June 25, 2010, Cap Sante Marine, Anacortes, WA
I am on day 13 without a shave or a haircut. Eleven years in the Army has one shaving every morning and getting a haircut almost as regularly. But having separated from the Army, it is my turn to go unshaven and unkempt for as long as I want (or for as long as Tami will allow). The problem is, I've never really been one to have the ability to grow a monster-thick mane of facial hair. Mine (like Joe Dirt) grows in all white trashy like. I have been known to grow a mean set of chops, but my beard and mustache end up looking like I just fell face first into a pile of dirt. The hair on my head is thick and grows like a weed, but the hair on my face looks like a pubescent teenager's. Because of all this, Tami and I have come up with the idea of the "comb under"! Bald men normally take the hair on the sides of their heads and "comb over" the bald spots to make it look like they have a full head of hair. Who says a man can't go the other way? I say, I'll just let my hair grow thick and long and then simply comb the luscious locks down under my chin and above my upper lip! Genius! I wonder why no one has thought of this earlier? I think it's a great idea, but perhaps that's what living in a boat yard smelling paint fumes all day will do for you. Nevertheless, pictures will be forthcoming! Wish me luck.
Today was a little slower than the previous days here in the yard. Our new cutlass bearing arrived but we can't install it without the new drive shaft. Tami sanded the boom gallows and applied a nice coat of Australian tree oil. The varnish had worn off, and the thing looked hideous. Now, it looks great! I love the smell of freshly sanded teak in the morning. We also sanded the rudder where the prop hit it, and prepped the shaft log for the new cutlass bearing. We also removed the old furling line winch and prepare the winch pad for a newer smaller one we can use for the new furling line. We also rented a car today to help us run some errands around town. Tomorrow, we plan to drive down to Oak Harbor and NAS Whidbey to visit the exchange and commissary. As far as work on the boat goes, we are now just waiting on our new drive shaft and refurbished propeller to get here so we can reassemble everything and get back in the water.
We have been out of the water now for about 4 days and without access to shore power for our battery charger. It's amazing how well our solar panels and wind generator have been working! Today, we actually saw our solar controller shut down to a "float charge" because our batteries were fully charged. I love free energy!
Friday night is pizza night and Wii family bowling night. We normally get Papa Murphy's pizza, so we found the local shop here in Anacortes and got some great pie. Now it's time for Christian and I to whoop up on the chicas on Wii bowling!
See you tomorrow!
June 25, 2010, Cap Sante Marine, Anacortes, WA
Funny some of the things you see in a boat yard. The boat pictured here is actually a hull, with an A-frame roof installed - shingles and all!
We've been "on the hard" (boater term for having your boat in the boat yard up on jack stands) now for three days here in Anacortes at Cap Sante Marine boat yard. The progress has been slow but at least we are headed in the right direction. The first night we were here, we stayed in a motel up the street. The kids were able to swim in the pool and we all enjoyed the free breakfast. But since we are spending all our money on boat repairs, we can't be livin' the high life in motels and what not. So, we are now staying on the boat in the yard. It's not bad though. There are many people who have life much worse. We actually slept great last night. Tonight, we enjoyed the most awesome of dinners - grilled corn on the cob and grilled chicken! It was delectable! You see, you just leave the corn in the stalk, pull the stalk back a bit and fill it with butter, then wrap it up in tin-foil and lay in on the grill. You really can't overcook it, but we left ours on for about 20-30 minutes on low heat. The stalk has the moisture the corn needs to cook, so it doesn't burn - the butter just makes it good! Once the corn was almost done, we laid some dry-rubbed chicken on the grill and let that cook. Then we all enjoyed a great dinner in our very own water-front mobile home up on jacks. Does life get any better? Tami even conjured up some awesome chocolate chip bread pudding with dark chocolate ice cream on top! Who'd a thunk it?
Yesterday, we finally got the stubborn cutlass bearing removed. With the help of an air chisel, it finally gave up and fell out. What a mess! We sent the propeller and drive shaft away to The Prop Shop to be repaired. Today, we got the great news (read sarcasm) that we needed a new drive shaft (our old one was bent and corroded). So, a new $1400 drive shaft is on its way. The kids are officially up for sale! Hopefully the new shaft and repaired prop will be here by Monday so we can install them and be put back in the water by Tuesday. Our new shaft seal parts also arrived today so we cleaned all those parts up and reassembled the PSS dripless seal. We also installed the new engine mounts today. It was easier than we expected. We simply loosened up all the bolts on the old ones and then jacked the engine up with a floor jack and replaced the mounts. The old ones were indeed bent. Now, all we have to do is get the new drive shaft back in and get the boat back in the water. Then we can get the engine re-aligned and be on our way. In the meantime, we may take the ferry over to Friday Harbor and spend a few more days with our friend Susan. We may also borrow her car as walking around this town is getting old.
