Adventure Updates

Happy Sunday, folks!

I figured it was high time that I gave you an update on all of our adventures.  The beginning of the week was slow going, because I had to go to a 4-day-long training.  But since Friday, we have made up for lost time!  The interior work on Breaking Tradition is about halfway completed, so it looks like we will be able to move to our slip at the marina at the beginning of August.  We’ve cleared out the cluttered places in the apartment, so we will be able to empty it out over the course of a very LONG day, by the end of July.

Here are some more details on our progress:

A Place to Call Home



I have mentioned that Breaking Tradition is in the town of Clear Lake Shores, which is some distance from the marina where we keep Kiwi.  What I didn’t tell you is that, when we drove into this town, it was love at first sight.  Clear Lake Shores is mainly located on a man-made island, where everybody drives golf carts to the park to watch the sunset on Saturday nights.  Clear Lake Shores is the yachting capital of Texas and boasts having more boat slips than people.  Breaking Tradition is currently at a rental slip at a private residence.


Clear Lake Shores is a duck sanctuary as well!


Since we were smitten, and since it would be very difficult to move Breaking Tradition to Kiwi’s marina, we decided to try to find a slip in Clear Lake Shores.  That led us to Legend Point marina, the closest marina with facilities, to the boat’s current location.  We looked at the marina and loved it–it’s secure, has a lot of grass, and has two pools and hot tubs as well as a clubhouse.  It seemed perfect for us!

We thought it might be a longshot, since they do a credit check.  (Our house will be on our credit report for one more year).  But we tried, and we negotiated.  And we can move in August 1!

Great Purge #3


Earlier in the week, I worked on decluttering in the apartment, after my training sessions for work.  We emptied out the walk-in closet and are now using it as a staging area, for items that will go to the boat.  We emptied our closet and got our bedroom down to just furniture (to be donated right before we leave).  The dining room, living room, and bathroom are down to just furniture, and and we have made progress on Beanie’s room and the kitchen.

The challenge in Beanie’s room has been the toys.  We gave her the master bedroom, so that she could have room for all her toys!  To pare down, we divided her toys into three piles: toys to keep at the boat, toys to donate, and toys to take to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Grandma and Grandpa have offered to have a “toy library” for Beanie, so that we can keep some of her toys at their apartment, and she can exchange toys when she visits.  We thought this was a great way to meet Beanie’s desire for novelty, and to allow Grandma and Grandpa to “give” her “new” toys, without buying and adding to her collection.

As far as the kitchen is concerned, we are preparing to have very limited cupboard space and only a small dorm fridge.  A lot of our storage containers have been purged, and we will eventually downsize to a smaller (however better) pressure cooker.  Our slow cooker and blender will stay.  We do plan to splurge and have etched “Breaking Tradition” flutes made!

Progress on the Boat

We have had an extremely productive three days!

On Saturday I got to work painting the v-berth.




And then we added carpet…




Rob made a counter top and got to work on the galley.



Today, we brought Beanie to the boat for the first time.  She enjoyed playing with her Pokemon toys in her new bedroom.


We put up some of her posters.


We brought her “Where the Wild Things Are” picture that was a part of her nursery before she was born, and has been a part of her room everywhere we’ve lived.  It started out in her room on the boat.


Beanie decorated her space with stick on stars.  Tomorrow she will add dinosaur stickers.


She definitely had a great time!


Today, my goal was to finish the head.  On Breaking Tradition, the head takes up the entire hallway between the v-berth and the main salon.  The sink and cupboards are on one side, and this is where I found a perfect place for Beanie’s picture.  We will be putting in a new counter top tomorrow.


The toilet is on the other side which, happily, didn’t require any painting.  We will be putting a picture over the rotten spot on the wall!


Otherwise, the boat’s previous owner stopped by today and helped us with the electrical system.  Which is very exciting, because we’ve never had a boat with a 110 system before.  On Moonraker, everything ran off of an extension cord and power strip.

