CAPTAIN KATIE

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Can we please have a round of applause for our new captain,  who is not only a deep sea fisher woman but has just completed her US COAST GUARD MASTERS CAPTAIN LICENSE ! ! ! The most common question we got traveling aboard was “Who is the captain?” In which we laughed and said both of us. Truth is that yes, I was the one driving most of the time, but when it came to decision making, problem solving, navigating, statistics, logistics, and pretty much everything required to get from A to B, Katie ran the show. The captain of a ship is not just the person at the helm, it is so much more than that – Captain Katie everyone ⚓ hire her today, or at least buy the woman a drink. Proud of ya MA.

Back in the day… before either of us knew a damn thing about captaining or plumbing… and our toilet was broken… we figured it would be a better captains chair than a toilet anyways.

Patrick.

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Louise is driving all by herself. Katie’s hands nor my own have touched the tiller in hours. Only the press of a button every so often is required to keep us on course. Patrick, is the captain now. I may have introduced you all to Patrick a while back, but since he has recently become an extremely important member of this family, I would like to introduce you again. Patrick, is our SIMRAD auto-tiller. In decent conditions, we plug him in, and suddenly, our house moves effortlessly in the direction we want to go. I do nothing but read, write, and dance around all day, while every once in a while pressing a button to keep us on track. Katie has remained glued to her seat in the shade, I think she has started and finished an entire book today. Patrick changes things. What can be accomplished in a single day of travel with him at the helm, is multiplied. This is great. No wonder people have auto-pilots. I love you Patrick. You are exactly what I have been searching for all this time. Someone to keep me on track.

We sailed the outside from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach. The seas were too rough for Patrick. This meant Katie and Jessie had to command the ship. With wind and waves behind us, we surfed for miles. Some may think how pleasant it must be to be pushed in the direction of your choice by mother nature. The truth is, when the seas are behind you, it is more challenging to steer a straight course. I missed patrick. Surely we added on several miles to our day by not being able to remain linear. The waves were not small, or large, but they were in control, not us. Borderline intimidating, but who were we to complain about heading with them in the same direction. We saw 8.4 knots.

We snuck back onto the ICW at Palm Beach. Rewarded the next day with protection from the land, as a massive, angry, red, orange, and green blob took over the radar. We saw it coming. We felt it coming. Casually we kept tugging along towards Sebastian, our days final destination. The radar looked like satan himself, but for some odd reason, instead of stopping, we put on our rain gear. Suddenly, It was raining sideways Main Coons and Irish Wolfhounds. The wind pushing us backwards, stopping us in our tracks. Visibility became non existent. Our “rain” gear, demonstrated complete failure. May as well have been naked. Wet rubber stuck to goose bumped skin. We dropped the anchor right in the middle of the channel. I could barely hold my face forward to seek a safer spot. Anchor line came flying out if it’s locker. No need to measure scope. Let her rip. We kept the motor on, because earlier in the day, we found our alternator belt shredded to pieces. The engine runs just fine without an alternator belt, however we did turn off unnecessary electronics. Soaking wet, and patiently waiting for the beast to pass, neither of us cared to go inside for protection, we didn’t feel like getting the house wet. I then received a text from our friends we were meeting in Sebastian, only 8 miles down the road. The text read “Pulled pork for dinner. Cold beer. Hot shower.” We pulled up the anchor, and carried on with our day.

Two days disappeared in Sebastian as we tackled some engine problems. Air in our fuel lines resulting in the engine unpredictably quitting, and a case of shredding alternator belts. We were capable of fixing one of the two, spending and entire afternoon “bleeding” air out of the fuel lines until they were free of air bubbles. This process can be simple, or it can be the death of you. I can’t count how many hours we sat in front of the engine, doing absolutely nothing, getting nothing accomplished. All of the sudden we were both wearing alien caps made out of aluminum foil, hoping for answers to fall from the sky. I will say, that Katie and I are getting good at pin pointing all of our engine issues, what’s wrong, why it happened, where its coming from etc… BUT there is a distinct difference in figuring out the problem, and solving the problem. It’s cool when our womanly brain powers go to good use and all, but it’s not so cool when all it means is that we still can’t fix it by ourselves.

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T SHIRTS !!!

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NEW!!! “LOUISE” T SHIRTS, by Marushka Hand Prints.  For those of you who have suggested that we have t-shirts… we finally got around to it, and thanks to all of those who encouraged the idea!

A Smith, family owned and operated screen printing company based out of Grand Haven Michigan, got hard to work hand printing each shirt. If you contribute $40.00 to Katie and Jessie on a Boat, you will receive this superb t-shirt!!! Who doesn’t need a shirt, with two chicks on their chest, and a boat on their back? Representing the art of cruising and simplicity, combined with hard work and gratitude. If you donate at least $40.00 to helping us complete America’s Great Loop, not only will you have a shirt to change your oil in, but you will be supporting the mission of two young women, working to prove a pretty simple point. The point being… don’t let fear get in the way of moving forward with your own dreams. Don’t let yourself get stuck. And if you do get stuck, I hope it is on the ground in the new boat you just took off on.

