The last week has been what I would call “discombobulating”. We moved from a home of 3200 square feet to 180 sq ft. It has been difficult convincing the kids to give up many of their books, toys, bricolage, etc. Let’s face it….even for Mama and Papa Bear, we are finding it challenging to downsize on our toys/necessities.
Regardless of the 6 months of prep, the move flew by in a disorganized manner. We were very fortunate to have Mami and Papi’s help to help us with multiple house projects and packing. They helped keep us focused on the tasks at hand whenever we got side-tracked. Merci beaucoup Mami et Papi pour votre aide durant notre démanagement! On vous aime!
The boat is now full with what we THOUGHT were “our meagre belongings”.
Meagre or not, there doesn’t seem to be any where for us to walk these days!
The kids were very excited to start re-decorating their rooms though….
Now that we are on the boat, our days have been filled with mini-projects to get us ready to leave the dock: fixing new found leaks, building shelving, installing internal house power / solar panels / SSC for fridge, installation of new GPS, re-varnishing, provisioning, beginning sewing projects, unpacking and re-packing, ….you get the picture. All while trying to keep 2 young children entertained.
The stormy weather has had us moving our supplies from the dock to shelter multiple times a day. We are challenged to keep track of where we last placed our tools and project parts.
Luckily, we have Grammy & Grampy here now for 5 days to help us entertain the kids and assist with small projects on the boat. The pool at their hotel is a real winner with the kids in this 90F weather. Dinners out with Grammy and Grampy has also been a winner with me as there is no time to prepare meals. Thanks Grammy & Grampy for your wonderful, helpful visit! We love you!
In between projects, shopping for supplies, and visitors, we are slowly making progress. The goal is to push off the dock in the weather window of the 20th. Keeping our fingers crossed for no more broken toes or tools to slow us down anymore!
Already we have begun making many friends. Serena and Jeremy kickstarted it with they July 4 preparations, posting jokes and posters at the Marina for Elizabeth and Bruno.
Then they befriended Amy, Maehley, and Florence with whom they spent the day and celebrated the fireworks. We also made friends with Heidi and Rene who were on their way to Canada from Switzerland! Thank you for your Rosemary, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and other gifties you left us!
Thank you everyone for your messages to us via our blog! We read them today. Your comments have been very encouraging and inspiring to us. We will respond to you all once we get more accustomed to our new environment and spotty network connectivity! Photos will be posted on each blog later in July….
Earlier this week, on their own initiative, the kids took out their school books and started doing exercises to get ahead. They also started their music lessons! School work that the kids have begun:
- Working in his Trapeze Mathematiques – 17 pages done
- Began taking photos of things he has never seen before
- Started doing a research project on Dinosaurs. The dinosaur of his focus is: T-Rex
- Working in her Mathematics book
- Doing exercises in her Arobas – Français – 4 pages
- Started doing drawings each day to represent either an important event or something to remember each day.
I have been busy organizing school supplies. Luckily, the supplies just went on sale at the stores, so helpful to find what we need. Packing these supplies on the boat is another challenge. With such lack of space, I have had to sew little mesh pockets for under the salon banquettes. I am proud to say that they look VERY professional – the unfortunate part is that they are about 1 cm too small to store duotangs! Another botched job…another re-work required….maybe on the trip through the canals I will get busy on fixing them…..
July 13 – Last Visit to Montreal
Our last visit to Montreal was Thursday July 13. Many things had to be done: re-packing/ organizing our storage boxes in the garage, storing the Porsche, getting last minute fabrics for key sewing projects, last bank visits, and buying all those favourite things we can only get at home – like vol-au-vent patisseries, lime chips ; – ) . Additionally, this was our last “overnight stay” in Quebec for RAMQ. I note it here to make it official for insurance purposes.
Thanks to our good friends Claude et Marie-Lyse, we bunked up the whole family in their extra apartment in downtown Verdun for the night. Our visit with them was a lovely opportunity to help us wind down and relax for the first time – with the heavy lifting and non-stop pace we have kept up for the last few weeks, our bodies were really in need of a “pause”. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality Claude and Marie-Lyse! The kids enjoyed the pool, Si-Belle, and Camuel’s friendship. The only thing we were missing was a “massage” at the end of the evening!
July 15 – Continued preparations…
Back to the boat in Plattsburgh and our never-ending projects. We are still having concerns with the fridge (even with the added refrigerant, it doesn’t seem to work on a regular cycle- anybody know how to repair a boat fridge without the need to replace it completely??), a bit of bilge water, and a bad varnish job that doesn’t want to dry properly. We have been very lucky to have our good friends Pascal and Emma help us out with many challenging projects – including psychological counselling! Thanks to Pascal, we got our refrigeration and electrical issues resolved! Merci à vous deux! On vous apprecie beaucoup! Christian started building the struts to support the mast when we go through the locks. I started making our mosquito protection drapes for the cockpit. We seem to always be running to Lowes or Walmart for more supplies. The days are getting hotter, but continually have us on the run to protect our gear in between rain showers.
