Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 456 The Hydrovane is done!

(The propeller is on the DuoGen beside the Hydrovane.)

Up early this morning to start work while it was still cool.

We started finishing the pre-installation of the Hydrovane.  Cut and fit and cut and fit until we were satisfied with the installation.  The problem we ran into was the stainless steel bolts locked up again with the nylon locking nuts.  While they went on sort of easily, they refused to come back off.  Out came the hack saw and off they came.  Off to the chandlery for more bolts and nuts.

With the Hydrovane off, I "buttered" the back of the teak pads with a special water proof bedding compound and took the brackets and bolted them through the stern.  The bottom bracket first and then the top bracket.  We measured the distance between the bracket and the vertical bearing pole and had the stainless steel pipe that joins the two(see the photo)cut to fit.  And in it all went.  

Once the brackets were installed, we mounted the drive unit at the top and pulled the red cover over the vane and laced it down and we were done.  As the wind hits the red wind vane, it tips from side to side and as it does that, the rudder moves from side to side and steers Zephyr.  With the DuoGen down in the water, we will make electricity as we sail and the Hydrovane will steer us along our route.  We had it all done by noon.  

We took off for Sea J's for a nice lunch and to enjoy a bit cooler restaurant.  Seattle broke an ALL TIME temperature record of 103.  Olympia hit 106!!  The "Hudson Effect" continues.

With it being so hot, we relaxed during the afternoon and read while we sat in the shade and tried to stay cool.  After dinner, we took off for the showers to cool off.  Tomorrow, more of the same. 

Tomorrow, I'm off for Seattle for the day.  Tracy is staying here so the kids can stay cooler with the doors open and the fans on.  With luck it will be cooler.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 455 The "Hudson Effect" is back.

For those of you that have been following our blog for a while, you know that I have talked about the "Hudson Effect".  Wherever we go, strange weather follows.  From the very high(80 knot) winds that slammed into Newport during our short stay there, to last August(our  being the wettest August that Seattle has ever had.  Last Winter was the 5th worst that they have ever had up here.  Record cold and snow.  This time we have brought on the heat.  We are expected to set new records for heat up here.  We may even hit 100 in Seattle tomorrow.  The forecast for the next 4 days is temps in the mid to high 90's.  They have never had more than 4 days of consecutively being in the 90's.  Seattle was there yesterday and it is expected to continue.  People out here--even though we are only in the mid-80's are just melting under the heat and Sun.  I can't imagine the effect we will have as we travel the world.  

We spent yesterday morning working on replacing the zincs on the stern down by the rudder.  In the past, they have been tear drop shape and needed to be custom drilled to fit over a bolt that goes through the keel.  Tracy went to the local chandlery and picked up some rectangular ones and they fit the keel perfectly with one on either side of the bolt.

You can see both types in the picture(remember to click on the picture to see it bigger).  The tear drop is to the right and the two rectangular ones at the bottom of the picture.  We put the zinc on the Max Prop with the corners painted with bright red nail polish.  We'll see if it makes a difference.

In the afternoon, we started in on the top teak fitting for the Hydrovane.  We fitted and sanded it a bit more and slid it in just fine.  Then the pilot holes were drilled to make sure it fit through the hull in a good place(not that there was a choice)and we could have a backing plate made.  We then drilled the 3/8" holes and put in the new stainless steel bolts and fitted the nylon nuts to hold it in place.  Now the problems started.  The nuts would go only about half way on and then locked.  And I mean LOCKED!! They wouldn't go on any farther and wouldn't come off.  I broke the ratchet wrench trying to get them back off so we could attach the backing plate once we get it made today.  I finally got one off but the second had to be cut off.  A new blade in the hack saw and off it came.  The local chandlery is ordering in new bolts today.  I don't think I will use the nylon nuts again and will probably take off the ones I just installed ion the rudder post if they are that nasty.

The new slides came for the mainsail came yesterday and are about to be fitted.  The one on the right is the old one.  It would move side to side but not up and down.  Too much salt in the fitting.  We just installed them and Tracy can now(with some grunting) get the sail to the top of the mast.  When I went to the metal fabricator to have the backing plate made, I showed him the fittings and he thinks he can get then loosened up so they will move correctly.  If so, they will go into the spare parts bin for use if something happens to the ones we just installed.

Well, it's back to work.  More things to do and people to see.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 454 Work and play.

We started out the day with work and then went to Port Angeles to see the sand sculptures.  Work and play.

I started the day fitting the upper fitting for our new Hydrovane.  The original teak pad I had made fit the stern curvature of the boat perfectly but the base of the Hydrovane required a different angle other than what I had.  So off to the wood shop with the teak board and I cut another board to epoxy to the first one.  This one required a slanted cut while the base board required a convex cut to fit the hull.  

Cut, sand, measure and fit--over and over until I got it just right.

As you can see, it took some work to get the angle and thickness just right.  Today will be the test drilling and having the stainless steel backing plate made for inside Zephyr.  The nice thing about Boat Haven is that there are lots of places to get things made in relatively short order.

When I returned to Zephyr, I was covered with teak sawdust.  Tracy said it looked like I had on a reddish brown powder make up on.  After lunch, I was off to the showers to get it off before we left for Port Angeles.  

The above was titles "Chicken Itsa"

As we walked back to the car, we saw these metal pieces of art out over the water.

On the way back we passed through Sequim and made stops at both Walmart and Costco for more provisions.  It may be our last trip to both for a while since I will be leaving for Denver in about a week if all works out.

Home by 1900 and try and figure out where to put it all and then a nice dinner continental style(later than usual).

Well, it's time to get back to work.  More to get done today while it is still a bit cooler.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 453 One solved and one started.

It was a busy Saturday.  While the yard is sort of closed--at least the office, boats went in and out all day.  People were everywhere working on their boats.  Sanding, painting, and grinding just to site a few I saw.  One guy was working with a big blowtorch burning and scraping off the paint on the side of his old wood boat.  

As many of you have read, we have had a problem with the electrical systems.  It used to be that when we were on shore power, all the systems worked fine.  Then last Saturday(a week ago) after a power outage, the starboard outlets caused our circuit panels "reverse polarity" light to glow.  In the past, that had only happened when we used the Honda generator since the ground on the generator wasn't hooked up to the system.  We had the use of only half the outlets on Zephyr.  I went in search of the problem, multi meter in hand.  

I started with the newest outlet on Zephyr.  I had installed a new 110 outlet in back the galley.  I put the multi meter wands into the outlet and got a strange reading.  Only 47 volts.  Off with the cover(turned off the power first)to get to the wiring.  I checked the connections--tight.  Then the current.  Still only 47 volts.  I checked the connections in different configurations.  As it turns out, the ground wire wasn't the ground wire.  It completed the circuit.  I'd been told how to wire the circuit by the folks at Sea Marine.  They had even put tape on the bus bar as to where to attach exactly what wires.  Ends up they got it wrong.  I switched the white and green wires and the circuit was now fine.  It read a nice 120 volts(after I turned on the circuit panel switch).  The "reverse polarity" light was no longer on.  Victory!!!  We hoisted the Honda generator back on board.  We'd kept it in the car since getting it fixed.  We hooked up the wires to it and started it up.  No "reverse polarity" on it now when we turned on the switches.  Problem solved!!  Now we don't need to have an electrician.

