Welcome to the funny farm

Welcome to the funny farm. We may not have it all together, but together we have it all. Together we run aground, and together we get un-stuck.

Since Louise has spent a lot of time at the dock while her caregivers are off at work, we decided it would be a good idea to crank up her engine and run the diesel. With not much time before work, we cruised around the back bay. Fort Myers Beach is located on its own island called Estero Island. The west side of the island being the Gulf of Mexico, and the east side runs along the protected “back bay” where all fisherman, pleasure craft, and commercial vessels dock or moor. The channel that runs through the back bay is known for being shallow. But that didn’t stop us from taking Louise on an excursion. All though It did stop us from continuing forward. We ran aground 3 times, inside the channel. Whats new? Nothing at all. Those who have never run aground, are liars.

There are several ways to get “un-stuck” after running aground. Katie and I are getting better at this. Typically the first move is obvious, put the boat in reverse, and back off of whatever it is you ran over. If you read my previous entry, you know that WE DON’T HAVE REVERSE. Yes, the shift cable is still snapped and disconnected, so that was not an option. The first 2 times we got unstuck by abruptly pumping the tiller in one direction and flooring it in forward. Success. The third time we stuck her good. I mean so good that Bird (whom I was holding) flew out of my arms like a real bird. Thank god, the tide was on it’s way up. This time we just sat there, enjoying the moment. Effortlessly relaxed in the cockpit, with country music and peppermint schnapps, awaiting the water to rise. A Ft Myers Town boat with a very large engine spotted by, threw us a line, and attempted to pull us off the bottom. Spinning in circles, churning up mud, I think the damn guy just dug us deeper. Thanking him for his help, we decided it would be better to wait it out. After an hour, I cranked the engine, as Katie raised the king sheet (genoa) and we tilted over just enough to lift the keel out of the mud. Wow I miss boating. 

I have also discovered that I can type in any color. So that’s exciting.

Family Vacation

dad-katie bday-5 Thank You Ed and Laurie De Young for letting my family and I stay in your lovely home on Sanibel Island. What a special place, and what a special weekend – To have my family fly in from different corners of the country to visit, and have 4 days to catch up and relax with the people I love the most.

dad-katie bday-3 Ed and Laurie’s house. Slice of Paradise.

dad-katie bday This living room was a little cozier than Louise’s. Reggie and Bird enjoyed having more room for activities.

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dad-katie bday-6Lizard. Too quick to catch.

dad-katie bday-7The one and only “Desiree” My fathers boat that he bought when he was 21 and completed the Great Loop in, back in the 70’s. Insane how many miles he has put on that thing and how many places it has brought him.

dad-katie bday-8The De Young’s collection of sand from all corners of the world. Dozens of little glass bottles, lining the window si

dad-katie bday-10Not a bad bike collection.

dad-katie bday-11The Zevalkink’s pedal to breakfast.

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dad-katie bday-14 My hair often gets in the way of my photographs.

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dad-katie bday-28Alex(ander) Spent the afternoon in the palm trees…gathering coconuts to make fresh coconut milk. Loud, messy and brilliant

dad-katie bday-21Fresh coconut water. Delicious.

dad-katie bday-29Little girl. Big coconuts.

dad-katie bday-18 Love when this lady smiles. Even though she hates her picture being taken.

dad-katie bday-17Good morning birthday boy.

dad-katie bday-26 Sharp objects overtaking the beach.

dad-katie bday-25 My new pet starfish. Sorry Bird.

dad-katie bday-24 dad-katie bday-23 Mad scientist studying foreign species.

dad-katie bday-22Lovers.

Gearless.

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Funny story. Something broke, what else would it be? The gear shifter has failed us. Something snapped, and we can no longer put the boat into forward or reverse. I apologize for I am no mechanic. My way of explaining this with incorrect terminology may make little sense. Lets just say this… after turning on the engine while coming in from a day sail, the shifter fell completely limp. The shifter was freely swinging about it’s 180 degree radius, completely disconnected from the transmission. Snapped cable. No gears. Awesome.

So the shifter breaking is not the funny part of this story.  What’s funny is the conversation that was going on prior to the event. My dad, sister and brother-in-law were all in town visiting. We go out for a sail. On our sail my dad, being the man he is,  suggests “Let’s pretend the diesel doesn’t work, and you have to sail back to the dock.” This was a smart training idea, no doubt. Katie and I look at each other, declining the challenge and responding “Nahhh, we will deal with a situation like that when it actually happens.” Sailing in a very narrow, and very shallow channel did not sound fun at the moment. Or maybe Katie and I were just scared we couldn’t actually do it and would run aground while having to tack in a tricky channel. So we opted out, “thanks for the suggestion though, dad.” (would have been the perfect moment to practice this situation)

Sure enough… we begin to lower the sails while entering the channel and fired up the diesel. Why of course the shifter breaks, and we can’t figure out how to put it in forward. My dad is just laying in the cockpit, relaxing with his cigarette, chuckling while we try to figure out how we are going to get back to the dock. With the mainsail still up, we turned around and slowly headed for deeper water allowing for more space to maneuver. Katie crawls down by the engine, while my brother-in-law helps diagnose what had snapped.  My dad, impatience finally kicking in,  told everyone to get out of the way. He hops down for a peek, asks for a screwdriver, and within moments manually put us in forward, using the screwdriver to hold us in gear. DUH. A simple and temporary fix that Katie and I would have never discovered. I have a feeling our solution would have been to drop the anchor, and have a cup of tea while we waited for sea-tow to come save us.

