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.

LOW-KEY HIDEAWAY

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Over a year ago, Katie Smith and I got stuck in a little town of Cedar Key, Florida because of the fog. By the fourth day we took all of our laundry and things to entertain us and rowed to shore in search of a laundry mat. Later we decided to go for a jog. Our jog turned into a walk. Our walk turned into A.D.D girl talk. Our girl talk enabled us to walk far enough to discover the most amazing tiki bar on the planet. No longer were we exercising, but we were now drinking delicious cocktails with a fella named Pat – who of course, come to find out is from Michigan.Pat Bonish and Cindy Bonish were curious about our story and had quite a story themselves. Not only did they feed us drinks all night, but even offered us a hotel room until the weather allowed us to leave Cedar Key. Desperate for showers, AC, a flushing toilet and a bed that didn’t smell like cat urine, I may have cried when they offered. A small favor too them, became one of the most memorable days on our first half of “America’s Great Loop”
They helped us possibly more than they realized, and I am certain they are the reason mother nature socked us in with fog for a week.

Katie and I are now back in Florida. Today we are driving to Cedar Key to catch up with Pat and Cindy and enjoy the lavish life they love and live at the Low-Key Hideaway. One day, maybe not soon… but one day, we will be able to pay forward these favors.

Slowly we are returning to Louise, with plans to leave Southern Florida in the spring to return her to The Great Lakes via the East Coasts intra-coastal Waterway. Good times and bad times are on the way. Everyone likes to read about two chicks trying to operate machinery right? And by machinery I mean a sailboat. 36592_10200957471849090_142031077_nHideaway_Tiki_Bar_Full_Moon   katieandjessieonaboat-5Sailing_FriendsSunset_Lightning_Lowkey_Hideaway

HAIRY UNDERCARRIAGE

photo-20Having the boat out of the water made both of us rather uneasy. Seeing the bottom caked with barnacles, algea, and mollusks made me re-think my love for Louise, for they were so firmly attached you would think they loved her more. Unfortunately for them, a power washer ripped them from their new found home. Sorry little girls & guys. I worked my ass off re-sanding and re-painting the bottom of Louise last summer, and was happy to see them go.  Plus, if I were Louise, I certainly would’t want anything permanently stuck to/living on my undercarriage.

You always find out things you don’t want to hear when you go to the doctor. Same goes for when you pull your boat out of the water. A scary appointment. Little did we know our rudder was rusted and cracked on both sides. The fiberglass surgeon fixed her up in no time with a reasonable bill to pay. Originally we pulled Louise with the sole purpose of having the new Simrad transducer installed, but along the way we discovered some must-fix issues. So thank goodness we pulled her out and got to give her a thorough inspection. ALSO thanks a ton to Diversified Yacht Services. Everyone was extremely friendly and efficient, I would send anyone their way. Louise was back in the water on schedule. Where she belongs. It’s go time.

The time has come. To prepare.

