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Fill ‘er up

Posted in: Living aboard on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Every now and then I get asked what we do for water on board. For most people water comes unlimited out of the tap and I guess it’s easy to assume because we live on a boat that we don’t have the basic luxury of running water. And to be fair to that assumption not all boaties do have running water but for us though it was a must. When we were looking at boats a good sized water tank was an important requirement because we didn’t want to be filling it all the time and the bigger the tank the greater cruising range we’ll have.  On a side note, the dream, the if-we-had-lots-of-money-and-more-space dream would be to have a water maker installed on board so that we can turn the unlimited amount of sea water below us into safe drinking water. Sadly not with our current budget and not with our current boat.

Tygress has a 200 litre tank in her keel with a pump to loudly pump water to our two taps, one in the head and one in the galley, and so far for us 200ltrs has been a  good amount. We get about two weeks out of one tank refill and since we’re currently living in a marina with shower and toilet facilities this 200ltr amount does not include water for showers.  As it is Tygress’s on board shower was disconnected before we bought her and we won’t be reconnecting it since discovering that the plumbing for it runs behind the switch board. Is anyone else thinking disaster waiting to happen? So it’ll be solar showers for us in the cockpit.

Filling the tank while living dockside is a relatively easy job and one i’m proud to say I can do on my own now. At first we’d only fill it when Ben was home. He would be inside to monitor the tank while I manned the tap outside. It was a good system and one with very little room for error on my part. Then one fateful day Ben asked if I would like to have a go at monitoring the tank while he manned the tap. My initial response “Hell no! I’ll flood the boat! I won’t know when it’s full! I can’t do it! I WON”T do it!”  But then I calmed down and remembered why I was on this journey, to grow, to try new things, to challenge myself.  So I manned up and took position inside.

For whatever reason there is no level indicator on our tank so telling how empty she is a case of listening to the changing sounds of the pump and telling how full it is is a case of peering into the tank with a torch trying to see the water level and how far from the top it is. It’s something that takes a bit of practice.  My first time I was constantly turning the hose off to peer inside “Ben I think it’s full, is it full?” I’d shriek “It won’t be full yet, it’s a big tank” Ben would calmly respond from outside. Not even a minute later “Ben Ben Ben!! It’s full, I can see water OMG i’m going to flood the boat!” followed by “Calm down Sez, it takes at least five minutes for it to fill.”

This continued until the water was close to the top at which point I completely I forgot which way to turn the hose nozzle to shut off the water. The shrieking became incoherent. We laugh about it now, but it was stressful for me at the time. But it was all worth it when Ben said he was proud of me for having a go and the sense of achievement I got when it was done was fantastic.

It probably doesn’t sound that much or that hard to you dear reader but sometimes it’s the smallest victories that feel the most empowering.  Now  that I can fill up the tank on my own, It’s one more thing I can contribute, one more thing Ben doesn’t have to be responsible for.

First we need to remove the carpet to reveal the water tank flooring panel.

 

Then remove the panel, please excuse our dirty bilge.

 

Then you open the tank using the age old lefty loosy - righty tighty method.

 

Then put the hose in, turn it on and wait. It's easier to stand using my foot to hold the hose in place.

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June – The half way mark

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Sunday, July 14th, 2013

It’s surprising to think that we’re half way through the year. Organised people are already preparing for Christmas. People working in finance are busy with the end of financial year. Shoppers with money to burn are enjoying the EOFY sales. People are rugging up for winter as the cold really starts to bite and the first two State of Origin games have been held. But most importantly of all, our window replacement has been finished!!

1. We flew to Bundaberg to catch up with Ben’s family, particularly his Aunt Barb and Uncle Kev who we don’t get to see very often as they live in Victoria. It was as usual a great trip and we had fun catching up with everyone. The highlights of the trip for me include spending time with Ben’s grandmother learning how to crochet and Matty and Ann’s visit. Matty is practically like a brother to Ben so it was great to see them chatting and laughing together. And Matty’s big bear hugs are the best! But the best bit was Matty and Ann brought with them some of the catch from a recent spearfishing trip and we had some of the nicest crumbed fish I’ve ever had.  There was Parrot, Hoki, Cod and another type I can’t remember.

