Wednesday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

Before Hurricane Sandy decided to show up to the party and tried to put a damper on halloween, we got into the spirit of things.  The girls made decorations to put around the boat and grandma and grandpa brought 3 pumpkins from Michigan to carve.  Enjoy the video of the pumpkin carving marathon at Holiday Marina (where we hauled the boat for maintenance).

She looks way too happy to stabbing that poor innocent pumpkin

Everyone's working hard

Liv's pumpkin

Kate's "murdered" pumpkin

Maggie's pumpkin

A poem by Kate

Halloween is on a dark, dark night
Filled with kids and costumes, jack-o-lanterns light the night, the streets all aglow.
Flashlights finding scary faces on the dark, dark halloween night
Candy filled up to the top of bags and bowls and pillow cases
Goblins, vampires and so much more
Witches, fairies, and ghosts galore!
It's getting dark, there's a blur of faces as all the children race home
Now halloween's over and all the children are safe in bed
With treats beneath their heads

Kate's creation using modeling clay

Pictures below taken by grandma at dusk

The sun is shining today and there will be trick or treating tonight for our little goblins!! Brrrrr.

Tuesday, October 30

Hurricane Update

First of all, let me say that we are safe and unharmed from Sandy's fury.  We are so very thankful for that!  We are so touched and appreciative of all the comments, e-mails, texts and phone calls we received regarding our safety and well being.  We never felt alone.  We are shocked as the reports come in from family and friends about the destruction in the wake of this massive storm.  The loss of the HMS Bounty is devastating and saddens us because we went aboard that ship and met some of the crew this summer in Newport RI.  Mother Nature unleashed her most awful self and we are thankful it's over!

Last Wednesday we learned that Hurricane Sandy was on her way to the East Coast of the US.  The predicted path was still unknown and the reports we were getting were between Virginia and Maryland for landfall.  We were anchored at the time, up the river near the Hampton Public Pier.  We weighed our options and decided we didn't want to stay anchored with so many unknowns:  how good is the holding?  What about other boats around us getting loose?  How would the boat swing in each of the different predicted wind directions?  Should we high tail it south and seek shelter somewhere else (another unknown)?  In the end, we decided to stay here and found an awesome slip at the Bluewater Yachting Center.  In fact, it was the last available slip for a catamaran on the floating dock!  We pulled up the anchor and were in the slip in 30 minutes flat.  It was a primo locale, well protected and tucked into the corner.

By Thursday, the clouds started rolling in and before we knew it, it was getting chilly.  Darn!  We were enjoying our sunny, short sleeve weather (finally).  Thursday was a blur of getting the boat positioned in the slip, marina paperwork filled out and running errands.

Friday was boat preparation day:

Craig and Paul removing our jib and camber spar

Removed our dodger (front part of the enclosure), rolled up the side enclosure, ducted tape our navigation equipment with plastic

Lashed our mainsail

Duct taped around all our hatched to prevent leaking (it worked awesome by the way)

Raised the motor dinghy on the back and put the sailing dinghy on deck

Welcome to Maggie's cabin - The Dump!  This is where we stored everything; the dodger panels, cockpit cushions, MOB horseshoe, sailing dinghy mast and sail, camber spar, jib sail (which by the way, all had to be lowered in here through the hatch because it couldn't make it around the corner and down the stairs), shade panels, extra lines and ropes, sunbrella covers to the bbq grill, winch and throttle controls.  You name it, it was there, if it could blow away or jiggle loose.

Saturday morning, we said goodbye to Craig's parents as they had a long drive back to Michigan and didn't want to get caught in the storm.  There was a flurry of activity in the marina.  Boat owners arrived in droves to prep their boats for the storm.  The marina staff was busy moving and securing boats.  The travel lift was busy morning 'til night hauling boats out of the water.  It was comforting that everyone around us was doing the same thing we were.....sort of.  I was getting more and more anxious trying not to think the worst.  I felt like a kid repeating "what if, what if...."

You know it's going to be serious when they take the gang plank off the hinges for the storm surge

Notice the gang planks slant down to the dock and the low water line

Notice the pilings, how tall they are out of the water and our dock lines to and from the boat.  We used 10 dock lines in all to secure the boat!

DURING SANDY:  We endured sustained winds of 20-30 knots for nearly 3 days with gusts close to 50 knots.  We had a 5 foot storm surge and 7.3 inches of rainfall.  The temperature dropped more than 30 degrees.  However, as awful as that may seem, we were well prepared and very well protected.  Our boat didn't move much.  The big powerboat to the east blocked the wind for a while until it clocked around to the west.  We rocked a little bit more then, but nothing that was uncomfortable.  At night, when it was dark was the scariest because you can't see and your hearing is some how heightened.  The constant howling of wind through the rigging became background noise.  As the wind steadily increased and with every stronger gust, we heard a high pitched screaming sound.  We could feel the boat shutter and shake from the wind, pull against the dock lines and spring back.  If we put our hand on the mast step (the mast support inside the boat), we could feel the vibration of the wind.

