Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy exits the stage

Sandy made her presence felt all night, but left us and surrounding area without causing any problems. The power stayed on, which was great as we currently rely on electric heaters for warmth. This needs to be remedied next season, but for now we are glad for the heat, as the temps are dipping.

Today was a grey, cold, day, with needle sharp drizzle falling steadily. Me Voy has her share of leaks which seem to be mostly situated wherever I sit.  The condensation inside is also crazy adding to the amphibious atmosphere. I remember someone complaining how their shoes mold in the winter because of the dampness, and now I understand. Still, we are warm, well fed, and have nothing to complain about. Nothing except not playing enough ball the last couple of days that is.

Seeing the mess to the North of us we send positive vibrations to all those who did not escape Sandy's fury. Nature is impersonal, making her awesome, and I feel a deep respect for her power. I hope, as a species, we make harmony with Nature a priority, or the future, for us little dots, looks bleak indeed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Superstorm Sandy

Found a great site streaming live footage from the Storm. Now Tcan stop watching the wind indicator because Hurricane Sandy has turned into Superstorm Sandy. This means lesser winds, more rain and snow in points West. The biggest gust we've seen has been 47, and that was about an hour ago. She seems to be pestering.

waiting for her

 Wind still at 30 with gusts of 45, so we know she's not here yet, but she does have our full attention.

Hurricane Sandy almost here

This morning, with a steady 15-20 knots of wind blowing curtesy of Hurricane Sandy, we answered the question of how we are going to get Chopper to land to do his business. 

We put on our foul weather gear and do it... It was actually kinda fun in an adventure kinda way.  We were not the only ones out there. All the poor saps with their soaking animal friends were scurring about "taking care of business", and we exchanged glances of sympathy, along with a "stay safe".

Back on the boat, we finally got to put that cool radar we got gifted from Diversified Marine to some use. We installed in the galley so that we could monitor the radar from inside while sailing, but since we haven't sailed much it hasn't come in handy until now. Today we are watching it to see what the wind speed is outside. Since the morning, it has increased to 30 with some gust of 35. The worst is supposed to hit us around 7 pm and hang around till Wed.

Since I took this pic the wind has increased to a steady 35 and the water level has dropped to 10.4 ft, which means, as predicted the Northerly wind will push the surging water out of the bay, so that flooding should not be an issue.

We are now all battened down, just waiting for this thing to really hit. I got Irish cream in my coffee, brownies in the oven, and socks drying on the radiator. Chopper is sleeping soundly, Travis is reading calmly, but Billy is nervous. Outside the wind is howling but we are not tilting yet, and so we wait to see what happens.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is Coming

I just turned on the computer and read the headline "Impending Disaster Coming to Northeast!" Why, why do we have to be so dramatic??! I felt my heart start to race, and began getting scared just after that one exposure. How people watching TV all the time maintain their perspective and sanity I don't know.

In reality Sandy has started to blow here and a slight drizzle has begun. Lines are doubled, everything is battened, and the only thing left to do is to take down the boom fly. We're leaving it up for now, because it shields our companionway from the rain, but we'll take it down before it really starts to blow.

The latest we heard from NOAA, (one of the more matter of act media outlets) was the worst will be coming Mon. and Tues with 40-50 mph winds with gusts up to 65. I've experienced 63 mph wind on the boat and its not something I will forget soon. Add to that torrential rain, for a couple of days, and its bound to suck. Not sure how we will walk Chopper or what to really expect. There are quite a few seasoned boaters here, who have gone thru several hurricanes and their pointers, advice and confidence is great to have around. I do keep thinking that it could be worse; we could be looking at swaying trees wondering if they are gonna break on top of us.