All in all, we’re making good progress, and I feel very optimistic about moving to our new marina at the beginning of the month!

Pictures from Our Day at Moonraker

As promised, here are some pictures from the day we went back to the boat. The sun was shining, and Moonraker seems to have handled the winter well.

We loaded up the Volvo, and remembered to bring a ladder. (Look at that bottom paint! The only nice spot is over the patch).

We forgot Beanies life jacket, so she had to wear the spare. Rockin it old school!

The Bean doesnt get soda very often, but she needed to toast Moonraker as well! Her owie is getting a lot better.

And look, "Sluggo" the mountain bike is still there, as cumbersome as ever!

And now its tricycle time. You should know that Beanie has never successfully ridden a tricycle, without someone giving her a little push and helping her with the steering.

Yay, Beanie! She pedalled all the way down the road next to B-dock. It was hard work, but she was pretty proud. Check off another milestone!

It was a very fun, eventful day. It’s definitely great to be back.


Yesterday I wished for a normal, boring day. I got my wish.

Beanie’s had a little bit of diarrhea, but it’s manageable. Her sore no longer hurts, and she’ll even touch it and say “owie.” It’s definitely healing.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we’ve only got 41 days until Moonraker’s launch. So we made a trip to Bay City.

We were unprepared, so we couldn’t do a lot. We still need to order paint (it’s MUCH cheaper online) and a tiller handle. We were able to uncover it and take a look at the mold situation. It did a lot better without shrink wrap, which seems to lock in moisture, even with vents. I’ll need to go over some of the walls with bleach, and we’ll need to clean the carpet (next year we plan to get an artificial wood floor).

We started cleaning out the bilge, and Rob did some work on the engine.

Otherwise, we drank a toast, ate some Camembert, and walked around socializing.

What else would you do at a marina?

Moonraker in the Fall

We were planning on pulling the boat out in early September, but the excellent sailing last weekend led us to change our minds. In the fall, there is wind nearly every day. Most of the live aboards are still at the marina, since they live and work in the area. It’s too far for us to live there during the week right now, but we are enjoying the weekends. The social life is just like summer (only without the swimming!). And the sailing is phenomenal. I don’t think we will use up the 10 gallons of gas that we bought in Tawas.

Here are some pictures from this weekend:

Good morning, A dock!

My favorite part of the day.

Look at that wind!

We borrowed a slip at F dock for the day, next to my parents' boat. We were right on the river. This was our view.

Our friend, the heater.

Feeling fancy at F dock!

We had flowers on the boat in Alpena, and I thought more were in order!

For dinner: Dad's smoked ribs! I even got a barbecue lesson.

Time for some serious sailing. Definitely not a day to use the genoa!

We rigged up the spinnaker pole to use as a whisker pole for wing-and-wing. This made it much easier! (We have to take the mast down this winter to set up the rigging for the spinnaker).

Whisker pole.

So I’m looking forward to much more fall sailing. We haven’t scheduled a pull-out date yet, but we’ve heard that they are booked through October. We will have to bundle up when we winterize the boat!

8 Days Later…

Since we’re camping in the woods, I’d talk about two of the biggest summer nuisances everybody encounters: bugs and sunburn.

On the water in Michigan, the mosquitoes seem to come out for an hour or so, then go away. That’s easy enough. We just go inside and put up a screen, if we can. The flies are more problematic. They seem to go especially for the ankles, so, often, wearing socks or wrapping a towel around my ankles fixes the problem.

But sometimes simply putting up a barrier doesn’t work. We have had success with Mosquito Coils; however, they are not necessarily the safest or greenest method. A safer alternative is burning Citronella Oil, which has always worked quite well for us. We either get it in a candle or burn it in Tiki torches.

What if that doesn’t work well enough? Or if you’re walking around, rather than staying in one place? How about some old-school bug spray? While DEET obviously doesn’t cause any problems immediately, it is not a chemical that you want to be constantly exposing yourself to. Here is some more information on that. As an alternative, we have had a great deal of success with citronella-based lotions. These do not work quite as well as DEET-based sprays–you might get a couple bites and you will have to reapply more often. I have a friend who has had a lot of success with this product as well.

