OUR FIRST BIG SAILING TRIP GETS BLOWN AWAY. LITERALLY…

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

Each year in March, the Grand Prix comes to St. Petersburg. A couple of weeks before that, they start blocking off huge chunks of downtown, near the waterfront. The cars actually race through the streets of town in a large, meandering circle. Large gates are set up to prevent crashing cars from hitting buildings and pedestrians.

While this sounds cool, it creates a traffic nightmare. And, for the three days when the cars are practicing and racing, the sound is absolutely, alarmingly deafening.

Last year, we were located in a high-rise apartment three blocks from the waterfront. Despite being on the 18th floor, and having hurricane-proof doors and windows, we still had to shout inside to hear each other talking. Worse, the noise would start at 7:30 a.m…on the WEEKEND! It was pretty awful for residents.

This year, we decided to take No Tan Lines on her first big trip! Okay, it was only for five days but that was huge for us! We were going a spend the night on Beer Can Island, and then sail to Egmont Key for some history lessons for the boys, and then we were going to head into the Gulf of Mexico for deep sea fishing!

But, as Murphy’s Law would have it, on the day before we were scheduled to set sail, the weather forecast took a dramatic change. A cold front was going to blast through, bringing gusts to 36-knots, and 6-8 foot seas offshore.

I know the boys must experience bad weather at times on the boat, but I didn’t think their very first trip would be good timing for that type of adventure.

We put our heads together and came up with an alternative plan. Since the boys were so excited to have a vacation, we simply had to create a new one for them. The next morning, we asked our good friends, Diego and Stephanie, to watch the boat. We packed our clothes and camping gear in the truck, along with the dinghy and outboard motor (we had promised them boating, after all!), and drove three hours south to a campground on Marco Island.

We had a blast primitive camping, and then moved to a cabin when the front blew through. We hiked, fished, dinghy’d, played competitive games of shuffleboard, roasted marshmallows, weenies and burgers over the fire, and shared funny stories from our childhood. Everybody had a super time!

As of today, we’re in a holding pattern so no sailing is on the immediate horizon. No Tan Lines is scheduled to go on the hard next Monday because the driveshaft threw a bearing when I was learning how to dock her a few weeks ago.

I swear it wasn’t my fault!

NEXT:  WHEN YOU BUY A BOAT, EVERYBODY INVITES THEMSELVES FOR A VISIT…BUT CAN THEY HANDLE IT???

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

 

HOW TO SAVE YOUR MARINE MATTRESS IN A HUMID ENVIRONMENT

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

The humidity in Florida in the winter is odd. In the summer, any moisture in the boat dissipates pretty quickly, likely because the air conditioners are running at full-blast, 24 hours a day. In the winter, however, the moisture in the bathroom after you shower, for example, can linger for hours or even days. We hadn’t been vigilant about this and we started seeing mold on the teak inside the shower. After cleaning that, we realized that hanging damp towels in there was the problem. Now, one of Mason’s chores is to take all the towels outside each night, and hang them on the lifelines. We have a couple dozen clothespins on board just for this.

That worked! The mold problem disappeared.

Last month, however, we pulled the v-berth cushions out to have them measured for replacement. That’s when we discovered they were damp on the bottom. Those cushions have rubber bottoms so we were able to clean them with bleach. Mason’s mattress was the same way. However, our mattress, which came with the boat, is a traditional memory foam one. When we checked it, we found it was wet on the bottom, and had mold. We had to get rid of it.

While we waited for a new one to be delivered, we slept on an air mattress. That was NOT a comfortable experience and we had to keep Rambo the cat out of our room. If you’ve ever owned a cat with claws AND an air mattress, you know why.

It took a week for the mattress to arrive and, in that time, we took a trip to West Marine. With the calculations for the size of the mattress, we purchased enough Dri-Dek to fit the bed area. When the new mattress arrived, Capt. Brian pieced the Dri-Dek puzzle together, which only took a few minutes. We then placed the new mattress in its place. A week later, we checked underneath and it was as dry as a bone.

We will also be purchasing Dri-Dek for the boys’ mattress, and the settee cushions.

