December 01, 2014


View from the harbor this morning.

 Yesterday we finally got some snow.  By the time the storm was over we had around 10 inches of dry white powder on the ground (and everything else).  Our cover worked beautifully to shed the snow, again, and we spent most of the day cozy and warm in out boat.  I have to admit, this year I was hoping for less wintery weather, but now that it is here I am pretty excited.  I just have to pick up a pair of cross country skis.

View from my office this morning.  I know, it's amazing.

Today was clear, and tonight another storm is supposed to roll through, giving us about 4 more inches.  Then the weather is supposed to turn to rain, like it does.

We had a very good holiday weekend.  Our Thanksgiving feast was wonderful, and we got to try some new dishes this year.  Ernie's favorite was a casserole made from canned pineapple, cheddar cheese, and ritz crackers.  It wasn't my thing, but I had a bite and it was better than I thought it would be.  I hear it is a popular in the south.

On Friday we took advantage of the clear, frosty weather and went on a hike to the beach on the Point Bridget trail.  We brought Ernie's intern with us because she likes hiking and hadn't been out the road yet.  We saw several whales feeding off of Eagle Beach, which was the first time that the intern had seen whales, so it was a day of new experiences for her.  It was a good hike, made easier by the fact that the ground was frozen and therefore less muddy.  There has been some good work done on the forest part of the trail recently, and it looks like things will be nicer during the mud/flood season too.

I managed to coax one picture out of my camera battery before it froze to death.
On Saturday we joined the rest of Juneau in shopping at the public market.  This year I made good on my $7 entrance fee and bought quite a few things.  I am nearly done Christmas shopping for the year.  Sunday we relaxed and too care of chores.  I baked brownies, and then we braved the snowy roads to go to movie night, where we watched Grizzly Man. 

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

November 03, 2014

We have been slacking at phone calls lately because we have been so busy during the hours that most people are awake, so I wanted to give you a little update.  I have been forgetting my camera most of the time lately (which is good for you, because today's photo would have been the gross and disintegrating pumpkin that is just inside the front door of my work) so no pictures this time.

Travel:  I desperately wanted to be in Oregon for Christmas this year, but it is not going to work out.  We will likely be sending our son instead.  At this point we don't have concrete plans for travel to Oregon, but we are hoping to get down there this winter or spring, May at the latest.
We are going to Petersburg this weekend.  I have never been there, and Ernie hasn't been in over twenty years, so we thought we would go check it out.  Many people have mentioned that there is nothing to do in Petersburg this time of year, but that happens to be the point.  We are planning to wander around, look at things, and relax.  If we like it, maybe we will go back for the Little Norway festival.  It sounds pretty out of control.

Theater:  Chicago is opening on Friday!  This has been a huge show for Ernie in his new position, and he has learned a lot.  And put in a lot of hours.  It looks like it is going to be amazing, and I'm really excited to see it.  And to get my husband back.

Snow report:  no snow

Music:  We did get a chance to take a break last week and go see the UK Ukulele Orchestra.  They were very good musicians, and ukulele music is always entertaining.  It was a super fun night, and I think it inspired Ernie to start practicing his ukulele again.  I may even give it a try.

That's about it.  We are not very exciting people.  We didn't go out for Halloween, and of course, no good parent sends their child trick or treating in the harbor.  Too much danger.  We got some candy though, just in case

October 28, 2014


This past weekend Ernie and I covered our boat for the winter.  This is a challenging ordeal, for a variety of reasons.  The fact that we are trying to cover a roundy sailboat with a rectangular piece of plastic is the first reason, of course.  Also, there are often issues with timing and weather.  We are usually scrambling to get it done, and it gets dark earlier now so there is even less time.  If the weather is clear, then it is nice and warm during the day, but as the sun sets, it gets really cold and all of the jackets and gloves are trapped inside the boat that is now covered in a layer of plastic with no door.  If it is raining or snowing, then it is wet, cold, and unfun.  And hopefully not windy.  The other big challenge is that Ernie builds things all of the time for fun and profit, and I do not.  He has plans and ideas of how things should be done, and in the absence of direction, I just make things up as I go along.  And I get distracted easily.  I am not a good flashlight holder.  That is Chris' job.  Also, I am not psychic.  So when we start to build he expects me to do things without telling me to do things and then gets frustrated when I don't do them.  It takes a little while for us to figure out our groove.

