: Spend a month enjoying ourselves in Florida, haul out for hurricane season and return home. If for no other reason than our own mental health, we decided we needed a bit of a break to enjoy the fruits of our labours and the weather. Family, injury, and money aside, it's been really difficult to sit in the -2 degrees Celsius of mucky winter weather in Canada watching all of our amazing new friends cross to the Bahamas, enjoy and return, all without us. Knowing Windseeker was sitting in beautiful Florida being unused. We wanted to have our little piece of summer, sun and sand which we have been working so hard for. We also had only JUST finished the last of the major boat projects we intended to do while underway and haven't been able to enjoy that either. It would be the equivalent of working really hard to build yourself a beautiful porch only to have a blizzard come and stay for the next three months. Ugh.
We also did some looking around and found that we were not far from what is easily the most recommended haul out marina: Indiantown. Their prices are very competitive, they provide a work yard and good facilities, they are in a known hurricane hole, and we even have some social media friends there already! (Shout out to Matt and Jessica Sailing!). Hauling out for the season there would mean Windseeker would be protected through the worst of the storms, we could do the maintenance we needed (bottom cleaning, fouling paint refresh, new zincs, rudder post repair, etc) and return fresh in the fall ready to take on more of this incredible adventure.
Going with option two, as I said, has given us a much needed mental refresher. We have had a chance to remember WHY we decided to embark on this crazy plan in the first place. We've been able to enjoy the projects we've worked so hard on. We've had a chance to reconnect with old friends and make even more new ones. We've been able to breath!
So there you have it. The NEW new plan. I suspect it may change again a few times, but we're ready to roll with the punches and accept what this adventure has to offer us.
Keep following along Nauti people, we'll be making a dedicated effort to get you all of the filmed footage we have from the last few months over the next couple of months! Pinky swear!
I've been putting off writing this post for a while now. Partly because I wasn't sure what to say, how much to say, or what parts of the story were ours to tell. Partly because, looking back, we've probably been a little depressed. Let me start with some facts and end with where we're heading now. Or in which direction we're pivoting, rather.
So, on January 22nd (I believe), we were preparing to hunker down in a protected little anchorage just east of Fort Pierce, knowing that a nasty cold front was about to blow through between 30-45 knots for a few days. We were excited and anxious about testing out our new 55 lb Mantus anchor (the anchor we were purchased after losing our Danforth in the great 'Georgetown escapades'). We were in as protected a cove as we could have been - no current, no wake, excellent tree coverage from all directions, and good depth - if we HAD sank we would still be standing dry on deck there. We had movies lined up to go and we'd done a quick grocery run in town. We were ready to wait it out.
Then we got a phone call.
Josh's mom would be receiving an organ transplant that night - one that she had been waiting for for well over 22 years. I won't get into the nitty gritty of it here as it is a private family issue, and those who are closest to us know the details. But, as anyone can imagine, we were equally excited and terrified for her. Moreover, as the surgery was happening that night there was nothing we could do but call and be supportive over the phone as it was extremely unsafe to be moving the boat at that point. We sat tight, made some phone calls, frantically googled different paths to get home and how quickly we might be able to do that, and contacted a few local boating groups we are members of for advice/help. And we waited.
It turns out the surgery happened the very next day instead. And we had a plan for how to get home. Sort of. Most of a plan. The surgery went as well as we could have hoped for and now it was time to sit back, wait to hear on the recovery, and get ourselves home to be there for family.
As soon as the wind had abated enough, we pulled anchor and made way. We got just as far as Manatee Pocket that evening where we dropped anchor until next sunlight. We celebrated Keri's birthday in Manatee Pocket that night where the only wish was for good health. Next day we were off to Sunset Bay Marina and Anchorage, a beautiful little marina in the small town of Stuart, Fl. In Sunset we were to moor the boat for about a week while a kind and amazing woman from the Women Who Sail Facebook group took care of Frenchy for us. We would make our way to Fort Lauderdale airport and fly home the next day.
