more out of life

30 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
14 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
13 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
12 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
13 October 2010 | still oklahoma :(
13 April 2010 | Oklahoma
12 April 2010 | Oklahoma

Finally took her out!

30 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
Christy
Well, we have had our new boat for a month now, and after much procrastinating, purchasing, and overthinking, we tossed the docklines. I was just nervous getting out of the slip! We've never sailed on the ocean, never on a river, and never this size of boat. The current of the river was nice to us on the way out, our marina is about 6 miles up a river from Tampa Bay. It took us eh..2 1/2 hours to get to the bay. On the way in... it was a 6 hour tour. The current of the river was trying to let us know we should have enjoyed our sail a little longer! The sail itself was VERY nice, nice steady breeze, the weather was amazing, the sights and sounds were very long awaited... but the feeling... that not only have we made it this far after this long, but we are out here finally! and we CAN do this! we sailed for several hours then met up with some friends we've met since being at the marina and anchored beside them to swim. The water was so clear, there is a bird sanctuary on the Key, and the beaches were beautiful. I wish we could have made a full weekend out of it, but it felt nice just to stretch her legs. When we finally pulled up to the dock, we found that the air conditioner had gone out (again!), the water pump isn't working properly, and the sump pump isn't working properly.... ahhh the joys of refitting a boat :) My husband is going to get his practice in before we go if he likes it or not :)

Making "head" way

14 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
Christy
When we bought this boat we knew it was to re-fit. We'd like to be out cruising the world in 5 years or less. Financial reasons mostly for the time frame as our boat will be paid off in 5 years and we need time to collect cruising funds. Part of it, however, is because my husband smartly pointed out that it could take 5 years to re-fit the boat to our cruising needs. The current project is the head. Really needs to be heads, but one completly functioning head would make this crew happy. We have to heads aboard, one to the aft and one in the v-berth. The one in the v-berth since acquiring the boat has been back flowing. It was also plumbed with sea water and to top it off... it was plumbed in conjunction with the air conditioning line. What this meant is, no matter how many times you flush, the sewage would sneak back into the bowl, the sea water would seep in due to it being below sea water of course, which in it self stinks. AND any time you flushed the toilet... it would suck the water meant for the air conditioner and de-prime it... which meant not only did we have a very stinky v-berth and head, but... it would get hot and nasty at the same time.

As you can see, this isn't a wait until later fix, this is a 'You're going to run us all out of here if it isn't fixed' fix. We do have thee privilege of having Groco heads aboard. Which are top of the line, very easy to fix in bits or all at once, although very expensive parts. I am very happy with our heads, but excited to get them functioning properly (at least one!). We did our research, the previous owner was particular about keeping manuals (thanks!) so finding parts was very do-able. As far as companies we used for parts, we came accross Depco pump company Your text to link... in Clearwater, Florida. I have to say... they were amazing! VERY knowledgable, very friendly and helpful, and of course VERY reasonably priced! They were approximately 25% cheaper than Groco company itself and anywhere else we called. Because they were located here in Florida we actually went ourselves, but the shipping was way cheaper than Groco headquarters in Maryland. Today though, my husband called Groco and recieved a very in depth conversation from Grocco to help him decide what changes he may want to make and the best places for the parts. I obviously highly recomend both Groco and Depco pump company for outstanding service on both their parts.

My husband has decided to plumb the head with fresh water rather than sea water to fix the sea smell. Yes, we know that when we are underway, we will want sea water, so he is installing a ball valve to choose which water we want to use while out. At the marina though, why not have fresh water? Completely eliminating the smell from the sea water. If you do plumb your head with fresh water, at least ours, you can't plumb it with presure water, so that lengthens his job. He also re-routed the plumbing away from the air conditioner prime, so we have air now :) He is currently in the process of rebuilding the toilet itself and we are excited to see how it turns out! Will keep you updated!

Conquering the Oven!

13 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
Christy
Yesterday I underwent the task of attempting to figure out my oven. This may seem like a pretty easy task, but... my oven is the original. It is burnt orange and VERY used. Pieces of it are broken off and what isn't... is well on it's way. It is propane and due to it's age it is very finiky. It has a mind of it's own, and worse than a woman that doesn't want to cook! If you do not take care and time with the stove, it will blow it's own fire out and suck back in the propane, fighting with me every step of the way.

Now, I have managed to crank out a few ordinary meals, but nothing fancy. My oldest, Kaleigh, is a baker. She is 13 years old and loves to bake about anything you can put into an oven. Besides the grill, the oven or crockpot are my favorite ways to cook also, so a nicely working oven is a must. It is no where near the digital one's I am used to, setting it to 375 degrees and trusting it to turn out a cake is a thing of the past.