The guys in the boat yard here have been great. They have been very helpful and done it all with a great attitude. We hope to be able to buy them all some pizzas for lunch one day next week (maybe the day all our parts get here so they will be more inclined to help us install them!)
We are all eager to get back on the water and enjoy the rest of our summer sailing. However, we have to take the lemons and make lemonade. We are all trying to have a positive attitude and keep our spirits high. Fortunately, the weather has been magnificent and the temperatures have been in the 70's. You can't ask for much better conditions to be working on a boat. Tonight, Christian took a swing on the world's largest swingset. You see, when you are living on your boat in the boat yard, you tend to be the only ones around after business hours. So, since the guys left the travel lift out and the slings down, we took advantage of it and went for a little (or big) swing. Abby was afraid, but Christian enjoyed it.
I'm sure tomorrow's list of "to do's" is growing by the minute. Fortunately, we have nothing but time (no money, but plenty of time)! Living on and maintaining a big boat is not easy. But neither is living in and maintaining an old house. Our boat is 28 years old and has been around the world. She has some wrinkles, stretch marks, and tan lines. She may be a little tired, but has some great stories to tell. All she needs is a little TLC and she will take us safely wherever we want to go.
June 22, 2010, Cap Sante Marine, Anacortes, WA
You know you are poor (or losing all your money to boat repair) when you are eating condiment sandwiches. Mustard is our favorite!
There are two constants when sailing in the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands: #1 The wind will always be on your nose, and #2 You will always be fighting the current - ebb tide or flood tide, it doesn't matter. These rules are especially true in the San Juan Islands. The weather forecast yesterday was for winds out of the Southwest at 10-15 knots. We thought this would be great for our southeast trek from Sucia Island to Anacortes. We should at least have a close reach most of the way. Well, wouldn't you know it, the wind was southEAST at 12 knots ALL DAY LONG!!! So, we sailed for a bit, tacking back and forth all the while fighting the current that was technically supposed to be going the other way. This pretty much kept us in the same spot for about 2 hours. Oh, don't get me wrong, you can sail downwind if you'd like or drift along with the current, but I'll bet my next paycheck that you won't be headed in the right direction.
Anyway, we motored most of the way to the Cap Sante Boat Haven in Anacortes arriving around 1600. The marina there is great! The staff is nice and the moorage was relatively cheap (about $1 a foot = $43). The weather was nice and we enjoyed a quiet, still evening in the slip.
This morning, we motored over to Fidalgo Marina and the Cap Sante Marine haul-out and boat yard facility. Like clockwork, the guys running the travel lift expertly maneuvered our boat into the slings and got the fat girl up out of the water. Tami hates watching the haul out. All she can picture is our boat falling from the slings and plunging 30 feet straight down into a complicated insurance claim. The guys did a great job, got the bottom washed down and blocked in no time at all. They even put a nice set of stairs in place for us to climb up and down (for the kids and all) since we will probably be staying on the boat a few nights while it is in the yard.
So, on to today's progress...After a quick evaluation of the damage and situation, we deftly removed the very complicated Maxi-prop (with some expert help, of course) and placed it aside. We then loosened the coupling and shaft seal and banged the 8+ foot drive shaft out of the boat. It took a little coaxing but slid out without incident (the sucker is a monster!) We then went to work cleaning the stern tube and prepping the cutlass bearing for removal. Cutlass bearings either fall out with no effort, or require dynamite and jack hammers to set them free. Ours is the later type. A combination of age, the heat caused by the melting line, and just plain stubbornness, is causing ours to put up a great fight. It's pretty mutilated, but we are allowing it to spend one more night aboard. We'll get it out in the morning.
Tomorrow, in addition to the final round with the cutlass bearing, we'll dial in the drive shaft to see if it has been bent and needs to sent off for repairs. We are also sending the prop down to The Prop Shop to have it serviced before we put it all back together. Hopefully, the shaft is still good and we won't have to sell one of the kids to replace it (a new shaft for our boat could easily be a couple thousand dollars!) After a new cutlass bearing and shaft seal have been installed and the drive train has been re-assembled, we will tackle the new engine mounts. Hopefully, that will go smoothly. The boat yard employees have been great. All of them have been more than willing to help and provide sound advice. Perhaps they know something I don't, but you don't find this kind of service just anywhere, especially in a boat yard. With any luck, the repairs will continue to go smoothly and we'll be back in the water by the first of next week.
