Oct 2012 ~ Long Island

Chronological Order

Day 778 ~ No Longer AloneOctober 31st, 2012

I guess we are adjusting a bit.  Got up this morning and the boat felt nice and cozy. Thermometer read 55.  Never got much above 60 degrees due to cloud cover but it didn't feel all that bad.  Predicted to get colder in the next few days.

Since it was flat calm with very little wind, I decided it was time to head up the mast and remove the troublesome wind meter which has been fluky for months, at least.  Lisa cranked while Nina and Nika tailed and managed safety lines.  It never ceases to amaze me how far up that 53 feet feels, and how long it takes to get there inch by inch.  I was smart enough to wear heavy weather pants this time, so my legs didn't freeze in the first 30 seconds of hugging the metal mast. My hands felt pretty stiff by the time I got there, but the thought of impaling a screwdriver into the deck kept me focused and careful. The wind meter came off easily and I was down again in a just a few minutes.

Defying all sense, Nika and Nina wanted to go up.   So, with safety lines in place, I cranked Nika to the first spreader, then Nina to the second.   She hadn't been there for 2 minutes when the fishing boat that comes and goes a few times a week, zipped in through the mouth of the creek throwing a nice wake across our beam. "Hang on, girl!"

Nina is almost an adult.   We see more and more flashes, or spells one might even say now, of rational thinking.   Sometimes she sees what needs to be done and tackles it without hesitation or a thought to, "how can I avoid this troublesome effort?"   I must say it's nice to see the light come on. She didn't freak out, but just hung on and swung back and forth with a smile.  I think she was happy to have her feet on the ground again though a few minutes later.

Nina and I headed to the library around noon; the place was packed.   I was shocked for 2 seconds until realizing that we aren't the only ones without heat and lights on this chilly island.  Looking around, I was also no longer the only one who hadn't had a shower in several days, or more.  Lisa did lessons with other two until 4p, then the boys called at 5pm to say they were done and ready to play.  Lisa finally managed to warm up by fireplace while waiting for Nina and I to return. Then, it was back to the boat for dinner and bed.


Day 777 ~ Cleaning Up After the Sandy BlastOctober 30th, 2012

The Yacoe yard is a disaster with flotsam, jetsam and masses of saltwater-soaked leaves in mushy piles here and there. Joseph organized a cleanup effort. Nina actually worked, like an adult.  Long after the younger ones had lost interest and slipped away, that girl was raking and shoveling and hauling wheelbarrows, by herself at times.  I felt that warm glow of fatherly pride. That's my girl.

I went ashore after answering several 'did you survive' emails.  Helped Joseph get the house water pump running off the generator so some dishes could be washed and toilets flushed.  Took a trip to town for parts, but had to weave around closed roads to find something open only to get there and find every electrical connector fitting long gone. Right, duh.

Yacoes have a gas stove so shared dinner with the neighbors across the street who have only an electric range.  Back to boat where there's power, but no heat.  Bay is so calm that it's hard to imagine the turmoil that passed only hours ago.



Day 776 ~ Sandy Arrives with StyleOctober 29th, 2012

Slept pretty well last night, actually.   Boat is amazingly quiet with everything secured.  No slapping halyards or banging cabinet doors, etc.  After lashing the wind generator securely and checking this and that over and over, I finally slipped into bed about 11:30 and read for half an hour.   There's a little sideways chop coming through the cut when the tide and surge crest over the sandy spit that forms the entrance to the lagoon.

I awoke about 3:20am with an especially big blast.  The bed is warm and comfy, but curiosity burns bright enough to make getting up and out a natural, fluid motion.  It's still fairly warm, mid-50s, so that doesn't make the shock too great.

All looks good up top, no chafe visible anywhere.  I watch the interaction of anchor and mooring and am pleased with how they are playing off each other, each taking part of the load and the anchor line springing and stretching when especially large gusts slam us about.   Not much to do but head back to bed.

I slept soundly then until about 7am when a haze of daylight glowing behind the portlights brought me back to consciousness.   The wind doesn't seem to have picked up much since the 3am check, but I stumble out of bed, slip into foulies and check things out anyway.  All appears well.

