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.

My other favorite thing here in Waterford Harbor Marina is getting to know all the great live-aboard folks. There are quite a few, and all very nice folks. We had a wonderful visit with our neighbors three boats down from us. Their boat is lovely, quite a bit larger than ours. The couple are both captains. He is now the harbor master, and she is an amazing seamstress...reupholstered all her own settees, and they are a lovely pale it! Good Job, neighbor!

I'm meeting lots of women who excel in sewing, which leaves me out. It would be nice to learn more about sewing since it does appear to be a very handy skill to have on a boat. I'm considering taking lessons at Joann Fabrics. (Paul thinks I need to take sailing lessons first).

Last Saturday a couple who live in Houston and have a boat in the marina next to ours invited us over for dinner on their boat. We had such a great time visiting with them. Thanks for the yummy dinner, you two! Their boat is supposedly only 2' longer than ours, but being a Catalina, had a wide beam all the way up to the bow. It was so spacious and roomy. We both loved their boat. Ours feels a bit tight after experiencing other people's larger boats, and ours is not as good for entertaining. I still like it for us, though. It's smaller, but cozy, and it's ours!

Another thing we both have enjoyed in our marina are all the amazing dogs here. We both love dogs, but decided not to have one on board. Thankfully, we have the pleasure of our neighbor's dogs whom we just adore. There's Jax, Daisy, Fred, and a couple of poodles whose names we don't know yet...loveable, sweet dogs. Makes our life here that much more full. 

We both have knots on our heads from hitting the top of the doorway into the captain's cabin. OUCH!   Our sincere wish is to either 1.) have our heads become calloused so we don't feel it anymore, or 2.) remember to duck each time. Little things like this that wake us up in the mornings and send us off to sleep in the evenings are such a part of boat living, we need to get used to it.

As most live-aboards know, finding the storage for food and galley utensils is a real trick. Everyday I find another little space that can be used for food and storage. But the options are definitely limited. That's the one thing I really like about those larger boats...the huge amount of storage.

I bought enough food for a week so I can judge how much we go through, and how much of it is not necessary. It's kind of a trial and error way of learning.  Paul and I don't drink sodas, but I can see how people would drink it onboard. It's easy to stow away.  I'll be stowing away tomato juice, orange juice, water, beer and wine. Those are the fluids we drink the most, especially water. And of course many grains and pop corn, my favorite treat. It's inevitable that we'll be investing in many more plastic containers as the need arises.

We are fortunate to have a large refrigerator, and another large freezer unit, both top-loading. Our freezer unit seems to be inefficient though...and the compressor is on almost all the time. We called a man out to look at it, and he was great. Gave us all kinds of tips and advice for free, and basically told us how to fix it without him. He said he doesn't like charging live-aboards who are retirees. Nice Guy! He wants to check it after we've done all we can, and if we need to fill it with freon, so be it. We'll pay him then for all his time and tips. So this is Paul's latest project...working on the freezer.

Well, we actually have lots of projects going at once, which I'm guessing is very normal with boat living. I've been cleaning the inside of the boat, lining cupboards and shelves with rubber shelf liner, washing everything, storing, buying lots of necessities (plastic containers, a sewing basket, melamine dishware, percolater, foods, etc.) Paul has been busy with lots of outdoor of which is scrubbing and wet-sanding all the old letters off the stern of the boat. We decided we wanted our own name, "Sea Casa".  It's a back-breaker job, though, and it's going to take time. Lucky for me, today being a rainy day, he's helping me with indoor projects.  I now have hooks in the galley to hang my mugs, my pot holders, and hooks in the head to hang my washcloths. Little things like this make me very happy.  :D

I cooked on our alcohol stove the other night...what a nightmare!! Paul and I were working on it together trying to get the flame adjusted to where it burned blue, as it's supposed to. For some reason, the burners weren't working correctly. One was blue, but even on high heat, it was a itty bitty flame. The other burner was deep orange-red...which really didn't look right at all. But, this is how I cooked dinner, and it all came out tasting really good, in spite of all the problems. Woo Hoo!!! :D  Paul is working on the stove as I'm writing this, trying to get it to run as it's supposed to. It's kind of like a big old boogy man to me at this point. Scares me! I've been in a house fire before, and anything with fire is not fun for me unless it's completely manageable. He just showed me the stove, and it's working well now. He's such a handy manly, man! I'm a lucky gal!

Everyday takes us to Home Depot, WalMart, Kemah Hardware, Target. Today it was Home Depot and Kemah Hardware looking for materials to fix the freezer. Luckily, the stores are just down the street from where our marina is that's a good thing. Unfortunately, we certainly are spending a lot of money on all these little trips, and that's a bad thing. Just another part of the boat experience, I guess.

We had quite a storm here today...rained buckets and the winds were (and still are) at 35 knots. We have really been getting rocked around while working. Kind of fun, actually. Both of us "ooohing and aahing" like we were watching a fireworks display or something. I know, we're weird! But it WAS fun!!! We also learned that our ports are leaking a little and we'll need to work on that. (More work).

