Monday, December 29, 2014

Rusty Hinges

You may remember that one of the early projects we did on Eolian was to rebuild the refrigerator, from the hull out.  As a part of that project, I discarded the original door and replaced it with one that I got at the old Doc Freeman's for $10 because the decor panel was damaged.  I replaced that panel with a sheet of black Plexiglas (thanks Clear Cut Plastics), and remounted it on the original hardware.

Perhaps that was a mistake - reusing the old hinges.  But at that time I did not know the marine supply business in Seattle nearly as well as I do now.  The reason that this was an issue is that the old hinges were very rusty.  I cleaned them up as best as I could, but they were always ugly, even to this day.
Ewww...
The ugliness finally got to me, and I sought out new hinges. Well, it turns out that I almost waited too long.  Tho the refrigerator is a complete custom built-in, the door (and hinges) were from a Norcold unit.  I thought that all I would have to do is order new hinges from Norcold.

BZZZZT! 

Not a chance.  That door and those hinges have been out of production for a long long time, and nobody had any left in stock - not even Fisheries.

But, as it turns out, one of the businesses in Ballard sells Norcold:  Sure Marine.  Sure Marine is one of those great places, a little off the beaten path, at the very, very end of 28th street in Ballard.  No, they had no hinges in stock, but Graham found a set of used ones in near-perfect condition in the back somewhere.  Woo HOO!

(Almost) new and shiny!

One of the last remaining vestiges of Malolo is now gone.



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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!



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Monday, December 22, 2014

iPhone App: Augmented Reality Star Chart

Boaters have something unique going for them:  Typically when they are anchored or on passage at night, they are far away from the light pollution of cities.  That means that when they look up, the sky is filled with stars, and I truly mean filled.  Those poor city folks look up and see maybe a dozen of only the brightest stars, and never ever the Milky Way (an edge-on view of our own galaxy).

So, do you know the constellations?  Do you know where to look to spot Aldebaran so you can do your celestial navigation?  Or Betelgeuse?  Or Jupiter?

No?

Well, I have the perfect answer for you.  There is a wonderful iPhone app called Sky View that you need to have.

Sky View shows you the night sky with identifications of everything up there.  But that would not make it unusual.  What is unusual is that it takes advantage of the sensors in your phone so that it shows you the sky where your phone is pointing.  Yup, as you swing your phone around, the display matches the motion.

By itself that would be amazing and useful...  but as Ron Poppeil used to say, "But wait!  There's more!"

If you want to find something in the sky (where is Mars tonite?), you can search for it...  an arrow appears on the screen, and you swing the phone around in the direction the arrow shows, until lo and behold, there it is!

But wait, there's more!

You can turn on the phone's camera and get an augmented reality view, with the stars superimposed over the surroundings.  So for example, you could say, "Yeah, that's Saturn, just off the starboard spreader."  And be right.

But wait, there's more!

It's free!  Yup, can you believe it?  FREE!

I can't believe you haven't downloaded it already.



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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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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis The Season

Every winter there are boat fires - fires which rapidly lead to marina fires except in the most fortunate circumstances.  And these fires are almost universally electrically caused.

Why do they happen so frequently in the winter?  Because (up here in the north, anyway), it is in the winter when the boat's electrical system is most taxed, keeping the boat warm.

It is the combination of high resistance connections and heavy current load which is the problem.  Ohm's Law, one of the most basic electrical principles says in one of its forms:
P=I2R
Where P is the power or heat generated in watts, R is the resistance in ohms and I is the current in amps passing thru that resistance.  What this means is that the heat generated at a bad connection is powerfully related to the current being passed thru that bad connection.

Here's a visualization.  Have you ever changed out a 100 watt light bulb that just burned out?  It was way, way too hot to touch, right?  Incandescent lights deliver about 97% of their output as heat and only 3% as light (thus the push behind CFLs and LEDs).  So now you have some idea of what 100 watts worth of heat is like - its a lot.  Now let's consider a 30 amp shore power connector that has gotten salt water on it and is a little corroded.  If that corrosion causes only 0.1 ohm of resistance in the connection, the amount of heat generated in the tiny volume where the two pieces of metal in the connector touch will be:  30 x 30 x 0.1 =  90 watts.

As bad as that is, it is not the end of the situation.  In the female side of the connection, the connection is made by a springy contact pair which wedges apart when the male end is inserted.  The heat takes the temper out of these spring contacts, making the poor connection even worse.  In fact, this can snowball, leading almost inevitably to this:

Uh oh...
Prevention is pretty simple.  First, just put your hand on the shore power connector while all those space heaters down below are running.  It should not be warm.  If you have any doubt about your ability to judge this, disconnect the connector and look at both the male and female ends.  If there is discoloration, you have a problem.  Both the cord and the connector on the boat should be replaced.  Why both?  Because regardless of whether the bad connection was where the wires are made up to the female connectors in the shore power cord, the connection between the female connectors in the cord and the male connector on the boat power inlet, or where the wires make up to the male pins on the boat power inlet, the whole shebang has gotten hot.  And that means that everything has been damaged.  If you replace just one side (say, the shore power cord), it is likely that the now-damaged shore power inlet on the boat will cause the new shore power cord to overheat.  So then you'd have to buy a second shore power cord as well as the inlet connector.  Save yourself some money, a second risk of fire, and do it right the first time.

By the way, the marina end of the power cord and the connector in the marina's power box are also candidates for failure - you should check that end too.

Tho the shore power connection seems to be a common failure point, every electrical connection in the boat's wiring is a candidate too.  There are too many of these for me to call them out individually.  But if any electrical connection down below gets hot or shows signs of having been hot, repairs are in order.  Bad connections make heat, and heat makes bad connections worse.

