Sunday, June 29, 2014

Girls slumber party.....boat style

It wasn't that long ago that the girls were tasked with putting away all of their belongings into their cabins.  The fact that they each have their own cabin, with ample room for clothes, toys, electronics and other belongings is rare, for a cruising family. One non-negotiable we stuck to while boat shopping was giving them their own space, which is and will be much appreciated by everyone. 

This weekend served as the last weekend for their volleyball league. Emma Bear actually helped her team win the second game with 4 drops right over the net! She even surprised herself.

After volleyball it was slumber party time. How lucky are we? Our girls are best friends with sisters! Oh....and their parents are pretty awesome too!

 Who doesn't love chicken fights in the pool? Answer: anyone who wasn't us!

Slumber party fun filled fact: this was the first time any of these girls had eaten a Twinkie........ever!

Jiffy Pop and some Romancing the Stone, anyone?

Yes you can accommodate a slumber on a boat. Sleeping bags and cushions work perfect. It was important that these four spend quality time together as our girls go to South Carolina for 3 weeks (yippie!) tomorrow and their friends head to Nicaragua while they're gone. It will be a solid month before they see each other again, which in pre-teen girl time is at least 3 years.

Living next to the beach doesn't suck!

And just in case anyone was wondering how Murphy's retirement is going....slow and steady

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Finding our way to "liveaboard" status

Ever heard of two week hurricane? We have. Winds howl, crap blows everywhere, you try to steady yourself, and when it's all over most of what you own is missing or gone. The last two weeks was the dreaded move and rehoming of not only ourselves but our beloved animals. Like a hurricane our move was fast and furious, probably for the better because if we had any time at all to think you might second guess parts if not all of it.  It's over and we're assessing the damage. Thus lost in the storm is a sense of normalcy and the majority of our fur kids. The only comfort is that our animals have found themselves in loving homes mostly with family.

Harrison made his way to grandma and grandpa's in the country. A perk for him is his own golf cart which he refuses to get out of. 

Hula took a one way flight to South Carolina. She's entered her retirement year filled with tennis balls, her own pool, a boat for harbor cruises and trips to Doggie Spa. Sounds like she may have gotten the best deal of all. 

Dexter the bengal cat has made his home at a college friend of Aimee's.  He's up to his old antics of demanding love and being aggressive while doing so.  That cat has no concept of the word NO.. he truly believes NO means Yes.

Then there is Murphy, AKA The Admiral.

So hard to believe that Murphy has been with us since Phil and I were just boyfriend and girlfriend. Pushing 15 years old, he was chosen to come with us. So far he seems pretty happy with being forced to be with us. He's happy on deck with the sun and wind in his face and birds flying over head. If there's any drawback it has to be that he's the only animal and is receiving tenfold the amount of attention he's accustomed to.

It hasn't been but 48 hours since we've arrived and the girls have used most that time in the pool. Not a bad gig to have your own heated large pool with a nice hot tub off to the side.

The girls leave on Monday for a glorious 3 week trip to South Carolina....that's right, 3 solid weeks (21 whole days) of no kids. While they're off making memories with Nana and Pop, we've got lots of boat work to do. We'll update with before and after pictures. 

Today's "San Diego adventure" were the tide pools off Point Loma. Didn't see a whole lot, but still worth the trip.


Sticking their fingers in sea anemones never gets old. 

These two.  Since the day they met, they go everywhere together holding hands. Always.

Note to self, don't take anyone to crawl all over tide pools in white shorts. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Southbound passage, the Maiden Voyage part deux

Meeting the crew in Santa Barbara with our girls was such a relief.  They made it. After exchanging hugs they each took turns recalling the last 52 hours.

"Even in all our long underwear and foul weather gear we were freezing. Everything was wet. We've had one good meal since Saturday.  We hit the worst part at 3am and could only see 12 foot white caps towering over the solar panels. Todd puked most the way down. You and the girls would have wanted to die."

Sounded more like a recap of a Deadliest Catch episode than a quick hop down the coast.  I was thankful that the girls and I opted out of that portion of the trip and that everyone made it in one piece.

