Apr 22, 2015

Liquid Energy

   It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I started drinking coffee. I had moved to Wanaka, New Zealand and started working in a cafe. The Kiwis love their coffee and they make good coffee. I got all of my training there to be a proper barista and figured that since I was working in front of this machine all day making other people’s liquid energy, that maybe I should sample some for myself. I started with Chai lattes, then moved on to actual lattes, then the next thing I knew I was drinking a cappuccino a day. I had grown to love the acquired taste of coffee. I can’t say that I ever craved the stuff, but many years later, with a toddler and an infant waking multiple times through the night, coffee became a very good friend of mine.

   On the boat of our size, having a full on coffee maker is just out of the question. It would be a misuse of space and power. We found that a french press was a good alternative. It didn’t make lattes for me, but it still produced the stuff that would keep me functioning in the daytime, so it would do. Unfortunately for me, in my old age of my 30’s, coffee seemed to irritate my bowels more than anything and I gave the stuff up. I preferred being a little groggy throughout the day than having to make random mad dashes to the washroom as the coffee kicked in. I pretty much went months without it, maybe sneaking a sip from Eben’s every now and again, or occasionally treating myself to a specialty coffee when we would go to land. That was until we got ourselves the Aerobie Aeropress. We came across this magical contraption on a friends boat and I loved how easy it looked to use and how good the coffee that came out of it was. Dumbing it down the Aeropress is a coffee press. But I don’t think it is fair to dumb it down as I am super ImPressed with this thing (hahaha! punny right!) It’s as easy as this, you place a mini-circular filter in the bottom, screw that on to the press, add one scoop of your regular coffee grinds, add hot water (not boiling, 175 degrees to be exact), stir for 10 seconds, put the plunger on and press down slowly (20-60 seconds). What you get is a shot of coffee, like in an Americano, or cappuccino, or latte, that is not bitter from having been boiled and over cooked, that is pure deliciousness. What you do with that shot, add water or milk, is up to you. But we can all say that we taste a definite difference between using the Aeropress rather than a regular french press. And that difference is good. I have found myself drinking coffee again. Now I just have to get used to the jitters that it gives me as my body gets re-accustomed to this liquid energy!

   Now I didn’t just write this post to rant and rave about this new little contraption that is making us delicious coffee to rub it in your face. I thought that it could be fun to do a give-away and send an Aerobie Aeropress to one of our readers as a thank you for your constant support and visits to our blog. So here is how we will do this. Once you have finished reading this post (which I hope you would have done even without the give-away!)  make sure you have "liked" our FB page and comment BELOW and telling us: 

If you were to win the Aeropress and had to model (with the press) for an advert picture, what would it look like? *Caution, I will most likely request the winner actually act out said scene and send us the picture to be posted on our facebook page!* 

From the comments we will RANDOMLY select a winner by 8pm on Saturday, April 25, 2015.  I will then post the winners name on our Facebook page and contact them via pm, and the winner will have 24hours to get in touch with me with their shipping address to claim the prize. If the winner fails to contact us within those 24hours they will have forfeited their win and another random winner will be selected. This give-away is only open to people with shipping addresses to the U.S. or Canada. Let the fun begin!! (I look forward to reading your comments!)

Here are all the pieces to the press, and they all fit nicely into an included bag.

Eben loves modelling for products!! 

Apr 13, 2015

Boat Branding

   When we first got our second sailboat we decided that we wanted to rename her and make her our very own. We had lived the last year on a boat that we hadn’t personally named, and weren’t fond of her name. We would not be making that mistake our second time around. We already knew she would be Necesse (latin for Necessity) and we were quick in going through the whole renaming process. We bought the champagne, did the readings, eradicated the boat of anything with its former name…all of the rigamarole. The only thing we were lacking was proper boat lettering to tack on the new name.

   Since Necesse was a mess when we got her, we were more concerned with getting all her systems up and running rather than making her pretty. So Eben went over to the Bahamian hardware store and bought those little letters that you see people put on their mail boxes, and that is what we used to write Necesse on the back of the boat. We had her this way for years, thinking one day we will get around to doing that better. That day has finally come. Now that all the systems are running and our projects are more beautification, it was time to grace her with a name/logo worthy of attention.

