Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friends in the neighborhood

Remember a few months ago when we posted that we were lonely and had no friends here in St. Augustine?  Well, those lonely days are gone, and I am happy to report that we are finding ourselves in the midst of an ever improving and active social scene. Between our friends and working two jobs, I have not had time to blog, thus the long space between posts nowadays.  Sorry!   We have pirate friends, sailor friends, and are starting to meet more and more St. Augustine landlubbers. We even have a tight knit little neighborhood of friends in the anchorage now.  Our “next door” neighbor is our new best friend Ryan, a solo sailor who we have been spending a lot of time with this past moWe love our friend Ryannth.  We have been having a great time doing all kinds of things together, and Cap’t K and him have discovered a common love of beer and sailing gadgets that have made them fast friends.

Our other neighbors are a young Canadian couple who is just here for a month or so. We saw their boat before we met them, and as soon as we saw the name of their boat we just The Mighty Sea BeastKNEW we absolutely had to meet them and that we would like them.  Their boat name is “The Mighty Sea Beast”.   I mean, seriously, anyone who would name their boat that must be cool.  And they are.  We call them the “Beasties” and they are a fun loving and adventurous couple of crazies who fit right in with us.

Yesterday we had a big Sunday breakfast on our boat…here is a photo of our neighborhood crew:

So we have been having a good time lately.  I personally am loving my life here in St. Augustine right now, even though it has been exhausting working two jobs.  We also had the pleasure of having my mother come to visit recently.  She was with her new beau, Len, and we really enjoyed spending some time with them and showing them around town.

And the pirate job is going well.  I am working 4-5 shifts a week, and Cap’t K for now only has 1 shift a week.  I am learning lots of sea shanties and am shopping for a sword to complete my costume!  And we do make an adorable pirate couple, if I do say so myself!


Power to the Pirates

Our boat came fully equipped with most everything we’ve needed to travel well and to live aboard successfully.  With one major exception.  Power.  And, of course, the nice amenities our new boat has, such as running water and a flush toilet, require power.  The only way we have had to recharge our batteries that run the boat’s systems has been by running the diesel engine.  This is fine when you are going places and running the motor anyway, but when you are living on anchor it is loud, stupid and annoying (and expensive!) to run the engine to charge the batteries. So we have been saving up money for solar panels, and at last we have them!

We purchased two 140 watt panels from an online store for a pretty great deal.  Capt K put up a temporary installation to get them juicing us up.  They are mounted on the lifelines in such a way that they can be angled towards the sun, or folded down entirely when it is not sunny, too windy, etc. Eventually we are going to have a stainless steel reinforced bracket welded onto the boat to support them, but for now the solar  panels are at least up and functioning!

Our batteries had been suffering severely from chronic undercharging.  We never wanted to run the engine for the length of time it would require to really fully charge them, and so we were just charging them enough to get by, but it wasn’t an ideal situation at all.  We were living with power anemia, too….having to skimp on how much we used our laptop, lights, etc because our batteries were so low.

But now, with our beautiful new solar panels, we can have the laptop on all day, and do amazing things like run the water and flush the toilet at the same time, without causing the inverter to shut down due to insufficient juice!  And no more loud stinky polluting engine every day!!  Our lives have just improved significantly! We can even run our refrigerator again!

The other major upgrade we have done is converting our marine stove to run on propane.  The stove, which is a great 3 burner, gimballed ShipMate with an oven, originally was designed to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).  This fuel is safer than propane, as it doesn’t sink into the bilge to become a potential explosive hazard.  However, it is not popular amongst boaters (I don’t really understand why), and so it is almost impossible to get.  The guy we bought our boat from happened to store the boat right next to one of the tiny handful of places on the whole East coast that refills marine CNG tanks, so for him the system worked great.  But for us traveling, as well as living in St. Augustine, it has been a nightmare to track this fuel down.  The closest place to get it is 200 miles away.  So Cap’t K figured out how to convert the fuel lines to propane, and got the parts installed this week.  It’s a good thing, because we had just run out of CNG!