This year took us about 2 half days, which I think is the current speed record.

Our current protocol (updated every year):
  • a framework of pvc pipe is installed to hold up the plastic.  Hoops are formed by bending the pipe across the top of the boat
  • reinforced polyethylene sheeting is put over the hoops, cut to size, and stapled to a row of wooden battens along the bottom (just under the cap rail)
  • straps are run under the keel in several places to pull down on the plastic 
  • a door, windows, and a stovepipe are added
 It takes longer than it sounds like it should.

The first day we got the pvc skeleton (which we reused from last year) in place.  We also got the cover on in front of the mast.

The framework.  The bent pipes fit into another pipe running along the deck of the boat.

The first day.  The rain tarp is back on for the night, and I think it looks a bit like a covered wagon.

The second day we finished covering the boat aft of the mast, and added the fittings so the stovepipe for our diesel stove could go through.  Due to technical difficulties this did not get done last year and we couldn't use our stove for heat.  It will be nice to have it this year, especially if the power goes out.  We also got coverings up for a window on each side of the boat.  They are super nice to have, so we can see what is going on outside without leaving the boat.  We also got the (first) door up.  We decided to try zippers, like a tent fly.  They might work out, but we may have to add in a wooden door.  The cat is disappointed about the cover, since it separates her from fresh rain water and her crow friends, but that's life.

The finished product.  Ernie is really a master at getting the plastic tight and even.  Our cover always looks the best.

So the cover is on, and my car is at the shop waiting for snow tires.  We are just about ready for winter, although we haven't had any snow yet.

October 19, 2014


I posted already about pulling the boat out of the water in September while we were house-sitting.  We fixed some thru-hulls, and the bottom got a nice coat of paint (or two).  That was at the end of the month.  At the beginning of the month, we managed to get the inside painted.  That was a job that had been on the list since we bought the boat, but we didn't have time to do it before we moved on, and there are several reasons why we couldn't do much painting while we were living on the boat.  Especially with the cat.  With an entire month at our disposal and the cat off of the boat, we were free to paint every possible surface.

We used oil based paints for the interior.  They were a little whiffy going on, but we are hoping that they will be more water resistant.  We chose a dark-ish purple-ish color for the trim, and a very light gray-ish color for larger areas.  In the main cabin of the boat that covered up flaking white and light blue paint, undoubtedly full of lead.  In the v-berth that covered up paint that was piss yellow.  I don't know why every bedroom we have had since Astoria has been painted the color of pee, but it has.  This includes the room that we stay in while we house-sit.  There will be no yellow walls in any of my future houses, ever.

Here are a couple of pictures showing paint color when we bought the boat.  I am reminded of how much work we (mostly Ernie) have done since then.

The aft wall of the v-berth

In the main cabin.  There is a bookshelf covering most of the white wall now.  That is our fridge built into the seat.  We normally keep its door closed.

New paint!
In the third picture you can see the colors of the new paint.  It is so shiny and clean looking, and so non-offensive.  The part that bothered me the most was the floor, and we painted it with the lighter color.  It is mostly covered by rugs, but there was always a little bit of the floor showing, and it looked dirty and gross.  It is so much better now.

I should clarify, Ernie did all of the painting.  I am too clutzy to be allowed to paint.  I did a lot of the taping and prep work.  This is true of the outside of the boat as well.  Someday I will have a space of my own that I can paint.

