• Baby On Board,  Boat Life,  Simple Life

    Life is Good

    Eireann 011908Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life we can lose the sense of how good life really is. I guess I’m getting in touch with my feminine side here, but I am currently … content.

    I sit here now on a Saturday morning writing on my laptop, my baby girl laying beside me talking away and sucking her fingers. My stomach is pleasantly full of fresh croissants and coffee. The sun is shining brightly in the windows – the boat gently rocking. The boy and my wife are out and about. I’ve got several good books, just waiting for me to crack open. A day off work.

    Ahhhh – life is good.

  • Weather,  Winter

    Massive Winter Storm

    Well, the first big one of the season is here! Here is what is listed in the Environment Canada Weather Warning:

    A crippling Major winter storm with heavy snow and blowing snow as well as some ice pellets is moving in right on schedule this morning.

    The main snow event has moved into southwestern Ontario now and will rapidly expand and envelop all regions east to Ottawa this morning. Copious amounts of snow as well as strong winds causing blowing snow are expected. The snow will be mixed at times with ice pellets and freezing rain along and south of a line from grand through the greater Toronto area to Kingston and then along the St Lawrence river Valley to Cornwall.

    Widespread snowfall accumulations of 20 to 30 cm are expected in most areas by this evening. Some local amounts of 40 to 50 cm or more are quite likely in a few areas..Especially from the west end of Lake Ontario and eastwards into far eastern Ontario. Snowfall rates of 2 to 4 cm an hour are expected with low to nil visibility in sustained bursts of heavy snow likely.

    Significant blowing snow is expected to accompany the heavy snow due to strong northeast winds gusting to 70 km/h whipping up the freshly fallen snow and causing whiteout conditions.

    This is a dangerous winter storm.

    This time, so far, they are bang on. I’ve been up half the night watching this thing come. The lowest point of the low pressure is still not here, in fact it is a good 300 kms away yet. I don’t really care about the snow these days, especially since someone else has to shovel the driveway, but it is the winds that have been here all night that are the concern. I’ve seen gusts up to 70 kms per hour several times and I’m not sure how many of those the plastic wrap can take. Already it has shifted some and the 2×3’s are flexing with every heavy wind gust. I suppose I should go up on deck and tie everything down just in case the wrap blows apart.

    Normally, because this is basically a flat bottomed boat, it is very stable. However, walking from one end to the other is a real adventure right now – we are rockn’ and rolln’ almost like on the Alberg. I’m surprised we are not feeling sick yet. Plus, this boat does not have the hand holds that the Alberg had, so you just hang onto whatever you can grab.

    If you are curious to see the current wind and weather conditions, here is a link to an on-line weather station about 2 kms away.

    PCYC Weather

  • Boat Life

    Odd Smells

    I live on a boat with a 3 week old baby, a 3 year old who still ‘stains’ his underwear, a 55 gallon holding tank, an old electric toilet and 2 adults, one of whom occasionally ‘rips one’, and … my boat smells! The smell I am smelling, however, is none of the above (I don’t think so anyway.) I can’t figure out where the smell is coming from. We can go days without smelling a thing, then all of a sudden, in the middle of the night the main cabin of the boat smells like something curled up and died. We’ve searched high and low – looking for something that might be going bad. We’ve pulled all the drawers out – pulled out the fridge and checked all the nooks and crannies – nothing. Even though I don’t smell it down below decks, today I’m going to shop vac out the bilge and dry everything up again – hoping that the smell might be from down there somehow.

    I usually get the blame for the off odours around here, and most of the time I deserve it, but this time – IT AIN’T ME!

    So, I’m off the bilge with my vac and hoses … queue the Ghostbuster music!

  • Weather,  Winter

    Winter is Here? Where is that Global Warming?

    This week the ice arrived. One day the boat was floating peacefully in lovely Lake Ontario, the next morning she was frozen into the ice – each move of the boat grinding and groaning against the ice.

    So…global warming…where, oh where are you? It would seem to me that if humans had affected (or effected) the world so much and that the global temps are approx. 2 degrees higher than what they should be, then we should be experiencing longer falls, shorter winters, hotter summers, etc. Yet here we are, frozen into Lake Ontario in early December. What’s up with that?!? Maybe we need more SUV’s.

    To live here in Toronto (Mississauga really) on a boat in the winter we must find some way of keeping the boat moving freely while surrounded by ice. What we use is called a bubbler. A bubbler is really just a big powerful underwater fan. The bubbler is dropped down into the water and constantly moves the water past the hull of the boat preventing the ice from forming. There are two schools of thought regarding the proper use of a bubbler. One keeps the bubbler relatively shallow and blowing the water basically horizontally down the length of the boat. Others use the bubbler to bring up warmer water from deeper down toward the surface which in turn keeps the ice from forming around the boat. Compared to the surface, the water close to the bottom is usually 3 or 4 degrees warmer. (I think it is called a winter inversion.) I subscribe to this second theory. My bubbler is about 15 or 16 feet down and is bringing up water at about a 45 degree angle toward the hull of the boat. I will concentrate the force of the bubbler toward the stern of the boat to keep the outdrives clear of ice to prevent damage to them. We will see how this works and adjust the bubbler as necessary.

