Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Dinnerware and a Memorial Day Double Raft-Up

After being onboard for an entire year, it was finally time to purchase new dinnerware so we could stop using the stuff left onboard by the previous owners. Ooh! China? Crystal? No and no! This is not the first class dining room of the Titanic. We need something durable. Something that won't shatter easily. And, of course, something fun (we are on Boat Time after all). Enter the Happy Chic line from JCPenney.
I wanted something "nautical" without being all anchors or knots so I was ecstatic to find waves and fish and, yes I know, anchors. The bowls are part of another set (the JCPenney Home Collection) but they fit the rest of my set so nicely. We've been using everything for a couple of weeks and love the entire set so far. Plus, the highball glasses and the salad plates remind me of the Norwegian Cruise Line fish logo which makes me think vacation thoughts.

There is one issue with so many of these types of plates -- they are not recommended for use in the microwave. Easy solution: keep a few regular plates around. This is where you say I thought you wanted plates that weren't breakable. Yes, but I also want to be able to microwave leftovers. So, I have a small set of microwave-happy plates stored in a drawer. To further protect them from an jostling that may occur when are underway, I kept the cardboard pieces that came with the set and they sit in between each plate. Since they aren't our everyday plates it's not much of a hassle.

This past weekend was the unofficial start of summer. And if it's Memorial Day it must be Fairlee Creek. We both took Friday off and took a slow cruise over. At 10 mph it took us about 2 1/2 hours to get there but that also allows for pictures of majestic herons in flight.
It also meant we were passed by our friends that left after us. But look how pretty Elisa's Ring looks out on the water.
We had a three boat raft-up for the night.
Bliss, Elisa's Ring, and Luv'n Life IV
Living in the middle of Baltimore, there is so much light pollution it can be difficult to see the stars. Fairlee Creek on the other hand is much darker. Knowing this might be one of my few chances this year to see a meteor shower, I set my alarm for 2 am, laid out on the bow, and watched the stars sit perfectly still. The highly anticipated shower was a bust.

Here's a fun storage idea seen at Fairlee. No room for your kayaks on board? Tie them onto your dinghy and tow them to your destination.
We stayed until 3 pm the next day then set off for Sue Creek for a raft-up with more friends. We were the first to arrive and it took a little time to decide on a spot large enough for the number of boats that would be coming. Sue Creek is a popular anchorage spot in Middle River. It's quiet, it's protected, and it's easy to get into. Because of this, there were already many boats and we were lucky to find a spot.

No sooner had we set our bow and stern anchors when our radio started blowing up with ETAs of the rest of the raft-up. We may have set a record for how quickly we grew from one to six boats (and then three more).
Serenity Now... Insanity Later, Let's Go O's, Bad Influence, Almost Home, Toy Yot, Luv'n Life IV, (unnamed), Grand Passion, and Vida Boa.
We had two more nights of "forced relaxation" before it was time to head home. (Or, in our case, bring our home back home.) Summer is taking off in the right direction.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Save the Ducklings!

Quack quack! Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep... (you get the picture).

It's baby duckling season and mama duck was right outside our boat but we couldn't see her ducklings. We could hear them but they weren't with mama.

Doug found these three little guys:
But they were in a bit of a predicament. They had managed to climb up into a dinghy on the end of the dock but they couldn't get back out.
Doug got in the dinghy to try to help them but they wanted nothing to do with the oar that could lift them to freedom.
At this point, mama duck is squawking and I'm simultaneously taking photos while keeping an eye on mama duck. Time for Plan B -- use the oar to push down on the half-deflated side of the dinghy and let them escape on their own.

Superhero to ducks -- just another service we offer to our marina neighborhood.

I had another fun duckling sighting a couple days ago (unfortunately sans camera). A mama duck was sitting with 19 ducklings. You read that right, 19! I counted twice to make sure. Is it even possible for one duck to have 19 babies? Or is there a stronger chance they were adopted after another mama duck passed on? Either way she had her hands... uhm, wings... full.