DSC_0764 DSC_0763Contributions or no contributions, we appreciate everyone who keeps up with our story . This week, Katie and I start moving north up the East Coast. We have a 4 month trip ahead of us as we travel back to the Great Lakes. What will happen in these 4 months… I do not know. The only thing predictable in the life of Katie and Jessie is that, no matter what, things are going to go wrong. Disaster amidst the wanderlust. Ye haw. THANK YOU EVERYONE. We are so grateful for the ongoing encouragement, enthusiasm, guidance, and support.

Engines don’t belong in living rooms.

Engines don’t belong in living rooms. Yes, we treat this space in our boat just as anyone treats this room in their home. And let me tell you, diesel engines look rather out of place in this area. We spent a 10 hour day in small, incredibly awkward spaces with the local mechanic, Carvel. The hot, sweaty, basement of Louise, allows for little room to turn  wrenches and make any progress. It took some time to figure out how this transmission replacement was going to go down. The day before while chatting with my dad he said “The engine is going to have to come out.” I was slow to respond because in my mind I was thinking “Oh hell no it’s not.” Don’t you need like an entire fleet of engineers, mechanics, pulleys, and cranes to do something that outrageous?

You were right, Dad. The entire engine came out of its compartment where it once looked so lovely. Carvel, contacted his brother Avery who was in town for pleasure. Poor guy got his ass put to work in a sweat box full of noseums for an entire day. These guys did an amazing job. By dinner time Louise had a brand new transmission. It took some adjusting, and aligning for everything to work together again. Carvel knew we were on a strict budget, and kindly asked from us only what we could afford. I will never forget him for that. Job complete. So we thought.

The next morning by 8am, we are ready to throw off the dock lines and head for Nassau. We’ve spent two and half weeks on this island. You can imagine we were ready to move onwards. Last minute, both of us realize there is zero water coming out of the exhaust. Not a drip. Uh oh, that is not good. Engine off. Carvel came back that morning to inspect. He ended up having to take off the entire exhaust manifold, and re-seal/re-attach it to the engine. The water had all been spraying inside the basement, instead of making it to the backyard – due to the manifold not properly being hooked back up. And after one more mini-disaster, all was well.

Since arriving in Nassau, life has been the least bit charming. A lot has happened since we have been here. Too much for me to explain now. Let’s just say our limits have been tested. Sanity weakening. Bank accounts draining. Comfort and safety shrinking. But in an odd way, our friendship becoming stronger, which I didn’t know was possible. Sometimes what you sign up for is not what you expect. But even when it’s not what I expected, what we have been rewarded with is far more outstanding than I could imagine. Just gotta wait for it.

TUNA TUNA TUNA

crossing over-2 Leaving Coconut Grove, headed over to “No Name Harbor” which is an infamous anchorage for waiting out weather to cross to the Bahamas. crossing over-3 Mom, I gotta pee crossing over-4  crossing over-5 crossing over-6 crossing over-7 No Name anchorage. Two of these sailboats left at 3am to cross to Bimini, we left at 5:30am, and another left at 7. So all though we left alone, there were other sailors in existence. crossing over-8 crossing over-9 Raising the quarantine flag. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this yellow flag signifies you have yet to check-in to the country, and still have to go through customs. Once you are cleared through, you then raise a Bahamas courtesy flag.crossing over-10 crossing over-11 and all of the sudden the trolling rod was horizontal and we had something on the hookcrossing over-12 Black fun tuna!!!!crossing over-13 A shark or something like it – bit off it’s tail while we were reeling it in. This was great, because with out a tail it barely put up a fight, bleed itself out, making the process much more pleasant.crossing over-14 Thank you Katie for spending your money on all this fishing stuff…crossing over-15 crossing over-16 Clavo, aboard a boat we traveled closely to Bimini with, helped us clean up the tuna. He was very excited the girls brought supper and was happy to show us how to cook this thing up. crossing over-17 All the tuna scraps were fed to a family of nurse sharks. crossing over-18 crossing over-19 crossing over-20 crossing over-21 crossing over-22 crossing over-23 Reggie was freaking out as the sharks were swimming in circles around the tuna scraps, he was very close to jumping in the water with them.crossing over-24 Okay I have been told that out of respect for the fish, you eat it’s eyeball? Something I have done in the past, but it was a very small eyeball. At this moment I was so happy that I volunteered myself to do so. After cutting it’s eyeball out, the juices were overflowing, and it  it’s size was that of a cow. I couldn’t do it.crossing over-25 crossing over-26 crossing over-27 crossing over-28 Meet Isabelle. Pretty kitty aboard “Fille De Joi” friends we made who are cruising to the B.V.I’scrossing over-29 crossing over-30 crossing over-31 Bohemian courtesy flag.crossing over-32 Bimini Sands Marinacrossing over-33 crossing over-34 crossing over-35 crossing over-36

when the sky gives you rain – take a shower

Great moment. I will never forget it. Warm Florida rain. Anchored out in a little lake along the Atlantic I.C.W. The moment we dropped the hook, a fairly large storm blew through as the wind spun us around in circles. We took this as an opportunity to shower off our salty, sticky skin. Three other sailboats were anchored out next to us, and every one inside slowly crawled out of hibernation to enjoy the fresh rain as well. Just a bunch of dirty sailors singing in the rain.