Saturday, May 28

The dog days of summer

It's been in the 80s and even touched the 90s here over the last few days. And while it makes for good cruises... in general, it's too damn hot. How do we know it's too hot? Duncan told us.

Someone get me a glass of ice water please!

Ahhh, much better! Posted by Hello

-Tom and Jessi

Friday, May 27

Playing hookie

So THIS is why we live aboard:

It was a record breaking day in Seattle yesterday. Perfect weather: sunny, warm with a slight breeze. The only problem - it was Thursday, so how could we possibly we enjoy it? Solution: skip work/school and take the boat out.

I "convinced" a couple of my friends to skip work early and come out with me and Jessi to enjoy the day. Matt and Steve came over at about 230 to cruise lake Washington. We set out along the Montlake cut and perused the charts for a spot to anchor. We decided on Cozy Cove on the eastern shore.

The little red boat is home, the blue X is Cozy Cove.

Rainier on the way to Cozy Cove

Jessi chillin' in Cozy Cove

In keeping with my desire to practice things by just doing it, we tried a few firsts on this voyage.

Our first anchoring:

Nice work

Our first swim off the swim step (It was very cold!):

Get in the damn water, wussy boy.


Our first time deploying the sattelite ship (a.k.a. dinghy):

How romantic!

Big Bad Boat

Our first grilling session away from homeport

At about 6 we decided to haul in the anchor and head home. The next day when Steve was describing the trip to our buddy he said, "It was like a commercial. It started out awesome, and then kept getting awesomer." Um, thanks Steve.


Thursday, May 26

I'm a big wimp

The weekend before my birthday bash I invited a few friends over to help take the boat out and practice. I figured I might as well get good at this, and the only way to do it is to do it. I'm getting fairly competent (I think?) but I want to start going out with fewer and fewer people on board. The plan was to have Nate, Matt and Megan come over and take the boat out just to play with the twin diesels and get good at slow speed maneuvering. We were getting ready to go, but the American Flag standing straight out convinced me otherwise.

Storm's a brewin'

Sure, I know I need to know how to maneuver in wind too, but why press my luck now? I should probably be pretty damn good before going out in the gusts. When you have 12 feet of freeboard and 4 feet of draft, the wind is not kind. So I called it off. But my buddies had already come over to Seattle, so we had to do SOMEthing. And what makes any bad day better? Grilled meat.

So, we walked down to West Marine and bought a new Magma Grill. (Thanks to my Mom and Pops for the B-Day present!!) According to Megan, grilled food tastes better grilled on a boat than anywhere else. Matt and Megan are boat owners too, so you gotta believe her, but I needed to test it out for myself.

If you don't own a grill for your boat, go get one. It's part of the lifestyle. In fact, I didn't really consider myself a boat owner until that weekend. But brace yourself, because 1) Not only do you have to buy a grill, but you have to buy the hardware to mount it, and 2) As simple as it may seem to attach a piece of metal to a railing, it will take you a long time. Why? Because the grill mounting device is a piece of crap. About zero seconds of thought were put into the design. When Matt installed his on First Child, he actually ended up rigging the mount on his boat with a fishing rod holder and a piece of string. You'd think for the 50 bucks they charge you just for the mounting hardware it would be simple to do, but no.

Anyway, we finally got the grill mounted and started cooking. We had pork loin, sausage, asparagus and roasted red peppers... mmmm. A great innaugural feast! And dessert was grilled pineapple rings... Deee-lish!

Safety first!


The chef

Matt and Megan

Ya know how I said West Marine charges 50 bucks for mounting hardware? They also charge 50 bucks for a Magma cover. So instead of buying it there, I ordered one online. In the mean time I installed the Hefty brand cover after we finished up.

Hefty brand grill cover

So, all in all the day was salvaged. Although we didn't get underway, we did fill up on meat. And Megan was right, there is something terribly good about grilled meat on a boat. Now that the theory has been tested and proven, let the summer begin!


P.S. I found the pictures.

Tuesday, May 24


It started with an email titled MISSION: BIRTHDAY BLAST. "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to have a blast on your birthday. (Yay!) The first component of your mission: Speak to your superiors and obtain permission to leave work early on Friday, May 20."

