Please see our new blog site at www.svfullmonty.com
Our new site is still under a fair bit of construction, but the basics are there. As we get closer to our departure, I'm hoping to post more regularly, even if it's with only a few words or pictures.
11/21/2011, Beaufort, NC
When one thinks of someone falling off a boat, one might imagine the sound of the splash when that person enters the water. But, what about when someone falls from a boat that's sitting high and dry in a boatyard? Yesterday, that's exactly what happened.
Wil was working on deck when he heard a THUD that didn't sound normal. He turned around to look towards the sound, and there was a man lying on the ground. I was inside our main salon when I heard Wil calling out to someone in a voice that told me something serious had just happened. We immediately ran to his aid.
Upon our arrival, the man was attempting to dial his phone, but that was a difficult task. It was quite obvious that one of his arms was severely broken (involving puncture wounds that appeared to have come from the inside of his arm, as well as what appeared to be a bone splinter trying to poke through his skin), along with other possible injuries.
While Wil called 911, I sat with the man, asking him a bunch of questions about his fall (i.e. what part of his body hit the ground first, where was he hurting, how were his back and neck, could he wiggle his toes, making sure he was breathing ok, or was he nauseous or dizzy). Once Wil was done with 911, I assisted in dialing his girlfriend for him.
So what had happened? This 57 year old guy was finishing up work on his power boat for the day. (I'm guessing it's about a 40+ foot boat, and since the boat is sitting on blocks, the decks are about 10 feet above the ground . . . plus the height of his own body.) He was in his socks as he walked forward on the very narrow portside deck. We're not sure if he slipped or took a misstep, but down he went. He said he landed on his arms / elbows first, and then his head. He's a very lucky man to have landed the way he did. His situation could have been so much worse.
Paramedics eventually arrived and got him secured for transport. We heard later that he ended up being airlifted to Pitt County. We're hoping that it was only for the compound arm fracture, and not for anything else more serious. He will be in our thoughts, and we hope to hear of a quick recovery.
Yesterday's event remains fresh in our minds. Wil has asked himself what would he have done if it had been him. And, we've both been thinking about how many times the kids run around on deck. Our decks are at a minimum of 12 feet above the ground. A ground that is a very hard, compact gravel. All of us halfway pay attention to the idea of falling off, but I think we'll all take it a little more seriously from now on.
It wasn't too long ago that Colin suffered minor injuries while "zip lining" at his friend's boat. They had created a homemade zip line, and proceeded to jump from the boat to ride the line down to the ground. Apparently, the tension wasn't tight enough, and the drop was more direct to the ground than expected. We didn't know about it until Colin came hobbling back to our boat. Just one of the many learning experiences of living in a boatyard!
So words of advice to all whose boats are sitting in a boatyard . . . please watch your step.
11/10/2011, Durham, NC
So how does one go about stocking a boat with food & other day-to-day provisions? How do you know what to bring? And how much?
Wil & I still joke about our 64 cans of tuna fish. Last time we went cruising, we stocked the boat as though we wouldn't be able to grocery shop for 8 months. Turns out we had more than enough food. When we returned to the states, we were amazed at how many cans were still in our storage compartments . . . including 64 cans of tuna!
Yes, we had gone a little overboard in the provisioning department last time. We had not taken into account just how often we would be catching our own fish and shopping at local markets. I'd had visions of days & days at sea without access to supplies. However, our longest time at sea was only 9 days. When we were in Belize & Mexico, we tended to live off the reef & uninhabited cays for weeks at a time, but we caught our own fish and traded with local fishermen. Beans & rice was also a popular staple dish.
Another provisioning lesson we learned from our previous cruising experience was that we didn't need as many bottles of shampoo or bars of soap. When you're on a sailboat with a limited water supply, you don't take the daily showers like you do back on the mainland. Back in those days, we carried 100 gallons of water and didn't have a water maker. Getting clean consisted of jumping off the boat to get wet, get out to soap up, jump back in to rinse off, and then complete a final fresh water rinse with the camp sun shower bag. Of course, that's all fine and dandy when you're anchored in clean looking water. I'll never forget the day when a dead rat floated by as I was doing my saltwater rinse!
How did we figure out what to bring last time? For months ahead of time, I started dating food cans & other items that we used on a daily basis. That gave me a good idea of what we used per month. We were pretty accurate with our calculations for how much kitty litter or contact solution to bring. Baking supplies & boxed milk were pretty spot-on, as well.
As for provisioning this time around, it's a bit of a new ball game for us. We have two rapidly growing kids, a bigger boat, more available water, we're planning to go further distances, and visit entirely different lands. As I was first thinking about the provisioning process again, I thought for sure that I wouldn't put as many large quantities on board this time around. However, after reading and talking to other world cruisers, we've learned that it's difficult to find fresh vegetables in the remote areas of the South Pacific, and when you do, the prices are sky high. So my ideas on provisioning have changed again!
I started the provisioning process this past summer, approximately one year prior to departure. In my mind, we might as well buy things while we have an income. I have been taking my time to shop around for the best deals on bulk foods for long term storage. One of my first purchases was 5 cases of canned meats (bacon, ground beef, chicken, turkey, and pork). This is kind of funny because since then we've decided to become mostly vegetarian, only eating very limited amounts of meat (mostly fish, chicken & turkey). It's like the 64 cans of tuna all over again! Although, this amount of meat should be okay because the cans are good for about 10 years, and maybe we can even use them in trading for other goods.
