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Month: December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the crew of S/V Mary Christine!!

When your iPhone goes overboard… Waterproof. Mudproof. LIFEPROOF.

So… we live on a boat. And we have iPhones. It was only a matter of time before we got one of them REALLY wet.

A lot of people get protective cases for their phones, tablets, ipads and other electronics to protect them from scratches and from shattering if dropped on the concrete. Earlier in the year, while planning for our epic adventures, our friends Josh and Leah suggested we invest in the LifeProof iPhone cases. They had just purchased two of them before their travels to Costa Rica to keep their iPhones waterproof while playing on the beautiful beaches. I was a little skeptical on how necessary it was to have a waterproof case since they retail for something like $80!! I mean, do you really need to have your phone with you when you’re at the beach? How often are we really in the water?

It had never occurred to me that I could just buy a rugged case and then be able to take pictures and video no matter where we go!! If we had waterproof cases we wouldn’t have to worry about sand getting in the buttons or worry about salt water ruining the screen. Even dropping it on the rocks wouldn’t bust the phone. We decided it would be a pretty important investment if we wanted to be able to have the iPhone camera and GPS apps handy no matter what kind of crazy places we might end up in.

Two LifeProof cases arrived soon after that :) The volume quality is slightly diminished when on a call but the slight sound sacrifice is SO worth it… even though family members might get tired of telling us they can’t understand what we are saying… (sorry Bean!)

LifeProof claims to be water proof, dirt proof, shock proof and snow proof – even to military specs!! Boy did we get a chance to test out how well it keeps out water! Last night Peter was stepping up from the dock onto the boat and as he ducked into the cockpit he heard something hit the deck and plop into the water. His hands went straight to his pocket and, sure enough, his phone was GONE. Just as fast as the phone must have sunk to the bottom of the marina, so did Peter’s stomach. It’s such a sickening feeling when you know something really bad just happened.

It didn’t just fall in the water… it fell in the really icky brown salt water with 6″ visibility. Our slip is at least 11′ deep according to our sonar transducer on the boat and the bottom is a foot thick with mud. Our neighbor Cyndy reminded us that the reason it’s so stinky is probably because there’s more manatee poop on the bottom than there is mud!! There’s a LOT of manatees here and its a frequent occurence to see a big fat turd going out with the tide after floating up from underneath a manatee. We’re not kidding folks, it’s not from the boaters either.

Determined to find a way to save the phone we had to do some quick thinking. What do we do? Grab our two boat hooks, the net and some duct tape of course!! It was 11:00 at night, dark and the clock was ticking to figure out how to find it before it was sucked into the mud. We knew he had the LifeProof case on, but we weren’t totally sure if he closed the latch on the bottom where you plug in the power cord. If it was closed, there was hope for his phone yet! If not, it was toast. Mark is the local diver that cleans the bottoms of most of the boats here in the marina and Peter and I both knew he would say, “It’s GONE man!” Not even Mark would dive for it in this mud.


I scrambled to grab the camera while Peter started making a couple sweeps with the jury rigged net. I just knew this was going to be our next blog post, hehehe :)


With just a foot between the boat and the dock there was at least a focused area for Peter to search. It just had to be down there somewhere. He saw where it went in but we weren’t sure if it went straight down, or if it had bounced out a little from the boat underneath the dock.


We were actually lucky that all that manatee poo and mud was down there or else the net might have just pushed the phone around on a hard bottom surface. The mud allowed Peter to stab the net down a few inches into the mud and then pull it sideways a couple of inches. He would lift the net up and over one inch, then stab it back down to sift through some more. It was so thick that he couldn’t just drag it all the way across the bottom.


After a few minutes of this he was ready to give up. He was thinking of how much of a pain it was going to be to file an insurance claim with the cell company and get a replacement. He would have to pay a $200 deductible for the replacement, then go through the hassle of reinstating the last backup he did. Who knows how long ago that was :S Of course, all of his photos and personal settings would be gone. Not the end of the world, but for our generation its heart wrenching when something happens to your smartphone!!

I just KNEW he was going to get it eventually. I begged, “Keep looking! Keep looking! Just a little longer…” Peter was doubtful, but took another “stab” at it. As the net came up to the surface it was a little heavier than before.