Here at Anchorage Marina, we are docked at a fairly protected spot and are loving the floating docks now. If it does get to be too uncomfortable we'll head to a hotel nearby and watch the action from there.  Last year with Hurricane Irene, we docked Me Voy here, and we have no doubt she ride fine, as she did last year. The question is do we want to go for that ride or not. We'll play that one by ear, but so far we are snug, comfortable, and committed to staying put.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Forever goodbye

Early in the morning, Tara fired up her engines and began the journey to her new home near Washington D.C. Our spies told us of the excellent way Amy handled the boat, getting out of a tight parking spot flawlessly, and took this excellent photo.

Constellation Tara leaving Baltimore Yacht Basin
Although I am glad to no longer have two boats, I think I could have lived aboard Tara forever. Whereas Me Voy has her living challenges, and feels like living aboard a boat, Tara was luxury itself.
I don't regret our decision to sell her, but man that was a great boat live live on!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Chopper guards his bone 

Well our instincts were correct, and the property sold for more then our "investor" wanted to pay. So, we will now guard what we have and start making plans to journey to warmer climates. Our house search will continue along the way, and depending on what happens may resume in Spring when we come back to the boat. A big exhale here  and a gosh darn too bad at the same time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Time has been flying by and new developments are on the horizon. We had an offer from an "investor" who proposed to buy us a house to fix up and sell. He would front the money for the initial purchase, we would do the necessary upgrades on our dime, and upon future sale of the house we would pay him a percentage of the profits. With this in mind we've been looking at properties in the higher price range, and one in particular stands out. It is going on auction tomorrow, and we are excited to see what happens.

That is the garage of the property in question. As you can maybe tell my T's expression it's pretty awesome.

Yes that is indeed a pool in the backyard. Since you can't see my expression, let me just tell you that my  mouth is wide open in awe with a little drool that needs wiping.

The bidding starts at 50k. The house has an unfinished basement and needs your casual updates, paint, floor, appliances etc. Both T and I expect it to go beyond the price limit of our "investor." We are looking for a deal, and this probably won't be one, but since we never know where destiny will take us, we will see tomorrow if the pool is getting filled with champagne in celebration.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not Sailing

Since the sale of Tara we have done zero work on Me Voy. In fact it feels like we haven't done much of anything, especially sailing. The total number of times we will have gone sailing this year  is six. That's pretty pathetic. Why is that?

Travis said to me recently, "it seems like the longer we live on this boat, the less likely we are to cruise"...

I think he's right. Having the experience of living aboard Me Voy for several months now, I have more and more respect for cruising couples. Do their tables not accumulate a ton of crap that takes hours to put away? Do their shoes, and coats, and clothes and books, always neatly store themselves in shelves,lockers and closets? Despite the sincere desire to be neat and orderly, to put everything away as soon as we are done using it, we often find our small salon looking like... well like two people with many diverse interests live there.

I wish we could sail more. We both love it when we are actually doing it, but the inertia to get going is incredible. Those blogs you read, where couples (some with dogs, some with cats) are sailing the Carribbean or the world, making it look easy, well I know better. Its not easy. There's a lot of  work involved, and those out there doing it have my total respect.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chopper and Billy

No matter where we go, or what we do, Chopper just continues to smile. He's the most easy going, happy dog I've ever met.

Living in such close quarters with a dog and a cat takes some practice. I mean how many times  week do we say "oh I'm sorry Buddy, I didn't mean to kick you in the face..."? Way too many. Yet Chopper takes it all in stride and smiles and twinkles and shakes his ears and goes on being happy.

Billy however is a different story. He is not happy being told what to do, and he is extra unhappy if he can't do as he pleases. His independence coupled with his sweetness makes him a handful.

Living in the Inner Harbor is hard on Billy. He's used to running down the dock and getting his feet in some grass, but here there is nothing. Boats, boats and more boats. I bring him grass from the park Chopper and I go to, and the way he smells and savors each blade is almost heartbreaking. I keep telling him that its only one more month in this hell hole, and he tells me to "go to hell". 

