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D & D Nagle aboard MV DavidEllis
0300 thoughts

Living aboard, living the cruising life, isn't always lost boys, wendy, fights with pirates, tinkerbell, pixie-dust and never-never land. Sometimes real life insists on equal time:

I spent all last week trying to talk myself out of going to a memorial service; or maybe I was trying to talk myself into going. Bill, I learned today, was only 10 years older than me, but (like my friend Mike F said) he seemed older than that. He was a sergeant at the SO when I was hired. Memory says he was the guy who did my background (and is therefore the person responsible for my being hired there). I remember him as a kind, older guy who wore sweaters, and had a bit of mischief in his eye. I'd see him around the office; he was always friendly; always seemed to know something about what I was up to and was interested in that, in a friendly way. I knew where he lived (we got a puppy from him once, years ago - Chico, a hunting dog who, according to my father-in-law, didn't hunt very well); that he had kids - his 3 boys are all police officers now, one with the SO, who I spoke with once before my retirement; and a wife Sue, who to my surprise, I recognized, when I saw her at the church.

There was an another gathering at the same time as the memorial service - a baby shower for my daughter Kate; 39 and expecting her first child in six weeks or so. DJ (the baby to come) has a name and a gender and people are already talking about him as though he's a real person; which from the size of Kate's belly (no offense meant Kate) seems appropriate. I was tempted not go to the memorial for Bill - the last dead co-worker service I attended, was unsettling, as my reactions to the presence of several of those attending, approached the distinct possibility of mayhem. There would be no emotional work associated with the baby shower; I could simply sit in the corner, smiling benignly at the many women attending, like the doddering elder some believe me to be.

To attend the memorial service required a girding of the mental loins; a recitation of the good reasons I should attend: Bill's kindnesses to me created a (never-intended-to-be-onerous) obligation to attend; the many co-workers and friends who attended my father's funeral, not because of a relationship to my father, but to me, obligated me to return that respect to Bill's boys, who while they will not remember distinctly who attended, will definitely remember that the building was filled -- the entire back wall lined with persons standing; and an unspoken, but never-the-less real duty, to mark the passing of someone who has earned that acknowledgement.

I coerced Mike F into attending with me; it appears he was also ambivalent about attending, likely for similar reasons. And admittedly, it was easier on me to go with someone. Bill must have been in charge of who attended, as I did not run into anyone who needed a severe beating (in my mind); quite the opposite, it was genuinely lovely to spend a moment with many of the people I've admired, respected, trusted and loved in my work life. It was good to see (from a distance) Bill's family, the boys in their uniforms, Sue appearing serene. They'll be OK; I think this because, though it has been eight? years since my dad passed, I think of him every day; miss him every day; am grateful every day to have been his son.

There is the sense that I'm in line; the line moves, sometimes shuffling, sometimes lurching, but always moving forward to where the next person from my life dies. My turn is coming; there's no getting out of line. I can make some educated guesses about how far down the line I am, but really, I don't know when my turn will come. Not too soon I hope. I still have friends and siblings to hang with; adventures that need doing; boat chores waiting; dogs that need walking; Dorothy whose company I hope to share as long as I have breath in my body, kids and grandkids who I'd like to see some more of and soon there'll be DJ and maybe he'll need a Papa to show him a few things.