The last thing that we are trying to do to spruce up the inside of the boat is to cover up some of the silver insulation that covers the walls.  You can see what it looks like in the top picture.  It doesn't bother me too much, and our curtains kind of match the walls, but it would look a lot nicer of the bigger areas were covered up.  We just aren't sure of the best way to do that.  So far, the (possibly) best idea we have had is adhesive vinyl wallpaper.  No one sells it in town, so I ordered a sample to see if it would work.  Here is the sample pattern that I chose.  
I probably wouldn't actually use it to cover too much wall space, maybe just the ceiling in the v-berth, but I thought the extra could be used for other crafty things.  I haven't tried putting it up yet, but if it works out, it could transform the interior of our boat, and we would look a little less like we live in a space ship.

Things are getting better all the time.

October 17, 2014

Friday Night sunset

The sunset tonight was like fire in the sky.  I took a couple of photos to share, partially as proof that I am getting better at carrying my camera around.  It was much better in person, of course (and colder too), and I missed the wonderful alpenglow on the mountains to the north, but here are a couple of the shots I did get.

It has been a good week here.  It is slowly getting colder, but it isn't too cold yet.  The pattern lately has been a couple days of rain, a couple days of partly cloudy, and that's not too bad.  It does seem to be getting noticeably darker every day, but that is to be expected.  All in all we are just living our quiet little life in Juneau (although we are hankering for an adventure).

October 12, 2014

Princess Daybreak

Our beautiful kitty cat loves our boat.  She rules over it with grace and generosity.  It is the perfect space for her, small and comfortable, and not too scary.  She is not a brave cat (unless there is food involved) and she isn't friendly to new people.  Or to other cats.  She is very happy to be an only cat.  Her brother, on the other hand, didn't take to boat life.  He ran away 3 years ago this month.  We both kept hearing little kitty meows over the last couple of weeks, and looked around to see if it was him.  Not so far.  We would be overjoyed if he came back.  The princess would be outraged.  It's not likely to become a real issue.

As much of a scaredy-cat as our baby girl is, she sometimes likes to go outside to sniff around and drink rainwater.  She has never left the boat on her own (and only one time with us--under duress), but she is cool with hanging around outside as long as nothing scary comes by.

Strangely, she doesn't seem to be too afraid of crows.  Occasionally, when I open the doors for her, the crows will see her and start circling the boat, swooping down over the cockpit and cawing.  She holds her ground and watches, but doesn't run away.  I wonder if she sees them as a possible food source?

View through the doors.  There is a crow on each side of the picture, sitting on each of the white davits.  They swoop around and take turns sitting on our boat cawing at the cat.

Nine more crows joining in the fun from neighboring boats.
Eventually all of the crows in the neighborhood are perched on nearby boats and pilings and circling around our cockpit, squawking and carrying on.  It is a sight to see.  Then something happens and the cat finally gets freaked out and darts inside the boat and it's all over.

October 09, 2014

Snow Report #2

Here is the view from the Safeway parking lot yesterday morning:

It was a beautiful fall day.  Sunny, crisp, delightful.

Today is just rain.  Cold, cold rain

October 07, 2014

Not much to report today, as it is Tuesday.  The highlight of the day was that the boat next to us moved out today, so we got our boat turned around.  When we came in to our slip last, we moored bow-in because it was easier.  During the winter we moor stern-in so we don't have to walk as far down the sketchy finger.  And that is how our step is positioned.  Since we have returned from dry dock, I have been taking a three foot step up and down on the boat from the slippery, wobbly dock, always with something in my hands or a pack on my back.  I was tempting fate every time I left the boat.  Getting my step back was very exciting, especially as the wood could be frosty any of the mornings when I leave.

Also, this:

OMG!!  My demon kitty is soo pretty!!

October 06, 2014

Jellyfish season!!

I'm here, for all of my readers who missed me (ha ha ha).  I had some technical difficulties last week.  Everything is back on track now.