Can you believe it???? With NO visibility, we got it!!!!!!! But HOLY CRAP that was some stinky mud that came up with it. It smelled like a port-a-potty! Yuk!!


Now for the test. He pressed the home button… and it was still on!!!!!!!!!


I tried to get a shot of just how long our contraption was but it was as long as the whole finger pier of the dock. By this time I was over the photos and just snagged a quick shot on my iPhone but it was still hard to see.


LifeProof only guarantees their cases for water immersion up to 2 meters for 1 hour. That’s about 6.5 feet. Peter’s phone was at 11 feet for about 20 minutes and it passed the test with flying colors. There was just a TINY bit of water on one edge of the phone when we opened the case but not enough to make any impact at all. The case got a thorough bath and we placed the case and the phone near our AirDryer 1000 dehumidifier for about an hour to make sure they got totally dry.

If our LifeProof cases can withstand the saltwater and mud at 11′ deep then it should do just fine for taking underwater pics of all the sea life when we get to that crystal clear water in the Bahamas ;) I’m feeling a little more confident now in just how “lifeproof” our cases are and can’t wait to test it out again in a more desirable setting :)


Peter is one lucky guy ;)


Dreaming of Davits


There are few things our boat didn’t come equipped with, and davits was one of them. A lot of boats have really nice custom stainless steel davit systems off the stern to hold their dinghies out of the water. Not a big deal though, this just means we get to hoist the dinghy up onto the bow when we want to take it out of the water. To us, its a luxury we don’t need right now. It would cost a pretty penny to fabricate a custom davit system for the Mary Christine.

Of course we had to do a couple exploratory fishing trips when we first bought our new vehicle, but then we had to get it out of the salt water ASAP. Even just a few days floating around in this marina was enough for sea life to start growing on the bottom. The algae was super slimy and there were tiny little barnacles starting to grow.

First we had to rig up a makeshift 3-point bridle to provide a little extra support instead of just using a single D-ring for the lifting. Next, we hooked up our main halyard to the D-ring hooks and started to winch the dinghy up out of the water along the side of the boat. The dinghy is roughly 110lbs (with the aluminum floor boards in) so having that winch makes it way easier to raise it up.


A little soap, water and couple of deck brushes took off a majority of the slime.




Up Up and Away! Peter got the dinghy up and over the lifelines while I helped guide it into position on the foredeck. That thing looks frickin HUGE when its up in the air!!

We found an old tannish brown sail cover at the used marine trading store and it just so happened to be long enough and wide enough when opened up all the way to cover our massive 12′ tender. It may not look pretty and some of the edges are a little torn but it’ll do the job!! It was only $20 and it will help protect the PVC from the wicked UV rays that we’re going to be in for a long time. Without some sort of protection, the PVC just doesn’t last very long at all, so we’ve been told. For now, our camo tie down straps will be holding it down. We’ve taken her out in 20knot winds this past weekend and didn’t have a problem at all with the cover coming loose. It’ll work until it doesn’t work anymore ;)


(Did anyone notice we’re getting closer to the waterline? :) After we fill up the fuel tanks and get all the provisioning before setting sail to the Bahamas we should be sitting right at the dark green stripe!)

Day Sail with New Friends


We met Kristin and Kevin here at the marina. I was out walking the dogs and Kristin stopped me to see Gunner. They have a Weimaraner as well and its always such a treat to see other weims when you’re out and about. They’re not very common so many people are fascinated with them and want to know what breed they are. Pronounced “wym-er-on-er” these dogs are one of a kind. They have a very distinctive personality and many of them have the same mannerisms. It takes a certain kind of person to appreciate their quirky ways ;) If you’ve ever been around one, you’ll surely understand. Gunner has grown to be very crotchety in his older years but we still love him just as much – he’ll be 13 this March!

