Upgrades for cruises to come and a kick in the teeth.

It’s mid June and Pandora has been back north for about a month.  I can’t believe that it’s been that long but in a way it really seems like another lifetime since Brenda and I cruised much of the coast of Cuba.

I am presenting to a number of groups about our trip and beginning the process of putting my thoughts down about the trip has brought back many great memories.

My first presentation on Cuba will be this coming weekend at a three day meeting that I am putting on in Essex for a group of cruisers affiliated with the Seven Seas Cruising Association.  SSCA is  a group that anyone who cruises or is contemplating doing so should be a member of.  With dues of about $50 a year it’s money well spent. Besides, they work hard on our behalf to help shape legislation for anchoring rights and other important topics for the cruising community which is reason enough to be a member. They also have a very informative monthly newsletter, more of a magazine actually, that alone is worth the price.  Not a member?  Click here to see what you get as a member and sign up.  You’ll be glad that you did.  Me too.

So, when I am not busy preparing for meetings, I am thinking about what to do to make Pandora a better home afloat for me and Brenda.  As Brenda enjoys cooking and is very good at it, I have been hard at work on some modifications to the galley to make it more “cook friendly”, no make that “Brenda friendly”.  One important refinement was to convert one of Pandora’s five hanging lockers, the one in the galley, by putting in shelves to store pots and pans.  After a year we have found that this space just doesn’t get used very much as we have plenty of other places to hang clothing.

So, I added three shelves so that we could more easily store the cooking stuff that we’ve found to be very hard to fit anywhere in the galley.  We had been keeping this stuff under the washing machine (Yes Brenda is very happy that we have one of those aboard Pandora).  Technically, the pots and pans fit there but the racket that I caused getting things in and out was jarring at best and not a great spot to root around in each day.  With a deep slanted floor, and narrow opening, every time we opened it up, pots and pans came spilling out all over the floor with a jarring clatter.

This is the locker (before).  Not much to look at.  Yup, a locker. 6-13-16a 058I was careful to fabricate substantial fiddles on each shelf to keep everything in place.  I also wanted to be sure that the design of the woodwork matched the other fiddles elsewhere exactly.  I was happy with the results.  This is the same space.  I challenge anyone to tell that it wasn’t original to the boat.   Notice the granite insert on the top of the stove/oven.  It was stored in the “old” hanging locker so I had to find another spot to put it when the stove was in use. 6-13-16a 062How about keeping the stove top insert on top of the washer/dryer?   I fabricated a fiddle and attached it with a double sided adhesive foam strip.  I think that it looks good and the insert slips in right behind it.  I also put a short 3/4″ tall strip on the back end of the washer to keep things from sliding outboard when we are on a starboard tack.  Cutting boards will also be stored there, another item that we find hard to store, out of sight.  Problem solved. 6-13-16a 068The addition of shelving to the locker has freed up the area to the right of the stove for other items.    This area used to be filled to overflowing and was a source of constant frustration to Brenda.6-13-16a 063Now things are more thoughtfully stored and easily accessed.  These changes will also make room for a larger food processor that will help Brenda be more efficient in the galley, a good thing to be sure.  Besides, when I am putting away things first thing when Brenda’s still catching her “beauty Zs” I won’t disturb her with pots clanging into an overflowing locker.   Perhaps that’s the big payoff.

I do have concerns about having a food processor on board.  Getting the infernal thing clean without a dishwasher “Come on Bob, no dishwasher on Pandora? What sort of boat do you have?”   Alas, nope!  It’s me, I’m the designated DW. Dish washing isn’t a problem for Brenda because of the “galley rules” aboard Pandora.  The rules are as follows… whoever cooks doesn’t have to do the dishes unless it’s me.

Hmm… that means that I ALWAYS do the dishes, at home too.  Ok by me as I wouldn’t want to do anything that stifles Brenda’s creative work in the galley.  So far, so good.

Galley storage done?  Check.  However there are still many other little and not so little projects on the list that I’ll have to get to.  After this weekend event I will be able to turn my attention to what’s next.

Of course, all of this takes a back seat to this summer’s big job of gutting and remodeling of the master bath, the land home one, which I haven’t begun yet.   And don’t forget the lawn.  Such is life…

On another subject, and not a very happy one at that, Brenda was recently diagnosed with melanoma and had surgery last week.  While they caught it fairly early, it turned out to be a quite a big deal.  Post surgery and that took hours, she has two really angry looking incisions, one on her upper right arm that’s about 6′ long and another one, 4′ long, under her armpit.

The surgery was done at Yale and we’ll be going back next week to find out if there is anything to worry about going forward based on the tests done to the lymph nodes that they took out.  The prognosis is good, according to the oncologist but it’s been a tough few weeks, to say the least.

Of course, melanoma is not something to be messed with and sun exposure is clearly a risk factor, especially tropical sun, which, in spite of our best efforts, we get plenty of each winter.  We try to stay out of the sun as much as we can but there’s no denying that winters in the tropics mean more sun than winter in CT.

It’s worth noting that the “spot” looked like a large freckle and it was hard to see that it was something that, if left untreated, can kill you.  What’s particularly alarming is how fast the lesion appeared as she had been to the derm in October of last year, less than six months before she was diagnosed and had surgery.

So, there are a lot of questions to be answered and it’s anything but clear if our travels will take us south this coming winter.

For now, I’ll continue to work on Pandora to get her ready for “whatever” comes next.  You just never know what life will throw at you, I guess.

So for now, all I can say is stay tuned…  Details to come.

I’ll sign off now as I still have work to do on my presentation about our trip to Cuba.






7 responses to “Upgrades for cruises to come and a kick in the teeth.

  1. George. Hallenbeck

    Beautiful workmanship.
    Our thoughts are with Brenda.

  2. Hi Bob,
    We had hoped to make the Essex Gam, but are working this summer in Ellsworth, ME (just a bit too far). Sorry to hear about Brenda’s melanoma. I have had two excised myself. We had hoped to run into this next season south. We will probably only make it to the Bahamas. We really enjoy your blog.

    Best to you both,


  3. I too am sorry to hear about Brenda but it sounds like all will be well. I probably won’t be a walk-in to the gam after all- will probably go to a SailsUp4Cancer event instead – hope to get an invite if you do it again next year – good luck with your presentation. Sharon

  4. Sending healing energy and prayers for Brenda! I hope she heals up quickly.

    • Thanks for the nice thoughts. Her surgery went fine in spite of the 6″ incision in her arm and a 4″ one under her arm. However, all pathology was negative. Now, what to do about sun exposure. Details to come.

  5. Bob,
    Best of everything to Brenda. It really causes us all to re-evaluate our priorities.
    Next, I am envious of you having a man-cave and the tools + talent for woodworking. Having leased out our house, I do not have your options in the Med.
    Keep writing,

  6. Oops! Please give our best wishes to Brenda; she should know we are thinking of her. I’ve had a few cancers taken off by Mohs surgery, but they may be the less serious cancers. One thing I was told by the surgeon, when I told him about the sun exposure we sailors get (in addition to a lot of advice to take precautions) was that the problems were not caused by this year’s exposure, but by the cumulative effect of a lifetime of exposure.

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