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2013: The Year that was

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Monday, January 13th, 2014

and we’re back!!

2013 was a big year for Tygress and her crew. The year seemed at times to fly by and at others to drag it ‘s feet frustratingly slow.  It was a year featuring contractors, boat improvements, ex tropical cyclones, fun with family and friends, countless metres of yarn and exciting, long awaited milestones!

 

Tygress

Tygress got a major face lift during 2013 which included shiny new windows, stylish blue navy canvas and comfy new cockpit cushions.  Also in a fortuitous twist of fate Tygress was reunited with her tender after a separation of a number of years and two owners. But most excitingly of all was the casting off of her dock lines for the first time in a long time. Tygress got to feel the waters of the bay rush past her hull and the wind fill her sails. No boat is truly happy tied in their berth and we were so pleased to be able to take her out, further deepening our bond with her. Even happier to be able to bring her back in safely.

 

Me at the helm on our first solo sail.

Me at the helm on our first solo sail.

 

Shiny new windows!

Shiny new windows!

 

Stylish new navy canvas

Stylish new navy canvas

 

Our comfy cockpit cushions and super cute kitty

Our comfy cockpit cushions and super cute kitty

 

Personal Lives

The defining moment of the year was in October which saw Ben and I celebrate our 12 year anniversary with an ENGAGEMENT! Ben proposed on board in a display of candle lit romance that was totally unexpected, tender, thoughtful and completely romantic. How could I say no. So now for the fun of planning and paying for a wedding while fixing up a boat…did I just say fun?

 

He put a ring on it!
He put a ring on it!

This Blog

The last year saw Blue Water Dreaming reach new heights proving the old adage persistence does pay off. We participated in the WordCount 2013 Blogathon and were nominated for Australia’s Best Blog 2013. Thanks to that nomination we have since partnered with Boom Video to provide customised add content to the site.

Providing the content is only half the challenge, attracting and more importantly retaining readers is the other half. So a big thank you to all our readers for sticking with us as we’ve been growing and improving. Thank you for reading, for commenting and for sharing in our journey. It’s not over yet so stay tuned.

 

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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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May – Does not compute

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Saturday, June 1st, 2013

We’re slipping further and further into Winter weather as evidenced by the year’s first appearance of tracky daks (or tracksuit pants) and ugg boots. Ah happy days.  I love a comfy pair of tracky daks and big warm slippers, who doesn’t? Hey i’m in my 30’s, I live on a boat, style is becoming less and less of a priority.

I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather making me inactive or just a plain old case of burnout but I’ve barely touched the computer this month.  I’ve let my blogging fall by the wayside. I’ve hardly tweeted (but oddly enough have been gaining followers). Facebook and Google+ have rarely been updated.    That doesn’t mean nothing has happened this month.  Let’s review the month that has been May…

1. May like all the months before it was a month rich in the bounty of fish n chips. Although due to our lack of vehicular transport we could not get to our usual fish n chip place, Corner House Fish and Chips. Thankfully though there is a place within walking distance that fry’s up an equally delicious feast, Baywatch Cafe. Sadly though for the men out there, despite it’s name it is not staffed by busty blondes in red swimsuits. Hot tip – order their tartare sauce and avoid the garlic chicken balls!

 

Baywatch Cafe - a good feed

2. My knitting project deadline is fast approaching  but I have found myself stumped by broken rib edging.  A simple enough stitch but proving hard to master with increases on each end. So May was spent perfecting mattress stitch, picking up stitches, increasing stitches left, increasing stitches right and broken rib stitch.  Thank goodness for YouTube! Below is my successful attempt, I love love love the rainbow wool. (An in depth account of my latest project will be posted on Blue Water Dreaming’s sister site, Stitches and Sails).

 

Broken rib edging

 

3. Mother’s Day was in May and resulted in our first photo canvas order.  We hope the first of many. Eventually we’ll have the facilities on our site to order any of our photos on canvas.  These ones pictured are 30cm x 20cm and cost $35, a great gift for mothers day.

 

Our first photo canvas order

 

4. Boat improvements continued on through May with the laying of our new carpet.  We finally replaced the crappy old off cut that was there when we bought Tygress (before and after post coming soon). Granted carpet is not the most practical choice for a boat but we couldn’t afford the imitation teak flooring that my heart so desired.  And with a steel boat we feel that carpet will provide extra insulation from the cold during winter and also provide some sound insulation as we live loud.  The new carpet feels wonderful underfoot, only cost us approx $120, has a 5 year warranty, and is heavy duty stain resistant. But most importantly it’s blue!

