September - October 2008

Marine Life
Log Book
Our Family
The Crew

September- October 2008, Palatka, Fl

Well, I tried the blog thing for a while and have come to the conclusion that I don't like it.  So, below is just simply a copy and paste of the blog entries that I made over the last couple of months.  I didn't like it because I just prefer my site instead of the bog standard Blogs you see everywhere and also because it would only allow me 1 pic per entry!  I like to take photos and I enjoy sharing them online with family and friends so 1 pic per entry would never do!

The kids were Anakin Skywalker and Princess Marie for Halloween - we had a great time trick or treating.  I dressed up as my usual witch - this year I had the added effect of smelling moldy thanks to my cape and hat sitting in storage for a year.

My latest musical instrument acquirement is the violin/fiddle!  So here are a couple of pics with the kids having a go on it...



The boat is REALLY looking great - loads of progress so I'll put some pics up of it next month!!

We are official dogsitting for some of our neighbors! It is really cool because I get paid a bit and I haven't been able to do that since I had Abi and decided to stay home to raise children 7 years ago! The kids LOVE it! Aaron would really love to have his own dog so this is especially nice for him. Our new charge is, Munchee, an affectionate dachshund. Munchee's owner is out of town 3 days a week. He gets along fine with Miguel - although I think Migsy could really rather do without him being around at all.

Another dog that we watch sometimes is Gigi! She is a tiny 3lb, 3 month old Chua Chua. We took her trick or treating with us which was fun. She is not really leash trained yet - pulls this way and that so it is interesting to take her out.

All the dog watching has gotten us off the boat quite a bit and out walking. Great exercise for me. We took Munchee hiking with us.

In addition to the dogs we look after, there are 9 other dogs in this marina and the kids have enjoyed passing out bones to all of them whenever we have some left over from stew or casserole.

Maybe we can offer our dog walking services in the Caribbean! A lot of people have dogs on boats that need walking.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Turtle


Meet our new turtle.... Erin

It's quite a bit bigger than Tammy. They are happy together in the tank. Erin is the same kind as Tammy, a Florida Yellow bellied Slider. Neither one of them eat turtle food. They only eat shrimp and romaine lettuce. We were advised not to give them iceberg lettuce because it contains traces of arsenic! Apparently not a problem for humans in such small quantities but possibly dangerous for turtles.

Life Lesson No.3,576 for Cat

Lately I have been at a loss as to what to write about. We aren't exactly cruising now and we are still months away from moving back onto Yebo. Living on a houseboat rental is well, like being in a house again. We have a regular size fridge and oven. No bath tubs though - too bad! I don't even feel right calling anything by boat names. It doesn't feel right to call it a salon when it is a living room or a galley when it looks just like a kitchen! We have a dining table , a sofa and a rocking chair. None of these are fixed. The rocker gets going when a north wind blows but other than that you wouldn't know you are on a boat from the inside. Sure we walk outside - not "on deck", just out the sliding glass door to an area with another table and 4 chairs, full sized bbq, turtle tank, vacuum cleaner - I guess it is our garage,....anyway we see the water from here but also all our neighbors. The other side, the back, I guess the aft deck?? It is open to the cove and quite pretty.

Yesterday I was chatting to a friend on the phone in PC, Fl. She was at the beach and spotted a dolphin. Precisely 2 minutes later we spotted some wildlife too - a snake in the river! Not as exciting as a dolphin but who am I to complain? We have seen countless dolphins and sea creatures these last few years. I guess I just miss them. I miss the salt air and the sound of the ocean. I miss the call of the gulls. I miss the feeling of going out there and not knowing what to expect or what the next port will be like, the adventure of it. I miss the peaceful feeling that I get when I am with my family and my family alone and no other outside distractions and we are sailing along with dolphins off our bow. Not a care about the frivolous things in life that seem to always nag at me when I have too much time in a marina and the kids are involved in activities with land based kids. Priorities get lost when in a marina too long because there is no other way around it. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by influences, people or things. At sea, that all goes right out the porthole and it is the most wonderful burden free ride! - when you aren't seasick of course!

So the constant struggle for us while we prepare another boat is keeping focused on our dreams, which are not just for travel and adventure but very important life choices for us. We want to be free from the strains of society, to expose our kids to a world with different people and cultures and a tolerance for the many religions that people put their faith in. We want our children to learn about the real values in life, such as relationships, love and kindness and to realize that materialism and greed only takes our focus off what is important in life. To expose our kiddos to more than just one town, one city, one county, one state, one country and give them a sense of connection to all the world and the natural life that inhabit it. Life is short and we should enjoy every moment.