I tried to cook ham as my first oven food. I figured, I like crispy ham, and truly it was fully cooked in the pakage to begin with, so If I burnt it... I'd eat it, and if it didn't cook all the way at least I wouldn't have made the whole family sick. When you turn on the oven, all you have to guide you is a thermometer (who know's how old it is!) and the height of the fire ring.... it took it a while to climb, but when I thought it was pre-heated, I tossed in my ham eagerly. After about half an hour, of course the cabin was pretty toasty, and... of course a branch got caught in the through hull for the air conditioner. This very neighborly branch didn't help things when the air went out right in the middle of oven testing! We were blessed that the previous owner had an exaust fan installed to ease with the heat and cooking fumes!! A must as far as I'm concerned! The temp continued to rise so I backed off on the fire a little. I probably really need a food thermometer to get accurate temps on the food, the very first piece turned out crispy, but the rest not so bad!

I love a gimbled stove, and am used to cooking on those while underway and at a pretty good heel, but cooking in the oven WHILE cooking on the stove top is a whole new acrobatic experience.... and we are docked at the moment! What am I going to do underway??? MUCH more practice and tips to come... This is a precise science here! :) I am uploading a pic of my very ancient oven, maybe my husband will find boat funds to upgrade if I keep burning the ham :)

We're Finally Aboard!!

12 September 2011 | Bradenton, Florida
Christy
I will go back and fill in more of our adventures down here, the decision process, the trials and tribulations of it all, and everything in between. Curently this post is mostly for those thinking, dreaming, but unable to see the end. It was a total leap of faith. We are from the center of the center of the U.S. My children, one had seen an ocean once, but didn't remember it, the other thought a red mud lake in Oklahoma was an ocean. We have always had the typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage with a fenced yard. Now we live with our 2 Kid's and cat on a 41' monohull. It is very different, a little weird, and completly amazing!! I hope to blog more now that we have some of the little bugs worked out with living arangements, and can not wait to share all of the nitty gritty details!

feeling it getting closer!

13 October 2010 | still oklahoma :(
Christy
well... It's been awhile... but the good news is it's been because we have been busy pushing ahead with plans! Sold the house, paid in cash for our 30 footer... and are renting so we can leave when the time is right! As for all of the questions about our finances, children's lives, ectera... of course we've discussed this at LENGTH... with our kids, each other, families... no we do not have all of the answers. That's what the next few years are about. Finding as much of them as possible. Hopefully through others that are doing it.

We may hate it, we may love it, but if we never try it... we'll be living with a longing of something we have always wanted to do. I am a nurse... I have just obtained my Florida nursing license (wahoo!) which means, when we move to florida and costal cruise for a bit... I am still saving money. We can use that time to learn more about blue water sailing and living aboard. Practicing for passages and getting the kids used to the sea. If we hate it... what are we out? We've still gained a valuable experience and paid off our debt gaining us a great financial advance on most people our age.

If we love it.... :) then we go while the kids can enjoy it and we are still able bodied. We also plan on leaving with another famlily with kids our kids ages. The wife is also a nurse, we've known them for several years now and are comfortable with learning from one another on our journey. I truly believe anyone who starts this, without being raised in it, has no clue what to do and how to do it. I want my kids to know with enough hard work, determination, preperation, and hope they can do anything in life, no matter how others think of it. If that's all I accomplish with this, then I have done a great job with my kids and my life.

Back to the fun stuff! We plan to move to the boat in May... that part's kind of scary. I'm afraid we'll get sick of it before we leave... but...it will shoot our plans into high gear financially, and we'll learn alot about storage, cooking, living arangements, what we'll need, what we won't... etc.. so.. here we go :)

Hey... does anyone out there use k-12 for their schooling? thinking about enrolling next year. If you do use it or something else, could you give me some input? thanks!

Hmmmm

13 April 2010 | Oklahoma
Christy
Well... My horroscope today (not exactly that I believe in them) said my lucky time of day was 10:00... and as of 10:00 my house buyer backed out of the deal.... so. I guess it's time to decide why that's lucky. I need to decide if I want to wait out the contract until May 30th with my not so great realtor.. or take it off the market in prime selling time to for sell by owner later. We'll definatly get more money that way enabling us to put more back for our soon adventure, but... may not get to sell the house for awhile... who knows. I just wish we were out there already and enjoying life the way we want to be. I get to spend the first weekend on our new boat next weekend... I just need to make it until then. A weekend on the boat takes all of my troubles away. A midnight sail, a sleepy morning with the soft rocking of the boat, and the clanking of the rigging on the mast. ahhh.. I already feel better just thinking about it!
Vessel Name: Ascension
Vessel Make/Model: 1981 King's Ledgend 41'
Hailing Port: Bradenton, Florida
Crew: Jason, Christy, Kaleigh, and Camri
About:
My husband Jason and I have been married 6 years this July. We have two daughters Kaleigh, 11, and Camri 4. We are very excited to embark on a journey of full time cruising. My husband does sleep studies and I am a NICU nurse. Kaleigh is a great student and loves cheerleading. [...]
Extra: We have just sold our 23' Irwin and are in the process of buying a 30' Islander. Our friends are attempting to leave in 3 years to become full time cruisers and we want to go too! So we have also just sold our house and doing all the research possible to make it come true!
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Ascension's Photos -

Who: Jason, Christy, Kaleigh, and Camri
Port: Bradenton, Florida