Saturday, July 21, 2018

About 2 months to go......Solar cooking


Things are starting to feel real.  The bimini is installed, we're starting to get all the things on our list that a few months ago, we decided to wait because we had plenty of time.  The above is my latest addition.  Twelve years ago when we took a year off for cruising south, I really disliked being in the galley when it was hot, but did want to prepare good food.  This go around we decided to try out a solar cooker.  We like this one alot for the rigidness and the foldability - All Seasons Solar Cooker.  I can just take those bolts off and fold her right up and stash her down below.  Already figured out a longer storage folding and a daysail folding routine.

So we got it last week and it went on my agenda this weekend to start playing with it.  Day one, within 30 minutes, it was clear that it really does work.  Yes, I need to remember about the no evaporation, so use less liquid.  But yep, I can see longer slow cooker type meals, to casseroles, even to reheating leftovers (yes, it's that easy). 

It's not something I would use while sailing.  But at anchor - yes, definitely. For setting it, I can safely say, I can set it up for a good 3 hours undisturbed cooking time.....  at that point, a check in to make sure the sun is in cooking range (done with a little sundial that lives on top). 

I cooked rice on Sat - done in an hour, but complete mush because I didn't measure my water.  Sunday, I cooked a pot of beans.  It stayed in the cooker for about 6 hours and I needed to relocate (move a few inches) the cooker once due to shade from our furled main.  

I expect with use, I'll get better, but for the first weekend, I was super comfortable with it by Sunday.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Future plans.....

OK, I've remained super quiet about our plans to make things easier at my job.....  but now that Summer is approaching, I'm free to share away.  And for those curious, I told my management in January - so they've had plenty of time to plan for my departure.

There was no keeping any secrets from our dock neighbors though...  After a few big purchases and boat-jobs, we quickly started getting questions of: So, do you guys have anything planned?"  from those we didn't previously share with.

So, here we are at this writing 3 months away from departure.  Our cruising plans: Spend the next couple of years cruising in Mexico and returning to the Bay Area in the Summer to work.  After a couple seasons in Mexico, we plan to head south to Central America, then loosely over the next years and however long we enjoy, the South Pacific interests us, as does Indonesia and Thailand.  Beyond that - you'll have to check in here to see what we are thinking.

Our plans are to take off with the BYC Labor day cruise to Half Moon Bay.  From there we'll wait for a good weather window for San Miguel in the Northern Channel Island chain.  This is about a 2-3 night sail.  Arrival is best in calm weather for exploring the island.

From there, we'll spend a good chunk of time exploring the Channel Islands.  Every other time we've been here it's been with a dog, so we are looking forward to taking advantage of not having a doggie aboard to explore.  Somewhere around the Oct 1 timeframe we'll head to San Diego and work on some projects that are on our list before we head out of the area of easy access to parts.  We'll be anchored out - so look for us if you are in the area to say HI.

Somewhere around Nov.1 - or maybe sooner, we'll head South into Mexico.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Where's Clewie

So, you might be wondering where my furkid Clewie went.....    It's time I explain and make it internet official.  She is now living and being the furkid of my brother in law, Rick.  Though, to his dismay, she'll always be my furkid... but not in the expense or decision-making kind.  I'm joking, I think (or choose to think) he loves sharing his life with Clewie with someone else who loves hearing about little normal daily antics as he enjoys experiencing.

The story: Greg and I were on the fence about bringing Clewie cruising.....  we know we could have technically.  But also can't deny it would be easier without her and we could freely go more places and do more things.  (Islands/countries that don't allow dogs).

We also are well aware that she wouldn't adjust to the random dog/chicken/horse/monkey/iguana/etc calmly enjoying a space with us.  Also, she is a great dog, as in really sweet and great!
She loves people and adores hanging and loving her pack.  So - we were going back and forth, and back and forth.....

Then one day in December, Rick told us he was ready to get a dog.  And having known Clewie and Tack from family gatherings and vacations, he wanted a pitbull.  Well, this put a new spin on things.. so we brought him into our plans.  And he said,  "HECK YEAH!  I WOULD FLIPPIN LOVE TO CARE AND LOVE CLEWIE!"