2. We enjoyed good food and good company on a double date at Kings Indian Restaurant with our friend Richo and his girlfriend Carla. It was a great night with lots of laughs and delicious food. Who knew I loved papadums so much. The restaurant was small and had an intimate feel, the nicest part were these lovely artworks on the walls.

3. I began an unhealthy addiction to the new Choc Orange flavour of Tim Tam. Normally I’m a Tim Tam purist, it’s either original or dark choc mint for me. That was until Arnott’s changed the game. Forever. These Tim Tams are simply divine. No other Tim Tam or any chocolate biscuit for that matter will ever compare to them. My only complaint is that they only come in packs of five. Seriously Arnott’s what’s with the odd number of biscuits in every pack? Don’t you know that they’ll most likely be shared by a couple deeply in love but who nevertheless will be driven to fighting over the last one?

Choc Orange Heaven

4. Rain. Rain. Rain. We seemed to get a lot of it. This was the view out our hatches for most of the month, well at least it felt that way. I shouldn’t be complain though, other parts of the state would love to get this rain. And as far as i’m concerned, they can have it!

5. I finally finished the hooded baby blanket for my friend Liz and as always it was very satisfying to finish a project and especially one that was a gift for such a special occasion and a special person. You can check out more pictures and read about my experience knitting it over at Stitches and Sails.

6. The blanket was finished just in time for Liz’s baby shower. The theme for the day was baby jungle animals with these awesome cupcakes featuring animals made entirely out of sugar. As well as fantastic cake pops made by the father to be, oh my Lord they were fantastic. I think from now on I’ll only eat cake in pop form.  There was a scrap booking station, a bib painting station, guess-the-weight-of-the-jelly-babies-in-the-bottle table, baby photo guessing and a game where you had to name as many nursery rhymes featuring animals as you could.  Can you believe I spaced on Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Mary Had a Little Lamb?

Chocolate surgary goodness

7. Okay lucky number seven, our window replacement has been finished!!! (yes is really does deserve three exclamation marks)  The new windows and hatches are a big improvement on the old ones and the best thing is they don’t leak! Tygress is once again watertight above deck, take your best shot rain! I’m still not in a good head space to write the blog post about It but I promise to do it soon.

Shiny new windows!

 8. Mother Nature reminded us she still has a nice side by giving us a beautiful rainbow on one of our few days of sun.

9. Ben attended a LAN party hosted in style by Liz and Nathan and I tagged along to hang with Liz. It was fun to catch up for girly talk and watch the boys kill each other in Halo Reach.

10. We got the car  back with it’s new-to-it engine and it works great. While we’re lucky where we are at Manly that most of our essential needs are within walking distance I’d forgotten the luxury of being able to just jump in the car and drive further afield. Best of all we can now go visit friends and family without relying on long tedious trips on public transport.

 Now for the not so good parts of June

a) The weather obviously. July more sun please.

b) There has been marking to our nice red paint work on our port side hull which isn’t washing off and which we will be addressing with our window contractor. At this stage we think there has been some sort of spill that we weren’t advised of or maybe it was the deck wash he used at the end of the job.

 If (1) is considered a complete cluster-whoopsie of a month and (10) is considered a month full of happiness, sunshine and success then I’d rate June a 9.

How was yours?

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Blogathon Review

Posted in: Uncategorized on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

As most of our readers know during the month of June I participated in the WordCount 2013 Blogathon event which challenged bloggers to post a blog a day for the entire month.

And it was a challenge.

But on reflection it was a beneficial one both for myself and for this blog. Early on in the month I blogged about why I was participating and what I hoped to achieve, you can read here. Although I didn’t quite state that my goal was to post everyday, it was a personal goal that I really wanted to achieve.

Obviously I didn’t quite make it to the magic 30 mark. I burnt out. Life got in the way. Someday’s I couldn’t be bothered sitting at the computer let alone trying to write something entertaining and coherent.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because although I didn’t post every day, I did learn that I don’t want to be an everyday blogger. As a result I now have a more realistic goal to get new content up every 2-3 days.

Not only did I discover a blogging schedule that suits me but I also achieved some of my other goals.

When I set out I wanted to increase readership and web hits…which I did! During the month of June average daily site visits as well as visits by new readers doubled and on some days tripled which is fantastic.