04/15/2012 | Kate
Hey dad, I love you and am proud to be your daughter ... And yes DJ is gonna need you to teach him all sorts of things
04/15/2012 | Ro
You made me cry with this one, Dave. It touched all the places that evoke tender responses. The passing of friends and family; the responsibilities of community; the value of being on the giving and receiving end of honor and respect; and putting aside the desire to throttle people who, though they need throttling, don't need it badly enough to hurt folks in collateral damage. You've got lots to do yet. Dot, DJ and a host of others need you to show them a few things. Here's hoping you avoid the front of the line for years.
04/15/2012 | Mike ferguson
Thanks Dave for pressing my button. There was nothing more important that I could have been doing than go with you to Bill's memorial service. Bill was a quality guy, and deserved all the praises that were bestowed upon him by his friends and family. Kind of a full circle day with first the memorial, and then the baby shower.
04/15/2012 | Dennis Mc
Well said Dave. I went through the same thought process too. Bill did my background as well and also gave us a black lab puppy when my kids were young. That was one great memorial service and I'm glad I attended.
04/30/2012 | Vincent
Thanks for the note. Yes, mortality, the real underlying question of every act, every day, every event, every observation, ... life, where does it come from, where is it going. what, or who is it for? I am grateful as well to be Dad' son.
05/11/2012 | Donna R
Beautifully written Dave, sorry about the dread factor when it comes to these events, I guess, sn my own way, I have been sailing, mostly alone for most of my life, trying to steer clear of toxic types, DJ will be very lucky You and your beloved are on the leading edge of consciousness because your integrity and hearts were planted firmly in ethics and morality.
Home again, home again, jiggity jog
04/01/2012, photo: Arlene, Nela, Tjasa at Leung Shuen Wan, Hong Kong

March 17, St Patrick's Day, I went up to Pleasant Hill Cemetery to visit my dad, and share a few drops of his favorite Tillamora Dew with him. Possibly a few too many drops into communing with Dad, I spied what appeared to be a leprechaun, peering at me from behind the bench and memorial structure at Charlie Shultz's grave a few yards away. Thinking this was my chance for that pot-o-gold, I tried sneaking up on the little fellow, but he took off thru the gravestones, jiggity jig, like a winger on a rugby pitch with me in full pursuit... until I fell headlong into an open grave - lights out! When I gained consciousness, it was night-time and I was sprawled on a set of stone steps, with strange, but familiar lights, sounds and smells around me... the sampan quay at Sui King ma tau, Sham Wan, Hong Kong! It's taken 'til now, April Fool's Day to find my way home.

OK, so this is not quite accurate, but as my hero from the 60s, Mason Williams used to say, "this may not be a true tale, but who needs truth if it's dull".

My friend David (for those of you wondering if I've developed a split personality, or now talk about myself in the 3rd person, or have a companion doll who travels with me similar to Rich McO and his partner Dick Tracy, the answer to all the above is no, I'm fine, and I'm traveling with a fellow also named David).. my friend David and I flew non-stop from San Francisco to Hong Kong, arriving in the evening local time (although there was quite a long line through Hong Kong Immigration). Waiting patiently for us in the arrival hall was the ever-lovely Tjasa - rocket scientist, underwater roboticist, polo and judo maven and new mom -- who kindly ferried us and our luggage to the Royal Pacific Hotel in TST, Kowloon. The Royal Pacific sits atop the China Ferry terminal, and after a few hours sleep, we boarded the one-time-daily ferry to DouMen, China. This is a bit more than a 1.5 hour run, crossing the Pearl River approaches, from Hong Kong to Macau, then behind Macau up a tributary of the Pearl River to DouMen Port. There we easily passed through China Immigration and Customs and were met by Bill Kimley of Seahorse Marine Mfg, builder of our Diesel Duck. Along with Bill was another gweilo (look it up), Jeff A. who has a DD 462 under construction.

David and I spent 4 days at the boatyard, doing pre-final inspections along with our friend Ray Wolfe from Subic Bay PI (a Lloyds marine surveyor). David and I spent a lot of time going through various boat systems in detail, the beginnings of David's education about his boat, and for me, a look at various changes and improvements, large and small, in construction of and equipping the Diesel Duck. Every time I do this I end up with conflicting reactions - on the one hand I'm very impressed at the improvements, on the other hand I'm jealous!

Meals at the boatyard kitchen; evening rum and cokes in Bill's model train museum; sleeping (almost) on rock-hard Chinese beds at the Golden Prince Hotel - did I ever mention that on our first trip to China, upon coming into our room in ZhuHai, I truly thought the hotel had forgotten to put a mattress onto the bed/box/platform. The hotel employee responding to my inquiry took me to another room to show me that the bed was the same there. One morning this trip, David and I walked from the hotel, down to the little ferry which crosses the river (to the side where Seahorse Marine's boatyard lives), then up through the market and wet market where we spotted the hindquarters of a least one dog hanging in the butcher's area. (Rusty and Rascal are such lucky dogs!).