 

5 year warranty, stain resistant, heavy duty and a pretty blue!

 

5. May was a month for making new friends of the feathered squawking variety.  One of the fun things about boat living for me has been feeding the fish with our left over bread but recently the local seagulls have cottoned onto the free feed and have joined in.  These brazen fellas unhappy with their share started muscling in on the bread thrown into the water for the fish.  Gross if you ask me, soggy bread is the worst!

 

 

6. Not only a month for new feathered friends, May was also a month for visits from old family friends and meeting new online friends in person.  We caught up with the lovely family from Adventure of a Lifetime one sunny Sunday and spent a few hours getting to know them, hearing first hand about their adventures here in Queensland and sharing stories of our boat life and our big plans with them.  Blog post to come.

7. I also got creative in the kitchen and tried a new recipe I found on Pinterest which I’ll post in our From the Galley section later this month. Behold my Lemon and Red Onion Pork!

 

Red Onion and Lemon Pork

May held it’s frustrations and disappointments also

a) Our more-trouble-than-it’s-worth car needed to have it’s engine replaced at a cry-in-your-pillow-at-night cost.  So that takes the tally up to two accidents and one new engine. Fortunately though our potential buyer remains keen and we’re on track to sell her come end of June.

b) The wretched weather!  Never before in my life has the weather held so much of my life to ransom. Weeks of sun before we could afford to have the windows replaced and hatches serviced.  Of course now that we have the money and paid the deposit we’ve had nothing but showers and unpredictable grey skies. It’s enough to make you cry, curse the Gods and seriously consider becoming a land lubber again….well I may have overstated that last part.

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 May an 7.

How was your May?

 

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April – Long ago

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Friday, May 17th, 2013

 Okay so April ended 17 days ago and i’m only posting my wrap up now. Slack I know. May has been characterised by a complete antipathy towards blogging and writing and being in front of the computer in general.  Writing this wrap up has been harder than normal. Partly because April feels so long ago and partly because i’m out of the habit of turning thoughts into words.  So forgive me if it lacks it’s normal pizzazz…I give you April.

1. Live karaoke craziness. After walking up the road for dinner one Sunday night we could hear singing or caterwauling ranging from “Gee they’re nailing that song” to “somebody put that cat out of it’s misery” coming from our local pub. Feeling spontaneous after a few drinks we headed inside to check it out, sure enough we’d stumbled upon a bonafide pub karaoke session and boy was it fun! Not everyone was a great singer but what they lacked in talent they made up for in enthusiasm and chutzpah. Some singers were downright hilarious with their ad lib additions to songs and others were amateur karaoke stars.  We’re definitely going back one night, and Ben may even belt out a tune himself.

Our local - The Manly Hotel

2.  Enjoyed morning coffee walks along the foreshore on the weekends with Ben. Good coffee + great company + beautiful location = lovely relaxing weekends!

3. April was another month featuring beautiful sunsets and dark horizons.

A molten gold sunset

Time to batten down the hatches.

4. We went on a train ride to visit Ben’s family in Bundaberg to celebrate his birthday.  A four hour trip on Queensland’s Tilt Train service at times reaching speeds of up to 161km/hr.  That’s not to say we didn’t have problems. Before we even left Brisbane there was a signal fault on the train line, which lead to a lengthy bus trip followed by a lengthy wait at a distant train platform before we finally got on our way. After that we had a good trip, I’ll take a train over a plane any day.  It was great to see Ben’s family and catch up at a birthday dinner in his honour.

The tilt train arriving into station

  5. Bundaberg wasn’t all happy tidings though. There was some sad reminders of January’s flood crisis like these heartbreaking mangled boats along the river. We took a drive through North Bundaberg to look at the devastation and even though curiosity is a natural human instinct you can’t help but feel like dirty, shameful voyeur driving past looking through the window at peoples destroyed homes and livelihoods.

Broken boats, broken homes, broken dreams

 6. Ben tried his hand at kayak fishing aided by his newly installed fish finder, he’s such a handy bloke. The fish finder worked brilliantly but sadly finding the fish was easier than catching the fish. Here’s  a shot of the intrepid fisherman, Ben and my brother James, before they headed out. There’s  a funny story about my first time kayaking with my brother, but i’ll save that for another time.

