Sunday, July 31, 2011

Second Show Sunday

Because Sunday is the day of rest for so many (and stats are famously low on Sundays) I am going to post some blogs from long ago.  I realize some of you might have already read them - but most of you probably haven't.  So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy this blast from the past...because sometimes, things are better the second time around...


Marine Superstitions

I have always been somewhat of a superstitious person.  I try not to walk under ladders, I don't put new shoes on the table, black cats crossing my path sort of creep me out and if I break a mirror, I worry a bit. Superstitions, however,  don't rule my life, but if I can avoid, say, a black cat from crossing my path by crossing the street or turning around quickly, I will.  In my opinion, if there is even the remotest chance that I actually can control/avoid 'bad luck' - I'll give it a crack.  I don't want to tempt fate.  The Universe works in very mysterious ways...

No world is more riddled with superstition than the world of the sea.  I've always known of the true blue sailor superstitions such as "bananas on a boat are bad luck" (you'll slip on the peel and fall overboard), dolphins swimming with your ship is a sign of good luck,  "don't whistle on a boat" (it will raise a gale) and, yes, I've always been aware of the sexist superstition that "a woman on a boat brings bad luck" (apparentlywe 'anger' the sea).  I was not aware, however, that a NAKED woman on board will actually "calm the sea" (hence the naked figureheads adorning bows).  Riiiiiigggghhht.  Anyone else see a little discrepancy here?  I've got to hand it to those sailors of yesteryear though, they really knew how to work an angle.  I wonder how many seasick women ran around in their birthday suits when a storm hit or the waves got a little out of hand? Very 'age of Aquarius'.

Turns out - there are some pretty wacky nautical superstitions out there. Here are a few gems:
  • Black traveling bags are bad omens for sailors.
  • Avoid flat-footed people when beginning a trip BUT the bad luck can be averted if you speak to the flat-footed person before they speak to you.
  • Avoid red-headed people when beginning a trip BUT (like the above) the bad luck can be averted if you speak to the red head before they speak to you.
  • The caul of a newborn is protection against drowning and will bring the owner good luck (FYI 'caul' is essentially the amniotic sac....ummmmm who OWNS this sort of thing!?!).
  • The feather of a wren slain on New Years Day will protect a sailor from dying in a shipwreck.
Who comes up with this stuff?!  And to anyone out there who owns any part of the amniotic sac and carries it around for good luck - please seek help.

Sailors are a very superstitious bunch, and I'm guessing it has everything to do with the fact that, once at sea, we have very little control of the world around us  and adhering to little tokens and rituals helps us to feel like we have a hand in our fate.  Superstitions provide a sense of security and confidence.  That, and the fact that sailors like their women in the buff.  Who can blame 'em?

There is a tremendous amount of power in belief and maybe - just maybe if Scott and I offer Neptune some libations and goodies along our journey (hope he likes Rum!), he'll take good care of us! It's worth a shot (literally)! 

Fingers crossed,

Brittany & Scott

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back on the Boat

There is nothing like coming home.  Having been gone for five weeks we weren't sure what to expect when we returned (would everything be rusty?  would we have been overtaken by mold?  would our hatches leak? would the boat have that 'old boat' stench? would cockroaches have moved in?).  But you know what?  It felt just like any other homecoming.  You know the feeling: a sense of relief that everything is where you left it, a sense of comfort in the familiarity of "home", that distinct "empty" smell (not bad, just... different) that makes you want to fling open your windows and let in the fresh air...that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you realize that your little home has been sitting there happily, waiting for you to return.

It feels really good.

Because we didn't get in last night until 11:30pm due to a flight delay (Fun Fact:  Scott and I have never, ever flown without an incident such as a flight cancellation, a blizzard, hydraulic brake issues, a re-routed flight and/or an "overweight plane") we opted to hop into bed and leave all the unpacking and reacquainting till the morning.

Bright and early, we were greeted by the glorious sunlight pouring in through our forward hatch and got to work making our boat livable and homey again.  You might recall that we did a lot of preparation before we left, so not only did we have to undo all that, we had to unpack all our (four, giant) bags as well.  It's been a busy morning.  Despite our hiatus, however, we have fallen right back into step with ease; turning off the water pump before we go to bed, checking the engine oils to see how they fared while we were away, making sure the bilge was clean, opening all the seacocks,  running the engine, changing the water filter, checking the batteries, only using a quarter of the paper towel and all that good stuff.  It all came back so...naturally.

I guess you can say living on a boat is a bit like riding a bike, once you get back on you just know what to do.  And you know what else?  I haven't even missed air conditioning or refrigeration once (yet)!

Brittany & Scott

Note:  Big, HUGE "thanks" to Island Dreams Grenada who not only ensured all our above questions were taken care of, but took great care of our boat (airing the boat, flushing the watermaker, checking the bilge...etc) in our absence.  We would highly recommend their services to anyone looking for boat guardianage.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Windtraveler...In Print!

While we might be leaving on a jet plane today - there is still all sorts of good stuff going on over here!  Ladies and gentlemen - due to popular demand - we have gone to print!!