After four days of inspections and wrangling over boat completion details, David and I ferried back to Hong Kong for RUGBY! Hong Kong Rugby Sevens is this great party: 40-some thousand people in HK stadium, 24 teams from around the world, 3 days of games, many people / groups in costumes, lots of fun. I've written about Sevens on the blog for the last couple years. If you would like to check it out, click on "contents" over to the right side of the blog and scroll down to March 29 2009 and continue scrolling (older) for 17 or so entries.

This year Friday afternoon, the teams seemed to get off to a slow start; the USA team especially seemed to have their feet planted in concrete. But Day 2, Saturday, things got moving. Great weather, a bit of NE monsoon, therefore cool and low humidity. Much more intense games today than Friday. Unfortunately (from my point of view) the US team is not doing well. This is my 5th year at HK 7s and the crowds here are generally better behaved than those at similar sporting events in the US and Europe although I did see a couple of serious 647f on the street walking away from the stadium Saturday night. A vast variety of costumes is part of the deal as is music and singing. There is a parallel women's 7s tournament and the 3 final games are spread thru the men's schedule. Definitely no less athleticism and intensity in the women's games -- some serious rugby there.

Day 3 and done. USA finally revved it up and did very well against Scotland, and just barely lost to Kenya in their semi-final. Hong Kong, who played brilliantly yesterday against China, was robbed in their final against Japan. The overall final was Fiji vs New Zealand; an incredible game and Fiji really dominated the entire game. Good for them! The costumes were great; lots of singing (ironic to have the whole stadium singing Beatle songs that came out when I was in high school -- many years ago in a galaxy far, far, away). If you'd like to see some of what I'm writing about here, go to YouTube and search for "Hong Kong Fancy Dress Street Rugby" (and don't miss the "aftermath" clip). The idea of the Fancy Dress clip is the groups of folks in South Stands costumes playing street rugby throughout Hong Kong. There are multiple "South Stands" videos also for an idea of the revelry there and the last 3-4 years of Cathy Pacific adverts for HK Sevens are also fun to watch.

Monday after Sevens, our friends Aiden & Tjasa invited us out for a post-Sevens recovery cruise aboard Arne H's catamaran. Arne is retired from HK Police, so he and I had lots to talk about. He took delivery of his cat in Florida, sailed up the US east coast, then back down the ICW, thru the Caribbean and the Panama Canal, then down thru the Pacific / So. Pacific and eventually up to Hong Kong. Arne sailed and motored over to Leung Shuen Wan (High Island) where there are several seafood restaurants. We've been here before and it's a great experience - definitely a more the merrier kind of thing. A great little pocket beach right off the dining patio and really great food. One of those "break the watch" moments (have I written about that short story before?) but without Dorothy there, no way was I going to "stop time".

Well lots of fun, but on Tuesday morning it's time to ferry back to the boatyard and get back into inspections on the new boat... except I forgot my passport, so David went ahead up to DouMen and I headed back to Hebe Haven, hung out with Tjasa, Nela (Tjasa's adorable daughter) and Arlene (a Filipina helper) and took a nap - too much fun the last couple days. Wednesday I did finally get up to the boatyard for the day, once again drooling over the many improvements on the DD462.

Thursday, back in Hong Kong we headed to the south side of Hong Kong island to Sham Wan (Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter) where we lived aboard in HK Sept 06-Mar 07 and May 08-May 09. Our purpose was to meet with my friend Berry Ng (who I call Professor Berry) from Skywave Communications HK. Berry is a superb marine electronics engineer who kindly gave up several hours of his workday to discuss and diagram various issues and possible changes in the AC electrical system on DavidEllis. Then over to Ap Lei Chau island for a noodle lunch in a hole-in-the-wall local restaurant. I'm drawing a blank on what we did the rest of Thursday afternoon, but that evening we sampan-ed out to Warren & Heather's MV China Red for a lovely visit. W&H were our boat neighbors in 08-09, and visited us in Alaska first week July last year. Tony and Annabel (Hong Kong veterinarians) joined us on China Red for a lovely dinner prepared by Warren - BBQ of course, he's Australian - Tony was also our neighbor during the last year in Hong Kong, who (along with Annabel and Sally at HK Dog Rescue) is largely responsible for our having Rusty & Rascal. But before dinner, Warren took David and me for a sunset skiff tour of the boat shelter, out and around Ap Lei Chau, down to Middle Island and Deep Water Bay and back.