Another good use for Dri-Dek is in high traffic areas on your deck. While the boys scrub the deck weekly with a long-handled brush and Comet, there was still a noticeable difference in “dirtiness” on the starboard side, where everybody boards the boat. Capt. Brian pieced together a Dri-Dek walkway along the starboard deck, from the finger dock to the cockpit. Footprint problem solved!

NEXT: OUR FIRST BIG SAILING TRIP GETS BLOWN AWAY. LITERALLY…

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

CAN GIRLS DOCK BIG BOATS? YEP!!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

As detailed in past posts, I’ve owned three boats in the past. A 25′ sailboat, a 17′ fishing boat, and a 30′ motorboat. Back then, I was pretty good at launching and docking, whether from a dock or a boat ramp. But, that was 20 years ago. And, those boats were far smaller than No Tan Lines, which is 52′.

I admit, after buying No Tan Lines (“Tanny”), I was nervous. She weighs about 45,000 lbs. You can’t stop her on a dime, nor do a fast turn. She reacts very slowly to whatever you do, whether under power or sail. And, when a piling (or another boat) is close, you run a very real risk of hitting something. That’s why everyone comes out of their boats to watch when someone’s docking!

Today, Capt. Brian Whiddon took us out, and taught me how to dock the boat. To avoid giving our Dock 4 neighbors a heart attack, we took No Tan Lines around to Dock 5. There are no live-aboards on that dock so I could safely practice pulling into slips without a crowd of anxious eyes watching over me (or yelling at me!). Dock 5 is the last dock at the marina and it has a large, deep basin beside it. So, you can approach the dock from a considerable distance, heading straight in. You don’t have to turn at the last moment.

There were empty slips on both sides of the one we used for practice so my nervousness was diminished somewhat. Capt. Brian did an excellent job. Here are his calm, wise instructions so you gals can try this at home yourself!

– As long as water is passing over the keel, you have control of the boat. If you stop completely, you won’t.

– Go very slow. This isn’t a race. Don’t make the same mistake that (name removed) made last week. He was going WAY too fast.

– Gradually ease the bow between the first two pilings, and shift into neutral.

– When you’re halfway in, very gently tap it into reverse to stop moving forward.

– If you need a little more momentum, gently tap it forward. Do not throw it into forward.

– Your deckhands can now use the boat hooks to get the lines on the pilings by the stern. Once they secure those to the stern cleats, you won’t hit the dock in front of you.

– At this point, your crew can toss a bowline to someone on the dock, or someone can jump onto the dock, and have the lines thrown to them.

Using his excellent advice, I was able to move into the slip several times with just a few problems in the beginning. Okay, I may have grazed a couple of pilings and, at one point, Richard was standing on the port side, his feet firmly planted on the deck, pushing a piling away from the boat with all of his might. It was at these times that Capt. Brian’s patient, coaching voice would change to something entirely different:

“Go slow. VERY SLOW! Why are you in such a hurry?! Slow down! Reverse! REVERSE!!”

“Do you really want to lose that toe rail? No? I didn’t think so. Maybe you should steer a little more to the right then?”

“I said SLOWLY shift into reverse. I didn’t say to gun it!”

“Do you see that piling straight ahead?! Yes? Are you TRYING to hit it because YOU’RE ABOUT TO!”

Yes, Capt. Brian gained a few more gray hairs today but, for the most part, I did a pretty good job, especially after learning from my earlier mistakes. And, I was confident enough after practicing numerous times to steer the boat into our own slip. I overshot the slip the first time after turning too late. I aborted, turned around, came around again, and eased her in. It was picture perfect! At that point, there was an audience on the dock and, I have to admit, the men seemed impressed.

Later, one of the men on the dock texted me, and said, “Hey, can Capt. Brian teach MY wife how to dock a boat?”

Now I have to learn how to back her out of the slip. I’m a bit more nervous about that because she’s pretty big and there are boats in the slips behind us. I’ll let you know how that goes.

NEXT: HOW TO SAVE YOUR MARINE MATTRESS IN A HUMID ENVIRONMENT

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

BUYING THE ARCH: NEVER BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE FOR MAJOR BOAT EXPENSES!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

I’m pretty good at haggling. Whenever we need to buy a major asset, Richard stands back and watches me do the negotiating. The adult kids occasionally ask for my advice when they’re making a major purchase.

