Author Archives: wh-admin

The quest for Wee Happy begins

Yesterday Cap’t K and our friend Ryan left to go to the Florida Keys to get Wee Happy, our “other” sailboat.  Wee Happy, who has been lonely and awaiting our return for many months now, is coming up to St. Augustine to be with us at last.  Cap’t K and Ryan are sailing her up here, where we can work on her to get her ready to sell this summer.  It will be a fun time for both of them I’m sure, and hopefully soon I will have photos from them to post of their journey.  It was great of Ryan to offer to help Cap’t K sail the boat up here, although I know he had his own motives of itching to be out on the water again.  He is working on his boat now and hasn’t sailed for awhile either.

Meanwhile I am left behind in St. Augustine alone, working my butt off, while those two are off on a sailing adventure.  It’s not so bad though…I needed some alone time anyway, and hey, I just got back from the beach.  Beach treasureThere is a glorious beach here in St. Augustine that stretches on for miles.  They don’t have that in the Keys!  And the spring weather has been splendid here, with lots of flowers in full bloom, including expansive amounts of blooming jasmine that fills the streets with intoxicating scent.

I have a new pirate accessory too…..a dagger!  Who knew I would ever have a job where I would be excited to get one of these.  It goes nicely with the jasmine, don’t you think?

Hardworkin pirates

I haven’t written much about my pirate job….I have been on the ship about 3 days a week.  My role right now is photographer — I take pictures of the tourists with pirates, print them out on our nifty on board printer, and sell the photos for 12 bucks each.  Pretty easy, although not really authentically pirate-y.  I’ve been working towards my big debut as a singer/entertainer.  I have been praticing a solo (a different one than the one I did for the first audition) and I will be singing it solo for the crowd for the first time on Thursday.  I am expanding my horizons a lot by soloing, as it is not something I have ever done or even wanted to do in the past.  But it feels exciting now! 
Here are a few shots of my coworker pirates out for grog after yesterdays show. We pirates do love to drink, affter all!





Bed of Dreams

We just made a major upgrade to our boat.  We got a king sized bed!  How did we do that, you ask?  Way Happy isn’t THAT big?!!


Capt K created a wooden insert to put between the full size fold out bed and the bench in the main salon.  It just happens that the space between the two is the same size as the back rest cushions, so we place those over the insert and voila!  The whole cabin has just been transformed into a giant bed!  This means that, besides a great improvement to our love life (we will spare you the details, but trust me, its WAY better), we are sleeping so very much better.  We can sprawl out and not feel cramped and crowded like we did in the v-berth.  We have been waking up happier and feel pretty darn excited about this improvement!

Onboard gardening

Our onboard garden


We got a great multi tiered planter at the farmers market and now we have our own salad garden on Way Happy!  So far the plants seem very happy and the design of the planter takes up very little space, so we are happy with it too.

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!


We be Pirates?!?

We have probably mentioned the local pirate ship on our blog before:  The Black Raven is a prominent feature of the St. Augustine harbor.  It is a “replica” pirate ship that does live theatrical pirate shows on board the ship.  It was one of the first things we saw the first time we came to St. Augustine and one of the things we first loved about this city.  Ever since we first saw this charming pirate ship, we have fantasized about working on it.  Over the last few months, we’ve been getting to know a few of the pirate crew, and asking about working on the ship.  Up until now, they haven’t had any openings, so we’ve been waiting patiently for the busier springtime season to arrive when they would need more people.

Our day has come!  Cap’t K has been asked to join the pirate team as a driver/captain for the secondary ship, called the Queen Anne’s Revenge.  He will be responsible for driving the dread pirate Blackbeard over to a battle with the main Black Raven ship, and apparently cannons will be fired back and forth in a mock battle between the two boats until the Queen Anne’s Revenge loses and has to surrender the treasure chest to the Black Raven and all the children aboard.  Quite the job description!

I am going for a full pirate position, and have my big audition for the role TOMORROW.  For the audition, I have to sing a sea shanty, tell a pirate joke, and generally convince them that I am a good addition to the pirate crew.  Of course, I will be wearing my costume I have been putting together for the last few months.  If anyone knows any good pirate jokes, please let me know.  (Dad, I know you must have a few!)

I’m a bit nervous about the audition, so wish me luck!  (If I “break a leg”, I can get a peg leg and be really aunthentic….aarrrrr aaaarrrrr!)

This may be our big break into the world of pirates, so watch out!


