Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hatching From the Bubble

Starting to peek out into the world!
The crew of the Zephyr has hatched forth into Spring full of expectation and excitement! A couple weeks back with the help of our good friend Justin and Tim's brother Andrew we took to cutting back the plastic wrapping that had contained us all winter. It felt AMAZING to cut through the plastic with knives and rip away our shield. 
Toby was so happy to have the wind blowing through his hair again!
Ah, the sweet feeling of knifing through plastic to see the gorgeous blue sky again!
We were the first in the marina to hatch and though we knew it was a tad early in the season we couldn't help it - we were READY! We are so excited about our first spring/summer season aboard we couldn't take our winter protection anymore. 
Justin cutting through - WORD!

Knock! Knock! Who's There? 

When it was all ripped off the view of the bright blue sky was glorious! To sit below and look up and know what the weather is doing is a wonderful thing! And to be able to see this awesome, active, exciting harbor we live in again and not just hear grumbling engines or tug toots - we love it! 
The scenery I can see while I cook dinner in my galley, never dull on this magnificent river!

We're lucky enough on board Zephyr to have a fully enclosed cockpit which is a big reason  why we were able to take the shrinkwrap off so early. The enclosure keeps the cockpit nice and warm from the sun and dry from the rain. It's become our main hang out spot and big plus - we can see the Sox game on the TV in the main salon from the cockpit couch! 
Toby's very happy to have a space of his own away from us - it's been a LONG winter together!
And we were finally able to mount our grill on the stern pulpit - not a bad backyard for grilling, hey?

So, with the removal of the shrinkwrap  and the return of water to the docks we mark our emergence from our first winter aboard. We both can't fully believe we made it! There were times...boy were there times...but now we are realizing that this idea of living on a boat was a great idea! As we sit and have coffee with the sound of gulls and the salty breeze..we feel...
eternally grateful

Friday, April 12, 2013

One Year Later

Well, we've been on this blogging adventure for exactly one year! Our first post was on April 9, 2012 and about a week later we had our first post about our boat search. BOY have we come a long way in a year! To think about how much we didn't really know when we first looked at 'High Hopes' to what we know now with 'Zephyr''s incredible and definitely something to be quite proud of. 

As we mentioned in our first post, this dream of boat living didn't just spring up last year, no, we'd been dreaming about this life long before that. Our first boat we ever even looked at was called 'Abode', a 1980, immaculate, 41' Morgan Out-Island. All of Jill's family, Jill & Tim all trucked up to Cummaquid on Cape Cod on Labor Day weekend 2010, 10 days short of Tim & Jill's wedding, to take a cruise and check out 'Abode'. 
We look like naturals even in 2010! 
The day was truly glorious! Jill's Dad and the owner, Steve, an old Tug Captain and all around pirate-esque type of guy, got along famously, talking boats, teak work & the Navy. Since we were 10 days from getting married our heads were somewhere else, not to mention Jill was still in grad school and our life wasn't at a place to be buying a boat...but as you can see from the five-mile smiles on our faces - we were enamored, the dream was sparked. 

And now, here we are a little more than 2 years later, boat owners, full-time liveaboards, on the cusp of our first New England summer. We've dissected A LOT of our boat, learned so, so much, have so, so much still to learn but we also realize that if we hadn't just made this leap we'd never have known. Sometimes you just have take a leap of faith and trust that though it may at times (like when it's 3 degrees in Maine on a boat) seem like you made a mistake it's all part of the journey. It's all stories you can tell. 

Happy Family Aboard Our Very Own Boat Zephyr

Life surprises me sometimes at how fast it really does move. I can tend to live in a day-by-day mentality, focusing on the short-term and never realize just how far we've truly come. It's important to reflect back on the accomplishments, screw ups, missteps and successes and celebrate them all because that is the beauty of being alive. As trite as it sounds, life is short, real short, and I think we need to celebrate every second we can and continue to evolve, challenge ourselves and the status quo, soak up what makes us truly happy, revel in simplicity, constantly learn new things and yes, sail uncharted waters (with a chartplotter, of course)! 

"The best way to feel the ocean is dive right into the waves..."
I found this video recently and couldn't think of something more fitting for our life's path...
"I don't want to say, 'I wish, I want to say, DAMN, that was awesome!'"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reason Why Wednesday: Why We Should Take The Shrink Wrap Off This Weekend

Surroundings like this can not be seen under the bubble

  1. Cause it's April!
  1. Cause Justin is coming up!
  1. The leaky back hatch over our bed isn't going to get fixed until it's leaking again
  1. We're hoping it will snow again...yeah right
  1. You can see in; you just can't see out
  1. The barbeque smokes out the bubble
  1. Secure the halyards's been a long clanky winter
  1. Cockpit party!
  1. Andrew called and said he wants to come help on the boat this weekend and the boat will need to be washed
  2. The sails aren't on, but the engine works…and a day on the water beats most others
  3. You may have read an earlier blog about our sail down from Portland when we first bought the boat.  The little problem with our mainsail track is not exactly remedied yet and the bubble is preventing work on this critical
    new this season!
  4. Cockpit speakers!!!
  5. 2 bridges down, 1 to go just upstream from the picture on top
  6. And because gas tankers are taking out bridges around here

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Cleaning

For the past few weeks the crew of the Zephyr has been in super-duper Spring Cleaning mode. Unlike a house, where Spring Cleaning means shaking out the rugs and washing the curtains, Spring Cleaning on a boat means lots of bleach, bilge cleaner and engine maintenance. 

