Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Expiration dates

Nothing in this world is permanent.  And boat owners may be more aware of this fact than most folks...  

How many things (besides food) on your boat have an expiration date? 
  • flares 
  • fire extinguishers
  • smoke alarms
  • hose clamps (they don't come with an expiration date - they just expire)
What little click in your mind makes you think of expirations?  For us on Eolian, it is early spring - that time of year when you yearn to be off the dock but the weather disagrees and keeps throwing cold storms at you.  This is a good time to get involved with your boat at the dock in anticipation of the coming season.

For us here on Eolian, this is the winter/spring task list:
  • Change the engine oil & filter
  • Change the generator oil & filter
  • Check the transmission oil level
  • Inspect the engine raw water pump impeller.  Change if necessary.
  • Inspect the generator raw water pump impeller.  Change if necessary.
  • Give the engine a once-over inspection, looking for oil or water leaks.  
  • Give the generator a once-over inspection, looking for oil or water leaks.  
  • Top up the batteries with distiller water from the dehumidifier
  • Inspect all below the waterline hose clamps (there are a lot of them!).  Do you know where all of yours are?
  • Exercise all the seacocks
  • Check the flares to be sure they will not expire during the season
  • Check the fire extinguishers  to be sure they will not expire during the season
  • Check the smoke alarms to be sure they will not expire during the season.  Install new batteries.


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Monday, December 15, 2014

All Is Well

By the time the forecast windstorm arrived, its strength had been downgraded a tiny bit.  But it was still very strong when it arrived Thursday nite (aside: why do these things always happen at nite?).

For an assortment of reasons too complicated to detail here, we spent the nite at our cabin on Camano Island.  The maximum wind speed we clocked was 43 kt, but the NWS recorded 53 kt elsewhere on the island.  We lost no trees that we know of, and suffered no damage.  But the power went off at about 19:30.

But oh boy, Friday morning, when I decided to make a mad dash up to Anacortes to check on Eolian, the wind's effect was everywhere.  First, in our little neighborhood, trees had fallen across the streets in three places in the two blocks out to the main road.  But islanders, being self-reliant, had cleared them overnight.

The real problem was evident a little further along.  A tree had fallen and taken the power line with it.  Tho the road crew had cleared the worst of the tree debris, the wire was still lying in the road, with large burned spots and melted aluminum wherever it touched the road surface.  In getting off the island I passed more than another half-dozen places where trees had fallen across the road.  In each case, they had already been cleared by 08:00 - impressive!  Nevertheless, the power line crews had their hands full.  At its height, the PUD reported that some 17,000 of their customers were without power, most on Camano Island... which only has 22,000 residents.

I was a bundle of nerves all nite long, and so by the time I got to Anacortes I was pretty apprehensive.  But as it turned out, Eolian was fine.  The heat pump was running, keeping her at 61° inside (which was the setpoint).  The dock steps (probably 100 lb, and with a big iron grappling hook stored inside) had been blown perhaps a foot down the dock.  But the LED Christmas tree we had on the bow was still in place, undamaged. 

As you might expect, there are no wind reporting locations right at the marina, but here are the reports from some nearby locations:

Smith Island, in the east entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca

South end of Padilla Bay
Mid-Padilla Bay
As you can see, there's a lot of variation - not uncommon where there is significant relief in the landscape.  So the winds at the marina probably did not reach the forecast 50 kt, although it is possible that some gusts could have been that strong.

With Eolian having weathered the storm successfully, and power back on at the cabin, all is right in the world once more.  Halleluia!


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Uh oh...



PZZ133-091715-
NORTHERN INLAND WATERS INCLUDING THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS-
300 AM PST TUE DEC 9 2014

...GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING... TODAY...S WIND 30 TO 40 KT...EASING TO 20 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 5 TO 7 FT...SUBSIDING TO 3 TO 5 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
TONIGHT...SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT RISING TO 25 TO 35 KT LATE. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT BUILDING TO 4 TO 6 FT. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
WED...SE WIND 30 TO 40 KT...BECOMING S 20 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 5 TO 7 FT. RAIN.
WED NIGHT...S WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT.
THU...NE WIND 10 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT.
THU NIGHT...SW WIND 40 TO 50 KT...BECOMING S 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 7 TO 9 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
FRI...E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS.
SAT...SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT.

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Christmas in Anacortes

With a population of 16,000, Anacortes has less than a third of the population of Ballard, our old stomping grounds when we had Eolian berthed at Shilshole.  But 16,000 folks is plenty to create a complete community.  With the emphasis on community.

The way Anacortes celebrates Christmas is an example of that community.  The first event that we attended was the lighting of the town Christmas tree, scheduled to happen at 18:30.  But it was delayed somewhat because of the cat-herding needed to get the elementary and junior high school choirs into place and organized.  


Of course the event was well-attended.  It seemed like the whole town was occupying (but in a nice way!) the intersection of 8th & Commercial streets.  The choirs sang, there were bands, and dignitaries, and of course, Santa Claus!

The very next day there was a Christmas parade!  Most of Commercial street was blocked off and despite the blustery weather, became lined with folks - and lots of little kids.  There were floats, fire trucks, bands (some of the same ones), and of course Santa!  Actually, there were four Santas (including a blue/green one, dressed in Seahawk colors), so I assume parents had some difficult questions to answer.

All the kids lining the parade route got to harvest candy thrown by every vehicle, float, etc that made the route.  The best prepared kids had grocery bags to carry their haul.  The rest had to make do with overflowing pockets.

Some kids did not brave the weather (and missed out on the candy!)
Christmas in Anacortes is a real community experience.  We love it!


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