Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 243 Finally outside.

The weather relented yesterday and allowed us to get some outside work done.  We checked the decks and found them still partially covered in mold.  A common problem here in the Northwest where water and humidity are plentiful.  It did surprise me as the temperatures have been so cold for so long that it would continue to grow.  I would have thought that two weeks of below freezing temperature would have done away with it.  I guess not.  Time to bring out the bleach water with a sprayer and a brush to wash it away.

I tackled our Honda generator in the afternoon.  The oil hadn't been changed is quite some time and needed some attention.  We had used it with our last boat while at anchor or when tied up to the dock at our old marina back at Lake Granby in Colorado.  For what we paid for the slip, I would have thought that they would have had electricity to the slips but unfortunately no.  It got cold up in the mountains of Colorado and having some electricity made being on board comfortable.  This generator will give us 3000 watts of power to keep the systems topped up when the wind isn't blowing or we aren't at a dock with power.  Out with the old oil and in with the new.  A simple job that just needed to be done.  I took the old oil up to Sea Marine for disposal and poured in the new--just over a half quart.  I unscrewed the "flame arrester"in the exhaust system and got it all cleaned and de-sooted.  On the fuel line is a "fuel sediment cup" that needs to be unscrewed and cleaned.  Honda recommends using a "nonflammable or high flash point solvent" for cleaning.  Not being sure what this might be, I called Honda this morning for advise.  Unfortunately, they are closed till January 2.  I guess it will just have to wait till then to get the job finished.  Anyone have any suggestions?

We had great wind(with some rain)yesterday so I let the DuoGen loose to make power.  Since the wind was right on the bow, I locked it down so that it would stay always pointed in that direction to get the most power from her.  She really rips in the winds we have been getting.  I did shut her down when we went to bed.  As it revolves, the sound resounds down in the stern stateroom.  I fired it up again this morning.  Now the wind is shifting from the South to the Northwest so that means a weather change is coming.  We just had a bout with hail. 

Today, Tracy is trying to rearrange the cabinets in the galley now that we have been on board for a while.  I'm about to empty and rearrange the contents of the draws in my workbench.  I'll have a better idea of what I have back there. 

The odd jobs continue.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 242 Christmas is past.

Christmas is now past with all its memories.  Ours was very quiet and for that we are thankful.  Better it that way than the rush that Christmas always presented in the recent past.  

Ours of the past 10 years have been always a rush to get things done for our customers with little rest until just a few days before the holiday.  When you own your own business, the customer always comes first.  Their needs  always out shadow your own.  This year, with the business sold, we could actually enjoy it as it was just for the two of us.  We had the time to sit back and relax and think about times of the past.

The memories of Christmas's of my past as I grew up always started with sitting beside the door at the end of the hall that led to the main portion of my parents house.  Our bedrooms were in a separate section with a door to keep it closed off.  My brother and I would get up long before dawn and sleep against the door to make sure that no one got past us to the presents that Santa brought us.  The rush to see what was under the tree and in our stockings!!  We had to wait for our parents to get up.  When you're young, the seconds waiting could seem like hours.  

Each family has their rules.  We could look at what Santa had brought us but no presents could be opened until we had breakfast, the dishes were cleaned, and beds were made.  It always seemed like HOURS before we were able to get at the good stuff.  Each person got a gift in turn until all was done.  Strangely, very few presents stand out in my memory.  The biggest was my new bike that I got at heaven only knows what age.  It had TWO speeds.  I could go like the wind--of course not until the snow melted in the Spring as we lived in Pennsylvania and just about always had a white Christmas.  I went through a lot of playing cards clipping them to the spokes of the wheel to make it sound better as I peddled.

One if the best parts of Christmas was my mother making fruitcake.  Yeah, I know, that one thing at Christmas that is mocked by the media.  The butt of jokes and stories of the cake that keeps getting passed around the family but never eaten.  Door stops.  Ours were cherished and eaten with much joy.  My brother and I would count the amount of cherries that we each got in each slice to see who had the most.  This year, Tracy found my Mothers old recipe and made a batch for us.  The memories it brought back were amazing.  I made sure to send a brick(it has some weight to it) of it to my brother back in Pennsylvania.  He knew exactly what was in the foil as he opened the box.  It has to be 40 years since I have had it.

This year, we we're on board our boat.  Snugly tied up to a pier in some snow and blowing winds waiting for Spring so we can set out on our adventure.  Just the two of us--plus the three fur people that keep us company.

Dinner was special as we had been invited to the Shanghai Restaurant for a special dinner for friends and family.  About 20 people in all.  Duck(just like in the "Christmas Story"movie),plus a shrimp dish that was beyond belief in its flavor.  Rice, vegetables and more.  A great feast was presented.   We really felt special being asked to attend.

Now that Christmas is gone, we wait for the New Year.  Awaiting Spring and beginning of our journey to where the winds take us.  

The tasks continue.  Extra parts are stored and manuals are read.  Internet searching for more information and knowledge.  It never stops, but that is what life is all about.

I hope each of you had a great Christmas as we did and that the coming New Year brings you joy.      

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 239 Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

This is our second Christmas on board Zephyr only this time we are doing it as a true live aboard, cruiserish couple.  What a change for us.  Life has become much more simple as we adjust to living on board.  Now we wait for Spring to set off for parts North and South--plus West.  East comes later.

Yesterday I was a slug.  Just sat and watched TV and read a book.  I didn't feel like doing much of anything.  We watched a few James Bond flicks and other pieces of fluff.  We both finished off the day with a nice walk  around the marina area about 10pm.  The wind was blowing at 15 to 20 knots but with a good coat, gloves and a hat, it was a nice walk.

Today--Christmas!  Rain instead of snow here in Port Townsend.  It will wash the decks clean.
I started up the DuoGen this morning.  Not much wind but the day is early.  

We are both looking forward to dinner at Shanghai.  It's like the end of The Christmas Story movie.  They are even serving Duck just like the movie.

We wish to all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tracy's two cents:

Hi everyone and Merry Christmas!!!

Thank you Mickie for our Christmas tree it certainly made the cabin of the boat more festive.  I was afraid Santa would glide by, but he did arrive and filled our stockings with goodies and a DVD of the latest Indiana Jones flick, so we'll have a movie to watch after our Chinese Christmas dinner.

The people of Port Townsend are so nice.  I thought small town living would be very different.  I always envisioned that small town people would never welcome outsiders into their world and I couldn't have been more wrong.  Starting with the bus drivers that we traveled with all Summer to the restaurant staff of the couple of restaurants that we have frequented.  Everyone has been fantastic.  It is definitely a slower pace of life, but they are genuinely interested in those around them.  It will be difficult to leave Port Townsend behind, but that is what the cruising lifestyle is all about....meeting and seeing new people and peeking into other cultures.  Next Christmas, we should be singing Feliz Navadad and Jingle Bells in Spanish.  That will be very interesting.  My job this Spring and Summer is to learn enough Spanish to get by, that will be a slow process.

The only job we have to get finished before we leave is the anchor light.  Jack and Eric will probably tackle that job next week when the temperatures get back into the forties.

I miss everyone back in Colorado, keep warm and give yourselves a big hug, know that you are being thought of often.

Thank you for all your emails and comments, keep it up, we love hearing from everyone.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 237 Happy Anniversary to us!

We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary yesterday!

Dinner started with a nice salad.  Then on to beef fondue.  Back in the 70's that was one of the standard gifts everyone got when they got married.  We received 3 when we got married.  You used to have to use Sterno--alcohol in a can to heat the oil--but it took for ever.  Once they came out with electric sets, dinners became a lot easier.  Add on a nice baked potato--done in the oven to help keep the boat warm and it was a great dinner.  A nice bottle of red wine and the dinner was complete.  We got married so young, I had to take my brothers drivers license with me on our honeymoon so I could have a drink.

The snow is still melting but more is in the forecast so we expect a white Christmas.  Normal for Colorado but not in Seattle.  The folks in Seattle are set to receive more just like us.