Lunch and on to the Hydrovane.  That's our new wind driven autopilot that gets mounded to the the stern(back of the boat).  I'd shaped teak pads to go between the brackets and hull as there are no flat surfaces on boats and the bracket(flat on the back) must be securely mounted to the stern.  We drilled small holes through the hull to see how thick it was.  Surprisingly, only about 1.75 inches.   The thinnest section we have seen on Zephyr.  We had a special stainless steel backing plate made on Friday afternoon to hold the bolts nice and secure.  There will be a lot of stress on the bracket and bolts as it steers Zephyr.

Once we made sure it fit the backing plate, I drilled the first 3/8" hole and Tracy fit the plate and nut.  Then the second  pilot hole.  The outside of Zephyr is rounded while where we are attaching the plate is flat so getting the outside hole to line up with the inside hole took some work.

Once the first was done, we started on the second hole.  Again, a pilot hole was drilled.  slightly off so I corrected the angle and drilled a second.  Got it right this time so on with the 3/8" bit and in it went.  Lined up fine so in went the second bolt.  The first part was done.  Everything hinges on it being installed straight on the stern.  The top bracket gets it alignment from the bottom bracket.  We started fitting the top bracket and found that the angle for it where it fits onto the hull needs a bigger piece of teak.  So today's project is to cut and shape another piece of teak and laminate it to the bottom teak pad with epoxy to make the pad bit perfectly.  I checked with the wood shop(ok to use their tools on Sunday) and borrowed the bent sander from Bottoms Up Marine Services(BUMS)again.  Now I have the tools to do it properly and sort of easily.  I've never been big on compound angles and wood.  

We took the screen that fits the companion way door to have a new set of doors made.  Panels

instead of swinging doors.  They are pretty but if we took a lot of water on board could come off their hinges and get washed away.  The new ones fit in the same slot in the door frame as the screen and allow us to close off below decks or with the second bottom board, allow some air flow as well as communicate with anyone below during a blow yet keep the amount of the opening relatively small.  We also had a set of door panels made in clear Lexan so on cloudy days we can put them in and have the security yet have more light below decks.  It can get dark down there.  Now all we have to do is make bags to hold them so they don't get scratched. 

Off for a nice shower and a great steak dinner.  It started raining as we finished dinner and continued for several hours.  It's the first rain we have seen in quite a while and first Port Townsend has had in over a month.  The grass is quite brown around here.  I expect today to be quite muggy as the temperature is set for the high 70's(hey, that's hot up here).

Well, it's off to the wood shop.  I have work to do.

More tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 450, 451 & 452 Projects, projects, projects.

Where to start.  The last three days have been pretty much a blur running here and there and working on Zephyr.

The bottom paint is just about on.  We finally hired a company(Bottoms Up Marine Services-BUMS) to scrap and clean the hull as far down as possible (without hitting the fiberglass) and seal it and put on two additional coats of Interlux Micron Extra paint.  It took them several hours(even with big muscled guys) to get the paint off.  Tracy followed them around with a broom to get all the chipped paint cleaned up.  The EPA has a fit if that stuff is allowed to blow or migrate off the plastic tarp under the boat.  

The bad news is that once they took it down, we found some small blisters in the hull.   These are called "osmotic blisters".  Water seeps over time under the fiberglass and make a small or in some cases large blister in the surface.  It's not bad(no boat has ever sunk from it) but you never like to see them on your hull.  In the past, we had seen blisters but they had been between the layers of paint.  I consulted with the fiberglass men on the yard and they all said to just leave them alone.  They were very small and not that deep and "might" cause some problems in 10 to 15 years but not a big deal.  So we sealed them and painted over them and that is that.

The picture is of the Hydrovane steering assembly we're installing.  It will steer the boat while we are out sailing.  The red vane at the top is aligned with the wind and if it changes direction, it moves a rudder at the base and keeps the boat on it course.  Of course, that is as long as the wind stays in the direction you want the boat to go in.  I'll add some pictures once we get it all installed for a better idea how it is set up.  I had a backing plate made yesterday for the bottom rod.  Today, we will start drilling through the transom(stern of the boat) to install part of it and measure for the installation of the rest.

Here's a  picture is of a Max Prop--our propeller.  At the end of the prop is a "zinc".  A soft chunk of metal that the sea water erodes to stop it from attaching all the other metal on the boat.  I found on the internet, an adapter that holds a different, heavier zinc.  The brass part

screws into the same holes as the original but with a bigger zinc, it will last a lot longer and it.  The original zinc screws on with three screws.  Unfortunately, at the thinnest area of the zinc so it gets eaten through quite quickly.  The last one we installed in in Prince Rupert on our way up to Alaska after the last one fell off.  I read an article on Google about covering the thin zinc area with nail polish to stop the salt water from attacking it so quickly.  As I still have 4 more of these expensive zincs on board, I'm going to try the nail polish before I attach the new fitting.  At least if the new nail polished zincs die, we'll be in warmer water where I can dive down and replace them.  Up here, it's either haul out or hire a diver to replace them as were forced to do in Prince Rupert.  We are trying to get an electrician(not with Sea Marine) to come to Zephyr for an over all look see at her wiring.  We are still facing the reverse polarity problem that cropped up after the quick blackout last Saturday.  Better to have it done now while we have time then later. 

Brion Toss and Gordon came by and started working on the rigging to see why we still have so much problem hoisting the main sail.  They hoisted a 5 gallon water can to see how it reacts under stress with the use of the sail track(see if it is binding in the track) and with out(see if the sheave at the top of the mast is binding).  The reran the main halyard inside the mast to make it as clear a path for it as possible.  They planned to come back yesterday and go up the mast to take a look. While Tracy and I were putting the sail back in the slide on the mast, I looked at the slugs that hold the sail to the track and found that the ones that work in unison with the battens(long fiberglass rods that hold the sail out horizontally) were binding up.  The are made to slide in the track and move from side to side as well as up and down as the sail is pulled up or shifts once it is up.  Three of the four would move from side to side but not in an up and down motion.  We don't know if that may contribute to the  problem but I ordered four more--this time in stainless steel--to replace the originals.  We'll see in a few days if it makes a difference.  If not, up goes Brion or Gordon to look at the top of the mast and it's sheaves.

The kids are still having fun watching all the activity around the yard.  There is a small dog on the boat next door that yaps at them from time to time.  They just stare back and continue wandering along the deck to find a shady spot to relax in.  

I've got more parts to order and more projects to get going on so I'll quit now but be back with more later.  The work continues. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 449 Running in place.

Today was a day of running but not getting much done.  We went in search of bungs.  These are tapered wood plugs that are used to plug holes that might occur if one of your through hulls blows out.  It's more common than we thought.  You are supposed to keep one tied to each through hull so that if anything should happen, you have the plug right there.  We hit every place we could think of with no success.  I need 16 of them to take care of all of the ones we have.  I'll have to order and have then shipped in I guess.