11am update: things have definitely kicked up a notch in the last half hour, as the grib files predicted.   Feels like sustained 40s and 50s with some pretty ferocious gusts in between.   Really hard to judge the speeds, but facing into it takes my breath away, for sure.   Sheeting clusters of rain are zipping past like standing on the side of a freeway watching eighteen wheelers whiz past.

8pm update -- things seem to be quieting down a bit now, gusts still in the 50s, perhaps low 60's from time to time, but overall noticeably calmer than earlier.   Between 2pm and about 5pm, there were numerous blasts of air that I can only describe as a roaring frenzy of angry atmosphere, noise and spray.   At times the visibility was reduced to just 2o yards by a blanket of particulate water that was atomized off the surface by the blasts.  Everywhere I looked it was just whistling whiteness and the sharp stinging of sand-like water particles impacting my cheeks and eyes.   If you weren't prepared, one of these gusts would easily knock you over.

Hate to claim victory too soon, but so far nothing appears to be damaged.   At one point the bimini top was vibrating so hard I was concerned it might try and take flight.   In a rare flash of inspiration, I realized that releasing just a foot of topping lift would essentially set the 150lb boom to rest on the bimini top, pinning it down.   It worked.   The solar panels still want to take flight, but now at least the entire structure isn't vibrating nearly so badly.

There were a few junctures beyond my comfort zone, but overall I am glad I was here.   One of the deck anchor hatches, which I hadn't properly re-secured after checking the anchor connection, flew open mid-day.   One of the side flaps came undone and started flailing wildly.  As the wind clocked around, the interaction between the mooring bridal and the anchor rode lead to some crazy gyrations with really hard jerks to port and starboard.   Just letting out 4 feet of anchor rode corrected the problem, but if no one was here all these could have turned in to potentially destructive problems.

Note to self: sit out next hurricane with a buddy.   It's being out here in the maelstrom alone that adds an icy edge to the experience.   You just feel so small in the face of it all.


Day 775 ~ Welcome SandyOctober 28th, 2012

Spent the morning tightening up the boat some more.   Backed up the primary bow cleats with lines to the deck winches and cranked down on them (pulling opposite the direction the mooring lines pull).   Nina and I wrapped the main sail tightly and used a new ratchet strap to crank down on it.    It's amazing how small a package it can become.

Nika was keenly interested on the big question, would hurricane preparations prevent us from having Swedish Pancakes?   We decided to do them ashore for lunch or dinner with the Yacoes.  She is still suspicious that they might not happen, but so far so good.

Lisa and the crew gathered all their things for a big sleepover ashore for the next couple of nights.   It's amazing the amount of stuff they need.   Lisa took in the laundry and school supplies as well so the essentials in life would continue.

Nana was concerned about what I would eat during the big blow.  She decided I should have a homemade pie to bake and eat all myself so the little dear hand made another pie crust and had it all ready for me to just pop in the oven.  What a sweetheart.

The whole troop headed ashore about 3pm.   The latest forecast shows us experiencing 80 knot gusts, so I decided to back up Joseph's mooring ball with some anchoring power.  Put the 35 kilo Monster out with the CQR behind it on the 3/4" 8 braid plaited anchor line.   This is specially designed anchor line with lots of stretch to absorb shock loads.   It took a bit getting all the lines run.   The final scene saw me with the dinghy in reverse holding station against the wind as the Big Guy went over and in.

We enjoyed a cozy pancake dinner at the house with the wind howling in the trees outside.   It was certainly tempting to just stay and sleep there, warm and safe.   But there were things to check, so back out I went.  Joseph dropped me off at the dinghy in a surreal setting.   Sand was whipping off the wharf as great blasts tore down the parking lot.   A full moon was glowing above a hazy frosting of clouds that were skimming along like frozen scouts from an alien world.


Day 774 ~ Getting Ready for the Honored GuestOctober 27th, 2012

The morning broke with heavy overcast and absolute flat calm.   The estuary was like a giant mirror; the calm before the storm.  We marveled that 150 years ago, you would have just thought it was another pleasant fall day, with no inkling what lies ahead.

With no wind, it was an ideal time to get the headsail off its roller.  We raised and re-rolled the genny as well which was a wreck from our last violent take-down off Block Island, and what seems an age ago now.  We folded and stashed the bikes, took off the SSB antenna and rolled and secured all our sunscreens and the like.

