Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Name that thingamajigger

Clue: Involves a daily necessity
We continue to fiddle, poke and troubleshoot parts on Aletheia that we want to make functional prior to leaving our current mooring in Purcell's Cove, NS. 

We had a great dinner party on Saturday evening with our new friends Kirstan and Tobin and other guests at Tobin's house. Oh the lovely cake, strawberry rhubarb and ice cream!! After I told one of Tobin's friend about our new adventure, he toasted me "To Courage". I could see the wheels turning in his head, thinking how we are going to make this work, how we even got to this moment, and what is to come. I could also see the light is his eyes of what a journey it could be!

We have a towel that once hung from our front door that now hangs from our bookshelf. In bright red and gold colors, it tells us to "Take Courage". Nate took possession of this towel in college, after his Grandmother's passing, but never knew its meaning, only that his Grandmother had savored it for most of her life. Who knows how she got it?! Once he found out it was not only a Mantra, but also a bar towel, it became even more valuable, more exciting and ever more hopeful!

When Tobin's friend toasted me "to courage", my mind perked up and brought me back full circle to the bar towel. Life is about having courage, some risk involved, and conjuring up excitement for one's life. It's a small token, a daily mantra that life demands Courage of one's self; to try things that are hard, challenging, scary and/or unfamiliar - that's courage and I think it's acceptable in small doses. Courage isn't about being fearless, it's about overcoming fear. LOVE to everyone!

Playing with the thingamajigger
Small spaces are my thing

Wyatt chillin in another favorite spot
Our reward for today
For now,

Monday, August 25, 2014

Requests requested!

It was recently brought to my attention that I don't know what to take pictures of.
Not useful
I'll take pictures of the boat, and the rooms inside, to give a little better sense of where we now live.

Please comment here with requests! Pictures you'd like to see, some piece of the boat explained, some technique explained, why we want something, or don't want something. Some something explained. Somewhere we should go (especially if you're going to visit us there!). Though we're not really inviting guests until New Year's, by then we think we will have figured out all the kinks in the boat and have a plan for what to do with you.

Speaking of which, we're thinking of doing New Years in Key West, anyone want to join us? Or the Bahamas, if you'd rather go there.


Coffee before breakfast this morning
We've been doing almost nothing but preparing for our trip since the moment we arrived in Halifax. Which is a shame, because Halifax seems like a pretty cool town. It's bigger than Boulder, smaller than Denver. It's THE major Atlantic port for all of Canada, so there is a lot of container ship traffic. Makes me think of this book. The Boat Break was a really welcome day away from thinking of all the things we need to do.
Jenn scrubbing the stove-top, after years of bachelor pad life
We didn't make the final installation of the new radio, because it apparently doesn't come with a flush-mount bracket, that costs an additional $30 for 2 small pieces of plastic which are sold separately and the store doesn't tell you about. When I found out this morning what they cost I was so incensed I turned them down. $30 to me is worth an hour or 2 of fiddling with some bits of wood and screws that we have for free. Perhaps I can come up with something. If not, then I'll break down and buy the damn bracket.
The old radio coming out
Power wiring for the old radio, so I have a slight chance of putting the new one in correctly
It is kind of strange, having this new perspective on life, where Time is now a nearly infinite resource, and Money is in short supply. The opposite of previous life. I'm working on getting more aggressive with my DIY attitude, but I feel that I'm a pretty conservative guy in general, and especially about construction.
I'm figuring out new fresh water plumbing for additional tanks
We've moved from the very end of the Northwest Arm down to the mouth of it. By knowing a guy who knows a guy, we got ourselves a free mooring ball for a little bit. We are now in Purcell's Cove, which has much cleaner water and is easier to leave from. It's great to not have to motor for at least 30 minutes before we can get anywhere.
Jenn rowing before we moved to Purcell's Cove
We have some final paperwork to take care of with the Coast Guard for the boat sale to be complete, so right now our expected departure is next Monday, Labor Day. After that we'll have to find coffee shops for internet wherever we stop, unlike now where we know where the coffee shops are.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Boat Break

Today we took some time away from boat stuff and walked around the Halifax Public Gardens and the Halifax Seaport. We took Wyatt along so he would burn some energy.