It continues to be autumn-y here.  The weather patterns are changing, and now every night while we are trying to sleep, a storm blows through and rocks us all over the place.  In this harbor the docks move at about the same rate as the boat, so it doesn't take much of a storm to make you feel like you are no longer attached to anything.  The thought that I use to comfort myself is that we would certainly hit something quickly, right?  It isn't like we have one of the outer slips and could just drift out to sea while we slept.


The best part about the cool seasons is that there are jellyfish everywhere.  (I mean, maybe not the best part, but I get pretty excited about it) They are so calming to watch, just hanging out below the surface and pumping water around.  We have started to see a few recently, so I took a couple of crappy pictures with my crappy camera.


The internet tells me this is probably a lion's mane jelly, Cyanea capillata for you science types.

I told you they were crappy.  One of the deals that I made with myself is that I get a new camera if I blog regularly enough.
This was a very nice specimen.  It was about the size of a basketball and looked like a flower, with long stringy tentacles.  Most of what we see are moon jellies, which are beautiful, but not as colorful.  Also, if you lay down on the dock and put your face almost to the water, you can see a bunch of different types of comb jellies swarming around.  I will try to get a picture next time I am down there.  Luckily my camera is water proof and floaty.  For when I drop it.

The snow level is still coming down.  This morning there was snow on the top of all of the near mountains, even on Douglas.  I didn't get a picture then, and it is too dark to take pictures after work these days.  Don't worry, there will be more pictures of snow, I promise.

September 29, 2014

Snow report--#1

Since all of the cruise ship tourists are finally gone, I decided to eat my lunch at the glacier today, and check on the snow level.  It's a little early still, but I think there is a tiny bit of dust on the towers in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
Look, I circled it for you.  I'm getting pretty good at photo editing.
 Usually snow doesn't hit the ground here until about Halloween.  It is getting progressively colder, and the snow level should make its way down the mountains throughout the month.  I will keep you updated.  In the meantime, I plan to enjoy the warm fall weather as much as possible.  I can wait for the snow a little longer.
I just want you to see how much of the rock is newly exposed.

September 28, 2014

Safe and sound

On Friday the boat went back in the water and we returned safely to our slip.  All of the new thru-hulls and valves held the water out, and the engine ran much more efficiently on the way back to the harbor, largely because the water intake was no longer blocked.  The engine still runs a little hot (I think?  I don't actually know how hot a diesel engine should run), but engine work is next on our list of repairs, and should be made easier with the ability to shut off the thru-hulls.

In our slip
It was a huge relief to move back on to the boat.  Even though the lift that we used kept us low to the ground and seemed fairly safe and reliable, it was still nerve-wracking getting it off and on the pontoons.  And there was always the worry that the boat would tip over while on the ground, or that the engine wouldn't get us back to the harbor.  These fears were largely irrational, but still, it was nice to be back in our spot.

View from the bow
And house-sitting is fairly stressful as well, for me at least.  We stayed extra busy with boat work the whole time, but it is uncomfortable being in someone else's space.  There are many perks though, including but not limited to indoor plumbing, a freezer, floor space for yoga and rolling around, a couch, and cable tv.  I don't think I will ever take indoor plumbing for granted again.

View from the stern--no 'dramatic' filter, just Juneau sky
It was good to house-sit and get all of this work done.  I'm just glad to be finished and back in the harbor where it is quiet and the swell rocks us to sleep at night.  The princess cat is very happy to be back ruling her domain as well.


September 25, 2014


I don't have a picture for today, and I don't have much to say, but I wanted to stay in the habit of doing this.  Tonight is our last night house-sitting, and our boat will be back in the water tomorrow.  Tomorrow night we will sleep in our own bed (cod-willing) and be in our own space.  After we eat sushi to celebrate all of the work we have gotten done.  I am very excited.
If you can, check out Ernie's facebook.  He has put up a bunch of pictures and explanations of what got done.

September 24, 2014

Still dry...

