Thursday, November 7, 2013

Harvest Moon Regatta: Our first

This post is a bit after the fact, but we've been busy…not only with doing things on our boat, but also house and dog sitting for friends. So here is the news about our sail in October!

We were fortunate to be able to take part in the Harvest Moon Regatta for our first time this past October. Our friends, Rick and Peggy, entered the HMR not only to race, but to also do a shakedown cruise before taking off on their longer cruise to the Bahamas this coming November. They told us their daughter and her fiancee were going to sail down with them as their crew on their boat, S/V Vision Quest, but they were going to return to their jobs in Dallas at the end of the first leg. They asked if we could drive their daughter's car from our Marina down to Port Aransas so the kids could head out on October 20th, and we were invited to take their place on the return trip. We agreed with that and took the car down on Oct. 19th…Saturday.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October nights

Last night while Paul was grilling our hamburgers, we experienced viewing one of the most vivid sunsets we had seen in a while. The reds/oranges/pinks were so intense,  I wanted to reach out and touch it. Have you ever seen a sunset that you could almost taste? That's how this was. Here are some pics:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Out of Sight!!!

Far out! Groovy!!! Too Much!!!!

There are just not enough 60's  exclamations for this sight. Paul and I came up out of our boat the other day (this is called "meercatting") and saw the most amazing thing. We both just started howling with laughter! Wait until you see this!

Monday, September 2, 2013

First overnight cruise with TMCA

Hi all,

The first time we attended the Texas Mariner's Cruising Association was several months ago with our friends and neighbors Barry and Barbara. They invited us and introduced us to the whole group, which included probably around 60 to 70 people. We had a good time and told them we'd think about whether we would join. 

We attended our second meeting several weekends ago, and we decided to join the group that evening. So we paid our dues, had a great time at the meeting, ate lots of food, visited with friends Walter and Jeannette and Barb and Barry and others, listened to a guest speaker, and enjoyed embibing in a few drinks. 

The very next day was our first "designation-oriented cruise". We sailed from Kemah to Baytown, which is only about a 2-3 hour cruise. But it was important for us to get the feel of going to a new place, dock in a new slip, and deal with the Galveston Ship Channel traffic: BIG Ships!!! Don't get in THEIR way!!! We learned how to navigate across the ship channel while attempting to judge how far away the big tankers were before we headed across. Some tankers were moving so fast, we had to wait until they went by us. After they passed,  we pulled out behind them and went across the channel. Easy, but just picking up all the tips we need for being in different places with ship channels. They can be a bit intimidating. We also had to  figure out how to get to our destination with the wind coming straight at us the entire time. For us, it was a 4 hour trip. We had quite a bit of tacking to do to catch the wind in our sails. It was an eye-opener to realize how long it took for us because of the tacking, and it brought with it the awareness that we don't have much control over time while on the's all up to Mother Nature and her wind. We thought we'd probably be late arriving at the marina, since we made it there by abour 4 pm. It was fine, though...people were continuing to arrive till after 7 pm. Here's a shot of the marina...

Bayland Marina

Here are some of the boats that were there:

From left, "Mele Kai" and "Sofira"

This is Clare and Bob's 49' sailing vessel, "Sofira"

Walter and Jeannette's Power yacht "Mele Kai"

There were about 10-12 boats in the group, some sailboats, and some power boats. We met interesting folks and enjoyed our time visiting on the docks before dinner started. The theme of this particular cruise was "Celebrate National Catfish Day: Catfish Fry"...and guess what! They fried catfish! Much to my husband's dismay. Yes, that's right, he doesn't like fish!? It was fine though, as he made himself a ham and cheese sandwich, and all was well with the world. The catfish was very good, (I eat fish), and all the many side dishes people brought were delicious. (Even picked up a few recipes to add to my "easy onboard recipes" file from Pinterest. Thanks, Jeannette!)

After dinner, the commodore brought out an  ice cream maker and after waiting "patiently" (NOT) for several hours, we had homemade ice cream with peach crumble. So tasty and refreshing! Then we all hunkered down in our chairs on the dock facing due north and watched "Captain Ron" on someone's sail  under the stars. Loved it! A fun time was had by all!

Next morning, people gradually arose to the lovely sunrise, and drank coffee as we all went from boat to boat, greeting folks and looking at their boats.  Clare and Bob invited us and Walter and Jeannette, aboard their beautiful 49' boat, named "Sofira".  It was so roomy. Even has a small workshop in the aft part of the boat, which the guys drooled over. Here's a picture of Walter and Jeannette visiting with Clare...that's when Clare invited us aboard.