Special summer treats like this one are on tonight's agenda. Shakespeare By the Sea - The Merchant of Venice. The more popular Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market and the small scale Historic Farmer's Market on Saturday will provide some much-craved produce, fresh bread and cheeses for a possible Saturday day sail as well as some minimal provisioning for our approaching departure/maiden voyage.

We've taken some big steps toward our departure in Halifax. We purchased our Canada and US maps, a VHF radio (we'll install this weekend), cleaned almost every nook & cranny, completed a couple day sails to practice anchoring and mooring, and finally hired a diver who scrubbed and scraped our hull bottom clean of living creatures, grasses, seeds and who-knows-what alien-like lifeforms that have taken a liking to Aletheia's bottom. She moves so nicely now!

Tonight we're hanging out with local friends to kick off the weekend and have been invited to a Saturday night dinner party. Hope you all enjoy your weekend too! Got any plans? Doing something new? 

Views from the Publics Gardens

Retired naval ship
Art Boat built bv Halifax Maritime Volunteers
For today,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lovely sunset dinner

Before we weigh anchor, we have been researching the proper navigational charts that will support compatibility with our AIS system (bonus!). Today, we purchased digital charts from X-Traverse and will use these interactive charts on the iPad iNavX application to coordinate our waypoints and routes. We've purchased/downloaded both Canadian and US charts for $70 (USD); a fraction of the cost of other chartplotters. As we become more iNavX-savvy we can decide to export our waypoints to Google Earth and share our GPS coordinates, waypoint and photos onto Facebook (wow, how technology lets us stay connected!)

I've already lost track of the days, but here are some pics from Tuesday when Wyatt and I took a run along Halifax streets, came back to the boat and made a wonderful sunset dinner for two - Spicy Penne Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce and meatballs (from this little place - Highland Drive Butchery), Sautéed Broccoli & Zucchini with red onion and garlic, and carrots and avocados. We really enjoyed the evening and even had tea and gingersnaps with our neighbors aboard Moonlight Maid. 

At the local gas station
Aletheia on the left, our friends Moonlight Maid to the right

Post run

Post run


Sunset dinner
Today's agenda: buttom scrubbing by a local diver referred to us by a friend, followed by dinner and drinks at McNab's Island.

For today,

Monday, August 18, 2014

Boat Works!

We bought ourselves the family pickup! Although this pickup has no wheels it will be our workhorse that we take on camping trips, haul groceries and other miscellaneous materials to and fro and even to shuttle a dog and guests aboard. The doubled-hulled fiberglass dinghy comes with oars to row. All three of us fit snug down in the hull. It was a great find on Canada's version of Craigslist at www.kijiji.ca.

Our initial plan was to build a small tortoise dinghy upon arriving in Nova Scotia. Upon further discussion, we decided we'd rather have a used tender that we can ding up, knock into docks and drive over rocks with no gasps or worry of doing damage to the wood. I think we made an excellent choice!

Once I gather some paint and space on even land, we'll give the dinghy a proper name..."BoatWorks". This word has significant meaning from my childhood. Every time my dad would see a boat passing by on the water or on a trailer, a mere thought about boats or working on his own boat, he would shout out "Boat Works"! Just a funny, quirky thing about my dad's humorous character. Since this dinghy will be our workhorse, this name only seems fitting for our family pickup, and in some little way, we can honor my dad's love for boats and carry him with us while he watches over us from his sea in the sky.

towing BoatWorks seaward
Today's agenda: fill a fiberglass propane tank, provision (grocery) trip to Costco, hire a diver to scrub Aletheia's belly clean of sealife (seaweed, barnacles, little seeds of some kind, etc), purchase Canadian/US digital charts, continue to praise Wyatt for going potty on his grass.

Today's weather: partly sunny, rain, possible thunderstorms this afternoon. It's a cleaning day on Aletheia.

For now,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Proof of a busy day!

