Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where have we been?

Since we've been MIA for awhile and people are starting to wonder what has happened to us I thought I better take a minute to get something up here and let you all in on the BIG news...

Baby #2 is on the way. That's right MM is getting a little... Our Dr. has given us an idea of what it is but we won't be letting on until we have confirmation in a few more months. Because of this we have changed our plans again!

Just like with MM, my seasickness has intensified with the pregnancy and we don't feel it's safe for me to be at sea not eating or drinking for days while being pregnant so I won't be doing much (any?) sailing for the next few months. Mark on the other hand will be doing a ton more sailing than we had planned. We were planning to go north through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand... and then probably shipping the boat into the Med. Since I'm not going to be sailing Mark has decided he'd like to take the opportunity to sail around South Africa (something I REALLY didn't want to do). So in a few days Mark will set off from Bali across the Indian Ocean. Since this is a long trip with a few good stopping points along the way we've decided that MM and I will fly to some of the locations and meet up with Mark so that we aren't going months without being together.

Once Mark gets the boat to South Africa we will assess the situation to see what will happen next. He will probably cross the Atlantic back into the Caribbean and bring the boat up to Florida where she will wait while we bring baby #2 into the world and are ready to sail again a few months after. If time doesn't permit Mark to get the boat all the way to Florida there are lots of other options and we'll think about them in a few months when we have to decide.

After the baby is born we will probably do some sailing up the east coast (quite frankly some of my favorite sailing) or head for the Med. It all depends on the seasons and weather and all that other stuff that dictates when and where we can go.

So that's what's up with us. I'll try to get back to regular blogging since hopefully I'll have more regular internet and keep you all up to date on Mark's progress. We also have a cool new toy for tracking Mark which I'll try to write something up about as soon as he gets going.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

i-Marine Apps: Delorme Earthmate

i-Marine Apps: Delorme Earthmate: Application: iPhone 3,4&5, iPad, iPod Touch 3,4&5 gen Function: Satellite messaging and tracking Rating: ***** Cost: Free The Del...

We just heard about this great tool for staying in touch while on ocean crossings, etc.  Haven't tried it yet, but looks like a great item to have on board.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Tips #9: Pots and Pans

As far as I'm concerned a boat needs two pans. A 4 Quart covered casserole pot and a flat griddle.

I had a nice Calphalon pot that finally died after a number of years on land and three on a marine stove so I replaced it with the closest thing I could find in Australia for a reasonable price. This Anolon 5-1/4-Quart Casserole has all the features I like about the one I got except that it is bigger (I don't know why I can't find the 4 quart in the US). It's wide enough that you can use it to brown meat or saute veggies but deep enough to also make soups and pasta. It's both a frying pan and cooking pot. Additionally with this pot there are two other things that I didn't have or utilize with my old pot. First it can go in the oven. That is a definite bonus. One less oven pan I need. The other is that it has silicone handles. I didn't realize how nice this would be but it is great. Sometimes the handles get to hot to hold (especially out of the oven) but most of the time I can just grab it without potholders. Helps me to have a more solid grip and less chance of dropping the pan underway.

As far as a flat griddle is concerned. I'd like to have one that is square and doesn't have a long handle on it but I wasn't able to find one in Australia so I settled for a pancake pan. It does cook the two things that my pot can't... pancakes and quesadillas which are staples on this boat.

Alor Indonesia

After spending a day sick in bed in Kupang (which apparently many people did) we set off for Alor. We had heard that the currents to get there could be difficult. Many of the cruisers decided to skip the stop because of this. Mark and I however were determined we weren't going to skip the stop and we were glad we didn't.

We cleaned up the boat in Kupang and planned to leave the next day but after realizing we were ready to go decided to set out in the afternoon instead. This ended up being a really good plan. A lot of others left in the morning and anchored over night getting up extremely early and then ended up fighting a ton of current. We opted for an overnight (I personally don't understand anchoring just to get up so early and sailing out into the dark - why not just overnight?). We had a few knots against us and had to run the engines the whole way but it wasn't the 5 or 6 knots we had heard about. We even had a knot with us at the very end where most people not only experience the 6 knots but some even went backwards. We got there in 24 hours which was much faster than many boats. Sometimes our lack of planning is to our advantage. Actually, and I don't want to jinx myself but, this has happened a few times to us. Many of our friends plan and plan and read charts and graphs and wait for perfect weather and we just go. We end up having a decent passage and they get thrashed. Not that I'm against planning, you need to have at least a little idea of the weather and wind, but the charts and graphs don't always give you the whole story and on a long passage stuff changes.

It was good that we didn't wait the additional day because we would have missed the opening activities. We didn't know that they would be starting bright and early the day after we arrived. We dropped the dinghy in the water, glad to get off the boat after a few days (remember we didn't leave the boat while I was sick), and headed to land. I wish I had taken a picture of the dinghy dock they built us. It was totally unstable and a little scary to walk on with MM but they built it for us. So nice not to have to beach the dinghy like in Kupang. We also like that we paid one dinghy fee for the whole time not each day (Kupang was expensive in that regard). Mark and I got the list of activities and then took a little walk around the town.

The following morning we headed in for the opening activities which included some dancing for us and by us. Yep, we got in on the action too. We enjoyed the show before heading out with our friends on Destiny and Renegade in search of a dive shop. We initially didn't know where to go so we tried communicating with a taxi driver. He motioned to get in but after a few minutes we realized we were definitely going the wrong direction and tried explaining it to him again. He turned around and headed back to where we thought we should be going. We arrived at a house with a diving sign outside. When we went to the door however we learned that the owner had moved. Luckily there was a website on the sign so Mark quickly looked it up and got a number. The current resident also found it for us in a magazine.

The dive master drove over and talked to the group and a dive was arranged for two days later. After driving us back toward the wharf we decided to stop and check out the market. Once again MM was a little to popular for my taste. We made a fairly quick loop through and headed a few doors down where we found some lunch. Traditional Indonesian for some and Mangum Ice Cream for the rest (yep, Mark and I were in the Ice Cream group).

That night we went to the governors residence for dinner. Mark and I were late but it really didn't matter because we sat around for about an hour before anything happened. This was the first chance we had to use MM little tent that I bought him. Can I saw awesome to have and perfect for this occasion. We feel asleep and rather than have to hold him for a few hours I was able to lay him down and keep the bugs off him (we have been very lucky and seen very few bugs - thank goodness!) We saw some dancing and a few of the other sailors got dressed up in the traditional attire for the event by the host.