This is a book that I created with the help of Blurb; an amazing, user-friendly, and easy online book creating tool.  If you have wanted to support us in the past but didn't know how - this would be a great way to start! A portion of the proceeds go to us and, in return; you get a beautiful, 62 page photograph book complete with inspiring quotes and blog excerpts.

Please visit our book today - you can order directly online and Blurb will ship it right to you in about a week!

We'll see you once we're back in Grenada!


Brittany & Scott

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heading back to Paradise!

We head back to Grenada and to our boat tomorrow morning!  Would you believe me if I told you this wasn't even HALF of what we plan to bring back?!  Guess we might have to make a visit to good ole UPS after all.

Alright - that's all for now.  Time for packing to commence!  Luckily we have our extra large Sailorbags duffles to fill to the brim!!

Brittany & Scott

Check out our Facebook page for before and after packing shots!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kindle Love

Cruising nowadays is made much easier by a whole slew of "modern conveniences"; the Internet, FedEx, long life milk and e-readers, to name a few.

I am an avid reader and, when left to my own devices, I can crank out a book a day.  This is something that baffles Scott: "Did you seriously just read that book?!"  but something that gives me great pleasure and, as long as I have a book on hand, I will never be bored.

Room on a boat is always at a premium, no matter what the size.  Items brought on board must serve double duty, must have purpose and must fit.  When we were preparing for this trip one of the few things I actually worried about was "how am I going to bring enough books to read?!" (Book swaps, FYI, often produce romance novels and the kind of paperback books you find at kiosks in airports if you are into those types of books, which I, unfortunately, am not).

I had never considered an e-reader before - in fact - when they first came out I scoffed at how unauthentic reading a book on a machine was.  I mean, isn't half the joy of a book the physical book itself?  I was a hater.  But as I loaded box after box of books I saw not only the sheer volume of paperback but the weight, I knew I had to figure something out.

Enter the e-reader:  the pancake thin, super light "e-reader" that holds over 1,000 books at a time.  Volumes are downloaded in minutes (or seconds), they're cheaper than their physical relatives, and they are easy to carry and use.  Do you have any idea how much room 1,000 books would take up on a boat?!  I was sold.

I first bought a Barnes and Noble Nook because it was cheaper than the Kindle.  How different could they be?  I mistakenly thought.  I am not even going to go into the issues I had with the Nook, but the number one glaring issue I didn't realize until it was too late was that you cannot purchase books from an "out of USA" IP address*.  Having an e-reader that you cannot buy books for is...annoying.  My best friend, Lisa, would have to log into my account and buy them for me and only then could I download books (which was another headache).

My other dear (and incredibly generous) friend, Bijal, after hearing of my Nook woes on Facebook (and someone who understands my love of reading and books) decided she was buying me a Kindle and presented it to me saying "no one should have to deal with a Nook when there is a Kindle!".  Bless her cotton socks.  I love her.

So now I am a Kindle owner.

Let me tell you - this thing is amazing.  It's convenient, the fact that you're not reading a "real" book is a non-issue, books can be leant between friends, it's super user friendly, and - most important - it has the potential to be 1,000 books in one!

Guess who's not going to be bored for the next 100 years?

Brittany & Scott

* At least at the time I was downloading books from my Nook, I could not make international purchases.  They may or may not have changed this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Interesting Things Learned During The Captain's License Course

As many of you know - Scott got his Captain's license (or, rather, passed the test - he still has to get all his paperwork in).  The class was 9 straight days of intensive learning in a classroom setting, followed by hours of studying either at the yacht club or library.  Knowing Scott, I knew he would pass with flying colors (he is incredibly smart and when he sets out to do something, he does it 100%).  But he DID learn some interesting rules, tips, tricks that he didn't know before.  With no further ado, here they are:

  1. If your masthead light is on while sailing at night, you are considered a "power driven vessel" as far as right of way is concerned.  We had no idea!
  2. Theh term "tonnage" does not mean that's what your boat weighs.  Tonnage, when it comes to boat speak- is a measure of volume, not of weight.
  3. You might be a paid captain, after all!  If you take your friends fishing, for example, and ask that they bring a case of beer and a few Subway sandwiches on board and you do NOT finish ALL of the food/drink before you return to the harbor, you are technically being "paid" and you must have your captain's license.
  4. Life jackets are lifesavers.  "Each life jacket must be marked in clearly legible block letters with the vessels name".  This is a rule we were unaware of!  Makes sense.  However, this most likely applies only to commercial vessels, but it's probably good practice for any size boat.
  5. How to create a deviation table.  Scott's pretty excited to get back out on the water to create a deviation table for our boat, there's no such thing as a straight line on the water!
  6. Do you know your real course?  Your compass alone might not steer you home!  Use:  True course, Variation (+ or -), Magnetic, Deviation (+ or -), Compass - "True Virgins Make Dull Company" (add Whiskey (west), take away Ethics (east)).  This acronym is used for calculating compass error correction from top to bottom.  Confused?  Take a look here.
  7. Fun Fact:  Many of the traffic laws in the USA were created based on maritime traffic rules (i.e. you drive on the right side of the channel, right side of the road).
  8. Ever heard of the fire "triangle"? Fire is pretty much the worst thing that can happen on a boat at sea.  Any fire must have three basic components (aka the fire "triangle"):   Fuel,  Heat, and Oxygen.  Remove any one of these and the fire will collapse.
  9. Abandon ship? Stay with your vessel as long as possible.  As long as your vessel remains afloat you are probably safer remaining on board than taking to your life raft or survival craft. "Stick with the ship as long as it sticks with you".  We've known this since we were young, but it's a good reminder.  History shows that many more people involved in sea tragedies could have been saved if they stayed with their boats.
  10. And the final, most important, thing he learned is that: No matter how long you have been a boater and no matter how much you think you know about boating, there is plenty more to be learned!