About 4 months ago, we decided to join Costco for one year, so we could take advantage of shopping in bulk. I have figured out what's cheapest between Costco, Wal-Mart, Food Lion, and various online stores. Then, I wait for sales, as well as any appropriate coupons, before buying the items we need. At first Wil thought we would do one bulk shopping trip right before our departure, but I think I have him convinced that I'm doing this in a more cost effective manner. Not to mention that it's a lot less stressful if we can spread it out over time!
This month, I purchased a vacuum sealer and began divvying up the large quantity of foods that I've accumulated thus far. All of this is becoming quite cute in the singlewide trailer that we're renting! We have bags & boxes stacked along every wall waiting their turn for transport. Foods like rice, beans, quinoa, oats, coffee, buttermilk powder, chocolate chips, wheat gluten, soup mixes, and various dehydrated vegetables have been sealed thus far. I've also created a "pre-mix" of the dried ingredients for our beloved buttermilk pancakes, and labeled the bags with what ingredients need to be added before cooking. Maybe the pre-mix sounds a bit over the top, but when one is living on a sailboat, it takes time & effort to dig items out from deep down in a storage hole somewhere (All of which are logged on my iStorage iPad application for their location & quantity). One really begins to appreciate the simplicity of being able to take a box of food out of a normal cabinet!
As for final quantities? We've decided to provision for one year. We name the item and figure out how many we'll use over the course of a year. There are some items which are considered special because they would take up too much space or money to stock the amount we would normally use. Those items will be given a limit of what we can use per month. If we run out, then we will have to wait until the next month before opening another. Nutella is one of those special items!
Most of our provisions will remain in their designated storage compartment until needed or desired. As we sail from place to place, we won't hesitate to experience and enjoy foods from the various exotic cultures that we visit. But when those cravings for back home take over, we are more than prepared to treat ourselves to that special something!
P.S. Schoolbooks and supplies are another provisioned item. I'm trying to plan at least 2 years ahead of time, so we don't have to pay for shipping books long distance.
11/10/2011, Beaufort, NC
Our current project timeline. Attempting to get all of "out of water" priorities done before June.
10/18/2011, Beaufort, NC
Sometime last month, we had a bit of a water incident. (Actually, ever since Hurricane Irene, we've had some water issues . . . but we'll get to some of those later). Anyway . . .
On this one particular day, Wil had gone to West Marine with a fellow cruiser, while I ran another errand with our kids & fellow cruiser kids in tow. When I returned to the boat, Justine was the first to go aboard. Suddenly, she ran back outside saying that there was an alarm going off. In that first second, I was puzzled as to what alarm it could be. We have smoke detectors onboard, so my heart started racing when I immediately started fearing the worst.
As soon as I reached the cockpit, I recognized the sound of the bilge alarm. Water in the bilge? How could water be in the bilge when Full Monty was sitting in a gravel yard out of the water and there wasn't a drop of rain in sight? I raced to the navigation table to see which bilge alarm was causing the racket. The light flashed for the Forward Starboard Store. In other words, the bilge pump was on in our lazarette just forward of Justine's cabin near the bow.
I rushed to the bow and opened the hatch. To my surprise there was water spraying from a temporary hose fitting that leads to Justine's shower on the other side of the wall. Our water tank was emptying into the lazarette that stores our sails, lines, fenders, and other spare items. We carry 200 gallons of water, so that was going to be a whole lot of water where it didn't belong if I had not shown up when I did!
After turning off the water pump, I returned to the bow in order to further assess the situation. The water had completely filled the bilge and had already gone higher than the floor board. Then I noticed that the bilge pump was on, but the water wasn't going down. Upon looking at the thru-hull from the outside, there was nothing but a trickle of water dripping down the side of the hull. Not a good sign!
In the meantime, I was hearing little voices crying out "we're sinking on land!" or "are we going to sink?" Colin wanted to know if this were to happen in the ocean, would we sink? Thank goodness my answer was able to be "No, we wouldn't sink." I explained to him that in a catamaran, you can fill the hulls entirely with water, and we'd still float. Something referred to as positive flotation.
Since I was the only adult onboard, I had to struggle to get a HUGE sail bag out of the lazarette in order to allow room for myself to get down the ladder to the flooded area and assess the bilge pump. Not knowing where to start, I began with the float switch, turning the pump off & back on. Suddenly, I was in luck! Water immediately starting gushing out of the thru-hull, and the pump was finally doing its proper job. Whew! Thank goodness we didn't need a new pump.
As to the cause of everything . . . It all leads back to last winter when we neglected to empty water hoses (or turn on heaters) before some subfreezing temperatures arrived. The shower fixture cracked under those conditions, so Wil placed a temporary fitting behind Justine's shower. This allows us to use the water system and fix the problem at a later date. Then, about a month ago, we started working on some gel coat repair to the bows. Gaining access to this part of the boat meant emptying the contents of the forward lazarette. With all of the work going on in this area, the hose fitting must have been bumped by some of the really big sail bags that had to squeeze past. It was only a matter of time before the water started spraying. And as for the bilge pump, we suspect that mud daubers must have had a nest in the thru-hull which clogged the out flow of water. Eventually, the water pushed through, and the bilge was able to empty.
For me, this was sort of like a practice drill . . . hearing the sound of the bilge alarm, having to trace to the source, and correct the problem. Thank goodness it all happened on dry land!
10/16/2011, Beaufort, NC
Also while it's sunny, we've started replacing all of the BIG windows. We'll see how much we can get done before it rains later this week.