projects-10And the list goes on and on and on… last minute errands and projects in preparation for sailing a path less traveled. Each blue sticky note entails a list for every store that has done some damage to our savings account. Bass Pro, West Marine, Walmart, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s…. etc. Time to stock up. projects-18  Pretty self explanatory photo. A combination of self-defense and entertainment. projects-16 Can’t let this stuff roll around Louise…last thing we need is shattered glass. We poured our fine collection of liquors into plastic bottles.projects-17Not long from now… when that permanent marker wears off, we will be making mystery drinks.projects-15 Bahamas notes, secrets, tricks, advice… do’s and don’ts. For example – don’t ever leave for a big trip on a friday. Very bad luck.projects-14 Underneath my side of the living room (starboard side salon) Nets. Shackles. Hose clamps. Glue. Iso-pro alcohol. Propane. Polyurethane. Varnish. Paint. Nuts. Endless spare nonsense.projects-13 In case we forget. Ya know?projects-12 Junk drawer. Literally, it is all junk. Except for those extra zincs… and maybe the batteries.projects-11Louise’s engine parts storage. Where we house spare impellers, gaskets, alternator belts, fuel filters, oil filters, oil, pumps, etc…projects-19I understand this is a disturbing sight. This is underneath my bed. A bed full of black moId. Don’t worry, we have new cushions now, free of black mold. But I sure do sleep on a lot of food. No wonder I have packed on a couple pounds. I eat in my sleep. projects-6Stainless steel bimini frame getting installed…projects-9 BIMINI!!!! The shade has been amazing… it feels like we have an entire new living room outside. Reggie especially benefits from the shade, he loves it. Honestly, I don’t know how we have lasted this long without it. projects-7 Have you ever played the game “Cards Against Humanity?” You should all go out and purchase it today if you have not. Funniest card game I have played in a coons age.projects-8 A little reminder of why we left Bird behind… but gosh I miss her.  projects-4 Reggie… curiously watches Katie try to scrub the bottom of the boat, trying to figure out how he is going to benefit from this project.projects-3 If only I could have captured a better picture of what has been growing underneath Louise. It has become a place for fish to feast at night, if that says anything at all. You can literally hear little sucker fish eating off the bottom of the boat when you are trying to sleep.projects-2 What is that? That WAS our transducer, which somehow got us all the way from Michigan to Florida. I tried to salvage it, but it’s use is no longer. New transducer on the way! Thank you salt water for this hot mess.projects-5It was kind of sentimental to give this transducer up. I mean, look at it. It was mounted on a random pole, duct taped off the stern of our boat for 6 months, and worked just fine! See you later, we are moving up in the world.

As you can see, we have been busy. Doin’ work. Gettin’ it done. I have been having night mares all week…  am I nervous? I thought I was supposed to be brave. Guess not. Scared like the rest of y’all. I can say that now (y’all) cause I currently live in Florida.

We retired. Again.

IMG_7738Welp, this is what happens on your last day of work here on Fort Myers Beach. Your coworkers buy you a rose and then sneak up behind you and smash a pie into your face. Thanks guys!!! We are officially unemployed again. Back to living like the retired folk, except on an extremely tight budget. Very odd feeling. I can not say it is a comforting one. The bank account can only go one direction from here on out – down. All we can do is hope for best, and when we need money again, we will find work.

Waking up today knowing I no longer have a job was a huge realization that we are leaving again. On to the next step. Our goal of making it to the Bahamas is about to become real. Time to become boaters again. Today Louise is being hauled out, so a transducer can be mounted on her undercarriage. While trying to reverse out of our slip the contradicting wind and current made it very difficult, another awakening… “oh yea, I have to remember how to drive this thing” let alone sail it. Katie and I have become slightly uncoordinated during our time sitting in a marina, it will probably take us a little time to get back into the swing of things.

We will try to leave Fort Myers on Saturday. That is our goal at least. As of right now the weather forecast does not seem to agree with our goal. If it stays that way, then we will sit and patiently wait for mother nature to be nice. The rest of the week will be spent running errands, stocking up, and getting all the supplies we could possibly need if we end up stranded or broken down…

Dreams really do come true

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SIMRAD-8 IF I COULD ONLY EXPRESS THE EXCITEMENT FOR THE NEW BRAINS IMPLANTED IN LOUISE.  AND IF YOU COULD ONLY WITNESS THE NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT HAS INSTANTLY BECOME OUR NEW BEST FRIEND. WOW. WE LOVE YOU SIMRAD.

 Louise. She may look rough on the outside. But its what’s on the inside that counts. A small company you may or may not have heard of, Simrad, has come and surgically implanted new electronics inside Louise creating something we never would have imagined. (Simrad is a extremely well known, top of the line, navigation and electronics company)

This long skinny black device has been mounted in our cockpit. It has an arm that pushes and pulls our tiller in a direction we tell it. It is our new appendage, our new right hand, a new crew member aboard Louise. An auto-pilot my friends. A truly beautiful thing. We will have a name for her shortly, don’t fret.