The following day we took a tour that first stopped at a small museum with some artifacts and weavings and then to a traditional village. The villagers performed some hunting dances and then some of the other traditional dances. We got to see the huts that they live in. It is amazing that they live in thatched huts but still build a fire inside for cooking.

Our last "real" day in Alor (I say real because we spent one more on the boat but didn't go into land) Mark went scuba diving with a few of our friends and I went on the beach "tour." Both had a nice relaxing day. MM played in his little tent (once again great to have) in a little hut by the water and I chatted with some of our friends.

Next stop Lembata. An unplanned overnight, because we didn't get to our anchorage in time, aside we had an okay sail. We had to heave-to and wait for the sun come up to come in but we did at first light and anchored with a bunch of other boats.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Raft-UP: SWAG and Approaching the Natives

Here's this months schedule for Raft-UP. Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say since I need a little help on both of these topics. The internet in Indo is a little rough and I'm pretty sure the gov't here is squashing certain sites (Blogger) in some places so I'm having a heck of a time getting stuff posted. Bear with me I'll get all caught up on what's been happening on the NF soon.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tip #8: Cutting Board

This isn't really a tip as much as a great product. I mentioned last week that I keep my cutting board on my one of my drying mats but didn't talk about the actual cutting board. I have a great one. It's a joseph joseph cut and carve cutting board. Basically I love it because it has an angle to it so it collects all the juices from veggies and meat. I hardly ever have to worry about the juices getting on my counter tops. The only thing I've found that I don't like is that my white one seems to stain so buy a colored one. Color is more fun anyhow!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Raft-UP: Clothes and Laundry

I guess it's my turn. First I'd like to apologize to the bloggers and readers for having some of the links incorrect this month. I didn't realize until I went to read the posts that they were incorrect. I must have been smoking something when I wrote the post. Actually I'm going to blame it on sleep deprivation from too many nights at sea. That's what I get for procrastinating and writing the post underway.

Anyhow, I loved the posts this month. They could have been boring but nope. I got a few good laughs and some good ideas on laundry and looking good.

We are one of the lucky boats that has a washing machine on board. When we were looking for boats this definitely wasn't on the list. I didn't even think it was an option. Now I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even more room for shoes! Technically the thing is supposed to dry but really it just spins and spins and doesn't dry so I don't bother wasting the power on it. I wash the clothes and then hang them out to dry. I HATE doing laundry. Since we have solid stainless bars around our boat I can't hang laundry on them so I have to hang a line every time which gets to be really annoying. I hate hanging it up and I hate pulling it down. But I'll stop complaining because I know that I have it good. If there is a laundry room in a marina and I have a lot to do I usually opt to use it but if I only have a load or two I do it on the boat and save my change. Laundry rooms usually aren't cheap. In AU a load could cost $8 Yikes. But yes I did it a few times.

I brought a lot of clothes on the boat when we moved on and in the last year I have taken a lot of them off. I finally had the realization that I'm not going to be working in an office again anytime soon and if and when I do my work clothes will be so out of style that I'll hate them and want new ones anyway. I didn't have a lot of these but I had enough that they had to go. I also got rid of anything else I just simply haven't worn except for a few items.

While many people swear off cotton on a boat I just can't and won't. I LOVE it! All my shirts and underwear are cotton and for the most part it isn't a problem.

Everyday Wear:
Both Mark and I have pretty simple wardrobes but we do have a lot of items. I have an entire collection of Old Navy tank tops. I had a set of them when I moved on the boat and I wore and stretched them to their end during my pregnancy this past year so before coming back to the boat I bought at least two in every color available this year. This is primarily what I wear with a pair of khaki (in various colors) shorts. I also have a few pairs of light weight quick drying pants which I opt for when it's raining. For places like Indonesia where I need to be a little more conservative with my shoulders I have a set of light weight t's that I got at Nordstrom on sale two years ago. They were a super score off the clearance rack. I bought them in every color and now wish I had two in every color. I envy men who can go back and buy the same shirt five years later...

Which is exactly what Mark does. He found a collared fast drying shirt from Columbia that he loves. People may think Mark only has two shirts (one blue and one black) but actually he has about 40 of these. No joke. He had about 20 of them and then the Christchurch earthquake happened. We were pretty sure that he lost them all and since these are the only thing he likes to wear he ordered up another set. We got the original batch back and now he has tons. He's happy though because his goal is to always have more shirts than I have underwear since that is when I do laundry. He also has a few pairs of Patagonia shorts that he loves. (Tammy: Mark 'owns' Columbia on this boat). Many people probably wouldn't like them on a boat because they are thick but he likes that they are sturdy and have super deep pockets, good for keeping pick-pockets out.

"Island Wear" which is what we wear underway and never on any island:
I stick with the Old Navy tanks underway but have a selection of little cotton shorts. You know the kind that cheerleaders wear to camp (ladies you know what I'm talking about). These are light weight and comfortable to lounge around in. when it's colder I have five pairs of identical sweat pants and three matching sweatshirts. Yep, when we find something we like we just grab it in bulk. There aren't a lot of clothes shopping options out here and many places are much more expensive than back home so it's just easier to grab it if we love it and be done.

Mark usually wears his normal shirts but opts to sport just his scivvy's which are travel boxers. Yep, he wears big thick shorts with fast drying undies. Whatever.

Socks and Shoes:
We have way to many pairs of socks on this boat. When I lived on land I always complained that my socks went missing. I swear they multiply on a boat. No matter how many I throw out I feel like we have way to many. I have a feeling MM and I will be making some sock puppets in the very near future.

I usually have two pairs of flip-flops on board (Right now I only have one thanks to Mark kicking my new one's off the dock). I used to have a bunch more but I realized that for the amount that I wear flip-flops on the boat they need to be good quality supportive ones so all my foam one's had to go. I found a great kind that I love so now I keep a pair to wear and a spare. I also have a pair of sneakers, a pair of dress sandals and two pairs of heels. If I don't have to go in the dinghy and I don't have to walk miles (which rarely happens) I love a pair of heels and jeans. I've actually thought of sneaking a few more pairs on board but I really don't get to wear them often enough. Plus with MM I can't really carry him in heels so oh well.

Mark has his one pair of flip-flops and two pairs of dress shoes.

