Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No procrastination

Have you ever used the saying, "Once in a Blue Moon?" 

Tho they have nothing to do with "the blues", musically or otherwise, and they are not actually blue, Blue Moons are pretty rare.

A Blue Moon is the second full moon that occurs in a month.  Given the 28-day lunar cycle and the roughly 30-day average month, indeed it is an unusual occurance.  It pretty much requires one of the 31-day months (like this month), and the perfect timing of a full moon on the first day or two of the month (like this month...)

And why yes indeed, as you've probably guessed, we will have a Blue Moon this month!

The next one will not happen until 2015.  So all those things you were putting off until a Blue Moon?  Well this is your month...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Got light?

You do have a flashlight aboard, don't you?  You should.

Aside from all the "regular" things you'd use a flashlight for when ashore, on a boat you'll also want to have one handy so that:
  1. You can inspect the bilge
  2. You can inspect your shaft log packing
  3. You can inspect your thruhulls... all your thruhulls, especially if item #1 has suddenly become important...
  4. You can signal other boats
  5. You can bungee it to something astern to serve as an emergency stern lite (don't ask)
Now, how about a red flashlight, for all of those things above, when you don't want to ruin your nite vision?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Remotely wonderful

WHAM in its 12V/120V charging cradle

Do you have one of these?

It's a remote control for our VHF. It carries all the functions of the radio except the emergency MMSI/position transmission.  For that you have to go to the radio. Uniden calls it a WHAM mic (Wireless HAndheld Mic) - it talks to the radio using Bluetooth.

In one way, it is better than a handheld radio: when we transmit with it, we are using the full 25 watts of the main radio and the antenna 65 feet in the air. But it would be useless in a ditch bag of course, or in a dinghy

For us it is a lifesaver tho.  Jane despises the constant chatter that comes in on the radio, which on Eolian is mounted just inside the companionway,  out of the weather but convenient to both the cockpit and the cabin.  So we mostly leave the volume on the radio itself turned all the way down, and I keep the WHAM mic out by the wheel.

It's a solution that is optimal for us, and it could be for you too.

First posting using the Blogger iPhone app.  The app is OK, but I had to go to the computer in order to get the picture to be above the text.  And of course there is that "keyboard"...


Monday, August 20, 2012

Home again

Yesterday we came the full 61 miles from Friday Harbor back to Shilshole - 11 hours.  It was a long trip, and we celebrated its successful conclusion with the traditional beer when the docklines were secure.

And this morning we woke up in - how do I put it? - "dock configuration".   After two weeks spent at anchor, we were tied to a dock and had AC power.  It felt simultaneously weird, and yet (sadly) normal.  Today I don't have to worry about whether or not to run the generator to recharge the reefer holding plates, nor will I be thinking about battery charge state.  I am not concerned about the placement of other boats at anchor around us.  And the transition seems to have been instantaneous.  Or maybe it happened while we were asleep.

And here we are.  Tomorrow I put on "regular" clothes and go to work.

It's these times when I wish that I wasn't so darn adaptable.  I wish I could keep that vacation state of mind just a little longer...


Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's a small world

Who would have thought it?

Puget Sound is big.  And the San Juan Islands, tho smaller are a big and very complicated water space.

Finally, consider the size of time itself, the hours, days, and decades.

So, what are the chances that we would meet, completely unplanned, at one particular place and one particular time one of our blogging friends out here in the San Juans?  Pretty small I'd say.

And yet, we did.   We had left Reid Harbor on Stuart Island and were heading for Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.  And who should we meet on the reciprocal course but  s/v Letitgo.

By the time I realized that the catamaran was Letitgo, it was too late to get the camera for a picture, but we did have enough time to hail each other and shout happy and surprised greetings back and forth.

Now the only thing that could have been better was if we had shared an anchorage.  And a glass of wine.

Funkiness in Friday Harbor

Are you mourning the loss of the Front Street Ale House in Friday Harbor?

Sadly, I cannot report that another brewpub has opened.  But if you are looking for some of the best BBQ you can find this side of Alabama, you only need to walk up the street a half a block.  There you will see this sign...  You will want to follow the arrow to the BBQ Shack.