Yesterday however, he did the thing that he can't do, he went on another boat. It was a new boat that docked right next to us (evidently Columbus Day is a major holiday around here) and as we were sitting in the cockpit Travis gasps and points behind me. And there was Billy, on the deck of this power cruiser, curiously peeking into an open hatch.

"NO! Billy NO!" I was saying in my most baritone of voices. (Baritone signals that I'm very very serious)

Time slowed as Billy thought about going down that hatch and I thought about what that would mean. 

"NO! Billy  NO!" We have heard way too many stories of cats who went into neighboring boats, startled sleeping boaters and got thrown into the water, or slammed against a bulkhead (wall).

"NO! Billy NO!" 

The third "no Billy no!" sunk in and he made his way down to the dock and back to Me Voy. 

Upon arrival, Travis wanted to wring his neck him and I contemplated locking him in for the rest of the night. But, if there is one thing that Billy taught us is that truly you catch more bees with honey. 
Screaming at him would only make him want to run away, and not listen to anything we had to say. Fear and force would not teach him to leave other boats alone. Had I locked him in that night I'm sure he would run toward the next boat he saw despite any "no's" that I may be yelling. No, Billy has to learn thru love. He has to came back because he wants to. Will he never get on another boat? I don't know, but I hope that somewhere in his pea brain he will connect that doing so is very very bad (said in a baritone) and that will be enough to stop him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nest Eggs and Chickens

Since the sale of Tara, there has been a cloud of unknowing hanging over our life. "What's the next step?" it seems to ask.

Naturally, since our "ultimate dream" is to live off the land, we quickly assumed that is the next step. So began our search for "Yumbumland".  Visiting Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountain land however,  quickly put things in perspective. What perspective? We have to have a lot more money for the kind of set up we are imagining. And here's the problem. Both Travis and I like to work, but neither one of us likes jobs. They just don't make sense. Why work for money to buy a tomato, when you can work to grow your own tomato?

So, slowly the question has become : how do we turn this nest egg so beautifully laid by Tara, into a whole basket of eggs, that we can then hatch into chickens who will produce more and more eggs?

If you are now thinking that we have fallen into the trap of the capitalistic world, wanting more and more, I'm right there with you. This kind of thinking and scheming is really not my first priority. However, in order to realize my first priority - a self sustaining life that benefits my own highest potential and helps to realize the potential of others - practical decisions have to be made. Yawn. I hate practical decisions. Even writing this is bristling every hair on my lets-go-on-an-adventure soul.

However, seen from another perspective, this is uncharted territory, and as good explorers and adventures we should pursue all unknown trails to see where they lead. As such we decided to take a look into the real estate market here in Baltimore to see if there were any houses that we could fix up and sell in the near future. Houses are much easier to work on then boats, and if we could double our money while doing what we don't hate and are pretty good at, then why not look into it?

 Our maximum price was $50,000, which living in a city where row houses sell for 7,000 seemed like a decent amount. So for the last two weeks we have been crawling around basements, peeking into attics, and tapping on walls to see if the next step was a fixer upper in Baltimore.

The answer, so far is a resounding, no!

Our best prospect was this place we named the "white house".  It had a great yard, a new roof and nice new windows. It needed the plaster walls tore down and replaced with drywall and insulation (doable) the bathroom relocated (doable) and the back section of the house raised up and a new foundation poured (are you effing crazy!!!) Price $38,000

The next best thing we found was a cute yellow house in a great location.

Again it had a big yard, and...well thats about it. It needed a new roof (ok maybe we can work with that), plaster walls and paneling replaced with drywall (doable), nasty carpet removed (doable),  and the upstairs bedrooms redesigned (maybe doable). The biggest irreconcilable detail was the low ceilings. They measured 7 1/2 feet from floor to ceiling, not counting the unexplainable drop ceiling. Just couldn't live with that. Price $48,000

So for all our crawling, peeking and tapping, we only got a few stained articles of clothing, and a very realistic look at what $50,000 will get you in Baltimore, - a whole lot of shitty work!