We stopped in at the Honda place to see about the generator.  Not that we need it now that we are out of the water.  Nope, not done yet.  They called an hour later and told us it was ready to be picked up.  Go figure.

Off to the storage building to pick up the Hydrovane and a fan(getting hotter here).  We plan on starting the installation tomorrow or Thursday.  Since we have the bottom painters here tomorrow, it will probably have to wait a day or so, plus we will need to have some teak pads made to go between the unit and the hull so that the bracket will fit snugly and not shift when it is under load.

Into Fastenal to find locking nuts for the rudder shaft and steering gear.  They didn't have nuts to fit my bolts, so I just bought two more bolts and locking nuts.  Problem solved.

Off to see Brion Toss about coming down to fix the sheave in the mast head.  We left a message with Christian, his wife and left for lunch at Shanghai(YUM).  Gordon(works for Brion) showed up later at Zephyr and told me they would be by tomorrow to check out the rigging to see why we are having such a problem getting the mainsail to the top of the mast.

More boats are coming and going every day here.  We have one right beside us.  It came in by truck!  The boatyard men took their lift and pulled it right off the truck and put in on stands right next door.  This is definitely a busy yard.  They pull and launch more boats here in a day than Sea Marine does on a month.  There's activity all over the place and no shortage of people to talk to if you have problems or questions.

We unpacked the Hydrovane and stowed it in the forward compartment till we can get to it.  Hopefully in a day or two.  Once it is done, I can head off for Denver to take the car back home.

Tonight, a warm quiet evening.

Day 447 & 448 On the run.

Sunday was a constant state of motion.  We loaded up the car with laundry and took off for the laundromat.  We'd considered using the one at Point Hudson but they only have four washers and that wouldn't begin to cover our needs so we used the one in town--more expensive but more machines.  In the end, we did nine loads of wash( lots of new clothes-I've lost 45 pounds) and 4 of driers.  It's been a while since we took everything off the boat and had it cleaned so it was time.  While the clothes were drying, we went across the street for a quick burger at Sea J's restaurant.  OH, by the way,  if you ever get to Ketchikan, make sure you eat at Burger Queen along the main road by the harbor.  Best hamburgers we've ever had.  Back to the laundry to fluff and fold and back to Zephyr for the afternoon projects.  

Tracy started on the rudder taking the paint off.  We've built up quite a few layers of paint over the years and when we hauled out at Point Hudson there were blisters of water between the layers that eventually dried out and popped off.  This time, we decided to just start stripping off all the paint.  We bought some liquid stripper after getting advice that using a sander would be a much tougher and messier job.  Hard to believe it could be messier than semi melted glop that Tracy was slowly scraping off.

I headed for the bilge to get all the anchor mud and water out that had made it's way there during the anchor locker cleaning.  Plus, the emergency switch that turns on the bilge pump had stopped working the last time I tried it.  In I went, bucket and bailing cup in hand and out the water came.  I poured it into a bigger bucket and bailed and bailed and bailed.  Each time, upside down with a small head light to shine light down there.  I finally ended up using a sponge to get the last out.  Then out with the platform that holds all the pumps and hoses and off to the wash station for the yard to give it a good cleaning.  It's not to hygienic down there.

I sat on the back deck and installed the new switch.  This time, I used heat shrink fittings on the electric wires to make sure they stay rust free.  Back in it went and the hose were all connected and then the electrical was reattached just as it had come off.  I tried the main switch pump--started just fine.  Then, to activate the "emergency"switch, you have to lift a float lever that turns on the pump.  Up with the float and guess what--it didn't work.  Rats!!  So I decided to start at the circuit panel and work my way to the switch.  I checked for 12 volts of power and came out with 1.5 volts at the circuit breaker.  Bad switch?  I took the wires off and moved them to the next breaker as it is one of the few that are not being used.  Hooked it up and it worked just fine when I lifted the float.  So back to the original breaker.  It appeared fine, so I checked the screws that hold the wires on and found one to be loose.  It was tight enough to allow some voltage through but not tight enough to allow all 12 volts through.  I tightened it and reattached the switch wires and the switch worked just fine.  So the original switch is probably just fine and will be bagged for a spare should I ever need one.  Since they have a warranty of five years, not much chance of that.  

Tracy was meanwhile still painting on the stripper and scraping away down below.  It was a lot slower than  either of us had thought it would be.  We decided to rent a sander on Monday.

Dinner and off to the showers at Point Hudson and off to bed.

Monday morning, off to the tool rental place for the sander.  I started making phone calls and getting things on order.  We'd made a list of tasks and things that we need and now we were getting things on order and projects started.  Tracy suited up in a protection suit again and started with the sander while I started making phone calls.  

I ordered a full set of hoses for the engine.  We had two fail while we were out(luckily I could fix them).  I'm going to get a full set since I figure most are original to the date of manufacture.  I then hooked up the tv antenna that had given us no reception since we bought it back in February.  I'd gotten a replacement amplifier shipped in when we were in Naniamo but we have not been anywhere near where we might get reception.  I hooked it up and let it do a "channel search" and now it works fine.  We pulled in several channels.  Problem solved.

I found a circuit bus bar in the forward head that goes to the running lights a while ago while we were out that was quite rusted at the screws.  I went in search of a new bar and got the old wired clipped off(rusted onto the bar)and new heat shrink fittings attached and all mounted.  A potential problem solved before it became one.

I took off the nut to the steering post that keeps coming loose and headed for the one and only hardware store in town to get a locking nut.  They set me up and back to Zephyr.  It didn't fit the bolt.  Back to the hardware store with the bolt and nut this time.  They couldn't find anything that fit the bolt.  Not standard nor metric.  We tried lots of threads and styles with no success so I'll be off to Fastenal today to see what they have.

As Tracy was sanding away at the hull, she was approached by a man from Bottoms Up Marine Services.  They talked about the job and how his company could do it better and much faster.  We discussed it and then we went over and discussed it with them.  They will sand it all down, wash the hull to get everything off and then put on two coats of paint for a decent fee.  Tracy was worn out.  They will be here on Wednesday to do the job.  Since Zephyr sits so low in the water--half the waterline tape is now in the water(she weighed in at 53,000 pounds at haul out) we will be having the paint now cover the water line tape area.  We had to routinely clean the hull at the water line as things kept growing there above the bottom paint.

We are going to have an electrician look at Zephyr while we are here.  The "reverse polarity" light came on late Saturday night during the wind storm.  There was a small "bang" off the boat and the power failed for a second or two.  Since then, the "reverse polarity" light came on(bad) but only on the starboard side when the switch is turned on.  The same thing happens when we use the Honda but has never done it with shore power.  So, either something has happened on board or the yards circuits have gotten a problem during that bang we heard Saturday night.  I guess we will see.

The projects continue.  At least we are out 11 days earlier than had been planned.

More to come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 446 On the hard--again.

The day dawned with just a bit of wind and with great sunny skies.  We were on the schedule to be hauled out at 1100 so we had lots of things to do before hand. 

