Thursday, July 30, 2009

Keeps Gettin' Better


We made it home from the anchorage on Monday morning and I didn't bother to write because there was nothing interesting to tell about it. Today, I wanted to make a big deal out of my new pirate flag. It reads "Time Flies When You're Having Rum", with a skull and crossbones pictured in the middle. It seemed pretty cool when it arrived in my mailbox this morning. But today is much bigger than a little pirate flag flying high beside the mast.
This afternoon, we scored a used propane oven!!

It sounds so simple. Perhaps you have no idea how expensive a marine propane oven is. Or maybe you didn't know how impossible it is to find one used. For a year, we've tried unsuccessfully to secure one and this glorious day, thanks to a tip from Adam, our story has a happy ending. Now... everyone is invited over for Thanksgiving dinner. Yes! That means you, too!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Anchors Aweigh

This weekend we are anchored at La Playa, just a short sail from where we moor our boat in San Diego Bay. This is the first time we've ever anchored Mother Culture, so we're pretty excited! Joe sailed down here with us and gave us a lesson in anchoring. We got a little taste of how some sailors can be snooty if they think you're anchoring too close. (Luckily when we woke up this morning, said *snooty neighbor* had moved his rig.) It's nice and quiet here- no airport across the street, no Coast Guard helipad right next door. Just the sound of kids playing in the water and the occasional dog barking. And no waves. The difficult part is trusting the anchor will hold while Mother Culture spins circles around it. But I'm fast learning that having faith is the name of the game in sailing. I'll be working here for the weekend while Ben works at the hotel and we'll be heading back to the ball on Monday morning.

Ben & Joe Sailing

the Bow
Ben & Joe Relaxing
Mother Culture Anchored in La Playa

The Anchor Rode
A Carnival Ship Sails Down the Bay
on the other side of Shelter Island
Neighborly Ducks

Work Smarter, Not Harder

How we get to shore when we're too lazy to row to the dock.


(We actually tied a line to the dinghy and Ben pulled me back!)


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh, Happy Day!


These may not look very special to you, but to me they mean REFRIGERATION is in our near future!! Ben is beginning to tackle our new and improved electrical system which will allow us to run the reefer all day and night, while concurrently using our interior lights, water pump, laptops, flat iron (yes, I'll admit I enjoy a little *self-maintenance* from time to time!) and any other electrical appliances we feel compelled to use. Pictured are four 6-volt, 232 amp hour golf cart batteries (with a close-up pictured below) which he will be hooking up in a parallel series. He could tell you the rest in detail if I could ever get him to join the blogging world, but for now, you'll have to take my rudimentary description. Now, if you'll excuse me while I go jump for joy!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Motorcycle Diaries: Chapter 2 Cont'd

Here is one last video from our trip to Connecticut in June. This one goes with the ones from my Videos posting back on June, 16, 2009... when Ben and my dad went to Mt. Greylock State Reservation.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sailing Lessons

We went sailing on Mother Culture again on Thursday. This time, Adam and Jasmine came along. The more we sail, the more valuable lessons I learn:
* It's not enough to have sunscreen on board. I actually need to apply it before we go out.
* Sunscreen does not protect against windburn.
* Apparently the Navy has the right to close the mouth of the bay whenever they see fit.
* Sailing hurts. I'm tired and sore whenever we return to the mooring ball.
* And it makes me hungry...errr...ravenous.
* When the genoa gets twisted around the forestay, it can be a real b!^*% to untangle.

Here are some pics of our latest jaunt:




Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday Cruiseday

Yesterday we pulled out a virgin genoa we'd found hiding in the back of the aft berth during our cleaning spree the other day. We hooked her up and went out for a sail around the bay. Lola chilled in her doghouse most of the time... only coming outside for a couple of gingerbread men she was offered. I posted a video of of us tacking in the previous post. Here are some pics:

The Helmsman


Sparring Helmspersons

The Helmswoman
This NOAA boat was chillen in the bay

Lola was content to enjoy the shade in her pup-tent

That's the Pacific, just beyond the Point
Sails

Tuesday Tack

Here's a little video from our sailing trip yesterday...

video

Bicycle Abduction

It's long been known that you can't keep a bike on the dinghy dock. Or on the wall. An incorrigable sense of entitlement in this country leads people to steal anything that hasn't been bolted down. However, we decided to lock our bikes there anyway, for the sake of convenience. I mean, we own a couple of the most tattered and inexpensive bikes money could buy. Certainly, if a bike was going to be stolen, it would be Charlie's shiny red Schwinn with the lazy-man's motor, right? Wrong.

After a cruise around the bay yesterday, we thought we might cruise bicycle-style to grab some much-needed grub. As I approached the dock to take Lola to the ladies' room, my eyes stumbled upon an empty spot where Ben's bicycle once resided. Looks like the Serial Bicycle Thief struck again. Not only was Ben's spot empty, but the place in which a neighbor's yellow beach cruiser once rested his tires was empty as well. It was a bittersweet finding, as Not Francie was the last bike standing. And at the top of the gangway, our friend Markitos bike hung on by a thread.
Looks like the thief tried unsuccessfully to cut one of his cables... and his lock.
After Ben and I got back from a motorcycle ride to dinner, I dragged Not Francie up the gangway and locked her up beside Markitos' bike. A little detective work led us to understand that those bikes with more than one cable, chain or lock were the survivors in this attack. I keep Not Francie locked up with a thick chain and Master Lock along with a heavy duty Kryptonite bike lock. Any thief would have to spend a good amount of time cutting through those in order to steal her.
Ben, unfortunately, had Not Juda locked up only with a chain and Master Lock. Also, the fact that he was down on the dock allowed more privacy for a thief to spend time cutting a lock or chain without being noticed by passersby. Our initial thought was that the dock was safer than the wall for locking bikes, but now we realize the wall is better traveled, and therefore safer for bikes. Lessons learned.
Since Markitos is currently cruising out to Catalina and is not able to fend for his own bicycle, I strung my own chain through both of our bikes as a deterrent for future attacks. Don't worry, Markitos... I got you covered! Have fun in Catalina and hopefully you'll still have a bike when you return!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

HellHull

I try to keep my complaints to a minimum, but hot temperatures are like low blood sugar. They cause me to lose all reason and sensibility. The temperature on my iGoogle desktop shows 76 degrees in San Diego, while the thermometer in the cabin of Mother Culture reads a sweltering 85 degrees.

