02 May 2016

April In Numbers & Links To Cool Sailing Blogs

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: (1) Good wildlife at the marina. I'm kitty sitting Georgie the Adventure Cat while her humans are away; (2) Bad wildlife at the marina. It was a fine alligator who minded its own business until someone decided feeding it would be a good idea. That bad human turned this alligator into a nuisance pest and he had to be removed; (3) The insides of my computer. Hard to believe all of that junk in there lets you surf the internet and buy things on eBay; and (4) A picture one of the girls at the school I volunteer at gave me. Aww.

Although, it’s been all Nancy Drew on the blog during April, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t other stuff going on. It was an action packed month! Okay, well not exactly action packed, but some action happened. It was an action happening kind of month! If by action happening, one means that a few things got done at the sort of leisurely pace that a three toed sloth would find acceptable, then it was full-on.

So, what exactly did happen? Let’s find out, by the numbers.

  • 26 – The number of blog posts I published as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I actually wrote most of them during March, so I can’t exactly take credit for it during April, but it took a sloth-like amount of effort to make sure they got published each day, so I’m counting it. If you missed the whole Nancy Drew Investigates series and want to find out if Nancy cracked the “Case of the Missing Anchor,” just hop on over to this page where you can find a list of all of the posts and a recap.
  • 150  – The approximate weight in pounds of Gus the Alligator, who was trapped at my marina in southern Florida, along with his buddy, Fred. You can read more about it on Friday.
  • 6 – The number of months ago when I last replaced the joker valve in our marine toilet. I had to replace it again during April. It’s a gross and stinky job. I thought these things were supposed to last for a year, if not two. Six months was disappointing. Did I mention that it’s a stinky job? Ick. You can read more about my first attempt in changing joker valves and the importance of turkey basters here.
  • 26 – Number of hours I spent studying up on diesel engines. Can you believe it? Okay, I may have made that number up, but it seems like I’ve spent a lot time thinking about diesel engines. Me, of all people, reading engine manuals and books on diesel engine repair. Messing about with engines is a lot less gross and smelly than fixing marine toilets.
  • 13.3 – The draft version of my murder mystery that I’m working on. I’ve metaphorically ripped up a dozen drafts already (deleting documents on a computer isn’t nearly as satisfying as ripping up paper), but I think I’m finally gotten this heading in the direction I want it. Yes, it’s set on a sailboat and, of course, there are UFOs, cats and chocolate involved. Would you expect anything less.
  • 2 – The number of Moody 346 owners that I met during April. It’s so much fun meeting people who have the same boat as you do. This is the third set of Moody 346 owners that have come to visit me in Florida. How cool is that! I’ll tell you more about meeting Karen and John and the Moody Owners Association later this month.
  • 2 – The number of bloggy pals I finally got to meet in real life! Jaye and her husband, Dan, from Life Afloat, came for a visit to Indiantown Marina. I’ve known Jaye virtually for a couple of years now and it was so much fun to meet her in person. She’s just as adorable as I thought she would be and she brought me an exciting present from Aruba. You’ll have to wait to find out more about the present. It will be worth the wait, I promise. (I’m just full of teasers about what’s coming up on the blog this month, aren’t I? It’s like going to see a movie and watching all of the previews, which turn out to be more exciting than the real thing.)
  • 2 - But, wait, there's more bloggy pals! Lucy, and her husband, Matt, from The Larks of Independence, popped by for a visit on there way to Georgia, via Orlando. I got to know Lucy recently through the A to Z Challenge and it was fun to get to know her in real life too. They live on their boat not too far from here and they plan on going to the Bahamas next season, so I know we'll get a chance to meet up again. Yay!
  • 11 - The number of mud daubers I've seen inside my boat. I think there's a nest somewhere inside the hull in a very hard to reach place (hard to reach if you're a normal sized human, not hard to reach if you're a mud dauber) and now it's hatching season. Every day, one or two of them awakens, like something from that Invasion of the Body Snatchers, crawls out from inside the hull into the main part of the boat where humans live and flies around madly wondering how they ended up here. I run up and open the hatch and encourage them to leave. Eventually they do. It's creepy.
  • 2 - Number of times I took my computer apart to give it a stern talking to. It kept turning itself off after a few minutes (a problem we had about a year ago). I took everything apart, looked around carefully, fixed absolutely nothing, put it back together and it started working again. Until...the keyboard stopped working. Some of the keys worked, but none of the really useful ones, like vowels. I took it apart again, monkeyed around with a cable, put it back together and restored all my consonants and vowels. The CTRL key doesn't work, but I can work around that.
  • 3 – Number of things I won during a giveaway as part of the A to Z Challenge, thanks to Michelle over at Writer in Transit. I was the lucky winner of Alex J Cavanaugh’s book, CassaStar. It was right up my alley – spaceships, aliens and telepathy. Plus, it made me teary-eyed in parts. Always a sign of a good book. I also won a copy of The Partners’ Progeny, a short story by Shelly Arkon, and Writing in a Nutshell by Jessica Bell. I haven’t had a chance to read either of these yet, but I’m looking forward to it. 