I found a rigger in the morning that could fabricate our new gate for the lifeline on the starboard side of Zephyr.  I had the pelican hook(closes the gate) but needed the wire and the fastener that goes at the other end of the wire.  Brion Toss--our rigger--doesn't carry the fittings so I took off for Port Townsend Riggers down the street.  They had the fittings and got it all done for me.  I timed it perfectly as they are going to be closed till January 5 like many of the businesses around Port Townsend.  When they say holiday, they mean holiday here in Port Townsend.

While Tracy went to Safeway for more food supplies, I finally tackled the bilge.  I started removing the floor boards ands scrubbing starting at the bow and working myself towards the bilge about half way back the boat.  I finally stuffed the upper portion of my body down into the deep bilge and with a sponge and bucket in hand, out came the rest of the water and "stuff" that had flowed down there when the forward head hose had leaked.  Rub and scrub, add some bilge cleaner and all was clean.  

I rechecked the old bilge pump that seemed to no longer pump by putting it into a bucket of water and turning it on.  It barely pumped at all.  Out came the new one from the box and after a check of its pumping power--really pumps a lot of water, it went into the same bracket in the bilge the old one came out of.  Hook up the hose and electrical wires and I was done.  This baby pumps 3700 gallons per hour.  One of the biggest available.

After that--it was off to the showers to be nice and clean for our special dinner.  

A real nice day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 236 More jobs

A few days have passed and the jobs continue.  We'd ordered two new ceiling lights from Alpenglow for the main cabin.  They have come highly recommended not only by other sailors we know but also from Practical Sailor-the Consumer Reports of boaters.  They came in yesterday--only took a week.  Out came the old ones--one of which I had already changed over to a light that has white as well as a red night light.   These new lights have a high and low both in white light as well as in the red.  The red is so our night vision isn't corrupted while being down in the cabin during the night passages.  I installed them yesterday afternoon and last night they lit up the cabin as we had never had it lit before.  For such a small light, they put out a tremendous amount of light.

I got the gate for the starboard side lifeline done this morning.  I had to go to a different rigger over in Port Townsend as Brion doesn't do this type of work.  If the weather clears up--or maybe warms up, I'll get it installed soon.  It's never fun to do outside work in cloudy damp days.

The snow we got over the weekend is melting quickly.  We had some Sun yesterday and the white stuff started to melt away.  While it left a bunch of mush, I'll take mush over snow anytime.  There is more in the forecast for tomorrow night so a white Christmas is coming.

There was a knock on the boat last night.  Outside was Jason, the chef at the Shanghai Restaurant I've raved about in previous posts.  He came down to invite us to a special Christmas dinner at the restaurant.  We are thrilled!!  I'm sure we will have many things we have never tried before and all with the family around us.  

There are still more projects down the road and we'll go after those ticking them off as we can.  Meanwhile, I keep a piece of paper to check them off and add on others as they crop up.  Some how, the list never seems to get any shorter, but Zephyr keeps getting better.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 233 The Blizzard of '08

I sit here in the middle of what Seattle is making out to be the "Blizzard of '08".  Now for Colorado natives, this is just a normal Winter storm.  Colorado is prepared to what we are getting right now.  Seattle on the other hand is not and that is where the differences lay.  We have winds of 20 to 30 knots(24 to 35mph for you landlubbers) with snow--or should I say sideways snow.  It is setting up drifts anywhere it can.  While not big drifts, they are drifts none the less.  

We sit all snugged in and tied safely to the dock with electricity to run our heaters with the occasional bump from our Webasto diesel heater.  We're not going anywhere for a while.  If we had already moved to the Port Of Brownsville as we plan to in January, it would be a bit different.  They are set to receive anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow over night.  I think I'll pass on that.  We are set for only about 2 inches.  No problem.  We'll see what Mother Nature brings over night.

I spent the day cleaning up and putting things away that I have been using over the past week or so while installing things on Zephyr.  I'd made quite the mess on my workbench and nav station and all those tools, nuts, bolts and screws and "stuff".  It took a while, but the mess is gone--at least for the most part.

Sea Marine had their Christmas Party this afternoon.  Lots of people showed up for the festivities.  A great catered affair with plenty of food for everyone.  They even had smoked a salmon for the party and prepared two other fillets of salmon--one with lemons slices and one with onion slices all wrapped in aluminum foil and done on the barbecue grill right outside the back door of the office.  Add in a huge chunk of ham and sliced pork and you have a great meal.  They had lots of other dishes whose name I had problems pronouncing so I won't even try to spell them here.

At the close of the party, we had a sort of gift exchange.  Everyone picks numbers and then picks a gift from under the tree.  You could either keep what you picked or take whatever some one before you chose.  The only problem was that you couldn't open the present you chose before you swapped gifts with the other person.  You might give away something great to get something not so great.  I got one of those "8" ball fortune telling toys.  Ask a question and then turn the ball over to see what is the answer to your question.  A perfect gift of me.  Tracy got a big jar of homemade spicy pickles.  

We've been  monitoring the DuoGen to see it's output of amps.  So far, it is no where near what the manufacturer claims it should be.  We get only 8 amps at 25 knots of wind.  The factory literature claims we should be getting anywhere from 12 to 15 amps.  I checked it with three different gauges and sent them an email about my findings.  We'll see what their response will be next week.  I continue to monitor it as the weekend unfolds and the wind continues.

Tomorrow--into the bilge.  Just couldn't face it today.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 232 Here we go again.

Where to start?  

Let's start with Zephyr.  Yesterday, Tracy came out of the aft stateroom and said she smelled something.  When I looked into the bilge--I'd emptied it a few days ago getting prepared for the new bilge pump.  Well, it wasn't empty any more.  About 6 inches of very black water.  It looked like we had another problem.  Up came the forward floor boards.  Brown water was slowly seeping toward the bilge.  The forward head had begun leaking again!!  Last Winter, the sewage tank had split its seams.  I'd repaired it with 5 layers of fiberglass.  Out I went and into the forward sail locker where the tank is.  Out came equipment to get to the tank.  No leaks!?!  I ran a paper towel around the entire tank--dry.  That means one of the lower hoses had leaked-big time!  We started up the engine and headed for the pump out station to get the tanks emptied as soon as we could.  Unfortunately, a big boat was blocking our path.  There was not enough room the tie up.  The stern tank emptied fine.  I even flushed it with some water to make sure all the pipes were empty and "clean".   Forward--where the problem was--the pump wined but you couldn't hear anything going out.  The contents of the hose were frozen!!   It broke loose and out it went.  Again, I flushed more water into the tank to get everything "clean" for my job later.

Next, the bilge--yuck!!  I had to put the manual bilge pump hose back down and start pumping.  Out it went thank God.  I then dumped lots more water down there and flushed it out four times to try and get as much of the bad stuff out or at least diluted before I started the cleanup later.  This is definitely NOT living the dream.  

Back to the docks--forgot to tell you--the dock lines were frozen lumps of rope.  All the cold weather had reduced them to tangled lumps of frozen line.  It had taken us a while to get them untied and would take us a while to get them retied and Zephyr made fast to the dock.  We'll be retieing them again today before the storm comes.   

A lead in to what is coming--Blizzard Warnings!!!  Say what?  The "perfect storm" is descending on the Seattle area.  We are set to have a big low pressure coming in from the coast and a high pressure coming in from the East all set to clash right over Seattle.  It's 16 degrees outside with a high of 27 for today with winds expected to hit gust of 90mph East of Seattle and winds of 40--50mph here.  Just West and South of us, the forecast is for anywhere from 6 to 24 inches of snow!!  We are slated for only a few inches on top of what we already have.  I didn't bring my snow shovel with us when we headed out from Denver back in April.   Guess I should have.  It is supposed to start this afternoon and go through tomorrow afternoon.  Boy, what fun?  At least we are tied up to a great dock with power for the heaters and not at anchor depending on our diesel heater.  It does make for a great backup source of heat though.

