Saturday, December 24, 2016

We live on a sailboat

Motor sailing from Puerto Rico to USVI and back to BVI. The sail is up to help stabilize the boat and provide some power, but the motor is on because we are traveling too much directly into the wind to get where we want to go in a reasonable amount of time.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Tale of Two Projects - part 2

Bob's project for the day was working on our windlass that finally arrived, mostly in one piece. When we ordered it from Miami we were told they had 3 in stock. Perhaps they have a different definition of "in stock" because it took almost 2 weeks just to get to the distributor. Nonetheless, we have it now, and Bob has been working on getting it installed.
The windlass has arrived

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Tale of Two Projects

Today was a project day. Bob and I worked in parallel - each with our own projects -each fraught with frustrations, deconstructions, reconstructions and semi success.  I was working on the printer, Bob on the windlass.
An unrelated photo, because I had no photos of my project!
While we were in Oregon I was having a real love - hate relationship with the printer.  When it works,  it performs beautifully. I was able to scan a lifetime of photos and put them on my laptop and share them with my son.  However, when it does not work it is a very different story.  I spent days on the pe with a tech guy (probably in India) and his attempts to fix it. I thought the issues were resolved,  which is why the printer was included in the crate and lugged down to Rhapsody. 

Today I needed to print some financial pages for the sale of our house in order to sign them and send them back to the States, so it was the first time that I pulled the printer out of its hole and attempted to call it into use. 

Problem #1 - The cord that I had packed in with the printer was the wrong cord.  It looks like a printer cord, but it is obviously not the right printer cord.  I had visions of trying to find a Radio Shack or some store of their ilk and trying to find a replacement.  I looked at the plug that was needed, and a light went off in my head,  the shape was the same shape as half of the cord used to charge the laptop. I was able to cannibalize the cord and get the printer powered up. 

Problem #2 - The laptop and the printer were not talking to each other.  This is the core of the problem that I was having in Oregon.  This is what the tech guy spent days working on. 
Pathways on the sea

Attempted solution #1- At home I was able to get them communicating through our home network. On Rhapsody the laptop is not yet hooked to the Internet (a project for another day). I tried to facilitate communication between the laptop and the printer with a cord. No luck. The laptop could not see the printer, and the printer appeared to be insisting on a wireless connection.

Attempted solution #2- I noticed there was a slot for an SD memory card. It looked to be the size as the card in our underwater camera. I got out the camera,  took out the card, inserted it in the printer, and sure enough, it fit. I was able to view all of the pictures on the card, and I  could have printed them if I so chose. (It made me realize that I have a lot of pictures sitting on the camera that I should do something with!)

My next attempt at being able to print the necessary papers involved hooking the tablet to the laptop to send the desired documents from the first device to the second, hooking up the card reader, copying the files to the card reader then inserting the card back into the printer and printing the files.

Everything but the last step worked. The only files that the printer will read off the card are photo files. My next thought was to bring up the documents on the laptop, take a picture of them and use the memory card to print them off.

However, in pushing every button, and reading every menu on the printer, I noticed that there is an email address for the printer.

Attempted solution #3- While the laptop is not connected to the internet, the phone is. I was able to pull up the needed files on the phone and send them by email to the printer.

Big smile.

Except...

I have no printer paper!

I found one sheet that was printed on only one side, fed it into the printer, and voilĂ , sucess. Now all I have to do is find some printer paper...

Within 15 minutes a neighbor from an adjacent boat dinghied over to say hello.

"Do you, by any chance, have some printer paper?" I asked.

"Yes I do," he replied "which is odd, since I don't have a printer."

He turned his dinghy around, zipped over to his boat around and returned with a stack of paper.

Ahh, the sweet sound of the printer working.

A roundabout success, and I am not convinced it will work every time, the printer is just like that, but it worked this time, the papers are printed, filled out and signed, ready to be dinghied to the Post Office in the morning.

All this time Bob has been working on getting our new windlass installed. (Yes, it finally arrived). His saga continues in the next post... 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Where are you from?

It is interesting how this simple question can mean so many different things. Usually when it is asked of us as travelers it means "Where will you go back to when this vacation is over?" "Where is your home?" The people asking this question don't expect to hear that our home is our boat and that we have no place in particular go when we are done with it. We are interested to see where it can take us.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sold

We have sold our home of 23 years. For our son, Rivers, almost a lifetime. The house that we remodeled and doubled in size, completely changed the interior and much of the exterior as well. Full of wood and storage and lofts and skylights. Harry Potter even had his own room under the stairs.