When doing a general inspection, check the connections that carry the most current first - and yes, this does indeed mean that the 12V connections are a bigger risk than the 110V connections.  Remember, the heat generated is as the square of the current, and the highest current connections on your boat are likely to be the 12V ones.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

We're Not Used To This

This much cold this early in the year is something we are just not accustomed to here in the Pacific Northwest. This is a bottle of Diet Coke that was left out on the deck because the refrigerator was full of Thanksgiving food. It was plenty cold out there - the Coke is frozen solid.

Tho I should point out that this is Diet Coke.  Regular Coke has a lot of dissolved sugar in it, which lowers the freezing point (dissolving anything in water lowers its freezing point and raises its boiling point).  The beer, wine and other non-diet bottles stored out on the deck did not freeze.  Thankfully, since there are a lot of glass bottles out there.

In fact, as I write this, it is still below freezing outside and has been so continuously since last Friday.  This is our second cold snap of the year.  Thankfully, our two heating plant failures on Eolian, both associated with sea water supply and not with the heat pump itself,  have been corrected.  The first of these was the near-complete clogging of the strainer that the heat pump sea water passes thru, accompanied by the screen completely falling apart when I touched it - now replaced.  The second I already wrote about. 

I think we'd all welcome a return to more seasonable temperatures here.  And I really feel for the rest of the country, which is experiencing winter in earnest.



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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

In America the last Thursday in November is set aside for giving thanks for all that we have. 

Those of us in the boating world have things to be thankful for that the average American can only vaguely understand...
  • The quite peace of an anchorage at dawn, coffee in the cockpit
  • The look of filled sails against the sky
  • The feel of a boat as it slices thru the waves, propelled only by the wind
  • The stark beauty of a rocky islet topped with a cap of evergreens
  • Gulls (no, really - they are the most accomplished and graceful fliers ever)
  • A nite sky filled with an infinity of stars
  • Sleeping to the sound of water gurgling against the hull
  • And... sunsets
 I am thankful.



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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Magnetic Personality?

Like the rest of the country, the Pacific Northwest has been experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures of late (well, ok - for us, 32° is unseasonable).  And of course you know what this means...  our heating system failed.  Just like roof leaks only appear when it rains, heating plants never fail in the summer.  Oh well.

The first clue was that the thermostat display was completely blank.  Well, and the boat was cold, too.  Some back and forth with Marinaire, the heat pump manufacturer (great customer service, by the way), disclosed that there was a fuse on the main circuit board - a fuse hidden with a blue vinyl cover.  Yep, it was blown.  When it was replaced, the replacement blew immediately as the fan and circulation pump tried to start.  Blowing a couple more fuses revealed that the problem was the circulating pump - the pump that provides sea water to the heat pump.  (It is by the chilling of this sea water that the heat pump produces heat.)

Here's the pump after I pulled it out:
Salt water short-out
Yup - the shaft seal failed and sea water was trickling back along the shaft and into the electric motor.  Bzzzt!

So I bit the bullet and ordered a new pump.  This one has a magnetically driven impeller - that is, there is no shaft seal.  The motor drives a cup-shaped magnet; the pump body extends into the cup but has no opening.  The impeller has an imbedded magnet, and is thus driven by the motor without any mechanical coupling and without a shaft seal.  As you might expect, this kind of pump is more expensive.  But the technology is worth it.


As a bonus, the pump body itself (the white plastic portion) is considerably larger than in the old pump, and is much more substantially made.  The inlet and outlet are larger as well.


Since the pump is physically larger, it wouldn't fit where the old one had been.  So there was some fooling around involved in finding a location that...
  • was below the water line as far as possible - centrifugal pumps are not self-priming,
  • was not actually on the floor of the bilge compartment, since that would promote rusting of the motor base,
  • did not interfere with access to the nearby battery, 
  • minimized the required plumbing changes,
  • and finally, did not block the access door you see in the background to the right.
And of course I had to change the plumbing to use the new location.  If you can believe it, I actually ended up with fewer fittings in the new installation!

Based on the appearance of the discharge water stream, I'd estimate that this pump is delivering twice as much water as the old one, even tho both are rated at 500 GPH.

The boat is warm!  And now I expect to be able to forget about this pump for a long while, just as I have been able to with the refrigeration circulating pump.

Magnetic personality?  I must have one.  Can I make a recommendation here?  Avoid sea water pumps that have shaft seals wherever possible.  Like the cosmetic ad says, they're more expensive, but you're worth it.


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Origami Kayak

This morning while walking down the dock, we passed a gentleman pushing a dock cart with two unusual looking packages in it.  So of course we stopped to talk to him.  It seems that he had just purchased (at REI, in Seattle) a pair of ORU Kayaks.  And that was them in those suitcase-sized packages.

Huh?  Really?


This is a full-on 12 foot kayak, not a sit-on one.  Yes, it takes a spray skirt - it's a real kayak.  It is made of polypropylene sheets, the kind that have the internal bracing (you've seen light-duty versions of in lawn signs, etc).  It folds up (rated for 20,000 folds) into a package that is 32" x 28" x 13" and weighs 26 lb.

Go measure some of your storage onboard and see if it will fit...

(If you go to their website be prepared to be assaulted by an excess of fancy bells and whistles.  But do it anyway...)


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Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Renaissance Man

Tom Steinbach 1932-2014
In 1975, when two young kids drove cross country from St. Louis to Chewelah, Washington, they were beginning an adventure that would last a lifetime.  But they didn't know that they were following in the footsteps of another adventurer.

We first met Tom Steinbach (and Dorna, and Teena, and John, and Mike - it was a family business...) in 1980 when we contracted with Steinbach Construction to pour the foundation for the house we were building.  But because of Tom's outgoing and inquisitive nature, the relationship grew.

Pretty soon Tom was helping me with difficult framing issues - have you ever built a house?  Framing is solving one problem after another.

