Friday, April 23, 2010

Not gone yet

So that was all just to see if you guys were reading this or not... we're not gone yet.  We thought leaving in the middle of a storm with a leak in the hull, a watermaker spitting parts and an incomplete paint job might not be a good idea.

But now the storm is over, the leak is fixed, the watermaker is producing tasty fresh water and the boat is almost back in the water again (ETA is tomorrow morning).  Saturday is the new departure day.  We're going to skip Ensenada and head straight to Isla Guadalupe.  Our boat is already checked into Mexico and we got our Visas in Tijuana last week, so we really don't need to stop into Ensenada anyway.

Our car is taken care of, spare parts have been purchased, Costco trip completed.  The only thing left to do is fuel up (gas, propane, and diesel), return keys to the marina and final grocery run (veggies and cold stuff).

I had an emotional moment today as I made my last run to Target.  It's right up there with missing your best friends.  Said our final goodbyes (again).

I cannot believe we're finally leaving (fingers crossed)!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last post before departure

I have to post pictures of our "neighbors" at the police dock.  We're not in Chula Vista anymore!!!  I had a little trouble tying up the boat when we pulled in and the wind was blowing Andy towards the Ocean Victory.  Imagine the bill for that one!  The other boat had to leave the harbor to go launch their helicopter. What an inconvenience.

Back to reality...It looks like this will be my last post before we leave.  We still have a few things to do and depending on weather and what happens with our "to do" list tomorrow, we may delay until Thursday.  But either way, I probably won't be back online.

This has been a rough couple of days.  We said goodbye to my mom and dad.  We said goodbye to friends.  We watched Jake say good bye to grandparents and friends.  Anxiety on the rise for both Andy and myself.  Tomorrow I sell my car...the final thing to go.

But in the whole scheme of things, everything is going as expected and surprisingly well.  I'm looking forward to my next post where we hopefully start charting the adventures.  Stay tuned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Almost off the hard (cross your fingers)

Good news is the engine doesn't need a total rebuild (yet).  Not so good news is we're still on the hard getting the bottom painted.  It's taking a few extra days given the delay of getting it out of the water as well as finding some spots that needed sanding and new epoxy before repainting.  But it could be a whole lot worse.  I want to thank our good friends Eric and Nicole for letting us stay at their house (2 extra days, might I add).  Since Eric was out of town most of the time, I would especially like to thank Nicole.  When we stay with someone, we move in.  We take over the kitchen, do numerous loads of laundry and come with lots of toys.  Nicole has been very generous.  Eric came home today and he and Jake entertained us with an impromptu jam session.

As for the boat, the oil pressure loss turned out to be due to a kinked exhaust that created back pressure in the oil pan which blew out the dipstick and most of the oil.  We have a few more checks to do once it's back in the water but we think we're good to go.  We're trying to get a rebuild kit to take with us in case we have any problems along the way.  We know within the next year we're going to have to do something with it.  In the meantime, we'll just run on our port engine to be safe.  It's a good thing we have two engines!

The last few days have been spent running around for last minute parts, last minute shots and medications, getting visas and new military ids, etc.  Neither one of us feels 100% prepared but I don't suspect we ever will.  Emotions are on high.  This weekend we'll spend some time with family, last minute maintenance and then weather permitting, Wednesday morning we'll set sail for Ensenada.  It should be about a 12 hour sail.  The last time we were in Ensenada someone told me of the Global Mercado - about a 4 square block market.  But it was closed due to the Mexican Independence day.  I'm hoping this time we can make it there and buy any produce we might need and anything else I don't know I want, oops I mean need.  From there we're off to Isla Guadalupe to see the sharks (still without a shark cage)!

Once we head out I'll start the official homeschooling curriculum I bought.  I took a good look at it the other day and it looks like we'll sail through (no pun intended) some of it and strive to make the other parts interesting.  I don't see Jake sitting at the table for very long with lots of worksheets.  It does however, provide me with a cheat sheet of what I should be focusing on should I get lost.  There's lots of philosophies on homeschooling, most of which I can find some sort of validity in.  After we get a little more experience under out belts, I'll venture out and provide my 2 cents for anyone interested.

For all of my landlubber friends, take a good luck at the pictures here.  This should clear up any confusion on "what is a catamaran?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On the hard! Not.

I was expecting to post cool pictures of the boat being hauled out today, but instead I'm posting a picture of our engine after it spewed oil everywhere.

Andy took the boat over to the boat yard this morning at Shelter Island.  He pulled in around noon and we had two surprises.  First, there was a racing boat on the only lift that can fit our boat, and that boat is too long/deep to put on a stand to free the lift for us.  After talking with the guy it turns out that this boat was towed in for emergency repairs and with any luck at all, we'll have ours pulled out tonight or first thing tomorrow.  They promise us we'll be out by Thursday as originally planned.

