07/22/2010, Port Angeles, WA
I always wear white to work on the engine...actually.. this was an "electrical work day." I'm sitting on the step leading into the engine compartment...the shiny thing behind me is the open engine room/compartment door.
Onward...For fun, I suspect the gods all laugh when cruisers make plans. I figure they must be having a really good laugh on us right now because we were handed the fuel injection pump from hell.
Our family has abandoned us (something about having to go back to work and stuff like that)...I don't know...anyway before they left our granddaughter caught probably the biggest fish in the ocean!...like two feet off the dock! Fisherman who have been out for days and haven't caught anything drooled over her catch...and to top it all off...she just plops a little hand line down and nails like...a twenty pounder!...okay so maybe it was a little closer to a one pounder...but still ...she fought it like...for two hours or something...we fed the whole village....pictures pending.
The truth is, our friends and relates didn't abandon us...we we're supposed to have left last Tuesday... so naturally they went about their business...Our daughter, Willow says "Would you guys just leave!..." You've been leaving now for at least the last two years and I've processed your departure...so go already!" Funny how we never think about things like that...when we talk about going...I suspect our not-leaving or extended leaving is maybe harder than actually leaving (duh!)...I can certainly understand the frustration...I had an aunt that just wouldn't die once...no matter how I argued that it would be in everyone's best interest....but that's another story.....I don't know...nothing we'd like to do more than accomadate and get out of dodge...but..."the best laid plans and all that."
Right now, we're stalled out in Port Angeles, put behind our self-imposed schedule a few days, wrestling with our repaired and replaced fuel injection pump (two days thank you). Right now, it seems okay because our weather window had collapsed and we probably wouldn't have left as scheduled anyway. Meantime, it's allowing us more time to tackle our developing TO DO list.
Port Angeles is kind of a finalizing place in the PNW for boats before heading out into the real ocean. It's a full self-service marina so it's pretty busy...and we noticed it has changed over the years as there are several "Mega Yachts" here (Westport Yacht building now sits next to the marina and they only make like 150 footers and giant new fiberglass boats for the US Navy)... where before, there we're nothing here but broken down fishing boats and a few live aboards....huge change with new docks, bathrooms, and new infrastructure. At any time there's probably 3 to 5 cruiser-boats like us, pulling in, doing repairs, and finalizing things before heading out. If you stay here any time at all you can see the basic problems are usually quite in-common;...alternators, starters, engine stuff,, radios, and other electronics usually head the list, followed by steering, rudder, and finally rigging. Many people choose to haul and paint or just pull and inspect...so it's a busy working marina. We're kind of in an "all the above" category so we've have chosen to extend out time a little. The good side is...it's not too expensive; the bad side is, that it's about a mile to the grocery! I heard tha two people starved to death just walking out for a pizza!
Our next scheduled stop is Neah Bay...a holding point for weather...right now it's back down into the boat to finish some fun tasks...Ahhh! The cruising life style or as it has been said..."finding more exotic places to repair your boat"...or something like that.
Ray out for now...
07/17/2010, Port angeles, WA
Our three day wait is over and, as promised, our fuel injection pump has returned from the doc! It looks brand new! The surgeon said that some time ago (in the boat's history before us) evidently, water got mixed in with the fuel or there was bad fuel added... as there was a lacquer build up inside the fuel injection pump ports. (Of course this means that now we'll have to get our fuel tested and double check our filtering system). Anyway...The good news is, my son-in-law James, is here to help (in his other life he was a diesel mechanic!)...so it looks like we have a good shot at installing the pump and getting the boat ready for the left turn toward California and Mexico! We still have a lot to do but things seem to be falling in place.
The Radio Story....
The other good news was from my radio guy. Cruiser people (that's us) usually have at least two different types of radio's on board. Well, our HF radio (think of it like long distance calling) wasn't working well at all. It was on the boat when we bought it; we could receive stuff okay, but could only talk very short distances...like...the boat next to us. Nothing made any sense. We even brought "experts" out to the boat to help...and still no joy. (Can you hear me now..."No"..."Can you hear me now... "No") ....so...yesterday, I packed it up and took it off the boat to a radio repair guy who specializes in this equipment. He plugged it into his equipment (and set up a whole batch of electronic ICU-like test equipment (ha!)...anyway... We plugged it in and turned it on... Ho-La! Perfect reception and even more perfect transmission! It was putting out like a gazillion watts! We could even hear God on the thing...anyway... It was like the radio had been asleep for the last three years! (We were really happy about this working so well as these things aren't cheap). Evidently, the problem had to do with the antenna and grounding system on the boat. It was designed to put out about 100 watts, and in the right conditions... reach several thousand miles...but evidently the previous owner had beefed it up a bit as it was putting out 150 watts in the shop! Very relieved...we'll be putting it back on the boat along with a new antenna system, so aside from Internet, it will give us Weatherfax at will, and ability to phone link out pretty far...hopefully, this will increase our capability for long distance communications when Internet and phone service is not around.
There are only two or three other projects and we should be off. Saying it that way makes it sound so simple...when in reality, these are huge, time consuming, and complicated projects like attaching the Monitor Wind Vane (a self-steering device that goes on the back of the boat), and re-wiring the masts for both lighting and radios = going up the masts...not fun!)......This, stopping-to-do-repairs-before-departure-stuff, literally took the wind out of our sails...at least in terms of the driving momentum to go south. It did give us a chance to visit with friends and family and that has been the "makes-it-all-worthwhile" part...but right now the boat isn't moving like it was when we we're out cruising the San Juan's and Canada....and when it isn't moving, something gets lost in the translation. On the other hand...I suspect we'll get our fill of travel and movement in the upcoming days as it's 15 to 20 days to get down the coast...then three months on the hook in San Diego waiting for hurricane season to end...then the next year or two in Mexico.
Ray out for now...
Still waiting for the injector pump to return from the hospital...meanwhile...decided to call my son-in-law in to help with re-installation and also in helping us get up the mast as we need to correct a VHF antenna problem and hook up our new LED tri-light.
Began going over the boat yesterday and checking out the steering system including rudder, pedistal connections, and quadrant connections. Today involves setting up the boom preventer and securing all the stuff above and below decks. Sandy has been busy with provisions, equipment storage, and layout, putting up a lee cloth (it's a sailing thing to keep you from falling out of bed underway)..doing all the finances, and calculating the weather window.
With help, we'll get the injector pump installed (and hopefully the engine running), after that it's final installation of the monitor windvane. We figure at least one more week here...which doesn't bother me so much as this is the weekend for the local tribal canoe journey. There is supposed to be over 10,000 people in all participating and everyone going through Neah Bay...which is our stop-off-waiting-for-weather-point-before-we-head-south! Ten thousand is a real number and important when you consider the normal town population is around 100-200!