We don't do boat shoes. We had them in the beginning but realized that we just don't wear them. We are pretty much barefoot on board. If it's cold we put on socks. If it's bad weather and we have to go on deck we wither do it barefoot or put on our foul weather boots. But in bad weather we usually don't leave the cockpit unless it is an absolute must.

Extra Clothes:
We both have a couple of pairs of jeans on board. I've had lots of opportunities to wear them. Anywhere it's cool enough to wear them I do. All through NZ and Australia that was pretty much what I wore. Mark has two sweaters. I have a few more. 

Both of us have a few nice going out options. When we are in places with nice restaurants we like to go to them (this of course may change a little now that we have MM).

We have hiking clothes for backpacking like we did in NZ.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tuesday's Tip #7: Drying Mats

Okay, I know it's Thursday in the States and I'm late but I missed Tuesday and then I wanted to post about Kupang so shoot me.

I have three Microfiber Dish Drying Mats on the boat.

I keep one on each side of my sink and another on the opposite counter. The one's next to my sink are used for drying dishes obviously but, one of them is also next to my stove and acts as a supper large hot pad. It's much better than putting down potholders or trivets because it covers the entire area, is always out and available, and stuff that is placed on it doesn't slide around or off underway. Pans out of the oven go straight onto the counter without a problem.

I also have one that is under my cutting board on the opposite counter. I like to keep my cutting board out on the counter because it's large to store and I use it all the time (no real point in stashing it if I'm just going to get it out again). Having the pad under my cutting board allows me to wash the board and then just put it back where it belongs. Underway the pad keeps the board from sliding around. It also catches and absorbes any liquids that may spill which is much better than it getting into the crevices on the counter. Since they are washable when it happens I just throw it in the laundry.

In short they are great for a number of reason... stuff can dry on them, they stop stuff from sliding around, and they work great as a large heat pad.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kupang, Indonesia

We arrived a few days ago but customs didn't make it out to our boat the afternoon we arrived so we stealthily went ashore to the opening activities anyhow. It was fun to see all the dancing and activities but it was far to loud for MM tiny little ears especially because of all the feedback the PA system was having so we called it an early night. The following morning customs came out to our boat. I had made five copies of an assortment of papers that they may need and it was a good thing because all three officials wanted a copy of everything. I thought we were good until they told us we needed to head into land to see immigration. I then knew I would need to make a few more. All the officials onboard wanted a picture with MM so we let them (don't want to piss off customs that's for sure).

I asked the fleet what I would need for immigration so that I could be ready and was told that I would need 10-12 copies of somethings so I spent the next hour+ printing stuff out (ironically I broke the printer I posted about last week and had to pull out the spare). I did need five copies of one thing when we got in but most stuff I only needed one or two of so it was an hour seriously waisted. Oh well.

All the officials from different departments had come from their offices all over the city to check us in at a single location which was nice. We took a number and got in line. We had to work our way around a very small room with a lot of people, paper, and stamps. We received a couple of large booklets and packets of paper that we need to keep until we check out. Far more than we have ever received anywhere else. They also love official stamps. One of the officials had at least ten stamps just for herself. And they love if you have a stamp yourself. Mark and I have discussed many times getting a boat stamp made but never had. Hearing that this might be the case I grabbed a stamp out of my scrapbooking supplies and went with it. They loved it. And yes, all these officials wanted pictures with my baby too!

On our crossing we lost a nut off an important bolt so we knew that had to be a priority. We set out on hunt to find some sort of a hardware store. We found a small shop and asked if anyone spoke English. They all gave us the hold on signal and went to the back. Out came a young girl who we explained what we needed to. She said they didn't have it but they knew the name of the place that did. She started to explain how to get there on a bus but wasn't really sure. Then the owner of the shop said something and the girl said. We will take you. Mark and I looked at each other and though okay let's go. They moved the front counters of the shop aside and pulled the car out (this is one of the few cars we have seen. Most people ride on motorbikes). We all hoped in including the girl who we learned was the shop owners son's English teacher (we now understand why those who speak English really don't speak it well).

They actually didn't know where the shop was but they kept stopping at places to ask for directions/see if they had the nut we needed. We drove around for a good hour or so and got a nice tour of the city. They finally tracked the place down but it didn't open until 5pm (we aren't in OZ anymore where everything closes at 5). So they took us to one more shop and then dropped us back off at the beach to wait until until the shop opened since it was within walking distance. It was really nice of them to help us out!

As we were walking into the beach restaurant our friend John on SeaMist said he was heading out to get a boat stamp made. I quickly jumped on the opportunity to get an official stamp done so we wouldn't have to use my scrapbooking one again. John and I took what was supposed to be a 300m walk but turned out to be about a 2km walk to the stamp shop. We thought we were looking for the name of the shop and as everyone we asked knew the name we thought we were headed toward a pretty substantial shop. Turns out the name we had was the name of the street. As we turned the corner I looked into a rather empty building that had one display case in it and I could tell that it contained a number of stamps. This must be the place.

The shop owner didn't really speak any English but he understood a little. We asked when they would be ready and he said "yesterday." We took that to mean tomorrow and wrote down what we wanted out stamps to say. He understood 'big' and 'little' which was really all we needed him to understand. We left not really knowing what we were going to get but figured for $5 (we probably could have bargained that down) it really didn't matter that much. I had looked at getting a stamp in AU and it would have been at least $60.

The following day Mark and I took a walk around the city through all the markets and even found ourselves wandering through some of the homes (if you can really call them that). We couldn't go ten feet without someone wanting to come up to MM and touch him. It's really kind of an issue. Everyone wants to touch him and hold him. I try to be good about the situation but it's a little hard to have complete strangers constantly walking up to you and wanting to touch your kid. Especially when they aren't clean. On one hand I hate to be closed minded but on the other I really don't want MM to get sick and you really don't know what some of these people are carrying around. Most of the children have runny noses and I just don't want it passed on to MM.

The Ergo is great because MM is strapped to me so people can't try to hold him, which they do if he is not. We love letting the other cruisers play with him but have realized that we need to be careful with this too. Some of them will pass him off to an Indonesian without a thought and all it will take is one second of Mark and I not paying attention for our beautiful boy to go missing. So there are now a few people who are on the no list when it comes to playing with MM. It's a little sad but my babies safety is my number one priority and if you will hand my kid over to a stranger then you can't hold my kid.

