Sunday, September 29, 2013

Did Someone Say Boat?

Actual, real words are starting to emerge from Helina's tiny, tooth-filled mouth. "Di-da" and "ma-ma" made their debut early on, but now, Helina's vocabulary has expanded to include other words, and not surprisingly, many of them relate to the sea. 

To date, Helina's water-themed words are: oc-ta (octopus), wa-wus (walrus), duck (pronounced 'uck), and agua (which is also her first Spanish word!).

She has a few other non-agua-related words, but not many.

I have been trying to getting Helina to say "boat" for quite some time, and now that our walk from the boat to our cars is much longer than it used to be, the opportunity to practice saying the word has greatly increased. Every morning, as we make our way down the pier, I whisper the word "boat" softly into Helina's ear as we pass by the many powerboats, fishing boats, and sailboats. It isn't great conversation, but my repetitiveness may have paid off. The other day, as we began our journey toward the car, Helina looked out across the water and confidently said, "boa-a." I replied, "boat?" Helina whispered back, "boa-a." We repeated this exchange a few times until I was 76% confident she was saying boat. Then we discussed the weather.

So there you have it. I am officially confirming "boat" as Helina's 8th word. Sort of.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Baaaaack

It has become apparent to both Eric and I that Helina is no longer an infant. She walks. She talks. She climbs. She jumps. She even brushes her own hair! Although our daughter's repertoire grows with each passing day, the one thing she is no longer doing is spitting up all over the place. As such, my precious rya rug may now come out of hiding and return to its rightful place atop our salon's floor.

Since December of last year, the rug has been stored in various places throughout in the boat, but most recently, we were keeping it rolled up on the floor of the master stateroom. As you might have guessed, this wasn't an ideal storage space; however, we got used to it and after awhile, we barely noticed it was there (except for every single day when I tripped over it). 

Today, while Helina took her morning nap, I brought the rug back out, gave it a thorough vacuuming, and did my best to re-volumize the shag. After emerging from her room and seeing the rug for what was essentially the first time, Helina wasn't quite sure what to make of it. In fact, she spent a good amount of time cautiously pacing back and forth across the rug until she was finally willing to sit on it. Here she is in action:

Life is a Blur 
As you can see, the rug has a few creases and folds that need to settle, but considering it has been rolled up for almost a year, I think it looks pretty good. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


A few weeks ago, we discovered that the wood floor in front of our ice maker appeared to be saturated with water; however, we were unable to identify any leaks that would have resulted in the damage. We assumed the mystery spot had something to do with the ice maker, but we couldn't find the connection between the two.

Since discovering the mystery spot, I monitored it on a daily basis. Within about a week, it appeared to have reduced (slightly) in size. After about two weeks, it became apparent that the wood was drying, so I was hopeful the spot would eventually disappear--which it did just a few days ago. 

So what caused the spot to appear in the first place? We still aren't 100% sure, but our best guess is that condensation from our port side air conditioner caused the damage to the floor. We didn't originally suspect the air conditioner was to blame because, although it is in the same vicinity as where we found the spot, it was located far enough away that it avoided suspicion. And since we had not previously had any problems with water accumulating by that particular air conditioner, we (mistakenly) turned our focus to the next obvious culprit--the ice maker. However, a week or so after the mystery spot first appeared, we noticed a pool of water on the floor that we traced back to the air conditioner (which we had been running much more than usual, and combined with the incredibly humid weather we were having at the time, apparently produced more condensation than the drain could handle). 

Mystery solved.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Well, it is that time of year again. About every 8 months, I sift through the internet looking desperately for a tiny little chandelier that might possibly be suitable for a sailboat.

My original chandelier-owning vision (back when I thought I would live in a condo) was to have a ridiculously massive chandelier hanging in a very small powder room (sort of a practical joke on guests) and then a mix of tasteful chandeliers scattered throughout the rest of the home.

As you may have guessed, now that we live on a sailboat, my vision has changed.

Last year, my internet search for boat-friendly chandeliers left me empty handed. The closest I came to finding something that might work was a set of bathroom hardware that featured tastefully placed Swarovski crystals:

Alno Swarovski Crystal Single Post Toilet Paper Holder
The fixtures were all nice, but they are a far cry from a chandelier (although I'm sure it would provide me with some comfort as I sat on the toilet morning the loss of my chandelier dreams).