We checked in with the moorage office to let them know we would not be spending another night in the marina.  They'll credit our bill with the refund for the moorage.  At 0900, Sean the lift operator stopped by to see Zephyr and make plans for the haul out and let us know what to expect.  We had lots of paperwork to read--liability stuff.

We had to fill Zephyrs water tanks as there is no water in the yard.  That took us till almost 1030 and then we motored over to the waste pump out station to pump out our sewage.  It was now closing in on 1100 so we made for the "waiting dock".  Sean came back down and stepped off Zephyrs length and looked at pictures we have of previous haul outs to see where the straps for the haul out went on Zephyrs hull.  Off he went to get the lift ready.  I walked down and took a look at the dock situation for turning Zephyr around so we could back into the lift.

A few minutes later they signaled that they were ready for us at the lift.  On came the engine and in we went.  I'd warned the small boat beside the lift that we were coming and that they might want to put out some fenders just in case.  The woman looked at me and said "you sound like you're serious".  I looked at her and said " I am!.  What do they do?  She gets up and takes her dog for a walk.  The guy stuck around but got a hose to wash down their boat(no extra fenders). 

In we went staying to the right(the wind had now started picking up of course) so we could make the swing to port so we could back in.  I passed close to one boat and swung to port.  We got sideways to the lift area and I pout Zephyr into reverse.  Her starboard prop walk did the rest.  When we engage reverse on Zephyr, the spin of the propeller makes her swing her stern to starboard.  The only way to slow it is gain enough speed in reverse and then take her out of gear.  Then, the water passing over the rudder will swing her stern to port.  If you leave her in reverse gear, she will swing right around. 

Once I engaged the reverse, and the starboard started to swing around, I slipped her into forward with the rudder hard over to port and she went forward just a bit.  Then back into reverse(kicks her starboard) and she slipped right into the lift area.  The lift guys grabbed hold of Zephyr and between the four of us, kept her steady in the "slot" until they could get the straps under her hull.

Up she came slick as a whistle.  Safe and sound.  They took her over to the wash area so we could get the slime off her hull.  The two guys then took off for lunch and left us to the wash down.  We blasted her hull to get as much off as we could.  We had barnacles growing here and there.  The new zinc we had installed back in Prince Rupert on June 7th had already started to degrade around the screws that hold it on.  Not a good sign.  We'd painted the screws(stops the reaction between stainless steel and zinc) and yet, all the paint on the screws was gone.  We'll try a different paint and install a new zinc before we launch Zephyr.  

Once we had her nice and clean, we took off for lunch and let the men get on with placing her in her storage racks and blocks.

We returned and started straightening up everything on deck and the mess we had made inside getting everything ready.  Stowing fenders and dock lines as well as other ropes.  We dropped off some spare parts and line we no longer need with Jenny at her boat in Sea Marines yard.  Then off to Safeway to get a few things and back to Zephyr for dinner.  

While we were cleaning Zephyrs hull, we occasionally got some of the back spray on ourselves so we took off for the showers at Point Hudson.  Tomorrow, Tracy will be there doing laundry.  It's still the cheapest place around to do it.  I get to be up side down in the bilge setting all the mud cleaned out and a new float switch installed.  The old one died a while ago.  Then we will start taking off the old bottom paint.  We bought paint stripper to brush on and scrape off the paint.  Sure hope it works.  It's got to be better than using sand paper.

Tomorrow, the fun begins.

Day 444 & 445 In PT and off and running.

We made it into Port Townsend yesterday about 1300 after leaving Watmough Bay in fog.  We had visibility of about 100 feet when we left it it didn't even start to clear until we were half way to PT.  I sat on the companionway stairs and watched the radar for traffic and the computer screen for the bigger AIS targets that were heading anywhere near us.  The AIS has a range of well over 20 miles while the radar was set for a 3 mile range.  We "saw" ships on the radar but never with our eyes until we cleared the fog.  The blips passed us in the shadows and mist.  

About half way down Whidbey Island when it finally cleared away and we were in sunshine.  I called ahead to Boat Haven in Port Townsend for a slip and was assigned B111.  As we enter and looked for it, we found that the companion boat in the slip was a houseboat.  A BIG house boat.  There was little chance of us fitting into that slip.  I called and got reassigned to another slip.  Clear on both docks so there was no chance of us hitting anyone.  We tied up and took off running.

First to West Marine to drop off some gifts we bought for the great folks there.  It was busy so we went across the street to Sea J's restaurant for lunch.  Great burgers.  While there, Tom(the manager of West Marine) came in for lunch so he sat with us and we swapped stories of the past three months.  Afterwards, we dropped off the gifts, bought some stuff and picked up our car that they had allowed us to store beside their store and headed out.  First, drop off the Honda generator to start getting it fixed.  It won't start.

Next, the car wash to get the poor car cleaned.  The birds down by the bay had loved it, as had the spiders and wasps.  All had made nice nests on her and none wanted to leave.  We soaped her twice just to get everything off.

Next, off to Port Townsend Rigging to pick up the Hydrovane steering assembly we'll be installing on Zephyrs stern.  This way, once the sails or up, we can set the steering gear for a direction and it will steer us along with out our help.  And she uses no electricity as does the Simrad Autopilot system we have now.  We also discussed changing out the fittings on the forestaysail stay so it can be removed and stowed on deck when we only want to use the Genoa sail.  Dan(the owner) would stop by Zephyr in the morning to see what we had.

Over to the storage locker to drop off the Hydrovane and then over to the Sea Marine yard to see our friends, Poppy, Jennie and Doug.   The boat yard was less than half full where as the yard at Boat Haven (where we are getting pulled) was just about full.  Apparently, Matt(one of the owners) the man that I have talked about in the past as being a real jerk(keeping the blog PG rated) had ticked off so many customers and local workers that no one, other than his employees will do work at his yard.  He has apparently yelled at Dan(owns Port Townsend Rigging) so he refuses to go back there to do any work.  He's yelled at Brion Toss( the man who did our rigging) and he won't do work there nor recommend any people that he is doing work on to go there and his company office is right down the street.  He'd rather go a few miles and work on the boat than 100 yards just because of how he was treated.  Boaters have been bringing in their boats, getting an estimate of the repairs and having them put right back in the water as their prices have been out of sight.  That, plus how we were treated is why we are at Boat Haven for our repairs.

Both Poppy and Jenny as well as Doug expect to launch their boats within the next two weeks just to get them out of there.  Rumors are that they will be closing in about a month.  No loss, except for their workers who have been first rate.

Over for dinner at Shanghai--chicken curry, sweet and sour pork and pork fried rice.  A feast!!  We then walked the docks looking at other boats for fun.  One of the boats at Sea Marines docks was the Mapleleaf that they (Sea Marine) have been working on for the past two years.  They had launched her back in January and were now back for repairs and do overs as thing weren't working.  Heck, the owners had only spent over $400,000 on her already.  What did they expect?  Good workmanship?

Back to Zephyr and we pulled out the satellite dish for a change.  It's the first tv we've watched in months.  Not surprisingly, there was just about nothing on.  We haven't missed it much.