Hopefully, your April was full of chocolate chip cookies and bacon cheeseburgers (if you like that sort of thing), meeting up with old and new friends, and working engines. And, here’s hoping your May is full of more of the same.


Normally, at the end of my “By the Number” posts, I list a few of our blog posts from the previous month that you may have missed. But, since I did “Nancy Drew Investigates” during April, I thought I would flag up my favorite posts from each of the sailing blogs who participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge last month instead.

I read a gazillion other blogs during the challenge, which I loved, but it would be impossible to list all of them (and my inner sloth would revolt at all of that work), so, instead I’m just focusing on just sailing blogs (can you believe it there were seven of us, that I know of, participating!). Check them out – they’re fascinating, even if you aren’t a sailor. Probably even more so, if you’re not a sailor, because it’s kind of a weird way of living.

Larks of Independence

Lucy’s goal during the challenge was to provide tasty boat tidbits, washed down with a shot of snarky British slang. Not only can you read about what it’s like to live on a boat, you can also learn all sorts of great words and phrases like palaver, mind the gap and collywobbles. Lucy’s blog posts brought me right back to my days living in Scotland and New Zealand. My favorite one has to be Knickers in a Twist, because, honestly, that phrase cracks me up.

Life Afloat

Dan and Jaye have been living on board their boat for 14 years. My favorite post during the challenge was FAQs, Flat Surface Syndrome & Favorite Things about Living Afloat. If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to live on a boat, you can find the answers there. Even if you’re not a boat person, you’ll want to check it out just to find out what “flat surface syndrome” is all about.

Little Cunning Plan

Melissa is a practicing psychotherapist who did an amazing series of posts on anxiety, illustrating each topic with stories from her cruising and sailing experiences. I like how she aimed to “normalize” anxiety, as well as offered tips and tricks on how to deal with one’s anxious brain. My favorite post during the challenge was R is for Reality Checks & Relationships, which talks about the effect of anxiety on one’s partner and vice versa. Melissa did a great job injecting her trademark humor into a serious subject matter and making it digestible and fun to read.

Roaming About

While not strictly a sailing blog, Liesbet lived aboard a boat with her husband for eight years, cruising down the East Coast, around the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and over to the Pacific Islands. Her A to Z series focused on life as a nomad, drawing on many of her sailing and cruising experiences in her posts. My favorite post during the challenge was H is for Health, where she talks about the links between good health and living a nomadic life. Liesbet experienced this firsthand when her husband was diagnosed with breast cancer at a relatively young age (yes, it can happen to men). In H is for Health, you can find a link to an earlier blog post about how this changed their cruising plans, which is well worth a read.

SV Cambria

Stephanie and David have been living on board their boat for 15 years, first in New Zealand and now in the Pacific Northwest. Another long term liveaboard couple! Stephanie and I made a boggy connection due to our love of New Zealand and she’s another one of those bloggers (like Jaye and Melissa), who I’ve known online for a few year. My favorite post during the challenge was B is for Boat. Stephanie takes you on a virtual tour of their Westerly Ocean 43 sailboat. I’ll confess it – I’m nosy and like to snoop around other people’s houses, so it was fun to see their gorgeous boat.

Til the Butter Melts

Keith and Nikki are planning to sail their boat down from Maine to Florida later this year, store it at Indiantown Marina during hurricane season and then make their way south, to where the butter melts. My favorite post during the challenge was Learning Styles, where Keith talks about some of the differences between how men and women learn (generally speaking) and how this relates to sailing with his wife.