Well, that was last year. This year, things are looking up. While strolling through a lighting store the other day, I found this:

Swarovski - Melody
This is exactly the kind of boat-friendly chandelier I was hoping for--small and no moving parts! Clearly, the chandelier gods heard my pleas.

There are, however, a couple of problems. Problem number 1: This particular fixture uses a halogen bulb, which  produces too much heat for our close quarters (and we prefer LEDs). Problem number 2: Our overhead lights are 12-volt and run on D/C power, and these lights use A/C power. So, in order for this to all work, we'd need to find an LED bulb/fixture that works with these requirements.

I firmly believe that these obstacles are surmountable, however, there is one additional detail that concerns me. The main problem that I see, is that in order to replace our current dome lights with the fixture I found, we'd likely also need to modify our headliner. Our current lights are mounted onto our ceiling (which is covered by a padded, leather-like headliner), but the chandelier-like light fixture I found requires the hardware be mounted into the ceiling:

This means that assuming we were able to find a bulb that works for our power requirements, we'd then need to cut the headliner and carve into the ceiling--and that could get expensive. And by "could get expensive," I mean "would absolutely, positively be super expensive." 

So what is a chandelier-obsessed sailor to do? I don't know, but for starters, I'm going to order that toilet paper holder and put it in our guest bathroom.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Back when Eric and I were in the early stages of boat shopping, we placed a Sunward 48 on our list of possible contenders. The specific Sunward we were considering had a beautiful (and unique) custom interior, which included a steam sauna, complete with 2 shower heads. There were many reasons why we ultimately ruled out the Sunward as a finalist, but its indulgent steam shower kept it on our shortlist for a very long time.

99.99% of the time, I never think about other boats, but every now and then, I find myself daydreaming about the luxurious steam shower aboard the Sunward and wonder how we might cram one into our boat.

Well, we recently made some changes to the shower in our master head (bathroom), and although the end result doesn't rival the steam sauna found aboard the Sunward, it is keeping us happy (and clean).

Our old shower head was a bit puny. As you can see, the nozzle was only about the size of a quarter. And, adding to its non-luxuriousness, the rim was also cracked (which I must admit, I didn't notice until looking closely at the photo below). Also, there is a hair tie wrapped around the head:

Old Shower Head
Despite its shortcomings, our old shower head was sufficient when it came to doing its job. That being said, the other day when we were purusing an interior design showroom (looking at chandeliers), we took a look at the shower heads and, simultaneously, both Eric and I thought it might be time for an upgrade. Of course, we didn't buy a shower head from the design room, we went to a big box hardware store and bought a much less expensive option:  

Our new shower head is a substantial improvement over the old one. The face is the size of an orange. And I'm not talking about a run-if-the-mill organic orange. I'm talking about a non-organic, genetically engineered, fluorescent, jumbotron orange. Also, it has multiple settings (although, does anyone actually use those?). 

In addition to switching out the shower head, we also upgraded a few other key pieces of hardware that I've been wanting to get rid of since moving aboard--the toilet paper holder and towel ring. We have a few more upgrades in mind for the coming year, which will really make the bathroom feel like new. More on that later (probably much later).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cheap Light

As any boat owner can confirm, any product that is designed/marketed for boats costs at least four times as much as you'd think it should.  In some cases, the cost may be justifiable, such as for a highly specialized product for a small market, where development costs cannot be spread out across as many units sold.  In other cases, the high prices are the product of nothing more than price discrimination--charging higher prices to those who can pay more (in general, boaters) for the same product.  For the latter category of products, we like to try to find or repurpose household or automobile items to save some money (and generally increase the selection).

A recent example is our new solar-powered dock light.  The end of our pier can be dark at night, and to illuminate our way (without using the spreader lights, which we don't want to have to change frequently), we installed an ordinary garden-style solar light

Solar Light
It cost $12 at the big-box hardware store, it is bright enough, and it turns on automatically at night. 

And the solar dock lights sold at marine stores?  Between $75 and $122 dollars, depending on the model.  Although there is certainly a need for specialized marine products (rigging, electronics, sails, safety equipment, etc.), there is just as certainly no need for ordinary products being marked up 1000% and sold to boaters.