So what about sunscreen? True, commercially produced sunscreen are not nearly as scary as bug sprays. However, if you’re trying to reduce your exposure to possibly toxic chemicals, you do need to read the label. Here is a description of some of the common ingredients in sunscreen. I disagree with that author in the end, though. Sunscreen obviously prevents sunburn, which is a know risk factor for skin cancer. And, even without the cancer risk, I do not know anyone who enjoys being sunburned. The solution is a mineral-based sunscreen. This brand is my favorite–it is inexpensive and easy to find in stores.

So, stay safe and stay comfortable, while also staying green this summer!

Launch Day!

I’m a little late in writing this, due to the fact that I’m still recovering from the sleep deprivation. But Moonraker is in the water now, happily occupying slip A9.

We had considered staying in a room overnight, since our launch was still early. At the last minute, however, we decided to stay home and get up with the chickens. Not being a morning person, the Bean was particularly grumpy, but, of course, she did not go back to sleep in the car.

We had received a reminder in the mail, telling us to have our battery charged at least 30 minutes before the launch, and to check in an hour before. In spite of our noble intentions, we arrived 30 minutes before the launch. But they were still happy to get our boat out of the parking lot and into the water!

This time, we were prepared for it to take on a ton of water, before the rubber seals swelled. The bilge pump got quite a workout. Otherwise, it made it to our slip just fine–on all 4 cylinders this year! We spent the day working on it, mainly cleaning. Rob fixed the gas tank, so that it will not need the leaky portable tank anymore.

So it is in the water now. Sadly, this month is so busy that we won’t get to visit it again for a couple more weeks.


originally posted March 9, 2011

My husband, Rob, and I moved out of our beloved trailer on the water, because we were under the mistaken impression that we needed a larger space for raising a kid. We kept the trailer as a second home for a year, but then we realized that paying for a boat slip would be cheaper. So the search began.

Enter Craigslist. At the end of the summer of 2008 (which was NOT a fun summer, by the way, but I’ll talk about that at a later date…), we found a very old, 1960’s Islander 29 for sale in Lansing. Apparently, the owner was going to have it hauled to Florida, where he was retiring, but saw that it would be cheaper to just buy a boat in Florida.

So, off to Lansing we drove. I sat in the backseat, alternating between trying to force feed Jelly Bean Yo Baby and nursing her (you can do that in a rear-facing carseat, not that it’s safe to do…). We pulled into the driveway, which was filled with modern, unique, and vintage BMW’s, and Ms. Bean began that telltale cough. Soon enough, the backseat of our Saturn was filled with “used Yo Baby.” The owner’s wife promptly took the Bean and me inside, so that we could clean up the baby while she gave her lots of attention. When we came back outside, the men were already up in the boat.

The boat was called Moonraker, named for one of the not-so-great James Bond movies. It needed new paint, inside out and out. In the cabin, there was no carpet. The cushions were all right, if a little torn. It had once had gorgeous woodworking, but it needed refinishing. And the bathroom was a little scary.

But, it had sails, including a Spinnaker, that were in good condition. It had two closets for hanging our clothes, and a dresser. And the owner asked if it would be all right if he put in a new counter top before we bought it. We discussed it over dinner, of course, but there wasn’t much to discuss. $2000 later, we were boat owners!

Moving it was another thing. How do you get a boat from Lansing to any of the Great Lakes? After many misadventures, we had someone move it to Bay City, where it sat in the back lot at Pier 7 for the next two winters.

While it was sitting, my parents became interested in boating and found themselves a power boat. They had a wonderful slip at Bay Harbor and secured us a good deal on a slip, IF we could get our boat there. That was another adventure, but there we were, byAugust. After living aboard for a month, we decided that’s how we want to spend next summer.

The blue tape is not permanent--we had treated the wood that day!

The blue tape is not permanent–we had treated the wood that day!