I also wanted to boost interaction with readers in our comment sections…which I did. Interacting with readers is one of the best things about blogging, I love it. Getting the email to moderate a new comment on the site still makes me do a little happy dance. So getting comments from new readers and my regulars was one of the highlights of the month.

As for my writing, well who can say, maybe it’s improved, maybe it hasn’t. But I’ve certainly done more of it which can only be a good thing.

Here are some of my favourite posts from June:

The first installment in our series showing what daily life is like aboard Tygress – ‘Through the Porthole’

The amusing things that people have typed into Google search and found our site – ‘They Typed What?’

A post about my love of books and whether or not I have too many on board (I don’t!) – ‘Books on Board’

And how could I leave out pictures of our cute cat being cute – ‘The Ship’s Cute Kitty’  

 

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More JOY Somewhere Else

Posted in: Uncategorized on Friday, July 5th, 2013

A few weeks ago I was shocked and saddened to read that Jane and Ean of s/v More JOY Everywhere and are saying goodbye to the cruising life. I think i’m still recovering actually, how could they do this to me!

I’m shocked because you don’t hear of many people giving the life up, well at least not so publicly. I’m sure for every contented cruiser sailing around the world there have been five more that have tried it, tired of it, or found it didn’t live up the brochures and quietly returned to land. There’s no shame it that, cruising long term and living on a boat is not for everyone. Knowing that it might not be for them, Jane and Ean wisely gave themselves a two year escape’ clause which after long discussions and deep reflection they’ve decided to take.

I’m saddened, as I know many of their other online friends are, because even though I’ve  never met them in person I really like Jane and Ean and enjoy their self-branded anti-inspirational take on the liveaboard cruising life.  They’re open, honest, deeply amusing writers, downright hilarious at times and I’ve enjoyed their blog immensely.

 

One of More JOY Everywhere's fun anti-inspirational posters

But they assure us that it’s not the end of their adventures or the end for their blogging which is great news.

Jane and Ean were kind enough to do a little interview…

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Joining me on the couch today are Jane and Ean of s/v More JOY Everywhere who are here to tell us why they’ve decided to sell their 40ft catamaran and return to a land based life. Welcome Jane and Ean….

Jane: Hi Sarah, it’s great to be here

Ean: This is a comfy couch, I’m looking forward to more comfy couches.

Sarah: I hear you Ean, I really miss my couch, to think of how I took it for granted all those years, it almost makes me cry. Anyway let’s get down to brass tacks…

What were the early signs that your dream was slowly sliding into nightmare territory?

Ean: Something broke. And then a second thing broke. And then a third thing. And when the 14th thing broke and I still hadn’t fixed the first thing, I knew we were hosed.

Jane: HA! I think we’re going to name our tell-all cruising memoir, “A Dream Slowly Sliding Into Nightmare Territory.” Great turn of phrase. It wasn’t only the stuff that was breaking, it was the giant sucking sound that our bank account was making, since we couldn’t fix anything, and we had to hire random dubiously-qualified “marine technicians’ all up and down the ICW (East Coast of US)

What effects was the change in your relationship with cruising having on your relationship with each other?

Jane: After the intial blame-slinging (i.e. whose stupid idea was this? – it was Ean’s by the way) we hunkered down and got really determined to “get on with it” – and then we learned to laugh at ourselves and that helped a lot. But we really expected it to get ‘easier’ over time, and it didn’t, so we were getting pretty exhausted. And finally we realised that we were acting like the boat was more important than our marriage, and that was a huge mistake.

Ean: It is not for nothing that our “marketing campaign” for selling the boat is called Operation BABSAM (Buy a Boat, Save a Marriage). It got so bad that we didn’t have the energy to have any fun with each other. We had to step back and get our priorities straight.

Was it hard to admit publicly that you were done with the cruising life, were you worried others would see it as a failure? (We don’t)

Ean: Yes

Jane: We have loved being a part of the cruising community – I was really afraid that we were going to get “kicked out of the club”, so to speak. But we’ve been gratified by the outpouring of understanding and support that we’ve received. It really helped us to “go public” because we felt very isolated while we were agonising over the decision.