MM had been photographed on more phones than I can count. When we walk down the street people literally take out their phones and take photos of him. It's a little weird but I can't really stop it so I'm learning to live with it. Photos from afar are fine just don't get to close.

We enjoyed another night of entertainment and even got to do some dancing ourselves.

The next day I woke up not feeling so hot so we stayed on the boat and went in just a few hours to get another piece of paper that customs forgot to give us and one more nut (since it's always good to have a spare). I thought that my sore throat was from all the smoke in the air. Everyone smokes here, I try to keep MM away from it as much as possible but it just isn't possible - breaks my heart that! But yesterday it was clear that it was more than just a sore throat and I spent the entire day in bed. I guess it's better me than MM. This however proves my point that all these people coming up to us all the time is not a good thing!

Today we will try to start our move toward Alor. The festivities begin in three days and we don't want to miss a minute.

So far I've learned that Indonesians are crazy about paperwork and babies...or maybe their just crazy? Yep, that's a family of five on a motorbike.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big changes and lots of sailing!

I'm not really sure what happened a few weeks ago but suddenly I decided I wanted to go to Indonesia this season. I just woke up and thought. Let's go! So I e-mailed the Sail Indonesia Rally and thought "If they are still accepting boats this late in the game then we are meant to go." Turns out the Rally registration closed the next day but they gave me the weekend to think it through a little more. By Monday we were registered and ready to go which meant we needed to actually go.

Go 1500 miles (more as the crow flies than the shipping lanes run but you get the idea) from the Whitsunday Islands to Darwin in about 15 days that is. Somehow (God must have been on our side) we did just that. In fact we did it in pretty quickly (are days early!) especially considering we stopped and dropped anchor for two nights along the way just to get a break.

The crossing wasn't bad but it was a bit difficult. We were inside the Great Barrier Reef and I can tell you that there is a lot to watch out for in there. This is no open ocean sailing where a little cat nap will lead to nothing more than being startled awake by a waypoint arrival blaring on the Raymarine. This is big-boy, watch where you are going even though you can't see a damn thing in the dark sailing. Look through the dark night and hope you see the few flashing buoys that will guide you in the right direction. And lord please don't let a tanker run us over since we really are in THEIR way (I'm really glad Mark decided it was time for AIS - yes every boat should have it!)

We had a few rough weather days but we did get some perfect days. We were even out long enough that I had a few no sea-sickness days. As far as big passages go it really wasn't that bad and my kid really is a champ. His favorite part were his (good) daily pool parties in the cock-pit. Mark and I bought a little-tykes swimming pool for MM that we set up in the cock-pit and just let him chill-out and relax. He loved it! Wanted to be in it forever (probably because it was much cooler than being in the boat). And we loved it because it was so entertaining to watch him kicking and splashing and trying to swim (not sure how he figured out how to kick and paddle but he did). I'm so glad it looks like he'll be a better swimmer than I am.

As usual we though the hardest part of the crossing was over. Little did we know that getting into the Marina was going to be the biggest challenge. The tide here can be really crazy so the marinas are behind locks. That's right, they are gated. You move your boat in, it fills up with water and then you motor on out. Not that big a deal. We did it in Panama right. Wrong! First they have all sorts of crazy rules so rather than being able to just schedule our time to enter I had to call pest control so they could tell me that we were okay to enter. I had to wait over an hour for a call back so they could ask me two questions that apparently the marina couldn't ask. "How long had we been in AU? and Had the boat been hauled out while we were here?"

We asked the Lockmaster how long it would take us to get up the river. She drastically under-estimated and we were terribly late. We tried calling her to let her know but they have no VHF in the locks (why?) and she didn't answer her phone. Finally after getting up this crazy river which our charts told us had less than a foot of water under us but really it was 30 feet (I said big tides didn't I) and had boats literally moored in the channel, she gives us a call as we are outside and tells us she won't let us in for 45 minutes. Now what? We turned around and had to go back down the river and then come back up because there was no room to circle. 

Now the story gets good. When we were making the appointment for the locks Mark was very clear that we didn't know what to expect and that we needed to know the procedure. She told him prepare for a port-side tie-up and that was it. Okay no problem. We put all the fenders and lines out on the port side and pulled-in. She put out a boat-hook and took my bow line. Great! I waited for her to tie it off but she wasn't. She just kept pulling on it which caused our backend to start swinging almost smashing the outboard into the wall. I'm waiting for her to tie off the bow so she can get the stern but she just stands there and after I've had to save the outboard a few more times, and Mark is fighting her with the bow thruster, we finally start yelling at her to tie off the line.

She tells us that she doesn't tie off the boats. What? How are you supposed to keep them from crashing into the other wall especially if she is tugging on them (she said she was keeping us from going she wasn't). Finally, I just lost it and told her to tie off the line and do what she needed to do to get the water filled. We'd worry about keeping the boat in place. And yes, I used some choice language (luckily MM was asleep below during all of this). At this point we are literally inches from the Starboard wall with fenders all down the port side because that's where we were told to put them and I'm just standing there pushing us off the wall.

Finally the doors open and she yells at us that she isn't there to take orders from us. We agree. She was absolutely correct. She should have told us exactly what to do. Instead she just stood there in silence causing all sorts of issues. Seriously, she stood there in silence, tugging on a line and causing our backend to continually swing out almost bashing it into the wall multiple times. If Mark wouldn't have had the bow-thruster and/or there would have been more wind that I couldn't fight we would have smashed the entire side of the boat. A little direction would have gone a long way! Unfortunately we'll have to go back out that damn lock in a week or so but going down should be a little better because I'll be high enough that I can tie the back myself and do the job properly.

Alright, that's enough. I didn't mean to go off but this woman truly was one of the biggest idiots I've ever met and the fact is she just doesn't really give a damn or understand how to do her job. It would have been better to be tied off but if she wasn't going to that is really all we needed to know so that we could have prepared properly.

I have to say that over the last few months I've noticed that ALOT of the people in marinas have NO idea what they are supposed to be doing. We have pulled into a number of slips where we throw a line and rather than get it tied off they just stand there or put it in entirely the wrong place. Boat docking is not rocket science. Understand a few key things and it really can go very smoothly but I don't think they give dockhands ANY training and I don't think they understand just how fast a perfect docking job can go bad if a line isn't tied off fast enough.

Anyhow, we made it to Darwin and will had a busy 1.5 weeks to prepare. I did some serious provisioning. The rally is three months so I tried to provision for at least that plus an extra month or so on some things (baby items mostly) since we aren't sure of the plan after.