I finally got our DuoGen wind generator up the pole and set for producing power.  It had frozen in the down position and would not go up to the top of the pole.  With the upcoming winds, it should be interesting to see what she will produce.  I've set the switches on the batteries so that the battery bank that gets most of the power from the generator will need a charge once the wind starts up later today.   I've been emailing back and forth with the manufacturer over the past few weeks with lots of questions as to the power output.  I guess we will see this afternoon and evening.

The normal high temperature for this time of year is 45.  Not bad.  Unfortunately, we are only getting into the mid 20s.  And the forecast is for the same for the next week.  Once we hit "normal" we will be working on our tans.  

The Sea Marine company Christmas party is set for this afternoon.  We were invited to attend.  If anyone had told us we would still be here for Christmas back in July when we got here, I'd have thought they were crazy.  Guess not.  I had a diesel class scheduled for this afternoon over in Seattle but it was cancelled.  Something about bad weather.  Go figure.

Well, we are set to hunker down and do a bit of bilge cleaning today.  Nice inside work. 

Stay warm out there!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 231 Still cold out there.

It's still cold out up here.  Lots of snow over in Seattle and North, East and South of there.  We had a bit more but no where near what they have had.  All the schools are closed and Seattle is just about shut down.  They are just not prepared for this kind of weather.  Once the roads are iced, they are staying that way as there isn't enough sunshine to melt anything and they don't have the snow plows to get rid of it.  They don't think we will even hit 32 degrees till some time next week.  It's the longest cold spell in well over 20 years.

We have two heaters running all the time and I even fired up our diesel heater yesterday as Zephyr needed a good temperature boost.  Throw blankets and sweaters are the wardrobe of the day--or week for that matter.

I did the laundry yesterday as we had gotten down to our last clean clothes.  Took a magazine and a book along to while away the couple of hours it takes.  As is the norm, someone else was doing theirs so I had to wait a bit to get to the washers.  Back to Zephyr by early afternoon.  With all the roads frozen over, it's not like we are going anywhere.

I tried to engage the DuoGen wind generator as we have been having winds in the 20 knot range but it is frozen in the down position and won't go up the tube to it's tallest height.  I'm not sure where it is frozen in the tube, but with luck, it might get warm enough to allow me to get it working.  

While this storm continues, we just sit snuggled in and wait for warmer weather.  We've got plenty of food to get us through this cold spell.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 230 Road Trip

We took off for Bremerton early this morning to get our car's VIN(vehicle identification number)verified so we could get our Colorado license plate tags for next year.  

For those who haven't been following our saga, we got notification from the state of Colorado a few weeks ago that it was time to get our cars registration renewed.  They also wanted an emissions test done.  We passed emails back and forth with Arapahoe County's DMV over the last few weeks and they consented to fore go the emissions test if we would get the VIN verified by local law enforcement officers(not all of Washington state does emissions testing).  Well, the locals here in Port Townsend refused and passed the buck to the State Police.  They also gave us the phone numbers to contact them.  Calls were placed and an appointment was scheduled for this morning at 11am.  

It was snowing this morning so we left early.  On the way down to Bremerton, the Mazda started to act up.  The heat sensor on the dash kept going up and then down.  At the same time, the heat coming into the car from the heater kept getting hotter then not as hot.  Both up and down.   The strange thing is that when the cars heat got hotter, the heater for the car got cooler and when the heater got hotter, the cars temp got cooler.  This went on for the entire trip down.  I figured the thermostat was fried(or boiled in this case) and would need to be replaced in Bremerton once we got there.

When we got to the State Police office, we were about an hour early but I went in to talk to them anyway.  Guess what?---they refused to give us a VIN verification!!!  Since Colorado won't pay for it, they won't give it.  They stopped doing VIN verifications for out of state cars several years ago!!  Now why the man I spoke to on Monday that set up the appointment didn't know that--a supervisor in the department-- I don't know.  I even had the forms in my hand.  All he had to do was look in the windshield and write down the numbers.

I called the DMV back in Colorado from the car repair place we found up the street and explained about everyone refusing to do a VIN verification.  She said she would look into it and see if there was anything she could do since we were hitting all these walls.  Oh, by the way, it wasn't the thermostat.  We had an air pocket on the water coolant line that goes through the engine and heater that was stopping the water from circulating.  Once gone(it got burped), the car was fine.  I've never had that happen before.

After a lackluster lunch at a teriyaki restaurant, we decided to drive down to Takoma and get the emissions test done since they were the closest to Bremerton.  As we drove South, I called the emissions department to get directions.  Had to leave a message.  They called back about 10 minutes later.  Tracy talked to them as I drove.  Tracy explained what we needed and they gave us the address.  Tracy told them we were on the way down as we spoke.  They then told her that the place was closed due to snow(no snow where we were).  Now we were really getting into the "let's beat our heads against a brick wall"mentality.  The more we tried, the more it just didn't seem to work out.

We turned the car around and headed back for Bremerton and Silverdale to do some shopping--PetSmart for the fur people that live with us.  While there, I ran into a State Police officer and tried to get him the do the Vin verification(nothing to loose by now).  He had no problem with that.  Out we went to the car.  Out came the forms.  He'd never seen forms like these before--Colorado forms.  He then asked the question--"Have you been to the State Police office in Bremerton?  They do VIN verifications there".  I related to him that "yes, we had been there" and that they wouldn't do it since it was "out of state".  WELL--since the office had refused to do the verification, he wasn't about to do it and walked away.  There is that brick wall again!!  Curses, foiled again!! 

With fur people's food in hand, we drove over to another marina we had heard about.  The Port Of Brownsville Marina about 5 miles East of Silverdale.  We scoped it out and walked the docks.  A nice place and the price can't be beat.  It's $257/month--power included.  That's $300 less that Point Hudson where we are and we would have to pay electricity on top of that!  We'll save about $400 a month by staying there and they are within 5 miles of a Costco!  How can you beat that?

It started to snow on our way home after that.  Not a lot, but enough to make me keep our speed down.  Once home, we tucked ourselves in while it snowed and have had a lovely evening.

Tomorrow is another day.  Hopefully with warmer temps and less of the white stuff.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 229 Settling down in the cold.

We're settling in in the cold.  Lots of news on the television about how cold it is here.  While nothing compared to the nasty cold in Colorado, theirs is at least a "dry" cold.  It is anything but that here--we're on the water.  The news folks say this will be the longest cold spell in the past 20+ years.  At least we are getting some sunshine which is a big help.

Yesterday was a bit quiet.  Our days have been odd jobs after odd jobs.  Yesterday was a stay warm and take care of the little things.  I typed up my notes about my diesel class and browsed on the internet looking for a new diesel injector pump.  Walked over the Brion Toss's loft to discuss and pay another bill.  We're just about done with them.  Over to Sea Marine to order more parts(new bilge pump) and try and stay warm.  

We did get a call from the Washington State Police about getting the VIN number inspected.  They have fitted us into their schedule on Wednesday at 11:00.  We'll be leaving here by 9am as there is more snow set for that morning and we aren't sure what we will be facing  during the drive down.  We do know that we will have to pass over a large bridge and as we all know "bridge freezes before road surface".  We will be going very slow and carefully over it.

Not yet sure what today will bring.  We'll just have to wait and see.

I hope you have been checking in on the two links on our blog to Sandpiper and Wind Dancer.  Both are great reads.  Sandpiper blew out their engine and are now in the Cape Verde Islands.  Wind Dance just made it to New Zealand after crossing the Pacific Ocean.  Give them a shot.

We have our diesel class on Saturday over in Seattle and expect to set out on another San Juan Island run just after that for the Christmas week.  Not yet quite sure which islands yet.  That all depends on the winds and how cold it will get.  If the cold continues, I'd rather be here with nice electric heat than freezing on a hook out there.  Our base of operations will still be here in Point Hudson for at least a few more weeks.  The folks at Sea Marine still have to fix our anchor light and it is just to windy and cold to even think of sending someone up that mast to do that.  They did come over and rewire the sump pumps for the shower stalls.  They were still backwards--stand in the bow to drain the sterns sump and vice versa.  Now all is well.

More to come.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 228 Out with the old, in with the new.

The old one.
All gone.  That's the steel storage tank on the wall.
In with the new!!