Obviously Scott learned a TON more - but these 10 things were ones that stood out as either something we should've known, were shocked by, or just thought were interesting.  Hope you enjoyed!

Brittany & Scott

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Yesterday was our 1st Year Anniversary!  Quite a milestone I think.  Especially considering we have been living on a boat the past 10 months and with each other 24/7 (a fact we think translates into about 12 years in 'normal people time'). They say the first year is the hardest and (while we have had our fair share of ohmygodIamgoingtokillyou moments) I'd say our first year flew by and was just a heck of a lot of fun.  Since day one (four and a half years ago), Scott and I committed ourselves to living a life less ordinary, and if our first year together is any indication - we are on the right track!

Want to take a stroll down memory lane with us?  Check out our engagement story as well as our pre-wedding "whoa" moment and our wedding weekend story.

What a ride, baby!  What a ride!


Our photos are amazing and were taken by our friends, Ben and Mindy of Studio 6.23.  Check 'em out.  They travel!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Second Show Sunday

Because Sunday is the day of rest for so many, and because I am technically on "vacation" for the next few Sundays I am going to post some blogs from long ago.  I realize some of you might have already read them - but most of you probably haven't.  So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy this blast from the past...because sometimes, things are better the second time around...


Why Take The Path Less Chosen?

Yesterday, I posed a question on our Facebook page about what people would want to know about living aboard.  The idea is to develop some fodder for articles that I will (soon!!) write and submit to sailing magazines.  One question asked why Scott and I chose this life, when so many others in our situation (young, newlyweds...etc.) choose a life of the more, I don't know, "land-based" variety.

The truth is both Scott and I have wanted nothing other than what we are living right now for the larger portion of both of our lives.  When we met and realized weshared the same dream, well, that was just gravy.  Let me see if I can explain from my point of view...

I've always been a dreamer.  I attribute this fact to wonderfully supportive parents who not only instilled a love of travel, but a love of reading...more specifically, a love of stories.  I grew up wanting a story of my own.  Not necessarily a book, per se, but a life worthy of one.  The path less chosen historically seems to scratch this itch and just seems to be the one that I take in life - a lot.  Rebel spirit?  Perhaps.  I, however, attribute it to something greater - something bigger than myself.  I am following what is in my heart and soul.  I am living my life on my terms and I am lucky enough to a) be able to do it and b) have someone I love do it with me.  I count my blessings daily.

Scott and I have planned this journey from the moment we met 4 years ago.  We made some sacrifices (only had one car, lived in a very cheap apartment that could not get any closer to the 'el' train, gave up our summer to work on our boat...etc) but I think the most important thing is that neither of us ever wavered or doubted what we were after.  We just kept our eye on the prize.  Kept the dream alive, as it were.

Sure - we don't have a house (or any real "land based" possessions to speak of), have put a 'hold' on children and are alienated (physically) from our family and friends.  However, you just can't have it all in life and the way we look at it, life is to short to not get out there and enjoy the heck out of it.  For us - that means traveling, meeting new people, seeing the beauty of the world and sailing.  We choose to live freely, away from commutes, away from neon office lights, away from meetings and deadlines and  away from the totally constructed 'norms' of society.  Sure - we might return broke as a joke and have to start all over, but we're going to have one heck of a story to tell our kids...or have them be a part of.

If that doesn't sum up why we're doing this, I'll let my old friend Robert Frost do it in his beautiful poem, The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Sure has.

Brittany & Scott

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Getting Back in Boat Mode

We head back to Grenada in less than one week!  We've been so busy visiting friends and family all over the place that I almost forgot that part of what we wanted to get out of this visit was to buy some things that are much easier acquired in the good ole' U S of A.  Things like extra firm tofu, Tofu Scrambler, Emergen-C, PG Tips Tea (only the best for this Brit!), Probars,  Fantastic Brand hummus, shampoo, face wash, lotions, potions and lots more (okay, fine...I did order some new clothes and a few bikinis as well).  Luckily we got these great bags from Sailor bags.  Not only do they look great, but they are waterproof, durable and meant to hold up to the rugged standards of sailors.  They hold a TON of stuff and we're so happy we both have our very own to jam full of goodies.