Today, While we waited for Dan from Port Townsend Rigging, we decided to clean out the anchor locker as mud from all the anchoring we had been doing was slowly seeping into our bilge and starting to cause a bit of a stink below decks.  Tracy has a great nose for this stuff.  We tried to just spray water in, but instead of flowing through the bilge in the boat, it just created a nice pool below in the locker.  So, I pulled out the anchor and chain and put them on the dock and then pulled everything out of the locker and started poking the bottom of the locker to try and unplug the drain area.  Tracy was inside working the bilge pump.  It finally broke free and filthy, disgusting, smelly water flowed into Zephyrs bilge under the main salon floor.  The pump pumped most of it out.  Tomorrow, I get to go back down(into the bilge) there and clean out all the mud that is now down there.  Everything was put back in the anchor locker(ok, we did throw out some stuff) and Dan showed up about 1110 to look at the rigging.  He's found a lesser expensive source for what we needed and is going to order in all the parts we need.  We unrolled the Genoa since it had been binding and he made some suggestion of correcting it.  We fixed and corrected the problem and rolled it back in.  

A quick lunch and we were off for Silverdale with all its shops.  But first, we had to stop at QFC in Port Hadlock just down the road.  We'd ordered in a case of sugar free Tang and they had gotten it in while we were gone.  We'd told them we would be back and they held it for us.  I told them to try and get two more cases if they could.  Hey, this stuff has no calories, keeps for ever and tastes great.  Second stop, Petsmart for the kids.  Then off to Costco to check prices on some things.  Over to Kohl's for some serious clothes shopping.  Most of our clothes are either worn out or no longer fit.  While there, we got a phone call from Boat Haven.  They had had a cancellation and wanted to know if we wanted to have Zephyr hauled out TOMORROW at 1100?  You bet we do.  That's 11 days ahead of schedule.  We can get more done and still be ready to go at our projected date of August 20th at the latest to await the proper winds to head South down the Pacific coast.  YEAH!!!

Back to Costco for some restocking.  We didn't buy a lot as we know we will be going back again before I take the car back to Colorado for storage.  We'll need to take a full inventory of what we have on board to better fill the lockers for the up coming trip South.   

We hit Walmart in Paulsbo on the way back and got home in 25 knot winds for the walk back to Zephyr.  Everything got stowed and we settled in for a short evening before bed.  I'm headed there now so stay tuned for more tomorrow after our haul out.   With luck, I'll be able to have some photos of how it's done.

Stay tuned.  More to come.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 443 Another windy & foggy day in Watmough Bay

Another windy and foggy day here in Watmough Bay.  The other sailboats upped their anchors and took off at different times.  Two had come into Watmough just to escape the fog and dropped their anchors for a while.

The sailboat that was here yesterday when we pulled in had dropped two anchors.  A bit of over kill if you ask me, but hey, it's their boat.  They paid for it when they tried to leave.  The bottom here is covered in seaweed and both their anchors came up completely covered.  It took them well over an hour to get both up and get underway.  They had to motor over to the first one, pull up the line by hand.  The anchors were well set as we have had winds here into the 20 knot range and that will drive you anchors in deep.  Once up, they worked at getting the seaweed off(no boat hook) and then had to go after the second anchor.  After that, they had to stow all the line that was attached to the anchors.  What a pain!!

We laid the ground work with phone calls today about being in Port Townsend.   I called and ordered a replacement CO2 cartridge for my life jacket.  It had gone bad while on the trip.  The fitting wasn't engaging properly so it would never had inflated had an emergency arose.  We ordered in some paint for the bottom and made connection to rent the equipment to sand down the bottom.  We also confirmed our haul out date and time with the Port Townsend Boat Yard.  Brion Toss is ordering in some new sheaves for the mast head on Zephyr.  We still can't get the mainsail up to the top without putting the line in the biggest winch we have and cranking away.  It isn't supposed to be that difficult.  When Brion replaced the mast head unit, I noticed that one of the sheaves didn't turn easily.  He assured me that under load, it would turn fine.  I guess not.  Now he can go up the mast and fix it.

We still need to find a diesel fuel polisher to pump out zephyrs tanks and get them cleaned out.  We don't want to have the same problem with the fuel we had at Shearwater.  I feel sure that the tanks have never been cleaned in all their 27 years of use so it is well past time and the prudent thing to do before we set off.  I should have done it earlier but I got stingy with the outlay of money and didn't We nearly paid for it when the engine died going through a set of rapids.

I stitched up some torn leather on the dodger while Tracy stitched some cross stitch.  The kids sat and slept just about all day.  The fog didn't clear until late in the afternoon but the winds just kept on blowing.  The DuoGen was a happy camper just spinning away.  With the Honda Generator broken, we have gone into the conservation mode but still needed to run Zephyrs engine for a while to get the batteries recharged this morning from yesterday and last nights use.  Depending on the winds tomorrow, either the engine or the DuoGen in water mode will have to get them back up to snuff though it's no big thing as we expect to be in the marina tomorrow night for a change and can charge them there.

Well, tomorrow, we will finally be back where we started.  Three months and 12 days since we started this journey.  The next starts in late August.

Stay tuned.

Finally Photos!

Into Ketchikan,  Alaska.  Cruise ships dot the shoreline.  Sometimes 5 a day.  The town settles down after 5pm when everyone leaves. 
A totem to the eagles in downtown Ketchikan.  There are literally dozen throughout the city. 
Our first icebergs in Tracy Arm just before Juneau.
Mama bear and her three cubs.  Two is the norm.  Three is quite unusual we've heard.  These were in Tracy Arm Cove right at the beginning of our trip up Tracy Arm.  We spent our first night there then motored up to the Sawyer Glacier and then back to the same anchorage.  There aren't many places to spend the night in the area. 

Here's the chunk of iceberg we took aboard for drinks.  Perfectly clear and stayed frozen in drinks far longer than regular ice we make on board. 

This berg is as big as a cruise ship.

Into Juneau, Alaska--cloudy of course.
Sunrise outside of Coughlan Anchorage by Hartley Bay in British Columbia.

Shadow relaxing on deck.  He perfers to be on a piece of material than on the deck.
Second mate at the wheel.  She still has a bit to learn while on watch.  She's got a short attention span and doesn't understand charts worth a darn.
Here is part of the fog rainbow we observed a while ago.  Click on the photo for a bigger picture.
These two photos were taken within a few seconds of each other.  One over the bow toward the full moon and the other toward the stern showing Zephyrs wake and the Sun rising.

British Camp on San Juan Island.  The site of the "Pig Wars"of 1859.
Shadow taking a break.  He loves to slip under one of our comforters.  The two we use all the time were gifts from Christie and Mary Myrup.  They make life in the cockpit MUCH better.  They're with us just about every day.

That's about it for the photo blog.  There will be more as time and internet permits.

Day 442 Into Watmough Bay

We're back in Watmough Bay(48 25.920N  122 48.669W) where we spent our first night out from Port Townsend back on April 4th.  It's been a long voyage and tomorrow it will be over.