I left to get ratchet straps and a few other items in town and spent a few hours at the library working.  Kids went ashore to help Joseph tackle some hurricane prep land projects while waiting for the boys' return.  Lisa hung out at the house while Joseph and Marina went out to a movie.  I came over to make dinner and enjoyed a warm shower (getting spoiled these days, for sure).

Earlier bedtime.  Sandy's coming and the wind is gradually increasing.  Looking more and more likely for a direct hit.


Day 773 ~ Traditional CraftOctober 26th, 2012

Another nearly flat calm day.   The overcast broke up midday allowing a patchy sunshine to add some warmth and color.  I'm kicking around the idea of heading straight to the Caribbean from here and skipping the whole North Carolina boat yard thing.   The idea of being on the rural mid-coast in January just doesn't sound appealing.

I decided to tackle the steering bearing project that I have been putting off since Grenada.   There's an articulating arm that transfers the motion of the steering arm to a rotating motion for the rudder.   It has a bearing there, presumably, and it's been a little sloppy.   Seems to work fine, but when we are at anchor with a little cross swell the 1/32" of slop in the bearing gets magnified to a 1/4" of play at the ends of the arm and a nice little "clunk-clunk" sound is just loud enough to keep one awake at night.  Argh.

Lisa and the girls were invited to go for a paddle in a 40' Hawaiian outrigger that Marina's brother planned to take out of Sagg Pond for the winter.   Afterward they came back for lunch and then headed out to pottery class, which is a big hit because "You can get your hands all gooey!" Nana says with enthusiasm.   You go, girl.


Day 772 ~ Another Land DayOctober 25th, 2012

Feels like a day back in the real world.   Nina and I ran errands this morning, got our propane bottle filled at near Bahamas prices.   It's $22 to fill a 10lb propane bottle on the remote island of Staniel Cay, Bahamas, and it's $19.76 here near the gravitational center of western civilization.   By comparison, it's $11 in Oriental, North Carolina, and 8 Euros in St. Martin.

Dropped the windlass off at the local FedEx place.   It tipped the scales at 55lbs but only cost $30 to ship it a hundred miles to New Bedford, Mass.   Something tells me that from Staniel Cay it would have been a little pricier.

Nina and I stopped by the library for a couple of hours of work.   I was able to use their Windows machine to cross-browser test my latest web project saving me tons of time and headache later.

We were back just in time for the Blue Cube to haul the whole gang to a pottery class that Marina has graciously arranged for the entire crew.  Wrapped up the evening with YADAY (yet another dinner at the Yacoes).   Other friends came over and played Apples to Apples.   Turns out Joseph and I aren't really into the board game thing, so we sat around and talked about what?   Boats, of course.


Day 771 ~ Ripping out a WindlassOctober 24th, 2012

With the thoughts running around in my head about skipping the North Carolina boatyard experience, it occurred to me that one of the more difficult things would be to get our starboard windlass serviced.   Something tells me that shipping a huge heavy object thousands of miles between countries would cost a pretty penny.

Some quick googling revealed that the windlass people are just across the Sound and east a little of New Bedford, MA.   I called and received an RA number.   Now, I just had to the get the thing off the boat, where it has been firmly mounted since, by appearances, 1991.

Surprisingly, the nuts came off easily and the wiring wasn't that much harder.   At this point it should just lift off, right?   Well, after 20 years, it was not budging a bit.   After some whacking it occurred to me that a little upward pressure might assist.   I had Nina crank on a spare halyard when a vision flashed through my mind. 

  • Crank up on that halyard, then lean over it and whack away.
  • Windlass breaks free and leaps giving me a 55lb aluminum kiss on the cheek.  

That would feel great, just great.   It only took a few seconds to put the nuts back on in place which should prevent the kissing scenario.  While it wasn't picture perfect, a few whacks later and it broke free.   One boat project that didn't get more complicated than necessary.   Now, we just need to find a box and a really big stamp.


Day 770 ~ Nitpickers in the OfficeOctober 23rd, 2012

Cloudy, lessons.  Whatever this bug is had me shivering pretty severely for a while then sweating buckets.  Was pretty sore in the morning from all the exercise.   This is day 3 so in the back of my mind there's this little question about what exactly I am fighting.  Deadlines are looming, however, so took some ibuprofen and kept cranking away on the web project due Nov 1.