Even if the product or service has a firm list price, I’m not afraid to initiate a negotiation if it’ll save me some money, especially if the product is priced extremely high. When buying No Tan Lines, I negotiated the price down $30K. That was a 23.1% savings! (Yeah, I calculated it.)

Oh, the awesome (expensive) arch! They provide mariners with extra room for even more equipment (toys!). And, even better, they look super cool! No Tan Lines (“Tanny”) has one solar panel hanging from the port side that hasn’t worked since we bought her. Tanny’s myriad of antennas are attached to stanchions on the port side of the stern. I’m not even sure all of those work, either.

We had a really nice set of davits for the dinghy but we knew we’d have to remove them in order on install an arch. The good news is they’re worth about $1500-$2000 used. We took pictures so we can sell them.

For the arch, we contacted a well-known local firm for a quote. They came out and measured Tanny, and the estimate was astronomical. I was expecting to pay maybe $3K to $4K. When the much higher estimate arrived, I said, “No way!” I had resigned myself to the fact that we just weren’t going to have an arch.

Fast forward to the St. Petersburg Boat Show a few weeks later. The same arch company had a booth there and they were advertising the same arch for a much lower price. $1800!! I didn’t hesitate to immediately confront  the guy working at the booth. Why was the price so much lower than the quote I’d received? He stammered a bit, and tried to tell me the boat show special was for an arch that was too small for my boat. Uh huh… It’s so funny when salesmen in an industry dominated by men (boat products) think this blonde chick was born yesterday.

Fast forward again to the following Monday. Brian called the owner. He’d heard we’d been at the boat show. After Brian’s added high-skilled negotiations, we did indeed get the arch for the boat show price and Brian would install it for us, saving us even more money. The deal was so good that Brian got one for his boat, too!

Our awesome and multi-talented neighbor, Diego, pitched in to help and now both No Tan Lines and Floggin’ Molly have beautiful arches AND new davits to boot! (The davits were only $400 per set, and they attach directly to the new arches.) Now we get to begin the fun task of deciding on new solar panels. If you have any recommendations, please let us know! 🙂

NEXT: CAN GIRLS DOCK BIG BOATS? YEP!!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

DRIVING (NOT SAILING) TO KEY WEST. SIGH…

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

My birthday was last week and we drove to Key West for a grown-up’s weekend of fun! While we’d have loved to have sailed No Tan Lines there, we do not yet have the experience to do so. And, we desperately needed a tropical, grown-up holiday!

Our Dock 4 friends Stan and Chris are currently moored there and we stayed in a hotel on Duval Street. We were going to take the ferry down from Ft. Myers but it was far too cold so we cancelled that. We learned that, if they don’t have enough seats inside, you have to sit outside. And, it’s a good thing we cancelled because, on the way down, I came down with a horrible case of the flu.

(Before I forget, read about the time I checked my mother-in-law and her new husband into a clothing-optional resort in Key West…without telling them RIGHT HERE. Heh..)

Anyway, we left for Key West on Wednesday, stopping in Ft. Myers for a night to break up the drive. That night, I had a slight tickle in my throat at bedtime. The next morning, I woke up feeling AWFUL. It hit me so fast!

I bundled my pillow and big, furry robe into the back seat of the SUV. I tried working on my laptop for awhile but my head was pounding and my eyes were burning and watering. I ended up sleeping in the back seat for most of the drive, missing the miles and miles of beautiful, aqua blue water on both sides of the highway. It’s one of my favorite drives but I was so sick I didn’t care. I just wanted to get to the hotel, and go to bed.

When we arrived, that’s just what I did. That night, I had horrible chills and I couldn’t eat anything. I was coughing like crazy and my fever was making me hurt all over. Richard bought Mucinex and that helped, but never got my temperature back down to normal. I was downing cough drops one after another, and couldn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.

And, that all lasted until the day before we were scheduled to leave. The flu didn’t ruin our vacation. It just changed it up quite a bit. I did have a few days of complete bed rest and I watched a ton of mindless TV.

We left on Tuesday (a day late) and I got these photos of hurricane damage on the way back.

50 – Foot sailboat that WASHED into a backyard!

This boat is clearly too big to have been dragged over the seawall and into this yard. This shows how high the water got in the upper keys.