Tom's birthday was fast approaching, and I wanted to do it right. He's keeps outdoing himself on birthdays/anniversaries/Valentine's Day (a diamond nose stud, Tiffany earrings, the backcountry backpack of my dreams...) and it was my turn to do something special. I figured a surprise getaway weekend was the way to go, and the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE theme could only make it more amusing.

A few weeks later, I sent a second email with a packing list that included, among other things, a passport, long underwear, and a swimsuit. He had no idea what he was in for, which is exactly how I wanted it!

My plan was this: Friday afternoon drive up to British Columbia and camp just outside of Squamish, BC. Then, wake up Saturday morning and go whitewater rafting on the Elaho (the long underwear was for under the wetsuit - it's a glacial river!). After a fun but cold day on the river, I was sure Tom would assume we were camping Saturday night as well. The surprises would keep coming - instead of driving to another campground Saturday night, I'd take him to a cozy bed & breakfast with a hot tub! Then Sunday, wake up and give him his choice of activities: hiking, horsebackriding, a ferry trip across Howe Sound? Whatever he wanted!

We left town Friday afternoon and arrived at Paradise Valley Campground around 7 pm. Unfortunately, although I'd requested a more remote campsite, the site we were assigned wasn't quite what I was hoping for. Fortunately, the owners (Pat and Lynn - incredible people!) were quick to make it up to us. Pat walked us across the road to the Paradise Valley B&B, and gave us a room at the B&B for the price of a campsite! What a wonderful woman, and what a wonderful B&B!

Paradise Bath

Paradise bed

Happy Birthday Boy in Paradise!

Of course, the only problem with staying at a B&B Friday night was that it ruined the "special surprise" of staying at a B&B Saturday night. But you know what? I wasn't complaining. Especially as we lay snug in our bed listening to the rain hit the roof Friday night.

Saturday morning we woke up warm and well-rested, and headed off to the Elaho River to become just the opposite. The Elaho is a fun class III river, but on a typical rainy Pacific Northwest day the 35 degree water can get pretty chilly! Still, it was a great time, and I think Tom really enjoyed himself.

We got off the river and had a yummy BBQ lunch courtesy of the rafting company (let's give 'em a plug, since they did a great job of taking us down the river: Canadian Outback Adventures). While we were eating, the other people in our rafting group kept talking about going back to warm up in their hotel hot tub. Tom never said anything, but I knew he wouldn't mind a soak in a hot tub... and I also knew he assumed we were camping.

It was so much fun to drive him from rafting to another B&B! The Hummingbird B&B was another great place to stay, owned by another incredibly nice couple (Abe and Yoko). The Hummingbird is a beautiful combination of Canadian log cabin and Japanese landscaping.
After a long day on the river, the Japanese-style hot tub was just what we were looking for.

Hummingbird B&B

Japanese style hot tub

Cozy fireplace

It rained Saturday night and into Sunday morning, and although we had originally planned to take a ferry across Howe Sound and go on a hike from there, we decided to skip the hike. Yes, we'll admit it. We were feeling lazy, it was raining hard, and a ferry ride sounded like just the right speed for us.


The ferry ride was gorgeous, despite the rain: the clouds were constantly shifting across Howe Sound, giving us great views of the Stawamus Chief one minute, then concealing the Chief the next minute but revealing the mouth of the Sound several miles away.

The Stawamus Chief, from the stern of the ferry

Howe Sound


After the ferry ride, we got back in the truck and headed home. All in all, a fun birthday surprise weekend for Tom!

One final note - speaking of gifts, all the pictures for this blog were taken with a spiffy new camera Meredith gave me! The camera is so cool! Thanks again Meredith!


Sunday, May 22

Opening Day

Opening day for boating season was May 7. In Seattle, this is a big deal. Lots of pomp and circumstance, a huge boat parade, and a lot of drunk boaters:

Like all good boaters, we hit the water:

Forgive us, but we really didn't want to deal with Opening Day. The lake gets ridiculously crowded, and we didn't feel like entering our boat (read: home) in the drunken pinball game of cruising Lake Union. So we left Sea Change safely tied to the dock, packed way too much crap into the truck, and headed for higher ground.

We found a perfect campsite right by the river and Tom got down to the task of making a fire.


"Me make fire!"

It was so nice to get away from the city and the crowded lake, and I think even our rugged little puppy had a good time. Of course, just as we were packing up to leave, it started to rain, at which point he ran for cover.

OK, so he's more of a city dog. That's alright, we love him anyway!