If you were heading back to the islands, what would you bring from the land of plenty?!

Brittany & Scott

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where Did the Inner Child Go?

A fortune teller once told me that I would always be young, would always be youthful.  She smiled kindly as she said it, so I (thankfully) didn't take it to mean that I would die young.  She was right though, and I knew it.  I am what some might call "young at heart".  I still wonder what I will be when I "grow up" (for the record, I am thirty-two).  I laugh really loud, I dance like no one is watching, I have fun and, most important - I dream like a child.  And this, I think, is what she saw.

Why are dreams something that adults want to instill in their children, but something they lose themselves along the way?  Why when we are young we are told we can be anything we want to be, but when we get older doubt sets in?  When people raise children they want to raise them to be able to dream and believe in their's the priority of many parents I know.  So what changes?  I know that socio-economics has a huge hand in prohibiting some, but there are plenty of people who have come from nothing and achieved greatness and lived their dreams despite being dealt a bad hand.  Luck?  Perhaps.  But I tend to be of the mindset that you make your own luck;  you make the bed you lie in.  Some make the most of the hand they are dealt, and some do not.

I personally think this loss of the inner child is taught.  I think society trains us to forego dreams for more "realistic expectations".  Narrow mindedness is learned - all you have to do is look at a wide-eyed child to know that.  When someone has a grandiose plan, the vast majority of us see only why something can't work, instead of trying to figure out a way that it can.  What if the Wright brothers listened to everyone that scoffed at them?  Can you imagine?  Two boys saying they're going to make a flying machine - back in the early 1900's!? They must have been the looney tunes of the neighborhood. And now millions and millions of people fly every year, all because of these two brothers who never let go of their dreams. Orville wrote of his childhood: "We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement for children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity."  What a gift; I for one am thankful they never lost it.

We are surrounded by bitter, negative voices that tell us we can't, that we're not good enough, that it won't work, that we're no good.  It's only a matter of time before those voices get into our own heads.  I think it's time people looked inside and rediscovered their inner children.  The ones that wanted to be astronauts, dancers, doctors, and magicians - the ones who thought anything was possible.

As Nietzsche once said,

"In every man a child is hidden that want's to play".

To sum it all up - I think it's play time!

Brittany & Scott

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dream Big

“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T. E. Lawrence

I know where we about you?

Brittany & Scott

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Land Life is...Hectic!

Simpler times!  Photo courtesy of Lara at Forest and Fin
So it's been - what? - four weeks since we've been home?  Time sure does fly!  We have traveled to Indiana to be in one wedding, Wisconsin for another, drove up to Northern Michigan for a week and down to Detroit for a few days - not to mention all the lunches, dinners, drinks and get-together's with friends in between.  Land life - in a word - has been hectic. I have ridden in two planes, one (6 hour) train, and countless automobiles and I still have yet to visit some people on my must see list!  It's been so wonderful seeing friends and family - sharing laughs and stories, holding their babies and meeting their boyfriends - but we are really looking forward to being back on "island time" and getting back to our little home in Grenada!

Life on land, I have decided - is inherently more hectic than life on a boat.  This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is different than what we have grown accustomed to.  There are so many choices here!!  Where to eat?  Who to see? Where to go?  What to wear? Not that we don't ask these questions on the boat - but the options are divided by (at least) four.  Going to the grocery store alone is mind blowing (and kind of heavenly) after having only shopped markets and small mom and pop shops for the past six months.  The contrast makes one realize the sheer abundance so many of us live in here in the US.  On a boat (well, our boat at least), there simply aren't that many choices; everything on our boat has a purpose (usually two!) and a place.  We simple don't have room for more.  Everything we bring aboard must be functional and (most importantly) fit.  We literally have no room for the excess that is so easy to indulge in here (trust us, we are not immune to it!).  When you have no other option, the choice is simple!

Not only is life more simple in regards to things, it's so much more relaxed when it comes to time as well.  There doesn't seem to be this rushed feeling that pervades us when we are home.  Granted, I understand that this is due in large part to us being back for a visit, but I recall many times when we were living here where we were seemingly running from one moment to the next and I have heard many of my friends complain that their "just aren't enough hours in the day".  Perhaps this is just life in a large city?  I don't know.  What I do know is that - on a boat - life is so much more simple.  It takes a lot more work (for sure) and it is definitely not for everyone, but life has a lot less chatter and a lot less clutter.

