The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins
Skinny Dippin'

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!!

New project updates coming shortly!!  Flybridge and new doors are done. Skinny Dippin' is looking quite spiffy!  Spring cruise planning is begining to take over my brain. 

But for now, hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, and enjoy the holiday season!! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Doing nothing and Loving it!

October 18 2011

Sometimes, you just have to slow down, forget the projects, and toss off the dock lines. We’ve been so immersed in this project or that for the past two months, that I was feeling the need to just stay home and stay in bed. But this past weekend was forecast to be mid 70’s and as clear as could possibly be. So Tom promised me a weekend without work. an overnight at a quiet anchorage and a cold frosty beverage. How could I pass on that?

Tom has planned for us to anchor right off of Camp Seagull. It’s just East of Minnesott Point and should be a good anchorage with a light west wind. I’m very excited to anchor at this little beach and be able to walk the dog along the sand. As we nosed up to the camp, it was clear that this was not enough protection from 10-15 knots of west wind. So we cross over the river to the South side. There’s a little anchorage spot there right at the ferry terminal on the south side of the river. Nope, not enough protection here either.

Next stop is Club Foot Creek. We haven’t anchored here before. Who am I kidding? We’ve anchored in Oriental Harbor, Union Point Park in New Bern, and at the South side Ferry Terminal. Our Anchoring out has been very limited. If this isn’t ideal, we’re going to Oriental.

We poke around Club Foot. The protection is good. Where can we pee the dog? There’s one little spit of land, that is probably protected at gunpoint…but it could work. We get the anchor set and look around. There are folks sitting over there on their dock enjoying the afternoon. Tom jumps in the dinghy and goes over to ask where the best place to pee Tivo would be. These sweet people say, bring him over, he can pee here - no problem! They have a nice floating dock and we’re welcome to visit.

With a nicely set anchor, a place to pee the dog and a variety pack of Sam Adams seasonal brews….We settled in for a beautiful night of doing nothing. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of this story. The following morning is a pumpkin spice coffee before hauling anchor and heading home. What a fabulously boring weekend! Can’t wait to do that again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where did Summer go???

Oh my gosh!! Where did the summer go?? Why does time go by so fast?? I guess in the grand scheme of things, a 5 year plan to go cruising, is really just about enough time to get the boat and yourself ready for such a trip!! Yes, We all know people who can get ready in much less time…but those dear friends are much better at planning and ultimately implementing such a plan!

Where did I leave off last? It was the Hurricane, wasn’t it? We made it through just fine. The good people of eastern NC weren’t all so lucky. Lots of flooding and damage. We had planned on a big trip to Ocracoke for Labor Day, but decided to not intrude or impede any recovery that was happening a short week after the storm. They had a lot of work to do, and we didn’t want to get in the way. In fact, we spent a bit of time helping Tom’s cousin Andy with some cleaning up of flood damage at his homestead.

On September 10 and 11 was the annual MS150. It’s a huge cycling event benefiting the MS Society. Over 2000 cyclists converge on the city and participate in rides from 30 miles to 100 miles per day. We have ties to Team CBC….Carolina Brewing Company. We rode with them a lot before we bought the boat. It’s always good to reconnect with good friends! Throw in a good beer and a boat ride, and it’s a beautiful thing! We had Betsy & Brian, Dave, Amelia and Jon on board for a nice post ride pre lunch cruise of the historic waterfront in New Bern.

Over the course of the month, I finished the window coverings all the way around the boat. Next came a new helm cover. That took about three weekends total. One to pattern and two extra for “fittings”. Hopefully when I take the cover back this weekend, it should fit great! I made it a little big on purpose so on overnight trips, it will fit over the electronics.

My next big project should also start this weekend. I have been working my way up to the mother of all canvas projects. The Fly bridge Enclosure. It’s true. I am going to break into the sacred ground of all canvas workers. The all weather fly bridge. I’ve been gathering bits and pieces of materials. Strata glass, zippers, tape, facing and binding. I will attempt to pattern the front panels this weekend if the winds are cooperative. I tried to get started last weekend, but the wind was a little too much for a one person attempt. But, I was very happy even with my failed attempt. I learned a lot about how to accomplish this part of the job. I feel really good about what the outcome will be.