An older gentleman I was friends with died a week ago. He was the laundry mat man and I saw him every week for over a year. He'd often ask about the boat and Justin, even though he had never met Justin. He saw all of Justin's work clothes go in the washer each week. He was a kind man and had a wonderful family, lots lof kids and grandkids. He liked Abi and Aaron very much and teased them a lot. When he went to hospital it wasn't unusual because he had congestive heart failure some years ago and been sick for a while, in and out of hospital, since we've been here. When I saw, "Granny", his wife, this week, I asked her if he was home yet and she told me he died last Saturday. Now this just kind of surprised me. He was sick I know, but he just never seemed sicked. He always looked so full of life to me and was fit and able. I became tearful anyway after she left. There was a man there doing my friend's job, repairing the washers and it just seemed wrong. I don't know if it is because he was one of those people that was genuine and kind and the sort of fellow that restores your faith in humanity or because it made me realise my own mortality but I was and am a bit sad about it all. We choose boat life because we want to be a close family and the boat represents freedom to us to do what we want. We want to live life to the fullest and this loss of my friend reminded me to be doing that whether I am out sailing with my precious crew or whether I am at the dock for a time preparing to go again. Each day is a blessing to have and I am thankful to have known my friend, "Grandad".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008




We have been busy with a garden this year! It was a lot of fun to grow things with the kids. Abi and I grew bean plants when she was 5 so it was nice to have Aaron old enough to get involved as well this time. The houseboat we are currently renting has a lovely flat upper level, perfect for pot plants. We planted tomatoes, basil, parsley, bell peppers, cayene peppers, banana peppers and cucumbers (too hot in Florida for cucumbers and then the caterpillars love em!) We inherited from another boater some jalepeno peppers, thai chillis (aka devil chillis), lemons and limes as well as blueberries. I have learned to pickle peppers and have several jars put up now. Justin loves them. He is the only one in the fam that can eat them! They are so hot that I have to wear gloves when I pick them and prepare them - learned that the hard way. My hands burned for 4 hours the first day I picked them and no amount of aloe or water would relieve them. ! We have eaten a few bell peppers and a couple of tomatoes - (Aaron lost a couple overboard as well bummer!) The whole experience has been great for me too because I have learned what I wish to have on Yebo and what will grow well for us. We have a little area in our galley in mind and will probably grow 1 basil (they are plentiful) 2 parsley and maybe 1 pepper plant!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tammy Turtle

This is a pic of the kids' new pet turtle, "Tammy"! Justin found Tammy as a hatchling near Yebo and apparently Tammy was a little lost because he (yes he, the kid's tell me Tammy is a boy) was heading away from the river and wondering around the storage sheds. So, as a part of "homeschool", we took him up to the pet store, identified him and bought some shrimp for him to munch. Abi and Aaron both had been given some spending money from their Aunt Barbara recently. They put half in the bank and used the other half to buy Tammy a used 10 gallon tank from the pet store. They brought it home and cleaned it up and created his habitat. Then we looked him up on the internet - the pet shop informed us Tammy is a Florida Yellow Belly Slider. We learned that they can live for 40 years! We plan to let Tammy go when we leave. We keep river water in his tank and we give him seaweed to munch as well as the good stuff, ceasar salad - that is a piece of romaine lettuce. Tammy is about the size of a silver dollar for now. Too cute! He loves to bask on his log and he loves to listen to whistle music! IN fact whenever I play the whistle, turtles come and hang out around the boat - it is really cool.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grizwalds go Canoing!


So, we went camping again last month in Ocala National Forest. It was lovely to get away and spend a couple of nights in nature. Papa came with us this time! We had smores after supper and everything!

So, we thinks to oursevles, well Justin thinks to himself, my wife wants to do that damn canoe trip so I'll just suck it up and say lets go. Yippee! I'm thrilled he suggested it and we reserve a canoe for one of the days we will be camping.

Well, we got a late start, did a 7 mile run which was rated NOT FOR A BEGINNER on the literature we later read back at the camp, yes there was a map and everything that would have been useful but we did it our way. Head first and gung ho!

We laughed, we cried, we argued, we got momentarily lost The near beheadings from low branches, the near capzises we narrowly avoided, losing paddles etc. were all another great adventure for this family!

I can't say that we will want to do another 4 hour and 15 minute canoe run again anytime soon! But we did have a laugh. The kids were really cool, they immediately bailed our canoe when necessary. They sang songs and generally kept themselves entertained laughing at the grown-ups!


Wow! We are blogging now! I hope this will make things easier for me making regular updates. I will try to add photos but I don't think I will be able to upload as many here!

Feel free to let me know what you think of the change. Should we keep it, should we go back to the way things were? New ideas?

Okay well off to make my first proper blog!

Jan 08
Feb-Mar 08
April 08
May 08
June 08
July-Aug 08
Sept-Oct 08


Turtle tank indoors now due to cold