SO, fast forward a couple of months and lots of questions, expectation setting later, we brought her to Southern California for a trial run with Rick.    It wasn't too long before Rick revoked her return policy and she was settling in as a Southern California dog.....

I'm not going to drag this down in getting into how hard it is/was for Greg and I .... but it's so much easier knowing that she is still in the family, and also how much Rick loves her.  She really is the center of his life now.   And he got us a Clewiecam so we can watch her whenever we want and she's outside (no camera in the house).  And he frequently texts us photos and updates......  We feel super lucky.




OH, we'll visit her again everytime we pass through - so looking forward to that.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Spiffing Up



Pura Vida has been getting spiffed up.  I've been silent in large part because we are consumed with projects.....

She has a Stern arch now sporting 3 solar panels and a wind generator.  You might notice that she is missing the main part of a sailboat (her mast).  It's currently back on and her rigging and chainplates have all been replaced.  That was a tough one.....  it was the price of a small new car. - or I should say more than the price.  The painful part of that 1/2 rigging wire that looks so sturdy.

There's also a new fun Kayak instead of the small blue one.

There have been more updates below: soundproofing for the engine, the suite of Mantus products for our anchoring security and comfort, high water alarm, and probably many more that I've forgotten.

But she's worth it - we love her more than ever - 10 years after purchasing her.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Instagram page



This little girl has a new Instagram page......  check out @clewiethewhippetpit to see her adventures.



Thursday, December 28, 2017

GoodBye Little Man



SO.....  toward the end of October, Greg called me at work to tell me he had gotten home with Tack from the Park and over the last 30 min he had vomited 4 times......  I was concerned, as was he - so we waited...  A half-hour later, Greg called as he was headed to the emergency vet - Tack had thrown up an additional 3 times - for about 7 over the past hour.

I left work to meet them at the Emergency Vet thinking maybe he had a blockage.....  When I arrived, it was grim.....  they had him in the back trying to stabilize him.  Possibly at this point, they suspected fluid around his heart and they were going to remove it - which I learned is called "Tapping him".

I sent a text to our vet.  Who soon after called the emergency vet doctor to get a status.  She then stayed one step in front of us to be sure she could contact us and be able to hold our hand and answer any questions.

We've been to the emergency vet a number of times with Matey and both Tack and Clewie.  This is the first time, I felt the staff talking to us in such a grim way.....  as positive as I tried to stay, I kept thinking that this could really be serious - it was kinda like I was outside looking in.
Eventually, we were brought back to speak with the doctor.  He had bleeding into his heart.  They highly suspected a hemangiosarcoma on the wall of his heart.  The prognosis was poor.   They said the bleeding could be continuing, only time will tell.  They wanted to keep him overnight to monitor him.

We visited him, then returned home to a restless evening trying unsuccessfully to not google and read everything online that we could.  Fortunately, our vet was also available and texting us through the evening as well - answering questions as they came up.

Just before 7am the next morning, we received a call from the emergency room vet - Tack held stable through the night until just before her call - where he went into distress again, she suspected he needed to be tapped again.  She had already made a call to a Cardiologist in San Leandro and they could get him in at 9am for an ultrasound and to confirm whether there was a growth (hemangiosarcoma) on his heart.

So, she tapped him, while I showered and dressed to pick him up and be on the road ASAP to get to San Leandro in the morning traffic for his rush appointment.

Greg, unfortunately, wasn't able to take the day off, so I went alone with Clewie.  I was on autopilot.... like I was watching a show from the outside.  I couldn't believe this was happening to our strong, well built, powerful, seemingly healthy boy.  Greg and I were both completely stunned.

I should also mention, at the vet, I had called into my work to get the rest of the week off.  Fortunately, my work was fabulous and no questions/problems, sent me off to take care of my family.

We were early for our appointment with the cardiologist.   We spoke a little initially, and she took Tack in the back to examine him.  