It was a work of art. We all put work into it, but none more than Bob. His craftsmanship was evident throughout the house. The first word our listing agent wrote on the description of the house- "stunning".

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Waiting for a fix

It has been two weeks of waiting to get our windlass. Two weeks of being limited as to where we can go and what we can do. Hoping that we made the right decisions. Anxious to be moving on.

Here is a poem Bob wrote about it:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Our first raft-up.


We had our first raft-up the other day. We motored our dinghy from Dakity harbor on Culebra, where Rhapsody is on a mooring ball, into Ensenada Honda, the main harbor in Culebra.  It is about a 20 minute ride with our little 6 HP motor.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our first longer sail this season

St. James USVI to Culebra

Sailors often send the wish to each other of "fair winds and following seas" and that is exactly what we had today. Enough wind to propel us toward our destination, but not too much to make it uncomfortable. To have following seas means that the waves are going in the same direction you are, which makes for a much smoother ride.

As I look around I see deep blue water with hints of turquoise just below the surface. A deep rich color with just enough transparency to let the other colors show through. The sky is a light blue with the blue darkening as you look higher. The horizon is ringed with fluffy white clouds. Bits and pieces of brown Sargasso are floating by.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Consistency at Customs

Ahh, Customs, checking in and out of countries, gotta love it. It is so nice to be able to count on the consistency of governments. Rules are rules, right?

Oh, wait - that must have been in some other reality.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Out of the Marina at Last!

What a relief.  Away from the marina. We don't have a windlass to pull up our anchor so we will be relying on finding mooring balls to park ourselves in the evenings, a bit restrictive,but do able .

 We are off to Culebra, Puerto Rico to visit friends and we hope to pick up the windlass that we ordered from Florida.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Plan

I am happier now. Not everything is fixed- but we have a plan. We have parts ordered. We have places to go and people to see. We have friends coming to visit us.
I am much happier when we have a plan rather than sitting in a marina waiting for something to happen - especially when it is a rainy muggy day.

We are headed to Culebra, Puerto Rico to pick up our new windlass. The old one died and without a windlass we have less freedom to go where we want to go, when we want to go there.

Just knowing that there is a plan of action brings a smile to my face.

Onward and upward. Adventure Ho!
.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

And the list goes on...

GPS
Depth and speed monitors
Radar
Battery monitor
Windlass
Refrigeration
Sails
Rigging
Anchor chain
Bimini ...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rainy Day

Back in the marina, waiting for workers again. The contractor who is working on the windlass left because rain was coming. The man who is working on our refrigeration called an hour and a half after he said he would come.
"I am sitting in the parking lot, but I am trapped by the rain"

Apparently people in the BVI worry that they might melt.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another day in Paradise?

In thinking about writing this blog, I had some concerns that I would have too many days talking about the beauty, the sailing, the diving, the snorkeling,  how wonderful it all is. At this point I wish I had more to say along those lines.

The morning started out beautifully.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Ahh...

Out of the Marina.
Sails are out.
Depth finder is working.
The new bimini is up.
The speed gauge is working.
The GPS is working.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Making Rhapsody our home

The upside of sitting in a marina and waiting for workers is the time to organize our boat. We have added many things that need a new resting place and we had many things already on board that needed organizing or eliminating.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Holes in our boat

Sitting in a marina.
Watching workers put holes in our boat.
Holes are not good in boats.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Final installment: The saga of the crate

Success at last. 
After the futility of yesterday's motoring around trying to find a closer spot to dinghy to and from, we found the right people to help us.