Tom is currently having our exterior doors refurbished. One at a time they are getting sandblasted and powder coated. We also just replaced our stovetop. I now have a very slick glass top stovetop just like in my kitchen at home. The new unit is only 3 inches deep, where as the 1986 version was 6 inches deep. That means I have a new cabinet to store my skillets in!! 

So, That’s the latest update. No cruising in September for Skinny Dippin’. I’m hoping for a long weekend soon to either Morehead City or Ocracoke. It’s almost time to get the electric blankets out. I can’t believe the season is almost over. Dumb hurricane. On the upside…we’ve been getting so many projects done late this season, that come next spring, we’ll be about free to simply cruise whenever we want to. (when not working of course!)

Thanks for stopping by and checking on our Adventures!!  More cruising to come.  But first, there are a few more projects to finish up to make cruising more comfortable!!  Enjoy the Autumn weather, and we'll try to get in a Fall Foliage Cruise for you!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30, 2011

We got word today that Skinny Dippin' is safe!  She weathered Hurricane Irene in our favorite boatyard in Oriental NC, Sailcraft.  They are a trusted business and we are very loyal customers.  We ended up putting her closer to the storm, but she was on land, which is said to be the safest thing next to a protected mooring.  We were worried about her safety only because Oriental took a 9 foot storm surge from the Pamlico Sound.  We didn't know how high it needed to be to float her. Luckily, it is more than 9 feet!!

Thank you so much to all of Skinny Dippin's fans.  It was a worrisome few days as we awaited word of her safety. Your support has meant the world to Tom and I.  Please keep the fine people of Eastern NC in your thoughts as they clean up, recover, and rebuild from Hurricane Irene.   This was one for the record books.  Thank you Mother Nature for allowing Irene to weaken before she got here.

More FUN ADVENTURES to come!!

Fair winds and calm seas.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 20, 2011

This weekend was CANVAS INSTALL WEEKEND!! I have made made Sunbrella window coverings for the windshield and forward side windows! I’m very excited about them. I used Sailrite’s patterning material and made patterns for each window, allowing enough triple hemming to install the snaps that will attach the screens to the boat. Tom helped immensely with the install! I am a real wimp when it comes to my PressNSnap tool. My little hands just aren’t strong enough!

Here is a couple pictures of the finished project!

Then on Sunday, August 21, we did our regular storm prep. Irene is a week away and Tom has to work next weekend, so prepping has to happen today. She is forecast to turn east before getting here, but we know better.  Storms can turn at any minute.  We took down the bimini, strapped down the bimini frame, all deck chairs and cushions are taken to the salon. The dinghy came home with us, and the outboard is in the galley. Double lines all around and extra fenders are out. She should be good to go.

Then Monday August 22, Irene’s path brings her directly to North Carolina. Tom quickly got us a spot at our favorite boatyard, Sailcraft in Oriental. Our lift time is 11am on Weds the 24th.

Wednesday August 24th, We made a quick trip down river. We left at 630am to one of the finest sunrises I've seen in a long time.

We arrived right on time at Sailcraft and just had a short wait for our turn in the straps.  We got her up on the hard.

We kept second guessing ourselves, because nobody else seemed to be doing any preparation. Why is that? Are we just that OCD? Or do other people just not care about the investment in their boats?? Well, no time to worry about them. Skinny Dippin’ is as safe as she can be. We have to get home and back to work.

Thursday August 25th, Irene turns West. Now Skinny Dippin’ is in the path of the eye of the storm. And to top it off, now we have to prepare the home front. Tonight all patio furniture, bird feeders, wind chimes, pool toys, garbage cans, everything is stowed or tied down. Generator is ready, as is chain saw.