We had a calm day so the girls took Abigail out in Sea Pearl and rowed around and then played on the beach building sand castles.  Owen joined them and they played outside 'til dark.  The wonders of fresh air.

Lisa went over for a shower and to bring the girls back for dinner.  We found more lice in her hair again so did a thorough treatment in hopes of getting them once and for all.  Like most ladies, Lisa has a fond place in her heart for all things creepy crawly.   The thought of them in her hair is, well, just lovely.


Day 769 ~ Bite by a Land BugOctober 22nd, 2012

Cold 55 degrees and windy.  Sun came out and warmed the air a bit.

When we are out cruising no one gets sick.   Some combination of being fairly isolated from society and loaded up on tons of fresh air and sunshine have meant we can go many months between even a case of the sniffles.   But, today I feel rotten.   Full on flu-like symptoms, aches, shivers, hot flashes, the whole deal.   Just hope no one else gets it.

Girls were done with lessons about 3pm, had lunch and made some birthday things for Teresa, Yacoe's neighbor.  They went with Joseph and the boys to the Morton wildlife refuge to feed the birds.  Afterward, they all took Zuber to karate in Sag Harbor and the girls stayed to watch.  Yacoes invited the girls to stay for dinner since I was not feeling so great, a welcome relief.

Delivered the birthday gift, then back to boat.


Day 768 ~ Swedish BitesOctober 21st, 2012

Wind picked up through night.  I feel something coming on and everywhere hurts to the touch.   I should probably stop drinking from the milk carton until this passes. 

We joined Yacoes for church again and then did a big corporate batch of Swedish pancakes, after which there were zero leftovers.

Joseph took the kids on a walk while Lisa and I went grocery shopping.  We then watched boys while they took their daughter back to the airport in NYC for her flight back to college. 


Day 767 ~ Blasted AwakeOctober 20th, 2012

Started raining hard about 2am and a sound of wind building in the rigging woke me from semi-consciousness with a snap.  Not that there's much we can do.  It's pitch black and driving rain.  A quick look at the local radar shows a tiny strip of red intense activity less than a few miles wide and right on top of us.   Looking out our bedroom port light, we see 3 foot white caps blasting past.  It only lasted 20 minutes or so, but left the dinghy half full of water and my confidence in our mooring set up considerably higher, credit that would later be worth nights of sleep.  After filling our tanks, we managed to get back to sleep as the wind died down.

Woke up to fog but the sun came out later and we had a warm day.  I took a day off from work and puttered around on some boat projects.  Nina went with Teresa and Abigail to Riverhead to learn about bee keeping.

We got the sailing dinghies out and Nana, Owen and Nika sailed around in Sea Pearl for a while.   Zuber took the Laser, which is a lot of boat for a much larger boy.   He ended up capsizing when the main sheet became entangled and Joseph had to rescue him.

Once Zuber was dry, Joseph came over and I got him loaded up with some charting software for his iPad.

Yacoes, Lisa and the girls went apple picking at the Milk Pail Orchard.  Home again, Nana and her crack crew turned some into an apple pie.  Yum.


Day 766 ~ The Gift that Keeps on GivingOctober 19th, 2012

I went to pickup Lisa in the morning and noticed something in her hair that looked like a black grain of rice.   It was lice.  Rice lice dice.  Lisa was thrilled.  Actually, she looked sick with disgust.  Can't figure out how in the world they would get from Nana to her, but obviously they did.  Doused with alcohol and scrubbed with shampoo.

Then, they were off again to Westhampton Beach with Teresa and Abigail to see a school performance of "Vote!", a play by a theater troupe from Florida about the importance of voting.  It rained off and on all day so it was a good time for indoor activities.  There they joined another homeschool Mom and her 2 kids for lunch beforehand.  After the play, they went to a bakery before returning.

Hung out with Abigail then went over to Yacoe's to see the boys and meet Aluna.  Finally stopped raining.


Day 765 ~ Shopping at Goodwill, Hampton StyleOctober 18th, 2012

Lovely sunny day.  Warmer with yet another southerly shift of the wind.