For the want of a $4.00 seal, a lot more was spent on  a new head.  The old head(toilet to you landlubbers) leaked around the top of the pump handle on the side.  It needed a new seal installed.  OK, there is more--after I took it apart to replace the seal, I put her back together again while we hunted for the replacement but she leaked even worse from other joints I'd opened up to get at the seal.   With no manufacturer's name anywhere on it and several companies claiming  it was not theirs, and telling me to go to West Marine for replacement parts(they didn't have any information) we ended up buying a new one.  

I started ripping out the old one on Saturday.  I made sure to turn off the through hull for water  before I started.  One of the last things I needed is water pouring into the boat.  We kept a bucket handy just in case "things" started flowing in that we really didn't want coming in.  I unbolted and cut hoses and unscrewed and out she came.  Off she went and over to the trash bin.  You can see the steel tank that is normally behind the wall in the picture.  The top inlet pipe has no ridges on it.  This means the hose just slides right on with no ridges to make sure nothing seeps out.  I covered the metal pipe with silicone chalk and slid the hose in Saturday afternoon so it could "cure" before I installed the rest on Sunday.  

Sunday, in with the new.  Of course there was the the mandatory trip back to West Marine for parts I had forgotten.  Holes drilled and  bolts installed.  New hoses cut and fitted--with lots of hose clamps-and in she went.  All done by early afternoon.   We sprayed lots of Lysol and Comet around to make sure all the nasties are gone and we're back to a nice smelling "head".

The afternoon was spent upside down back in the bilge again submerged in water the feel of chicken soup only it didn't smell as good.  When I changed out the oil in the diesel injector pump last week, some of the excess oil made it's way down there and made a mess all over again.  I've cleaned it at least 6 times since we got here.  Water and other fluids just love to find their way down there--none of it good.  I'd pulled the bilge pump out to be able to get down to the bottom.  We checked the pump in a bowl of water to make sure it was pumping as it appeared to pump quite slowly the last time we used it.  The pump appeared to work fine when we started it up after removing it but when it was in the water it didn't pump any out the hose outlet.  I ordered a replacement this morning.  It should be here by tomorrow.

I'd planned on talking about how cold it was and will be over the next week but after seeing what our friends in Colorado are going through, I have nothing to complain about.  They're well below 0 degrees and we are only down in the teens.  They don't expect us to even hit freezing for the next week.  It will be the longest/coldest spell in the past 20 years.  The "Hudson Effect" is in full force.  We got here at the end of July and August was the wettest they have ever had.  We bring an upset Mother Nature with us where ever we go.  After we left Newport, the winds returned to normal from the 30/40 knots it was blowing while we were there.  Bet you wish you had our power over Mother Nature?  We're just glad to be in a marina where we have all the electricity we need to keep the heaters going 24/7.  It manages to keep Zephyr in the mid-60 degree range.  With a sweater or small blanket at night as we watch tv, it's just fine.  Of course it doesn't help that the winds have been blowing any where from 20 to 30 knots. 

We get to drive to Bremerton on Wednesday to have the Mazda inspected for our Colorado registration.  We made an appointment at 11:00 on Wednesday when the gentleman at Washington's DMV returned the call I place last Thursday.  It's about a two hour drive there and back but sometime you have to do what you have to do to get things taken care of.

Today--clean up the mess I made in Zephyr with all the tools I've left out doing my little handy work.   Oh, and stay warm.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 227 It's here!!

It came in the night.  Big winds and blowing snow.  Started as snow pellets--little frozen balls and then switched over to snow sometime during the night.  The wind generator was spinning all through the night.   We were up into the mid 30 knot range.  This is what we faced as we arose this morning.  They had forecasted up to 6 inches so we dodged a much larger bullet.  The Sun comes and goes but it is starting to melt.   Slowly as it is still quite cold and while windy, no where near what it had been.  Since this is the first snow Port Townsend has seen in quite a while, I think we'll stay off the roads for a while.

We started on the "head" redo in the stern yesterday.  When we're done, I do another post.  Meanwhile, blueberry muffins for breakfast.  The oven will help warm the cabin and a nice treat.

More to come.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 226 Boy, what wind!

We checked and rechecked Zephyrs lines to the dock as the wind got up to 40 knots or about 46mph.  It was really going at it with an incredibly high tide.  For the first time that either of us could remember, we had to walk downhill from the docks to shore.  The docks sit about 2 feet above the water and with the wind and the surge tide, it drove enough water into the harbor that it was almost at the lot of the water bank.  The white blobs sitting on the ground in the picture are seagulls that are waiting out the wind.  There were dozens of them out at the point just past the marina.  Lots of feathered blobs.  They just sat there as we drive around them.

We drove out after running errands around town to the end of Hudson Point to watch the water smack into the pilings and rocks.  High tide and big wind can really make for some nasty wave action.  We were both glad we were securely tied to the dock.

Tracy defrosted the refrigerator/freezer this afternoon.  We knew it was time when my ice cube tray wouldn't freeze and make cubes.  Lots of ice had built up along the sides of the freezer box.  As of this morning, I've got ice.

We called Jabsco about our now dead head in the stern.  They told me to go to West Marine for parts.  They were of absolutely no help at all. They couldn't find anything on it in any of their parts books so now we have started shopping for a new one.  We'll be back to the store today to buy a new one.  We've got a fun afternoon ahead of us.  

It blew and it rained but so far no snow and that is just fine.  I don't have to shovel water.  We spread a tarp over the stern section to make sure the snow wouldn't be able to attack the teak deck.  We made sure to tie it down well as the winds were still blowing when we were out there.

We're due to be in the teens in the next few days.  I'm glad salt water doesn't freeze till 0 degrees.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 225 Snow?

We've got snow and lots of wind in our forecast over the next two days.  We could have anywhere from 2 to 8 inches of the white stuff and winds up to 60mph.  It sounds like a normal winter day in Colorado--but not here in Washington state.  I took down the flags and tied down everything on deck.  The docks were a sheet of ice last night when I got back from class.  The winds are picking up as I write this.  The snow is set for later.

Yesterday was full of odd jobs or in other words, a normal day.  

I added "Stabil" to my gasoline tanks on deck for the outboard and the generator.  It keeps the fuel "fresher" for longer.  At least so they claim.  I'll still have to check the tanks for condensation before I start pumping it into the engines.

I put a biocide into the diesel tanks as diesel will start growing stuff if you don't.  A water level sets it self up from again condensation in the tanks and you have to keep the growth to a minimum or better yet, stop it entirely.

We pulled all the cushions up and inspected all the batteries.  There was some acid on top from the charging process so I put baking soda on them to neutralize it and will be cleaning them up today.

More antifreeze was added to the tank on the engine.  It was down about 1 1/2 inches so it needed some more.  I talked to my instructor about it last night and he advises me to run the engine to make sure all the air is out of the pipes.  Apparently, it's not like a radiator in your car that you can just pour and go.   Oh no, you have a pep cock on the top of another tank that has to be opened to allow any air out of the system that may have gotten in while the fluids were low.

I stopped at the local NAPA and picked up a stethoscope to listen to the engine.  It can make it easier to diagnose problems in the engine.  I also got a set of flare wrenches to take off pipes that attach to the engine.

The new toaster we got back in July has died so the factory is sending us a new one.  They just don't build them(Kitchen Aid) like they used to.  At least they will replace them.

I ordered chart updates from the Canadian government for the charts we bought a while ago.  While it is a "new" batch of charts, they still were last updated back in 1993 so updates will be required before we set off for up North next Spring.

The toilet in the stern head has been leaking water out of the top of the pump ever since we got Zephyr.   In we went.  Screws out.  Bucket at the ready with of course the mandatory slew of paper towels.  Out came the water.  While not a lot, we were back to the stinky stuff all over again.  I'd never seen a toilet like this one.  Lots of parts to it.  Not the simple one we have in the bow.  Well, to make a long story short, I found the bag of parts that Bill had left in Zephyr when we bought her for that head, but no seals that would solve the problem.  So I put it back together until we can get the required parts.  I put in a new seal to the base of the pump--it hadn't been leaking but parts of were missing.  Hey, guess what--the new seal in the base leaks worse than the one I had taken the head apart to fix!!  Boy, sure is fun out here.  I called the manufacturer and they told me to go to West Marine to order the parts.  Heck, that only takes a couple of weeks so no problem.  We may just buy a new toilet and get on with our lives.