Friday we rode into HK Central with Tjasa, met with our friend Dennis, an extraordinary marine engineer, who has just brought a new Cheoy Lee yacht ( click: yachts, Marco Polo 2) from the shipyard (next to DouMen Port) over to Hong Kong. Dennis will be commissioning and working the bugs out of this boat for the next several months, both in Hong Kong and in Ft. Lauderdale FL, as it will be shipped there in the near future. Then onto the MTR (subway), under Victoria Harbor and up to Mong Kok - pumps, chain, rope, stainless steel bits & pieces, tools etc, then Sham Shui Po (everything electrical) to see what's new. I picked up LED replacements for some of the halogen lights aboard DE; these will be a fraction of the electric cost and operate at cooler temps. Also found LED replacements for the incandescent bulb rope lights we have in the pilothouse, salon and aft cabin. Shopping these areas is like an easter egg hunt, and there are always prizes to be discovered. Friday evening was a quiet dinner aboard MV Rhianna (Tjasa & Aiden's live-aboard) in perfect dining out weather.

Saturday morning I headed out to the SW corner of the New Territories, to the Gold Coast Marina where Dennis was working on the Cheoy Lee boat mentioned earlier. This yacht is approximately 150', but travels on one main engine at 24 gallons/hour! The bow thruster has a separate diesel engine to operate it, and propels via an azimuth 360 degree jet, which can also be used as a get home engine. There are 3 generator sets aboard. Really an incredible boat! (If I had gotten that leprechaun's pot-o-gold, I'd love to have this boat; Dennis said the price is about 24 million, but as a good guy, I might be able to get a couple mil knocked off).

At mid-day, I ran out to Sham Wan again and met with my friends Elek Chan and his wife Cecelia. Elek is a marine electrician, as well as doing air conditioning and refrigeration. He's been a friend since Dorothy and I first took delivery of DE in HK, 2006. A kinder couple does not exist on the planet.

Later that afternoon, I met with Mark, a retired Cathay Pacific pilot who's going to take his motor-sailor across the north Pacific. We discussed the 2009 voyage in DavidEllis, equipment, preparations and safety issues. It will be interesting to be a spectator for his crossing and vicariously experience the trip, rather than being up to my eyeballs in it.

Saturday evening, our last night in HK this trip, David and I took a ferry from Central over to Lamma Island. We were met by Professor Berry and his wife Catharine. They have an apartment in a small village on the island. It's like a summer resort town, similar to Avalon on Catalina Island (southern CA). Berry, Catharine and their son Oscar, spend their weekends here, so much slower than the crowded hustle-bustle of Hong Kong proper. Berry has designed and built a sophisticated audio system which I greatly admired and enjoyed.

If there's a theme here, it's that Dorothy and I have been blessed with many wonderful friends in our boating world. They are a welcome addition to the true and trusted partners and co-workers from our work life. I have a belief, that after survival issues, it's relationships that count the most, and when we count ours, Dorothy and I consider ourselves to be wealthy beyond our dreams.

04/04/2012 | Deneva
I especially hated those rice husk pillows!
04/05/2012 | dave
One of those true and trusted co-workers described above, sent me an email regards the issue of leprechauns:

"Don't give up on that pot of gold! I think catching a leprechaun is not as un-likely as those little folk may want us to think. The rumor that catching one is difficult could be a carefully propagated defensive strategy to protect their gold. If the truth be known, catching a leprechaun and collecting its gold, may be (statistically) more achievable than winning the lotto. And we know people do win the lotto. Plus, the process of seeking a leprechaun could be a lot more fun. As I understand the process, and not that I do understand it due to my sheltered existence, I understand several beers are needed for a successful hunt; some for drinking and some for sharing. The possibly of the hunter sharing beer is what lures the leprechauns out into view."