   We contacted Do-It-Yourself Lettering to get our boat stickers made because they gave us the ability to…do it ourselves. It is pretty amazing the type of customer service we got. We were in direct contact with one of the co-owners who helped me with the design every step of the way. Their website is great in that it lets you choose from an infinite amount of fonts, colors, and designs. But since I had a specific “look” in mind (the same font, logo, and design as the blog name) I merely emailed that image over to them with the dimensions of the back of our boat and they made it happen. There was a lot of back and forth to make it is was perfect and was we all agreed on it, it was printed and mailed off to us.

   The application of the vinyl lettering to the back of our boat was easier than easy (for me anyways!) The instructions they sent with the lettering was very straight forward and easy to follow. Eben taped up the lettering and we dinghied out to see it from afar, and once we found the height we liked Eben set to work at pasting it on. This looked a little hard for him, but only because of the angle he was working at and the fact that he was doing it from our dinghy. It took about half an hour of carefully scrapping the letters on to the boat.

   It looks perfect. We are both so happy with how simple the application process was and how great it turned out. With the dock boxes that Eben made we managed to clean up a lot of the junk that was cluttering the back of the boat. And now with the lettering on there too, the back of our boat looks clean, professional, and loved.

The letting taped up so we could figure out the right placement (always a little hard when the boat is listing and the swim ladder is crooked!)

Checking it from further away

Eben putting on the lettering from the dinghy

We had one little corner that did not want to come off of the paper but Eben got it

The final result! Our boat name with logo included in it!

We are so happy with the results!!!!!

Apr 7, 2015

Ellia Turns 3!

   It is crazy to think that our youngest boat baby is turning 3! It feels like just yesterday she was an infant, permanently attached to my hip, giving everyone the "scowl" she became known for. From the moment she popped out of me, this little girl was gifted with the attitude and strong will of a teenager. Ellia was a tougher cookie from the start, but man has she ever blossomed. For the first year of her life she wanted nothing to do with anyone except for mama. It made it hard for me to get any sort of rest. Even when we had visitors come, who were dying to hold her, like my mom, she was crazy-glued to me. She had this air to her and no matter how much cooing-and-cawing everyone did, the scowl stayed fixed to her face. We often wondered what we had done to deserve such an angry child!

   But over the last three years of her long life she has done a complete 180. She has become a complete cuddle bug, and once she has warmed up to someone she will immediately be their best friend. She always laughing and smiling and trying to be a little comedian. She has brought such joy into our lives and I am sooooo happy she is ours.

   Because of the timing of our Rickshaw Run in India we are not around for her actual 3rd birthday. But that is the great thing about turning 3, you have absolutely no concept of time yet, so we celebrated her birthday a week early! This lucky duck will get to have two birthday parties this year, the one we did while we were still around, and then again on her actual birthdate (the 7th of April) with her sister, Meme and Grandpa. 

   We had a great time celebrating our boat baby with two of our boat buddies that made it over just for the occasion s/v Asante and s/v Hideaway. There was a ton of food, which Eben had slaved away at making all day, and an Apple cake that Ellia had personally requested for the occasion. Ellia surprised us all with her birthday attitude. The night of the party she was nothing but smiles, all about sharing her presents, letting her friends help her unwrap them, and making sure everyone was happy. Even when we told her bed time had rolled around there was not a wimper from her. It was stunning.

     And not only were the kids celebrating, but so were the adults. We have kept this little human alive for three years! Who knew so much Cafe Patron could be had at a 3-year-old birthday party! 

   My heart will be slightly hurting on the 7th when my baby turns 3 and I wont be there to hug her, but I promise I will make it up in squeezes the moment we get back. 


The girls helping out at making the apple cake

This is what you get when you ask 3 little ones to smile for the camera!

She got a snorkel! She has been asking for this for so long, she was so happy!

We also got them those little toys that swell up in water

She inhaled that thing!

Mar 29, 2015

Dock Boxes

   If you come to our boat and Eben isn’t mid-project, doing something, it is a very rare occasion. He keeps himself so busy that it can be dizzying/frustrating at times, but it is also what we knew we were getting in to by buying a project boat. It is also what I knew I was getting in to when I married this creative man; he’s always going. And although it can be a little tough living with the Energizer Bunny of Boat Projects, the things that he creates are truly astonishing.