It has been nice having Cap’t K around more on the boat since he quit his 9-5 temp job.  He sure is a good handyman!  He has been spending the last few weeks doing lots of boat projects, including the solar panel installation, which took several days.  While we were both working full time a lot of boat projects were put on the wayside, and now more of them are being attended to again, which is good.  Right now it is just me working full time — actually I will be working more than full time over the next few weeks as I juggle two jobs and get myself rolling on the pirate ship.  I am still waitressing at the Cuban restaurant as well, and have even been filling in some extra shifts for co-workers who have had to be away due to family emergencies.  So at the moment it’s me bringing home the bacon and Cap’t K taking care of things on the home front.  He is doing a few shifts on the Schooner Freedom and will have his first excursion on the Black Raven Pirate ship tomorrow, but until the tourist season picks up, his schedule is not too busy.

My training on the pirate ship so far has involved working as a photographer.  I get to dress up in my new pirate costume and take pictures of the tourists as they board the ship, posing them with two pirates.  Then I print the pictures in the mobile photo studio aboard the ship and sell the prints to the people.  Pretty gimicky, but hey, its more fun than waiting tables.  Soon I will be training to be a full “pirate actor”, taking part in the show and singing.  Our costumes are in need of some extra accessories, so if any of you readers out there come across any extra swords, daggers, eye patches, or whatnot, send them our way!




Pirates we be!!

It has come to this  In our search for enjoyable employment we can do while living on a boat, we can now add this to our resumes:  Pirates.  Now, when non-sailing people ask us if we have encountered pirates own our sailing travels, we can say “yes, and we joined them!”

On my way to pirate audition

My audition went well and I was deemed worthy to join the Black Raven crew, at least on a trial basis for now.  The audition was quite the nerve wracking experience for me.  I have a lot of background performing but somehow I managed to get the gigs I got without having to audition for them.  The scariest part for me was having to sing.  That is one of the main qualities they were looking for:  the ability to get up and sing confidently.  That is not one of my strong points, actually.  I have never sang a solo in my life!  Let alone in front of a crew of 8 pirates dressed in full costume including swords — what an intimidating audience!!  I chose to sing a variation on a traditional sea shanty called “Sugar in the Hold”.  Cap’t K and my dear friends Erin and Josh (who just came to visit us for a few days) helped me to rewrite the words to fit the particular situation of the Black Raven in St. Augustine.  We changed the words to make fun of tourists, comment on the current in the harbor and the captain, etc.  It was a bit edgy….non-traditional to say the least.  I was pushing the envelope a bit.  I think they were a bit shocked but impressed.

Here’s one of the verses we wrote…the one the manager of the pirate ship liked the best:

The Captain stands on the quarterdeck

Can he dock the boat without a wreck?

The wind is a howlin’ out of the east

and the current’s flowin’ like a beast

And of course, the chorus, which once sung a few times, remains stuck in your head for at least 3 days:

Hey Ho! Below, Below!  Put the tourists in the hold below, below!  Hey Ho! Below, Below! Put the tourists in the hold below!


So even though I was terrified I would forget all the words to the song at the moment they asked me to sing,  I survived the audition with flying colors, my pirate costume was admired by all, and I left feeling mighty fine about the whole situation.   I start training in this weekend, and will be picking up a few shifts here and there to start out.  Cap’t K will also be working occasional shifts as Blackbeard’s personal driver soon.

We just had a great few days with our dear friends Erin and Josh and their daughter Sasha, who just stayed with us for two days.

Sasha loved being in the dinghy

They were excellent boat guests, especially Sasha, age 5, who took to being on a boat like a fish to water and was thrilled to pieces about every aspect of being on a boat.  She did “happy laps” around the boat the whole time she was here, except for when she was passed out at night, sleeping blissfully in the little quarterberth bed we set up for her.  They were also great sports about being forced to sing (or listen to) the “Sugar in the Hold” song non-stop for the entire day before my audition!

In other exciting news, we once again have a functioning water pump.  For the last few weeks, our water pump has been psychotic — when you would turn on the water, the pump would run like crazy but no water would come out, until suddenly, it would fly out the faucet forcefully, getting you and everything around you wet.  When you would turn the faucet off, the pump would keep on running until you turned the master electrical switch off.  It was really annoying, and also mysterious.  We just couldn’t quite figure out what the problem was or what to do about it.  It was obviously something to do with air bubbles in the line and regulation of the water pressure….Anyway, the other night it stopped working altogether and Cap’t K dove into the starboard cockpit locker to check it out.  I don’t know what he did, but he emerged an hour later with it working again, and now we are blissfully happy every time we turn on the water and the pump does what it is supposed to in a normal fashion.  Amazing how these little things most of us take for granted become such fantastic luxuries when you are on a boat!