Nov 30, 2010

Spear Fishing in the Bahamas

Being from Michigan, I was raised around hunting and fishing, but I never really took to it. Fishing is too boring. You just sit around hoping the fish will start to bite.

Deer hunting is about the same, except that if you do shoot a deer, you are pretty much done hunting considering the rest of your day is going to be spent cleaning the deer and dragging it back to your camp or where ever.

Aug 1, 2010

How to turn your laptop into a Chartplotter



Chartplotters are so COOL!!

Especially the satellite radio enabled units that have weather and radar!

One of these babies will quickly make you one of the coolest people on the VHF. Call out the weather every evening, and you will be loved.

Why didn't I buy one of these?!?!

Oh yeah! because they are ... a little pricy ...

Cooking on a cruising sailboat

When it comes to cooking on a sailboat, a propane stove-top and oven is the popular way to go. It is also probably the best thing to cook with. Propane burns pretty hot.

Here are the major drawbacks:

Jul 13, 2010

Don't we all wish we had LongerDays?

Man how the time flies. It's been over a year since we stepped off our boat and walked away from our vagabond lifestyle. I can tell you that re-integrating into "normal" life is just as hard as was stepping out of it.

About 6 months after returning home I was thinking "oh no - this was a huge mistake" but I've adjusted. I started a company called LongerDays.com and it's taken a HUGE amount of effort.

Mar 16, 2010

A website

Sailors, if you are buying online, check out this website:


We met the couple who run the site: really cool people - really good sailors.

They sparked the chain of events that led to LeeAnn and I getting married... and Ken taught me how to surf!


Mar 2, 2010

The truth about living on a Sailboat

The truth about living on a Sailboat

Including our sail to Canada in 2005, LeeAnn and I have lived aboard a boat together for over two years. Not so long really. But long enough to answer some simple questions about our lifestyle that we are commonly asked:


1. It's an awfully small space... Don't the two of you get sick of each other?

Sometimes we get mad at each other. But living and traveling on the boat puts us in a constant state of challenge. It's very hard to get things done when we are mad at each other, so we are normally forced to make up quickly.
For example:
We get mad at each other and go to bed. A storm comes up in the night and the anchor starts dragging. It's very scary, loud, and annoying to have to get out of bed and go stand in a thunderstorm, wet and cold, in the middle of the night. But it has to be done, and we do it as a team. Our anger becomes secondary to our goal.
It's easy to say living under such conditions has improved our relationship greatly. It's a great pre-marriage test that I would recommend to anyone.


2. How do you take Showers?
We don’t have a shower on our boat.

Three ways to get showers at a marina:
1. Fill up your gas tank and they let you take a shower.
2. Pay for a day dock and take a shower.
3. Somehow acquire the bathroom key code and sneak a shower after the marina staff leave for the night.


Three ways to get showers at a marina:
1. Fill up your gas tank and they let you take a shower.
2. Pay to take a shower.
3. somehow you acquire the combination and you sneak a shower.

Other ways to shower:
1. If the water is clean (like the Northern Great Lakes) you can take showers in the lake
2. If you are somewhere private you can take a shower on deck with a solar shower.
3. The worst option is to take a sponge bath inside the boat. Wash hair in the sink.

3. How do you cook?

We have a toaster oven that runs on electricity, and we have an Origo two burner stove top that burns denatured alcohol. We love to eat, and cook very good food.

Most people have a propane oven. These are very expensive, and you have to find a place to put the propane. Not to mention you have to eventually find a place to fill the propane.

We chose the electric oven because we charge our batteries with a generator. So our evening routine is to run the generator for about 2 -3 hours during which time we cook dinner, charge the batteries, and watch a movie.

This setup works great. although if we could have afforded it we would have probably gone with solar panels, wind generator, and a propane oven.

4. Do you get seasick?

LeeAnn does not get seasick. I do. I find that having a full stomach helps. I eat a lot of saltine crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips. Etc. High carb things seem to help.

I also am starting to think that my queasiness is stress related. I don’t see myself as a “worrier” so, when I am worried I don’t admit it. The worries build up, and I start to get queasy. It helps to sit down and take a deep breath.

5. Are you rich?

As in money? Unfortunately no.


6. How can you afford to do this?
We get this question a lot. Budget, budget, budget is our mantra.

We bought a cheap boat and fixed it up, opposed to buying a new one.