Notice how short those pilings are now and how the boat is nearly as high as the roof of the building.  Also note how calm the water is - it was blowing 20-30 knots!  

Where is the parking lot?  Where is the edge of the bulkhead?  Notice how high the gang planks are to the building's roof

This is the parking lot, which sit a good 4 feet above the water line and it is 1-2 feet under water!

We made cookies and watched a lot of movies 

No, this is not rain leaking through our hatches, it's from the condensation.  The hatches, port holes and walls were literally dripping because the temperature dropped so fast (and we were warm inside of course)

AFTER SANDY:  We are happy to report that we did not have any damage nor did anyone else in the marina.  We didn't need to worry about the power going out, we are self sufficient and content with power, heat, clean water and warm food to eat.  You'd think that after 7 inches of rain, the boat would be clean as a whistle.  WRONG.  The hulls are filthy from debris in the water and the decks are covered with hundred of broken pieces of leaves; green and brown.  As if someone chopped all the leaves up, put glue on them and through them up in the air.

Notice this piling next to us, the scrap marks, as the dock rose up and down with the surge.

Monday, October 29

Daniel's Story by Kate

When I went through the doors of the children’s center in the Holocaust Museum, I thought to myself prepare to be bored Kate. Well I was so totally wrong. At the time I hadn’t realized how sad and hard the years were back then and I thought it was weird not to notice that after I had read a whole book about it twice called Escape from Warsaw (it’s a really good book I recommend it to all 5th graders!). I’m going to go back to the story, I walked through the doors and a movie popped up on a giant screen above my head it talked about Daniel’s life before the concentration camp and the Ghetto the last words were Remember my story and I did remember it well do or did, or… whatever.  I turned the corner and I saw a kitchen (obviously it was fake) with sounds of laughing children and a note with a box next to it that had artificial cookies in it with Daniel’s sister’s name on some of them. Then after that there was a window that you could open and close with before and after effects and another one next to it. When you past that it all got more intense, there was a note at every station and turns out all the notes were from his diary. It told all about getting kicked out of school having to sacrifice his favorite sport… swimming he got kicked out of there too, having to sew a yellow star on all of his jackets and writing JEW in dark black letters on the star, going to the concentration camp and the Ghetto, his mother and sister taken away and murdered getting his diary taken away (ha, funny thing he still wrote in it when it was taken away.) getting hardly any food. Well on the bright side he survived and that’s something to feel good about. Other than that it was -like I said before- sad and probably the hardest thing in life. I watched one more short movie at the end about the concentration camp and the Ghetto. You got to write a small note on these small cards (there was a little slot where you put the notes) and I ended up writing about 7 of them. I think Daniel’s story was about the only thing that didn’t creep me out at the Holocaust Museum.

All photos taken by Kate:
Daniel's sister, Erika

Erika's ID card she had to carry with her everywhere with Jewish symbol

Daniel's bed in his home in Germany

His families kitchen

Their things they took with them 

These kinds of signs were posted everywhere in the Ghetto

Writing thoughts about Daniel's story

Olivia wrote:  "You will never forgit (forget) how brave you were back then beceas (because) it is owase (always) be in your head.  Love Olivia"  What she means to say is, we will never forget what happened during the Holocaust because it will always be in our memory.

Maggie watching and learning about the Holocaust

Sunday, October 28

Washington DC, Part II

We spent a packed 3 days with the Ryan's, going to as many places as we could.  Craig and Pat even got some boat projects crossed off the list.  The Ryan's generosity didn't end there!  They booked a second hotel room so ALL the girls could have a sleepover and gave Craig and I a night to ourselves.  We enjoyed that very much!!  Thanks again.

Maggie's panoramic view of the WWII Memorial

A couple of spy's.  I swore to secrecy not to reveal their true identity.

Walking around town with the Ryan's

Hangin' out on the boat

Just as soon as the Ryan family left on Sunday afternoon, a couple of Craig's partners came for a brief visit.  They were in town for the annual Anesthesia conference.  What a coincidence!

Craig's partners, John and John (and John's wife Susan)

And just as soon as they left, we had a visit from our neighbors in Seattle, whose daughter used to babysit the girls.  They are incidentally doing what we are, but in their RV, and our paths happened to cross in DC.  How cool is that!