Secondly, and most important...right before Andy pulled into the yard, the oil pressure on the starboard engine went to zero.  After he docked, we opened up the engine compartment and there was oil everywhere and the dipstick was hanging out.  He did a little troubleshooting and decided to put more oil in and clean it up a bit to see what happened.  No more oil spewed out but after reading the various manuals and doing research on the internet, we're thinking (i.e Andy is thinking) we may have a problem that unfortunately I can't find a way to describe without insinuating many other things (ring job, blow by, engines loose, etc.)  So, tomorrow we're having a diesel mechanic look at it to get a second opinion.  Andy's handy, but he weary of the potential of such a big job. So stand by for more updates.  Hopefully tomorrow will come with much better news.  We're praying this doesn't turn into our first dip into savings and push back our departure date.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Last minute "to do's"

It's been a while since I posted as we've been extremely busy getting ready to go.  We now have less than a week before we leave.  I feel like we're running a hundred miles an hour in slow motion.  We're busy doing lots of things but it doesn't always feel like we're making progress.

Last week was spring break here so there were lots of kiddie activities in the RV park.  I took Jake over a few days.  The highlight was definitely the bike races.  I have myself a little cheater.  Somehow, he always seemed to cut the trip to the cone just short enough to make a good show in the race (notice I didn't say "to win the race").  He did meet a few little friends and one family of four (yes, four) boys were extremely interested in learning more about living on a boat so we invited them over for a little play date.  All I have to say is wow, those are some brave parents.  The kids were extremely well behaved, but when you put that many boys under the age of 7 in a confined space, chaos is surely to take over.

We took the boat out yesterday with my parents.  Surprisingly, this is the first time the stars have aligned and they've been able to go sailing with us.  Despite local weather forecasts, it turned out to be a beautiful day.  We just toodled around the bay and had lunch on Coronado Island at a great pizza place right on the water.  It was also nice to get the boat out and force ourselves to stow everything away.  To be honest, I had doubts I could actually find a place for everything.

Andy has been doing lots of work on the boat.  He  refinished the countertops in the galley, head and navigation station.  They turned out great.  I'll post a before and after later, but basically we bought a product at home depot (around $250) that you paint/sprinkle on and it turns out to look like coriander.  It made a world of difference in the look and feel of the boat.

I've been buying stuff here and there for our trip but today was the first day I really got serious about provisioning.  For those of you that don't know us, we live to eat, not the other way around, so this could possibly be one of the most important parts of our preparation (second only to those really important "gotta have to get you across the ocean" things).  I went to Trader Joe's and bought all of the wine and some of the more gourmet things we think we can't live without.  Next stop was Costco for all things big and bulky.  Final stop was Ralph's (local grocery store) for everything else.  We should only have to make one or two more runs right before we leave to get our fruits/veggies and any fresh meat we want to take with us.

This part has been kind of an overwhelming experience.  How much peanut butter does a family of three really need?  I was told it was hard to find, so better to be safe than sorry.  Have you ever told a four year old there's no more peanut butter and jelly?  How far will three tubes of wasabi take us?  Can we catch that much fresh fish (with the amount of fishing gear we have on board, we'd better)?  And let's not forget the real reason we're going, to eat local foods right?  Is that why I have three pounds of pasta and four packages of Nori on board?  I don't think we're going anywhere near Italy or Japan for some time.  At the end of the day though, I found a place for everything (even if that does include lifting a floor board to get to it) and have no doubt that we'll be happy to have too much than not enough.  I'm sure as I get the hang of this, I'll learn what we seriously can't live without and what we'll find along the way.

Tomorrow we're taking the boat over to Shelter Island to get it hauled out and have the bottom painted (nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?).  We'll take lots of pictures and share that experience later in the week.  I'm hoping it's extremely uneventful.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Best purchase yet

So far, this is the best purchase we've made....we bought an inflatable kayak.  It's awesome.  We already have a surfing kayak which is basically only useful to Andy.  Every time I get in the thing, I go around in circles (and I've been practicing for 10 years).  So we bought an inflatable, two seater, sea through bottom kayak.  VERY COOL.  I figure it's a full body workout.... I have to use my legs to pump the thing up with the manual pump (I haven't yet figured out why I can't use the fancy new compressor to do this for me) and then I use my arms and back to paddle my 45 lb kid around.  I should be back to my 20 something body in no time (insert eye roll here).  Amazingly enough, Jake is getting the hang of it too.  He spent an afternoon in it and after 30 minutes was paddling the neighbor's dog around in the empty slip across from us.  Can't wait to test this thing out for real!

Editors note:  We interrupt this very important blog post for a special notification.  At midnight tonight pacific time, Andy will officially become a CIVILIAN.  That's right, a common tax paying, rule following, learning social niceities/politically correct individual (all traits dormant since age 18).
Congratulations and Cheers!