Jeannette, Walter, (whose boat is on the left) and on the right boat is Clare

From left: Walter, Jeannette, and Paul

 From left: Clare and Walter

me sitting at their table

From left, me and Clare

From left, Walter, Bob (Clare's husband) and Paul

Everyone was called for breakfast at that point, so we all met on the docks once again for crockpot cooked eggs mixed in hash browns with cheese. We couldn't get enough of that dish. Very good breakfast for a group of people. There were plenty of leftovers from the night before as well; bagels, toast, pie, rolls, and of course, with all that, the ubiquitous coffee! 

Breakfast is served!

Breakfast on the docks

After resting, visiting, and letting the food digest 
we each took our leave and headed back to Kemah. Paul and I arrived there after 2 1/2 hours of sailing (still lots of tacking involved due to the wind behind us...a bit nervous about possibly jibing), and on the way Walter and Jeannette passed us in their gorgeous "Mele Kai", and took pictures of Paul and me in "Sea Casa" under sail. He sent us the pictures today to Paul's email, but Paul is outside helping our neighbor. We're looking forward to checking them out. They may possibly be "the" picture for our "boat information cards". We  appreciate when people give us their cards, because I tuck them away in my business card holder for future reference. We both decided we needed to have our own cards to hand out, so I've peeked on Vista Print to see which design we want to use.  We're waiting to see if the pictures that Walter and Jeannette took will be an inspiration for our cards!! Thanks again for doing this...very thoughtful and we really appreciate it!

Here's one picture that Walter took of us under sail:

As new members of the TMCA, we are definitely looking forward to many more cruises, while practicing our boating skills and meeting new cruisers. This was a fun first trip for us. Thanks to everyone for your courtesy and warm welcome. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The ultimate necessity...SHADE!

 We were so fortunate to have a lovely, long spring here in Houston this year. Usually by April 1st, it's in the 90's. However, this year, the hot weather didn't start until June, so it was just amazing having 2 extra months of nice, spring-like weather. Actually, February and March were in the 60's and 70's, too. So we had 4 months of beautiful weather! However, June brought some warm weather, and now summer is most definitely here in Galveston!!! The temps have been in the low to high 90's but with the humidity (which is always high in all of Greater Houston area) they say it "feels like 100 or 105". In June, we started in earnest to design a shade canopy to go over the boat. Paul did the drawings, being the mechanical engineer designer, and we discussed how we wanted it to be over the boat. Did we want it low, which meant we wouldn't be able to walk upright on the boat, or did we want it high to take advantage of all the outdoor space on the boat?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our New Boat Name

Hi everyone,

Well, after two months of not posting on our blog, (more now, since this post was originally sent out July 1st, and it wouldn't save onto our blog site for some reason...hopefully this doesn't happen again) it's time to update with some pics of our boat proudly bearing her new name. She is now our "Sea Casa". Our Sea Home. Mi Casa es Sea Casa!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mystery Boat Answer

An UPDATE on the correct movie...I made a very big boo-boo on this and am writing to let everyone know that it wasn't the movie "Overboard" that this boat "starred" in, but "Captain Ron" with Kurt Russell and Martin Short. Goldie wasn't even in this movie. I just recently saw the "Capt. Ron" movie and it was a hoot. So glad I finally got to see it and realize that the beautiful old boat was in this one, not "Overboard". Hope that sets the record straight. :)

Seems I left out a very important piece of information on the last post...the ANSWER to which boat is in our marina. Sorry about that.

Ok...drum roll, please! The mystery boat in our marina is the boat that "starred" in the movie "Overboard" with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. (WRONG!!!) If you saw the movie, you'll recognize the boat...and  if you saw the movie, you'll also know that it wasn't that great of a movie. :) (No offense Kurt and Goldie). (See the movie, "Captain Ron") But still, the boat's the star here and I give her credit for being such a lovely old girl.

There is another boat in this marina that also starred in that movie and she is in A-1 condition. It's used as a charter boat to take people on day cruises. She is a sight to see. I love this boat!

Also love the guy in the hubby

Isn't this a gorgeous boat? Not sure of exacty size, but at least 50'...probably more. Apparently there were 5 boats that were in the movie altogether and 2 of them are here in this marina. This is beauty, but the true one, the beast, is the boat I showed in the first post...the rougher looking one. She's the true star! you know the rest of the story. ;) And I hope you got the update, at the beginning, because that's the REAL rest of the story!!

Winner of the Mystery Boat

Well, Machelle, YOU are the winner!!! I've waited for awhile to see if we got any other responses, and you're definitely the winner. Dang, you're good! And FAST! If you ever get over to Kemah, Texas, come and see this boat. It's truly amazing. We'll take you out for a winner's lunch at the lovely restaurant here in our marina.

Thanks for sending your answer and for following our blog.