   His latest project was to make two custom dock boxes for the back of our boat. To clean up the look of the boat, and to have somewhere to hide the excessive amount of ropes we carry onboard! As with ALL boat projects, you guesstimate they will take a certain amount of time and they always end up taking slightly longer. But after four full-on (non-consecutive) work days and one very tired Eben, we now have these awesome storage bins that can replace the UV-deteriorated Tupperware bins we had been using prior. 

   Because of the lack of accessibility of marine plywood (or should I say lack of any at a decent price) in St Thomas, Eben decided to us PVC sheeting to create the form of the boxes instead. He said it was surprisingly easy to work with and we don’t have to worry about wood rot from the rain in the future. So he created these two box-forms, that follow the shape of our boat perfectly, and held the pieces together with tiny nails and PVC glue. Once he had them looking the way he wanted, he then covered them in fibreglass and epoxy. A few layers of that stuff and these flimsy forms became rock solid and strong enough to have the dock boxes double as seats. He then cut off the top two inches of the boxes and created a lip so they top could easily just slide on and off, and be held snug in their place. The final step was a couple of layers of Awlgrip paint to make them shiny and beautiful. 

   I think the hardest part of this whole endeavour was finding work spots, where he could bring these oversized boxes to, bring all his tools, and not be bothering anyone that was on their “dreamy” vacation. And I am pretty sure that the sanding, fibreglassing, and sweating was a 
b!*@h too!

   While he was at it, he also made us a bbq holder/fish fillet table that hooks to the back rail, above the starboard dock box. It is starting to look pretty slick back there. We are movin’ on up and our boat is going from a “work aboard” to being no too shabby.

Starting with the PVC sheeting

piecing them together with glue and nails

Then the epoxy work started

You can see the BBQ holder/Fish fillet table here too

I think this is going to be his new favorite hang out spot
The finished result, after the alwgrip was applied, sanded, and reapplied

The one currently stores our generator, a tarp, and some sail material for repairs
The other has our propane tanks, a work blanket, and lots of rope!
the painted BBQ holder

The beautiful finished result

Mar 23, 2015

Playing With The Big Boats

   We aren't talking Mega yachts, we are talking SUPER yachts. Through our friends Scott and Brittany from Windtraveler, Eben got the invite to be racing crew on the 180ft ketch Parsifal. Even though we were at the complete opposite end of the Virgin Islands, there was no way that we were going to pass this up.

   It was a tough passage from St Thomas to the Virgin Gorda Sound. Nothing impossible, but with some strong winds directly on the nose, this seemingly small trek was taking forever. We decided that for our security, sanity, and comfort that we would split up the trip over three days, meaning Eben would miss the first two days of the race, but be there for the last two. It was a fair compromise to keep everyone on board happy.

   We reached the Sound safely and were happy to be back in these stomping grounds. Although it is Hoytie-Toytie land we really enjoy it here. It has a little something for our entire family (beaches, kiteboarding, and happy hour!)

   The next day Brittany woke us up way too early because she was just informed that the boat the boys would be sailing was departing an hour before schedule to reinstall a sail that had torn the day prior, and that they needed all hands on deck asap. So Eben left our boat unshaven and without breakfast to go take part in his first day of racing. Unfortunately for him it rained most of the day, and because he had left in such a hurry his foul weather jacket was forgotten on our boat. He got thoroughly drenched, but still enjoyed his day. The regatta wasn’t for any sort of money-prize, but more just for the fun of racing boats this size. 

    To give you an idea of the size of this boat, picture this. It has 9 full time crew, and 10 crew that come in for racing. That jib sail they tore weighed 1500lbs and took a forklift to get it into the sail loft to fix. To fill this boat with gas takes 8 hours, yes that’s a full work day. And it’s fenders are bigger than Arias!

   Eben loved the experience, the people he got to meet, and man did he ever sleep well at the end of both those days.

This is what it looks like when the racing buoys are bigger than you

The girls had their binoculars out and where checking for Papa's boat

There she is, 180ft of wow.

Eben and Scott, working hard
Not sure this is what he was supposed to be doing!

Look how heeled that boat is!

There they were again, checking him out and asking me if his boat won (they didn't)

There's Eben, waving to us

On the last race day, we were invited to go check out the boat. This is how the girls entertained themselves as the big boat docked.

My beauties looking so small on this ship