Joyce and Ernie

The BEP was so cool, watching money being printed

Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian Castle

Street performer

Friday, October 26

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy 2012, courtesy of NOAA

Did you know that Craig's moms name is Sandy.  Hmmmm, did she have anything to do with this?  She said early on that it was going to be wicked.  Now she wants to take it all back.  Ha Ha Ha

It's not all her fault.  Earlier this summer when we where hanging out with captain Dan, he said "you know, you should probably replace those dock lines"  We admitted that we could use some new ones, "but why do we need new ones, we don't stay at marinas and unless we are in a hurricane, we think we'll pass"  Was that the kiss of death or what?  I'm sure Dan is saying "I told you so....."  Dan, you'll be happy to know that we have 4 new dock lines (2x40 feet and 2x50 feet)!

All joking aside, hurricane Sandy is on her way.  There is no more guessing and no more hoping she will veer east and head out to sea.  We don't know exactly where she will hit but it will impact us where ever she does.  The reports say she is 600 miles wide.  We have access to some of the best marine weather out there provided by Chris Parker and the Marine Weather Center.  We get updates twice a day and can make decisions based on that.

This is a picture from the passage weather website we use for wind speed and direction.  Keep in mind that this is wind speed in knots (1.15 times mph) on the water.  This is the forecast for Sunday night.

We moved the boat to a wide slip (one we can spider web into), on a floating dock at the Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton VA.  It is a new facility and in good repair, so it should hold up to the wind and storm surge.  We will rise along with the surge in tandem with the dock - that's how a floating dock is designed.  The pilings are not terribly tall, so hopefully the storm surge will not be huge.

We have battened down the hatches, removed the jib sail, lashed the main sail, removed the dodger, enclosure and cockpit cushions.  Essentially we have removed or lashed down anything and everything that could blow away or chafe.

We consulted with our insurance company to find out what their expectations and/or requirements were.

Craig's mom and stepdad have been with us this week and they have worked harder than I think they bargained for.  They came down for a vacation and spend time with us.  That plan was thrown out the window nearly as soon as they got here.  They have worked hard on the boat or looking after the girls so we can work.  We couldn't have done it without them (or their car!).  A huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We are ready for whatever Sandy brings, to the best of our abilities.  It is a scary thought that our boat could be damaged and we have come so far!   Let's hope for the best.  We'll update you as soon as we can.

Wednesday, October 24

Washington DC

Another fun filled week of sightseeing and good friends.  As we rounded the last curve of the Potomac River we caught site of the Washington Memorial and the Nations Capitol off in the distance.  We motored past Fort Washington and then under the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.  The sun was bright and the air was crisp.  We pulled into the Capital Yacht Club, topped off our water tank and hosed her down before dropping the hook in the anchorage.  The CYC could not have been friendlier, giving us a tour of their facilities that included free showers, 5 washers and dryers and a bar!  DC and all the sights were conveniently located within a half a mile from where we were parked.  Awesome!

The following day we were greeted by our friends, the Ryan's, from Nashville.  Pat and Susan have twin girls, Ava and Ingrid, that are only a couple of months younger than Kate.  Pat and Craig were roommates during undergrad.  We had soooo much fun playing in DC and spending quality time with the Ryan's.

Ingrid, Kate, Ava

Walking to our first museum

Looking in one direction down the mall toward the Capitol

Looking the other direction toward the Washington Monument.  We were a bit disappointed with the shabby state of the grass on the mall.  It was not as green and lush as we anticipated!  

Museum of Natural History

The White House.  It seems everyone received the memo to wear pink!

A view of the back yard without the bars

The front yard

Pat, Ava, Ingrid and Susan

Eatin' dinner on the boat

The Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument

The Capitol - view from the top of the Old Post Office building tower

"The Spy Trio" (visited the International Spy Museum)

A nighttime view

Having fun on the carousel

The Lincoln Memorial beyond the Reflecting Pool and the WWII Memorial in the fore front

WWII Memorial - Seattle, Washington is where all 3 were born

Craig's home state of Michigan.  Each state had 2 wreaths, one on each side for contributing to the war effort.  One wreath was made of wheat and the other bay leaves.

Abraham Lincoln sits 19 feet tall and 29 feet if he were to stand (as if that would happen).  

Attentively listening on our free DC on Foot tour

The Vietnam War Memorial

The Korean War Memorial - the 19 soldiers in this field are reflected in the black granite wall (next picture) to make a total of 38 soldiers that represent the 38 months they were at war.

The black granite wall with sand blasted images of soldiers and people impacted by the war.

Pat reading Lincoln's inaugural speech engraved on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial

Ok, folks, blogspot has informed me that I have reached the max for pictures.  I have used up my free 1 GB of space.  Now I have to choose between paying for more space or switching to some other format.  I am thinking about converting our bloodspot to an actual web page.  Please stay tuned for an update and more pictures of Washington DC......