Thursday, May 31, 2012

New SEAiq Apps

A quick note: Apple just released 2 more of our apps.  For mariners in the USA, SEAiq Free is a free version of our chart plotter app SEAiq USA.  Some features require an in-app purchase, so this is intended as an easy way to try out SEAiq USA.

Of more interest to our mariner friends: we've also release SEAiq Open.  SEAiq Open is the only chart plotter app for iPads/iPhones that lets you use your own charts.  It supports both S-57 ('ENC') and CM93 formats.  Similar to SEAiq Free, SEAiq Open is free but requires an in-app purchase to enable all its features.  In particular, without the upgrade, the app cannot display charts with scale less than or equal to 1:50,000 (harbor).  If you are sailing outside US waters and have your own charts, this is this only app that will let you view them on your iPad/iPhone.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting ready to head out

Thanks to the help of Fletch, Bob, Lance, Steve, Bruce, and Bill (all from the local marine trades), we are almost ready to head out of Mooloolaba, where we have been for almost a month.

We fixed our aft cabin heater, fixed a coolant leak in a freezer, serviced the boiler, replaced our trusty outboard, new traveller car, a new spinnaker pole, new water maker pump.  Now we just need to get everything stowed away and make sure we have a couple secure places for Jr to hang out in case the sea gets a little rough.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Got a Pirate Problem? There's Even an App for That

Apparently the US has a little something to say about piracy too. I only wish they were taking the same approach as the EU. Got a Pirate Problem? There's Even an App for That

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EU attacks Pirates

There has been a lot of love given to Pirates over the last few years as everyone finds the life Jack Sparrow so fun and interesting to watch on the big screen. Out here in the cruising world it isn't such a fun topic. Many of us would like to continue on to the Med but the Somalian pirates stand in our way. If you asked us when we were leaving Panama what we were planning to do we would have told you that we were going through the Red Sea. Not anymore. The piracy issues have gotten out of control and it isn't safe for even the little guys (especially US flagged vessels) to make the run any longer. Mark and I are still weighing our options as to how we will get there (go south or ship the boat) but many of our friends have simply decided that when the time comes they will go around South Africa and then rather than make the right hand turn into the Med from the west they will simply go home having not fully fulfilled there dreams. It is sad that with all the time and energy put into this dream many will go home feeling like they didn't quite make it.

So when Mark sent me a link to this article I have to admit that it put a smile on my face. I hope this really is the beginning of the end for these pirates.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What are your Favorite Things?

A woman in one of my online cruising groups wrote this and I thought it was super cute and wanted to share.

"My Favorite Things" to reflect our cruising experience.... by Joan 

Blue skies and sunsets and white sandy beaches
Turtles and dolphins and sleek flying fishes
Potlucks and dominoes and meeting new friends
These are a few of my favorite things

Snorkeling and reading and back deck seating
Potlucks and dominoes and new people meeting
Morning nets, fishing nets and calm, following seas
These are a few of my favorite things

Cool picture taking and a calm ocean passage
Liming with locals and sun shining on noses
Palm trees and banyans and fresh ocean air
These are a few of my favorite things

When the squall hits 
When the gen breaks 
When the beer gets warm
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

When the boat rocks
When the boat rolls
And the project list grows
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5 Best & Worst so far

Winnie the Pooh riding in boat for free clipart. His friends can ride the boat too!
What are the 5 Best & Worst Things about having a baby on a boat regarding...

1. Family:

  • B: We spend all day together as a family. Even if my husband and I are working we still have our little guy sitting right next to us and get to play with him while we work.
  • W: We miss our family. I wish my mom could see all the milestones as we pass them.

2. Free-time:

  • B: The days are fuller. What downtime we had before is gone. No more boredom on this boat.
  • W: When I want a little break there is no place on this boat to take bathtub to relax in and no quiet space away from everything.

3. Site-seeing:

  • B: Stuff is soooo much more exciting seeing it through a child's eyes.
  • W: It takes 10x longer to go anywhere and see anything. You really are forced to slow down.

4. Supplies & Gear:

  • B: You don't need as much. While I have to admit I would have liked to have decorated a nursery it is nice that we didn't have to spend mucho dinero on cribs, dressers, etc. etc.
  • W: When I need something it isn't a simple trip to the store. I have to figure out where to get it and how to get there. A looooong walk or renting a car. I also have to be much more careful about how it will fit into our space.

5: My husbands contribution to the list....

  • B: Someday our child will be able to swab the decks & change the oil.
  • W: Stinky pooh in a small space (just wait til my breastfed baby starts solids).

Linky Parties

I've been hard at work digging through old posts, and our boat, to put together some of the best gear and book lists for stuff we have and truly love. I know they have a long way to go but at least they are up. I'm trying out the new linky service I just got for the Raft-up Project so I put linkies at the bottom of the Galley Gear, In the Library, and Baby on Board tabs. If you've blogged about something that fits one of these categories jump on over to the appropriate tab and link up your articles and lists so my readers can read yours too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We have a name and a topic

I'm excited to say that I have received interest in my Blog Hop project that I posted about a few days ago. I put out a call for name ideas and the first one I got was PERFECT. From here on our the project will be referred to as Raft-Up as in we bloggers are rafting (connecting) our blogs and sharing ideas much like boats raft up through the Panama Canal or at anchorage. So thank you Behan on S/V Totem for your suggestion. If you haven't checked out her blog you should stop by and next month she will hopefully be joining in to write about our first topic, Hobbies.

If you would like to write about your hobbies on board or have questions for us about our hobbies. Please submit the form in my previous post or on the tab I'm about to create :)

I think my husband described it best today when he said your commitment as a writer is small. You are simply agreeing to write one post about a designated topic on a certain date and "raft-up" to the other bloggers involved. We have some great topics we are thinking of doing. But are looking for more ideas and questions!