Every several miles, we saw salvaged boats piled up. Many had barnacles all over them, indicating that they had totally sunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t get to see enough of Chris and Stan while we were there so we’re planning to return in May or June. They’ll be cruising the Caribbean until hurricane season returns.

You can read about their adventures on http://www.svdisorder.com. Don’t miss it!

NEXT: BUYING THE ARCH: EVER BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE FOR MAJOR UPGRADES!

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

 

STRAY CAT STUCK IN THE BILGE!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

After our plumber’s horrible seizure onboard No Tan Lines last week, we all made a pact that the following day would be a boring one – one devoid of any drama whatsoever. But, alas, that was not to be…probably because we forgot to KNOCK ON TEAK!

The next morning, Capt. Brian Whiddon called me from his boat, saying he’d be late for work. He works for our publishing company and he is NEVER late for work. What happened? Well, let me start at the beginning…

Exactly one week prior, Brian said he was hearing a “bell” on his boat. One night, he even texted us to ask if our cat, Rambo, may have followed him home, which is literally just a few feet down the dock from the floating “home office.” But, he had not. Rambo was comfortably curled up in our salon so, of course, we told Brian he was NUTS. He was babysitting Pookie at the time (his brother’s dog). He said Pookie heard the bell, too. So, laughing, we told him he AND Pookie were nuts.

Brian knew he wasn’t crazy because Pookie heard the bell, too.

Fast forward a week to Brian’s phone call. He said, “I was right! There IS a cat on my boat!! I can hear it meowing!!!”

As with a house, if a live critter is loose under your floor, and if you can’t access that area, you might have to cut into the floor to rescue the little furball. And, that’s what Brian was going to have to do so Richard raced down the dock to assist. I was still getting dressed and, as soon as I finished, I grabbed one of our bowls, put some cat food in it, and walked down the dock as well.

By the time I arrived at Brian’s boat, the guys had lifted up floor boards everywhere, and had successfully located the cat. Brian had lured it close with some ham but he couldn’t quite get it. I reached in with a piece of ham, and tried to lure kitty cat forward so I could grab his or her scruff. He/she grabbed the ham, and ripped it completely out of my hand. I was quick, too, and grabbed it right back. I held on tighter, and was eventually able to lure it forward, and lift the starving feline out.

Once I got it in my arms, it was clear kitty cat was very sweet and affectionate. Still, we put it in Pookie’s kennel (Pookie was NOT in there at the time!) in case it tried to bolt, and pondered our next move. We took pictures, and came up with a pretty accurate description. Green eyes. Very small. Hot pink collar and fully-functioning pink bell (ha ha). All black with a tiny wisp of white under the throat, and another near the groin. And, speaking of groin…was it a girl or a boy? The hair was so black we couldn’t tell so…I had to feel down there. After apologizing to kitty cat for pawing her (heh…), I said, “No dangly parts! It’s a girl!!”

Now that we had the little kitty out of the bilge, we had to figure out who she belonged to…

We brought her back to No Tan Lines, and transferred her to our cat carrier, gave her cat food and water, and started posting “FOUND” notices online. About 30 minutes later, a friend on our private Dock Facebook page, Diego, said he’d heard a week prior that the crew of the Tall Ship Lynx had lost their cat.

This is a pretty big town and there are LOTS of lost animals, according to Facebook’s lost pets pages. It was a long-shot. It really was. But, I called their office anyway, and left a message. A man in New Hampshire immediately called back, very excited. The missing kitty, Leeloo, belonged to the ship’s captain. We compared descriptions and it sure looked like we had a match! We offered to drive her to the ship, which is docked five minutes from here for the Winter, 2017 season.

The TallShip “Lynx”

The Lynx is a full-sized replica of a topsail schooner that actually served as an American privateer blockade-runner during the War of 1812. The captain was expecting us. He walked down the gangplank as we approached. We exchanged greetings, and opened the cat carrier. He reached in and pulled her out, excitedly saying, “It’s her!” He hugged her tight. And, we knew he was her daddy because she curled right up into his chest. He then held her out in front of him with his hands under her armpits, examining her, and then pulled her back in for another hug, before saying, “You’ve lost a lot of weight!”