After a nice dinner and some good sleep, we headed towards the Channel Islands Tuesday morning. Todd needed a bit of convincing after his miserable past two days but decided to stay with us for the rest of the trip.  With great wind we made it an hour ahead of schedule and found a cove to anchor for the night.  None of us could believe that the temperature gage for the ocean was correct.  Really? 69 degrees.  In June?  That's warm for us.

The Nance family getting in their first snorkel trip at the Channel Islands.

After what seemed like only 30 minutes of sleep we were off to Two Harbors on Catalina Island.
Our beautiful cove off the Channels Island proved to be a horrible place to attempt any sleep. We rolled all night making it near impossible for anyone to sleep, Phil kept waking up and peeking out for fear that we were dragging an anchor.

These two. Our girls cruise best in their pajamas.

We were all a little disappointed in the lack of sea life we didn't see. The only pod of dolphins we saw were the ones that greeted us at the entrance of San Diego, which was a nice way to sail home. No whale sightings. We did have the occasional seal and sea lion swimming around but not what we had encountered on previous trips. 

Once we hit Catalina we all grabbed hot showers and ate at the only bar in town. Our mooring in Two Harbors was protected and we all got a good nights rest.

The next morning we moved north and anchored in Hamilton Bay for the day. Hamilton Bay is a great place to anchor if you like to snorkel. After snorkeling for a few hours we decided to move again to Avalon for the night. We wanted to be closer in without rolling all night.

Once we were stationed in Avalon and it got darker we could see what appeared to be little glow worms swimming in the ocean. At first it looked like droplets of glow in the dark paint bobbing around. You'd see the glowing worm bob around for a bit then a fish would come up and eat the worm.  Evolutionary reject? How lame is that. A glowing worm to serve as a beacon for hungry fish at night.

After 7 days at sea, the crew was ready to head home. Home was a 12 hour trip from Catalina to San Diego, perfect time to get reacquainted with your Ipod.  This trip served as our families first experience sailing on our boat. SV Terrapin proved to have enough room for all of us and sail comfortably. We learned that Jessica just like her father is a true salty dog.  She never once felt "icky", even when spending time in our cabin playing games as we rocked back n forth. She's accepted the position of "look out" and won't give up the binoculars for anything. 

Emma needs a little bit of time to get her sea legs. This involves eating Cheez-It's and sitting on the bow with the wind in her face. According to Todd, Cheez-It's saved his life on the way down. I may need to see if they're willing to sponsor us. Once Emma gets used to the boat, she's fine. Although she can't hang upside down riding in the cabin like her sister, she's good. She's our official knot maker. Always great with her fingers, she quickly became fond of all the different knots she could make and didn't put down her rope the entire trip. When Jess was having a hard time tying a figure 8,  Emma showed Jess "her way" and was able to teach Jess how to do it.  Phil was having a hard time with the bowline knot....Emma showed him "her way"....student teaching the teacher.

I'm on my own with the knots being a lefty. Just like school, when the teachers would show everyone how to make something and I'm left to figure it out. I'll be real impressed if Emma can show me how to do knots "lefty"

After 12 hours...we made it home. We will be at the Harbor West Marina in San Diego till December.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Southbound passage Part 1: San Francisco to Santa Barbara in 52 hours

As of Friday evening, Terrapin is safely berthed in her slip at Harbor Island West, completing her maiden voyage from San Francisco.  The trip down went as well as I could have imagined.  We kept all crew members onboard, had almost zero mechanical issues, and kept our wits about us despite some scary weather and seasickness.

We motorsailed out the Golden Gate right on schedule at about 10:30am on May 31st, taking advantage of the slack current.  Dave, Todd, and myself were in high spirits, taking lots of pictures and having a great time.

This all changed pretty much as soon as our stern cleared the bridge.  We suddenly found ourselves in the very confused and choppy currents of the mouth of the Bay.  This was compounded by incoming 8 foot swells that were hitting us on the beam.  Todd went from all smiles to horribly seasick in about 3.5 seconds and stayed that way for the next 24 hours.  We put on our foulies and tethered ourselves in for the ride.  The ride was very uncomfortable for that entire day and through the night with swells hitting us on our stern quarter and wind coming from the wrong direction (SE).   During my night watch I could see just the whitecaps of these swells towering over the solar panels just before they rolled under the boat.  In addition to the wind and swell, it was very cold.  We were all in long johns, multiple fleece layers and foul weather gear and still freezing, especially at night.  Unfortunately not many pictures were taken during this next 48 hours, since we were either queasy, freezing, or holding on for dear life. 

