Safety Netting – a project for Mia

Written by Mia:

We decided early on that we wanted to install netting to the sides of Itchy Foot to help keep things and us from falling overboard.20160423-06_15_52-35-2

So, we did a little research and a little shopping and Mia’s first exterior boat project was born… I watched a how-to video (they tried to make it look simple in the video by having a woman install it – HA don’t think we didn’t notice Sailrite!) and then full of vim and vigour I got started. The internet said it would take the better part of a day to install it.

I just finished it… on DAY 8!! And I was still pretty proud of myself… when bragging about this to people around me I should have made sure they knew I was looking for a compliment and not criticism 😉 I must admit that might have been a little unclear.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Use shorter bits of string for weaving a long bit of string will get VERY tangled especially when it is 20m long and it is easy to spend more time untangling it than actually weaving it through…
  2. Don’t look at your neighbour’s netting because it will make a person crazy when they see that some rails (not yours) are designed to handle this very elegantly…
  3. Help from a 5 year old is not always helpful, but we are lucky to have a very patient and self amused son.
  4. Learn to tie knots to be independent, Jon tied most of mine when resulted in me making lots of references to Princess Bride which is funny to begin with and then starts to get really old and not very empowering… sorry Robin Wright!
  5. To learn to use a Heat Knife. Go me! I am the only member of the crew that has this talent. That makes me indispensable.
  6. Learn when to say it is good enough – (learned that one from “Iron and Ink”, the tattoo place on our street in Oslo…) because redoing stuff you thought was already done will make you and “knot boy” crazy!
  7. When finishing the last bit of the project make sure you are not alone, patting yourself on the back is hard 😉


First little hop

Written by Jon:

Time to move on from Palma. A number of reasons forced our hand to leave, firstly our friends from Mezzo Magic moved back to Soller for the start of their work for the season. RCNP (Real Club Nautico Palma) the marina we were staying in wanted our space back for the boat show that is coming to town. But mostly it was time to stretch our legs and scratch our itchy feet!

You are never completely ready. If we waited until everything was done we’d never leave the marina. But with my most precious cargo of Mia and Teo onboard I’m trying to be as cautious as possible. The plan was to pick a nice calm day and have a leisurely motor-sail around to Soller (about 8 hours) before dropping anchor in the bay.

A few days before we put together a ‘short list’ for stuff we must get done before we go and started ticking items off. We made good progress and with a couple of long days of prep I felt confident and happy to go.

Friday morning and I got up early to a grey, windless and slightly chilly morning – not perfect but OK for what we had planned. After showers, coffee and a little last-minute boat prep we were just about to start the engine and leave our marina berth when the pitter patter of little feet and Teo emerged from the bedroom demanding breakfast; a last minute delay.


20160422-11_25_11-33Mia took the helm and I slipped our lines; she skilfully guided us out of the berth we’d been sitting in for the last few months. Palma is a busy shipping harbour, but we didn’t have too many cargo ships or ferries for Mia to deal with as she navigated us out into the bay and set course south west. The sea was calm and after finishing off his breakfast Teo put on a fleece, climbing harness, clipped on and joined us on deck to watch Magaluf slide past. After a few minutes on deck Teo announced that this was his “favourite day on Itchy Foot”.

Just as we were passing Portals we heard the following on the VHF: “Big Boy, Big Boy, this is Envious, Envious, Over” – best call sign combination ever.

Lego on DeckHalf-way to Soller is the port of Andratx, we’d heard good things about this place and as we were passing I dug out the cruising guide. The guide also spoke positively about the port town and the ‘old’ town which is free from tourism, what’s more they had managed mooring buoys. We were tired of motoring and spending a night or two on a mooring buoy seemed like a cheaper option than another marina (long story about anchor chain for another time) in Soller so after reading about the approach and checking the charts we agreed to change plans.

Mia and I discussed a technique for stress-free picking up mooring buoys:

First motor slowly through the area and agree which buoy you intend to pickup. Then rig-up a ‘lasso’ on the foredeck, which is just a long line of rope attached between the two cleats on the front, running in-front of everything else. Then agree on a set of hand signals you intend to use. Finally, discuss what we expect to happen and also what we’ll do if something goes wrong.

Mia was back on the helm, and motored slowly towards the mooring buoy from directly down wind. I was on the foredeck pointing in the direction of the buoy and indicating distance off. Once we got close Mia stopped the boat and I dropped the loop of line over the buoy. We drifted back on the wind until the line caught and then we could relax and take our time switching out the temporary lasso with a couple of more permanent mooring lines.

The only problem was that the first buoy we picked up didn’t have any pickup lines, so we did the whole thing again on a second mooring. Both executed perfectly with Mia on the helm.

Sorting the tender

A safe, successful and stress-free first hop around the coast of Mallorca was celebrated by fighting with the dingy and outboard engine for the next three hours. We finally got across a to town for a an hour at the playground and then dinner and a much needed beer as the sun went down.First tender ride

Port de AndratxWe all slept great bobbing around on the mooring buoy and it was lovely to wake up to the pretty shifting views of Puerto de Andratx and we have decided to stick around a little while. We ate Swedish pancakes the first day (ArmPit will be so proud) and we have been to check out the village at the port and the older town a couple of miles inland. Many places in Mallorca have this split location setup, probably part historical (to keep inhabitants safe from attacks from the sea) and partially because they just needed more space.