And grew.  Tom and his family essentially adopted us...  he became an older brother to Jane and I, and he and Dorna became surrogate grandparents to our children (since their real grandparents lived 2500 miles away).   Our children were part of Teena's wedding, and the Steinbachs hosted Easter egg hunts for Adam and Erica.  Tom and John even participated in the Christmas Eve toy assembly ritual at our house.  He introduced me to goose hunting and trout fishing (but alas, thru no fault of his, I am no good at either), and flying (yes, Tom was a pilot).

Above all, Tom was curious.  He was always thinking.  Some of our best conversations involved the Big Subjects:  the meaning of life, cosmology, etc.  But not always big, tho always from an unusual angle.  One particular thought that comes to me in that vein as I write this was a remark he made as we surveyed a woodlot he held behind Quartzite mountain - he asked me to imagine the tons of wood that were being created literally from thin air every month in that woodlot.

Tom was gifted mechanically - he was an inventor.  Have you ever been to a real sawmill?  I suggest you go to one, and then contemplate the fact that Tom built his own.  And I remember that he stole a march on the power tool industry when he came up with the idea of using propane to power an air nailer instead of compressed air, the idea being that this would be an internal combustion tool, burning the propane one explosion at a time to drive nails (my small contribution was to use a piezo ignitor as the trigger).  Dragging an air hose around not required!

I cherish the memories of those discussions.

Tom was also a collector of what today might be called practical knowledge:
  • How to hammer a saw blade (look it up)
  • What varieties of wood were best suited to each purpose (use locust for fence posts - instead of rotting, it will take root)
  • How to run 3-phase tools on 2-phase power
  • How to straighten a warped cast iron saw table by building a fire under it and then cooling it slowly
  • How to build a metal-cutting chop saw using an automotive power steering pump for the hydraulics
  • How to supply his house with all the water it needed from a small spring way up the hill behind the house
  • He ran a few cows occasionally butchered one.  Have you ever cut up an animal?
  • His house was heated with a wood-fired thermostat-controlled furnace... that he built.
And as if that weren't enough, he was an artist:

Tom carved this squirrel on a yellow locust log harvested from his property on the Flowery Trail in Chewelah.
Tom was a true Renaissance Man, and the world will be a poorer and drabber place for his passing.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Deck Leak!

Deck leaks are the bane of boats.  TJ on s/v Kintala once remarked that he had difficulty seeing why a boat deck should leak more than a house roof.  Well, first of all, boat decks are virtually flat, and everyone knows that it is not trivial to keep water from finding its way thru a flat roof.  Next, boat decks have hundreds of penetrations - screws mounting fittings, trim, geegaws, etc.  Each and every screw is a potential leak point.  Each one.  And an amazing amount of water can come thru the tiniest of holes.


For years, Eolian's decks have been leak-free.  But this fall with the onset of the winter rains, water started running down the port side of the cabin.  This isn't my first rodeo tho.  I immediately pulled out my trusty blue tape and hastily constructed an exotic guttering system (the Mayans would have been amazed!) to direct the water into a catch basin.  This was a temporary measure, of course, to prevent damage while the search for the source of the leak went on.

The first measure was to replace the nearby fixed port.  Indeed there was evidence of past leakage around it, but apparently this was not the source of the current leak.  I am not at all unhappy, tho, to have replace the fixed port with an opening one - it was something that I had wanted to do for a long time, and for which I was only looking for an excuse.  But it was not the problem.


In an effort to stop the leak first and diagnose later, I applied tape to everything that looked the slightest bit sketchy on deck in the vicinity of the leak (the replaced port is just in the frame at the top center).

Hallelujah!  The last storm (20-30 kt winds and heavy rain) did not produce a drop inside.  So, one of those pieces of tape is covering the leak.  Which one?

I didn't try to find out.  Instead, I masked off each area and applied several coats of varnish to seal the trim to the deck.

Now we'll see.

It is supposed to rain tonite (of course).






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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blogger Blog


I had a real treat yesterday.

In this world, this life, connections with other people are some of the most important things we have... maybe the most important.  And yesterday, one of those connections got a lot stronger.

It seems that Rick and Ruth Bailey, of s/v Cay of Sea and the Middle Bay Sailing blog had made a cross-country drive to deliver a 7 foot antique clock to their son on Whidbey Island.  Rick contacted me, and we arranged to meet for lunch at Dad's in Anacortes.

What wonderful folks they are!  As you would undoubtedly guess, the conversation ranged over boat topics...  lots of boat topics.  And if you knew the correct pronunciation of Cay:
 A cay (/ˈkiː/ or /ˈkeɪ/), also spelled caye or key, is a small, low-elevation, sandy island on the surface of a coral reef.
then you would not be surprised to know that music was covered too.  Tho I must confess that the right brain simulator I run in my left brain (my actual right brain is a shriveled up raisin) doesn't hold a candle to either of these folks, who both have huge glowing right brains, Rick in music and Ruth in art (Rick often features Ruth's work on Middle Bay Sailing).  I knew that I wasn't going to attempt to play when Rick picked up my guitar and ran thru the opening riff from 'Blackbird', flawlessly.  Oh my.

It was a wonderful visit.  And firming up these tenuous connections we have with each other over the Internet with actual personal contact is too a wonderful thing.  I only wish that it was possible to do more of it.

Thanks for visiting Rick & Ruth!




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Monday, October 20, 2014

Time Passes

In 1980 when our kids were just toddlers, I took a picture of this intriguing tree in Washington Park in Anacortes.  It was the occasion of our second trip to the San Juan Islands, and our very first ever boat charter (a Newport 28).

1980

We had occasion to be at Washington Park again this fall, and I was surprised to see that the tree was still there.  But sadly, the intervening 34 years have not been kind to it - tho still in place, it is sagging downward, and it has died.