Thursday, May 19


Courtesy of my friend Brian:

mechanical birds
screech above the bloggers boat
shotgun blasts quiet


Wednesday, May 18

It's not a bird or a monkey

It's a recording.

Can you believe it? That bird I posted about last week is a recording! So much for hunting.

Apparently, the pigeons in the area have done thousands of dollars of damage to the marina building with their poop. They poop everywhere, and supposedly their poop contains an outrageous amount of toxic blech that makes it unhealthy to have sitting around (in addition to the general gross-ness of lots of bird poop.) The marina has tried everything, wires, spikes, fake owls... but nothing has worked. Now they are trying to talk to the birds. I imagine they found some sort of bird translator, and they are broadcasting in bird language "Please do not land here. We do not like your poop. Please go elsewhere to poop. Thank you for your cooperation. Please do not land here..."

It's working great. It drives birds (and people) absolutely bonkers. They are still experimenting with frequency and volume, trying to figure out how often they have to play it and how loudly to keep the birds away. I've given my input to the marina office... but my guess is zero volume won't really be effective at keeping way the birds. They have turned it off at night, which is nice, and really, knowing the purpose makes it a little more bearable.

I mean, at least I don't have much bird poop to clean.


Saturday, May 14

Real Men Varnish

I've started my first ever varnishing project. I'm pretty excited about it... there's something about shiny wood that makes me happy.

We ordered quarterboards for the boat so we can finally be identified. I mean really... we've had the boat almost a year, and have yet to actually put the name on the outside. We figured it was about time. When they arrived they had a thin wimpy coat of spray-on varnish, hardly something that'll stand up to the sun and water on a boat. So we decided they needed a few more manly coats.

I took them to the garage at my rental house and set up shop. Every day at lunch time I run over there and throw a coat on. Even after just the first coat they started to look better. I learned something important, though. The can of varnish says lightly sand between coats. Note: you should actually do this. I debated this for a half hour. Standing there looking at the brand new slick clean coat of varnish I had just put on the day before, with a piece of sandpaper designed to scratch things, in my hand. Even though it is heart wrenching to take that sheet of sandpaper to the nice shiny surface, it is for the better. It may look like you just ruined it (that's what I thought on day two) but day three just looks so great. The varnish really has something to hold on to, and the next coat goes on so smooth.

The one on the left looks ruined I know... but that's just because it's in the process of being sanded. Soon it'll look more like the one on the right. Posted by Hello

So next week, after I've finished four coats front and back, we'll hang them up and officially be "Sea Change." Very exciting.


Thursday, May 12

Down in front!

As we've mentioned before, we have a view of the Seattle skyline, but only from our upper deck. Otherwise, the view is blocked by the boat across the way:

The good news is, we've been told that our dock basically empties out come summertime. Apparently, a lot of boats around here can actually afford to maintain TWO slips simultaneously - one for winter moorage (our marina) and one for summer moorage (usually up in the San Juans). What a rough life.

Why do we care? Well, the boat across from us took a day trip the other day, and gave us a teaser of the view we'll get when they take off for the summer:

We like our neighbors, but can you blame us for looking forward to summertime?


Tuesday, May 10

It's a jungle out there.

I love nature. Jessi and I go on hikes all the time and we love the outdoors. We have a little doggie, and we like most animals in general. I've never been hunting; I've never really had the desire.

But now it's on.

There is this bird. It sits on top of our marina building and screams. It doesn't "chirp" or "sing," or even "squawk". It screams. All day. All night. When I first heard it, I thought it sounded like a monkey. I thought, "Cool, it sounds like we live in a jungle." It really did sound like the stereotypical movie jungle monkey sound. But it never went away. Never. And he added this screaming on top of the monkey sound. I mean really, I just want to shoot it.


Friday, May 6

Farewell and Abyssinia!

Kim and Eric, co-captains of Abyssinia, departed for Alaska a few days ago. Their blog was part of the inspiration for starting ours (the other inspiration was Steve and Jocelyn, who have blogged about their adventures in Central America since before the word "blog" existed).

Anyway! Where was I? Oh, right, Kim and Eric are on their way! They cruise the Inside Passage every summer and blog about it via satellite phone. Pretty damn cool. When we make our trip up to AK, we plan on either furtively or not-so-furtively following them the whole way up, because they definitely know what they're doing. And we definitely don't.