Girls did lessons while I dove into another day of coding work.  Boys came by in their opti and the girls got motivated to get Sea Pearl down.  Except for a little help from Joseph on the winch, they did everything themselves.  Wonder of wonders.

Peach pie by Nana and Nika, yum.   Nina rejoiced to finally have a "regular, plain peach pie, with no things in it!"   Ah, c'mon.

Lisa went with Marina to a thrift store in East Hampton in search of some wool socks and warmer clothes.  Although they charge Hampton prices, she found some decent threads that were significantly less than new.  She came home with a couple long sleeve items for each of us and long socks to keep my ankles warmer while hacking away in a cold boat.

Yacoe's daughter, Aluna, returns for a short visit tonight from college.  The kids made a welcome sign for her arrival.  Joseph and Marina left for dinner then the airport in NYC so we fed ourselves and the boys at their house.  The girls and I returned to the boat and Lisa stayed at the house since they weren't to return until 2am.


Day 764 ~ Chilled to the BoneOctober 17th, 2012

It was 48 degrees in the boat this morning when we got up.   This does not a happy wife make.   "I can see my breath!" Nana squealed about 9:00am.   How nice.   Perhaps we should have sailed south weeks ago.   That's what my conscience keeps telling me, but the reality is that the hurricane season is just now cresting and is still easily capable of slapping us really hard, even this far north.   Tropical weather, though, seems a pretty distant reality.

We did the usual despite the cold, lessons, work, etc.   Girls headed over to the warm Yacoe home to play in the late afternoon.


Day 763 ~ A Warm, Productive DayOctober 16th, 2012

61 on the boat this morning, feels toasty and warm.  Sunny and breezy, a beautiful fall day.

Lisa joined Marina at a Women's Bible Study Riverhead including lunch.   I can't imagine why the mom's would want to go off and leave all the men and kids for hours at a time like that.  I mean the quiet and loneliness must be haunting.

The girls did lessons while I worked and answered questions about fractions and such.   Those were the days.  The girls went  ashore to play with the boys about 2pm.  I made up a big batch of beef stew which hit the spot when the crew returned around 6pm.   The hours fly by when your head is in the electronic haze.  Finished Narnia and then bed.


Day 762 ~ Another Mundane DayOctober 15th, 2012

The southerly wind continued to blow through the night and kept the salon a balmy 64 degrees with morning's arrival, which felt downright balmy warm by comparison with last week.  If felt so nice I was able to work in the cockpit while the girls labored inside on their "horrible" lessons.   They don't have a clue how good they have it.

Lessons went long.  Finally done at 4pm.  Went to play ashore for a couple hours, then back to boat for dinner.   This kind of life isn't much different than anyone else's.   I guess we have a 360 water view, but otherwise it we may as well be back on land.


Day 761 ~ Birthday BoysOctober 14th, 2012

Woke up in the early twilight to feel warm oozing into the boat from all sides.  The predicted southern wind was moaning through the rigging and kept the low temperature to 55 in the salon.  An occasional twist or surge would run us back on the mooring with a subtle tug.  Can't fault the anchorage, though, as this little hole is absolutely ideal: complete protection, no current, birds and deer everywhere we look, virtually zero traffic and no wakes.   I think we have seen three boats come in during the last week, maybe.

We gathered all our gear and lunch fixins and headed ashore for a busy day with the Yacoes.   Their two boys are turning 8 and 10 (on the same day) this month so we arranged to do the party while the girls were still in the neighborhood.   After church, we ate a Sausage Pasta and salad lunch and followed it with the usual birthday craziness.  Joseph and Marina planned a treasure hunt, pin-the-tail-on-the-gerbil, cake, candles and, oh yes, ice cream.   Now we're talking.  Owen, the eldest, prefers pie to cake and had requested that Nana make one of her famous honey crisp apple pies.  Homemade Crust 2.0 came out much better than the last version and was heartily received.

I agree with Kerouac that apple pie and ice cream really is the perfect meal.

The sun and southern wind had warmed the air to the low 70s so Lisa and I took a beautiful bike ride afterward.  The roads here are small and windy, tree lined and canopied, almost like living tunnels through a fabric of forest.   Coasting under the rustling branches felt like what I imagined it must feel to ride a flying carpet.

