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D & D Nagle aboard MV DavidEllis
Some ice in your drink, sir?
07/19/2015, Wrangell > Petersburg > Tracy Arm > Juneau

MV DavidEllis is underway! Since being launched a week ago, we've continued putting things back together at a manic pace. We spent all last week falling into bed groaning and getting up groaning, but staying after it nevertheless. We are nowhere near done, but good enough to get underway and that's what we've done. 15 July 1100 we headed out of Heritage Harbor, Wrangell towards Pt Lockwood, the entrance to Wrangell Narrows. Like a good little OCD, I ran around the boat checking, checking; not quite trusting that everything was seaworthy after 10 months on the hard.

We got away later than planned to catch the high water slack at the middle of the Narrows, about an hour behind, but made the transit anyway, as the current indicators on the chart plotter looked acceptable, a local boat about our size and speed entered just ahead of us and there are a number of points we could've pulled off and dropped the hook if necessary. Sunny crossing in front of the Stikine and entering the Narrows, but some rain shortly after entering, clearing again by the time we hit Petersburg.

Halfway thru, at Green Point, Dot bailed out for a short nap and I think it was 4 hours later she revived. It has been a long winter and a long week. Passing right thru P'burg as I had no desire to play bumper cars trying to dock there with our new paint job, we turned north up Frederick Sound towards Cape Fanshaw. We anchored, in daylight, in Cleveland Passage, inside Whitney Island and took the boys -- Rusty & Rascal -- to the beach; their first time since September. And were they excited!

DavidEllis looks naked without her mast and sticks (para vane stabilizer poles), but if we'd hung around to fit those, we'd have lost at least another week. Besides, I'm planning to extensively re-wire the mast next fall so it made no sense to mount it.

18 July 2200 DE is tied up at the transient dock in Douglas Harbor across the Gastineau Channel from Juneau. To catch up: we had an easy run from our first anchorage in Cleveland Passage two nights ago, arriving at Holkham Bay (Tracy Arm) in the late afternoon. We dropped anchor right up at the front of the anchorage -- an easy row to shore with the boys. But after securing from anchoring, I see that the dinghy which we'd towed all day, was now floating free some distance from us. Oh crap! We had not pulled the slack out of the dinghy line when we came to the Tracy anchorage and managed to tangle the tow in our prop, cutting the line (and maybe worse). I recovered the dinghy via kayak and put off diving on the prop until morning.

17 July is low clouds and rain in the Tracy anchorage. Not really conducive to exploring the vistas and chunks of glacier the size of apartment buildings floating about. I dove the prop and good news, though there was a chunk of line wound around the shaft, it wasn't jammed into the cutlass bearing, or welded by friction heat to the shaft. It did though, make a corkscrew out of the cotter key securing the prop nut. It looked like it would hold for the run up to Juneau; I was breath-hold diving and the water in Holkham Bay is damn cold as you might imagine with the huge chunks of ice floating around. My fins didn't leak, but my mask strap broke and I was not in any kind of good form for the dives. 10 months on the hard has slowed us down in a lot of areas.

So with crummy weather, I thought I'd work in the engine room and get the genset going, having not run since last summer. Besides all the bits and pieces needing re-fitting to the topsides following our winter's work, there is also much to be done to the mechanics after the boat has been sitting (and sitting always seems to break things). For instance, the morning we finally left Wrangell, the fuel transfer pump just gave it up -- chug, chug, chunk, silence. Fortunately I have a spare, pre-plumbed, kind of... and it worked to move fuel from a couple of tanks to the ops tank which was almost empty. Now, using the transfer pump to pressurize the genset fuel line, the engine is missing and dying repeatedly. I bled the fuel lines several times and came to the conclusions that A: the genset engine lift pump is not lifting, which would not matter since I can pressurize the line with the transfer pump, but that's conclusion B: the temporary plumbing job on the transfer pump is sucking tons of air into the fuel making it impossible for the genset to run smoothly, if at all.

And, just for fun, the pressure cap on the main engine heat exchanger is leaking big time and I have no spare. Normally we get all these bugs worked out before our summer cruising starts in earnest, but this year it seems we're doing it on the fly, along with putting the boat back together.