We arrived at Sunset's fuel dock, met with the harbour master and explained our situation. Everything was planned and we were good to go. That's when the 'great arm crushing incident of 2017' happened. For those of you who missed it, you can click the link here to read the story of how Keri managed to mangle her arm in a docking accident. So plans changed again.
We spent one extra day in Stuart giving Keri a bit of time to rest and recover and headed out the next day, taking a dinghy to land, an uber to the train station, a train to the airport and a shuttle bus to our terminal. Finally, a plane to Niagara Falls, NY, and a car ride home from Keri's awesome brother, Chris. Once home, we were able to spend two weeks in and out of the hospital in Toronto, doing what we could to help with the situation. As we approached the two week mark with no clear sign of improvement we had to make an important decision. We decided to head back to Stuart, if only for a day or two, collect Frenchy, and prepare the boat for long term storage.
We arrived in Stuart for only two days - one full day dedicated to travel and one to prep the boat for an indefinite amount of time on a mooring. We cleaned, emptied, sealed and locked what we could. We emptied the fridge and freezer, 'winterized' the engine, cleared the cockpit and secured all lines on the mooring. Then, with heavy hearts, full arms and a cat in a backpack we headed back home once more.
We spent a total of 3 months at home assisting Josh's mom with complications from a surgery that ultimately didn't work. We worked when and where we could (travel to and from Florida 4x over eats through a lot of the budget really quickly), battled winter storms that we were not really prepared for since our winter stuff was in storage, fought through our own illnesses, and tried to keep spirits up. Once we had the phone call that she was well enough and ready to come home from the hospital we started to make our own plans to get back to the boat.
Ultimately we decided, given his mom's current health, our low funds, the approach of hurricane season, and the beginning of Florida's summer weather that it would be best to spend our summer back home. This way we can 'put the boat to bed' for the summer, get some maintenance done on her while she's on land, work to refill the travel kitty, and be there as much as possible as his mom works towards full recovery. With this plan in mind we packed up our car and drove back to Stuart, Fl anxious to see what we would find.
It turns out, not much really. We came home to our amazing lil Windseeker, bobbing away peacefully on her mooring. Other than a bit of growth on the bottom and one of us forgetting to turn the fridge temperature up, thereby losing all our condiments (oops!), she was in good shape. Thank the gods!
Next post: what's next???
We landed in the land of red, white and blue. It took us just over 57 nautical miles, and a very roll-y ride, but we did it! We landed in Rochester, NY at the Rochester Yacht Club on November 6th. RYC is exactly what you picture when you envision a yacht club: warm, cozy, beautiful old wood, a glimmering trophy wall, a polished bar, and friendly and accommodating staff. What a great first night in the U.S.of A.
We checked in to customs using a dedicated video phone at one of the marinas (used to fulfill the face-to-face requirement of checking in to a new country), refuelled, purchased our cruising license, discovered plum sauce is NOT a thing over here (but raspberry is? Hello culture shock!) and started off along the coast toward Oswego, our port of entry into the Erie Canal.
We spent a single evening in Oswego, NY which is a shame as it is a neat and busy little port of call, but time was not on our side. Given that the Erie canal closed this year on November 20th (whether you're in it or not) we wanted to get underway a.s.a.p. We bought a 10-day canal cruising permit at our first lock, Lock 8 and began the canal system on November 8th - aka Super Tuesday, aka Election day.....
We transited 8 locks on our first day, no small feat! The lovely thing about the Erie canal is that there are marinas and tie ups all along the system so you can spend time exploring the little towns that call the canal home. The not so lovely thing about the canal in November is that most of these towns recognize the canal is dead at this time of year and consequently close their businesses down for the season. Also it gets dark. Early. And you kind of want power so you can have heat. So the first night we found ourselves a little public wall to tie off to and a light post with a 15 amp outlet on it (enough for our space heater) and settled in.