Moral of today’s story: When you have a moment to practice emergency procedures (even if they are little emergencies) take the time to discuss, and practice them. Like docking with no reverse for example. That was my new challenge for the day. Luckily 4 human fenders were there with me to make up for an uncoordinated parking job. Don’t opt out of an opportunity to practice just because you’re feeling lazy. Most importantly, don’t wait till you meet situations first hand, because Daddy isn’t always going to be there to fix your problems.

dad-katie bday-40Encountering our first pirate ship in the Gulf of Mexico.dad-katie bday-39What ya doin dad?dad-katie bday-38The boys.dad-katie bday-37 dad-katie bday-36 dad-katie bday-35

dad-katie bday-33Fort Myers Beach off in the distance. dad-katie bday-32 dad-katie bday-31The Alex’s. Awe. One of them with the flu, and the other one seasick. Only smiling because I forced them too. Good job kids, it looks like you were actually happy.

dad-katie bday-30Happy Birthday you silly man

Jersey Shore

Hello, my name is Jessie. I live on a boat with my friend Katie. We live on the Jersey Shore.  An Island consisting of people who come from all over the country to get drunk and hit on waitresses.  I have never actually been to the Jersey Shore, but this is how I imagine it to be. I am not trying to be mean here, but holy hell, our pace of life has drastically changed.

Within the first 24 hours of being here, Katie and I both got 2 waitressing jobs.  That’s four different restaurants. We have not sat down since. Almost overnight, we went from 4 months of being unemployed to working 2 full time serving jobs. From 5 knots for 3 months with no exercise, to people beckoning you all day while you hustle tables. From quiet days and little conversation, hours without talking…to “would you like fries with that?” From going to sleep at 8:30, to picking up a drunken mess till 2 in the morning. No need to explain more. You get it.

I realize I am making this sound awful. I am just trying to explain how quickly our lives have changed. How adaptable we have had to be. Katie and I have barely seen each other since we have been here. We just pass each other on the street, wave and yell “Have a good day at work!”  How two people could see each other so little, and live in such a small space together boggles my mind.

Most importantly, the piggy bank is overfilling with pennies. Hard work is already paying off. Maybe we won’t have to be docked as long as we thought? Being unemployed was challenging for Katie and me. Probably one of the things we liked least about this trip. Little sleep, and hard work actually feels really great. Getting our asses kicked is what we hoped for, and sure enough that is what we’re getting. By the time we leave here, the blissful thought of being unemployed again is going to sound quite lovely.

Happy Birthday Katie Arial Smith

Today is Katie’s Birthday. Happy Birthday to you Katie Girl. At this very moment we are sitting at a wonderful family friend’s house on Sanibel Island. Mimosas, friends, and a beach day are moments away. What an odd life we live, and what an odd path we have chosen to take together. From getting caught “stealing” your mom’s car and driving around with sky malt beverages before we had drivers licenses, to road tripping to California years later. Traveling around that beautiful state going on not-so-typical adventures, always keeping things interesting.

Now here we are. Living on a sailboat and traveling the country. Soon we will be out of this country and exploring others. I don’t think either of our families would have ever expected such a thing from us. But for some reason, none of it seems that odd to me. You are the only person in my life that would ever pick up and buy a sailboat to call home, leave everything and leave everyone.  Only to travel rivers and waterways unknowingly with me. You are crazy. So am I. Thanks for being so out there. Happy Birthday. You are 24. You are old. Love Youuu!!!

Time to take a break

So as you all know, we have been at this boating thing for a while, taking 3 and a 1/2 months by boat to arrive in Fort Myers Beach, FL. It is crazy to think we could have hopped in a vehicle and driven here in less than two days. The people we have met, and  amount of knowledge gained in those 3 and 1/2 months have been more rewarding than I ever could have expected.  Our last week which brought us into Fort Myers Beach was truly enjoyable. We didn’t take a moment for granted, knowing that we were about to park Louise for the winter while we fill our penny banks in order to continue this journey.