That’s when my eyes got all teary. I’m getting teary-eyed again just thinking about it. 🙂

He then told us she’d been missing for 13 days. He proclaimed us honorary sailors on the Lynx.He thanked us profusely, and said we can come sail for free anytime. We, of course, accepted his offer as we’ve been wanting to sail on that beautiful ship for a year now. They do educational excursions and we know Max and Mason would love it!

As we were walking away, we turned back to see the other Lynx crew members coming out to pet Leeloo, and to welcome her home. The captain emailed Brian later with an update, saying Leeloo was doing just fine, and was being spoiled rotten. And, they installed the pet tracking device that had been delivered two days after she went missing.

Here’s the weird thing…

The previous Friday night, we’d gone out to dinner with some dock friends. While some of us went to the bathroom, the rest were standing outside, in front of the restaurant. Two women approached Diego, asking if anyone had seen a black cat. They said the Lynx was missing theirs. Diego remembered that brief encounter when he saw our post on Facebook. Had we not all gone out to dinner that night, we may never have found the owner. And, that was the exact night that Brian started hearing the bell in his boat!

After leaving the Lynx, we returned back to No Tan Lines. Half a day had been spent doing all of that and, combined with the seizure emergency the day before, we were getting more behind on our work. We all once again made a pact. The following day would be soooooo very boring. We would all be completely bored to tears and we would LOVE IT!

SO, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!

Chaos seems to follow us wherever we go. The next day, we received an urgent text from our daughter-in-law. Our son, Matt, who was supposed to arrive this weekend for Christmas, severed his Achilles tendon while playing flag football. He and all of us are devastated because he had to cancel his trip. Thirty-six hours later, he had surgery. It was worse than they thought. (How could it possibly be worse? It was severed!!) Turns out the injury was higher than they thought. He’ll have to wear a cast 2 weeks longer than they originally predicted and full recovery can take 6 to 12 months.

We sadly packed up Matt’s Christmas gifts, and shipped them to Maine. He’s doing well after surgery and he is so very happy his new Xbox arrived just before his injury. His brothers here in Florida are able to play with him online. He is an actuary and, as soon as he no longer needs pain meds, he’ll be able to work from home for awhile. We also bought our son, Zach, a plane ticket so he can fly up there next week, and keep Matt company for a couple of days.

The good news is, nothing weird has happened since then (because we remembered to knock on teak!)…and we’re praying it stays that way!

NEXT: DRIVING (NOT SAILING) TO KEY WEST. SIGH…

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

SEIZURE ON THE BOAT!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

This morning, our plumber, who is also a friend, came over to do some work alongside our Captain, Brian Whiddon. For privacy reasons, I’ll call our plumber Donnie.

They were both working with their heads down in the lazarette. Donnie sat up while Brian kept working. Brian then pulled his head out to ask Donnie a question. He called Donnie’s name several times, but he wasn’t responding. He was staring. That’s when Brian realized he was having a seizure. Brian tried to catch him but Donnie face-planted on the deck of the boat. Brian yelled for me to come out and help, for Richard to call 9-1-1, and for Max to go unlock the gate for the paramedics when they arrived. I raced outside and it was absolutely TERRIFYING! Brian had turned Donnie on his side. There was a LOT of blood. It was POURING out of his nose. It was a bad seizure and Donnie wasn’t breathing while it was occurring. I was terrified he was never going to breathe again!

Our next-boat-neighbor, Rhonda, heard the commotion. She’s a nurse and she rushed right over. She helped Brian while I took Donnie’s phone out of his pocket, and started searching for his wife’s number. I didn’t know her name – or even Donnie’s last name. Nothing. I searched for “wife,” “honey,” and a variety of other pet names. (Turns out he did have her in there under a sweetheart, lovey-dovey name…but nothing anyone would think to search for.) So, then I looked at his text messages. There were numerous plumbing conversations. I bypassed those. His customers wouldn’t know his wife. I saw a fishing invitation. A ha! A friend! I called him. No answer. I then found a dinner invite and I called that guy. He answered. I explained the situation. He didn’t know the wife’s number but he knew someone who did so he took down my name and number.

By this time, the seizure had stopped but Donnie was unresponsive. He was breathing and had a pulse. He started moving a bit. He tried touching his nose. It must have hurt like a bitch because that’s what hit the deck first. He tried to talk, but could not. He couldn’t answer our questions. Brian kept reassuring him, telling him who we were, where he was, and what had happened.