Wise words... I'll bet Alaskan Amber would be the best bait, followed closely by Boont Amber
Dawn Patrol
03/13/2012, Doran Beach

Good morning boys and girls! And despite Bodega Bay's well-earned reputation as "Blow-dega Bay", not to mention the fog; there have been some spectacularly beautiful mornings. On those mornings, we tend to take the boys - Rusty & Rascal - over to Doran Beach (rather than our normal walks out of Spud Pt Marina). But this morning, 13 March, it's blowing and raining, 15' combined seas outside, and as you might imagine, they boys were not amused on their morning walk. Dot and I wore complete sets of foulies and boots. Rusty visibly hated it so much he never relaxed enough to take his morning poop. And now he's hiding under a blanket.

Commercial crabbing out of Bodega Bay is winding down for this year. Many, but not all, of the boats have retrieved their pots and shipped them north for the season up there, or to storage for next year. Soon they will be trolling for salmon, which is anticipated to be a good season.

End of January, we drove up to Seattle for the recreation boat show, and several diesel classes at Northern Lights / Lugger. Good weather, great company, and an easy 2-day trip north.

The diesel classes were taught by Bob Senter at Northern Lights. Bob's a great teacher, and his information was specific to my engine and genset. I even got to remove / replace the John Deere injection pump that ICE had such trouble with last year. I will type up my notes from the classes and post on for those of you who might be interested in specifics. At the recreation boat show, we saw lots of interesting gear - LEDs have really come of age for various types of lighting we have on / in the boat, and we picked up a couple of units to experiment with.

Last posting, I wrote about issues in the AC electrical system aboard. It turns out the isolation transformer had not failed, the electrical short occurred further back towards the shorepower. The actual electrical burn occurred at the shorepower cord receptacle into the boat; it may be that the heavy cord turned the plug, resulting in a poor connection, and therefore an arcing burn - which is common with this type of plug. I've been lusting after a new type of plug and receptacle - Smart Plug - which has much beefier contacts and a much more secure locking system. I've been waiting though, for the company to come out with the 50 amp version (30 amp now available), so I can make the changes I'm planning for the shorepower system, all at once.

But back to the isolation transformer: just before Christmas I'd taken the unit up to E&M electrical in Healdsburg (recommended by several of the commercial boat owners on the dock) to have it checked-out, possibly repaired. Pablo Serrano determined that there was nothing wrong with the transformer, then took the time to tutor me on the wiring and function. It's now reinstalled, with labeling that I will be able to interpret, say 3 years from now.

The inverter-charger, a older Xantrex 2500, which is not pure sine wave (meaning a lot of appliances, particularly electronics, really hate the current coming out of it and will either not work, burn out and never work again, or work poorly and die early) died shortly after I took the isolation transformer out. And unlike the transformer, the inverter-charger is most sincerely dead. There's a 50 cent size hole burned in the main circuit board. I'm happy to be replacing it (not happy about the money, but happy for the opportunity to replace it with a pure sine wave unit that is kinder to appliances and electronics, and also uses way less energy idling.) But also, even though it will cost double, I am replacing the single unit inverter-charger with two stand-alone units, to eliminate the single-point failure issue. It appears I may actually buy two identical inverter-chargers, but wire one unit for inverting (12VDC battery to 110-220VAC) and the other for charging (the batteries from shorepower or genset).

We've discussed cruising this coming summer, and had thought we might head down to the Santa Barbara Channel Islands for a couple of months; but we're thinking now that we're going to stay put for a while longer. Daughter Kate's baby is due end of May, and Dorothy will want to be close for that and helping out in the months after. I've certainly got plenty to keep me busy... although I really am itching to be underway.

End of this week, I'm off to Hong Kong with our friend David. His new Diesel Duck is ready for final inspection and sea trials. We'll spend time at the Seahorse boatyard in Doumen China, attend the HK Rugby Sevens tournament and hang out with our friends at Seahorse, and in Hong Kong. Very sorry Dorothy's not coming too, but someone had to stay with the boys.

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