Friday August 26th will be a very nervous day. Hurricanes can change course at any minute. We won’t know where she is going till she truly gets there.

Please keep all of the east coast in your thoughts this weekend. There is going to be some seriously damaged areas. We could be one of them. Certainly where Skinny Dippin’ is, and possibly here at home too.

I hope to have the opportunity to finish my canvas project next weekend. 

Stay safe everyone. If you haven’t said I love you to those you love recently….do it now.

Stay Safe Skinny Dippin'.  We're thinking about you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August Adventures!!

August Updates!! August 12-14 has us in Beaufort NC for the annual Pirate Invasion! What made this year special was Jimmy & Deb and Dan & Suzanne from Carolina Beach came to join in the drunken debauchery!! Danny also brought along Steve and Sally from New River. Jay and Emily also joined us on Saturday! This year’s event brought many more recreational boaters to Beaufort, than I remember from last year. Being on the Beaufort Town Docks is the only way to truly experience pirate weekend!

We left our home port on Friday morning at 8am. Our marina is right at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. There is a draw bridge that we must go through in order to journey down the Neuse to…well, anywhere! The bridge is usually on request openings, but sometimes, like during “rush” hour it’s on the half hour. We literally pulled out of our slip at 8am, right on schedule, only to get stopped 100 yards out of our slip by the bridge.  The bridge clearance on this morning was 17 feet. We nosed right up to it to see how close we are. Unfortunately, we were very light on fuel, and a little light on water, and because of that, we needed at least 17.5 feet to get under. Darnit….had to wait for the 830am opening!!

The cruise down river was uneventful, just a peaceful cruise.

We arrived in Beaufort pretty much right on schedule at 2pm. We always try to arrive here at a slack tide. The current runs quick through Taylor’s Creek, docking can be quite tricky! We ran out to our favorite novelty store for a great big pirate flag!  Beaufort is such a pretty little town, with great restaurants and fun bars.

We spent two days with our friends and headed back home on Sunday. The weather was forecast for possible severe weather. We figured we should at least try to get half way home before it started. We almost made it the whole way home before the rain started. Then as we waited for our bridge to open, it stopped long enough to get tied up at our home slip!!

During the next few days at home, I worked on my current canvas project! I’m making exterior Sunbrella window coverings. I’ve got the front and forward side windows done. Tom helped me install all the snaps this most recent weekend, the 20th.

Now we are awaiting our first hurricane as boat owners. On Wednesday this week, we will most likely haul her out to sit out the storm in our favorite boatyard. If that happens, we’ll probably take the opportunity to get some fresh bottom paint.

More adventures to come!! Keep your fingers crossed that Irene doesn’t come to visit!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Fun!!

Wow…summer is FLYING by!! We spent a week on Skinny Dippin’ for July 4th week. We had hoped for another great cruise to new locations, but the weather was a little unsettled. Having been groomed by Sailors, we tend to wait for good weather windows for cruising to places we haven’t been to before. We’ve also been groomed to be super flexible and go with the flow. A wise man once said to me, any day on the water is a good day. So for me, any day on the boat is a good day, whether we go anywhere at all.

July has been full of projects!! I refinished the starboard side rubrail, galley hatch, and the two stern hatches. I finished the curtains and settee cushions in the stateroom. New tile, curtain and shower curtain for the head. Tom helped me reupholster the barrel chairs for the salon. And we bought a new futon to replace the loveseat in the salon. Tom will be building a base for it with storage drawers. All of you cruisers out there know you can never have enough storage!!

Tom has done a lot of electrical work, adding an outlet to the fly bridge, a new stereo in the salon, a new water pump for the generator, regular oil and filter changes.

I just made a huge order from Sailrite - my new favorite store. Exterior window coverings are next on my list. Sunbrella Linen will cover all exterior salon windows with button snaps. I got Phifertex mesh for the stern windows that face the aft deck. Tom is going to do a sunshade to hang on the bow to shade the galley. Friends have one of those and they swear it keeps the vberth area cooler. That’s where our galley is so any cooling would be awesome. The making for interior window bug-screens are also on the order and to-do list.