The first thing I noticed in the place was the unusual ceiling fan.  Be sure to look up when you come in.

Now, when at a BBQ joint we always do the pulled pork, and you should too.  But here it was offered with an unusual side: smoked macaroni & cheese.  It turns out that this is a wonderful, rich combination!  Aside from the BBQ sauce that was a part of the pulled pork, the table was graced with a bucket full of unusual BBQ sauces that you could use to augment.  My favorite was the Gold Rush, and Jane's was the blackberry-based one. 

And tho this is not a brewpub, I can heartily recommend the beer selection.  We chose "The Gubna", an imperial IPA - really imperial (10.5%).  It was so rich and thick you could cut it with a knife - and that is a good thing.  It was the perfect companion to the BBQ.

You should stop in.  And when you do, please say "Hi!" to Kurt for us - he runs a great place!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ships passing in the night

This morning as I sit in the cockpit in the bright sunshine, it seems like a dream.  Funny how things look so different now, in the sunshine.

We anchored here in Blind Bay yesterday afternoon in a light southeasterly breeze.  We had a relaxed afternoon and evening and went to bed, still with that light SE breeze, just providing enough ventilation to make good sleeping.

You know, when you've lived with a boat long enough, you really do get to know her intimately.  And you are sensitive to the slightest change.  A little before 04:00, there was that change.  Both Jane and I were awake - the first words were, "It came up all at once."  As we laid there and listened to the wind in the rigging, Jane said, "We took a vote - you were elected to go out and check things out." 

So I pulled on my sweats.  And the first thing I noticed was that the main saloon was flooded with light.  Now I was not fully awake, and my first thought was of the moon, which had been so bright a week or two ago.  But then I realized it wasn't the moon - it was the anchor light of a big, white powerboat - something like a Meridian 60.  And it was awfully close. 

As I gained the cockpit, I saw that the wind was blowing 20 kts, now out of the northeast - a 180 deg shift.  My first thought was that we were dragging.  But a quick survey showed that it was not us - it was the powerboat.  And it was moving right at us, slowly, inevitably, a 3-story white fiberglass wall.  I grabbed the air horn we always keep in the cockpit and blasted it at the boat, which was so close now that I was beginning to think about fenders.  I yelled, "You're dragging!  Right onto us!"

Lights appeard, shadows moved, and people got aboveboard.  Immediately the two giant diesels fired up.  But he had a problem - tho no longer hooked, he still had his anchor out and so he couldn't power forward without risking wrapping the chain around one of his shafts.  While his mate worked on getting the anchor aboard, he managed to control the boat so that it squeaked in between us and the boat anchored to our starboard side, barely.  His dragging anchor couldn't have missed ours by much.

Then he started to maneauver around behind us, looking for a new spot.  He had two giant fixed-mount searchlights pointing straight ahead, but these were not helpful since he was drifting sideways down wind.  The anchorage was crowded, but somehow he managed to avoid hitting anyone - a task made the more difficult by the many boats showing no lites at all.  (Why would people do this?  It boggles my mind.  Even a boat on a mooring buoy should have a lite - a solar-powered garden lite costs less than $3, and could save your boat one day.)

When finally he was hooked again and things had settled down, we still heard shouting.  Because it was so dark and so windy, it was hard to tell where exactly this was coming from, but it was definitely from in front of us somewhere.  were we going to need the air horn again?

We finally determined that the excitement was coming from a powerboat with three sailboats rafted up to his port side.  When the wind came up and from a new direction, they too had broken loose.  They may have had more than one anchor out, which would mean that the anchors were now tangled.  And because all the sailboats were on one side of the powerboat, he was unable to effectively maneauver.  I don't know why they didn't just break up the raft, but they didn't.  We stared hard thru the wind and darkness, and finally decided that they too had eventually managed to re-anchor.

And then I realized I had dozed off in the cockpit.  So we went back to bed, just as the sky began to lighten in the east.

And now, in the bright morning sunshine, everything looks normal.  The big powerboat is gone - left while we were sleeping.  So did the raftup.

It wasn't a dream.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Down at the heels

You know how it goes... Just when you have a pair of deck shoes broken in to the point where they are comfortable ro wear without socks, the heels are wearing down.