I came across this quote the other day - and while I am not sure it sums up what I am trying to say exactly - it does echo the sentiment:

“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”

 Jerome K. Jerome


Brittany & Scott

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Pieces of Cruising Etiquette

Just as there is etiquette in the "real world" there are definitely unspoken rules and guidelines in the cruising world as well.  Most people start off not knowing these things, but inevitably learn them along the way.  Sometimes the hard way.  I'll make it nice and easy for you!  With no further ado, here are our

Top 10 Pieces of Cruising Etiquette:

  1. Bungee halyards -  There is nothing, nothing more annoying than a boat next to you at an anchorage with halyards that are banging and clanging all night long.  It's annoying, it's rude and there is actually a VERY simple solution for it - JUST BUNGEE THEM!!  Please.  
  2. Long painter for dinghy line - some places have what are called "dinghy docks" for cruisers when they come ashore.  Some are nice, some are not - almost all are too small.  It is always a good practice to leave a LONG painter line (the line you tie to the dock) - 5 feet or more - so that other boats can fit in to tie up as well.  Don't be a dock hog!
  3. BYOB...and C and D and E and F  - Pretty much everyone cruising is on a budget of some sort.  When someone invites you to their boat for cocktails, it's always a good idea to bring your own drink and glassware (unless told otherwise).  Furthermore, we have always brought our own dishes and silverware if there's a "pot luck" (which, in case you didn't know, also implies that you should bring a dish to share). Nobody has that much spare liquor and/or food aboard and NOBODY (especially me!) wants to do that many dishes on a boat with a limited water supply!!
  4. Keep your outboard motor down - this goes with #2.  I still cannot figure out why people bring their outboard motors up when they tie up to a dinghy dock?  Either way, if you do - people will glare at you.  Your motor propeller has now become a threat to all the dinghies around it and we have heard of many a dinghy being punctured and ruptured because of other people's props.  Don't be one of those people!  If there is enough water under your boat, keep that motor down!
  5. Party hard, but not loud - Scott and I came to an anchorage after a long twenty-four hour passage exhausted and tired.  We made some dinner and headed to bed.  As soon as we laid our heads down a techno club began on the charter boat next to us.  I'm talking heart pumping Ibiza style techno (both of which we love, btw) BLASTING throughout the anchorage. Great if you are clubbing and sipping RedBull vodkas, not so great if you are trying to sleep.  As if that wasn't bad enough, two particularly drunk people began screaming along to one of the songs whilst drunkenly dancing on the bow.  Trust me, we like to party and we love karaoke - but try to keep it down after, say, 11:00pm.  
  6. Anchor quietly - don't be that couple screaming at each other as you anchor.  Every time I see and hear a husband and wife yelling at each other from their respective spots on the boat (usually the bow and the cockpit) it is so painful and I'm embarrassed for them. Figure out some hand signals or, if you must, get one of those weird headset things.  And remember - SOUND CARRIES OVER WATER!
  7. Give room at an anchorage - some anchorages are jam-packed with boats and no matter what, you will end up anchoring so close you could pass the Grey Poupon.  In the lucky circumstance where there are only a couple of boats, give room and privacy if at all possible.  
  8. Be a nudist on your own time - sailing naked is great, sailing naked is fun.  I am topless most of the time on the boat (tan lines?  No thanks!) but only when we are far away from people and other boats.  The last thing I want to see when I pull into an anchorage is the wrinkly derriere of my neighbor!  Not to mention, many of the islanders are pretty modest and don't want to see your birthday suit either.  If, however, you are built like Heidi Klum or David Beckham, then by all means take it off...
  9. Don't be a VHF hog - this drives us nuts.  If someone is not answering you when you are calling them on the radio, do not keep calling every 2 minutes. We have heard one guy get on the radio and yell, "THEY ARE NOT THERE!" to one sorry perpetrator after about 15 attempts.  Furthermore, channel 16 is a HAILING channel.  Once you do get a hold of your party, switch to another channel to carry on your conversation about that great casserole you made last night. 
  10. Leave a clean wake - the ocean is our home!  Be green and keep it clean!  It's as simple as that...
While I have not gotten where I am in life by "following rules" and fitting myself into what society expects of me - these ten tips will ensure you make a few more cruising friends.  

What would you add to this list?


Brittany & Scott

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Honey!

Since Scott is still in Michigan obtaining his Captain's License and I am here in Chicago again, we are apart for two very big occasions:  Scott's 35th birthday and our 1st anniversary!  Today is the former, and I just wanted to give a little shout out to my man.  Not only is he (what my old boss used to call) "Hollywood Handsome", he is the most amazing partner both on the boat and in life.  He is smart, funny, kind and (I am convinced) can fix ANYTHING in the world.  I never ever have to worry about having a "honey do" list!  He is helpful and thoughtful and never needs to be asked twice.  He's inventive, he's a visionary and he, above all, is a great man.  While I am sad we can't be together on this day, I am so excited that he is on the road to being an official Captain!



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Second Show Sunday

Because Sunday is the day of rest for so many, and because I am technically on "vacation" for the next few Sundays I am going to post some blogs from long ago.  I realize some of you might have already read them - but most of you probably haven't.  So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy this blast from the past...because sometimes, things are better the second time around...


Sharing the Load

Now this is a chick I'd like to drink a bottle of
wine with!
Today on the radio the Coast Guard announced that a 30 foot boat about 11 nautical miles ahead of us was in distress with two adults on board - one being a man who had suffered a heart attack.  I can only assume* that the other adult was his wife.  Based on that assumption, immediately I thought of the wife and wondered, "Does she know how to operate the boat?"