Our last night in Darwin was a little more "exciting" than we would have liked. The marina we were in was in the middle of a housing development. About a 100 yards across the water from us about 10+ very drunk guys decided they should set off fireworks which were going in all sorts of directions. We tried to yell at them and tell them to stop and that it was really dangerous to do that so close to boats (fiberglass burns very quickly and doesn't stop until it reaches the waterline) but they didn't want to listen. We explained that we have fuel on our decks (gas and propane) but they didn't care. I told them I have a six month old baby they were waking up... still they didn't care. Finally Mark and I called the cops and while it took awhile they did come out and go over to the house but a few hours later the guys decided to set them off again. Mark slept in the cockpit of the boat because we were worried one of them might swim over and do something to our boat for calling the cops. Needless to say it was a long night so we didn't get started very early the next day. We didn't leave Darwin till about 3:00. After a three day crossing from Darwin we are now in Indonesia. Hopefully the blog is about to get interesting again as I'll have lots to write about.

I have to admit. I'm a little nervous about this trip. The reason we weren't going initially is because of Malaria concerns and I am still very nervous about my baby getting sick. I will be taking every precaution I can. If we decide that the risk has become to much we will leave Indonesia early although I'm not sure where we will go. If I have to, him and and I will be on lock down in the boat at night (and day) if necessary. We have screens for all of our hatches and I purchased a screen for the cock-pit. I have a few citronella candles and lots of bug spray but I'm open to hearing any ideas on keeping MM safe!!!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Raft-UP: Clothes and Laundry

I'm posting via e-mail from Indonesia so I hope this works. Yes, Mark and I made a last minute decision a few weeks ago to head out of Australia and I'll fill you all in soon but first this months Raft-UP topic and schedule. 

This month we are hitting on something that every boat has to deal with.... Clothes and Laundry. One of my not so favorite things about being on the boat. Head on down the list and stop back here at the end of the month to hear what I've got to say on the matter. 

We have a few new writers this month and I'm sure you'll enjoy what they've got to say. Verena has an interesting background as a hydrographic surveyor (you know all those little soundings you see on your charts - well she used to take those up in Alaska) and Toast has a bunch of kids on board so I'm sure she'll have plenty to say on this months topic. I'm sorry not to give them a proper intro but being that I have limited internet I'm feeling lucky to even be getting this up on time! 

The next few months will be a little shaky as I have no idea what my internet availability will be so bear with me as Mark and I explore a very new and different country.

4th:  Lynn @
5th: Ean @ - I just have to say that I love that the Man on the boat will be writing this one!
11th: Verena @ (new writer)
12th: Toast @ (new writer)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Tips #6: Printing

Here's the Readers Digest version of the story behind our printer and why everyone needs one. We decided that we would do all of our own customs, immigration, and canal paperwork in Panama. After running around we finally found the location to do the first part of our checking in. The second part was a few doors down. When we got there they told us that we needed to have copies of the stuff from the first place but wouldn't make them for us on the copy machine they had. Where were we supposed to get copies in Colon, Panama (super dangerous place I might add). Long story short we ended up paying the marina to finish our customs and immigration paperwork but decided we needed to have a scanner and printer that we could take with us if we ever needed to again.

We did do all our own canal paperwork. That may be the one well run thing in Panama, which makes sense since it brings in so much money. We had no problem getting it set up on our own. We didn't use an agent and are happy we didn't. We've heard of a number of boats that didn't get their canal deposits back. We had to wait for ours and it was mailed to the states but at least we got it. Other boats have told us that their agents ran off with the money.

We've never actually carried our printer with us but we recommend that everyone get this printer. It is bluetooth and rechargeable. And unlike other rechargeable items it keeps a charge for a long time. We love that we can pull it out to print without needing to get out tons of cords. Absolutely great on a boat. We love it so much that when the Christchurch Earthquake hit it was one of the items we thought we lost in our appartement so we ordered another one right away for my mom to bring with her. Of course we didn't know we would actually be getting the stuff in the apartment back (or the condition of anything since the sprinklers had gone off in the building) so my mom brought it to us and now we have two of them on the boat.

Unfortunately as I'm writing this and looking up the info it appears as if the price has gone up considerably. It was only $220 when we got bought the replacement last year and it no longer comes with the bluetooth adapter or cover like ours did which is an additional cost. I would probably still recommend it for a boat, small apartment, or anyone who needs to be able to easily store their printer or have one on the go but the new price is really to high. Maybe there is another good option out there?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tips #5: Locks and Key Rings

While we are on the topic of locks. Buy a large pack of locks that all have the same key (marine grade if you can find them). There are so many things to lock up on the boat it is nice to have one key that fits them all. Make sure you regularly corrosion block them because they do seize up if to much salt water gets in them.

One last thing on locks (and would be good for those of you that live on land too) are these key rings which don't rust and are easy to open and close but very secure. Whenever a marina gives us a key fob or bathroom key we need to carry with us it's super easy to slip it on and off my key ring.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tips #4: Locking your Dinghy to the Dock

Continuing on last weeks tip of locking your dinghy to your boat or tender sometimes you need to lock it to a dinghy dock as well.

We also carry a really long thick double loop security cable (something like this but I think ours is thicker - we got it at home depot) as well for places we are worried their really is a threat of the dinghy going missing. It fits through most chalks and/or through small spaces on the dock making it easy to find a place to lock the dinghy too. We can slip it around something and lock it right bake to the engine. This has worked well for us. Many people carry chain but that gets heavy and there is always a rust factor. We've had very little rust on the cable lock so we don't mind using it for locking the dinghy to the boat as well (unfortunately yes, they do go missing off the back of boats all the time.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Raft-UP Sailor vs. Traveler

This has been a great month of articles. This question definitely sparked some debate on the various boats that have participated this month. It’s nice to hear about how and why people choose this lifestyle because we all do and approach it so differently.

I am definitely not a sailor. Let’s just get that out of the way. Yes, I live on a sailboat and; yes, we move that boat on a regular basis. But, I don’t really enjoy sailing. On occasion there is a nice day where the wind is just right, we move along at a nice eight knots and I only feel mildly queasy. On those days I enjoy it a little but most of the time the wind isn’t in our favor. It seems to always be too much or too little and I’m almost always seasick.