Proof of a busy day aboard consists of bruises, sore arms and dirt under the nails.
We heaved the anchor last evening for the first time (meaning we picked up our main anchor and she floated!). We sailed briefly since moving aboard 1 week ago. It was a great feeling. We had little wind in the arm, but we were able to control both sails and feel how she reacts in light winds. On our way back to the anchorage, we were traveling downwind (so the wind was pushing us from behind), and I was getting an anchoring lesson from Daniel. The manual windlass at the bow (which controls the movement of the anchor chain either up or down) was in a locked position so the chain wasn't able to free itself to drop the anchor...we ending up running aground onto soft mud. Then we were in a pickle and had to act swiftly. We had our first Kedging experience! In short, we rowed the smaller anchor out into deeper water (5-6 feet), and I dropped a 35 lb anchor overboard. We then pulled the hell out of the smaller anchor chain from Aletheia's cockpit and pulled ourselves off the sandbar where she again floated and we safely anchoring where we had initially intended! It was a great training exercise and learning experience for us both. She held well into the mud and needless to say, we slept well last night!

We continue to settle well onto Aletheia and she seems to feel the same. It has become apparent that some of the things I already miss, I'm hoping to emulate on our boat – the Kitchen & Coffee! I really like a full-sized kitchen (who doesn't, really?!), but this galley thing has its advantages 1) not much area to clean; 2) simple kitchen tools is all you need; 3) not many tools to clean after use! I certainly haven't earned my galley stripes yet, but it's a process and the familiarity of cooking feels like Home. We've successfully cooked a few breakfasts and warm dinners to accompany our sense of routine, our appetites and the following sun.

Likewise, coffee has always been a friend of mine, not so much Nate's, but he enjoys that coffee makes me happy. I've recently found my new favorite coffee maker that does quite well on Aletheia – the Aerobie AeroPress. This magical tool, accompanied only by a coffee mug, makes a rich, less bitter cup of java, better than some french press coffees I've tasted, with very little clean up which in our world has become a priority. I know some of you don't like coffee, which I will forgive you for, but it's the little things for me that has made this recent experience that much sweeter. And with rewards comes consequences...

Today's laugh: knocking my freshly brewed AeroPress, coffee mug too, all over the galley floor and my leg. Nate was quite the gentleman and made me a fresh mug and cleaned the mess I made. Lesson learned! 

Along with us, Wyatt continues to adapt himself to small spaces and continues to ascend/descend the companion steps with shakey grace. We're thinking of adding a couple boards to the upper companionway steps so Wyatt can safely ascend and not slip through the stairs. I think that will alleviate everyone's apprehension!

All in all, things are going well. We did open our first official housewarming gift, under my mom's strict orders to open only when we're on our boat - our first Guest Book! We hope to fill the book with new friends and old upon our travels. Thanks again mama for your unabating love and thoughtfulness you continue to give to us!

Today's agenda: take care of laundry and buy a used fiberglass dinghy (we decided against building our own for the moment) to use as our workhorse to and from the boat. 

Thanks again everyone for reading and hope this finds you well! 
A view looking aft at the galley - isn't she cute?!
Nate up the foremast!
Contentment in the cockpit!
For now,

Monday, August 11, 2014

He Peed!

Hi family & friends!

Before I say anything else, Wyatt has peed onboard, on his pee pad nonetheless, and taking the companionway like a champ!! Treats abound!

Apologies for the late blog post. We've been saying how much we'd really like to post to the blog, but getting an internet connection is challenging (at the moment) unless we head ashore, find a coffee shop with strong internet and sit for a couple hours. Oh the conveniences of modern life! So, here we are, on a partly sunny Monday in Halifax, NS sippin on coffee and more importantly, saying hi to you!