7. Probably the most exciting thing of all, our new cockpit canvas was finished! We absolutely love it!

Navy perfection!

and in order for the new canvas to be installed I had to get handy with spanners and a screwdriver to take down our old lashed on canvas. The exercise was a great success with nothing lost over the side and no injuries to either myself or the boat. I’m very proud of this as it was my first real boat job, mostly I clean and keep the inside neat and livable. So it felt great to get outside and contribute something more substantial.  Stay tuned for my dinghy restoration project.

So many spanners to choose from!

 Let’s move onto the less good parts of April

1) Ben and I spent half the month fighting and recovering from a head cold. Our working theory is Ben caught it from taking public transport.  People cover your mouths and sanitize your hands, we don’t want your germs. But most of all if you’re sick, stay home from work. Before boat being sick wasn’t much fun, but since moving aboard being sick is a whole new kind of awful especially if you’re both sick. Two sick people in a confined space with none of the usual chores being done, drowning in drifts of tissues and piles of unwashed dishes. It’s enough to make you want to go home to Mum’s for hot chicken soup and cuddles.

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 April  8/10.

How was your April?

 

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March – So far so good

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Thursday, April 4th, 2013

March has been a good month. Lots of sunshine, chocolate and progress with the boat.  The morning and evenings are getting cooler which is lovely, although some days have surprised us with their summer heat. It’s almost as if summer is refusing to let go and give way to autumn. But it’s not bad, it makes night time cozy to snuggle up together and days nice to be outside in the sun.

1. We bought a Kayak. If you haven’t got one I highly recommend getting one! Get two! Get three! I can’t believe I fought Ben for so many months about spending the money! They’re so much fun and it has given me the chance to get out and explore the harbour more, and provided another way for me to get active. Judging by my weight gain since moving aboard that’s something I need.   After an initial ‘whoopsie’ moment (blog post to come) i’m turning into a competent paddler.

2. We’ve tried out a few new recipes which will be featured on the blog soon. We’re always looking for healthy recipes. Ones that are suitable for cooking in a small galley, ones the don’t require a lot of fresh produce, ones using non-refrigerated ingredients. And we’ve found a couple of good ones but Ben was a little disappointed with the lack of meat in the trolley when we went shopping.

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

3. Added a some new books to my stash. Have I mentioned how much I love our local book exchange. And books. Real books, not ebooks.

Robinson Crusoe, Fatal Storm, Confessions of a Beachcomber, Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, Commander of the Mists and Reading I've Liked.

4. Brightened up the saloon with some wildflowers picked by the side of the road. Australia has beautiful native flowering trees which it just so happens I can reach if I stand on my toes with a pair of scissors.

Yellow and pink native flowers and my hand painted jar for a vase.

5. Embarked on a chocolate eating odyssey by biting the head off of this cute little fella and am presently working on eating this beautiful, shiny family of rabbits!

Cute, but not too cute to eat! Head first.

Shiny, edible bunnies and the delicious gold eggs they lay.

6. We helped friends move into their wonderful brand new house and what new house would be complete without a trip through IKEA. Oh my poor feet and all those glorious home wares I no longer have space for, but it was still fun getting to hang with friends.  And even though we no longer have a house I could still find some goodies to take home.

A slap chop, bag clips, scented candles, tea towels, clothes hanger and hooks for our pot rack.

7. Celebrated Easter with my family by gathering together, drinking and eating a delicious baked lunch followed by the family classic two tone rum pie dessert (not pictured, eaten too quickly)

A home cooked baked lunch - is there anything better??

8. We got a new spray dodger! The first part of the cockpit canvas replacement was the spray dodger and it got done just before Easter. It’s beautiful, the navy goes so well with the red hull!

Our new navy spray dodger. Ain't she pretty!

At the end of these little wrap ups I try and balance things out by noting some less than positive things that have happened during the month. But March has been a pretty good month so I can only think of two.

1) We found some more rust on the hull. Ben thinks that rust is becoming more of an issue because of electrolysis in the marina.

2) Due to financial constraints we couldn’t order the mesh sides for the cockpit that I so badly wanted.

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 March 7/10. New spray dodger WHOOO!

How was your March?

 

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February – A wet and rainy hell!

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Another month has passed and what a month it was!

Personally i’m glad to see the back of it but i’d be even gladder if March wasn’t shaping up to be more of the same.

In all fairness though, it wasn’t all bad.  Here is the official review.