The next day we were finally able to give the engine a rest and sail for most of the day, averaging about 5.5 knots.  It was still cold and bumpy, but we were all happy to silence the motor and let the wind carry us.  We stayed anywhere from 10 - 30 miles offshore and almost never saw land, even when we were close in.  There was a band of fog that hung right over the coastline, squashing our hopes of seeing the Big Sur coast from the ocean.  That evening, we fired up the engine again and motorsailed past Morro Bay to make up some time.  By this time, Todd was feeling a bit better and was able to join us topside periodically.  Around midnight,  as we were making our approach to Point Arguello and Point Conception the wind picked up again, so we killed the engine and hoped for some great sailing around the points.

One of several oil platforms off Point Arguello.

We had a great downwind run between Arguello and Conception in about 15-20 knot winds with the only light around us coming from the oil platforms.

Chartplotter showing our course around Point Conception

  We turned South about 6 miles off Point Conception and found ourselves on a nice beam reach with the boat doing 6.5 - 7 knots.  This is where I made my first mistake.  I thought about dropping the mizzen sail and didn't.   Dave and I soon found ourselves in 25 knot plus wind on the beam with full sails up.  It was fun at first, but when I saw the rail of a 40,000 pound boat go into the water, it occured to me that I may be in deep doo-doo.  My fears were confirmed when we suddenly turned into the wind.  This is called a broach in the world of sailing and occurs when the rudder is at such an angle that it can no longer keep the boat on course.  Fortunately, we were able to recover and regain our course and I hand steered us the rest of the way until the wind layed down a bit.  Lesson learned.  Reef early.

The wind eventually died out and we cranked her up again for the last few hours to Santa Barbara.  We witnessed the most glorious change of weather as we pulled into port, going from long underwear, fleece and foul weather gear to shorts sandals and t shirts. 

We picked up a slip at the marina, grabbed a burger and a couple of beers (that tasted like heaven) and slept like the dead for the next four hours until Aimee and the girls showed up.  This leg of the trip took us almost exactly 52 hours.

A big thanks to Dave for being the most solid and cool-headed first mate I could have hoped for, and to Todd for sticking it out despite horrible seasickness.  Stay tuned for Part 2!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Nance happenings.......

Yesterday Captain Phil and crew left Brisbane, CA and started the maiden voyage towards San Diego.  You can track their progress on the "where are we?" page.

So far SV Terrapin is moving swiftly and although a bit chilly, they are making great progress and expect to pull into Santa Barbara tomorrow (Monday) ahead of schedule.

First mate Dave has helped make the easy transition down the coast. Phil met Dave through our mutual friends and before they had ever met in person he was nice enough to commit to helping sail down the coast! Sometimes it's more about who you know than what you know and we are thrilled to know Dave. Phil couldn't have done this trip without him.

Greenhorn Todd is feeling, well...a little green. Hoping he sticks it through to San Diego he was "chumming it" for the first few hours of the trip. Phil had packed a prescription strength sea sick patch which seems to be helping a bit.

The girls and I will meet The Crew tomorrow in Santa Barbara by way of train. The plan is to let the crew get some much needed sleep before exploring the Channel Islands, relaxing in Catalina Island then heading home to San Diego.

Phil says that the autopilot for the boat is working awesome! I only wish my autopilot hadn't crapped out at mile 11 today. My goal has been to run a half marathon in under 2 miles...high hopes, considering I haven't run more than 5 miles since January and last week at this time I was thoroughly enjoying "adults weekend" in Havasu. Figuring out that I wasn't going to reach my goal, I decided for the last two miles to partake in the sideline offerings. Every race, people line up to offer you something to eat or drink. Everything from orange slices, donuts, Otter Pops, hot sizzling bacon, to shots of whisky or tequila.  I've always been too focused on the race to consider stopping to enjoy anyone's offerings. Thinking that this will probably be my last race for awhile, I filled up on bacon, watermelon, apples, oranges and made a few friends along the way. I still managed a respectable time and was full by the time I hit the finish line.