After a couple showers, we trooped the exhausted crew back to the boat.  I whipped up a small batch of Swedish Pancakes since we didn't have time in the morning, the girls talked to Grandma McCall for a bit and then all headed for bed.


Day 760 ~ A Wet Leap in the WildOctober 13th, 2012

Lisa was up early, as usual, and reported a new low for this year: 45 degrees in the salon, the highest (i.e. warmest) point of the boat.   Brrrr.

I crawled out a bit later and, after a quick dress, came up to witness a rising sun bathing the western shore of the estuary with a liquid golden light.   As I took in the scene, I saw a young buck moving cautiously along the shoreline.   I watched him for a bit while he approached the narrow cut through which we had navigated to enter the harbor.   He was tall and muscular with a shining coat and budding antlers, perhaps 10-12 inches long.   He dipped his nose down to the water and then, to my surprise, leapt into the water with decision.   He swam smartly and straight for the adjacent shore.  He pulled himself up a minute later, perhaps 70 yards away from our vantage point, now dripping wet and shimmering in the morning sun and bounded off across the dune.

With the sun streaming in, the temperature aboard climbed quickly.   The girls got up and going in preparation for a ride out to Montauk for an Archaeology camp.   Dropped them off about 11am, and headed back for some precious uninterrupted hours of hacking.   Hacking with a 360-degree water view.   What's wrong with this picture?

At the Archaeology Fest - Honoring Original Locals the girls got a hands-on observation of ancient crafts, including pottery, stone tool manufacture (flintknapping), atlatl throwing, blow gun making, deer hide preparation, cooking and fire and wampum making.

In the evening, Yacoe's invited us to hang out in their warm house, an offer we couldn't refuse, so we brought our chicken noodle soup and a fresh loaf of bread over to share.  We enjoyed watching a movie with the whole gang and then headed back to the boat.  Supposed to warm up a bit during the night.   Lisa is skeptical.


Day 759 ~ Another Work DayOctober 12th, 2012

If you are reading this at the office while your boss thinks you are working, you won't feel much sympathy for our predicament.   Wait, but your office is heated.  Right.

Another day at the office here means adventures in coding taking the place of exploring remote coastlines or sailing the deep blue.  Some sun in the morning, which took an edge off the 52-degree morning.   Not much else of interest.

The girls eventually made their way to the house and played carriage with the boys, dragging around a wagon while being "driven" like a team of horses.   I didn't have the heart to draw the employer/employee analogy out loud.   A missed opportunity I guess.

The Yacoe's invited us to join them for a potluck dinner with their friends.  It featured some wonderfully eclectic dishes from Ukrainian honey cakes to marinated swordfish which Joseph cooked to perfection, or should I say "didn't cook" to perfection.  It was a fantastic end to a productive day.


Day 758 ~ A Ride with SaraOctober 11th, 2012

The wind built from the west and southwest throughout the night.   You get used to the sounds.  The pitch of the humming through the rigging tells your subconscious those details your tongue could ever articulate.  By mid-morning the gusts were in the thirties at times.   While this makes keeping the boat warm a challenge, it means virtually unlimited electrical power, which is a nice change from the cloudy windless days earlier in the week.

Another day of work and lessons, the girls left about 4pm for some much needed off-boat energy burning.  The weather was so nice that Nika, Owen and I went for a nice long bike ride.  The fresh air and exercise, which comes so naturally when we are actually sailing, seems rare and precious now that the electron mania is back in full swing.

Almost by script, the Yacoes invited us over for dinner, which now means we contribute things and clean up their kitchen afterwards.   Of the 12 days we have been here, I think we have eaten dinner aboard our boat twice.   Wow, that kind of generosity is tough to refuse.

It's amazing what boats do to people, and how they think of you.   If we had met them in a supermarket or at a function we might have been invited to dinner once in a year, maybe.


Day 757 ~ Power ShortageOctober 10th, 2012

Another cold, snotty and wet morning.  It rained most of the day under a blanket of heavy dark clouds and virtually zero wind.   This is a worst case electrical situation for us as the solar and wind are both pulling in virtually nothing.