Well here's how to save that pair of shoes, using a ubiquitous boat material: 3M 5200. Just apply a tape dam around the heel and fill the depression with an appropriate color of 5200.

It wears almost as well as the original heel material, and is easy to replace when necessary.

(You probably weren't going to wear these shoes to a wedding anyway, unless of course, it is the kind of wedding where socks are optional)

Friday, August 10, 2012

I can see clearly now...

I've sung the praises of Meguiar's products before.  They really are magic for plastic. 

While anchored in Blind Bay, on the North side of Shaw Island on Sunday, I felt the need to take on a small boat project (not fully in the vacation mindset yet).  And the vinyl in our dodger was looking sort of cloudy.  You know, it comes on so gradually that you really don't notice the change, but eventually it gets bad enough that some threshold is crossed and you say, "Wow - the windows are dirty!"

So I got out the Meguiar's.  Because the vinyl is soft, I elected to use the #10, which is a polish.  It does contain a small amount of abrasive, but it is ground ultra-fine.  The results were amazing.  I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you which side I worked on in the picture...  The ten-year old vinyl looks like it did when it was new.

We have a small mushroom vent in the overhead above the galley - sadly this vent is located under the dodger, just out ot the picture to the right.  Tho it does a pretty good job of getting cooking fumes out of the galley, in the winter when the cockpit canvas is all closed up and it is cold, those fumes condense on the inside of the dodger, including on the vinyl.  Since the inside of the vinyl windows was far dirtier than the outside, I believe that it was condensed galley fumes and the bacterial colonies that were making a living on them that I removed.

You know what is lacking in the marine product world?  A good 12V marine alternative to the household kitchen vent fan and household bathroom vent fan.  Any manufacturer out there listening?

Of course, now that I've done one window, the others look all the worse...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A certain intimacy

At anchor in Roche Hrbr

Last nite we had the distinct pleasure of being invited aboard s/v Nevada Faye for dinner.

Helmet and Dominic were most gracious hosts, and the dinner was a wonderful repast. But, while sitting and talking in the after-dinner glow, I was struck by the special closeness, and yes, intimacy born of the shared experience. The shared dining experience, yes of course. But also the shared experiences that we both had in getting our boats to the same anchorage.

It is quite different than the feeling one gets when visiting another house. Different, in fact, than visiting another boat at the dock.

It makes for fast friends.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Aand... We're off!

We're off the dock for a couple of weeks, heading for the San Juan islands.

We untied the dock lines and pulled out of our slip on G Dock at 07:17 this morning - that was a little later than we had planned, but we were fogged in, and I wanted to give the sun a chance to burn it off.

As it was, when we left, there was fog on the marina but the Sound was mostly clear, making for some beautiful lighting.

We had good wind for a couple of hours, and good tide. But eventually we had to start the motor.

We're now anchored in Port Ludlow, enjoying some of John Barleycorn's best and watching Amy Hastings (Jane's cousin's daughter) run the 10,000 meter in the Olympics.

Go Amy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Interior varnish tip

If you have varnished surfaces in your interior, you have probably found that where they are commonly touched the surface has become gummy.  I presume that this is due to skin oils penetrating the surface of the varnish.

I have tried to wipe this gummy surface off with paint thinner before recoating with varnish, but it was ineffective.  Acetone was too effective, softening everything.  And just recoating without removing the gumminess doesn't work either - the gummy surface prevents the new varnish from curing.

So what to do?

And then when wiping down the table after dinner one day, I made a serendipitous discovery.

The ubiquitous scratchy sponge
The fiddles on our saloon table are one of these commonly touched surfaces, and had indeed become gummy to the touch.  As I wiped down the table that nite, I had a brief moment of inspiration (a cosmic ray passed thru my brain?), and I turned the sponge over and vigorously rubbed the soft varnish with the scratchy side of the sponge.  Amazingly, the gumminess was gone!  In some places the gummy layer was deep enough that several round trips of damp sponge side followed by wet sanding with the scratchy side followed by damp sponge were required.  But nowhere did I penetrate the varnish layer.  Even if I had, as a typical zero-cost experiment, that would only have prepped the surface for recoating.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...