Friday, May 16, 2014

What's In a Name, May Swimming, and the Anchor Stealer

We finally got out for our first raft-up this past weekend. We ventured out early Saturday morning, anchored in Sue Creek, and waited for two other boats to arrive.
Grand Passion, Luv'n Life IV, and unnamed boat.
The first to arrive was a boat without a name. Our friends acquired the boat last summer and have been deliberating a name ever since. Naming a boat is no easy feat. Most people consider many different options. Just consider the market for baby name books and how expectant parents spend hours looking at the lists of names.

One must also consider unexpected consequences of a particular name. To make another baby name comparison, think about the initials for a girl named Ashley Sarah Smith. Also, please never ever use any form of "Mayday" or "SOS" in your boat name.

The Boat Galley site has a great post with tips on choosing a name. I especially like their tips on considering how the name is said and spelled. Luv'n Life is often misspelled as "Loving Life" or "Lovin' Life" but it doesn't affect our ability to check in to marinas or the intended meaning of our boat's name. Check out the Boat Galley blog post for the unforeseen consequences of owning a boat named "Que Tal" in a Spanish speaking country.

However, while a boat is still unnamed it can be a lot of fun to sit around with friends tossing out ideas (both insane ones and legitimate ones). Here are just a few of our fun ideas:
  • The Juicy Pirate (a combination of the owners' favorite Jimmy Buffett songs)
  • Rum
  • Sue Creek's Finest
  • All Wet
  • There are tons more that I can't remember. Plus a few they are seriously considering but I refuse to post because there is so much superstition about boat names.
Saturday also involved swimming -- at least for two of us. I've been wanting to get in the water since we canceled a raft-up back in April. When one of our friends challenged me saying he would get in if I did, I jumped at the chance. The wonderful thing about living on board is having a bathing suit available at all times. The water was 68 degrees -- not exactly warm but also not gaspingly cold. I'm calling the day a "May Plunge."

After two days of fun it was time to go home but not without a quick snag in the plans. The mud in Sue Creek must be extra mucky because it never wants to release our stern anchor. Doug took the dinghy out to pull it up and was getting nowhere. Luckily, Grand Passion had just left the raft-up and the strength of their Ocean pulled the anchor free:
It only took minutes, unlike the 45-minute debacle after the derecho in 2012 (original post and pictures).

Back to the boat name -- I'd love to hear your crazy ideas. What's the name of your boat? Or what would you name a boat if you had one? Want inspiration -- look at the rotating photos of boat names on the right hand column of this blog.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

And The Rains Came

How many animals do I need for Luv'n Life IV to be considered an Ark? I've got 2 humans and 2 cats. I can probably gather up 2 ducks, 2 pigeons, and perhaps 2 Baltimore kittens (aka rats).

A floating home (well, one that is supposed to float) was looking good to many Maryland residents during the past 48 hours. We have nothing to complain about in comparison to the Florida panhandle but the rain started Tuesday night and didn't stop until early Thursday morning. I'm not talking about nice, gentle rain. No, this was buckets and buckets for hours and hours.

Parts of Baltimore didn't fare so well in the storm. If you haven't already heard, a landslide ate a few cars. Boating friends without floating docks shared photos of underwater docks.
Photo courtesy of Emmett Carolan.
Apparently this Middle River marina does see water over the docks on extreme high tides but this was more than usual. Luckily I haven't heard about any damages to boats yet.

The city is busy cleaning the Inner Harbor, the main tourist hub.
Normally people can walk out on dry land to those pylons.
Parts of the Inner Harbor Promenade are closed as they work on clearing debris.
This was taken Thursday morning. I imagine these cleats along the Inner Harbor wall were underwater sometime Wednesday.
Meanwhile back at Harborview it is apparent that we chose the right side of the marina for this particular storm.
Our side of the marina.
One of the debris fields on the other side of the marina.
The city trash boats will come by and pick up as much as possible. This particular one was a bit of a tourist attraction this morning.
Our main promenade it stationary but well above "normal" flood lines.
The bottom of the wall is normally 2-4 feet above the water line.
In true Maryland fashion, today it is 70 degrees and very sunny. And as a friend recently said, if these April showers are any indication the May flowers are going to be spectacular.