Saturday, January 29

Boats Afloat

So, last weekend, while the Northeast got 3 feet of snow (jealous) we got 60 degrees and wet. We have a season pass to a ski mountain that is closed. In fact, it’s only been open for a total of 3 weeks this year. (rrrrr) So, what does a bored snowboarder do when it’s 60 degrees out in the middle of January? Go to the Seattle Boats Afloat Show of course!


It’s a dangerous place. Very very dangerous. You find yourself uttering words like “on our next boat” and “how come WE don’t have a…” You can get in trouble very quickly. But it’s a lot of fun! There were a ton of boats there, and you can board most of them. There was everything from dinghies to 160 foot condo complexes and Jessi and I wandered around with wide eyes. We had two goals. 1. See what’s out there in our size range and compare. 2. See if living on a boat is something we could do for a while. In other words, what might we be able to afford in 5 years as “our next boat.”

We learned a bunch of things:

Most boats at Boats Afloat were way nicer than ours… And way more expensive. I don’t think there was a boat at the show that was even half our size for what we paid. So for the money that we had to spend, and the features that we wanted, we feel like we made a good decision purchasing our boat.

The gadgets you can get for your boat are outrageous… for a gadget freak it was like heaven. Two of my favorites:
- The pilot house of one boat had 3 flat screens, one had a radar display, one had a navigation display and one had a camera view of the stern so you could see yourself backing up! Plus it had a systems status board with indicator lights placed on a diagram of the boat. So cool. It was like being in the Navy, only at home! Wait, not so cool.
- The yachtub, a floating hot tub that you tie up to your boat (or the dock, or whatever). A MUST before heading up to Alaska. Nothing would be better than soaking in a hot tub at the base of a glacier!


We also learned that new boats in our size range are a lot nicer, but they don’t have a layout like ours - and we love our layout. On Sea Change, the salon and galley are on the same level, making a sort of great room that feels pretty spacious. It’s like a trawler, except that we don’t have a steering station in one corner of the room. We didn’t see any other boats like this.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There was a Silverton 39’ that seemed like it has twice as much room as our 48’. Very nice. Very expensive, but very nice.

39 feet? Wow!

All told it was a fun and humbling experience. Even though it’s easy to “get the fever” while looking at the brand new, gorgeous, expensive, large yachts, we realized that for the money, Sea Change was the best boat we could’ve gotten. We love our home. But we'd love it more with a Yachtub.

- Tom

Saturday, January 22

An evening with Rod Serling

Friday night. I awoke with a start. I didn't know why, but I threw my blanket off and started to get out of bed. The fog cleared from my head and I realized that I had woken up because the boat was rocking. A lot. I had never felt it rock like that, not even at sea, not even with a heavy wind blowing. It was 1:30 in the morning. The boat was rolling so much I had to hold onto my bedside table to stand up. I tried to find my glasses so I could run out to the bow to see what was going on. By the time I got upstairs there was nothing to see. A few normal waves, and the boat was barely moving. Really bizzarre. I swore Nessie would be out there nuzzling up to the boat in some Scottish mating ritual.

I hopped back in bed, told Jessi (who had also been woken up by the rolling boat) there was nothing out there, and tried to go back to sleep. But I couldn't shake the bizzare rocking of the boat. As I was lying there in bed I noticed some sirens wailing. Then some more, and they didn't go away. Wierd. Then we heard a helicopter. I had the sinking feeling in my stomach that the world around me was changing rapidly - like something big was happening out there. I got up, Jessi joined me, and we went out to the bow to look. We saw some police lights zip by across the lake, and a helicopter circling overhead. But no indication of what was going on. Still no Nessie, and everything seemed normal. After about 10 minutes the helicopter left and there were no more sirens.

So, we went to bed. Nothing on the news, nothing on the internet, no fuzzy photos or anything. Even today, no indication of what happened. We thought maybe an earthquake... but I guess it was just a (BIG) boat zipping by causing waves, (coincidentally) followed by crooks zipping by causing sirens. But if anyone out there has any other ideas, we'd love to hear 'em.


Sunday, January 16

Entry of Shameless Solicitation

Tom and I have decided to participate in a very cool charity event called The Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. We'll be climbing Mt Hood June 11-12 2005 in an effort to raise money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. We've committed to raise $2500 each.

Mt Hood

We know, we know, $2500 each is a huge fundraising commitment - but that's a good thing because it means that our climbing and fundraising efforts will make a real difference. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death among women in the United States. One out of every eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime, and a woman dies of breast cancer every 12 minutes. Those are some scary stats.

The money raised in the climb will go to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. The Center is on the forefront of breast cancer research. The broad range of research at the center includes work on the basic cellular mechanisms of cancer development, risk factors, genetics, diagnosis, early detection, prognosis, prevention, counseling and treatment. Center researchers also develop and evaluate aggressive treatment strategies for breast cancer, including therapies to prevent the reoccurrence of cancer after a bone-marrow or stem-cell transplant.

Please consider sponsoring us in the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. It really is an important cause.

To make a tax-deductible donation online, click on the link below and select either Kelley or Hayden-Spear from the pull-down menu (if you don't have a preference, split the donation between us!):

We truly appreciate any donation you're able to offer and please remember that any amount helps!

Thank you!
Jessi and Tom

Friday, January 7

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Christmas is not the only time it's great to liveaboard in downtown Seattle. If you live at the right marina, New Year's Eve can be pretty spectacular as well. Although our bow faces away from the skyline, when you climb up onto our second-level deck and look aft, you have a beautiful view of downtown Seattle and more importantly - for New Years Eve, anyway - the Space Needle.

Every NYE, they shoot fireworks out of the Space Needle. That's right: not over the Space Needle, or near the Space Needle, but directly out of the Space Needle. It's pretty cool. So last Friday night Anne, Danny, Beth and Mike came over to the boat for celebrations.

Danny and Anne

Mike and Beth

We started out with a few drinks, and then walked 1/4 mile around the lake to Daniels Broiler for dinner (another reason we love our marina - close proximity to the best steak in Seattle). Then we came back to the boat and drank just enough so that by midnight, heading out into the cold and wet to watch fireworks sounded like a good idea.

Fireworks shot directly out of the Space Needle.

This would be a cool picture if Tom had meant to capture the image this way. Unfortunately, I think it's more a work of alchohol, and less a work of art.


Wednesday, January 5

The small things

Today was the best day ever! Forgive me if I'm a little excited, but listen to this: I woke up this morning, and instead of turning on the boat heater after I went to the gym, I turned it on before I went to the gym. And wouldn't ya know, when I got back from the gym and got in the shower, I had FIFTEEN SOLID MINUTES OF HOT WATER. This is in comparison to the 5 minutes of lukewarm water I usually get. This morning I had enough time to wash my hair and shave my legs. Usually I have to split those two tasks up into two separate shower sessions, one before school and one after. Sorry if this is too much information, but I'm too ecstatic not to share.
Apparently our boat heater somehow heats up the hotwater tank as well. I'm not sure how it works, and I don't care. I'm just glad it does.