Our plans changed again yesterday afternoon when we got the estimate of what it was going to cost at Port Angeles for a simple haul out(at 50% off) and one coat of bottom paint.  Their estimate came to over $1700.00.  That puts them ahead of Sea Marine for gouging.  We have called Port Townsend back and now expect to get hauled out on July 28.  We plan on being over there for a few days in the marina to get what we need to have done that can be done without Zephyr being on the hard.  Once we get those few projects done--shopping for clothes, food, having the fuel "polished", having the mast head fixed(the main still won't go up to the top of the mast easily) and having a quick disconnect put on the forestaysail stay just to name a few.

It was a simple trip(24.2 miles) over from San Juan Island.  We avoided a few large freighters hauling containers and a tug or two and pulled in about 1300.  There was just one other boat in the bay so that keeps it nice and quiet.  We never heard a peep out of them.  There were some kids on shore but its a great place for them to play on the island so there are always kids there.

We've come 941 miles since we left Juneau and the final total will be in in a day or so.  We're waiting for Brion Toss to get back with us at to when he can start work of finishing the rigging.  I called him yesterday so we will see when he calls back.  We want to arrange our schedule with his if we can.

That's about it for now.  We're sitting in limbo for a few days or so.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 441 Still here.

We spent a second day at Wescott Bay.  We wanted to visit Roche Harbor as well as several places in the vicinity.   We put Puff in the water and stuck Dragon on the stern and off we went.

First, we headed for "British Camp" to visit one of the Washington State Parks.  It's the scene of the famous Pig War of 1859.  Apparently, there was a dispute back then as to who owned the San Juan Islands--USA or Great Britain.  The situation came to a head when a man(Lyman Cutlar) shot(or murdered depending on who you talked to)a pig that was in his potato patch.  The pig belonged to the Hudson Bay Company.  They got upset that one of their pigs had been killed and wanted Cutlar to pay for it.  He refused.  The Hudson Bay Company appealed to the British authorities for help.  The American settlers sent a letter to the Department of Oregon(Washington was part of Oregon at the time)headed up by General William Harney.  General Harney sent General George Pickett(yes, the Pickett of Civil War Gettysburg) and a Company of soldiers to San Juan Island.  The Governor of British Columbia, James Douglas sent three war ships with 61 guns under the command of Captain Geoffrey Phipps Hornby.  He was told to remove Pickett and his men by force if he refused to leave peacefully.  As Hornby arrived, the Governor changed his mind about using force.  General Pickett wrote to General Harney for more men.   Harney sent 500 more men.  The two sided faced off for more than three months until Lt. General Winfield Scott arrived.  An agreement was made that each side would have their own camp in the island and the dispute would be put to an arbitrator(Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany).  It took him till 1872 to make up his mind as to who officially owned the San Juan Islands(USA).  

Once we had seen British Camp, we went back to Zephyr for a quick lunch, loaded up Puff with the trash we had accumulated over the past few weeks and headed off for Roche Harbor through Mosquito Pass.  We visited the local grocery store(the same one we had been in last November) and bought some fresh veggies and a dozen eggs and came across a fresh fish stand on the docks where we bought some fresh prawns to have for dinner.  Back into Puff and back to Zephyr. 

I tried to fire up the Honda generator we carry on the stern to charge the batteries but she refused to start.  I checked the fuel(fine), the spark plug(fine), air filter(fine) and the spark from the plug(fine).  It seemed like it wanted to start.  It had run in the morning, but not in the afternoon.  I have tried it several times since with no success.  I guess it's into the shop later this week.

I called Port Townsend to arrange for our haul out at the end of the week.  "Sorry, there is no space or time for you till July 27" and that is a "maybe".  That's two weeks out!!  We will be in town by Thursday and can't afford loosing that amount of time.  At the Seattle Boat Show, Tracy had won a half off haul out at Port Angeles so we called them.  They can take us this Thursday with no problem.  We're not happy about having to do the work in Port Angles but we have to do what will work within our schedule.  Zephyr will be out of the water by late Thursday afternoon and we will be taking the bus to Port Townsend to pick up the car and our new Hydrovane from Port Townsend Rigging.  They've stored it since back in April.  I know they were figuring on helping us install it($).  Now they are out of the loop to work on Zephyr. Once work is done in Port Angeles, we will be taking Zephyr to Port Townsend to have the problems with our rigging taken care of by Brion Toss.  We left too soon for him to fix it back in April.  We may have Port Townsend Rigging install a "quick" disconnect fitting on the forestaysail stay.  This way we can use the sail when we want to and stow the fittings when we don't need it leaving room for the Genoa sail on deck.

So as of now, we will be "living" in Port Angeles for a while till we get done what we need to have done.  Once I get the Hydrovane installed, I'll be driving back to Denver to stow the car and have our house roof re-shingled while Tracy works on the bottom paint.

The fun just keeps on coming. 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 440 FINALLY!!!

Finally it happened!!  We had wind to sail and not just 5 or 10 knots.  Oh no, we had 20 to 30 knots of wind!!! Yes, that's right, we actually got to put up the sails and progress through the water without an engine running!

We awoke to wind coming right into Port Browning and didn't even bother to have breakfast before we upped the anchor and set out.  Other sailboats were ahead and behind us.  All trying to get out while the wind was good.  Once we rounded Gowlland Point off South Pender Island, up went the mainsail with a reef just to try the waters and see what they had in store of us. 

We headed Southwest down Boundary Pass with lots of other boats--both power and sail all around us.  Some of the sailboats had up some sails and some were bare pole.  With our reefed mainsail(you don't put it all up, only about 90%) we rolled out some of the Genoa sail.  That's the big sail at the bow.  We rolled out about 30% to allow us to make some headway toward weather.  Not enough, so out came more till we had out 60% of it.  Off we went heeling to starboard and getting to speed of over 9 knots.  The wind grew and big container ships started coming up the channel toward us.  As we reached Turn Point on Stuart Island, we rolled in all the Genoa and put up the Forestaysail--actually is more like a Jib sail but farther inboard.  It was perfect.  We dodged the first ship at the point and kept tacking down the pass. 

On came another container ship.  Off to the left we went to avoid him.  The first time we passed by Turn Point many month ago, we got passed by a freighter on each side of us.  We went right between the two of them.  Let me tell you, those boys are BIG!!  You stay out of their way at all costs.

We were now on the South side of Stuart Island heading down Spieden Channel just North of Roche Harbor where we had to check into US Customs.  The winds were still blowing in the mid 20 knot range and we were not looking forward to heading into their docks in that kind of wind.  I called the customs office at Friday Harbor(larger local office) to see if we could just drop the anchor in the harbor and wait a while for the wind to drop.  The answer was NO.  You have to go to the customs dock before you ever drop and anchor on US soil, even if the soil is under water.  We passed lots of large kayaks as they played just North of the entrance to the harbor.  We dodged other boats--some sailboats with just a bit of sail up and a lot of power boats coming in.  Tracy went on deck and put on the fenders and dock lines once we entered the harbor while I zigged and zagged around avoiding everyone.   It is sure a lot busier now than when we were here late last year.   