Wow! Hard to believe we've only been here 4 days. We left Vermont on August 5th after we verified the arrival of some important package deliveries, and arrived in Halifax on Thursday, August 7. We had eager plans to see Aletheia upon our arrival, but it was late and we were exhausted from the 8 hour trip up from our Blue Hill, ME. Nate has distant cousins who happened to be vacationing at the family's summer home and they graciously opened their doors for our quick stopover on our way to Canada. Blue Hill is a magically wonderful place to visit if you haven't already! ok, so the weather wasn't ideal during this shot, but it was so peaceful watching the rain fall into the ocean from a dry space. 
View from Ingleside porch into Blue Hill Harbor
Wyatt splashing about off the rocky beach
I do have to say, I love Halifax...I could live here too! The community is super friendly and everyone watches out for one another, especially at cross walks! Walkers are more respected than cars around here. We've been to a few local pubs (The Old Triangle Ale House and The Bicycle Thief), and a Saturday Indoor Farmer's Market to name a few. Daniel, the former owner of Aletheia, has been a great a host to us, helping our transition aboard, showing us how the electric engine system works, how the equipment is connected at the navigation station and, more importantly, how accessible everything (hoses, fuse boxes) is on the boat to reach (even in a gymnastics-like way)! During this huge shift in lifestyle, cooking aboard has become very methodical (but still fun); hearing the water lap against the hull rocks us to sleep, and as we learn the ins & outs of our new home, we continue to think of ways to customize our boat to our taste. We've been cleaning, organizing and refitting our lives more than taking pictures, but below are some photos of our first few days onboard. Enjoy!
View from the cockpit (above the blue fabric are the 2 solar panels)
First breakfast aboard - Pancakes w/ yogurt & jam
Approaching Aletheia for the first time!
Our closet (for 2!)

Great little Italian bar with lovely decor!
Wyatt in the companionway!
He's found a favorite spot!
Looking into the cabin
Gotta keep this mug clean!
Today's forecast is looking gray and cloudy, but an afternoon sail may be on our agenda! 

For now,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Christmas in August!

As so it begins, the time in our cruising transition where we've decided to invest and purchase a few electronic conveniences. While not everyone chooses to have the same equipment (the options are many!), the list below is a great start to having extensive safety equipment aboard:
Equipment shipment to Vermont!
We've gotten advice on what instruments are ideal to have onboard, so here they are in no particular order:

Automatic Identification System (AIS) - this digital tracking system will help us track the current location, speed and direction of any surrounding vessel (that also carries an AIS system) and allows us to transmit/exchange our positioning on the water at any given moment to other AIS-equipped ships. We will sync the AIS with our digital nautical charts in order to change our course based on the position of larger ships (otherwise known as the "Tonnage Rule"). We are not required to own an AIS by the USCG, but it helps us to be more aware and competent cruisers in any busy channel and entering/exiting a harbor. It turns out we need an FCC license to operate this system internationally (in Canada). We received the AIS within a miraculous 3-day ship time from New Zealand. Next, we'll get the paperwork submitted to the FCC in order to operate the AIS system legally with our unique-MMSI Number.

Bad Elf GPS Pro - this is a really cool GPS Receiver that fits in the palm of my hand. Like any GPS device (like the one on your phone, but more accurate), it gives a precise Long/Lat of our location that can be synced with a bluetooth device. In our case, we'll link our Bad Elf GPS location with our digital nautical charts to locate our positioning and create a course. Once we get moving it will also measure our speed (in knots). Wonder if I can use it to go running?!

PowerGen Dual USB charger - this little DC charger packs a punch, housing 2 USB outlets that can charge any device under the sun. We'll charge our handheld GPS, laptop, phones (and if I'm lucky, a blender for smoothies!) on our housebank batteries. What a great little tool to have on hand! 

Iridium SatPhone (2nd hand) - a "Zack Morris"-like cell phone we can use while offshore to call mom and dad using a phone card! We wouldn't use this phone to make an emergency call. We bought this used phone from Rupp's mom - where Rupp used the phone during his sailing trip in 2006-07. Thanks Joanne!

I am no expert on electronics, charts or radios, but these devices will support our navigation skills, know-how and whereabouts. By no means will we rely solely on electronics to get by, but these new-age devices will be a wonderful addition to paper charts, Mother Nature and where we wish to float about.

Also, a shout out to Nate's dad for being a delivery and holding site for our non-immediate possessions that will be stored aboard mid-September. All packages have arrived safely!

For now,