We had to stop at the police station to get the VIN number on our Mazda verified.  Our registration on it expires at the end of the month.  We got the card from the state we all look so forward to that tells us to get the emissions checked and send in money.  Well, guess what?  Only a few counties in Washington state require an emissions test.  The closest is a two hour drive--one way.  I emailed the folks at Colorado's DMV and they agreed to wave the emissions test but I would still need to have the VIN verified by local law enforcement.  I stopped into the Port Townsend station and they won't do it.  They will write me all the tickets I want, but they can't verify a simple VIN number.  They tell me to go to the state police and they will do it there.  They gave me some phone numbers and I left messages.  Apparently, I have to make an appointment to get it checked and they may not do it since I'm not active military.  They are only a 1 1/2 hour drive--each way of course.  I  sent another email to DMV.  We'll see what they say next.

It's blowing at about 40 knots right now.  I took a break to add another line to the four I already have tieing us to the dock.  I took down the wind generator as once you hit 40+ it's almost too much for the machine. 

We just got back from West Marine--another errand.  They have no listing on the toilet that I need to get parts for as I talked about above.  I guess it's time for a new one.  Now that hunt goes on.
My last diesel class was last night.  We got into the exhaust systems and more on water systems and electrical.  It was a great experience.  At least I now know what I'm looking at when I stare into the engine compartment.  I have one more class at another place on the 20th.  Now I know what questions to ask at that seminar.

Well, that's about it for now.  As always, more is coming.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 224 Busy, Busy, Busy.

We went at it full force yesterday trying to get as much done as we could.

I started out ordering a repair manual from Mercury for our new 8hp outboard motor.  While it may be new, I figure it is better to be prepared for down the road when some thing will eventually happen.  Then returned emails to DuoGen and Nobeltec about answers to questions they had asked me about questions I had asked them.  DuoGen--the prop not turning when it hits the water.  Nobeltec--the "Route Wizard"(tells you how to get from point A to point B when you leave a harbor) keeps taking us over ground-like islands-instead of around it.
  It's not supposed to do that.

I then took off for the shop that welded the new stainless steel ring on the stanchion for the new hook that closes the port side gate for the life line.  The previous ring was to small. Brought her back and installed the stanchion threading the netting back on that keeps the kids on board.  Installed the new hook and the job was done.  

Onto the diesel injector pump.  It controls the diesel as it is pumped into the engine making sure it is in the right proportions and fires it in at the right time.  That's what that big hunk of red is in the picture.  It holds 12 ounces of the same oil that is in the engine.  I had studied the owners manual and learned about it in my class.  You remove the bolt in the bottom and out comes the oil.  Then you remove a bolt on the side.  This will show level of the new oil as it is poured into the top of the pump.  It drools out the hole.  Out came the bottom plug and out came the "oil".  I was holding a bowl under it to catch the "oil".  It came and it came and it came.  Far more than 12 ounces.  I finally had to put my finger over the hole to stop it as the "oil" was starting to pour over the sides of the bowl and down into the bilge.  Yuck--now I get to clean it again.  Tracy grabbed a syringe to suck out some of the liquid as I couldn't pull out the bowl as it was too full to move.  Once she had sucked out enough, I let the rest flow into the bowl.  It was the consistency of water not oil.  I took it to class to have my teacher look at it.  It was actually oil very diluted with lots of diesel.  Far more diesel than oil.  Not a good sign.  I replaced the plug and filled it with nice 30 weight oil until it flowed out the hole on the side--12 ounces and screwed in the top plug.  We started the engine and she ran fine.  So far no problems.  My instructor says to change it again after 10 hours of running the engine instead of the 50 hours that is recommended.  Do that a few times and that should flush out any metal shavings that may have accumulated.    Then back to the 50 hour routine called for by the manual.  Hopefully, I won't have to replace the pump.  While in the engine compartment, I pulled the raw water strainer out to check for "foreign matter"--seaweed and the like.  Nope, just about clean.  It needs to be checked regularly to make sure it doesn't clog.  It's the raw water that keeps the engine cool as it runs--a good thing.

Then back to the stern head.  We'd replace the macerator a few days ago.  That's the pump that makes big things into small things and flushes them overboard.  We we developed a small problem.  The stainless steel tanks outlet doesn't have any barbs on it to restrict the chance of a possible leak past the hose.  I'd put on two hose clamps and had closed up the wall in front of the tank.  Well the two clamps didn't do the trick and we started smelling a bad odor shortly after we thought we were done.  Off with the wall and we added two more hose clamps.  Now we're up to four and that seems to have stopped it.  I put a paper towel under it to see if if still leaks and so far so good so I will screw the wall back in place and hope for the best.

I bought some wire to "ground" the generator we keep on Zephyrs stern.  When we have run it before through Zephyrs electrical grid to charge the batteries, the light on the main circuit panel kept lighting up that we were putting in "reverse" power.  It's all because the ground wire wasn't hooked to the power grid for Zephyr.  Now once the wire is hooked up, I can run the generator to charge the batteries and run some of the systems.  That's a lot better than having to run the diesel engine at idle for hours on end to keep the batteries fully charged.  One of the worst things that you can do is run a diesel engine at neutral for long periods of time.

As I mentioned in a earlier post, our electric blanket(no reason to rough it)had started to fail.  The sounds of a bad electrical connection in one of the controllers made us a bit nervous.  The replacement--free--from Sunbeam showed up.  We'd bought the blanket a few years ago and they replaced it for us.  How's that for customer service.  Now it may be a yucky shade of grey, but hey, what the heck.  It will still keep us nice and warm.  Especially as they are forecasting the temps to be in the teens over the next few nights.  

Tracy cooked the last half of the our turkey for dinner.  It was Thanksgiving all over again.  Definitely  some of the best turkey I've had in years.  The dark meat on the leg was great.  Normally it is dried out.

Off to class for another three hours of learning.  The cooling system was tonight's topic.  I'm catching on.  I'm really surprised the similarity between gas and diesel engines.  One thing that made it a lot easier was the teachings of Tracys father Wayne.  He took me under his wings many years ago and taught me many things about engines.  Gas I knew--diesel was a mystery.  Not so much now.  I'm not sure what is on the schedule for tonight.

Well, it's back to work.  More to do and the forecast is for winds in the 60mph range for tomorrow and temps in the teens so I have to batten down everything that's outside.

More tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 223 Errands & class

Off to Sequim for errands.  We took off this morning for a day of errands at Sequim about 30 miles from Port Townsend.  It's the closest "big" city for any decent shopping.  The reason they have the businesses, it's that lots of California folks moved there a few years ago to escape the expensive life of farther South.   Sequim is just about half way between Port Townsend and Port Angeles so it draws people from both metro areas.  Plus it's on one of the main roads on the peninsula.  Hair cuts, Costco and Home Depot were the call of the day.

We finally left at 4:45 for home and after getting the car unloaded, and a quick dinner, I was off to class.  Tonight, we covered the diesel fuel area of the engine.  From filtering the diesel before it even goes into the tanks to the  Tanks, fuel lines, and filters.  What to do and what not to do.  When to change the filters and when not to bother--both oil and diesel filters.  From how to get underway from the dock with out sooting up your engine to doing a fast idle check.  

The instructor teaches a 40 hour class that goes into far more depth.  I'll need to see when that is available and plan to be around for it.  By the time I'm done with these classes, I will be much better prepared to handle my engine.

It blew and rained just about all day.  We let the wind generator go to town and make the power for the refrigerator system.  It had a field day with winds getting into the 20+ knot range.  I finally shut it off as we were going to bed.  While not really noisy, there was no reason to let it go the night.

More class tomorrow night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 222 Class begins.