Here I sit working (or blogging), in my bikini, sucking down iced tea like it's going out of style, wishing the sun would go out of style instead. "Sunny San Diego." They say it like it's a good thing.

Since we still don't have the reefer going (that's "refrigerator" to you landlubbers), I make a daily trip to the store to pick up ice to keep in my cooler in order to have cool drinks on board. Since eating soup is out of the question, the main dish on my summer menu is now tuna. With warm olive oil.

Lola was attacked by the clippers last night. Though she wasn't happy about it while it was happening, I believe she must feel at least a little bit of relief today. It's hard to tell because, like me, she doesn't dare move too much or too fast in this Hell we call Home.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Green Dilemma

I like to think that I do my best to be *green* but it seems like there are so many sides to every situation.

Besides living *green*, I also enjoy a life free of clutter. And as choosy as I try to be, inevitably I always create waste.

My current dilemma is this one:

When we moved into this boat, the previous owner had stashed in the storage compartments enough plastic ware, cups, and Styrofoam plates to throw a rather large party. A party much too large to take place on a 33-foot boat. My theory is that he preferred to use disposable items instead of wasting precious freshwater to wash reusable dishes.

Problem is, said disposables have been taking up space under the settee and messing with my chi.

I figure I have a few options:
1. I can wear a disguise while I guiltily use them up and throw them away.
2. I can give them to someone else, who will use them up and throw them away.
3. I can simply throw them away... ensuring that they never served any practical purpose other than wasting space and resources.

Any which way I spin it, these disposable items are going to end up in the dumpster and will, most definitely, spend the rest of their existence in a landfill or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

What is a girl to do??

Friday, July 10, 2009

Spring Cleaning

It's summer, I know, but it seems like a good time to clean around here. Yesterday Ben cleaned out one of the berths. I like to think of it as our "basement." It seems to be where all the crap ends up when we have no other place to put it. We managed to get rid of a giant trash bag full of stuff, plus a laundry basket and some plastic drawers. I can already feel my chi improving. Today, Scuba Ben is cleaning the bottom of the boat and I vacuumed and rearranged some things inside the boat. Ahhh.

***

While we were on our cross-country trip, we ran into a lot of rain and thunderstorms along the way. When we arrived back in San Diego, it was sunny as usual. But I've been reading and hearing a lot of reports that this "June Gloom" was worse than most. And we're pretty stoked that we missed it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pirate Games

One of my favorite quotes by the very intelligent and perceptive Aldous Huxley is this:

"A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention."


Dig it? Here are some pictures from the 4th!

Justin




Kirby





Howdy Pardner

Justin & Ben

Julie & Lola

Ben & Joe

Markitos

Fly Away



This pretty lady must have lost her way on land today, because she found her way through our companionway and set up camp next to my sunscreen. As much as I enjoyed her company, I'm certain she is better suited to a life on "the hard", so I carefully helped her back out with a bowl and a plate.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th and 1st



This picture is from one year ago, today. July 4, 2008 was the first night Ben and I actually slept on Mother Culture. So I guess you could say today is our One Year Anniversary as live-aboards. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?! We spent last year in our cockpit, watching 5 or 6 simultaneous fireworks shows while indulging in some cocktails. This year, since we now know all the other crazies that live out here, we'll be doing a lot of celebrating with various baybors around the mooring field, probably boat crawling, dinghy racing or causing a ruckus on our bicycles around town. Wherever we end up, I'll be sure to bring my camera ;)

Hope everyone has a Happy 4th. Stay safe!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Me and My Ride

Summer is a time for riding bikes, and luckily Ben scored a ride the same day I picked up Not Francie. (That's her name. Don't wear it out :P) We've been riding fools ever since. We decked out our bikes with baskets, lights, bells, whistles, and anything else big, responsible kids need to get around town without a hassle. The other day we ventured down the Embarcadero, past Seaport Village, behind the Convention Center and found this Hilton Hotel holding up the sky in a most prestigious way. Across from the Hilton was the Dole Cargo Terminal.

At the Terminal was this Dole cargo vessel. Some Fun Facts: *Each vessel holds 491 40' refrigerated containers.
*Each container holds close to 1000 boxes of bananas.
*Each box of bananas has over 100 individual bananas in it.
That's B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Then we happened by this cool metal work of art behind Petco Park. We actually ended up riding all the way up to Hillcrest that night... Actually, I walked Not Francie some of the way. It's no joke riding up to Hillcrest and I'm out of practice. I'm hoping by the time Critical Mass happens in a few weeks, I'll be able to ride all the way to Balboa Park without having to walk my bike. I need to save face since I'll be riding with all men! Uh-oh!
***
Yesterday, we went out for a row (well, Ben rowed!) and caught this pic of a sailboat tacking in front of the city. Another beautiful day on the mooring field!