Too often in the boating world the answer is "no".  There is this 'thing' they talk about in cruising where people divvy up boat responsibilities into "blue" and "pink" chores.  Men do the 'blue', women do the 'pink'.  The tasks themselves are just as obvious and reminiscent of life in the 1950's.  This is possibly the most annoying aspect of the cruising community and it irks me every time I read anything where people casually mention it.  Not because I'm an uber feminist**, but because that's just not safe...

While Scott and I do fall into a somewhat "traditional" pattern of roles and responsibilities (i.e. I do most of the cooking/cleaning, he does most of the engine work/boat handling) we both try to make sure to keep those responsibilities in check.  Sometimes I check the oil, sometimes Scott does the dishes...sometimes I trim the sails, sometimes Scott makes the bed...If (god forbid) something ever happened to Scott rendering him useless, I would have no problem running the boat by myself.  I know how to use our chart plotter, how to read and plot a course on a nautical chart, I understand how to use our VHF radio, how to raise, lower, and trim our sails and how to dock our boat.  I would be able to bring us and our boat to safety, should we ever need it.  I have to give both Scott and my dad credit for this "balance" - because both of them are adamant that I know all things 'boat'.

Like I said, we still fall into many of the traditional male/female roles - and I am completely okay with that.  Changing it up, however, not only keeps us on our toes - but keeps us on par with one another.  Sharing the load, for us,  has almost nothing to do with "gender roles" and everything to do with safety.

So ladies, next time you are coming to a new port - take the helm and put your man to work on those dishes!

Brittany & Scott

*And it is only an assumption, but for the sake of this blog post - it works.
** Not that there's anything wrong with that!  It's just not me...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

El Capitan

I mentioned before there are some really exciting things going on around here!  We have been selected to be in the blog feed over at Cruising World Magazine, and we have been chosen as the "Blog of the Month" by Latitudes and Attitudes.  In addition, we have been given lots of love by both Women and Cruising as well as North American Sailor!  As if that's not enough - I am working (very hard!) on a beautiful coffee table book of our journey thus far (more on that soon!) and we reached over 1,000 followers on Facebook!  Whew!  Lots of goodness going on around here.  And that's not all!  Scott is getting his "master" Captain's License!* Not only will this sharpen his already excellent maritime skills, but this will make him more marketable in the yachting industry.  He already has an exciting job opportunity in Grenada and, as you know, we are committed to living the cruising lifestyle for as long as we are having fun and are able.  Who knows? Maybe before too long you can come and do a cruising vacation on Rasmus with a fully certified captain!  Wish him luck - he will be taking the final exam in about 10 days!

Brittany & Scott

* Scott is obtaining his masters license at this facility in Traverse City.  This place has many advantages over others in that the couse is 10 consecutive days long and you can take the exam THERE rather than driving to Toledo.  Interested in sharpening your skills and becoming "official"?  Check them out here.  It's offered all over the US and if you take the course - mention US and we'll get some coinage!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Seven Blasts From the Past

The blogosphere is not unlike an ocean - once you start really getting into it, it seems pretty vast and endless.  There are millions of blogs out there.  You name it, there's a blog about it.  I'm not super active in the "viral" blog world outside of simply writing our blog and reading a few others, but we thought this campaign run by Tripbase was an interesting way to connect with other travel bloggers and give a little love to blog posts past.  Plus I had nothing pre-written for today and now I'm off the hook!

With no further ado - here are our 7 submissions:

  1. Most Beautiful Post - I don't want to toot my own horn, but I thought Night Passages was pretty bang on.  I really enjoyed writing it and people seemed to like it.
  2. Most Popular Post - The Cruising Kitty, hands down.  People REALLY wanted to know about our financial situation; I hemmed and hawed about writing it because it was, well, personal.  But people loved it, and it got (and still gets) a LOT of traffic.
  3. Most Controversial Post - Traveler vs. Tourist.  A few people thought I was being elitist and took this post the wrong way and completely out of context.  Others thought it was the best.  Go figure.
  4. Most Helpful Post - I don't think of our blog as a "how to" as much as I think of it as a depiction of our lifestyle, but a lot of readers found Passage Making to be helpful.
  5. Surprise Success Post - I wrote a mothers day post To My Mom.  It was more for her than for anyone else and since it was really not cruising related, I thought it would just fade off into oblivion.  But you guys loved it.  Ate it right up!  My mom is pretty easy to love though.
  6. The "Give it More Love" Post -  I thought my Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You post was hilarious.  I really did.  I laugh out loud every time I read it.  I thought people would laugh with me.  They did not. (Well, except for my best friend who shares my humor).
  7. Post I'm Most Proud of - We Got Spanked...HARD is from way back, and chronicles our (very) ill-fated first overnight of this trip where we learned some very important lessons.  I'm most proud of it because a) we got through it and b) looking back on how little we knew at the time I'm so happy we came out on top!!
So there you have it friends!  I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane with me!