And a television like screen mounted on a bracket with a rotating arm that freely swings from the kitchen to the patio (from inside the galley to outside in the cockpit.) A high definition, multi-functioning, color touchscreen which will guide us through channels, around sunken ships, coral reefs, and underwater obstructions – we hope. A brand-new chart plotter my friends. She too, will not go unnamed.

A new VHF, allowing for clear communication between us and other boats. An instrument panel mounted in the cockpit in place of the original knot indicator that ALWAYS informed us we were going 6 knots, even when we weren’t. Last but not least, Louise will get hauled out of the water to have a new transducer installed at the bottom/front area of our keel – where it’s purpose is intended.

The “backbone” also known as NMEA 2K is our new electrical wiring that interconnects all of these electronics so they can communicate. Kind of like how iCloud allows your iphone/ipad/macbook to share information in your home. This magical new connection in Louise’s brain is about to make our travels extraordinary.

I am not trying to make this such a dramatic story, we are just seriously excited. The guys from Felix Marine and Simrad have no idea how this installation is about to change our life. They did such an amazing job working on Louise, crawling in and out of her basement, while placing everything not only conveniently, but also aesthetically. Kind, knowledgable, and resourceful, it has been a pleasure to get to know these guys.

Katie and I have a lot of learning to do with our new toys. I could talk about them for hours. I assure you you will continuously read about them in our travels from here on out. We can not express how thankful and ecstatic we are for the new additions… stay tuned on how funny it is going to be as we learn the ins and outs. (Back in Illinois, we were traveling the river shortly behind our German friend, he is single-handed with an auto-pilot set up. He went below to take care of some business, at the same time, his auto-pilot took a 90 degree left turn, straight into the river bank. Cruising at 6 or 7 knots with the rivers current, I have never seen a boat run aground so abruptly. This ended up being the highlight of our day because nothing was damaged and he got pulled off the bottom. Quirks like these in auto-pilots frighten me, but i’m pretty sure Simrad would never play such a nasty trick on us) SIMRAD-6SIMRAD-7SIMRAD-4SIMRAD-5SIMRAD-2SIMRAD-3SIMRADThis is the first of many Simrad related posts. More pictures and videos of Simrad items in action in the near future. This stuff will make all you boaters out there turn in the old for the new! Thank you again to the brave men who risked their lives aboard Louise to support Katie and Jessie on a boat.

“Workin hard at work worth doin” – Theodore Lovely

theodore lovely-12For those of you who are not aware, Katie and I have had her vehicle in Florida the entire time we have been docked. Unfortunately the car can’t fit on the boat when we leave for the Bahamas. Cool for us, it meant we got to take a quick road trip to Michigan before we set sail.

While driving home, a pleasant encounter occurred in Nashville. A very good friend of ours Rob Armenti and his band Theodore Lovely are on tour aboard “Gloria Southwind” a traveling home, that felt awfully similar to our traveling home – only theirs happens to be on wheels and not in the water.  We had the pleasure of meeting them for lunch in Nashville where both of our road trips unknowingly decided to collide.

Several years ago, Rob helped me sing when I wanted to sing, and strum when I wanted to strum. He forced me to do open-mics with him in Lake Tahoe, and broke me away from only playing/singing to no one. If it were’t for him, none of you would have ever heard me belting christmas music, disney songs, or broadway on camera. These guys are uniquely talented musicians, songwriters, not to mention serious weirdos. I encourage you to discover their music and share it with everyone you know. You will not be disappointed.

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If you love her let her go…

photoI have a sad story that must be told. For a while I thought I would be able to get away without sharing it, but at this point – she is such a huge part of our story that there is no way her absence would go unnoticed.