Having no US cell phone plan yet and being in the middle of nowhere (or Brewerton, NY - whichever you want to call it) we went to bed wondering what kind of country we'd wake up to in the morning. Some time the next day we discovered the (terrible) news. That it was going to be *Trumps* America. This not being a political blog, I won't get in to it, but it is worth noting that we were very disappointed at this outcome. Since we're Canadian though we rarely find ourselves pulled into a political chat unless we ask for it. *whew*
Our next few days continued much the same. Transit the canal. Cover a few locks. Search for a tie up with power in the evening. The canal does not have a ton to do at this time of year. Fair enough since we were looking to exit asap. The saving grace was certainly that the foliage was still in it's autumn apparel and more than breath-taking at this time of year. Otherwise the days were relatively uneventful (arguably a good thing when boating!). Over the next few days we settled into our liveaboard life a bit more. Got our bikes up and running and dealt with a few small projects.
One small issue that started to snowball was that we were running out of diesel. And everything was closed. We couldn't even find a gas station carrying diesel near the canal. We were also getting low on water. And we hadn't showered in a few days. Or done laundry in while. Oh, and a linkage in our gear let go on our third last day - so we had to 'drift' into our last lock and tie up for the day.
No worries. We spent half a day fixing the gear. We found diesel! We finished the locks on November 13th with the grand finale being the 'Waterford flight'. What a way to end the locks! The Waterford flight is a set of 5 locks (and 2 guard gates if you want to get technical) that are all in a row. There is no tying off between these locks so when you begin your transit through them, you have to be ready to finish them off. (You must begin transiting these locks 90 minutes prior to close). In the span of 2 very beautiful and sunny hours we descended approximately 170 feet in about 2 miles. It's quite amazing to look back and see where your started!
At the end of the Waterford flight is the town of (you guessed it) Waterford! While their visitor centre was closed for the season, we were able to tie off to their floating dock for a couple of days, plug in to power and water (hello boat showers!), get a free ride to a gas station for diesel (thank you locals!), finally get some laundry done and breath a little easier knowing that the 'timed' part of our voyage was over. Next stop - Catskill to have our 'sticks' put up!
While the locks can be intimidating before beginning them, once you've done a few they become more of a nuisance than anything. Having been through the Welland canal before, the Erie canal locks are minuscule by comparison. We felt more than ready to tackle this new system. The key difference between the Welland and Erie canal is that the Welland can be completed in one long day. The Erie, not so much (theres a reason they sell 10 day passes).
Here's how "locking through" works.
Step 1: Hail the Lock Master.
Seriously, what a cool job title! These guys truly are masters as we discovered not only are they responsible for the opening/closing and the flow of the locks (and consequently how fast you go up or down - how easy or hard the lock will be) but they are also full time caretakers and maintenance personnel as well. From oiling the gears to mowing the lawn they are fully responsible for the lock and the property surrounding it. Title earned!
So, hail your lock master....politely ask for an opening....wait for special instructions (port or starboard tie up, etc)...say thank you!
Step 2: Get yo lines ready!
*Most* locks will have their own lines ready to go, but just in case, always have your lines ready. If you've been given instructions by the lock master as to wether you'll be on port or starboard, prep that side, otherwise, best to have some lines on both sides.
Step 3: Throw down those fenders - grab a boat hook!
While we've read/heard varying accounts of how to prep your fenders for a lock, we're hear to tell you - you needn't worry about anything special. Make sure you have fenders ready to go on both sides of your boat, and maybe don't get too attached to the paint job on them.
While we've heard of people creating fender boards (see picture), we've heard just as many accounts of these getting tossed after the first lock. Bottom line: if the skipper knows the boat, approaching the locks is far easier than docking! Coming in to a lock is no different than tying off to a wall at a marina/yacht club etc.
Step 4: Wait for a green light to enter the lock.
Most locks will have a 'traffic light' indicating to boaters when the lock is ready. Not following those lights, despite what it *looks* like can result in a pissed off lock master and consequently a hell of a ride up or down for you. Barring the traffic light, wait until the doors are fully open. If unsure, just chat with your lock master! They're remarkably helpful (and maybe lonely?).
Step 5: Enter the lock slowly.