Class on diesel engines started last night.  It's about a 20 minute drive to Port Hadlock so that's not bad at all.  We drove down a few weeks ago just to find the school since I knew I would be driving down after dark.

There are about 18 people in the class so it's not to large.  Lots of nice people.  Many with more knowledge than me and many with less.  I fit right in.  Last night was the basics.  This is a diesel engine and this is how it works.  Lots of information was included about the similarities with gasoline engines.  Probably the biggest difference was that gasoline engines require a spark plug and diesels don't.  The teacher brought out lots of parts from engines he had worked on.  Most were blown and burnt from improper care.  Amazing how trashed parts of an engine can get without the proper care.  Tonight will be more on the "what to do and what not to do" on the engines.   I took out the owners manual for our diesel engine and read through it last night.  That alone gives me information for more question tonight. 

We met a young lady named Kristen that is thinking of having Brion Toss do her rigging.  I ran into her and Gordon as I was heading up to the marina office.  She had her rig inspected and expects to hear back from Brion as to what he recommends and what it may cost.  I invited her over for a chat when they were done.  We talked for about an hour about what to expect and what questions to ask.  She's on a 30 footer and expects to take it off shore like us in the next year with her husband.

I dropped off the stanchion at the welders yesterday and may have it back today.  We will be running errands to Sequim this afternoon so I probably won't pick it up till tomorrow.  The part for the starboard life line came in yesterday at West Marine.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong size and must be reordered.  Oh well.

So today is errands and class tonight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 221 Domestic Sanitation Engineer

Yep, that's me!!  Zephyr's Domestic Sanitation Engineer.  The macerator in the stern head finally needed replacing and I was just the man for the job.  Tracy stood by through the entire job getting tools, buckets, paper towels and more as the job got started.  We'd tested the macerator a while ago and it seemed to be ok but as time went by, it just didn't perform as it should.  It didn't appear to be pumping anything out of the tank when we were well off shore even though you could hear the motor running.  So in we went.  First, close the through hull where the "stuff" exits the boat.  Then start cutting the hoses since they were not going to come off willingly.  All the time with a bucket on hand just in case.  The lower hose first.  Might as well start at the end as at the beginning.  So far so good.  Then we cut the main line into the macerator.  It's a battery powered grinder that makes big things into smaller things and flushes it overboard.  Hey--we're living the dream--right?  Off came the hoses.  Then we took the boards off the wall in the next compartment that covers the steel storage tank.  I wanted to see how and where the hose came out since it was going to need to be replaced.  I took the macerator off Zephyr to wash it out and see if it could be fixed.  It smelled bad enough in Zephyr that there was no reason to make it worse.  I found that two of the bolts that hold the unit together had sheered off and it was only a miracle that it hadn't blown apart.  The impeller that propels the waste overboard was gone.  Only a small piece of plastic was left.  At least I think it was plastic.  I saw no reason to investigate any closer than I needed to--if you get my drift. 

Off to West Marine.  We're there so often, it's like the old tv show "Cheers" except I'm the new Norm when ever we come in.  We found a new macerator--Shurflo.  The same people that stood behind their fresh water pump a few weeks ago that failed.  They shipped me a new one with no questions  asked.  Great customer service.  We also picked up a new stainless steel ring that will be welded to the stanchion on the port side where we enter the boat.  The previous one was too small for the new gate hook I purchased that is far more secure while sailing.  No reason to fall over board unless you have to.

Back to Zephyr to start the installation.  Gee what fun!?!  In went the new hose with lots of shiny hose clamps.  First the big hose that comes off the tank.  But first, when we took off the old hose, the opening to the tank was blocked.  You can guess with what!  Boy are we living the dream out here or what?  I tried poking a screw driver up the hole in the tank.  No good.  Then a piece of wire.  I finally had Tracy go on deck and put some water in the tank in hopes of it loosening the blockage.  Nope that didn't do it either.  Back to the wire.  This time with a bend in the end to try and get it around the corner of the hose bib.  That worked just fine.  It started with just a trickle and then all the "water" Tracy had put in came out!!! Lots of it.  Much more than the small bucket I had in my hands could hold.  Boy, this is so much fun!!  I crammed my hand over the opening and had Tracy get another bucket fast!  This job was quickly loosing its charm.  Tracy ladled some of the "water" from one bucket to the other as I kept my hand over the opening.  I couldn't move the bucket as it was too full.  I then released my hand and the rest of the "water" came out.  All I can say is I'm glad my nose isn't the best in the world.  Tracy was walking around with a paper towel covered in under arm deodorant tied to her face with a cord.  She was quite the sight.  I'd have loved to have taken a picture but I was up to my eyeballs in "stuff".  We cleaned all the fittings and soaked the new hoses in boiling water to get them soft so they would slide over the fittings and put it all back together again.  We screwed down the new macerator and made the electrical connections.  I shrink tube sealed the connections against moisture just to be sure they never have problems.  Once all that was done and the pump tested to make sure it would work, I cleaned up all the fiberglass and wood areas anywhere near the macerator with a good strong bathroom cleaner.  The wall that covers the tank was screwed back on and the job was done.  Now both bow and stern heads have new macerators.  I now know the heads on Zephy far better than I know the plumbing in my own house back home.

We'd started the day changing out the line on the block and tackle that we used to lift the dingy back on board while in Prevost Harbor.  It wasn't quite long enough to make it easily down to the boat.  We added about another 20 feet of line to the setup and it should now be easily able to reach the dingy while it is still in the water with no problems.

As I wrote above, the stanchion at the gate to come on board didn't have the right size ring on it for the new pelican hook that closes the gate.  The starboard side is fine but the port is a good bit smaller.  Go figure.  Off came the stanchion.  I'll be taking it in to be welded on Monday morning.  I have a piece of hardware on order with West Marine to make the one on the opposite side functional.  It should be here in a week or so.

We've had just about everything today as  far as weather goes.  Wind, clouds, rain, sun and calm.  Tomorrow is to be about the same with more rain on Tuesday.  Hey, but what do they know?  Only time will tell.

My diesel class starts tomorrow evening and goes through Thursday night.  Finally the "Diesel for Dummies" class I've been searching for all Summer.  This is making it all the more important that we stayed here in Washington for the Winter.  I'll feel far better able to tackle engine problems as we cruise if I know how they work and how to fix them.  Tracy's father Wayne would approve.  The first time I met him, he was under a 1965 Mustang changing the oil and he had Multiple Sclerosis at the time.  A great guy that taught we a lot in the years I was lucky enough to know him.  I do miss him.

Well, it's after midnight again.  Off to bed.

More tomorrow as the list get worked on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 220 More projects

The fun just keeps on coming!!  More projects to do and check off some that are done.

We took Zephyr to the pumpout station in the morning to get the head tanks emptied.  While we had checked the electric macerator that empties the tanks while far away from shore, apparently the pump in the stern isn't actually doing its job.  With the button pushed, it's not pumping anything out so.  I'd checked it a few weeks ago before we took off for our last shakedown cruise and it appeared to be fine but I guess not so out it will have to come.  Lucky me, I will get to take it apart(after a good cleaning) and see what is wrong and if I can fix it.  That's a lot cheaper than a new one.  The bad thing is that I will probably have to take out the plumbing for the sink that is in the way of getting the unit out.  The hoses that are attached to the macerator are on real tight and don't come off easily.

We scrubbed down the entire deck getting all the dirt and salt from our trip around the islands.  It's amazing how dirty a boat can get even when surrounded  by lots of water.  We've been dive bombed by seagulls more than once.  

While we were out, I made quite a list of things that needed attention when we got back as well as a list of people to contact to see if they can answer questions that have come up.  We're slowly chewing through them, one by one all the while adding more as more things come up.  

We've bought new line-rope-for the dingy.  New polypropylene line that floats.  This way, if we tow our "taxi" instead of putting her back on deck, the line won't have a chance of going down in the water and fouling the propeller.  One of the last things I would want to do is to go swimming in this water.  It's to COLD!  The ends are all whipped(thin twine wrapped around the ends to keep them from unraveling) and they are set to be attached.