2014

One other thing is apparent in these two pictures...  the technology of photography has changed dramatically over those years.  The first picture was taken as a 35 mm Kodachrome slide.  The second was a snapshot taken on my iPhone.  Clearly 35 mm format slide film with a 250 mm zoom lens beats the pants off of an iPhone, digitally zoomed out to the max.  Nevertheless, I'll probably never go back to toting around a big heavy camera bag full of expensive lenses.  The convenience of having the camera in my pocket wherever I go is for me an overwhelming advantage.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Micro-forecast iPhone App

An area like Puget Sound and the San Juans has many micro-climates. No "one size fits all" forecast is going to do a decent job. What you need is a micro forecast - one suited to just where you are.

It's not free, but for less than the cost of that last latte you bought, you can have it!  The app is called "Dark Sky" - search for it on your app store.

So you can see what it does, here's a look at some of the screens.  First, the current forecast for your location, for the next 60 minutes:

Next hour
Swiping to the next screen (see the dots at the bottom?) gives you a little longer range look:

Next day
One more swipe gives you a look at the next seven days.  Here I've touched Saturday and so it is being shown in greater detail:

Next week
Finally, for a graphic view, you get a look at the radar loop. 


This view is shrinkable to show the whole world, or you can zoom in to show your location in great detail.  In the zoomed-out view, the time scale changes to days instead of hours, and you will get a couple of days to the future of the 'now' point - that is, a predicted radar loop.  It can also show a loop on temperature, but I find that less interesting.

Now tell me that you wouldn't find this handy on board!
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Sounds

I moved aboard at the end of 1996.  It was the end of the year, so a) I didn't spend much time outside, and b) neither did anyone else...  It was cold, after all.  But as the seasons progressed and the weather warmed, the sounds of spring filled the marina: sanders.  Whenever it wasn't raining, the air was filled with sound of sanders, near and far.  Multiple sanders - on G Dock, F Dock, and even as far away as the nether reaches of E Dock.  People were cleaning up their teak for the annual varnish job.

But times have changed.  It is no longer profitable to mine the dumpsters for scraps of teak - there are none.  And the sound of sanders is gone from the marina.

Now instead what you hear is the whine of the boat detailers' buffers.  Boats no longer have teak on them - it's just too expensive and too hard to keep looking good.  Now they are all white fiberglass, frequently buffed by that detailer's wool pad.

Progress, I guess.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lawn Mower Pesto

Have you ever planted chives in a small bed next to your yard?  If you have, you know that they spread and spread.  How about mint?  Even more spreading.

We have.  And when we mow the grass, some of that chive and mint gets chopped up.  It smells wonderful!

Tho this happens every time we cut the grass, Jane and I were discussing the aroma for perhaps the first time last nite after mowing the grass.  In one of those "Aha!" moments, Jane suggested that since it smelled so good, I should try making a pesto out of chives and mint.

Wow!  We had it mixed onto pasta last night.  It was fresh, warm and wonderful!  I'm sure it would be good on salmon, lamb, or just smeared on bruschetta. 

Here's how I made it:
  • Grab a handful of chives and pull out the browning ones so that you have all green.
  • Strip the leaves off a few mint plant tops - if the soft stems at the top come off too, that's OK.
  • Pack these into your Cuisinart along with 3-4 large peeled garlic cloves.
  • Pulse until chopped fine.
  • Pulse while adding just enough olive oil to stick things together.

Sorry I don't have an exact recipe.  The first attempt smelled a little too "onion-y", so I just added a little more mint.

If we had not planted these two things right next to each other, the idea would never have occurred to us.  But after-dinner research disclosed that we were not the first to discover this wonderful taste combination.  Google "chives mint" and you'll see that even Martha Stewart beat us to it.  You might even get some more exact recipes...
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Monday, October 6, 2014

The Mutiny of the Radar Officer

I've talked about our Radar setup aboard Eolian before.  And that setup worked out very well for us...  as long as it was a rare occasion that required Radar.  Down in Puget Sound, it was indeed a rare occasion.

But not so rare up here north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, when crossing Rosario Strait.  In fact, I think we may have put more hours on the Radar set this summer than in all our previous time on Eolian.

A consequence fell from this.  Jane, our Radar Officer, mutinied.

She said that she didn't like having to stay below and shout up to me the "hits" on the screen, especially when the engine was running, making the communication essentially one-way (it being difficult for me to make myself heard by Jane sitting down below, almost directly above the engine).

So, I did what any self-respecting Captain would do having received permission to spend money:  Notwithstanding all those things I said before, I scurried off to craigslist and found a used Furuno Radar with an LCD screen that is water resistant and daylite readable, and can therefore be mounted in the cockpit next to the GPS.  No Radar Officer required.

For sale - any takers?

Yesterday and today I spent removing the old Radar. A trip up the mizzen was required to disconnect the interconnect cable and remove the radome (boy that sucker is heavy!). Next, I tied a string to the end of the cable and lowered it thru the mizzen to the cockpit.

Then the big job started - unthreading the interconnect cable from the path the original installer had used between the base of the mizzen mast and the display unit that used to hang overhead in the navigator's station.  It would have been much easier if I had cut the cable, but I didn't want to do that because the interconnect cables are very expensive, and the lack of a cable would seriously impair the old unit's resalability.

Then the next day was spent on:
  • Ascend the mizzen mast again, this time with electric drill in hand so that I could drill new mounting holes in the mounting plate on the mast.  Layout the new holes that were needed, since neither of the two sets on the mount matched up.
  • Drill those holes, starting with a 1/8" drill bit and ending with a 7/16" bit.
  • Hoist the new radome up and bolt it in place.  Working up the mast is scary...  you want to always have everything tied off, either to you or to the mast, because gravity is such a bitch.  So this was a very scary action, because the radome is a curvy beast, leaving only a bolt thru one of the mounting holes to use as the hoist point.  This meant that I had to disconnect the only thing securing the radome up there in order to mount it.  Until I got the first bolt in place, it was just my hands fending off the depridations of gravity.  Every motion was thought out ahead of time, and somehow every task had to be done with just one hand, the other being designated as the "keep the radome from falling" hand.
  • Thread the new interconnect cable (already attached to the radome) down the mizzen mast, using the pull string I left in place.
So this is where things stand at the moment:

It works!
There it sits, just as pretty as can be, right next to the GPS (or where the GPS would be, if it were mounted).