After initially meeting Kristin, she brought Kevin by the boat to say hello a few days later. They have a Y Flyer they keep here in Florida and Kevin has been sailing most of his life. We had no idea what a Y Flyer was, but the Y Flyer is an 18 foot (5.5m) sloop rigged racing dinghy designed to be sailed by 2 people. Sounds like a blast and something Peter and I probably should have started out with! Instead, we took the “sink or swim” route and bought a 42′ liveaboard sailboat with no sailing experience :S 

We thought it would be great to get the dogs together for a play date. Sadie is Kristin and Kevin’s female weim, not quite as old as Gunner but she is in her senior years. We had a wonderful evening a few nights ago over at their house for dinner and all three dogs got along great! We weren’t so sure how Gunner would do at first, but I swear he knows his own kind… it didn’t take him long at all to warm up to Sadie and make himself at home. Betsy got totally WILD and was SOO excited to play with another puppy friend inside a real house! Its been an adjustment for the dogs living on the boat and they sure appreciate a carpeted house when they get to visit one. They rolled around and played with toys all evening.


Saturday was another beautiful day out in Charlotte Harbor so we jumped at the opportunity to go sailing again! Our new friends were available and excited to come out with us and we’re so glad they did. It’s really fun to be able to take others out sailing with us and share the joy of being out on the water. Kevin taught us a few things about sailing a Ketch – his dad built one!! Now that we own a boat we can appreciate all the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into building a boat. It’s mind blowing when you realize all the little things that are done both during construction and later as upgrades.






We were  a little more relaxed and yet again more confident as we sailed across the harbor. Winds were up to 15-20 this time out but that didn’t scare us!! We were really FLYING at 7 knots!!! Wow that was a great feeling. We practiced reefing the mizzen and genoa, tacking back and forth, and adjusting the running backstays. We had plenty of speed with just the two sails up, we didn’t even bother with the main sail again today. It was just magical with the wind in our hair, sun on our faces, cutting the engine, and just listening to the sound of the waves and the wind sweeping us over the water.

On the way back we kept the sails reefed and had some lunch. I stopped to grab some sandwiches from The Trading Post before we left the dock. There were quite a few other boats out enjoying the weather and we were so thankful we were out there too! This was our third time out after purchasing the boat and there was one final challenge of the day. Docking has been a knot in my stomach every time, and we knew this day was a little gustier than it has been in the past. Coming into the marina through the channel was even a bit nerve wracking as we were getting tossed all over the place by the currents. We’ve got a 5′ draft and the channel is dredged out with a good 8-10′ clearance but you’ve got to really pay attention and make sure to stay inside the markers. We’ve been told “you haven’t been sailing in Charlotte Harbor unless you’ve run aground” – yikes! Hopefully we can avoid that!

The Captain did a FANTASTIC job docking, better and better every time. It took a few tries but Peter backed her stern-in again without any damage for us or the dock :) It definitely helps to have a few more available hands for grabbing a line but hopefully Peter and I will be able to get through it by ourselves next time. Cross your fingers!!









Second Sail Aboard SV Mary Christine

Another gorgeous day out on Charlotte Harbor!! We were absolutely thrilled when Jan and David (commutercruiser.com) wanted to go sailing with us again. The forecast looked promising and we decided to head out on Friday around noon. The sun was warm and we had 10-15 knot winds all afternoon. We were going 6 knots without even putting up the main sail!



Gunner loves when we are motoring through the channel out of the marina. He gets so many good smells and just loves to be out in the sunshine.


We also got a chance to play around with our newest toy. Santa came early and brought me a new Nikon D3200 DSLR!! I have a lot to learn!


Betsy kept a close watch on the flock of white pelicans on the sand bar as we came out of the marina. She is quite confident of herself when cruising around on deck. We still haven’t put up the lifeline netting yet but having the new harnesses on the dogs was so reassuring this time while we were under way. Having the second hip lift handle is amazing when the dogs were almost out of reach, but we can still grab onto their little butts and keep them from going any further in the wrong direction. A new post about the harnesses is coming soon, but we are just beside ourselves with excitement over how awesome they are in so many different applications. Check out our Products & Services page for a preview on where to find them!



Betsy loves having friends aboard when we are sailing! There’s always a lap for her to sit in.

All in all, it was another magical day on the water, ever reminding us how lucky we are to be starting this amazing journey. Every time we take the boat out our confidence and experience both increase exponentially and our smiles grow even bigger :) We believe everything happens for a reason and it all just keeps falling into place. We keep meeting amazing friends and hearing the most inspiring stories. Although it might be hard for some of you to grasp, selling everything to move aboard a sailboat and cruise the world feels like exactly what our little family was supposed to do!!