We went ashore and started making inquiries.  The first stop was a fuel dock just inside the lagoon we circled yesterday. Entering the fuel dock from land you have to pass a sign that says "Government Employees Only". Sometimes it is good to feign ignorance and just walk on by.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The crate part 2

Driving the crate 5000 miles and shipping it another 1300 miles were the easy parts. Once the crate arrived in St. Thomas, it was delivered to the top of the hill where the hardware store is situated. For those of you unfamiliar with boats, they tend to have difficulties getting to the top of hills.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Moving the stuff, the story of our crate - part 1

How to get our belongings from Oregon to the British Virgin Islands. This has been a subject of debate and consternation ever since we bought Rhapsody. We have been able to bring some with us  when we came down for vacations,  but there always seemed to be more.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Slowing down

Moving and doing have been a constant theme since August. Getting rid of most of our possessions, getting the house ready to sell, driving across the country, delivering our goods to be shipped to Rhapsody,

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lesson learned, again

Buying a boat is just one step of many costs along the way to living aboard. After you buy the boat, then there are the repairs, the upgrades, the alterations. Since we bought Rhapsody two years before moving aboard, we thought we had plenty of time to get things done before we moved aboard.

Wrong.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Our lives are about to change

Five years of planning, learning, listening, asking, fretting, worrying, being excited, traveling, selling, donating, all comes down to this:



the sense that our lives are about to change.
Yesterday Rhapsody got wet. (So did we with the huge downpours here, but in a different way). 
Rhapsody got launched, and we moved aboard. 
Our new home.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Safety of the Sea


wave storm by ~Alcove

"I worry about you"
"Watch out for storms/pirates/sharks"
"Be safe"

Friday, September 30, 2016

I Understand

I understand why more people don't do this.
Drop everything.
Move to a boat.
Sail Away.

It's hard.

Our society is geared toward getting more stuff.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Heading home?

How quickly six weeks passed. Time to put Rhapsody back on the hard and return to Oregon. But are we returning home, or leaving our home? This six weeks has felt like a new beginning,  and yet our new life has not quite begun yet. We return to our house that has already begun to feel less like a home to us. What are we returning to? Artwork is off the walls (well, mostly ), Ziggy is at his new home, one garage sale has taken care of a chunk of stuff, and now we have to continue the process. Getting rid of things, getting the house ready to sell, making tough choices,  all while wishing we were back on Rhapsody.

It is a lot of work getting Rhapsody ready to be left. Everything has to be cleaned,  clothes, linens, cupboards, refrigerator.  Anything that could catch the wind has to be removed or tied down. The boat has to be hauled out and tied down. This time we are in a boatyard that uses sand screws as added protection for the hurricanes. Then off to the ferry to catch a plane to fly across the US.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sailors or Divers?

Sometimes you just have to make choices. While we enjoy both sailing and diving it is hard to do both, and do them both well. Sailing is sailing. Diving is diving. They are two very different creatures.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

What is that critter?

Just being in the water, snorkeling or diving, is greatly enjoyable, but adding to the fun is identifying the fish, corals and other critters. We are getting much better at naming things that we see and a big reason for that is our library of identification book

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Time for the next anchorage

When you see the restaurant staff setting up all the beach umbrellas and chairs you know two things are true.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Snorkle vs Dive

In all of our time on Rhapsody so far we have not been diving, only snorkeling for a variety of reasons, cost, visitors,  learning the boat. On this trip we made the switch and became divers again. There is quite a difference between the two with advantages and disadvantages to both.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Belongers

In the BVI they classify people as "belongers" and " non-belongers". We fall into the category of " non-belongers" which means that we can only stay in the BVI for 30 days without further action on our part. We hit the 30 day mark a few days ago. Our choices at that point

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Island Girl

Under a breeze filled sea grape tree
An island girl strolled languidly
Down the path to the turquoise sea
Her movements tranquil, fluid, free.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Anegada in pictures and words

      Anegada is sometimes referred to as "the drowned island " with a high point of 28 feet. It is surrounded by reefs which makes it dangerous to get to yet because of this it is less touristy.
There are long stretches of beaches that have no buildings.  As you walk down the empty beach

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Anegada, Anchoring 102

Anegada has been on our list of places to go, because it is there, and because we can. Anegada is the northernmost island of the BVI. Elevation 23 feet.
One town (the settlement), and lots of beaches. Long flat white beaches to walk on.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Anchoring 101

There is so much to learn about anchoring. You don't just dump the anchor over the side a run away. We have read books, taken seminars at boat shows, watched other boaters (both for the how to and the how not to) and learned by experience. The latest lessons we had were at Long Bay on the tip of Virgin Gorda. (Mom, if you click on the words in blue it will take you to a map or more information. Love you) A beautiful  little bay lined with coral reefs.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Chore ADD?