Still to do for a complete installation:
  • Permanently mount the new display on the coaming next to the GPS
  • Drill a hole thru the coaming for the cables
I have a stainless steel "desk grommet" on order for the cable penetration of the coaming - you've seen these on newer office furniture, intended for computer cables.  Hopefully this will give a finished appearance when the displays are mounted and when they are not.



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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On The Opening Of Ports

One of Eolian's two Previous Owners outfitted her opening ports with curtains.  In order to hang them, he used an extruded aluminum curtain track that was available at the time - the same track, as a matter of fact, that the factory used to hang the shower curtains in the heads.  But on two of the aft cabin ports, the installed track interfered with an overhead beam, preventing the complete opening of the ports.  (These are not the original curtains; they are the curtains that Jane made back in 1989, one of her "make the boat mine" projects.)

Original setup only opens part way
Unfortunately, the only fittings available at the time for attaching the curtain extrusions were these (now rusty) steel spring clips, which he installed by wiring them to the port hinges.

Rusty steel attachment clip, wired on
While making a recent Sailrite order (I must do a post on this wonderful company sometime soon!), I found that they carried three forms of the curtain track:
  • one like the ones used on Eolian,
  • one designed for mounting to a vertical surface,
  • and one designed for mounting to a horizontal surface.
It was the last one of these that caught my eye.  With a little modification, a piece of this track could be used to mount the curtain track to the port in a much lower position...  that would allow the ports to open quite a bit further!  So I included a piece of this track in that order.

A little work with a hacksaw cut two pieces of tracks to length, and then removed the mounting flange from their ends so that they could be mounted to the port lens:

Hacksaw hack
Then I drilled holes in the track flange and matching holes in the port lens.  Using a couple of 3/4" 6-32 SS screws and nylock nuts, I attached the track to the under side of the top flange of the port lens:

Better than a wired-on rusty steel clip
The port now opens almost completely!

Open wide!
Look Ma!  No wires!
And yes, it looks a lot better.  Eolian has six more ports for which this treatment should be done, tho none of them have overhead interferences... doing the work would only serve to improve the professionalism of the interior finish.  So, yeah, that means that I will do them, but not as a high priority task.  There will be another piece of track in the next Sailrite order.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

That Time, Once Again

In some parts of North America, yachts get hauled out of the water for the winter... because the water freezes.  And in other places the temperature is just now coming down enough to make being on the water a pleasant experience.  The Pacific Northwest is in between those two extremes.

But we were surprised in Anacortes this spring when we saw large amounts of seaside land devoted to hauled out, shrink-wrapped boats.  And these were not small boats - the large majority were over 40 feet.  The water does not freeze here...  and it is not significantly colder in Anacortes than Seattle (where the practice does not exist).  Further, prepping a boat for a winter haulout is a much larger job than keeping it from freezing at the dock in 50° water.  It is a mystery.

As in all past years, we will not do a winter haulout.  But getting ready for winter storms does take a little preparation.  First, we hang another four fenders on the boat, to better cushion it against the dock when the big winds blow.  Next, we double all the dock lines.  This is a precaution - the extra lines are secondaries, there in case one of the primaries chafes thru when we are asleep or away.

And this year we have a special treat that we have never had before.  Like in Seattle, in Anacortes the winter storms come from the south.  When we came to Anacortes, we had the good fortune to be able to choose a south-facing slip, which means that for the first time, Eolian will be facing into the storm winds.  We could have had this in Seattle by backing into our slip for the winter (which we did, a few times), but the bigger problem in storm winds is that it is not really possible to keep the boat from surging back against the dock when you only have tie points on one side of the boat.

Because we will face into the wind in Anacortes, we get to use another cleat to tie off the bow.  (Tho our slips in Seattle were also equipped with this cleat, it was useless to us because it was downwind of the boat in every case.)  With this second cleat, the boat will essentially "hang" downwind from the two bow cleats, rather than swinging back against the dock.



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Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Projects at Anchor

We have found that many projects can be completed at anchor, rather than tied to the dock.  As long as you have the necessary tools, fasteners, paint, varnish, etc. aboard, there is no reason at all to not do the work in a more congenial atmosphere than the marina.  

So, while we were at anchor in Blind Bay on Shaw Island, we completed these two projects:

Project 1:  Replace the zippers in the aft section of the cockpit canvas


There are four zippers here, and four sections of canvas that needed to be taken below.  I used a seam-ripper to remove the old zippers, but removing the old thread was a much bigger chore.  Because the thread on the exterior was rotted to the point where it had no strength at all, almost every single loop had to be laboriously picked out by hand.  But our monster sewing machine (a Sailrite LSZ-1) had no difficulty sewing thru 4-6 layers of sunbrella and the vinyl window material.  Given what canvas work costs these days, this machine has paid for itself twice over already.  And thank heavens for a large battery bank and a good inverter!

Project 2: Replace a leaking 36 year old fixed port

The new port


The new port gives great ventilation
while at anchor!
This port was installed by the factory 36 years ago.  It was ugly, but I didn't want to mess with a sleeping dog...  as long as it didn't leak.  But when the leaking started, time to kick that dog off the boat - I ordered a new one.  The replacement is an opening port, which provides us some delightful cross ventilation when at anchor, but it is somewhat larger than the old fixed port.  That meant that I had to use a saber saw to enlarge the opening (there's that inverter again...).  Because of the tight clearances, it was not possible to leave the guide/table on the saw when cutting, so I had to hand-hold it...  a recipe for breaking blades, and yes I broke a bunch, but I got the hole enlarged.  Then I coated the exposed foam core of the deck with polysulphide to prevent wicking of moisture, should any get by the seal with the deckhouse.  Finally, I installed the window with a dozen #10 stainless pan head screws.

