Today was a day full of every emotion under the rainbow.
I'll just start by saying I am currently sitting in our salon in our boat which is FLOATING!
We are officially in the water. It was a marathon to get here and there are a few more marathons to get through still, but this is definitely a milestone if there ever was one.
We were up just as the sun was poking through the trees and where that moment before the hustle and bustle of life takes over. Everything was still and I was feeling anxious and nervous about the day to come.
We quickly got to work and got the cutter blade installed on the prop shaft, the mast step cleaned up, and tidied up around the place.
By tidy up I don't mean putting every single item away. Infact we are the live-aboards that most resembles a university dorm.
Maybe it's because we have kids or maybe it's because that's the way we operate. Whatever the case may be, we are people who take over a space if the space is there. We have our equipment, gear, tools, toys, washing up stuff, towels, etc all over the place.
So today's tidy up really meant putting all our stuff into one neater pile.
At around 11:30am, the boatyard guys came over and asked if we were ready to launch. Ready as can be!
Due to the tides in the region, launch times vary from day to day and hour to hour.
The height of your keel also determines when you can launch. A boat that has a 6 foot draft has to wait for that golden window where she can go in the water without hitting bottom.
Our boat draws 5 feet which is pretty average for a monohull.
The launch went smoothly from the moment we started. To see your home lifted off the ground on its cradle and then slung in two straps is frightening.
My heart was in my throat most of the time.
When the boat was lifted in the straps Matt sanded as quickly as he could and I followed with my paintbrush and antifoul. It was important to paint the areas that we could not get to when we were on the cradle on the hard, such as right under the keel and under all the pads that were holding up the boat.
After launch, the rest of the day was getting to the next set of boat jobs.
Again, we let the kids pretty much fend for themselves. I did have to remind them several times to go to the washroom and eat, but I think they just couldn't believe how good they had it when we didn't tell them that they had to get off the tablet or do this math workbook or that reading comprehension passage.
Work on the bulkhead and chainplates continued all day. We are so lucky to have such great boat builders on site who can do this type of work for us. It's finished and it looks great.
Tonight we let the chainplates set and tomorrow the rigging can be fastened on.
We hit a roadblock when we realized we couldn't connect to shore power. Keith the electrician came and had a look. He could see that we received 120 volts on his meter but when something was plugged into a socket, it was not getting the output it should be. There could be some corrosion in the electrical panel itself. He'll have to come back and do some more investigating.
For the moment we are just getting power like we did when we were on the hard, by running a long extension cable from the electricity box in the boat yard.
The next thing we did was try to start the inboard engine. We have a Diesel Perkins engine with 85 horsepower.
But when we tried to turn it on, it would not start. Not even sputter. Kenny, the diesel engine mechanic, was troubleshooting it for us. He helped us winterize the engine in the fall and installed the newly rebuilt transmission a couple of weeks ago.
What seemed to be the problem was that the cables fixed to the lugs of the battery starter were not close enough for a strong connection. I was sitting in the cockpit praying and willing the thing to start.... an hour or so later and after several tries, the thing purred to life. Exhale!!
I felt so bad for Kenny and his apprentice Jonathan. It was 6 o'clock when they started work on our engine but nobody anticipated the issues that would arise.
Tonight I insisted the kids go and run about after having the entire afternoon watching Netflix.
After a bit of moaning, they got their life jackets on and grabbed their water guns.
For the next couple of hours they played on the docks soaking each other with the guns.
I am so happy they have (for the most part) dealt with our present chaotic life with so much ease and happiness.
Their transition has been really seamless (well except for maybe the homeschooling part, but that I know will take time) and for that I'm truly grateful.
I want to also note that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has been incredibly kind and helpful to us. I have been told this is the spirit and connection amongst boaters. But honestly, the amount of kindness and knowledge we have received has been phenomenal.
John said to us the other day, "It's no use keeping all this knowledge to yourself. You gotta pass it on."
And that sums up the generosity that we have received multiple times each day.
If anything, this cruising life so far has taught me to go with the flow, celebrate the successes however small they may seem, because literally the next minute something else will come up that will cause you to shake your head and curse.
Tonight I celebrated with a cup of tea and some dill pickle chips.
The kids had a jumbo maple marshmallow and Matt had some Tylenol cold pills washed down with an Alexander Keiths beer. He's still feeling sick but is on the mend. He said to me the other day he doesn't think he has ever worked so hard while feeling so crappy before.
Tomorrow the second half of our launch takes place: mast raising. We will also put the mainsail (big sail) in our in-mast furling unit and raise and furl the jib (front sail) as well.
It's not enough to be in the water, with mast up and sails on and motor running fine.
We still need to fill our diesel and water tanks (bleach it out first), get the outboard motor hoisted, pump up our tender/dinghy, sort out all our navigation systems and more.
But what we also need to build into the next few days are moments of enjoyment and slowing down. There will always be jobs to do. It's hard to simply say, that's enough for now. We should go play.
Or sleep. I think tonight is the first night in over a week we have not worked until midnight.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, it has been so worth it and I whole-heartedly feel we are where we are supposed to be right now.
If it were easy then it wouldn't be fulfilling. At least that's what they say, right?
Tonight, I'm thinking about all the planning and dreaming we have done over the years.
There was blood. There was sweat. And today when we launched, there were tears.
|Piranha Cutter Blade installed. Its job will be to cut any and |
all fishing lines that get tangled in the propeller.
|Installing the cutter blade. Fishing nets beware!|
|Helping assemble the furler drum unit.|
|Playing with Finn early in the morning.|
|Cleaning the yucky mast step.|
|Moving all the stuff underneath the boat so we can launch.|
|Jacking up the cradle after a really bad thaw this spring which sank |
one side of the cradle more than the other. We've been living on a
tilt this whole time on land.
Anti-foul paint ready to go on once the boat is in the sling.
|Aila was in charge of taking pictures during launch, and of course |
she had to get the dog Princess in a shot!
|Painting underneath of keel as boat is hoisted in slings.|
|Getting the last of the paint on the rudder.|
|Oooops, left Matt's drying clothes on the lifelines.|
|Painting where the pads used to be.|
|Tai and I watching our boat launch!|
|Our boat at the dock. We will be sticking the ANJULIA SUE lettering on at some point, |
but that is a boat job that is further down the priority list.
|Look how far the cradle sank during this year's thaw.|
|Oh sweet Netflix, how we thank you.|
|Great to be on the water. More breeze and fresh air too.|
|Adding some caulking to the hole where the chainplates go on deck.|
|Matt wolfing down his dinner after not eating all day.|
|Dinner Al fresco!|
|Yes, that is Tai covering his privates. Siblings!|
|Completely soaked after a water fight.|
|As I was walking back from the showers tonight, this beautiful creature greeted me.|