That's about it for yesterday.  We took a walk or two to get some exercise.  That's one big reason for having the dingy available is so that we can get ashore and walk around.  You don't get a lot of exercise when your on a boat.  Of course when sailing you do, but at anchor you don't.

Raining--gee what fun?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 219 Back in Point Hudson again.

Blue came on deck during our trip back from from MacKays Bay.  It's the first time she has come up on deck while the engine was running.  She wandered around the deck without a care in the world.  Peering over the side and looking down into the water.  We kept a close watch over her stroll.  The boys stayed down below.  They had no interest in coming up.  She stayed up there until just before we arrived at Point Hudson.

We checked in with Sea Marine about what we had found wrong during the 12 days we were out.  They arrived at Zephyr this afternoon and started working on correcting the problems.  They fixed the stereo--stopped working.  Took off the grounding strap that rides on the propeller shaft and grounds the electrical systems on board.  It wouldn't stay in place and made lots of noise as it vibrated against the propeller shaft.  The sump pumps for the showers has been also fixed.  Now when you hit the switch for the stern pump, it actually pumps the stern sump instead of the one in the bow.

Now the anchor light has them all perplexed.  It had worked fine after it was installed.  We had let it work its magic for several days after it was installed.  It came with a photo cell that turns it on automatically at dusk and off at dawn.  A great feature so that if you are on shore at sundown, you don't have to rush back to the boat to turn it on.  Well, we checked it out while on the trip and found it didn't work.  We turned on our "running" lights instead while we were at anchor.  These are lights at the bow and stern on board.  Better to see us than not during the night at anchor.  The lights do work but a cigarette lighter makes more light than our anchor light.  It glows at the brightness of a dim star.  They have ordered a replacement for it and hope to have it some time next week.  No real rush as we will need to stay here during the diesel class I will be taking this next week.  

Today was clean up Zephyr, do laundry and run errands.  One of the reasons we returned was we were out of clean clothes.    It get quite chilly out there so you dress in layers.  This tends to go through clean clothes fast, especially long sleeved shirts.  I'm not sure I want to get to close to my long johns.  They are pretty ripe by now.

With laundry done, we took off on errands.  Lunch at Sea J's and then over to West Marine for some line and other things we needed.  Then down to a marine exchange.  This is a store that buys old boat equipment and resells it.  We traded some of the things we found on Zephyr for a wind scoop that we will be using a lot once we get South next year.  It fits in the hatches and helps pull fresh air inside Zephyr to keep her cooler.  Not a lot of  use for it this far North.

With the oil pressure switch going bad, I stopped at NAPA and bought the two that they had in stock.  One for now and one for later as needed.  It's already in a plastic bag stowed in the bilge.  I installed the new one tonight and will start the engine tomorrow to make sure it works properly.  

Our replacement fresh water pump arrived while we were gone.  The existing one that I installed back on May doesn't like to shut off once it reaches the pressure it is set at.  The manufacturer sent me a replacement.  I'll be installing it later next week.  While no water leaks from the pipes, every time it runs it uses lots of unnecessary amps from our batteries and that's not good when you are our cruising.  It needs to run, get to the right pressure and shut off.  I don't want it to keep turning it self on and off when it is not necessary.

Well, it's after midnight.  Bed time.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 217 Off we go again

We set off from Roche Harbor about 9:15 this morning for parts unknown. We thought we would stop at a small island called Turn Island along the South end of the San Juan Channel. Not a breathe of wind but quite a current as we left Roche Harbor. The bad thing was that it was against us. We'd planned to be out by 8:15 but that just wasn't in the cards. While we had only been here one night, it still took us a while to get ready to leave.

Yesterday, just after we checked in, we ran into one of the men that works for Sea Marine. Randy, one of the crane/boat llft men was outside the marina office. He's pretty much a jack of all trades around the yard. A really nice guy. We had lunch at the Lime Kiln Cafe and talked about what we had been up to since we left the dock 11 days ago. Work has slowed down over the past few weeks and some of their projects had been placed on hold for a while apparently. It was nice to just sit and talk without one of the other people in the yard--bosses--seeing us chatting. Afterwards, it was back to Zephyr to get cleaned up and things set up for the evening.

We fought the current until we made it to the San Juan Channel--about two miles and then headed South. We passed Friday Harbor along the way. It's one of the bigger towns in the islands. We found no reason to stop on this trip. Maybe the next time out. We got to Turn Island--another state park and hooked up to one of the buoys to see how it was. We both felt it was a bit to exposed to traffic as well as currents for our liking so we unhooked and set off for Fishermans Bay along the East side of the channel. I called to check for availability. They had slips so off we took at least until I asked the price--$49.00 for one night. That's almost as much as we paid at Point Hudson during the Summer. It's way out of line for a Winter slip. I hung up and we looked at the charts and set off for MacKays Bay on the South side of Lopez Island. A well protected bay with a few houses and no other boats. As we approached the end of the channel, it gets quite narrow and the current speeds up. By the time we got there, we were doing 10.8 knots. That's about as fast as we have ever had Zephyr under motor. Much faster that she would normally ever go under engine. The current was just over 2 knots with lots of eddies in the water as it flew through the end of the narrows. It was quite a ride. We were on constant watch for logs and debris as we went. The last thing we wanted was to hit something at that speed.

We pulled in about 1:15 and dropped the anchor and tried to get it to set. I wasn't sure it did, so we have been watching it every time the wind blows in any fashion. We both had another great lunch of turkey leftovers. Tracy is now out of hers and I'm down to just a few pieces. Enough for a nice portion of turkey curry again.

We saw a bit more Sun today but all in all, it was a bit chilly all day. We were both well bundled up. Once we got settled, I took a shower in the stern head. Try taking a shower in a room about half the size of an old telephone booth with a nice curtain the tends to stick to you when ever you turn or move in the room. At least the water was still hot from using the 110 power plus the engine heated water. I still had some hot water left when I was done.

Now taking a shower on boat is a lot different than what you do at home. You make sure you are all ready--soap, shampoo, brushes(as needed) etc. Get into the shower stall(tiny stall that is), turn on the water--but be carful, it's not hot when it starts flowing(God, it can be cold). Suddenly, it gets hot--not just hot but HOT. You stop for a second and add some cold water, all the while aware that you could run out of hot at any second as your tank is quite small and it's been a while since you left the dock with nice heated water. Spray yourself down and then turn off the water--the shower has an "off" switch on it. We bought it at an RV showroom. Now that your wet, soap up and do it quickly--again, the hot water may not be running, but there is only so much of it. Now you're covered in soap and shampoo and get to rinse off--again in fear of running out. It's like taking a shower on a timer(at the marina). You just never know when your water will suddenly stop and pray that you have gotten all the soap off when it does. In a boat, you can't just add quarters to the controller and get more hot water. When it's gone, it's gone and believe me, I really don't care for a cold shower at least not until we get to some place that's warmer.

We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and checking on deck at each gust of wind to make sure Zephyr was safe and sound.

Tonights dinner was a great beef enchilada that Tracy has made for years. It's nice and spicy. Tracy claims I've burned out my taste buds as I can eat much more spicy foods than she can. Being raised in Pennsylvania, spicy was something that was never on our menu at home. Tracy and I were talking just the other day about dinners we had as children. I really had a hard time remembering meals my mother made. The biggest memory was cauliflower with velveeta cheese on it. To this day, I can't and won't eat it. I hated it then and still do. My father rarely barbecued. Maybe twice that I can remember and that was for parties. I just couldn't remember. Strange. When you read this brother Rick, leave me a "comment" if your memory is any better.

Tomorrow, we are heading back to Point Hudson after twelve days. A great shakedown cruise. Our education is growing every day. I now watch the battery monitor regularly, especially when something is running to see how many amps it is drawing and planning out how long it will be before we will need to start the engine to recharge. I now have a better understanding of the "system" and how it works. A battery is like a quart container. The container holds amps. As they spill out, the container holds less until you know that you have to refill it or the container will run out. That can't be allowed to happen. Watch, watch watch. Charge charge charge.