We NEVER take docks. There is ALWAYS somewhere you can anchor for free.

When traveling we never eat out. And generally we don't drink either.

Also keep in mind, we have no car or house payments, or any of the standard bills, such as: cable, internet, or anything like that.
7. So how much does "it" cost?

In 2005 we didn't think about "budgeting" at all and we spent $3,000 in three months… We spent the most in the first few weeks on nice docks and going out to eat.. Then scrapped by for the rest of the summer on hardly anything. We sailed from Canada to home on 500 dollars...

In 2007/08 our budget was $120 a week. $60 on food, $60 on Gas.
Some weeks we went way over, and some were way under. Generally it evens out.

For 2009 we plan on spending $140 a week. $70 on food. $100 on gas. Damn inflation.

None of these figures reflect repairs to the boat.
When all is said and done, we will spend $1,000 a month total. Something always breaks on the boat. Or we spend a few extra days in an expensive area (like New York) where we splurge.



8. What do you do on the boat?

We have a flatscreen and a DVD player to watch movies. We both like to read, and we have three shelves and a drawer full of books. We enjoy cooking very much. Lunch and dinner are highlights of the day. we sight-see. Watch sunsets and sunrises. Fix the boat, and worry about the engine. Relax, pay guitar, listen to music. Sleep.

9. How do you do laundry / get groceries?
We use cruising guides ("Skipper Bob" is a great, inexpensive resource) to find out which anchorages have grocery stores or laundromats within walking distance. Generally we keep our walks under 1 mile.


10. How far from land do you normally go?Generally not very far.

We are "coastal cruisers." However I have sailed across the Atlantic Ocean

Our goal for 07/08 was to see the east coast. We would never see it if we were sailing off out of site of land.

We made many multi-day passages in 2009



12. Why doesn't LeeAnn ever give write in the blog?
She has tried it a few times. But doesn't enjoy it.



Other Posts about living on a sailboat that you might be interested in:

Sailing Books - A ciriculum to sail away

What is the food like?


How To Go Cruising Now (a step by step guide)

How To Make Money While Cruising



Feb 28, 2010

Boat Food!

As a cruising sailor... your eating habits change a little...

Some people are lucky, and have huge freezers to stock up with tasty treats, like ground beef... and steak... Yummm!!

If you aren't one of the lucky ones... don't fret! You have lots of options:
Chicken Ramen Noodles,
Beef Ramen Noodles,
Shimp Ramen Noodles,
Oriental Ramen Noodles,
Chocolate covered Ramen Noodles!

Just kidding, there are more things to eat than that… There is also Spam!

Seriously. Fried spam is delicious. It's like … bacon, but more mysterious!

We’ve tried different kinds of powdered milk, and some boxed milk that will last for months with out refrigeration. LeeAnn said it was better than powered milk by far. But by the time she had tried it, she had already gotten used to not having milk and decided to use the extra money for the occasional treat of ice cream!

You can do a lot with canned chicken. For example, chicken Alfredo is good. Just use a McCormick package for the sauce, canned chicken, maybe some canned mushrooms, and a fair amount of garlic salt. This is a great meal to make in a big batch when there is bad weather. The rain adds to the flavor :)

Another canned chicken dish: Put the chicken in a bowl, adding a little mayo and some curry powder. Toss it on a tortilla shell and you are done! MMMM mmm!

A tip for condiments if you don’t have a lot of fridge space. Go to SAM'S Club, and pick up a box of each condiment in the little restaurant package style. Like the kind of ketchup you would get from the drive through at McDonalds. If you have a big boat with plenty of fridge space, this wont matter to you.

Here is my big finale for this post, my FAVORITE boat recipe... one I couldn't live with out.... PIZZA!!

What you will need:

Tortilla shells.
Pizza sauce

Mozzarella Cheese (buy it in blocks, it will last longer.)

Pepperoni

So, make a pizza on the tortilla shell, then put a little bit of oil in a pan, and toss the Tortilla shell pizza in the pan. Spin it around a few times so the oil coats the whole bottom.

So, make a pizza!


then put a little bit of oil in a pan, and toss the Tortilla shell pizza in the pan. Spin it around a few times so the oil coats the whole bottom.


Put a lid on a frying pan, and when the cheese melts... it's ready!

Fried Pizza = delicious

Feb 24, 2010

Winter Time

This time last year we were in a very different climate!

Here are some pictures of our house, and the snow fall we got last night. No schools are closed or anything. Just another day in Michigan!