1.  Made approximately 26 morning cups of coffee for my hard working man and me.  He wakes to smell of freshly brewed coffee most mornings, I wake up earlier to the dolcet tones of an insane rooster (we really must  change the alarm sound). In case you’re wondering  Ben’s mug is the one that says ‘World’s Greatest Boyfriend’ on it! Yep, I bought that for him because he is!!

Much needed morning coffee!

2. Ben took us both clothes shopping, he bought me four nice new dresses. It wasn’t all sugar and spice and four dresses nice, he made me try them all on which involved running the gauntlet of changing room waiting lines, mean changing room mirrors that distort, and dress tags featuring sizes larger than I’m willing to admit that I need.

My four pretty new dresses and one new wallet.

3.  Taught myself to knit, for the third time. Here’s hoping the skill will actually stick this time round.  I started my practice project by casting on eight stitches and learnt garter, stockinette and ribbing plus how to add stitches.

Here is the start of my practice knitting project.

Here it is a week or two later, longer and wider and getting neater.

4. Started a new book and tried again to kick start a love affair with red wine.  I don’t think it’s going to take as i’m a scotch girl through and through.

Red wine and a good book = great way to spend the day!

5. Played dress ups with the cat in a fit of bored mischief making one night.  He wasn’t happy but he endured it like a trooper.

One cute and very unhappy kitty.

6. Watched the documentary ‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’ . We were so inspired we went out the next day and bought a juicer and heaps of fruit and veggies! Okay so we haven’t juiced as much as we planned and using the juicer is only an option will we’re living with shore power, but it’s a step in a healthier direction.

Our new juicer and lots of healthy stuff

Tomatoes, carrots and celery = yummy!

The finished juice.

7. Spent a couple of hours in various boating stores, the novelty of which has worn off, so I amused myself by taking pictures. Ben amused himself shopping up a storm, accumulator tank, life jackets, fenders, metal etch cleaner and rust preventing primer.  Me i’d still rather be shoe shopping.

Ropes ropes and more ropes

A wall of shining anchors.

As with good there is always bad

1) While January featured nature’s raw destructive power of Oswald, February has seen her wage a sustained campaign of constant dampness and disillusionment.  Brisbane received 250mm of rain over a period of 20 days, I’ve forgotten what sunny days feel like.

2) We were rudely awakened from our naivety regarding the cost of boat repairs having received two quotes for work we need done to Tygress.  Necessity has meant reevaluating what we want done and what we need done and what we can afford to have done.

3) Earlier in the month some idiot, and I use the term kindly as there are a lot more appropriate words I could use but for the sake of common decency won’t, backed into the Porsche…which we are trying to sell!

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 February 5/10. Not a lot of sunshine means not a lot of happiness and financial shocks aren’t that fun either.

How was your February?

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January – where’d it go?

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Every new year I think to myself  This year is going to go slower, i’m going to live more in the moment and it’s going to feel longer.

But each new year seems to go just as quick as the last year, if not quicker! And as if to prove my point we’re at the end of January already.

Here are some things I did in January.

1. Stacked and re-stacked the fridge about 30 times.

Perfectly packed!

 

2. Completed the Wynnum 10,000 steps challenge with only two huge blisters, some sunburn and complete exhaustion to show for it.

 

10,000 steps = 1 bloody long walk!

 

3. Found some rather sad and neglected looking boats in Wynnum creek, a place we call ‘the boat graveyard’…for obvious reasons.

 

A sad sight to see

 

Creative seating solution

 

4. Went to Bundaberg to join Ben’s family as they returned Pop home to the sea at one of his favourite fishing spots, Coonarr beach.

Pop returning home

 

5. Sweltered in hot, windless conditions,  during which the ships cat found some adorable positions to try and cool down.

 

The ships cat trying to sleep and cool down

 

6. Had a movie day, thanks to a supply of girlie movies from my Mum and a large bottle of home brew scotch from my Dad.

 

A girlie movie day

 

7. Ate a whole tub of ice cream, with Ben’s help of  course, well if truth be told he ate most of it.  But he had to, Tygress has no freezer and you can’t waste ice cream!

 

Ice cream treat.

 

8. Discovered some interesting new ways to enjoy Bundaberg rum, gotta say I loved the sarsaparilla and Bundy Red combo. My only complaint…the bottles aren’t big enough!

 

Discovering new ways to enjoy rum

 

There were of course a few unpleasant events as well

1. Ex tropical Cyclone Oswald came, destroyed and left

2. Found what we think is some rot in the cockpit plywood

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 would rate January as a 6/10.  How was your January?

Bring on February!

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