Some ice in your drink, sir?
19 July 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.