I watched the voltages drop throughout the day until the sun finally popped out for a while in the afternoon.  The salon temperature rose to 75 degrees; coats and hats finally started coming off.

Took girls ashore mid-afternoon to play with boys, Lisa washed the moldy Legos and she and Nina took showers before heading back to the boat for dinner.  Much to Lisa's amazement, I actually started the engine just to make some electricity.  What can I say, seriously low voltage calls for desperate measures.

Later, the girls were invited to a hot tub and a movie, but we'll just postpone the movie for another night.


Day 756 ~ Sitting in the Hot SeatOctober 9th, 2012

Windy all night with more serious rain starting around 6am.  Snotty weather, 57F in boat come morning.

It's one of those slow, dreary days.  Lessons go late as there's no motivation to go anywhere.  Managed to top off both the water tanks with fresh clean rain though.  I worked on client projects all day.  By late afternoon we're all ready to get off the boat.  We borrow Yacoe's VW van and make a grocery run to East Hampton with prices, like the real estate here, through the roof.   We had only been in the van a minute when I got that tingling sensation in the spine that could mean a pinched nerve.   Hmmm.  No, wait, it's the heated seats.   Lisa nestled in with a smile.

Once back, we invited the Yacoe boys to join us for dinner and play out at the boat and to give their parents and home a much needed rest.


Day 755 ~ Rice WarmerOctober 8th, 2012

The temperature did drop and, by 6am, it was 54 in the salon.  Lisa made rice pudding, which translates to an hour of bake time, to warm up the boat.  Once the sun came out, that too helped take the edge off the chill.

Lessons were completed followed by our main meal.  About 3pm we headed to shore so kids could play with the Yacoe boys and Lisa could warm her toes while visiting.  I joined the crew later with Nana's upside down apple cake in hand so we shared a meal and dessert before heading back to the boat in the now calm night.   The water was as flat as mirror, reflecting a perfect inverted image of our boat back on the water in the piercing beam of the LED headlamp.


Day 754 ~ Goodbye Grandma & GrandpaOctober 7th, 2012

My mom and dad have 400+ miles to go today so were up and moving early.  We got the dinghy down and managed to get them ashore about 7am without incident.   Another overcast day.

We joined the Yacoe's for church and then a potluck lunch afterward.  Lots of kid play and yelling, which is always a thing best done ashore.   We moseyed back to the boat in the later gray afternoon and settled in for the predicted temperature drop this evening.   It came.


Day 753 ~ A Perfect DayOctober 6th, 2012

It's definitely warmer here than it is in Maine.   The sun broke the horizon this morning at 6:30 against a nearly bluebird sky.  A warm, soft breeze was rustling the sea grass that borders our estuary home.   

We ate a fruit salad breakfast from our Costco bounty and then sat around enjoying the lovely setting and warming day.  The Yacoes came by in their dinghy and invited us to join them for a walk in the nearby preserve.   Why not?   We mobilized the masses and puttered the 50 yards to the far shore.

The hike was gentle and beautiful, with rolling hills of oak and cedar covered forest land, nearly devoid of underbrush.   We eventually turned north and ended up on huge sand bluffs overlooking Long Island Sound north towards Connecticut.   The kids leaped and "skied" down the slopes, only to scramble back up panting.   I could use some of that energy.

We then meandered eastward back to the beach and our waiting dinghy.


Day 752 ~ A Helping DadOctober 5th, 2012

A dense, foggy morning, cloudy but threatening sunshine.  We decided to take lesson break so G&G could enjoy the kids.  To start the day right we did a Swedish pancake breakfast complete with all the strawberries we could eat (thanks to my folks and Costco).   Dad and I reviewed some building plans he is kicking around, then he graciously agreed to check out a wiring issue we have with our anchor light.   It's been wrong for year, I suspect, but the new LED deck light reveals there is a trickle current running back through a negative wire somewhere, somehow.   I have my theories, but no real knowledge.

We emptied out the Spade anchor locker and dove in deep.   It didn't take Dad long to find the problem; a few minutes later and it was fixed.   It took twice as long just to repack all the spare lines, dive tanks and gear that had been excavated.