This of course begs the question “why do it?” Why live on a sailboat. The quick and easy answer would be that Mark told me on our first date that this is what he wanted to do and I told him I would. The truth is I love to travel and yet I’m a homebody. I love that I can be out exploring new territory during the day and come home to my craft projects and then crawl into my own bed for a movie. There are a lot of sailors who were happy to get rid of stuff and move to a simpler existence. I am not one of them. I brought a lot with me. This boat is full.

I love that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be able to eat wherever we visit and have to pack a suitcase full of granola bars and water to live on just in case. I’m not an experimental eater. I like what I like and that’s about it. On occasion I’ll try something new (butter chicken by the way is not chicken with buttered herbs on it. I learned that in Tonga and now I eat it all the time) but mostly I stick to what I know. If you got dysentery and almost died when you were nine you might feel the same.

I also love that we aren’t on a timeline. Well actually that isn’t entirely true. The weather dictates a lot of where we go and when; plus Mark and I aren’t the best at planning so we often find ourselves in a hurry to get somewhere. In the big picture though we can take as much or little time as we want. This allows us to not just see the tourist things but also find the local hangouts and see what a place is really about.

Has my view on sailing and travel changed since we started? Probably not. I still love to travel and see new things. I love hiking up new mountains, finding neat little caf├ęs, taking in the sites of a new city, enjoying their museums and culture. As far as sailing is concerned, we didn’t own a sailboat before this one and I don’t image we’ll have one when this little adventure is done. They are simply too much work and I don’t get enough enjoyment from the actual act of sailing to justify it.

I’m mixed on whether the boat really helps or hinders our ability to travel. There are a lot of places we simply would not be able to go to if we weren’t on the boat. The cost would just be prohibitive. Getting all the way out to the Marquesas is not an easy thing to do and if you made it there you’d probably only get to see one island. Travel by sea gives you a whole new perspective on history and geography, when you start to really understand and pay attention to the wind and current you understand a lot more about travel and exploration by ship and really come to appreciate the big deep harbors that quickly became major ports. It also gives you a whole new view on fortification which lets face it is what a lot of history is about, taking what you want and protecting what you have.

On the other hand, the boat takes a lot of time and energy and there have been a number of places we haven’t seen very much because our concentration had to be on the boat. There are also a lot of places that are just easier to see by land. We spent three weeks traveling by car around Australia and we really did get to see more than two months on the boat. We move much slower on the boat and since we’ve had a number of things that have needed to be repaired we’ve spent most of our time doing that. There is also regular maintenance that constantly needs to be done. When your home is with you everywhere you go you never get a break. We saw and did so much in New Zealand because we put the boat on the hard, closed her up, and went on our way. I appreciate the boat for the places she takes us that we otherwise wouldn’t go but I do think it sometimes can be hard to enjoy a place when things are broken and your thoughts are simply on the boat.
I always considered Mark more of a traveler than a sailor but after reading Jane’s post on the 1st I now wonder because he, like her, is always trying to move us onto the next location. Maybe he if more of a sailor than I thought. As for MM, I think he may be a natural born sailor...

How about you? Where do you think you fall on the spectrum of sailor vs. traveler? We’d love to read your posts too. Link them up below so we know where to find what you’ve written. If you'd like to participate you too can write for Raft-UP just fill out the interest form on the Raft-UP page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Tips #3: Locking your Outboard

When we moved on the boat we had one of those bar type dinghy locks (here is an article I found on various dinghy locks so you can see what I'm talking about). After the first one rusted we bought another but decided it was more of a pain than it was worth so we went to the bike lock technique where we used a double loop security cable and locked it to the boat or dinghy. Not the best solution. Somewhere along the line someone introduced us to the simple just pad-lock it technique.

The two screw handles usually come close enough that you can put a lock right through them. Once the dinghy is screwed on tight just lock it up. Someone could get in there and cut the lock but most of the time it's more trouble than it is worth and they'll move onto the dinghy with no lock.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while probably know that the 4th of July is my FAVORITE holiday. I love everything about it. It’s a no stress holiday (no gifts, no travel), lots of yummy foods (can you say BBQ and watermelon), and who doesn’t love a good fireworks show. Plus, I love celebrating the USA! I am so glad that I was born and raised in such a wonderful country and am thankful for all the opportunities it has given me; including the ability to be sailing and seeing the rest of the world.

One of the challenges that I’ll have raising MM on the boat is to instill in him my American values and help him be proud of his home country even though he isn’t being raised there. I plan to have putting-out and taking-in the flag each day his job when he is old enough and we already pledge allegiance to the flag. I also make sure we listen to patriotic songs at least a couple of times a week. I’ll be looking for other ways to help him feel connected to the US as he grows up, possibly summer camp in the states with his cousins. I couldn’t think this to be more important. I’m proud of where I come from and I hope my son will be too.

As for celebrating the fourth, last year I was able to have a big celebration on Northfork with a couple other American boats. I wasn’t so lucky this year as there wasn’t anyone around and we are doing some major planning and prep work right now but don’t worry MM got a little fireworks show. Like last year I purchased some party-poppers and set them off in the cockpit. He wasn’t really interested though; hopefully next year he will be and I can do up the 4th as it should be.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tips #2: Storing Liquids

There are certain supplies that I provision big and shampoo is one of those things. I'll admit it, I can be a brand snob about certain things and my shampoo is one of those things. I'm always on the lookout for the kind I like and at a decent price. When I find it I like to stock-up. When we left Puerto Rico heading for the Panama Canal I hit up the Sams Club big time unfortunately for me I stored the shampoo and conditioner bottles in one of my floor compartments and the tops came open on some of them. Have you ever had to clean soap? It sucks. Just keeps multiplying and there was a lot of it. After this little experience I decided I needed a better solution.

Last year I figured out the solution to the problem and now it is my standard for all most liquids. I purchased 2L white emergency water jugs from one of the organizing stores in New Zealand. Now when I purchase items I condense them into a single container. These containers fit nice and snug in one of my compartments. They take up less space and I don't have to worry about them rolling around or coming open.

I have containers for shampoo, mouthwash, windex, laundry soap... Okay I know what you are thinking isn't it a little dangerous to have everything in the same type of container. Probably but I have them labeled and if for any reason I wasn't sure what was in a container I would get rid of it before rinsing my mouth out with it. I can now store a lot more because I don't have a bunch of odd shaped containers.