With one crew at the bow armed with a boat hook, the skipper will slowly saddle up to the lock wall. The crew member at the bow uses the hook to either grab a line along the wall or secure a line from the boat around a cable attached to the wall. It all depends on your lock. There are 3 types (see pictures). Our favourite was probably cables as the lines tend to be wet and full of whatever crud was resting in the lock water (we suggest gloves!). As we were the only boat going through 9/10 times we just used our boat hooks to grab the cables, not too worried about our swing. At this point, depending on how many boats are transiting the lock with you, you may just have to sit tight and wait for everyone else to be secured in the lock before anything starts to happen.
Step 6: Hang on.
Whether you're locking down or up the locks can take a surprisingly long time for how quickly the water moves. Hold on to your rope or cable the whole time though! Even if your ride starts out smooth and comfortable, if for some reason a valve isn't flowing properly your transit can get turbulent - forcing one end of the boat into or away from the wall. While this rarely happens, it is worth noting that had we NOT been holding the lines we might've ended up in the wrong part of the lock - bad news if you're in there with several other boats. Don't let this scare you though! At most we had to push off the wall with our boat hooks or hold a little tighter to the lines around the cleats.
*Special Note* DO NOT lock your lines off to the cleat. The locks can move surprisingly fast, pulling those lines taught faster than you can untie them. THIS can result in bad news for you and your boat. Do not tie off the lines!
Step 7: Wait for your green light to exit.
Once you get the cue, push off and exit at *no wake* speed. Be prepared for current as you exit the lock depending on the flow of the upper or lower water.
Step 8 Thank your lock master.
For real. They didn't *have* to open the lock. And maybe they're lonely. You don't know.
*Safety tip* While in the Welland canal it was required that every crew member wear a life jacket while transiting the locks. In the Erie Canal it was not a requirement but is STRONGLY recommended. You're performing operations over the side of the boat in a small, confined lock with turbulent waters. SHOULD something happen at least you'll be floating!
Also, if you're interested, this lil site has a whole ton of helpful how-tos, navigation information and history of the NY canal system.
It's official! We did it! On a beautiful November 1st we threw off the lines and left our home port of Hamilton Harbour for the great wide unknown (okay...so in 2016 it's not exactly unknown, but 'the great wide Navionics charted sea' is slightly less romantic).
Our first day had a few rough bumps as we left much later in the day than we intended. In one day we fired up the engine for the first time in over a month, built a cradle for the masts (thanks Rob!), had the masts laid across the deck, packed up what was left of our little corner on the harbour, secured what we needed to the deck, packed up a few last minute things and waived goodbye to family as we motored off! Unfortunately this meant some evening cruising which is far less fun when the temperature dips below double digits, and you're not sure which marina you're pulling into for the evening and you discover that your navigation lights aren't working, and there are meter high swells and you question the carpentry of the mast cradle you just built....but we did it all the same.
We spent our first few days cruising north east along the shore of Lake Ontario. We remembered little things that we had forgotten after a season of not sailing (like yes, that cupboard HAS to be locked when we're underway). We reaffirmed the knowledge that the boating community really is full of amazingly kind and helpful people (thank you to Port Credit Yacht Club, Whitby Marina and Cobourg Marina!). We met some new friends who we had only ever encountered in the online boating communities we belong to. We also discovered something that we hadn't thought too much about....marinas along Lake Ontario close for the season in early November! Thankfully we caught each of our ports JUST before they closed on the Canadian side of the lake.(Cobourg literally boarded up their doors the day after our arrival). And we prepared to say goodbye to our home and native land as we prepped ourselves and our vessel to cross the great lake.
Preparing to cross such a huge expanse meant stopping an extra day in Cobourg. We launched our dinghy to apply our new sticker indicating our port of registry on the transom (back) of the boat. We filled our fuel tanks. We installed our warmth-enhancing new canvas siding. We spent all of our Shopper's Drug Mart points provisioning (re: simple snacks that don't have to be 'prepared' while underway). We bought some maple syrup. We organized our registration documents, passports, veterinarian certificates and American money. We secured everything on deck that wasn't already strapped down. We secured Frenchy in our warmest blanket. And we went for a walk and talked about Canadian things we might miss. (It turns out we were wrong about a lot of them....stay tuned.)