Girls went apple picking with Gramma with explicit instructions to "get plenty", then did some birthday shopping on the way back.  We were invited to Yacoe's for a potluck with a few of their friends, it was a wonderful meal with lots of friendly chatter and good food (chicken shish-ka-bobs on the grill and homemade apple pie).   Tough to beat that.


Day 751 ~ Grandma and Grandpa ArriveOctober 4th, 2012

Another peaceful morning of hacking away.   Machines are relentless things, never tired, never wrong, never caring.

Back at the house, lessons didn't go quite as smoothly.  Nina was invited to attend a homeschool field trip to participate in a science class at Brookhaven National Laboratory about an hour's drive from here and the other girls didn't think it was "fair" that she got to "skip lessons".   A whine-fest ensued, but Lisa persisted and finally lessons were done.

Grandma and Grandpa T showed up around 2:30p.  They decided to hang out at the house until I was done working.  The boys went with the neighbor at 5:30p and we opted to cook dinner on land since the dishwasher needed to be run anyway but wasn't yet full.  Lisa and I took a dinghy run with Costco stuff and other goods in the daylight.  Good thing we did.  Our first of two trips to the boat was completed just as the first drops of rain turned into a deluge.  Lisa and my folks went back to the house to wait while the girls and I scrambled around to fill our water tanks and extra jugs.

The squall passed quickly and we managed to make a dry second load over to the boat.


Day 750 ~ Solo CoderOctober 3rd, 2012

I awoke this morning to a boat completely at rest.  Not a creak or groan (rigging or otherwise) to be heard.   I slipped quickly into the robot worker mode, slipped on some pants, grabbed a bite of yogurt and cracked open the laptop.  Not quite the siren song I am used to listening too, but duty calls.

Lisa reported that lessons went well at the big house with the Yacoe boys doing their thing she worked with the girls.  After lunch, they played with FedEx, the gerbil, and made Lego creations.  The neighbor was going to take the boys in the afternoon, but Lisa decided to keep them and instead invited her boys over for pizza and a movie night.  I went over after a gruelling day and enjoyed the scares and laughs of Home Alone with the whole gang.


Day 749 ~ Cracking the WhipOctober 2nd, 2012

Warmer air moved in during the night.   I remember tossing and turning, overheating with the comforter and finally figuring out it was too hot.  Not exactly a common feeling these days.  Sun came briefly, but then the sky clouded over by mid-morning.

After lessons and morning chores, the girls headed over the Yacoe's for a couple of nights ashore.  Gee,  I can't imagine why they would want to enjoy such luxuries as central heating?  Go figure.   Time for me to crack down and get some work out the door.   With a 360 degree waterfront view, it could be worse I guess.  

We feel like we've known the Yacoes for a decade already.   That's the funny thing, I guess, about boats.  If we had driven by in a car and chatted with them we might have eventually shared a meal, in a week or a month.  But when you arrive by boat your dream energizes the people you meet, as it did yourself.  It's as if you have taken a risk to get here and, as Peter Nichols noted,  you are drawn into their lives like never really seems to happen any other way.  It's a strange phenomenon.


Day 748 ~ Pick a Peck of ApplesOctober 1st, 2012

Sun came out at the crack of dawn and warmed the boat nicely.   This really is a fantastic spot, just another $10 million dollar view from our floating home.

Joseph called to invite the girls on a homeschool field trip to The Water Mill museum, Seven Ponds Orchard for apple picking and Hank's Pumpkin Patch.  While they were gone, I worked to finish up a client's project we've been working on for several months.   Whew, almost done.

The girls and Lisa rode with the pastor's wife who was in charge of the event.  They saw how corn kernels are put to many uses.  The first and second sifting goes to chicken feed, the third becomes grits, the fourth as corn flour.  The residue on their hands, which could be more finely sifted out, is the corn starch that is also made into baby powder.

The apples were ripe at Seven Ponds Orchard so they got a few for munching and pie making.  At Hank's Pumpkin Patch, we didn't need to buy anything so the kids spent the time exercising on the playground equipment there.

Once back at the harbor, we gave a tour of our boat to a homeschool mom and her 2 kids who live in NYC, then took some burger over to the Yacoe's house for a grilled dinner.  Kids played in the hot tub for a bit before heading back to the boat for bed; they probably haven't been that clean since swimming in the Caribbean.