Bonus:  The window is exquisitely clear, giving more light below!
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nothing stays the same

Me, in the office in 1997
I can't describe it in any other way.

For sixteen and a half years, we had Eolian moored in Seattle.  Because I worked in Seattle, she was our Seattle home (as it said until only recently over there on the right).

Because I worked in Seattle, my work clothes were in the hanging locker on Eolian.  Because we attended church in Seattle, my fancy clothes were in that same hanging locker.  My good shoes, my rain shoes for the winter, my Tevas, my deck shoes were all aboard Eolian.

Yes, we had a log cabin up on Camano Island...  that we visited on weekends, sometimes.  My automotive tools were there, and there was a lot of lawn to mow.  But for all intents and purposes, the cabin was for us a fancy, expensive laundromat, 68 miles away from the marina.

And then I retired.

And then a slip opened up in Anacortes at the Cap Sante marina.

And we moved Eolian from Seattle to Anacortes.

That's a lot of changes.

The net result is kind of paradigm shattering for me...  we no longer class ourselves as liveaboards.  My good clothes are slowly migrating to the cabin.  And pretty soon the only shoes I'll have aboard are my deck shoes.  We leave the boat for a couple of weeks at a time.  And although we have never had a year when we were off the dock as many days as in 2014, there is... a strangeness.  Eolian no longer seems as much like home base.

As I sit here anchored in Blind Bay and typing this, the view from the office looking aft is the same as it was in 1997 when I started chronicling the changes we were making to Eolian.  But now, aside from those improvements, it is different, somehow.

Nothing stays the same forever - there is always change.



OK, I need to put something to rest.  After reading this Jane said, and the comments to this post indicate, that I managed to convey that I am feeling sadness.

NOT SO!

But I am feeling a twinge of nostalgia - fall is a good time for that.  This last year on the boat has been the best one we've had.  I believe that we've done more actual sailing this year than in any of the past 16 years.  And we've been on the boat, away from the dock, 51 days this year so far...  not just short over-nighters to Port Madison, but living at anchor for weeks at a time (he said, typing while at anchor in Blind Bay).
While in the past we provisioned the boat and then set off, we now are staying away from the dock long enough to need to find provisioning while out here.  We are living out here in the San Juan Islands for weeks at a time, not just visiting.     

(Note that none of the above is meant to take away from our month-long trip to Desolation Sound, where we provisioned for and stayed off the dock for the whole month - that was a special circumstance, proving to ourselves, I guess, that both we and the boat had capacities for long-distance cruising.) 

So it is all good!


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Monday, September 1, 2014

Ant Mode

August in the Pacific Northwest is a good time for boating... power boating that is.   Temperatures are warm and there is little wind.  It's a good time for a sailor to take advantage of the weather to get annual maintenance tasks done.  While we have been grasshoppers since spring, Now we must become ants.

I set myself four tasks to complete this fall, before the winter rains begin in earnest.  These are:
  1. Sand and varnish the caprails, eyebrow teak and the handrails.
    This task morphed into something much bigger - while Jane tackled the eyebrow and handrails, I ended up removing the 16-year accumulation of varnish from the starboard caprail, taking it all the way back to bare wood.   Then I dug out all the caulk between the caprail and the bulwark and reapplied new polysulphide.  Currently, the starboard caprail needs one more coat of varnish; the port side is complete.  We plan to re-mask and apply the final starboard coat while at anchor in Blind Bay. Since we have a wedding to attend next weekend, this probably won't happen until the week of Sept 8.
  2. Erect fencing around the young trees on our property.
    This is necessary because the young bucks destroy small trees as a territorial signal to each other.  I laboriously drove fence posts into the rock-hard soil and stretched chicken wire around 8 trees.  Task complete.
  3. Paint the front of our log cabin.
    This is the side facing southwest - the sun does its worst here.  Requiring about a hundred thousand trips up and down a 30' extension ladder, all I have left to do on this is some window trim - about another day's work.
  4. Repair Eolian's cockpit canvas.
    Several zippers need to be replaced due to the sun destroying the plastic teeth.  I had also planned to re-make two of the top Bimini pieces; I have the Sunbrella on hand...  we'll see if I have enough time before the rains start.
Anyway, we've certainly made good use of the August sailing lull.  But I confess that this blog has suffered some as a result. 

And so has my body.






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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Curve of Time, Revisited

Think back...  Do you remember the third grade?  Where the teacher, at her wits end at the end of the day, had you kids put your heads down on your desks and spent the last half hour quietly reading to the class?   Old Yeller and Charlotte's Web are still stuck in my head from that experience.  And it was an experience...  it was much more than the story alone.

Several years ago (have I been blogging that long?), I reviewed The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet (ISBN 1-58005-072-7).  I strongly recommend that you go back and re-read that review now.  We'll wait for you to come back.

OK, you're back!  Now that you have the flavor of the book in your mind, this isn't strictly about the book - it is about a new audio version of the book, narrated by Heather Henderson.

I highly recommend this audio version to you.  Why?
  • The experience of listening as someone reads to you is subjectively different than reading yourself. 
  • At anchor, with your eyes closed at the end of the day, Heather's reading M. Wylie Blanchet's words soon becomes M. Wylie telling you the story herself...  it becomes a much more personal experience.
  • This lyrical book lends itself very well to this presentation.
  • Jane and I finally experienced the book together.  When we were reading the print version we had to share experiences in series.  
This has been a wonderful companion for us this summer adrift in the Pacific Northwest, in the San Juan Islands.

Now put your heads down on your desks...