With the hot temperatures and lack of wind, we have been taking the boat to Plattsburgh Beach for dinner and overnight. Despite it being a refreshing break, to be able to swim and have cooler air circulating in the boat, it cuts a bit into the beat of the advancement of our projects….
The kids have been REALLY well behaved and I would like to recognize them publicly for this. Hours for meals, snacks, bedtime, etc, have been thrown right off schedule, but they continue to be flexible and keep busy reading, doing bricolage, taking photos, or playing with Hexbugs. Serena even helped me with our first load of laundry! The only TV and internet access they’ve had so far was when they went to Montreal 2 days ago.
Today, as a reward for their great efforts, we gave them a membership to Minecraft Pocket Edition…the hopes are that this does NOT distract them from their more important assignments.
After a long day of projects, we were pleasantly treated by our dear friends Pierre and Anne to a delicious dinner of thick tuna steaks and cheerful banter. Pascal and 2 of Pierre’s friends also joined us. It was a late night, but a great time to connect before our departure!
Surprise visit to Quebec to see Mami and Papi. Their plans have suddenly changed and we will not see them in Florida this November. Christian wanted to have a quick visit, returning on July 18.
July 18 – 19
After returning from Quebec and buying a batch of groceries, we left by boat to both Canada and US Customs to obtain our Coastal Cruising permit. The permit allows us to go offshore and sail in “international waters” and come back to continental USA without the need to go through Customs each time. This was an added 2 days for us to go north and obtain these. Very stressful trip when we had to pass under the bridge at Rousse’s Point and bent the antenna at the top of our mast. We REALLY only had inches to pass! Luckily no fast motor boats to cross or we would have had more issues. After getting the permit, the last stop on our way south was at Barcomb’s Marina to meet up and have lunch with Claude and Marie-Lyse one last time before departure. Overnight at Plattsburgh Boat Basin with a last grocery stop, the plan was to finally take off early in the morning after storing our cars.
Despite delays with the purchase of our health insurance coverage and last minute reparations, we were still determined to leave in the morning after dropping off our cars at the storage. Unfortunately, 3 minutes after exiting the car wash, we were hit with a rain storm that was like a flash-flood. The least of our concerns was that we wasted $$ on extra car wax treatment…our bigger concern was “did we close the hatches in the boat?” Sure enough, upon our return from the car storage, we realized that we had left many hatches open….the worst room hit was Jeremy’s. His mattress, clothes, and toys were soaked. The rain had even trickled below the floor boards into the engine compartment. Our plans to leave early had to be changed.
By 3:30 pm, with mattress tied on the bow and clothes + toys drying on the life-lines, we were off the dock (4 hours later than planned). After a lovely downwind sail at 6 knots under genoa alone, we arrived in Shelburne Bay at 7:30pm -in time for a late supper and swim.
The day starts with splashing in the water, playing on the water toys and a big breakfast. Then, work on the projects begins…again….Why is it that there is no such thing as a 5 minute job on a boat? Even the simplest of projects seems to need to be re-done or is missing parts to complete.
We paid a quick visit to Shelburne Shipyard to thank our friends Aniek and Steve (Stitches Afloat) for our new bimini. Their beautiful handiwork helped to create more cockpit space for us with a new added sun shade and reinforcement for our solar panels. If you ever need a new bimini or dodger or sail cover, call Stitches Afloat before they head down south this fall!
We passed a lovely evening with our friends, Jodie and Eric. Having a sumptuous BBQ supper and lots of entertainment by Baby Sylas was a nice way to help us continue to lower the stress levels of our change in lifestyle. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality! Luckily, the big storm passed just before we got dropped off at our wet zodiac for the 10pm ride back to our boat.
We headed south down Lake Champlain early. The wind was in our favour….a beautiful 4-5 knots under genoa alone. Never have we done this trip so quickly…skipping all of our favourite bays and inlets (like Converse, Kingsland, Basin Harbour), but we ended up spending the night in our favourite bay at Cole Island. Peaceful listening to sunset taps at Camp Dudley’s.
Kickstarted the day with a treasure hunt on Cole Island. As usual, pirates have a tendency to leave good “loot” on this hidden island. Our kids were happy with their finds!
We passed one of our favourite historical landmarks, Crowne Point, around noon. Passing under this bridge was much less worrisome than the one on July 19.
Passing Fort Ticonderoga at 3pm, the children were sad that we were not stopping to visit another of their favourite museums. I found it hard to explain that preparing to take the mast down is more important than an educational / historic site. Arriving at Chipman Point marina around 4pm, the weather was favourable and we had time to finish building the mast struts, fold the sails, take off the boom and halyards, and have a yummy ice cream!
The day begins with lots of rain and wind. Not good conditions to take down a 53 foot mast. We will wait for the clearing that the radar is predicting at noon.