Diane and Paul

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


We knew this boat was in our marina, but we hadn't seen it until we took our first walk around the marina. This is a very large marina, and we have 19 docks here, with 643 slips and it's spread over a rather large area. It's a small town, really. We have everything we need...except a store, but those aren't far from us, just a few blocks. We have a nice (country club style) restaurant with very good food, we have updated bathrooms and showers (granite counters, etc), the docks and grounds are kept up beautifully, a lovely pool, hot tub, sauna, tennis courts and exercise room. We feel very spoiled, and the price is less than most marinas around the U.S. Yep, spoiled. 

Anyway, in this particular marina is docked a famous old boat. It's in rather a nasty state of disrepair, however. Recently, a couple bought this boat to restore it and, hopefully, bring it back to it's original look. These folks are military folks and a bit younger. We've seen them here working on the boat, so we're hopeful they have the determination and energy to complete the task.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Doing "Bright-Work"...Doh!

After Paul returned from his adventure across the Gulf, we decided it was time to start working on the teak around the outside of the boat. It didn't look horrible, but it definitely needed a face lift. We looked up the different types of marine varnish, and went to several stores checking them out and talking with the store clerks about the best way to approach this task. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Wet and Wild Adventure

We have had the pleasure of meeting a couple here at our Marina, Rick and Peggy, who were in the process of getting everything ready on their boat for a trip from here, across the Gulf, to Tampa, Florida. A friend of theirs, John, flew in to be a member of their crew for the journey, but they needed a fourth member, so they asked Paul if he would crew with them. 

Getting the boat ready for sail
The day that John flew in, we all went to dinner along with another Marina friend, Dave, and discussed their journey. Unfortunately, the trip kept being postponed because of the high winds, which caused the water in the marina to be extremely low. Galveston Bay was very low as well and all the boats in the marina were stuck in the muck and mud. Rick and Peggy's boat was no exception. Their boat, which has a  5’6” draft, was most definitely stuck in the mud and wasn't going anywhere until the water levels rose. Several days later, Tuesday, February 26, at 7:30 am, Rick came knocking on our boat and said as soon as Paul was ready, they were going to go for it. The high tide had raised the water level to a height that just barely allowed them to get out into the Bay. So, Paul scurried to get ready while I got the camera. It took them about 15 minutes to get everything in order, and do a safety check, on the boat before they shoved off. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sailing in the Galveston Bay

Our insurance, Lloyds of London, required us to have a licensed captain verify Paul’s expertise before we can take off on our own. Therefore, we called Paul’s previous sailing school, which is only across the lake from us, and they punished Captain Adele by having her go out with us.  

Sewing Classes in February

Paul went on a cruise with some folks in our marina for a week (see next post on our blog for story). While he was gone, I finished up a sewing course that I had found out from a friend through a friend through another friend. It's amazing how one thing leads to another and to another and another? That seems to be how we have met all our "helpers" on the boat since we've been here. It's also how I found my wonderful sewing teacher, Barbara.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living Aboard...finally!!

It's been over a week on board, and I have to say, we're both truly enjoying living on our boat. Paul says he is feeling "free" like he never has before. His biggest frustration is not knowing enough about how everything works on the boat and he wants to know it all NOW.  This boat feels cozy to me. There are many things I'll need to learn, but in the meantime, just enjoying all the little nuances of our Sea Casa are keeping me satisfied.

My favorite thing so far is lying in bed. The rocking motion is soothing, like being in craddle. We both wake up several times during the night to check on things and visit the head, (we've been drinking water like it's going out of style), nevertheless, we are sleeping very well. I've had the most amazing dreams vivid.  I could stay in bed for many hours more than we stay, but the mornings and the many chores beckon us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23, 2013

My husband and I were sitting out on our balcony enjoying a glass of wine while on a Royal Caribbean Cruise. The color of the ocean was so rich and spellbinding, we were both silently mesmerized.  Out of the blue I mentioned how amazing it would be to travel in our own boat, go where we wanted.  It was only a dream spoken aloud, not really serious, just a lovely thought.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


We received a phone call yesterday (Jan. 18th) from our broker in Kemah, Tx telling us that our boat was almost completed. They have only to paint the bottom and let it dry, and then we finally get to move aboard!!! We are thrilled!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8th, 2013

Disappointed and yet, Learning about Dehumidifiers

We have found out that the yacht yard, which was supposed to repair our boat before Christmas, wasn't able to get to it and are just now starting on the fixes. Both of us feeling deflated. We had gone through our storage unit two more times to sort through what we'd take on the boat (which we know is still too much) and what to leave in storage. We were ready to move. Now it's another 2 weeks of waiting.

We have been using that time to read up on sailing, check out things we'll need to buy for the best prices, and posting on several sailing sites to pick up more info.