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Monday, August 25, 2014

PO Recursiveness

In the past I have repeatedly referenced the Previous Owner with some disdain.  In fact I have attributed most of the problems we have dealt with aboard Eolian to the Previous Owner. 

However, astute readers of my previous post will have noticed something:
  • I whined about the use of silicone rubber as caulking under the caprail
  • I last exposed the caprail to daylite in 1998.
Yes, embarrassingly,  it is true.  That was me - I put that silicone rubber there.  I have become my own Previous Owner.  If you own your boat long enough, this is inevitable.  You will eventually have to face your own repairs, made by a younger, less experienced version of yourself.

In the 16 years we have been responsible for Eolian's care, I have learned some things.  No, that's inadequate.  I have learned A LOT.  And the inappropriateness of silicone rubber is one of those things.  While I may have whined about our Previous Owner using silicone rubber for simply everything (liquid duct tape?), I was guilty of bringing this nasty stuff aboard too.

But that is one of the purposes of this blog - to keep others from making the mistakes I have made.

Learnings:

  • Leave the silicone rubber ashore (except where explicitly required - by Beckson for installation of their ports for example).
  • Hubris can result in embarrassment

Years ago when I was a kid, I used to read Flying magazine. I particularly enjoyed a long-running series of articles entitled "I Learned About Flying From That." Each article was written by a pilot, who humbly admitted to having made a mistake, and then having lived, told about it in the hopes that others would not have to make the same mistake. I thought then that it was a good format, and I still think that now. This series of postings is my attempt to recreate that article series with a new subject and new technology.

(If you would like to help others to learn from your mistakes, please send your article to: WindborneInPugetSound at gmail dot com)

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Starting Over

Bare wood
We have been uncharacteristically quiet here.  No, there's nothing wrong - we're just really busy.

It's the time for that annual task: sand/revarnish all the brightwork on Eolian's the exterior.

But aside from the normal work, examining the condition of the varnish on the starboard cap rail showed it was obvious that it was time - time for a complete re-do.  The last time this wood was uncovered was in 1998, the summer after I had moved aboard.  That time I used a chemical stripper to remove the last dregs of the Cetol that the Previous Owner had applied and then failed to maintain.  The work experience was not good - it was very difficult to control the stripper, to keep it off of the adjacent gelcoat (as it turns out, the stripper attacks gelcoat too).

This time I elected to use a heat gun, and that turned out to be a good decision.  Because of the thickness of the varnish after 16 years of application, with just the right amount of heat it became rubbery enough to just peel off in large sheets. Two days.

Then it was necessary to dig out the silicone caulk that had been used to seal the caprail to the top of the bulwark.  (This seal was necessary because the factory did not varnish the undersides of the wood when installing it, thus when moisture got underneath the wood and soaked in, it lifted the varnish on the top.  Unfortunately, silicone was a poor choice (it's always a poor choice) - it did not adhere to the teak well and allowed moisture to enter.  So, I had to very laboriously dig out the old caulk, making every effort to remove even traces of the old silicone.  Two more days.

With the old caulk removed, then I applied tape to delineate the area to be caulked and extruded black polysulphide (BoatLife Life Calk) and worked it into the seam with my finger, and then finally pulled the tape.  If you have ever worked with this stuff, you will know that unless great care is taken, it will end up everywhere.  I had a package of paper napkins handy and a gallon of paint thinner on hand, frequently wiping down my hands.  It is messy work, and along the deckhouse the access is terrible on the inside of the bulwark - there is just barely enough room for me to lie on my side in there, meaning that all the work has to happen with my arms extended over my head.  Three more days - I should finish this step today.

Next will come a wash of the teak with oxalic acid to remove the water staining, a light sanding, a wipe with thinner to remove the teak oils on the surface, and then finally, finally, four or five coats of varnish.

Hopefully this will hold for another 16 years.  The people in the slip next to us (transients - they've been here for part of this) are wondering whether we ever take the boat out, or if all we do is maintenance.  While there is more maintenance on a "Classic Plastic" boat than a modern boat with no exterior wood whatsoever, we think the results are worth it.  And really, we are only talking about 3 or 4 days a year (with a big effort every 16 years).

For us, it is worth it.



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Monday, August 18, 2014

Escalation in Problem Solving

Recently, the generator onboard Eolian began acting up.

First, there has been the smell of diesel present under the floorboards whenever it has been run.  This started small and grew so gradually that I had been ignoring it.  Jane however is the ever-practical one.  "Why does the generator smell like diesel?" she asked, pointing out that there was indeed an elephant in the room, and leaving me no more room to pretend that there was nothing amiss.

I searched all the diesel connections and didn't find any leaks.  Finally, I put it down to a possible fine mist escaping from a high pressure line feeding one of the injectors - it's hot up there and any leaked diesel would quickly evaporate.  Yeah, that's the ticket. 

But the smell persisted. 

And then the generator began to act like it was starving for fuel.  So as an experiment I turned on the electric fuel pump and pressurized the diesel feed line to the generator.  It immediately smoothed out and ran normally.  No problemo!  All I have to do now is run the fuel pump whenever I run  the generator.  And the bilge blower to get rid of those diesel fumes.

Some of you probably have this figured it out by now...

OK, at this point I have grudgingly admitted that there is something actually wrong.  So I took the simplest and cheapest approach as a first step:  I changed the generator fuel filter.  As a problem-solving method, this is a good first step.  It cost very little, was very little effort, and in even the worst possible case, it does no harm.

Unfortunately, it didn't fix the problem.

Next step:  Change the fuel lift pump on the generator.  Cost $75 (yeah, that's a lot for a fuel pump, but then this is a Yanmar 2GM).  As to effort, well there is a reason this was the second thing I tried.  The lift pump is cam-driven, just like a fuel pump on a car, and is located on the port side of the generator, about 3" away from the port battery bank.  Just about enough room to get a socket on the 2 bolts attaching it to the block.  But not enough room to get my head in there to actually see the bolts.  Oh and did I mention that the pump was a corroded mass so ugly that it was difficult to identify except that the fuel lines ran to it and from it?  Apparently the Previous Owner had had a water leak from the exhaust elbow, which is immediately above the pump.  But this also meant that changing the pump not only did no harm, but was a huge positive, regardless if it was the cause of the problem.