  1. Looks like you made some new blogging friends during the A to Z Challenge. Excellent.

    You take your computer apart to give it a good talking to? I LOL.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. Definitely one of the best parts of the challenge is discovering new bloggers :-)

  2. I need to look into this A to Z challenge. I need a good swift kick in my blogging butt!

    Can't wait for the book!

    PS. your site never lets me comment from mobile.

    1. You definitely should do it next year!

      Regarding the comments, I wonder if Stephanie is onto something with her comment about iPhone and browsers?

  3. Hey, I thought everyone was taking a break! You are kicking my blogging ass again. fine. I'll just eat your dust and be happy about it. When I get over being tired from blogging, I'm going to update my list of blogs i follow, which I have neglected to update for like two years. Terrible. Those details just fly under my radar all the time. On the other hand, we had a brilliant afternoon of sailing yesterday, played with new toys, and had no-drama docking! Doing a happy dance about that. Thanks much for the shout out and I'm betting the mystery you are working on will be pre-sold like crazy. I am jealous you got to meet so many bloggy friends in person. I missed meeting Stephanie by not asking sooner where they were moored for the season! Turns out they were maybe an hour from us by car! My bad. Maybe when they get back.

    1. I saw the pictures of your sail - it looked like an amazing day, made even better by the docking. Did you ditch Amy and tell her she couldn't come with.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out, Ellen. It was a great month and I'm really glad I took part in the challenge, especially with so many other sailing bloggers. It actually got me excited about blogging again and I'm already looking forward to next year (okay, not really, but I am going to do it again).

    Oh, and I think the problem with filling in comments isn't unique to Blogger but an issue with Safari on iPhones and iPads. To comment, you might have to enter the site through a different ISP.

    Cheers, Stephanie

    1. Hopefully we'll be out cruising next April, so I'll need to figure out a way to pull the challenge off next year. Glad you're up for doing it next year.

  5. Thanks for the Shoutout, Ellen! And for being a continual source of entertainment! MUd daubers... Who would have thought!
    The A to Z was a fun experience, sure, but I won't promise for next year. If cruising goes as planned, next April will find us putting Sionna to bed for the summer right there in Indiantown Marina, and that would make any kind of regular blogging pretty much impossible. We'll see how things go.

    1. I didn't see any mud daubers yesterday so I'm hoping they're all hatched.

      We'll have to figure out a way for you to do the challenge again next year ;-)

  6. Wow, thank you so much for the shout out! We can't wait to see you in the Bahamas. My iPhone has shut down 9 times in the last 5 days (with over 90% battery life each time). Maybe I just need to take it apart, glare at it, and put it back together! What larks! - Lucy

    1. It probably does just need a good talking to and a lot of glares.

  7. Sounds like your April was a wild one.

    My old laptop shut itself down like that. Could it be that its vents are clogged (and it's overheating?) That's what caused mine to turn off.

    1. That was one of my thoughts, but nothing was clogged up. I had read that the start buttons on laptop can bite the dust. It might have been that.

  8. Wow, now that's one long blog, but you were covering an entire month. I have to admit I'm a land lover but I do enjoy learning about your way of life. I'll check out your list of other sailors!
    I'm also very happy to announce that you won another book via the A to Z Challenge, from the Parallels blog, Parallels: Felix Was Here. The IWSG Anthology. It's sci-fi, hope you'll enjoy it. Just send me an email with your preferred version, Kindle or Epub and I'll send it out. yolandarenee@hotmail.com

    1. How exciting! I'm a big sci-fi fan so looking forward to reading it. I'll drop you email. Thanks!

  9. Wow. I didn't realize that many people spent that much time on their boats! We survived A to Z. That was a LOT of work!

    1. Sometimes, I'm not sure what's more work - the A to Z challenge or owning a boat :-)

  10. I am so glad you got to meet two of our blogging pals already! Thanks for the shout-out and summarizing the other amazing sailing blogs, most of which I found during this challenge and hope to keep up with (reading-wise, blogging wise, I am currently failing! :-)).

    I am really enjoying your blogs, Ellen! Keep up the good and entertaining work!

    1. I actually also met Keith and Nikki a couple of months ago. That makes all of the East Coast A to Z folks met, except you. We'll have to do something about that :-)


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