Since we lasted blogged, we've gone from Friday Harbor to Sucia Island, spent 3 nights on the anchor, and then to Anacortes - about another 45 miles or so. We'll update the actual log soon. Photos of the project and repairs to be posted soon. We all still have smiles on faces, so there is still hope!
June 19, 2010, Sucia Island, WA
Today I wake up excited to share coffee with good friends but also sad to see this day come. Today will be the last time for a long time that I will have with my dear friend Shari aboard our home, Andiamo III. Though we will see each other again in August for a day or two, this will be the last time our homes will be so close.
Shari has lived aboard their boat Pearl (not The Pearl, and definitely not The Black Pear, just Pearl) for four years. She, like me, has 2 children and has been there to share in all my trials and my victories. She is a strong Christian mother and wife and we have so many values and interests in common that I feel she is a sister and always will be dear to me.
So after coffee today, Shari and I will have one more workout together. We will hike around Sucia Island to Ewing Cove. The thing about running or hiking with my sister is it's not only good for your body but it's good for your soul. You get to talk about the things on your heart and mind and when you are done you feel like you are truly renewed and ready for another day.
This hike is going to be a long one since it has to last me until Shari and her family come join us again on the water....wherever that may be.
Until then, I will miss "My Sista from another Mista", but our journeys will cross soon.. I pray for this transition to be easy on us both, and I pray for those of you reading this to have a friendship like Shari's and mine.
June 19, 2010, Sucia Island, WA
So we spent the last two nights in Friday Harbor. The boat sat on the breakwater the first night and then in the San Juan Island Yacht Club reciprocal slip last night. Both nights we slept at our friend Susan's house which looks out over the harbor. She has lived here for almost 20 years.
We saw the new Karate Kid movie last night and it was pretty good. Tami and I are still fans of the original movie but the kids like the new one better. They say the original is too "old school" for them. However, they are still big fans of the soundtrack with "Eye of the Tiger" being one of their favorite! The new one is a bit strange in the fact that it is called "Karate Kid" but emphasizes Kung Fu as the martial art of choice. Also, the actors are much younger (pre-teen). The movie shows 12 year olds kissing! What is this world coming to? Nonetheless, Will Smith's kid does a good job. Jackie Chan is getting old and China is pretty cool. We all had a nice time. Susan even snuck some popcorn over to the kids without us seeing. Afterwards, we went for icecream and went back to Susan's house.
Today, we enjoyed breakfast with Susan and helped her clean up the house. Then we pushed away from the dock and motored up to Sucia Island to join our friends from Pearl. Bob has to go back to work on the 22nd so they have to head home tomorrow. We are now sitting on the anchor in Echo Bay getting ready to join them for dinner. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and the sun and breeze are keeping our batteries topped off. We love free power!
We still have the haul out scheduled for next Tuesday, so we plan to sit here at Sucia until then. Hopefully, we can relax and get some routine maintenance taken care of. We still have lots to do. Sucia Island has to be one of our favorite places to visit. Pictures to follow!
June 17, 2010, Reid Harbor, Stuart Island, WA
Yesterday was Christian's birthday. He turned 9 years old. We ate chorizo and eggs for breakfast, Christian's favorite, and then tuna fish sandwiches for lunch. For dinner we ate Christian's favorite chicken poppy seed casserole. It was all very delicious.
After breakfast Abby and our friends Sydney and Annie from Pearl set up a scavenger hunt for Christian. On the scavenger hunt he got some silly putty and a new yo-yo from the Pearl girls. We all did the scavenger hunt together in the woods on Stuart Island. We were then able to show our friends the "butt tree"
The "butt tree" is a large madrona tree that grows near the water overlooking Reid Harbor. The roots come out of the ground and form a giant butt! Yuck! We found this tree last summer while hiking in the woods and just had to come back again this year to show our friends. So, we have decided to rename Stuart Island to "Butt Tree Island". It will now forever be known as "Butt Tree Island". Christian's last clue and birthday present were actually hidden under the "butt" of this tree. He was very brave to stick his hand and arm all the way up the butt of this tree. Ha ha ha!
We all had a great time. We now back at Friday Harbor getting the boat fixed. We hope to go see the new Karate Kid movie today for Christian's birthday. We are also going to the library and bookstore. We are also going to make driftwood boats. We are having a great summer vacation.
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