Sarah: It was a brave decision, and you should be proud of making it. Because it would’ve been so easy just to let your web presence disappear and leave people wondering if your domain simply ran out, or worse, you sank, or were taken hostage by pirates or most sinister of all, that the cats had staged a mutiny and made you walk the plank.  But by going public you’ve said to the world “hey, relax those things didn’t happen, we no longer love this life and that’s okay, it’s not for everyone”. Personally not having cruised myself and not knowing if i’ll like the lifestyle it’s good to learn from your experience that returning to land is not failure.

Will you keep blogging? 

Ean: Yes, but all future posts will revolve around the lives of our cats, Isabel, Tucker, and Percy. Just kidding. We intend for the blog to be the repository of our ongoing adventures.

Jane: Sarah, you made a good point that there aren’t many bloggers who talk about the end of the dream, or what comes after cruising – our hope by continuing with the blog is that our experiences can help others who are trying to figure out what to do next…and also, of course, we honestly both like to write and we like to make people laugh at the absurdities of life.

Sarah: Oh thank goodness, the world needs writers like you! I look forward to continued posts.

What are you most looking forward to about returning to a land based life?

Jane: I am actually working on a blog post about this right now, but here’s a quick list: big bed that we don’t have to crawl over one another to get into or out of; endless showers, big bathtubs, fast internet, bugless flour

Ean: I am most looking forward to never having to fix anything. Ever.

What do you think your cats Isabel, Tucker and Percy will enjoy the most about returning to a land based life?

Jane: LAND

Ean: They will enjoy roaming around freely and biting the heads off things.

Jane: They hardly EVER bite the heads of things. But they do love to be outside…I mean outside on LAND.

How do you feel about RV’s? Will we see a four wheeled More JOY Everywhere in the future?

Jane: Four wheels – Yes! What’s your address anyway? Seriously, we would love to take a year or so to drive around Australia – it’s definitely going to be one our our future adventures.

Ean: Not an RV, per se: things break on RV’s. I am thinking rental cars and hotels/motels are more our style.

Sarah: Obviously for security reasons Jane I can’t revel my exact location, but I can tell you I live in the best city in Australia, Brisbane! You simply must fly the ridiculous distance it takes to get from anywhere in the world to Australia and explore our beautiful country!

Is the future a blank slate or have you penciled in some plans?

Ean: We as still afflicted with wanderlust, so we’re thinking of being global nomads for a while.

Jane: I just don’t know how the cats are going to feel about being Global Nomads. But we’ll figure it out. There are a few things we’re planning NOT to do; We’re NOT going to live anywhere cold. We’re NOT going to go back to our house in Milwaukee, WI. And we’re NOT going to own anything that breaks.

Sarah: I wouldn’t rule out global travel for Isabel, Tucker and Percy, I’m reminded of this story I once heard about a couple who backpacked with their cat on a 9000 mile journey.  Besides they’re seriously cute cats, I can see book and movie deals in their future.

Living the cruising life can be quite difficult and present a lot of challenges, what are your proudest moments?

Jane: One moment I remember in particular is our first international landfall in the Bahamas, after our first time offshore, a three-day passage. There was this realisation that – wow – we’re really doing this.

Ean: What i’m most proud of, right now, is that we decided to stop when we realised that the cruising life wasn’t a good fit for us, instead of sticking it out just so we could say we aren’t “quitters”.

And lastly, what will be your “take-away’s” from this experience? What has the cruising life taught you as individuals and as a couple?

Ean: #1: We’re realised that we’re best cut out for a maintenance-free lifestyle. #2: We’re learned that we can life with so much less than we though we could, both in terms of resources and belongings. #3: We’re reaffirmed for ourselves that we really like to travel, and that travelling needs to be an important part of our future.

Jane: As an individual, I think my most important lesson learned is that my marriage is the most important thing in my life. I would say that Ean is the most important thing in my life, but that sounds really sappy, and anyway he is not a thing.

Ean: As an individual, I’ve learned that, to quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam” and that trying to lead a life i’m not qualified for is a sure way to become very unhappy.

Sarah: Well folks, that’s all we have time for. Jane and Ean thanks a lot for your time, it’s been a pleasure, the oceans will be emptier without you. For those of you at home stay tuned in to More JOY Everywhere and follow Jane and Ean’s continued adventures.

 

Jane and Ean of More JOY Everywhere fame!

 

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