Our house! The smallest one on the block!


I really like the area where we live. Lakeshore Drive is a very "small town" where as the rest of Muskegon is pretty much chain store "anywhere America". We have the park behind us and the creek, and Lake Michigan is just around the corner. It will be very easy to run out for a quick surf on the lake this summer. When we get our next boat, we have a large marina right up the road!


Outside of the place where I work:


LeeAnn shoveling snow while I play with the camera... Heh heh heh.


Michigan's finest. Keeping those roads safe!


Jan 29, 2010

Somewhere that is not here

Reading last night I came across this little bit and thought I would put it out into the world wide web for those who might relate to it:


Did his heart not falter as he realized--that this great and splendid place had been in its being all the years of his life and far longer, and he had been ignorant of it? This place full of wonders beyond his understanding, was in need of nothing from him, and his arrival was a matter of no importance whatsoever.

So has felt many the traveler in foreign parts who does not know what might be found...Cut down to size by a strange and marvelous place where no one even stops to notice that you stare about in awe.

Jan 16, 2010

How To Go Cruising Now (a step by step guide)

Step by Step: From no experience, to crossing an ocean:

Even before you hit step one, I recommend you tell no one! In my experience, most people are terrified to pursue their own dreams. To make themselves feel better they will try to hold as many people back with them as they can


1. Get a book on sailing. I've listed some that I have found useful here.

Time frame for step 1: a weekend or two.

2. Get a small sailboat. 15 feet or less? It's up to you. You just need to get your feet wet. Learn the basics on a boat that doesn't cost a lot. A Sunfish is a very popular, fun boat to sail. Start looking here: Craigslist.com

Time frame for step two: One month.

3. Get a sail boat with a cabin. Twenty five or Thirty feet. The purpose of this boat is to take some longer trips. Learn how to anchor for the night. Learn how to sail all night. Learn what it is like to be on a small boat. Don't let the small size fool you. Many people have sailed around the world on boats less than 30 feet long. For example, The Contessa 26.

Time Frame for Step three: A year or more.

Step three is the last step. Sail the boat as far as you can, as long as you can. You will always want a larger boat, but keep in mind: The boat you have now, is the one you can cruise in now.

Buying a bigger boat means you need to save for it. Which means you cant go cruising in the boat you own now because you are busy working so you can buy the next boat!

For other opinions on this line of thinking, visit this forum: go small, go now.

How To Make Money While Cruising

Update:

Making money online is without a doubt the way to go when it comes to cruising. You can make money virtually anywhere, and often times in a location where the US dollar goes a lot further than the local currency.

I've operated multiple online businesses and worked with over a thousand clients around the country, including startups, corporations, and universities.

If you want help getting setup with an online business, reach out to me through my company: wowie.co






Original Post:

While we "cruised" or "lived aboard" we held numerous jobs. Looking back I don’t feel that the "adventure" was put on hold during these stops.

We met people that we will never forget. I instantly think of my job bar tending at the Crescent Yacht Club in New York. Doreen was the other bar tender at the club, and she will live forever in my memory standing at the back door to the bar, smoking a cigarette yelling in "Chad, poor me a shot of Sambucca!” Doreen had a great sense of humor, but she wouldn't take shit from anybody.

Ford Sellers was like a big brother during the summer we spent in NY. I’m sure he was the only reason I got the job bar tending in the first place. It was great walking home with him after the bar closed (we kept our boat at the dock behind his house). Frodo taught me life lessons like “if you’re been drinking always eat a piece of toast, and drink a big glass of water before you go to bed.”

Sure, there were bad days. But the friends made it worth it. My favorite cure for a bad day was to hang out with Kathy. I could always count on her for a Molson, chips and salsa, and being in a good mood by the time we left her place.

Our next "stop" from cruising was in Charleston, South Carolina. I cannot express how much I miss that city, or the friends we made there. I enjoyed living there so much I was tempted to stay for an additional year.

Because of the connections I made with sailors in Charleston, I landed a job as a paid first mate on a Trans-Atlantic boat delivery. I sailed across the ocean and came back with almost $1,000 dollars in my pocket for doing it. Not to mention the connections I made with the delivery captain, and the sailing business that organized the delivery. I was offered a job as an instructor at Charleston's Ocean Sailing Acadamy. I reluctantly let the opportunity pass me by as I was working at LongerDays.com.