We scoped out the customs dock(while avoiding other boats heading for the marina) and just got lucky as a large power boat left just as we got there.  In we went, and with the help of three kind souls on the dock, got all tied up.  The wind had dropped some but was now in the direction that pushed us away from the dock.  Never a fun thing.

The rules are as follows when you come into the customs dock.  Tie up.  Only the "Skipper" gets off the boat and brings all necessary documents(passports, documentation papers for the boat, the decal number for customs that you MUST(they get huffy if you don't have it coming into the US) get before you ever leave the US.  No drivers license is required.  I keep all this information in a clear folder so that I have it all together when I need it.  

Then the questions start: How many on board?  Any liquor?  What did you spend while out of the US?  How long were you gone?  Any fresh vegetables or fruits?  Pets?  Do you have any meat--goat or lamb on board.  Where is your home?  Telephone number?  Where do you normally keep your boat?--Now this one sort of stumped me, as being "cruisers", we don't keep Zephyr any one particular place.  Once I told him that, he said that was fine and made the appropriate notations to our file.  Once we were checked in, Tracy took down the Canadian flag we have to fly as long as we were in Canadian waters.  The agent commented that Tracy understood the correct procedure on taking down the flag.  I guess most don't realize that until you are checked in with customs, you are still out of the country as far as they are concerned.  All in all, they couldn't have been nicer.  We talked to another of the agents before we cast off and he commented about the winds outside that harbor.  He'd been told by another sailor that the winds were up to 50 knots.  Glad we missed that gust.  We told him how much fun we had had just getting to sail for a change.  He told us we made the power boaters look bad just being out there playing.

We were heading for Garrison Bay just South of Roche Harbor but he suggested we go around Henry Island rather than go through Mosquito Pass.  It would be much safer for our boat.  So off with the dock lines and out we went.  Back into the wind and around Henry Island.  As we headed down the West side of it, we saw another sailboat heading North going downwind with his spinnaker sail up.  Now in 10 knots of wind, that's one thing, but he was doing it in 25+ knots of wind.  Now that guts and a far more experienced sailor than the two of us are so far.  We've spent most of our sailing lives doing up wind sailing rather than downwind sailing.  Another boat was sailing downwind with his Genoa and mainsail out on either side of his boat. That's called "Wing and Wing".  

Once South of Henry Island, we headed into the pass to Garrison Bay but found it quite congested with boats so we went just a bit farther and ended up in Wescott Bay(48 35.817N  123 09.172W).  Down went the anchor but it ended up being just a bit to shallow so up it came again and we chose a better spot.  Down she went and into the muddy bottom which was good because the wind was still blowing even in this protected harbor.  The DuoGen loved it.

We tidied up the deck--stowed the forestaysail and tied down the mainsail and we were set for the afternoon, what was left of it.  We got into Roche about 1330 and made it into Wescott about 1530 so it was time for some relaxation to let the bodies relax after an actual day of sailing.

It was strange working on deck in that kind of wind.  I felt very much at home out there.  A feeling of almost calm came over me as I sat out there setting up the sails.  All was well and right at that moment.  I was where I was supposed to be.  Out in the winds and waves, one with them and Zephyr.  It was as great day for all of us(except the furr people).   

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 439 Into Port Browning

This is our last day in Canada as we will be heading for Roche Harbor tomorrow and back in the good old US of A!!  It's actually going to be sad getting back as this trip has been great.  Seeing all we have seen and learning all that we have learned.

After our anchor switching on Friday, we upped it finally yesterday about 0530 and headed out to find another place to stop for the evening.  As always, there was either no wind or it was against us as we headed out.  I headed below and looked at the charts and guide books to find a place for the night.  We knew our range(50-60 miles) and wanted to find a place we had not been to before.  I finally found Port Browning on North Pender Island.  

The winds were behind us as we headed out past Gabriola Island just outside of Nanaimo so we rolled out the Genoa sail and stopped the engine.  The winds slowed to about 6 knots and so did our speed--to 2.5 knots.   About 30 minutes later, the wind got even slower so the sail got rolled and the engine turned back on and off we went.  The tide was in our favor so we were making good time--over 7 knots for most of the trip.

On we went heading Southeast down the coast on the Strait of Georgia passing Gabriola Island, Valdes Island, Galiano Island, Mayne Island and around East Point at the East end of Saturna Island watching out for fishing boats, tugs, ferries(lots) and freighters.  We saw a few other sailboats with their sails up slowly limping along trying to make way in the water.

We had two VHF radios in the cockpit at all times.  One on channel 16 and the second on 11, the traffic control channel.  There is a tremendous amount of commercial as well as ferry traffic in these waters and it pays to listen to both.  It lets you know who is where and where they are heading.  We had the AIS(Automatic Identification System) as well as the radar on.  The radar was more for fun as it was beautifully sunny and clear for miles.  Eventually we turned it off and just checked the AIS and used our eyes.  As I have said in previous posts, while in the cockpit, your eyes are always out on the water looking for boats or dead heads(floating logs).  You listen to the hum of the engine for any change.  Music is fine, but not through head phones.  You are always aware even through the vibrations in your feet as to what is happening on your boat.  As we listened to the radio, we heard at least two calls to the Coast Guard of boats stranded on reefs and rocks during the day.  One on the rocks in Ganges Harbour on Saltspring Island and the second later off East Point that we passed(giving it a wide berth)at the East tip of Saturna.
The one in Ganges Harbour was in for the worst of it as the tide was still going out for several more hours and he was going to be farther out of the water as the time progressed till the tide came back in.  The Canadian Coast Guard dispatched a boat it see if they could help him.  In the US, the Coast Guard used to respond but no longer does.  It's open to companies that are in the area to assist(and bill at big $)and help you if they can off the rocks.

We dropped anchor (48 46.398N  123 16.191W) about 1500 and got settled in.  It's a busy little bay with lots of small boat traffic.  About a half dozen more sailboats came in after us and dropped their hooks.  There were already several other sailboats at anchor so we just joined the group off to the South side of the bay.  Another 58.6 miles off the path "home".

We had a question posted in the "comments" section by Christopher asking why we had not visited the Queen Charlotte Islands while we were up North.  I would say time was the biggest factor.  We left Port Townsend April 4th(sort of early for the season) for parts North not knowing how far we would get.  Many people asked us before we left where we were headed.  We really had no clue as to how far we would go.  Once we got past British Columbia and into Alaska, the distances between places you could anchor became much greater.  Instead of traveling 10 to 15 miles in the San Juan Island or the Gulf Islands, you would have to go easily 40 to 50 miles a day and if you have been reading the posts of our trip, you have read about all the rapids and narrows we have had to cross that take extra time and planning so you reach them at the right time. The problem in Alaska is that most of the bays and coves were made by glaciers and are very deep right up to the shoreline so finding a "good"anchorage takes time.  We simply ran out of time.  Alaska is a beautiful place full of places to go but the distances became too great to see them all and as we still have more equipment to install we had to head back to get it done.  To be done correctly and see everything up North would take years as the time frame(unless you are a heartier sole than us) is only from early April to late August if you are lucky.  The weather turns quite ugly after that.  So in answer to your question(took a while didn't it)"time" was the main reason we didn't get to the Queen Charlotte Islands.