These were the real reasons Ernie wanted to haul the boat before winter.  These are two of the seacocks and valves that were in the engine compartment.  They could not be closed, which was dangerous, and prevented him from winterizing the engine properly.  Also, note the mixed metals on the one lying down.  That is a big no-no, especially when copper is involved.  Knowing that there are new valves on those thru hulls will help us sleep at night, especially when we are traveling.

September 23, 2014

I think I'm in love

We started painting the boat today.  I had just about convinced myself that boat life was too stressful and I couldn't handle it anymore, but then we got some good work done, and I feel much better about the future of things.  With a fresh coat of paint on her, she is beautiful.  Anti-fouling paint is nasty stuff, and I don't feel good about using it, but for now we had to go with what was in town.  Hopefully next time I can come up with a better option.

So pretty

The morning was super foggy, which was a good indicator that it would be a sunny day.  It took awhile to burn off, but it eventually got up to 60 degrees, which is about the best we could hope for at this late date.  We scraped and sanded and washed and painted.  We put in a new thru hull fitting.  It was all very satisfying.  I should note that when I say we, I mean mostly Ernie, but I did what I could to help.

So shiny   

                                          My my, don't we have a nice rudder.

                                   Hopefully we will be back in the water soon.

September 22, 2014

We're out!

So we did it.  Our little boat is out of the water and on solid ground.  Things look better than we expected, so hopefully the work goes quickly.  It seems like we may get a weather window so we can paint, and with any luck the thru hulls will be done quickly.  The trick will be to get back into our slip before we are done house-sitting.  It's going to be close.

Off the dock, for the first time in a year and a half.

Looking back at the harbor and our slip.

The Daybreak is on the lift.  Ernie did not enjoy this ride.
The hull got pressure washed and now the boat is on blocks.  We did some interior work afterward, during the first windstorm of the season, and had to constantly keep checking to make sure that we weren't moving.  She held.

September 19, 2014


I went and shopped for boat paint today.  It did not lower my panic level at all.

A gallon of anti-fouling paint runs between $100-$300 these days

We have no idea what we are doing.  I mean, we are familiar with the concept, but we have never done it before, and we don't want to screw it up.

As I understand it, our primary goal is to fix some of our sketchier through-hulls.  We will only be painting if the weather cooperates or the hull looks really bad.  There is a good chance that we will have to haul again in the spring to finish the bottom properly.  The problem with now is that winter is coming.  It hasn't snowed here yet, but the temperature needs to be at least 50F and dry for paint to cure completely.  We would be cutting it very close.

We know for certain that this boat has not been out of the water for 3 years, so this will be a good opportunity to see what the bottom looks like, and use that to make decisions about future work.  We expect, best case scenario, for the bottom paint to be worn and needing to be fully sanded off and redone.  While we are at it, let's also expect that there is no surprise damage down there. 

I will keep you updated.

September 18, 2014

Boat stuff

Okay, I cheated.  I didn't take this picture today.

I am getting used to the increasing darkness, and didn't get to picture taking on time today.  This problem is only going to get worse in the coming months.  Don't worry, I will figure it out.


The news of the day is that we have an appointment to haul our boat out of the water on Sunday.  It should be a very terrifying exciting experience.  Fingers crossed that it goes well and we don't find any big surprises!!

September 17, 2014

More practice...

Here are some pictures of the view from the house we are minding this month.  Not bad at all.

You may notice the cruise ship (not on shore power) in the lower right corner.  This year they will be here until the 27th of September.

September 16, 2014


I'm trying something.  I don't want to jinx it, so I am just going to put this up, and see how it goes.

Ha.  As if anyone ever comes here anyway.  At least that means no pressure.

This is the bird we care for when we house-sit.  He is more beautiful than these pictures let on, but he is also a brat.  Parrots are more like two year old humans than you want them to be.  It is, however, perfectly acceptable to keep them in cages.  The birds, I mean.