The paramedics arrived while he was still unable to speak. They took very good care of him. He started speaking a bit, and was very confused. Brian said, “Donnie, do you know who I am?” He did not. When they inserted an IV, Donnie got combative. I was still thumbing through his phone, trying to solve the who-the-heck-is-his-wife puzzle, and letting the professionals do their job.

Eventually, they were able to get him to sit up. And, miraculously, to stand. As they were getting him off the boat to the rolling stretcher, his wife called my phone. Thank GOD! The paramedics needed to ask her about his medical history, meds he takes, etc. We told her we’d go with him to the hospital, and meet her there. By then, he had remembered who we were.

We followed the ambulance, and stood behind it as they unloaded him. He saw me, and said, “Angela! What happened?!” He couldn’t remember where he’d been when it happened, nor what he was doing, nor even what he’d watched on TV the night before. It was obvious his memory loss was REALLY frustrating him. The doc said that’s normal and that whatever he forgot might not come back. But, he knew his name, our names, how many quarters equal a dollar, the city we were in, etc. We had to tell him what happened several times. He was trying to make sense of it.

Turns out he had one other seizure five years ago. He’d run out of his blood pressure medication so his high blood pressure may have sparked this seizure. He said he gets a surreal feeling of déjà vu just before it happens but that he occasionally gets that without a full-blown seizure.

His wife finally arrived. The ER desk had kept her waiting for 10 whole minutes while we were able to just walk in with the paramedics. I felt so sorry for her! She was crying when she finally got into his room.

We explained everything that had happened once again so she’d know what to tell other medical folks who asked, gave her a hug, told him we’d drop off his glasses at his house later, (his glasses had fallen off when he hit the deck) and then left.

It was awful. Absolutely terrifying. It’s been about four hours since it happened and I’m still nauseated from anxiety. Thank GOD Donnie is okay. After it happened, we talked about the series of events that led to him being on our boat when the seizure occurred. I’d texted him last night because, despite all the plumbing being re-done, there was still a stink in the aft bedroom (near the holding tank). He said he’d pencil us in but, this morning, he called out of the blue. He was on a nearby boat, and said he’d walk down the dock to take a look. He and Brian quickly found the problem. A gizmo hadn’t been put back on the thingymabob so the watchmacallit was not venting correctly. He was here only about five minutes before the seizure hit.

The back of our boat is quite large. If Donnie had fallen on a smaller boat, or had he been alone on a boat, he might have fallen overboard. And, he most certainly would have drowned having a seizure in the water. I believe God had control of the timing of everything that happened so that Donnie would be okay.

Do your spouse a favor and add “husband” or “wife” after their name in your phone so they can be located in an emergency. Also, consider adding the app ICE to your phone, which will display your emergency contact info. on your screen even if your phone is password protected.

And, remember to take your blood pressure medication!

NEXT: STRAY CAT STUCK IN THE BILGE!

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

TAKING CLASSES AT THE BOAT SHOW

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

Last weekend, we attended the St. Petersburg Boat Show. Since it’s held adjacent to the marina, we got to watch a huge parade of boats coming in for the show. That was a lot of fun!

Last year, we attended the boat show in order to look for the type of boat we might want. This year, it was going to be a lot more relaxing and fun. We just had to avoid the inevitable temptation to buy all the newest, shiniest gadgets that we never knew we needed until attending the boat show.

We did find one large, shiny gadget. A tower for the back of the boat, which can hold our dinghy, solar panels, and antennas. We will probably purchase one of those in the coming weeks.

Our biggest reason for attending the boat show was the classes. Richard, Capt. Brian and I, as well as our neighbors, Vince and Miles, attended a day-long marine diesel course. I’d like to say it was exciting as all get out…but it was not. Educational? Sure. I learned a LOT. But, I have to admit that, once lunch settled in my belly, my blood sugar began to drop and I was having a VERY difficult time keeping my eyes open. That sucked.

I can’t say, after taking that day-long course, that I could actually fix anything on a diesel motor but it came with a handy booklet and charts so at least I can now identify certain parts of it. And, that’s a start! And, no, I was not the only girl in the class.

