Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It Was The Night Before Christmas ... And later

I was wondering what Santa would bring to the Skipperette. It seems that while outfitting Trillium for the Caribbean passage, we drained Santa's pocket so if there had been nothing under the tree, this Skipperette would not have been disappointed. A gift certificate for a manicure was out of the question since I have no nails left - at least nothing long enough to pretty up! A massage might have been in order as my body is still recovering from bruises and aches and pains.

Resort wear was on my wish list, but I hadn't found any stores in the Detroit area that is carrying them this season. So no where to suggest Santa's Helper to visit. They must think no one here can afford to go to resorts in the winter! Oh well, the spring clothes will be on the racks within a couple of weeks once the after-Christmas sales are over.

I did note that dressing in the islands while living aboard is different than my wardrobe of golf clothes! I need to spiff it up some. There are boat clothes and there are ashore clothes! But there is very little closet space on board!

Now the Captain received some ashore clothes to spiff him up a little. He doesn't like to have me buy him clothing, but I didn't pay attention to that! There are a few items he could use whether he realizes it or not. His favorite cowboy-look doesn't fly in the islands - especially in the evenings. He needed a pair of Crocs, but I could only finding fur-lined or camouflage styles! Not quite island wear! I finally found one pair of navy blue, but they were not quite big enough. At least he got the suggestion of the gift and we can hunt for different ones later.

Santa's Helper was very creative: swim fins and a new double tether for me - AND a pair of hot pick Crocs! I guess great minds think alike or maybe we have just lived together long enough to read each other's minds. Actually he found a Crocs store in Somerset Mall. I never knew it was there. And my daughter hasn't given up on the nails: a gift certificate for a manicure! I treated myself to the much needed massage.

The best Christmas gift of all was watching our nearly 4 year old granddaughter open her gifts. She took her time and enjoyed each one of them. And when she gave her presents to everyone she said she wanted us to be happy. Then she watched intently as we opened her gifts. For this, it was worth coming back to snow country to share these precious moments.

We hope your holiday celebrations were special whether back at home or still on the water! Here is to an exciting 2011! Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"So What Was It REALLY Like?"

Since we have returned to land (the land of cold and snow, that is), our friends have asked for the details of our big adventure. After listening to the Captain share his version, everyone of them has turned to me as said, "So what was it really like?" It is as if they don't believe that I am in agreement with what Dennis was telling them. They seem to think that I will have a differing opinion.

Definitely a "Blue Job"
I am pleased to say that I don't! We are pretty much in agreement as to the ups and downs of the experience. Of course, we each have our own perspective of reality. Many of these are different points of view based on our roles aboard. There are definitely some "pink jobs" and some "blue jobs," but not necessarily in the ways you may think. He actually has the "dirt jobs" of going aloft and crawling into the engine room.

Probably our different views of the passage are more about what we experienced. I did not do night watches so I don't have the experience of being on deck alone in the dark for several hours. I did sit watch with each of the crew until 11 pm each night - then I crashed. Sometimes it was just to unwind and relax after a busy day with my duties; other times it was to provide company to a sick crew member's substitute when they were doing two hours on and two hours off. I had great conversations with each crew member and the 10 - 11PM shift gave Dennis and me an hour of quiet time together to catch up.

Bob was great with the dinner dishes
The guys did not do Galley Duty so they were not experiencing being thrown around and watching pots rock back and forth on the gimbled stove. I still find it hard to believe the food stayed in the pots because they were really moving at times. I did learn to use much larger (deeper) pans than I do on land. You try cooking pasta at a 20+ degree angle while moving up and down!!!

I did get some help with the dinner dishes once the crew decided I was spending too much time below. That was a welcome relief following the evening meal and long days. Since they got their own breakfast, I did clean up. Lunch was relatively easy with sandwiches, chips, fruits and veggies. I think each crew member should prepare at least one meal so they have more respect for conditions below when they are trying to get the maximum out of the boat! They were most appreciative of what I prepared and my efforts in doing so.

We did learn that the stainless steel water bottles I bought for each person had a negative effect on the compass when placed in the pedestal cup holders! I have now replaced those with insulated plastic ones. Probably not as healthy, but a compass off by 10 degrees is not healthy either!

"Blue Job": Engine Room
Dennis did "blue jobs" such as engine and systems checks and repairs. I will try to learn some of it later as it is important to know how to do everything on the boat in case it becomes necessary. I gave up on keeping the boat clean and picked up below. There were too many clothing layers to be added and shed depending on the weather and time of day or night.

I do enjoy my time at the helm as I don't do well going forward since I have a balance problem with a sciatic nerve issue. I usually dock the boat and take it out while Dennis handles the fenders and lines. His work is physically harder than mine, but handling a 48' boat and moving in and out between other very expensive boats is mentally challenging and nerve racking at times. He has the challenge of trying to pick up a mooring ball while I try to follow his hand signals to a ball I can't see from the helm. See, there is a lot of team work on board.

Twice a day we reported our position
I do more with the computer systems and the communication systems such as the daily check-ins on the single side band radio (SSB). Next we both need to become more proficient with the weather software and email. We both do the navigation which is good to have a check on where we are going and what is going to be in our way.

When we return in February, we will be working on these things and sharing time aboard with family and friends. As we gain more experience, we will work out our routine of daily life aboard and handling various tasks. There are "pink" and "blue" jobs, but there are a number of "lavender" (combination of pink and blue!) jobs, too!

So what was it really like? Great! I love living aboard.