Paul and I have been debating on whether to buy a television or not. Frankly, I'm fine without it, and he is too.  Plus, it would cost us another $100/mo., an expense which we could live without. We've been watching movies on our computer (the latest one: South Pacific with Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi), and enjoying ourselves just fine. Plus we get to snuggle up and do this...which we wouldn't do with a TV.  So, I'm a happy camper, er...boater!
Life aboard is going well. We're having a lot of fun while working, meeting people, and learning.
We should be going out next week for a day cruise in Galveston Bay. Will keep you posted on how that goes.
Sorry this post took so long, but we were BUSY as little beavers the past week or so. (And wow! Did we FEEL it there a couple of days!!!) Sheesh. Don't you hate getting older! More to come in the near future.
Happy Sails,
Diane and Paul


  1. sounds just wonderful. Ricky says to get a ham radio instead of a TV, but then you probably have something like that already. Best wishes to you both and lot so love from us, Ricky and Sherrie

    1. Hi guys,

      In response to your comment on our blog, we had thought about getting our ham radio licenses, becuase my older brother, Steve, is a ham operator, and mentioned the idea to us several months ago. It's a good idea, and we may study for a license later on when we're not so overwhelmed with learning everything else. There's so much for us to learn. I have even more than Paul, since he's already taken the required classes for sailing. It's my turn pretty soon. Expensive though, so will have to take it one thing at a time.

      I really like your faux stained glass...and love the one of shiprock with the hot air balloons. Nice.


  2. Wow Diane you guys have been busy bees! Good luck with everything!
    Ana Maria

    1. Hi Ana Maria,
      Yes, we've been busy...and have gotten a lot done. So much more to do, though. It's ok, it's a challenge and we're up for it.

      How are things with your jewelry business? I was looking at your etsy. site and it all looks so pretty. I heard that AoH isn't happening anymore. Too bad. It was so much fun when we all gathered for our meetings. I really enjoyed that time.

      Stay well, and happy.

  3. congrats on the transition! Here's a hint: start keeping your grocery lists in a little notebook - after a couple of months, you'll have a really accurate picture of what foods you actually prefer and how much you need. Really helps when provisioning for longer cruises.

  4. Hi Dan N Jaye,
    I have written down an inventory of the foods I've bought, and where they're located on the boat. I'll take your advice and keep it up for a couple of months...see what the picture looks like at the end of this time. Thanks for the advice. Hope all is well with you two. Since I wrote this post, the stove issue has worked itself out, and I'm now cooking on the alcohol stove just fine. Whoever said it takes longer to cook on these must've been referring to the outdoor camp stoves. This one cooks just as quickly as the gas stove I was using before moving onboard. I'm very happy about that. Made a yummy soup for our rainy night the other night, and it turned great. Cooked exactly in the time the directions called for. The only problem is, I've got to start cutting our recipes in half...we have way too much left over and will be eating it for at least 3 or 4 more days. Good for lunches though...easy to heat up. Ordered some Lock and Lock containers and hope they come soon...I need them!!!

    Thanks again for your feedback...take care,

    Diane and Paul

  5. Hey Cous,

    What a wonderful life!. Gosh, I have to admit to being a little envious. I always thought that growing up in land-locked West Texas did that to me. I'm a little afraid of the sea, which is too bad. I think that both of you are so brave, and you are certainly so accomplished! Oh my goodness!! Have fun and take care of both of you. The photos are amazing.


  6. Hi Margaret,

    So great to see your post on our Sea Casa Blog. I, too, have a healthy respect for the sea, and now that we're living on her, it's even moreso. What a powerful presence the seas and oceans have on our planet.
    Awesome in the true sense of the word.

    We are learning every day the new responsibilities it requires to live aboard. I am alone this week, as Paul was asked to crew a boat going to Tampa, Fl. across the gulf. I hope he learns a lot from his adventure, and then is able to use it for our future sailing cruises.

    Living alone on a boat is interesting...every little noise, I think something's going wrong. What do I do???? Who do I call?? Then I wait, listen, watch, and things seem to be ok.

    I plan to make a week long menu to see if it helps us buy only the foods we need, instead of wasting those that aren't used. Everything on a boat seems to be about practicality and efficiency. I have to learn what foods we actually eat...because we need every bit of space that's not being used efficiently. Very little space for extra food, clothing, shoes, anything! I"m getting used to wearing the same clothes over and over. Never thought THAT would happen!! ;)

    I hope you are doing well and that everyone in your familiy is fine. I'm so sorry I missed seeing you and your handsome son in Lubbock. I know mom enjoyed seeing you both. She's turning 90 on March 6th. We may go up there if Paul gets back in time.

    You had a birthday recently, too, didn't you? Happy, happy birthday, Margaret, my dear cousin,....and many, many more. Hope this year is everything you hope for and more.

    If you want to follow this blog, there's a place on the right where it says "Followers", "Join this site". You'll see the pics of other folks who are following our blog. I'm not sure what the process is, but I think it's pretty simple.

    Please stay in to hear from you.

    Cousin Diane