On November 7th we pushed off from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada and travelled 57 nautical miles to Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Link to our 'farewell Canada' video HERE
Side note: We just want to extend one more HUGE thank you to our friends and family. For helping us. For lending a hand. For putting up with us. For offering provisions, and car rides and love and support. We called in every last favour we had to make this happen and we couldn't have done it without you guys. A huge thank you to all of our followers as well. Whether we've met in person, or only in the online world, we are shocked and awed at the outpouring of love and support we've received as we start this adventure. It means the world to us and is it's own kind of 'fuel'. THANK YOU!
We left!!! It's official! The adventure has begun! We left on November 1st from Hamilton Harbour in absolutely beautiful conditions! We live broadcasted our departure, click HERE or our beautiful shot below to watch that link if you're interested!
Our updates on the website will come a little more slowly than Facebook or instagram simply out of convenience and from here on out updates will be as per our wi-if situation! The link above will take you to our Facebook page if you'd like to follow along there (we're also pinging our location to the Facebook group if you'd like to see our EXACT location). You can also join us on instagram by clicking on the logo at the bottom of the page or HERE!
OR follow Keri on snapchat at: 'chattingbear' (warning: there is no guarantee of content quality on snapchat)
Hurricane Matthew. Honestly, whoever decided to name colossus, life-threatening storms after people should be forced to stand in a class 5. With NO rain jacket.
Matthew's the guy who brings the vanilla slab cake to the office when it's his turn on the birthday wheel. Matthew always hands in his reports on time and ties his shoes with a double knot. Just in case. Matthew does not threaten to destroy homes and livelihoods. And yet here we are.
Seriously though. Its been really crazy tracking Hurricane Matthew as it hits Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas and is now set to devastate Florida. At the time I'm writing this it is smashing through Nassau and has been upgraded to a category 4, possibly a category 5 over night. This is reported as being the strongest hurricane to hit northeast Florida since 1898. Tell me that doesn't give you chills? And now tropical storm Nicole is a brewing. (Nicole is the crazy but hot neighbour who brings jello salad to every neighbourhood party. Nicole is not destructive winds with tumultuous rainfall.)
Matthew is currently set to track up the eastern United States and boomerang around and is screwing over a lot of people in the process. We have dozens of friends who are cruising along the exact same route we'll be taking (that we should have already been on....) who have stopped at unplanned locations or are moving at a snails pace and changing course at every new weather report. Some are hunkering down. Others are just stuck. Waiting out the repercussions from the hurricane like storm surges and riptides. Exactly how we did not want to be.
So our delay is really a blessing. Would we have liked to have been halfway to paradise right now? Yes. But instead we find our selves happily working away on boat projects in our hometown, watching the leaves change colour and enjoying the perfect fall weather. Beautiful sunshine during the day with cool, blanket-snuggling weather at night. Thanksgiving at home? Yes please. Extra time to finish our projects? Sure. This beats the heck out of getting stuck halfway through the USA where our dollar doesn't count for much, election mania is reaching a fever pitch and we'd probably be eating a lot of canned goods. Oh, and furiously googling 'what to do if lightning strikes your sailboat'. Fun.
For real though, we are watching, thinking and even whispering little prayers for our friends who find themselves in the path of this storm. Batten down, throw some extra lines out and stay safe friends!
So, for those who know the plan, we were set to leave around September5th (ish, weather permitting) to begin our journey. We knew we had a few more projects to finish on the boat before our departure and estimated they would only take a few days (underestimation of the year!). We should've known better. I mean really. The rule of thumb for estimating how long a boat project will take is: figure out how long the task would take you on land. Now times that by 2.5. Then maybe double that. Seriously, everything takes SO much longer. That and Josh is perfectly okay with taking his time to do things properly the first time around. Which I am perfectly okay with as well.
We also hit some snags. Not minor ones. Really big snags. I'll come back to that.
So our current departure *goal* is early October.