I am reluctant to inform you that Katie will no longer be traveling with us. She will stay in Michigan with family until I return to take care of her again. Small spaces, lack of laundry facilities, and pee in my bed has forced me to find her a temporary home. Crazy I know. I am kidding. I am actually talking about Bird. The kitty. The Cat. The lion. The white fur-ball you see in all my photos. The precious tub of lard who keeps you and I so entertained. Yes, that thing. We question her happiness, as I’m sure you all do as well. We have done everything we can to try and fix her peeing problem. After failing for nearly 7 months, we have decided that she will stay in Michigan with family until we return. Until I can house her like a normal mother. Until she is a big girl and figures out how to use the facilities correctly.

It makes me sad to even type this, because she is attacking my foot and crawling all over my laptop as we speak. So clueless, so clumsy. Attempting to eat my toe, while unknowingly being left behind. I am sorry Bird. This will be a huge relief for Katie and I while traveling the Bahamas. She pees at least twice a week in our bed, and trust me we have tried EVERYTHING to fix this. I don’t know if you have experienced cat urine lingering in a home… but just imagine that smell in a small, musky boat with stagnant air. On top of that, having no way of doing laundry. Bringing her home to our families has become the last resort, but we are hoping that she will be happier that way.

I will return to you one day Bird. This is not good bye. We will miss you all those hours you give us something to stare at, laugh at, and play with. Look at it this way, no longer will we travel with a blue eyed, sun blinded goof who would most likely lose her balance during heavy seas and become shark bait. See you when we see you.

Thought train

snookbight-8Every single day I go to work. In need of saving money.  Getting people drunk and then cleaning up after them. Trying not to lose sight of what it is I am actually doing here.

Roller coaster of emotions range from being frustrated, annoyed, and stuck, to anxious, ambitious, inspired and free. Contradicting I know. Everyday differs.

Living on a boat comfortably tied to a dock is more challenging than the challenges brought while actually boating.

Starting to find my niche. My reason, and my purpose. Which is to document, photograph, write, and share my life with those who are for some reason interested. Most importantly to inspire.

Coffee, laptop, paper, camera, and guitar keep me going. Material items that consume me while not working.

I look forward to leaving this dock, leaving this country. The unknown, uncertainty, and ever changing scenery take up so much space in my mind there is little room for anything else.

For now I appreciate new friends, new company, hard work that pays well, fair weather, the safety of a marina, and time to prepare for what will come next.

Although I am impatient, there is no reason to be. For every minute I have spent here has been nothing but beneficial.snookbight-7 snookbight-3 snookbight

The never ending list

As I have previously stated, our lives changed over night when we got jobs. So quickly, my mind is baffled by the fact it is already mid february. We should be in the Bahamas by now right? Like the rest of our Looper friends. But unlike the rest of our Looper friends, we did not leave for this trip with enough money to exit the country un-employed.  With goals of saving money, and better outfitting Louise, Katie and I are right on track.

So here we are, at a halt. Somewhere where we don’t need a heater at night, and somewhere we can prepare for further travels. The list is endless, and I must say we have barely gotten started. Several items we are in search of unfortunately fall under the famous boating quote “Bring out another $1000”

  • Bimini – Not having shade and being exposed to harsh elements day after day was a struggle. Sunscreen can only help so much. Thank you SunBum for that help.
  • Dinghy – Our dinghy (aka Milkdud) is very old. It is an Avon from the 70’s that has taken the “great loop” twice already. It is a story in itself that will be told at a later date. It is important to have a reliable dinghy while cruising the Bahamas. Your dinghy is your best friend.
  • Solar panels – Louise lacks power. It is not an issue while plugged in at dock, or while running the engine for hours. This will become an issue when we actually become sailors, and not motor-boaters.
  • GO-PRO – yes. Thats right, we take awful video. I know everyone who watches our videos are trying not to get motion sick while looking at the computer. A waterproof, stability controlled camera, could help out you and me both

Anyways, those are some things at the top of the never ending list. Things we can live without, but things that would make life better and a little more fun. New navigation equipment, an autopilot, spinnaker, mainsail, cushions, zinc anodes, 12 volt fridge, and working fuel/temperature gauge would be great to. One day…