All of this, and we’ve gotten some good boating time in too!! Not enough of course…but some!

Hurricane season is upon us. We are in a new marina with new policies. Evacuation orders will depend on the size, strength and incoming direction of any given storm. So I spent some time last weekend contemplating storm ties in our new slip. We have a couple of evacuation choices if we need to make a run for it. Hopefully that won’t happen.

Pictures of all of these projects are coming! I promise to add them soon!! It’s amazing to me how homey Skinny Dippin’ is getting. She truly is a second home for us. And Home is, of course, where your heart is!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I did on Summer Vacation, by Tivo - First Dog MV Skinny Dippin’

I love weekends! Every Friday Mom comes home from work, Dad loads up the car and we all drive to my floating sofa…they call it a boat. I always get the back seat to myself, with one or two of my toys and my favorite blankets. We usually snack all the way there. Really keeps my mind off the car ride.

We take morning walks along the waterfront in New Bern, past Union Point over to the boat launch. There’s this little beach where I like to run really fast up behind the ducks and seagulls and make them all scatter! It’s a lot of fun. Then we walk back through the park and growl at the bear statues. Once I’ve scared all the wildlife in town, I walk my people back to the boat. I get to meet many new friends along the way that are also out walking their people.

One day last week, we went boating and spent a few hours putting around the river. I heard Mom and Dad talking to some people on the radio, asking if the anchorage they were at had a place to “pee the dog”. My ears really perked up, because peeing is kinda important to me. It’s a lot like email and face book for people. When they found out there was a place like this, we headed right there!! It was a cozy little anchorage just east of Cherry Point and south across the river from Minnesott Point. There were a lot of people from my old duck hunting grounds there. My people got in the “peeing ferry” and motored over to one of the sailboats for something called sundowners.

Mom and Dad came back and loaded me into the ferry for a trip to the beach. They call it the “dinghy dog dance”. There were dolphins playing around us as we motored over. I’ve never seen fish that big that close. It was amazing. After our trip to leave peemail, everyone came over to our boat for more sundowners!

We also went to a place where really big boats go…Morehead City Yacht Basin. Mom and Dad really like this place so they can walk to dinner. They tried out a new place called the City Kitchen on 11th street. They said it was amazing.

I really like when they go to dinner, or the store. When I can’t hear them anymore outside the boat….I sneak down to the stateroom and stretch out on the big bed. The air conditioning output blows right at the bed…and it’s a great place to relax and wait for the next adventure.

On the way home from Morehead City…we got caught in a huge rain squall. Me and Dad went to the living room. Dad has a steering station there. Mom stood out on the bow with the binoculars looking for the next navigation aid. She’d run inside for a second and check the chart, then run back outside and point dad in the right direction. She was soaked. I’m not sure why she put on a rain coat….seemed like it wasn’t working too well.

I love my people. No matter what their next adventure is, they always bring me along. And every morning before I have to walk them….they let me get up in the big bed for a morning snuggle. (don’t tell them I get up there when they’re not looking too)

I really like our new parking spot too. There are so many other boat dogs there. They are all really friendly so far. I rarely have to growl at anyone. Just a quick sniff and wag, and we’re off to our people walking again.

When we’re not out on the water, Mom and Dad do a lot of projects. Dad puts me on the sofa and opens up the floor. Mom calls this space the “yelling hole”. Dad swears a lot when he’s in the hole.

I get a little nervous about him being in there….but he usually comes out after a little swearing and a lot of sweating. Mom’s projects are usually some sort of teak renovation or cleaning or polishing or redecorating. Don’t tell her, but she should really do some of that stuff at our house too.

Boating is fun. I’m not a huge fan of the water…but I’m happiest when we’re all together. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. I love that they always try to include something for me…be it walking the beach or scaring the ducks. They always have cookies nearby to snack on. I love my people. I think I’ll keep them.