There are so many things we want to do to make Rhapsody our home, and so many things that have to be done to make sure that she will be safe for us, and remain our home.

Both of us have lists, mine are written down, Bob keeps most of his in his head, but we both have many things that we both want to accomplish, and things we feel we should tackle, some sooner, some at a later date, and some that we should do sooner but wish it could be at a later date.
One of the big problems is that there are so many things to do that as you start one activity something else will invariably catch your eye and you are off on another tangent, hopefully to return to the original task before too long. Some chores will stare you down and not let your attention wander from them for too long, others are easier to let go.

I understand that we are living on a boat and there will always be lists of things to take care of, but the chore ADD? Perhaps this will change, or perhaps I will always suffer from some degree of this. The newness of it all is both enjoyable and a little disconcerting. Much to learn, much to organize and much to fix. In the words of Scarlett from Gone With the Wind (now that's a great boat name) "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On the water at last

At last, time to slow down. Time to adjust to life on a boat. Out of the marina and over to Great Harbor at Peter Island,

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Repairs, upgrades and inspections

I would love to say that it is wonderful to be back on the boat, and perhaps I will in a few days,but for now

Friday, June 24, 2016

6 bags, 2 people...


Arriving at customs in the BVI, The customs man looked at us, looked at all our luggage and  said "6 bags, 2 people.  Why?"
"Because we are moving on to our boat"
"What do you have in the bags?"
"Mostly household goods"
"May I see?"
"Sure"
The first bag was opened. Right on top was a small rug and some watercolors paints.
The second bag was opened.
A couple of bright yellow dive fins.
"Any guns or firearms?"
"No sir, we had to get through TSA"
He just nodded and passed us through.

On to the next phase.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Goodbye to a furry friend

There are so many decisions to be made when choosing to sell everything and move onto a boat. One very big decision was what to do with our 8 year old cat, Ziggy.



Many people have pets on their boats, even people who spend time traveling and sailing across

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Stuff

Downsizing to get on a boat. Exciting, frustrating, exhilarating, depressing, and that is just the first five minutes of thinking about it.

 It is amazing how much crap you can accumulate. Our society is so geared to consumerism.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's official!

I have turned in my letter saying that I am retiring as of the end of this school year.
Happy Dance

Our plan is two-fold. We will be going to the boat this summer, for six weeks as soon as school is out.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Animal highlights


There were several animal highlights on this trip. One of them was watching the Brown Boobies and pelicans dive bombing at Cane Garden Bay. There were dozens of them in groups. They would swoop up in unison, and then rain down on the fish like arrows shot from the air.
This video is not ours, they are blue footed boobies, not the brown ones we saw, and there are more boobies in this video than we saw, however, the diving motion is the same. You can definitely feel the power of the dive, and sense the coordination among them.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Beating upwind


When I first told my mother about our plans to go cruising, she gave me a description one of her friends about sailing. She said:
Put on a full set of raingear. In one pocket put a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, and in the other pocket put a $100 bill. Go into the bathroom. Turn on the shower to cold.  Go to the toilet and flush the $100 bill down the toilet. Stand in the shower and eat your sandwich. That is what sailing is like.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Guest Blog "my Christmas Vacation"

Written by Jane after visiting with us on Rhapsody for a week:

1.  The Sun shines most of the daytime.  When it rains, it does not last more than 5 minutes   
     and a rainbow often follows.

2.  Sarah and Bob are very cautious sailors.  The boat, "Rhapsody" handles the waves very
      gently, feels strong and sturdy.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Always learning



When mom was on the boat we asked her what surprised her the most about being on a boat.
She replied "The amount of things you need to know"

Image result for doctor of thinkology
This got us to thinking. We have been working towards this goal for almost 5 years now. We have been to boat school both for monohulls as well as catamarans. We have been to numerous boat shows and will continue to go to them whenever possible. We have read many books and watched videos and above all- asked questions whenever we sense a person who has some knowledge that we seek.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Internet frustrations



This trip was very frustrating in dealing with the Internet. In previous trips we had issues connecting, so for this trip we had purchased a WiFi extender, with the the promise of up to a 7 mile range. While it did greatly increase the range of the WiFi that we could access the vast majority of WiFi signals that we could pick up were locked or password protected.