I know we've written about the lovely world of mold, mildew and condensation before and though we've learned A LOT about the intricacies of it and read a lot of ways to control it the bottom line is, it's a constant and continuous battle, especially aboard in the winter. It's life. So part of our spring cleaning has been scrubbing and cleaning every single hatch, locker and dark, dingy corner of the boat including the deep, dark world of the bilge. Wiping out the mildew and moisture that has accumulated over the winter before the warmer temps can cause it to fester and grow - I know, gross, this is life aboard. I even remarked to Tim, "I think this is the 'reality' of boat life that everyone talks about, it's not all rum drinks and Buffett songs." But, it also feels REALLY good to get elbow deep in the muck and grime, bleach it and know you're helping eradicate the "boat smell" that we've been living with for the past 6 months. 
"Jesus Juice" as it's referred to by Peggy -
the magical Boat & Bilge Cleaner. 

I call this 'boat yoga' - contorting myself so my arm can reach way under
the sink to scrub the inside of the hull

And we're learning a ton about what's where in the belly of the boat. Tracing wires and hoses and connections so we know which locker holds access to what and when it, be it the water system, the electric system or the waste system inevitably breaks, we know exactly where to go to fix it, this is priceless. We're even going to create a map of our lockers and systems for our "boat binder" documenting the entire running of the boat. I tell you this boat ownership is a constant lesson for us, we are ALWAYS learning something. 

Spring Cleaning doesn't have to be all work & no fun! 

Tim has been practicing in the art of diesel engine mechanics and impressing the heck out of the rest of the crew! He's methodically learned and executed how to change the oil, change both the primary and secondary fuel filters, bleed the fuel lines and change the transmission fluid. Mr. Perkins, our engine, started right up after a long winter's nap and is now purring like a kitten! Our 4 legged crew member doesn't exactly 'love' when the engine is grumbling but the human crew LOVES the sound of a well maintained and running engine. Our main sail is at the sail loft being patched from our harrowing maiden voyage when she sustained some damage. Next weekend we'll finally hatch from the bubble and start rigging our sails back on! We're moving back to the Wentworth Marina on April 20th for the summer so we're planning our first sail of the season now!  We both can't believe we actually made it through our first winter, it feels surreal that spring is actually here and we're prepping Zephyr for her first sailing season with us!

We've also made some nice additions with some great new throw pillows for our cockpit and main salon. THANKS MOM! We're envisioning some nice late afternoon naps up in the cockpit on these beauties  

Last month's awesome spring improvement project was the installation of a fantastic new stereo. We got a Fusion Marine Stereo MS-RA 200 with cockpit and main salon speakers. 

Life aboard with constant music surrounding us is AWESOME! We wake up & make coffee to the sweet sounds of Willie Nelson, we cook dinner to slick sounds of Old Crow Medicine Show, we hang out to the groovy sounds of the Lumineers and yes, we drink boat drinks to the island tunes of Jimmy Buffett. The cockpit speakers were a GREAT idea now that it's nicer weather we're definitely spending a lot more time out there - there's not a lot better than laying out in the cockpit in the warm weather sipping on a rum and coke listening to Jimmy Buffett's "Son of a Son of a Sailor". 

"Haul the sheet in as we ride on the wind
That our forefathers harnessed before us
Hear the bells ring as the tight rigging sings
Its a son of a gun of a chorus

Where it all ends I can't fathom my friends
If I knew I might toss out my anchor
So I cruise along always searchin for songs
Not a lawyer a thief or a banker"

We are feeling quite excited and very grateful that we followed our guts last September when we bought Zephyr and persevered through the challenge of purging all our worldly goods, rallied through Nor'Easters and blizzards, overcame sub-zero walks to the showers because now we are the ones who we were envious of our whole lives - we're the ones down on the docks in the springtime, we're the ones sitting on our deck for happy hour, we're boat owners and we can only imagine it's only going to get better from here! HELLO SUMMER! 

Something about Happy Hour after a hard day's work - it's just sweeter, Toby can concur. :)
So Spring is here and the crew of the Zephyr is feeling pretty darn great...this about sums it up for us these days.