Thanks to all those involved so far!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blog Hop'n

Please fill out the submission at the bottom if you would like to be featured or have a question or topic (doesn't matter how big or small).

The Project:

I'd like to get sailors talking about an issue, topic, or question each month, put together a place that past, present and would-be cruisers could come to that really gives a variety of thoughts and answers to common and not-so-common questions about cruising and the cruising lifestyle or possibly just a hot-topic in the sailing community. This project is totally for fun.

Each month I will organize a blog hop to start on the first of each month. Come by SVNorthfork to find out what the topic is and who will be participating for the month. I'd like the hop to include posts by 13 other bloggers (this many change as I see how much interest there is). The reason is that I will post the months info on the 1st and then on the 15th I'll wrap things up and include a linky in which others can link up their own articles. (See below for further information on what a blog hop and linky are).

By expressing interest in writing a post you are not agreeing to do it, no one will have to write each month or about topics they don't know about or want to write about. There is no compensation for this but it will drive some traffic to your blog (hopefully). The posts do not have to be long but should be useful. For example we may just do a hop of great galley gadgets where you only need to pick one you love, say why you love it, and where to get it. Anyone can be considered. There may be topics that are only for those thinking of cruising or those are done.

As of now I am not asking for anything in advance. I'll choose people and trust that they will write something useful. If I find that people are not writing good entires, are not posting when they should, or I have a large selection pool for a topic I will ask for submissions in advance. If I do this, then any submission that is declined can still link up to the linky party but should not post their article until the end of the hop on the 15th.

If you are chosen to post an article you must:

  • agree to post on your day by noon PST. This of course may get a little fuzzy as we are all over the world. If you are going to be at sea let me know and I can change the order or better you can write the article and set it to post in the future while you are sailing.
  • provide the blog links for the article before and after you. I will give these to you.
  • post the Blog Hop button (which I have not made yet as I'm not sure what to call this project but will be similar to the Northfork button in the sidebar) that links back here so that others can find the beginning of the hop, linky, and info on future hops.

Over the next few weeks I'm hoping to get the ball rolling and if possible get June to be our first month.

What is a blog hop?

A blog hop is when a few participating blogs all write about the same topic sharing their own view or experience with the issue. On the first day, the leader of the hop posts the topic and list of blog links for those involved along the information about when they will be posting. The others participants post their articles on their given day and give the blog addresses for the previous and next article.

What is a linky party? 

A linky party is when a blogger posts on a topic and then allows you to link your own blog post about the same topic. This allows as many or few people who know about a topic to link up for others to read.

Many linky parties are only open for a short time and to recently written articles. This is not my plan (it may change but it isn't right now.) The reason being that we may do a location topic (or something like it) and you visited or experienced it and wrote about it two years ago or might be going to it in six months. In fact if you haven't even experienced said topic then I want you to link up after as it may give some up-to-date info.

To clarify Blog Hop articles are newly written (even if you are using info from a previous post.) Linky articles can be from whenever. Here is a tutorial on how to link-up.

The rules:

  • Links should pertain to the topic you are linking too. You may go to previous topics and link other articles to those as well.
  • Do not post links for stuff you are trying to sell unless it will truly benefit the topic.
  • Please also edit your article to inclue the linky button (which I will create) or somewhere on your blog (sidebar) so that others who read your post know where to find more on the topic or can join in.
  • Please link directly to the post, NOT your blog.
  • Visit others who have linked up and leave them a comment. We all LOVE comments. This is just to let them know that you enjoyed reading what they wrote and give them incentive to continue to link up their posts.
  • I have the right to delete any link that doesn't pertain to the rules (I really hope I don't have to do this!)
  • Follow me so that you can find out about future topics and remember to come back each month.
PS - I don't have a name for this project yet. Let me know if you have an idea.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


As some of you know, but most of you don't, Mark is an amazing computer programer and has been working on a new navigation app for iphone/ipad. When I got pregnant last year, Mark realized that he was going to need a project to fill some time. He had been toying with the idea of writing a new navigation app and it seemed as if the timing was right. Initially he thought it'd be a quick project that only we would use but he gradually realized that what he was working on others might find useful. So he showed it to a few cruiser friends and got a lot of positive feedback. His fun little project went from just that to a more serious endeavor and exactly a year later he has released the first version in the Apple iTunes app store.

Why did Mark want to do such a thing you might ask. Well we've used a lot of charting software - we have pretty much purchased all of the ipad apps out there and just weren't happy with certain things about them:
  • One of the things that really annoyed us about certain apps is that you have to pay for the NOAA chart regions individually. The charts are actually free from NOAA so really you should just be paying for the software once to read them. 
  • Another issue we had was that they are all raster-based which means they are basically just paper charts made digital. Mark really wanted to be able to use the Vector charts that NOAA offers because they include a heck of a lot more data and allow more customization. I love that Mark added in a feature that allows you to set your vessel's draft (depth) and based on it the display on the charts change; meaning that if you have a boat with a two foot draft the coloring on the charts is different for you than it would be for our 6'7" draft, highlighting places that can be dangerous for you. You can also choose what measurement you would like to have the charts displayed in (feet, meters, or fathoms).  There are other things too but those are the two that come to mind as the most important to me.
  • Third was that with many of the other programs, your charts are out of date as soon as you get them. NOAA updates charts almost daily. Mark put in an update feature so every time you go out you can do a quick update and if a buoy has moved you'll have that info.
There are a ton of other things that Mark has improved on and done with the app but I'm not going to go on and on. I just wanted to throw out some props for my husband who has done an awesome job!

You can check out a review of the app on or if you are a US boater you can purchase it for just $9.99, which I think is a pretty good deal!
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