We're getting a small amount of water in the bilge now each day.  In a twelve hour period, it is enough to just cover the bilge pump.  We haven't found the source but after we anchor tonight, we will dig a bit deeper.  We'll close all the through hull fittings and see if it goes up.  If it stays empty, we have a leak in the water tanks.  It can't be in our fresh water hoses as they are under pressure and the pump would go on if it was leaking.   So it's time for investigating the rest of the system.

Well, it's time to close and get this posted.  I have some phone calls to make.  Boy does that sound strange.

Almost there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 438 Into Mark Bay again.

We set off this morning planning to get to Dog Fish Bay but found that the currents to even get near it would have had us wait till after 1800 just to stand a chance and it looked like we would be there by 1500.  We opted for a change to Mark Bay just out side of Nanaimo where we stayed back in early May.  Almost exactly two months ago.

We took off this morning at 0520 and headed South again hoping to find some wind so we could hoist the sails.  Our decision to head to Mark Bay came about 1130 as we knew there was no other place to stop that didn't involve tidal flows.  About the time we made the decision, the wind turned from on the nose to about 120 degrees off the port side.  Out went the Genoa and off we went.  The engine was finally turned off and we were making over 6 knots with just that sail up.  As we didn't have that far to go, we left it at that and, dodging fishing boats and their nets, skipped along just off the coast of Vancouver Island.

We saw lots of other sailboats--some with sails up and some bare pole.  Plus fishing boats galore and even a Coat Guard Cutter out on patrol.  They have a weapons testing area called "Whiskey Gulf" that is just North of Nanaimo.  Each day, you have to listen to the weather forecast to see if it is "active"--are they testing bombs and torpedoes that day.  If not, you are free to go through the area.  If they are, you might experience a detour of an easy 20 miles to go around it.  We got lucky and there was no testing today.

About 1430, we turned into the harbour and dropped our anchor in Mark Bay(49 10.825N  123 55.953W) after a 50.6 mile trek today.  I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up both inside and out.  The deck needed scrubbing and they got it.  Anchoring so much, I bring a good bit of mud on board even using a bush to scrub the chain and anchor as it comes up.  I have it attached to the boat hook.   It does a decent job, but nothing take it all off.

Being a Friday, the bay was quickly getting packed with boats.  One after the other came and either picked a spot or left for another area.  We got there at the right time and picked a good spot between several boats.  At about 2030, a power boater that was anchored nest to us--he'd gotten there before us and had been there all afternoon with us, said he felt nervous having us so close and asked us to move!!  OK, it's Friday evening and it's Summer.  The place is packed but up came the anchor and off we went.  That's boating etiquette, just done poorly.  If he wanted us to move, he could have said something when we dropped the anchor at 1430 not waited 6 hours to say something.   We headed out farther into the harbour and dropped it again.  This time a fishing boat behind where we had dropped called us on the VHF and asked us to move as he was also concerned.  Up came the anchor again and we move farther out into the harbour.  Down it went and we were set finally.  Now all we have is the wake from passing boats to contend with through the night.  The anchor light is on, so we should be just fine till tomorrow morning when we set off again.  This time, we have no stopping place in mind.  We hope to again hoist the sails and see how far we can get.  We'll let you know where we end up tomorrow evening as long as I can get on the internet.

A fellow sailor stopped by in his dingy to talk as I was washing the deck.  We got to chatting and swapping stories of our boats.  He's in a Hallsberg-Rassey 42.  A top of the line cruiser.  Big bucks!!  I told him of our refit last year and where not to go for work--Sea Marine and why.  He said that he though he had already heard my story and mention "Randy and Sharon".  These were the tow folks aboard Blue Heron we had spent late January and early February with in Brownsville outside of Silverdale down in Washington.  Apparently, they have published my story about Sea Marine on the internet to advise other boaters of what we had to go through.  Sharon is big on the Ham and SSB radio chat rooms and loves to talk and our story of how we were treated at Sea Marine in Point Hudson was big news and not the the first time it had been reported.  What a small world but it's not the first time we have run into people that know Randy and Sharon.  They have been sailing up here for over 20 years and they know just about everyone.  Hopefully our story will save other the grief we had to endure.  It was great talking boat talk to another sailor for a while.

Well, it's getting late and bedtime is calling.  More tomorrow from some where else.  We just don't know where yet.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 437 Part 2 Into Henry Bay

Well, we made it through Seymour Narrows.  Our planning paid off perfectly.  

We upped the anchor at 1250 and headed out of Plumper Bay into the narrows and headed South.  Up the channel comes this big tug boat right in our way.  I changed course to port and slid past him.  We moved into the really narrow part and along comes this 82 foot pleasure boat hell bent to make it through heading North.  He was bound and determined to take his half out of the middle.  Sorry, that ain't going to happen.  He has more maneuverability than we do heading down stream so he had to change course to starboard and go around us.  Take that you big bully!!

On we went getting ready for the big tidal streams.  We were the only boat that headed through heading South.  Earlier in the day, dozens of boats went through heading North.  Big and little boats.  This time, we were it heading South.  On we went with the currents growing.  We had avoided going through Seymour on our way North in fear of what their reputation was--a really bad set of rapids.  Not any more after this trip.  The current grew until we were hitting over 11 knots. Yippee!!  We were flying South.  We had lots of ground to cover before nightfall and not getting under way for the second part of the trip till 1300 made the 43.5 miles we had to go quite long.  Especially if we were only going to be going 6 knots.

On we went till we passed the end of the channel and out into the Straits of Georgia.  Our speed slowed but we were still doing well over 6 knots.  As we left the South entrance to the channel, we were greeted by dozens of boats all over the place.  We were back in civilization again!!  People in boats everywhere.  

Since it was getting to the dinner hour, Tracy went below and made a great dinner for the two of us.  A large hamburger patty with onions and cheese plus mine came with cracked red pepper flakes.  As a side dish of cucumbers marinated in vinegar with red onions.  A great dinner!!

We finally made it into Henry Bay(49 36.075N 124 50.080W)on Denman Island about 1730 hours.  Having started the day at 0500, it was a long day.  Especially hard was breaking it into two sections.  It's much easier to just get up and go.  Stopping and restarting is much harder on the day.

We've now covered 778 miles since we left Juneau and will be South of Nanaimo by the time we drop anchor tomorrow night.  Then it is an easy trip through the San Juan Islands and back to PT in just a few days.

Mother Nature is still playing with us.  Today's wind--this afternoons forecast was for Northwest winds--were all from the South.  Any where from 10 to 20 knots right at Zephyrs bow.  I'm not sure we will get to sail Zephyr any time during the rest of this trip.  We had to motor all the way to Alaska and it looks like we will be doing the same for the trip back.  That's just not fair!!  We knew we were going to have to motor up but the sail back was  what we had been looking forward too.  Oh well, we'll get the sails up someday.

Well, we're up early again tomorrow for a yet to be determined anchorage.  We'll know when we get there.