So now we're in Juneau/Douglas with a bilge full of coolant, an inoperable gen (until I can get a replacement lift pump and install. This will probably have to come from Seattle), and a transfer pump system that needs to be rebuilt, along with several other routine but necessary repairs, replacements and maintenance to the mechanicals which is all due along with the bits still needing to be installed to the topsides. Ah, the boating life... nothing to do but lie in a hammock on deck and drink something silly with an umbrella.

photo by Jenna T. Nagle
06/28/2015, Wrangell, AK (still on the hard)

Summer is here again. 2015 hardly seems possible but that's what the calendar says. The weather has been behaving like summer in northern CA since May, with extended periods of sunny weather, very little rain and fires north of Anchorage.

Final top/color coat is completed on MV DavidEllis with only the hatch and lockers covers awaiting their final coat. We chose to do nothing to the aluminum portholes, which are rotting away; simply a bridge too far for one winter's work. I'm thinking about replacing them entirely if I can find stainless substitutes to fit the size holes we already have. Anyone reading this have experience with 3D printing? Is there a plastic material, usable by 3D printers, which would be sturdy enough? The shapes certainly aren't particularly complex.

The Flag Blue finish hull color is spectacular. Everyday, admirers come trooping into the covered shelter where DE sits to ooh and ahh. You realize, of course, this has ruined me as a SE AK cruiser. I will never be able to put DE into a slip for fear of dinging the paint. Instead we'll be anchored off every town we visit, 100 fenders tied off the rails, standing guard with a shotgun to wave off anyone getting closer than 50 yards. Sorric, what have you done to me?!

We are now putting the boat back together -- cleats, rub rail strip, mooring bits, vent covers, the afore-mentioned hatch and locker covers, shorepower receptacles, and much more. We will skip the mast, stabie (para-vane stabilizer) poles and their associated fittings for this summer.

We hope to be back in the water in a week and underway towards Juneau in two.

Today we are playing hooky from working on the boat. Granddaughter Jenna is here and we have borrowed Don's jet boat "Miss Molly" to run down to the bottom of Wrangell Island and across to Anan Bay where one frequently finds both black and brown bears fishing this time of year. I didn't have the logistics quite worked out regards securing the jetboat while going out the trail to the observation area, so I stayed with the skiff while the girls went off alone. To pass the time, I've been writing this and just looked up to see a very small black bear at the water's edge about 15' away. Always something to see in Alaska.

In the meantime, July 4th in Wrangell is coming up, which is purported to be the best 4th celebration in SE (many SE towns claim this distinction). The ever-lovely Ms Dorothy is 'going local' in a big way and will be participating in a talent contest on the 3rd, clogging her heart out and submitting one of her knitting projects for the Exhibit. On the 4th the Wrangell Garnet Grit Betties will have a roller derby bout outside on the boatyard concrete (ouch!). One of the referees, of course, will be Knitty Gritty. It appears I've been roped into some non-skating officiating job, time-keeper in the penalty box I believe. Must be the corrections experience on my resume. (Oh boy, I'll get to hang out with the 'bad girls'!).

We've got a full schedule of guests, family, former co-workers and other friends. And many AK friends to re-connect with as we finally get underway on our summer wanderings in SE AK.

I realize it has become months between blog postings. If you wish to know what's happening with us in a more timely manner, and see many more photos, Dorothy and I are both on FaceBook and will be happy to 'friend' you if you send us a message. On FB I am "DavidEllis Nagle Boat" and Dot is "Dorothy Peterson Nagle"

photo by D.Ward, Ketchikan
03/03/2015, Ketchikan

Well boys and girls, this morning in Ketchikan, the capable folks at Peace hospital will try once more to put Humpty-Dumpty back together, again. A month ago, doing almost nothing, I injured my left shoulder (repaired 10-11 years ago, just before I retired). Turns out I tore loose one of two bicep tendons, leaving my bicep muscle flopping around where my 'guns' oughta be. And it may be that there's additional damage in the shoulder joint itself. This is all, no doubt, a continuing consequence of my full-contact life, but the injury/surgery/rehab part does get old. I don't intend this to come out as complaining as I'm very happy with my life, just not looking forward to doing this part again.
Progress continues on the good ship DavidEllis. The Rs are in the very kind care of the now somewhat famous GGB jammer "Stitches", back in Wrangell. And the ever-lovely Miss Dorothy is here in Ketchikan to do what she does best -- take care of me. Back to Wrangell tomorrow and "Knitty Gritty" heads for Wasilla with the GGBs for a roller derby bout and a visit with IDMT Senior Airman Jordanne Marie Stover.

Photo is last week's Ketchikan v Wrangell roller derby bout under the ever-vigilant gaze of referee "Knitty Gritty"

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Who: Mike (Dave) and Dorothy Nagle
Port: Sebastopol, CA, USA
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