Brittany & Scott

We were graciously nominated to participate in this project by fellow cruisers Matt and Christie, of s/v Kaleo.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pure Poetry

Most of you know that I spent a significant amount of time living in Tanzania, East Africa.  It was an incredible time and place in my life, one that ignited and inspired so much in me.  It was there when I first read the incredible book, 'West With The Night' by Beryl Markham about her life as the first female bush pilot in the 1930's.  This book is pure poetry and (along with Peter S. Beagles "The Last Unicorn") one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.  If you don't take my word for it, take Ernest Hemigway's - he was so impressed by her writing he wrote the forward.  Here is just a sample of the magic that was Markham.  Enjoy.

There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.

-Beryl Markham, West With the Night

Brittany & Scott

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dreams Don't Expire

The other day I was replying to one of our followers who emailed us to let us know how much he loved our blog and how he was living vicariously through it;  "My dreams have long since been abandoned", he said.

This made me sad.  And it made me think; dreams do not have an expiration date.

This man literally felt that his ship had sailed.  But it had not!  As long as a person is living, willing and able - dreams don't need to be abandoned.  It is so easy to make excuses, it's so easy to say it's too late.  If we have learned anything throughout our journey it is that living your dreams takes tremendous effort and, depending on your dream, significant risk.  You have to be willing to sacrifice, you must be willing to fight, and you must be willing to take the good with the bad.  If your dream is to see the world, it doesn't need to be by boat; it can be by car, by bus or by train!  Get creative.  Dreams evolve and they have a tendency to lead you to places you never imagined.  Doors open up, people reach out and magic begins to happen.  Trust me, it is MUCH easier to abandon your dream and live life as you are, but if there is a dream that is tugging at your heart strings, the consequences could be dire.  The air is full of the whispers of discarded dreams.

For those of you who need a little inspiration - here's an excerpt of a book I've just started reading; Tales of a Female Nomad.  It is the story of Rita Gelmen who, at 48 and on the brink of divorce, traded in her high society life in Los Angeles and began living out of a backpack and traveling the world as a nomad.  If nothing else, maybe she can offer you a little perspective:

I first realized something was missing about five years ago when a woman wearing a floor length muumuu and sandals sat next to me on an airplane.  She told me she was in the business of booking sailing tours for captains around the world...As she was telling me about her trip, tears began streaming from my eyes...

(I realized) I was crying for my lost spirit.  I remembered that once I'd dreamed of sailing around the world, of paddling down the Amazon, of sitting around a fire with tribal people and sharing their food and their lives.  My husband had no interest in boats or tribal cultures...

Three months later, I boarded the Tigris without my husband...and was touched by the world of otherness.

I was never the same again.

- Rita Goldman Gelman

It's never too late live your dream.  It is not late to live the life you imagined.

Brittany & Scott

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top Ten Items That Do NOT Need Refrigeration

Living on a boat without refrigeration might just be the one thing that really does people's heads in.  They can wrap their minds around us living aboard our boat indefinitely, swimming with sharks and taking thirty-plus days to cross an ocean; but tell them we have no refrigerator on board and their jaws drop as they go silent. Even other cruisers are in awe when we tell them this fact and many give us a nod of respect as if to say, "Wow, you guys are hard core!".  I don't know that we're "hard core" but I do know life is much easier without one at the moment and I think you'd be surprised by the number of food items in your fridge that do not, in fact, need to be there...

With no further ado, here they are:

1)  Eggs - Many of you are aghast at the thought of this - but, honest to God, eggs do NOT need to be refrigerated.  If you buy them from a store refrigerated they'll last at least 10 days if you turn them daily (so the yolk doesn't settle) and if you buy them unrefrigerated they'll last up to three weeks.  We have heard of people putting Vaseline on their eggs to help them to last longer, but honestly - we are way too lazy to do that and have done just fine without the need for petroleum jelly.  Put that in your shoe and beat it!

2)  Butter - my mom is European and my grandmother always kept her butter tin on the counter so I've always known this one.  Americans, however, don't seem to believe it, but then again we refrigerate everything because the FDA tells us we should.  It's true though, we've been eating unrefrigerated butter and margarine for over nine months now.*

3)  Kraft Cheese Singles - Grilled cheese sandwiches are heaven.  They always have and always will be a favorite food of mine.  I wasn't sure if they needed to be refrigerated (even though the packaging tells you they do) so I took a gamble.  It paid off in many a grilled cheese dipped in ketchup...which reminds me...

4)  Ketchup - no need to refrigerate.  Ever.  We had a mega bottle and I think it lasted at least four months without ever being cold.

5)  Jam - Jams (and most condiments) do not need refrigeration.  Yes, even after opening.  We enjoy toast with unrefrigerated butter and jam regularly and are alive to tell the tale!

6)  Cheese - I'm not talking Velveeta here (though that, I am certain, could outlast nuclear war) - I am talking real cheese.  The only way it will keep, however, is if it's in wax.  Once open you must eat it within a day or two, but when is that ever a problem?!

7)  Oil based salad dressing - Thousand island and Balsamic need not be refrigerated.  You don't have to say bye bye to salads!