After about 20 minutes, I was called back into the room with Tack, then got Greg on speaker phone so we could hear her diagnosis.  She did see a tumor and was pretty certain it was a hemangiosarcoma.  Prognosis for surgery (which is highly risky) was 6 additional months if by chance it was successful.  Greg and I did not want to go that route.  She advised, we bring him home, hope the bleeding has stopped and enjoy him.  She said, the tumor could burst suddenly right when we leave the office.....  or it could be a week or hours...

Stunned, I drove home.....

We shared the news with his team of walkers who are very close to him.  And some other friends of his who have known him well.....  and basically watched him...... and hugged him.

The Cardiologist said if he seems dramatically better by the next morning, then we would know the bleeding has stopped.   So we waited for that.  Initially, we just wanted him to make it 24 hours.

Through the day, he seemed to be stable - and by the next morning, he was eating and drinking on his own.  We were thrilled.  But even seeing this improvement didn't change that he still had a mature aggressive tumor growing in his heart just waiting to burst again.

We didn't leave him alone.

And continued..... watching.....  giving him ice cream..... enjoying..... making him steak......  snuggling..... even brought him out to a food truck to get him a rib sandwich.

He had many visitors by the end of the week and weekend.  And the time went by, we had come to a belief that leashed walks were okay, he would be miserable in bedrest - he wanted to DO LIFE.

As the weekend drew on, grateful that he was stable, we started to plan to be able to leave him for a few hours.  How we would manage leaving him alone, to go to work.....  Fortunately, Clewie was still going out in group when we both had to work, so we figured, I could go in late, and the walkers could check in on him before and after Clewie's walk and then I could return early so he wouldn't be alone that long.

Monday, Greg was off.  But I went to work.  I did leave early to be with Tack.  We decided to all walk together in the marina.  

We got a distance of about 4 blocks, shortly before a motorcycle went by which got his excited (those who know him, understand his reaction is intense).....  this could have been his tipping point.  

He started to look a little off, then Tack laid down, breathing heavy......  oh no, we knew he was in distress again...  Greg ran to get the car, I hugged him.

Greg and I had already decided this calm, then bleeding, then tapping cycle while him not getting to run, only wait - was not what we wanted for him.   We had already researched and spoke to specialists - all with poor outlooks... they all pointed tot he same thing, his tumor was still aggressively growing and now regularly bleeding.

It was time to say goodbye.

He brought so much to our lives in just the three short years he was with us.  Clewie enjoyed him every moment - and we loved the bond they developed.  He gave her the love of chasing balls - which she has now taken on as a true ball dog.  He was my dream teddy bear - the best snuggler.

Now, 2 months later, I still stop in disbelief that he's not here.  I know because I lost dogs before that this feeling will eventually fade....  but I hope I always remember the comfort he brought to our lives with his stable loving presence.




Thursday, October 26, 2017

tips to consider when bringing a dog aboard






Some tips to consider when bringing a dog aboard:

* Do think about the size of the dog.... if you already have a pooch, then think about how you will lift them - there are times when you will need to just pick them up.  There are many lifting harnesses available if needed.  In fact even for our 33 lb Clewie, we have a lifting harness for her - it just makes things easier if you can put a handle on her back.

* Take the bathroom strategy planning seriously. Training this sooner rather than later and quickly and clearly is the best approach.  It'll make passages - whether just a day or multiple days much more enjoyable for you and your furry crew.

* Think about "safe" spots.  If your doggie is crate trained and there is room aboard for your crate - excellent.  But if not, you can create alternate den like safe spots.  Check for sliding potential when heeling, check above for potential items that might fall - even around for items that might fall clear, but make a thud

* start SLOW SLOW SLOW with sailing......start the engine at the dock before the big day.  all of our dogs started with first time out as a motor trip - make it a normal everyday kinda thing.  Depending on the weather, you might need to just wait another day to raise the sails.

*  Get your doggie lifejacket before your first trip.  We've also found it easiest to tether the dogs in the cockpit initially until they can be trusted not to run around when docking/undersail/whenever you decide

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