Putting the new pump in was an even bigger puzzle because the hard line on its discharge must be installed before the pump is placed and it must be threaded thru some obstacles before the pump can be placed into position.  And all of this must be done while maintaining the gasket in place (I used Permatex to glue it to the lift pump) and fiddling the mounting bolts into their holes, blind.

Yup, that fixed it.  Both problems.  Although invisible under the mass of corrosion, apparently the pump casing had corroded thru or cracked, allowing diesel to escape on the pressure stroke and air to be sucked in on the suction stroke.

This was a classic case of following my troubleshooting aphorism: 

"Do the simple, lowest cost things first." 




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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Comments and Google+

I have received several complaints via email that in order to make a comment on this blog, you must have a Google+ account.  I completely understand why most folks would not want to be pressured into joining the Google borg just in order to make a comment - and I want those comments!

I have finally found the setting that enables Google+ comments.  Unfortunately, "enable" is a word that does not adequately express the strength of the action.  In fact, "enabling" Google+ comments replaces the alternative comment mechanism that this blog used to have.  That setting is now turned off - you no longer need to have a Google+ account to make a comment.

I apologize for the frustration that this has caused.

Bob

(and now I expect some comments on this post...)


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Raining

It's raining today.  It has been since some time last nite - I didn't look at the clock when it woke me up.

It woke me up because it was an unusual sound...  it having been so long since water fell from the sky.  The ground is baked and hard, and surely much of the rain must be running off, unabsorbed.  But this is the slow, gentle rain that Seattle does so well, so perhaps I am wrong about that.

Anyway, we need it, badly.  We even have wildfires on this side of the mountains now.  Hopefully this will put them out on both sides of the Cascades.
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Monday, August 11, 2014

It begins again

Jane's blackberry crisp, already sampled
The great wheel of the seasons continues to turn, bringing us now to the time when the blackberries ripen.  Last nite, Jane made the first blackberry crisp of this year.  As we sampled it (with ice cream, of course!), a warm memory came to me.

It was a little later in the year - the blackberries were ripe and plentiful, especially at the head of Blakely Harbor, back by the concrete boiler pillbox that is all that remains of the old Blakely sawmill.  We had dinghied thru the opening into the millpond, and Jane went ashore to pick those berries.  It was one of those days where it is warm when the sun is up, but quite cool after sundown.

And as the sun went down, Jane fired up the oven and made a blackberry crisp using those freshly picked berries. 

Only a little later the sun was gone.  But the residual heat from the oven  kept the cabin cozy while we enjoyed that crisp, watching the stars come out.



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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Problem Solved


Yes, that is 9 gallons of the good stuff. A local TruValue hardware store was selling off their old stock of the "environmentally irresponsible" thinner for $7.89/gallon. I bought all their stock.

I should be fixed for life.

Or perhaps I'll be like the lady who is selling off cans of pre-EPA formula Brasso on eBay, one by one.

(If you haven't been following my paint thinner odyssey, you can catch up here and then here.)
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Monday, August 4, 2014

Peace


I mentioned earlier that while on our Shaw Island hike, we encountered and had a mid-road conversation with a nun.

But that bald statement gives nothing of the event.  Despite the warmth of the morning, Sister Miriam, a woman in her late 20's or early 30's, was dressed in the full black regalia, and yet she looked entirely comfortable.  Our conversation ranged over the usual topics one might expect when just meeting someone on an island...  where are you from, where are you going, how long have you been here...  like that.  And Sister Miriam is a woman who quietly and confidently knows where she is and where she is going.  But far more than the topics, during this conversation we were presented with an overwhelming sensation of... PEACE.  It was subliminal, but it was powerful.

It was so powerful that immediately after we resumed our walk we both turned to each other and remarked on it.  It was so powerful that even now, as I am writing, it is with me.  It is simply amazing to me that a brief conversation in the middle of a road on a small island could be so transformative.

I wonder if Sister Miriam knows she carries such a powerful aura.



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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Skunked Again!


Of course I was leery this time. Before buying this container of thinner, I carefully looked the label over for "safe", "safety".   It even proclaims, "Thins all colors of paint, stain and varnish".  But I missed "non-flammable", and I should have been tipped off by the opaque white container. 

I am so stupid.  


Yup, you guessed it. I bought another $10 gallon of milk. 

Lesson learned. I will never buy another container of paint thinner unless the container is translucent so that I can see the contents, or the store allows me to open it and sample it before purchase. 

And no, KleenStrip, I will not add your milk to my $60/quart varnish. Not ever. 




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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Arduous Hike to Enlightenment


Yesterday afternoon we moved the boat from Indian Cove, around the corner to Blind Bay.

We've anchored in both Blind Bay and Indian Cove numerous times, and on many a sun-downer evening in Blind Bay, speculated just exactly where on the shoreline we should look to be looking towards Indian Cove. 

This morning we finally addressed that burning question. We put on our hiking shoes and dinghied over to the ferry landing. As we walked up the hill, we promised ourselves that when we returned we would have earned a nice ice cream cone. 

It was a quiet two mile saunter on paved roads where we waved at every car and every car waved back. At one point there was a car parked in the middle of the road, stationary, talking on a phone. Not a problem as there was no other traffic. And then there was the pleasant conversation we had with the nun, also out walking, also held in the middle of the road. 

It was not at all arduous, and yet we were enlightened. It turns out that Indian Cove is just over the tree line at the back of Blind Bay, much closer than you would think.  And now we know just where to look. 

The ice cream comes were delicious. 

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