The computer ran out of juice and there was no internet connection so now it's Thursday and we are about a third of the way across the Straits of Juan DeFuca. Just a breathe of wind so we put up the sails. First time in a week plus that we have been able to sail. Well, try at least. After about 45 minutes of going less than a knot, in came the sails and on came the engine and we are currently motor/sailing. The main is still up to stable keep us riding flatter in the chop that is out here. A lot less rolling side to side.

I'll write more later--

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More photos

Rocky cliffs along Stuart Island.  Now that we can get ashore with the dingy, I can take more pictures.
The calm of Prevost Harbor.  Bad thing is that calm doesn't make electricity on our wind generator.
Reid Harbor on the South side of Stuart Island across from Prevost Harbor.
The shore line of Stuart Island.
A Madrone tree.  It looses it bark as it grows up.  I don't know how it lives without it.
Our shuttle bus to shore.
And you think your roof may be having a problem?
Thistles by the Deer Harbor Marina. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 216 Connected again.

Here's a scene from our walk around Stuart Island.

We're in Roche Harbor tied up to a dock nice and safe and sound.  They sure like getting money form visitor here.  Lunch--two hamburgers with fries and one Pepsi came to $25.00.  A load of wash is $3.50 for a half size load and the same for the drier for only 40 minutes of drying time.  That's normally just short of when the cloths are actually dry.  There is only one grocery store in town and while well stocked, it is about 50% more for everything than your local Safeway. 

We started the day in Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island and the Sun actually came out for the first time in a week.  Boy it was nice to finally see it again.  Having been living in Colorado for so long, we had learned to take it for granted.  Suddenly being surrounded by clouds and fog can be a real downer especially after being without it for a week.  It was so nice and warm on our skin.

We're heading back to Hudson Point to start on the continuing refit and repair.  We made a list for Sea Marine to redo since some systems have failed.  Plus a long list of things we have thought about that need repair.  We have already ordered some parts before we left and some
 should be in by the time we get back.

 Here's the plane that followed us into Deer Harbor the day before Thanksgiving.

The shoreline on Reid Harbor on the opposite side of Stuart Island from Prevost harbor.

We've found a much easier way to get the dingy on and off Zephyrs deck.  Bill left us a block and tackle to hoist the dingy using a small crane attached to the rigging on the starboard side.  We brought a small whisker pole that we had had on our last boat.  A "whisker pole" is normally used to hold a jib or genoa sail out away from a small boat when sailing downwind.  We attached it to the mast using the spinnaker pole attachment(that's what holds the big colorful sail out in front of the boat)  then hooked a halyard(rope that raised the sails) to the end of it along with the block and tackle.  We then attached the other end of the block and tackle to the dingy and hoisted her up and on board.  With this being said, now we will need to find a spinnaker pole for Zephyr as the whisker pole is a bit small for this job but at least it will work for the time being. 

Each island seems to have it's own personality.  While they are all in the same chain, each is slightly different from the trees to ferns to the leaves from the trees.  

Day 217? Maybe, maybe not.

We just came back from a nice hike around the state park here at Prevost Bay. Up and down trails with lots of fauna and not much flora this time of year. Lots of moss and ferns and we even saw a deer. I"ll post pictures once I get connected back to the internet. This program won't let me add them unless I'm connected. At least if it will, I haven't figured out how to do it.

The day started with more drizzle and fog. By midmorning, it was high enough that we could see the islands across the Haro Straits. By the time we got back from the hike--about 3:15, the fog had settled enough that you couldn't see to the end of the bay let alone across the strait. The entrance to bay was just about gone too.

We were buzzed by the local immigration boat earlier this afternoon. They buzzed into the bay and passed by all three of the boats here. There are two more across the bay that are anchored up together. I'm sure we are now in some government data base with our name and hailing port. There can't be too many "Zephyr"s with a hailing port of Denver. We've gotten asked by many people as they walk the docks how we got her here from Colorado.

With Washingtons rules of how long we can stay, we will have to watch our dates to see when we may need to get re-uped on our stay permits. Not being sure when they actually started us as being here, we don't want to get caught short. We probably appeared on their radar when we bought the parks permit. You can only stay for 180 days--total and then must leave the state for at least a year. If you buy one of their new permits--$500.00, you can stay a year but must then leave Washingtons waters for two years. If you don't leave, they require you to register your boat here in Washington and pay taxes and sales taxes as though you bought it here. That is one of the primary reasons we took Zephyr out of the state as soon as we did.

It's just started raining again. Could be why it's so green on these islands.

We hope to be off South to Roche Harbor tomorrow. There is more fog in the forecast so we will see. Radar makes it easier but it sure is nicer to be able to see as you go through the straits. It makes it easier to avoid other ships. As big as Roche is, I'm sure they will have internet and my cell phone will work again.

Day ? Not really sure anymore!

Another day without the internet. Well sort of. When we left Jones Island on our way to Provost Bay on Stuart Island, I went below for a short time and got connected!! I rushed through all our normal sights and did my downloads and uploads and headed back up on deck. There was some fog as we left Jones Island and it was now in full force. Visibility kept getting less and less. By the time we got to the entrance to Prevost, you could just barely see from one point of land to the other as we made our way through the cut to get in the harbor. That makes visibility of only about 100 yards on each side of Zephyr if that. We are both thankful that Bill(previous owner) had installed radar on Zephyr. While we have lots of chart plotters to get us from one place to another, the radar tells us what is out there. A big help in pea soup. As we entered the bay(in pea soup), another sail boat came out of the mist and cut right across our bow. We had the right of way but he had other ideas. We put Zephyr into reverse and waited until he was past. At least he waved to us as he passed.

We pulled up to a buoy(found it in the pea soup) and hooked up until I could row ashore to see how the dock was. Better safe than sorry. Lots of room so in we came and tied up nice and snug. The State Parks had removed the dock at Jones Island for the Winter. The normal charges for being tied up to the dock are .50/foot/night. We're getting closer to getting our money back for the state parks permit. We expect to stay here for at least two nights before we start heading back to Point Hudson.

As you have all read by now, internet and cell phone while great isn't always available here in the islands. You can go from great to non-existant simply by changing islands or going around a point of land. It all depends on where the towers are. On the North side of Jones Island, there was none. On the South side, there were two bars. One thing they really don't tell you is to watch out for "roaming" charges. Once you get this close to Canada, if you connect, you may be "roaming" and get nailed for BIG charges by the folks up North.

A big challenge is keeping trash to a minimum as what ever you make, you have to haul around with you till you get to a disposal station. Tracy has been known to wash the dishes sometime four or five times a day. Paper plates and bowls are out. We cut cans flat and squash plastic bottles. We wash the dishes when the engine is running as that is what makes the hot water. Unless there is shore power, that is the only way--short of a tea kettle--that you will get hot water for the dishes or for a shower.

The other problem while cruising is the conservation of the battery charge. Many things that we have taken for granted are no longer used. Hair driers, toasters, microwaves, electric tea kettles all are things of the past while cruising. Our inverter makes 110 power but since it was made for the previous generation of electric appliances, it really won't power what we use. No electric blankets at night!!! The toaster clicks when we try and use it. Since I bought it last Spring when the previous one melted, we have a while before we will be getting a newer generation. Our diesel heater can really chew up the batteries. Since it has been having a problem--flameouts--we have to monitor it each time it comes on or it will run for an hour or more gobbling up the amps. It will run only once during the night and then goes into fault mode and won't run again until the switch is reset. It's on the list of things that need looking at when we return to civilization. There has been virtually no wind for the new DuoGen to make power from so we are forced to run the engine about two to three hours a day to keep the batteries as full as possible. Our life revolves around our batteries. We're learning to live the dream!!!

If you're looking for us on Google Earth, we're at 48 40.662N 123 11.908W. The last time I used Nobeltecs VNS software, it had us on Jones Island, not in the bay at Jones Island. We were about 200 yards inland. And here I thought these things were accurate. It pays to pay attention to where you are and not go by what your electronics tell you. You can loose a boat that way.