A week with a friend

Girls just wanna have funThis past week a good friend of mine from Massachusetts came down to St. Augustine to visit us.  She was one of the wonderful people who hosted us in her home while we were homeless in New England this past summer, and it was fun to invite her into our tiny home and show her a glimpse of our lives here.  She was a great sport about sharing space in such a small dwelling, and dealt with the inconveniences of not having modern plumbing, limited water, no privacy, etc with a great attitude.  I had been a bit stressed beforehand wondering how we would all get along on the boat for a whole week, but it ended up being totally fine.  One night we even had 4 people on the boat, as another good friend of ours was passing through the area and stopped in for a quick overnight visit.  It was the Way Happy Slumber party, and a good time was had by all!

While mWay Happy Alligatorsy friend was here, I got to “play tourist” with her and check out some of the St. Augustine tourist activities that I haven’t done yet.  One of the highlights was the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.  This is a very small zoo that mainly features members of the crocodile family, along with some very cool birds, monkeys, and other creatures.  I never knew alligators were so interesting!  It is reallGharial crocodiley something to see not just a few alligators up close and personal, but to see literally hundreds of them all around you!  And there weren’t just American alligators, there were also exotic crocodiles like this one, my favorite, who is from India.


One day we went to an amazing “circus sideshow” act that was held at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum.  It featured 3 “freaks the likes of which we’ve never seen before”, who could do things such as swallow swords, lie on  bed of nails, eat crushed glass, and shove power drills up his nose.  I have seen a lot of crazy things before,  and done lots of them myself, but this show topped the list of unbelievable feats.  My friend and I were so horrified and shocked at some of the tricks that apparently we were putting on a show of our own and the expressions on ouZamora the Torture Kingr faces were caught by a local newspaper photographer who put the photo on the front page of the Sunday St. Augustine newspaper!







Her and I also got to do girly stuff, and enjoyed talking and hanging out in sidewalk cafes like this one, just down the street from the restaurant where I work.


We spent two days on nearby Amelia Island, hanging out on the beach and where we had the pleasure of visiting Little Talbot Island State Park.  One of the features of this park is an area where many live oaks have fallen down onto the beach and now are amazing displays of driftwood.  Some of the most spectacular driftwood “sculptures” I have ever seen lined this beach for over a mile.  I highly recommend checking this place out if you are in the area.

Cap’t K was busy all week working, and kept out of our way as much as possible.  He has had about 5 “hooks” in the water looking for jobs, and some of them are starting to bite.  He quit his temp job this week and is starting some other projects now that we will report on soon.  They all involve boats, which is a vast improvement over the flourescent lit cubicle!

Surviving the cold

While this has overall, by northern Florida standards, been a relatively mild winter, we have had a few cold spells that have made us feel like we are still up in New England.  Like the past few days.  It got down BELOW FREEZING for about two brutal days.  On the water, and in the wind, of course, it feels even colder.  Our main goal in life for the past few days was to stay warm.  Thank goodness we have a little heater on board.  Actually, we have two, and we put them both to good use.  Way Happy came with a Cole Stove, which is a very wee wood or coal burning stove mounted on the wall in the main cabin.  There is a small stovepipe that goes out the roof. The stove is a bit high maintenance to operate, and in high winds it doesn’t work well due to the draft coming down the stove pipe, but all in all, we are happy to have the option of having the magical warmth of fire on our boat.  For fuel, we have been using a combination of charcoal briquets and fire starter logs that you can buy at the store.  We also have a small portable propane heater, that we have also been using, especially first thing in the morning when we are getting dressed!

And thank God for our awesome down comforter, which has kept us surprisingly toasty at night!

And all of our mega winter gear that we brought down here “just in case” has been put to good use the last few days.  I was about ready to get rid of a bunch of it, thinking “we are in Florida now, we don’t need this stuff”, and was scolding Cap’t K for keeping around massive ski gloves and neoprene face masks.  But he sure was glad to have them going to work on the scooter yesterday!

For an early Valentine’s Day we splurged and went out for a nice meal at my new favorite restaurant:  Le Bistro de Leon, an awesome French restaurant here in the historical district of St. Augustine.  It was such a memorable and delicious meal….I am still happily tasting it two days later!  If any of you come visit us in the near future, plan on going there with us, as I’m looking for excuses to go back there again!

And we do indeed have visitors on the way!  One of my best friends from Massachusetts is coming on Thursday to spend a whole week with us aboard Way Happy.  I’m very excited to have a friend come visit, and am planning outings for us that I’m sure you will all get to hear about.

So until then, we wish you all a Way Happy Valentine’s Day!!