Port de AndratxPancakes

Our first month on Itchy Foot, aka March 2016

Written by Mia:

Most of you know me quite well so you will not be surprised when I start this with an apology…I am sorry it has taken so long for us to reach out to everyone! We had intended to keep you all updated via our blog but March came and went with no posts. I think it falls under the heading “If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all”…so we kept a low profile. March was cold and full of chores, unexpected maintenance and lots of sleeping. 

There were lots of windy, somewhat wet days that were the wrong side of 10 degrees (and I for one was kicking myself for throwing out all those pairs of wool socks I gleefully ditched in the cull that was February in Oslo… We were all pretty cold and that made us all cranky and quiet. Plus we were trying to recover from a busy and emotional February so we slept a LOT. All three of us were sleeping 12 hours a night for at least the first couple of weeks…

LuggageThe first week on the boat we had trouble with the water pump and the toilet (thank goodness Jon is good at researching and problem solving!) The only trouble with research in March was that we struggled with a very bad internet connection that meant we spent up to two hours getting  connected….grrrrrr arrrrgh and Jon spent a lot of time trying to fix this (dare I say there was a bit of frustration and gnashing of teeth. This bad internet connection also made posting blogs impossible. Again, we are sorry about that… We still have a long list of stuff we needed to do before we left Oslo (the stuff that was internet-based was postponed till we got here) but that was before we knew we would be internetally challenged so it basically became a month of guilty conscience and worry about not meeting deadlines.Stuff

I spent a lot of March trying to find smart places to put our things (six bags at 20kg each) so that we can still find it but it doesn’t bang around when we finally cast off? Plus all the while we were all getting used to a smaller galley: you have to do everything in the correct order because for example the biggest prep area is on top of the top-loading fridge and the two gas hobs cook fast! Most of you know that Jon is our family’s best chef so cooking is more of a challenge for me… but I managed pasta with salmon and white sauce and a Spanish rice that I was very proud of and I forgot to pat myself on the back for until just now when I shared it with you.

ScootingWhen we were in the middle of it all, I felt and overwhelming sense of “OH CRAP, I am not cut out for this!” but with a little distance I can identify some wins and successes and I have to say some of my favourite memories of March are scooting trips with my boys (one of these trips was even 10km long!) and time searching for sea-glass on the beach. And we spent time with some new friends which has been a godsend. It is really nice to spend some time away and we even got to help them which is nice! We spent a couple days painting Spanish shutters and it was great to see instant results and share some laughs.

ShuttersThrough all this I have to brag about our son – Teo is incredibly patient and we are blessed to have a kid who entertains himself for hours at a time and handles late nights and postponed meal times with more grace than his parents. He has been the best to handle the transition to living on a boat and we are very very proud of him!

Tourist afternoon

Written by Jon:

Sunday is a quiet day in Palma, few shops are open and being low season there is little noise in the city, save for the occasional ringing of church bells. Mia woke up shortly after I made coffee and we had an uninterrupted hour of chat on deck in the morning sun. Lovely way to start the day.

We had a slow start to the day with Teo waking up late and breakfast up on deck not happening until midmorning. After breakfast Mia continued her battle wth the boat safety netting, which is almost finished and looking great. Teo and I did a quick reading lesson which is coming on very well.

In the afternoon Teo played nicely with his new Magformers (thanks Mormor and Grandpa!) – we are blessed with a kid who can amuse himself for an hour or two without having to be ‘stuck’ in front of an iPad. While he worked on building a giant truck, Mia and I cracked on with boat projects until mid-afternoon. But with lovely weather and the need to reward the ever-patient Teo we decided to put the work on hold and go and be tourists for a change.

Golf Fantasia

Golf Fantasia

We quickly grabbed a bag and ran for the bus towards Palma Nova and Golf Fantasia! Teo takes after his Grandpa and loves to play golf, so this was his pick for the afternoon. Golf Fantasia is OK – nice enough location and in nice condition but it was more golf and less crazy. The ‘obstacles’ weren’t that different to what you’d find on the PGA tour, not very many windmills, but Teo enjoyed it nonetheless.

Surprisingly, in this tourist trap, we found a nice restaurant and had a lovely dinner before taking the bus back to Palma. Grabbed some ice-cream and took turns being remote control airplanes on the way back to the boat and were all in bed before midnight – just!

Sharing comes last

Written by Jon:

We’ve been very quite since we started our adventure and for that we’re genuinely sorry. At first we were just taking time to relax a little after the hectic departure from our old lives in Oslo. Then the hard work and frustration started and we were either too busy, tired or frustrated to write anything at all. We discovered that communication comes quite low on our list of priorities.

The unofficial, incomplete and volatile list of Itchy Foot priorities:

  1. Stay friends with each other.
  2. Eat occasionally
  3. Boat maintenance
  4. Teo’s lessons
  5. Boat improvements
  6. Jon and Mia communications
  7. Play with Teo
  8. Shopping for food
  9. Communication with Grandparents
  10. Reading: sailing locations, maintenance, repairs, equipment etc.
  11. Paperwork: taxes, boat papers, licenses, insurance, banks, bills, etc.
  12. A glass of wine.
  13. Sleep.
  14. Communication with everyone else.
  15. Showers.

Unfortunately for this blog, Facebook, Twitter and social media in general you get the short straw. In fact, the only reason I have time to write this now is because the shop delivering our new boat batteries is late and I’m ignoring Teo’s requests to play with his new magnetic building toys.

While we don’t really expect the priorities to change dramatically there is hope that the amount of time spent on maintenance and improvements will soon reduce and we can free up more time for keeping in touch.

Please stay tuned!