I have smaller containers for the amounts I need on a daily/weekly bases and just fill those up when I need them.

I think someday when we move back to land I'll probably do this too. I love the idea of my storage cabinets all organized with matching containers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Raft-UP: Sailor or Traveler

Welcome to our second month of the Raft-UP blog hop. I've been so excited to have heard from so many people about how much they are enjoying all the posts.

Our topic this month is Sailor or Traveler? Since this can be a very difficult and different lifestyle we hope to give you some insight into why and how we all have chosen to do this and how we approach it.

Once again we have some great writers lined up. Some have been at sea for years and others just starting out. We have professional writers and those who have barely written a blog post. Should be a good mix of opinions. You can now read the bios, and find links to, on our past topics and writers on the Raft-UP Past Topics page. With out further ado, this months schedule and a short intro of our new writers.

July 2nd: Jane (returning blog, new writer)
Last month we had the pleasure of reading Ean's post and this month you'll get a little something different from his partner in crime Jane.

July 3rd: Stephanie @ (returning writer)
July 4th: Behan @ (returning writer)

July 5th: Jessica @ (new writer)
Boat: 50' Hatteras Motor Yacht
Crew: Jessica, husband GR, and nine year old Gia have switched from sailing to power boating. The three have been at sea for good while and absolutely love it. It'll definitely be nice to hear the views of someone who has lived on both a sailboat and power boat as this doesn't happen very often.

July 6th: Tammy@ (returning writer)
July 7th: Jaye @ (returning writer)

July 8th: Diane @ (new writer)
Boat: Ceilydh a heavily modified Wood's Meander 40' Catamaran
Crew: Diane, husband Evan and and 10-year-old daughter Maia are a family of three from Vancouver, BC living on a catamaran with their Cat Charlie. Three years ago they set sail to explore Mexico before heading across the Pacific in 2011. They previously spent 3.5 years sailing a 28' monohull from Alaska, down through the Panama canal and Western Caribbean before heading up the east coast to Annapolis, MD where Maia was born. They are currently spending time in Brisbane allowing Diane the time to work as a freelance writer for a variety of magazines and newspapers. She also has a number of book credits to her name including the up coming "Complete Idiots Guild to Sailing" due to release in March of 2013. If you'd like to see what else Diane has written you can check out her writing website

July 9th: Lynn (returning writer)

July 10th: Stacey (new writer)
Boat: Bella Vita a Hylas 45.5
Crew: Stacey and Brett are just gearing up to set out cruising. They plan to set sail from Seattle in early September, make their way down the California coast and leave for Mexico in November. They would like to explore from the Sea or Cortez down to Zihuatanejo and back-up to Puerto Vallarta before heading across the Pacific in March of next year. Here is your chance to follow someone from the start. Read about the preparations and challenges of moving on board from the beginning.

July 11th: Head back here to svnorthfork for my post, wrap-up, and your chance to link up your blog posts on whether you consider yourself more of a sailor or a traveler.

I hope you enjoy what everyone has to say this month. Each writer chooses what they want to write about within the given topic. I have no idea what is coming and am just as excited as you to read it. I try to give them one or two questions each month to ponder and include in their post. This month I asked if their views on traveling and sailing have changed at all since starting and whether they think the boat helps or hinders their ability to travel. It'll be interesting to hear what they have to say.

If you would like to be a part of the Raft-UP blog hop you can link your articles on the last day of the hop each month or fill out the interest form if you would like to become a featured writer. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Tips #1: Remembering your Swim Ladder

Last week I had a thought that Mark and I may have actually been at this long enough to have some little tips and tricks that might be useful to others planning or doing this (and some that might work on land too). At dinner I had Mark help me brainstorm and we actually came up with a decent list of things that I could start with. So for as many weeks as I can come up with a tip I'm going to try and post something every Tuesday. If any of my Raft-UP posts land on a Tuesday I'll move the tip to Mon or Wed.

Tip #1: Remembering your swim ladder

We’ve all done it. Started the engine, pulled up the anchor, started moving just to have someone start shouting and pointing because the swim ladder is still down. Mark and I came up with a quick easy fix to this problem. We sewed up a little flag that we put on the throttle. Unless you are one of those studs that sails off your anchor, you have to use the engine to move the boat so what better place to put the reminder (we tried the wheel first but somehow we did miss it there once.)

You can sew up a little flag like we did but almost anything obnoxious would work, an old scrunchy or sock would also be an easy fast solution. Although something that doesn't hold a lot of water is better.

This would work at home too. Trying to remember something for work or school tomorrow. Put a little flag on your front door or steering wheel. A little better than trying a string to around your finger.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I never thought I'd say this but I miss tipping. You heard me. I wish there was tipping in Australia. Without it you get no service and I don't mean bad service I mean NO service. Mark and I have eaten at  a number of restaurants that have required us to order at the counter. We've always thought it a bit ridiculous to have to go up when we are paying $20+ for an entree but it seems to be common here because of the no tipping policy and the high minimum wage.

Tonight however we hit the breaking point. We are on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays. There are a number of restaurants and since we've been at anchor for over a week we thought we'd treat ourselves to a nice meal. We heard the steakhouse on the island was good so we decided to go. When we got there we were told there was a 10 minute wait for a table. No big deal we went to the bar to get drink. The bartender opened a tab for us. Okay, that's fine. We can have it transfered to the table right. Wrong. We got seated and were told that we had to go up to the counter to order. Not that big a deal at McD's but seriously they wanted me to pay $40 for a steak and $7.50 for my side dishes and I had to get up to order them. Oh and if I wanted another drink I had to go order that myself too.

There was a table of four ladies dressed to the nines for there big night out. They probably spent $15x2 (appetizers) + $40x4 (steaks) + $7.50*4 (sides) + $55 (bottle of champagne) + $45 (bottle of wine) = $320 minimum and they got no service. Would you do it? We just couldn't. Mark took his time to finish his drink because after all no one was going to come over to our table to take our order and we walked out. If I'm spending that kinda cash in your restaurant the least you can do is take my order and bring me my drink. So yes I now appreciate tipping in the US. Just another reason to love the red, white, and blue.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

and the fellowship has ended...