On Sunday, the guys took a marine electrical course. I opted out of that one because it’s very difficult for me to take two days off in a row from our business. If I did, I’d have to spend over a week catching up.

On Sunday, we were supposed to help serve pizza after the boat show. It’s an annual tradition for Dock 4. However, I wasn’t feeling well so we opted out after hearing they already had plenty of assistance.

NEXT: SEIZURE ON THE BOAT!

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

 

Halloween Decorations on “No Tan Lines” and BRRRR!!!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

We’ve been anxiously awaiting our first real cold front while living aboard “No Tan Lines.” (“Tanny” for short.) And, we’ve been blessed with a whopper just before Halloween! It’s almost noon as I’m writing this and it’s sunny and only 64 degrees. The wind is blowing 20 mph so it’s quite crisp outside indeed…for Florida anyway!

Last night, when we were sitting in the cockpit, I realized that every one of my sweaters was in storage. So, I grabbed a blanket. Since nobody in the marina is running their air conditioners right now, we could hear everything…and I mean EVERYTHING our neighbors are saying on their boat. Ahem…. Learning from others’ mistakes, we spent the evening whispering.

At bedtime, Max took his blanket and pillow outside, and fell asleep in the cockpit. We had all our ports and hatches open and it was lovely curled up under the comforter! Rambo (Max’s cat) carouses the neighborhood after dark, and always returns around 2 a.m., crawls in our bed, begs for scratches, and curls up by my head.

When the tide or wind pushes the boat too far from the finger dock, Rambo lies and waits for the boat to get closer so he can jump back onboard.

 

I woke up around 3:00 a.m., and didn’t see Rambo on our bed. I assumed he was out in the cockpit with Max so I wasn’t too worried. Just then, I turned over in bed, and just so happened to open my eyes, glancing through the hatch above our bed. Two glowing eyes were staring back at me! After I sucked in my breath and woke up Richard with a yelp, I realized the eyeball glow belonged to Rambo. He was standing there above me, creepily staring at me as I slept. I pulled out the hatch screen, and pulled him into bed. He begged for scratches, purred really loudly, and then finally fell asleep.

This morning, we woke up freezing but we didn’t mind because it sure feels like Fall!

While it’s quite chilly, I’m glad because this weekend we’re attending our first outdoor Murder Mystery Dinner. My female gangster costume includes a dress, a blazer, and knee-high boots. I was NOT looking forward to wearing a blazer and boots in 88-degree heat!

The boats are “decked” for our favorite holiday of the year – Halloween! Here are some photos:

Our salty, sailing skeletons definitely don’t have any tan lines!
Captain Brian P. Whiddon‘s special friend, Matilda. She looks awesome at night because her eyes and face light up. And, the way he strung her up makes her appear to be flying madly through the strong salty breeze. Small children don’t want to walk past Brian’s boat right now. 😉
If you pass to close to our bow, John John might eat your face.

NEXT: TAKING CLASSES AT THE BOAT SHOW

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

Amberjack Rampage!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

One day last week, I was quietly working on my laptop on the boat when I heard our captain, Brian Whiddon, holler for me to come look at something. I, in turn, told the boys something was going on and they dropped their schoolbooks and followed me through the companionway.

In front of No Tan Lines, a large area of water appeared to be boiling. At first glance, from the back of the boat peering that far ahead, I seriously thought somebody had dumped some sort of chemical in the water. Only after I quickly walked to the bow did I notice it was a huge school of large fish.

The boiling water effect was moving toward our boat, and beside it. We could hear the fish slapping our boat, and see them slapping the boats on both sides of us. They moved behind us, which is when I was able to catch THIS VIDEO…which, I know, turns sideways at the end. Sorry about that.

We originally thought the hunters were dolphins but we never saw any surface. We then thought it might be sharks corralling the fish. Another idea was tarpon because we have HUGE ones in the marina right now. One that was hanging out under the pier awhile back was at least seven feet long.

The show continued for another 45 minutes or so with the school moving all over the marina. One neighbor said it was sharks forcing the school closer to shore for an easier meal.

Brian, who’s also a diver, was scheduled to dive under No Tan Lines that afternoon for some maintenance. Needless to say, he rescheduled…

NEXT:  Halloween Decorations on “No Tan Lines” and BRRRR!!!

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.