  • Questions,  Simple Life

    Thoughts on Moving and Possessions.

    When we moved from the house to the Alberg 30 back in ’05 we had a terrible struggle trying to find a place for everything. After giving away piles of stuff to Goodwill, selling junk in garage sales and just junking piles of other crap, the rest went into one of three places. Some went into storage, others things wandered into my mother-in-laws basement and the rest we tucked into the nooks and crannies of the Alberg.

    It was an uncomfortable existence. For instance, my books. I loved having my book collection available to me at the house. Whatever mood I was in, I could head over to the bookshelves and satisfy my current curiosity until the next change in focus took place. When I moved all the books into storage, I lost the ability to reference my collection and have been feeling the loss of ‘curiosity relief’ for two years now. Now that I’ve installed some shelves here on the River Queen, I’ve been reading and referencing at will again – oh, what a relief it is!

    Another example is cooking supplies and equipment. The Alberg had a very (very) limited galley area. Basically, a small but deep sink, a 2 burner Origo alcohol stove and a toaster oven. No cutlery drawer, no pots and pans drawer, no cupboards to speak of. Now….I’ve got a 3 burner propane stove with an oven!!! A massive pots and pans drawer. Cupboards that are stuffed full of supplies and cutlery at my fingertips. The luxury!

    Moving from the Alberg to the River Queen could have been done in about 4 hours if we had really put our minds to it. As it is, we still have some stuff on the Alberg. What I can’t believe though, is how fast the River Queen is filling up. I know we have so much more room here, but do we actually have to fill it up?

    This brings me to my final thought on this post – possessions.

    Do we actually need all this junk? If you don’t use it and you don’t miss it, do you really need it? As I look around the room here, I can see several items that have not been touched since we moved aboard over a month ago. I suppose that I will use that foot rest under the helm someday – but I haven’t yet. And that Captains chair – man that looks good – kind of impractical though, as it is too high to sit comfortably on unless you are actually piloting this tub. And my new book shelves – already filling up with books that I want to read but likely won’t get to anytime in the near future.

    So, how does one maintain a clutter free life – free of the encumbrances of unused possessions, without giving up all that stuff that you want to have around because … well, just because? Is there some sort of checklist that one can follow, or do we have to go though the yearly process of collecting and purging like some bulimic teenager?

    Thoughts anyone?

  • River Queen,  Shrink Wrap,  Weather,  Winter

    River Queen is wrapped

    I’m up in the middle of the night again because the wind in blowing so hard that I am worried that all my hard work in shrink wrapping the boat is going to blow away! Of course, there is nothing I can do to prevent it – being up is not helping a bit. But up I am and am anxiously going out on deck every once in a while to check and make sure everything is still OK. So far the wrap and frame are holding.

    I finally got the engines winterized on Friday night. I hired some help for this as I was unsure how to go about doing it myself. Now that I’ve seen it done – for next year, I will be fine to do it myself.

    On Saturday, the wind finally died down for a couple of hours in the afternoon and we got the boat shrink wrapped. We got it done just in time as we had our first major snowfall Saturday night – about 10 inches or so. Then most of the day Sunday, we had freezing rain. Hmmm, makes one want to go south for the winter…

    The wrapping went quite well and the result is – well, not pretty, but functional. I still have to finish the door and install it and also fix a couple of holes that I melted into it while shrinking. All in all though, I am pleased with how it went up and am very happy to finally have it done! I should get the door and repairs done this week and then bring on the winter!

    Now for the Alberg. She comes out today … then I get to build the frame and shrink another boat. Oh the joy.

    UPDATE: Done! The Alberg is out of the water and in its stand in the shed no less. That means that I don’t have to shrink wrap it – just throw a tarp over it. How great is that?! I also winterized the Atomic Bomb, the toilet and the water system. Once the Alberg was done – I finished the door for the houseboat and tightened up the plastic so that it cannot flap so much in the wind.

    It was very windy today – getting the Alberg to the mast step dock and then to the travel lift was a real adventure. I was singlehanding as A. was somewhat preoccupied with the wee lass. Heavy winds mean heavy on the throttle and staying aware of where the bow is, ’cause if you don’t pay constant attention you are going sideways in a flash and there’s no room to recover if something goes wrong. I banged the pulpit a bit getting into the mast step slip but other than that it went well.

    So, that’s it – for now! Both boats are winterized, wrapped (or in the shed) and ready for the next 6 months. Now I can relax a bit … for a day or two anyway.

    I’ll post a picture or two tomorrow.