The most frustrating part about changing our planned departure date is when someone inevitably says to us: "you'd better hurry up and go!" To which we respond: "why?" Honestly, it is (as Josh loves to say) 'a hurry up and wait' game. You see, the only reason to leave Canada sooner rather than later is for warmer weather. We want to get south to start chasing the summer. But as soon as we get south we're just going to be sitting around and waiting out hurricane season anyway. We'll be sitting around in an area foreign to us (harder to get parts and pieces for our projects), without vehicles, using the U.S. dollar (conversion sucks!). If we stay put we know exactly where to get all the missing pieces that we might need, we have our cars, we have a beautiful area to work in directly beside our boat (hello luxury!), we know where the grocery stores are and we're still using our good ol' Canadian dollar. Not to mention we still have our amazing friends and family around. Yes, it will get colder. We have wintered on the boat for 3 seasons though. I think we got this! So, yes we are still here, for the time being.
Here's what we've been working on/what has delayed us (some of these will get their own updates in the near future as we deal with them):
-Storage! We have been truly blessed with having a friend who has given us storage in her home until we return. We made the mistake of thinking we could easily sort what goes and what stays in a matter of a few hours. HA! Also, some of what will ultimately end up in storage is currently being used by Josh who is a busy builder and needs ALL the tools
-Navigation desk: did this take longer than anticipated? Yes. Was it worth it? SO yes! I'll post some pictures of this beauty Josh pieced together and later post a bit of a step-by-step as to how Josh built it for those curious. It is beautiful though and makes a HUGE difference in how we use that space (in boat life, every square foot needs to be optimized for a happy life)
-Bimini issues: After building and installing the bimini (hard roof over the cockpit) Josh realized a critical error. Everything was built on a flat surface. The boat is anything but flat and level. Water collecting on the roof was spilling off the forward bit of it and getting absolutely everywhere, including in the saloon! We need the water to pool at the back as Josh will be creating a raw water trough to collect all the rain. Refiguring the bimini was a solid 3 day project but is FINALLY complete
-Bilding the dodger: this is the mother of all projects! We knew it would take a week at least for Josh to build the dodger (windshield). Which means in boat world you have to at least double that time. We consider this a critical project as it will completely change how we are able to sail in the rain and on the ocean. It will change how the wind flows through the cockpit and consequently how it affects the helmsman! Problem number one in building the dodger is that Josh has never done it before. It took quite a bit of consultation and research to come up with a game plan he felt confident about, and even mid-construction, the game plan has had to be pivoted a few times to adapt to unforeseen issues. Issue number 2 is actually building the dodger. There are no straight angles on a boat. There are no level surfaces. This means every construction project is a bit of a cirque du soleil balancing act involving all those math equations you never thought you'd need from grade 11. Issue number 3 is that the frame needs to be fibreglassed. Oh my god we hate fibreglass!
-Our dinghy broke: While moving the dinghy so we could take some measurements to stitch together a cover for it Josh put his hand through the transom! We discovered that this particular brand of dinghy is known to have this issue. The transom is made from non-marine plywood that has not been treated in anyway! So we've had to research and purchase a brand new dinghy!
-With a new dinghy comes the need for a different type of motor. Which means attempting to sell our old motor before we go...
-Prepping and installing our propane stove top/oven as it will be our primary cooking utensil
So with all of these things smacking us in the face before our departure date, as well as the stress of leaving, we sat down and had a chat about our timeline. The truth is we are technically ON our adventure right now and this delay is all a part of it. Once we realized that it wasn't absolutely critical for us to leave on our planned date we were able to relax a bit. We have time now to do things right and still enjoy the days. And to work on some other projects that were planned for 'en route' (which are honestly so much easier to do while docked). And to visit with our friends and family a little bit more. And to adjust to life back aboard before hitting the lakes. And to experience Canadian fall! I do not regret being here for this season! (I'm not fully onboard with pumpkin spice everything, but I will add apple and cinnamon to anything I can get my hands on!)
So that's where we're at. As I said, I'll be posting some updates on individual projects as things progress. In the meantime, let us know what YOU want to know about!!! Cheers Nauti People!