8)  Relish - pickles, relish, capers, and other things of that nature also do not need to be refrigerated.  No big surprise here, but I needed an even ten.

9)  Juice - we have boxes and boxes of juice aboard Rasmus.  Once they are opened, however, they need to be consumed within a day or two which is why we buy smaller packets and/or cans of juice.

10) Mayonnaise - I know, I know...most of you just made a face and a noise and maybe even wretched a little.  But I promise you - mayonnaise does NOT need to be refrigerated.  As long as it stays uncontaminated (meaning you don't use a dirty knife or spoon to get it out and it stays free from other food particles) it will last for months and months.  I buy the squeeze bottles if I can; because of the nature of the bottle, the risk of contamination is almost none.  I know so many of you still don't believe me, but if you ever have a tuna salad sandwich aboard our boat, it will have been made from unrefrigerated mayo!  Dun, dun, dun...

There's so many more food items that don't require refrigeration and so many other ways to treat foods (fresh produce included) so that they last longer without having to be chilled.  Even if you have a refrigerator aboard, space is at a premium so why take up real estate when you don't have to?  You can find more great info here.  Do you have anything you'd add to this list?

Who's coming over for lunch??


Brittany & Scott

* It will go bad eventually.  And if you eat rancid butter you will have instant diarrhea.  Don't ask how we know this.  Just trust us.

Thank you to my sis-in-law, Julie, for inspiring this post!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Postcard From "Up North"

Life up here in Northern Michigan is just about as peaceful as can be.  Sunlight that lasts until 9pm, wine on the back deck, barbecues, beaches, boats and quaint lakeside towns.  We love it up here.  We've been sleeping in, spending time with family and enjoying the tranquility and the beauty that is Northern Michigan!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Second Show Sunday

Because Sunday is the day of rest for so many, and because I am technically on "vacation" for the next few Sundays I am going to post some blogs from long ago.  I realize some of you might have already read them - but most of you probably haven't.  So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy this blast from the past...because sometimes, things are better the second time around...

Originally posted October 24, 2010

I have already said it and thanked the Universe for it - but Scott and I have been pretty dang lucky this trip.

What could have happened today is proof positive of this luck.  And a good lesson to be reminded of...

We were motoring down the Erie Canal, just as calm and peacefully as ever.  We had just crossed “Cross Lake” and were entering (what we thought was) the canal from the other side.  I was reading, Scott was at the helm.

“Oh look, we have an early waver!” Scott said, “A nice older lady in blue”.

Wavers, refer to the people along the canal that, obviously, wave to us.  Not everyone is a waver we have learned.  We’re not sure why - but some people just don’t wave back - aside from making the initial waver feel like an idiot, it seems pretty rude.  But we continue to do this.  Naturally, we are always happy to meet people on the banks that actually wave to us first.  Hence "early waver".  

I look up from my book, and sure enough there is a nice lady in blue...waving both her arms...over her head...frantically.  And yelling something.  Huh.  Pretty zealous this one, I thought.

“I think she’s trying to tell us something” Scott said.  

Ya think?

Hmmm...looks as though we've run aground, but we have not!  
Scott slowed the engine and I turned down the stereo.

We couldn’t make it out, but it sounded like she was telling us to...turn around?  That we would ‘hit’?  Scott throttled back some more.

She now had both her hands cupped around her mouth acting as a megaphone, “You missed the turn, TURN AROUND, you will RUN AGROUND”.

We looked at each other like “Huh” and then looked at our chartplotter.  We were thoroughly confused.  Everything looked fine on the plotter.

Not wanting to risk running aground or ‘hitting’ whatever it was that we would hit, we turned around.

“Do you think she was just crazy or something?” Scott asked.

“Maybe?" I thought, "But I think we should call the next lock operator and ask him, maybe he can tell us something...” I suggested.

While Scott called the lock operator, I checked the paper charts we had. (Phew)

The lock operator, though very kind, offered little clarification other than “Was itwoman or a kid?” after Scott told him of the waving person on the bank.  Apparently kids are real tricksters around here?  Who knows.

Then we saw it, right there on the paper chart.  The “State Ditch Cut” that was NOT on our chartplotter.  That was where we needed to go.  We had missed the (non-descript, unmarked) turn about a quarter mile back.

This can never be a paperless world.
Had we continued on our merry way, and had that lovely woman in blue not come out to 'wave' at us, we would have run aground in 3 feet of water.  While running aground in our boat wouldn’t be the end of the world, it would be a real pain in the ‘A' and definitely cost us some time.

Bullet:  Dodged.

Thank you wonderful lady in blue for coming out of your home to wave at us - you were, by far, the best, most friendliest waver yet!

Lesson(s) learned:  
1) ALWAYS have paper charts.  Yes, even if you are on a relatively straightforward waterway that seems fool proof.
2) Wavers might not just be "waving" hello, they might be warning you of something.  Waving with two hands over head is indication of urgency (and the international "distress" signal), so pay attention.


Brittany (& Scott)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...