So many wonderful experiences that last week. Visiting looper friends in Sarasota. Being spoiled at the Venice Beach Yacht Club. Having our friend Abbey aboard. Pulling into Fort Myers Beach with Katie’s family there to catch our lines. All of it brought a sense of accomplishment that we’d not yet felt. A new stage in our journey. The thought of spending more than 5 days in one place seemed foreign, but possibly healthy. Both of us had grown so accustomed to new places and new faces every day, how odd to pay a marina for a full month. I wonder if we will go insane? The purpose of living aboard is to experience a constant change of scenery, not the constant sameness of being parked at a dock. But as you know, you must back up your travels with some kind of funding. So, we will now set out to find work, most likely as waitresses. The best thing about waitressing is that it’s quick cash, with no commitment. Exactly what we want. With not enough time to work at an hourly wage, and not enough patience to sit behind a desk,  Katie and Jessie are about to become professional waitresses.

Louise is secure at her new dock. Her little-engine-that-could is ready for a break. There’s cleaning to be done and improvements to be made. The animals are ready for land, and need a serious visit to the vet.  We are ready to work, and ready to make some friends that are actually our age. All though we LOVE the old folk, it will be nice to make friends our age while we are here. I might not know how to make friends anymore? What am I supposed to talk about besides running aground, and solving diesel engine issues? I plan to continue writing and taking photos while spending time in Fort Myers Beach. Entries and photos may not necessarily be sailing related, but as you know this blog isn’t really even about sailing. It is about two girls on an adventure – taking off on a boat that happens to have sails, figuring it all out as they go, and keeping you entertained with their silly lives.

blog-edits-2Katie, Abbey and I on our final stretch to Fort Myers Beach. An abnormally long day for Katie and me (50-some miles) was nothing but bliss for Abbey visiting from Michigan.

blog-editsOur little photographer

blog-edits-9The three stooges. This was the time of day when we started to lose our minds, start singing, and speaking gibberish.

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blog-edits-4We left as the sun came up, and arrived just after the sun set. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. Darkness hit just as we had to enter the narrow channel to get to Fort Myers Beach. Difficult to see the channel markers, but enough light from town to safely arrive at the dock.

blog-edits-10Cleaning day. Everything was taken out of the boat and treated with flea-killing solution. Disgusting thought that we have been living inside a flea infested cage. Louise looked so good when we were done, you could have eaten off her. Oh yeah, we already did that for the last 3 months. We are probably not very healthy. Maybe we should take ourselves to the vet?

blog-edits-12Looper reunion! It was like Christmas day to get together with these folks. Ron and Jean (in the middle) happily hold their Looper Flag signifying their completion of The Great Loop. Way too much food and mini-beers (butterscotch liquor with whipped cream) made for a hilarious evening. We love you all, can’t wait to cross paths with each of you.

blog-edits-13This is what happens when family visits, buys too much alcohol, and leaves it in the hotel room. Oh gosh. What an odd assortment.

Wolf Pack

Today we will discuss a topic that I know everyone is wondering but may not ask. The question being… how is living on a tiny boat affecting your friendship? Don’t you and Katie hate each other by now? Well, I can confidently say I think I know what it feels like to be married. Take out the sex, and we are damn near a married couple. We disagree, we annoy one other,  we need our space even though we don’t have any,  we get bored of each other, and we often simply ignoring each another. I’d say that sounds like a typical marriage, don’t you think?

Sometimes Katie talks, or asks a question, and I don’t respond just because I don’t feel like it. She corrects my grammar, always pointing out  when I use words in the wrong context. She yells at me for biting my nails. I am constantly organizing and putting things away…often I don’t even remember where I’ve put them. I’ll move something that Katie stowed. She then fumbles around looking for something that I moved without telling her. Oops. The list of things we do that piss each other off is endless. But at the end of the day, there is no one else I would rather be with on a 27ft sailboat.  At least 96% of our time together is either hilarious, exciting, entertaining, and rather ridiculous. The contributions we make to the boat, and to our travels are 50/50, being not one captain, but two. Katie and I both bring a lot to the table when it comes to decision making, and problem solving. We both know we couldn’t do it without the other. Minor conflict is only human, and nothing that we can’t laugh about later.

I am only informing you about the negatives because they are honest, and when I started this blog I promised the good, the bad, and the ugly. No two best friends would ever get along perfectly in our situation. I can promise you one thing, if I were to write an entry about how great our friendship is it would be a hell of a lot longer than this entry. The positives in our friendship can not even be measured because they so strongly out weigh the negatives. But who wants to read about that?!?

Lesson of the day: If you are questioning any kind of relationship, buy a boat and live on it together. Make sure you leave the harbor, and maybe rough it through some storms together.

ABBEY MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY

12Katie and I have a wonderful friend from home who spent two days with us traveling on Louise. There with her camera to document it all, she wrote a beautiful story about us using photography to capture our lives.  This girl is seriously talented.  Several years ago she came to me for advice on camera equipment and photography tricks. Abbey has by far surpassed me with her artsy eye, capability to capture people in their element, and catch the moments that matter. She now has her own wedding and lifestyle photography business, and is my main source of inspiration. The recent post about Katie and I had me smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t be happier knowing I will have these photos for the rest of my life. Thank you Abbey!!! ABBEYMOORE.NET

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