A few months ago Mark made a comment that getting to Australia was like the end of the first book of the LOTRs. Because of the way the wind and weather works many of the people that are sailing in Australia today are the same one's we sailed with in the Caribbean nearly three years ago but, Australia gives a lot of options as to where to go next and so this adventure is ending and new one's are beginning. Many of us have spent the last few years crossing paths and are now planning to go different directions. Some will stay in Australia for the year or more, some will go north to Indonesia and others south to South Africa, and then there are those that will end their sailing adventure all together and head home. Mark and I aren't sure what we are going to do with this year. We've decided to take it a little at a time with MM to make sure he is getting what he needs.

Some of those friends I'm speaking of are Frank and Karen on Tahina. Almost three years ago Mark and I sat in a restaurant in Iles Des Saints, Guadaloupe where everyone was speaking French. Mark and I were discussing the preparations we'd need to make for crossing the Pacific. At the table next to us sat Frank and Karen who were in the processing of planning the exact same journey and overheard our conversation. Over the last few years we have crossed paths over and over again. In the beginning it was by accident and eventually on purpose whenever possible. I've written a lot about friendships out here. They come and go very quickly as people move on. They are usually short and intense and then gone. This friendship has been anything but that. Little did we know sitting at that table how important they would become to our sailing experience. We've been lucky to have spent so many days exploring and nights playing Bananagrams with them.

We got lucky today because we got to see them one last time. They will be making the run to Indonesia next month and because most people who will be doing that have already moved north we've missed many of the other boats we know. I thought there might be a chance that Tahina was still in the Whitsunday's but didn't have e-mail access. I took a chance last night and radioed to see if I'd get a response and I did. I was excited but they were planning to head north today and we were a couple hours south of them so I didn't think we'd actually get to meet up. This morning Frank gave us a call and said they would come south to have lunch with us. They came two hours south just for lunch and added that distance onto the journey north they were already planning, turning a long day passage into a 24 hour overnight passage. Those are good friends and out here that's hard to come by. It was sad to see Tahina sail motor off into the distance knowing that we won't see them again anytime soon. We are all planning on making the run to South Africa at some point but since that is in the distance and things may change, they are headed for South America and we are trying to get to the Med, who knows. What I can say is that Tahina many not cross Northfork again but Mark and Dana will cross Frank and Karen again. Thanks for being there for the last couple of years. We're lucky to have had friends like you out here!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The newest edition to the NF

No we aren't having another baby and we didn't get a cat. We did however get a juicer. An extremely large contraption that takes up half a cabinet and is a much better use for the space than the pressure cooker that used to live in it's home. Mark and I are turning over a new leaf or should I say I'm flipping back a few pages in the way I eat. When I was a kid there was no junk in the house, well my dad couldn't resist potato chips and red vines so there was some junk but my parents shopped at the health food stores before there was a Trader Joes or Whole Foods in sight. We always had the weird peanut butter with the natural oils on top and forget about sugar cereal. Salad every night. College was probably my turning point. I tried to continue to eat healthy and mostly I did but it's when things started to creep in. Soda was the big one. I didn't really want to drink soda but the water in Fort Worth was so disgusting that I couldn't drink the tap. I still don't drink a ton of them but I do like to have a few a week.

While most people probably think that sailing keeps you in great shape and super healthy in reality it doesn't. You actually sit a lot. We just did that four day passage and we didn't move. We do do a lot of walking (and biking before MM) but that will only do so much. When we were home we were going to the gym without a problem and Mark was biking almost every day. We know we should be better about daily exercise out here but it's hard when you can't really get a regular routine going. The bigger issue for us is that we eat a lot of junk and in a lot of restaurants. We are so often in touristy areas that it is so easy to just grab something out and if we aren't going to be in a touristy place then I assume we aren't going to have good grocery options either so I pack the boat with tons of canned goods. None of it's really good for us but when you're crossing an ocean opening a can is really a fantastic thing. I've tried a few times to cook better but lets just be honest I hate to cook and I'm not good at it. When I was in college and living in NYC I would spend a whole saturday every so often cooking the few things that I can actually make and then freezing them in individual portions so I could just throw them in the oven when I got home. On the boat there are two problems with this. First is that freezer space is at a premium and it usually goes to having fresh meat on board. Second is that I fear a lot of energy (and money) would end up overboard. When we come into new countries customs will often take fresh items from you and anything that I cooked myself in the freezer would count. So if I filled it up with my cooking they may just take it away. They never do this with canned goods unless of course you can them yourself.

A few months ago I watched "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" like so many others have and decided that I really wanted to try and up my fruit and veggie intake. But how? Juicing didn't really seem like a feasible idea for the boat and I knew I couldn't switch to a juice only diet while being pregnant or nursing. I mentioned the idea to Mark but it didn't really take and I knew I wouldn't be doing anything without him. We eat all our meals together and I eat way more than I used to because of it. Before Mark I would eat some cheese and crackers and a bag of carrots for lunch. Now I actually eat lunch. It took me mentioning that I though we should start juicing a few more times and then all of a sudden a few weeks ago Mark agreed it was a good idea. I set out on a hunt to find a good but not Australian ridiculously priced juicer before he could change his mind. I was super excited when I found the one I had been looking at in a plastic instead of stainless version (better for boat corrosion) and even better was that it was on sale for a great price. I snagged it up and got to juicing. I'm now juicing a couple of times a day.   We have something in the AM and usually around lunch time. If we want something else we have it to but usually the juice does it for us (I had some cheese and crackers today) and then we have a full dinner. I tried to go vegetarian once and got super sick plus I'm still breastfeeding so I want to make sure that I'm still eating well rounded for MM. Sometimes we'll even have a late night juice snack.

It's been a great switch on the boat. Sure there are some issues, I have to turn the generator on to use it but we have more time because we aren't shuffling around trying to figure out what to eat or running out to get something. I have to clean the machine a few times a day but it really isn't that big of a deal now that I have the routine down. Grocery shopping is easy because I just have to hit the produce section for the most part and if there is something you can always get no matter where you are it's fruit. And of course the best part is that we are feeling really good and losing a ton of weight (that's right take that baby belly). For the most part everything has been pretty tasty but yesterday I did get a batch of "what the heck did I make?"

Next step: Try to reduce the canned goods we eat on board. I think it's gonna be harder than I think. I wanted to make tomato sauce for pasta the other night (I bought tomatoes) and almost every recipe I looked at told me to open a can of tomatos...why not just open a jar of spaghetti sauce instead? What's the difference. Anyone have any idea where to get some good easy recipes that I might actually be able to cook. Please remember that I am very seriously cooking impaired.
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