01 April 2012 | photo: Arlene, Nela, Tjasa at Leung Shuen Wan, Hong Kong
13 March 2012 | Doran Beach
10 March 2012 | Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas
19 January 2012 | Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay CA
06 November 2011 | A Dock, Spud Point Marine, Bodega Bay, CA
28 September 2011 | Spud Pt Marina, Bodega Bay CA
21 September 2011 | Newport OR
20 September 2011 | Port Angeles to Bodega Bay, chasing the boys
19 September 2011 | Out strait of Juan de fuca to points south
15 September 2011 | Tofino, BC
10 September 2011 | Scow Bay, Gay Passage, Bunsby Islands, West Vancouver Island
31 August 2011 | Southbound From Ketchikan
18 August 2011 | photo is Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm
17 August 2011 | wherever, whenever
13 August 2011 | Douglas Harbor, Juneau
07 August 2011 | Photo taken at Fortress of the Bear, Sitka
Beautiful cruising day, Inside Passage, BC
19 September 2017 | northbound Verney Passage, west side Gribbell Island
"Whoosh!" And then it was over. Another cruising summer in Southeast Alaska finished, done, gone. "That's all folks!" We've still got three weeks of running south on the Inside Passage through BC ahead of us, good company aboard with which to share it -- Ben, Hilary & Capt-Capt Wade -- and, no doubt, some adventures still to come; but Summer's over.
It's cold enough for hats and gloves when we take the dogs to the beach morning and evening and often dark as well. This morning, anchored in Lowe Inlet off Grenville Channel, south of Prince Rupert BC, we rowed the skiff to the beach in the dark, for pee & poo patrol, finding our way back to DavidEllis by the anchor light at the top of DE's mast. The long, days of Alaskan summer have passed.
It's been a great summer! We ran one thousand miles, from Seattle to Wrangell with returning crew Clancy & Sue, during May. Dorothy and Sue had a knit-a-thon, while Clancy kindly helped me get DE shipshape after a long winter sitting at the dock. First half June, with Karen, Roger and Linda aboard (and our 5 year old grandson DJ!) we cruised Wrangell Island anchorages and ran up through Wrangell Narrows to Frederick Sound, to see humpback whales, in spite of wet and windy weather. Our Aussie boat neighbors Warren & Heather from Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter (Hong Kong) joined us for an exploration of the west side of Prince of Wales Island, last half of June. My 16 year-old niece Jaselle took her first-ever airplane trip to join us from Ketchikan to Wrangell for July 4th to Tracy Arm for glaciers. Not to mention whales and bears and otters -- oh my!
Mid-July we left DE in Wrangell, Rusty and Rascal with Andi (Knitty Gritty's roller-derby pal) and flew down to Sonoma County for our 50th high school reunion. I was originally reluctant about the reunion -- after all, there would be no one there but old people -- instead is was just a bunch of kids we went to school with. Then back to AK and DE in time for Capt-Capt Wade and Hong Kong Aussie friend Kevin to join the crew. Wrangell to Sitka, via whales, orcas, hot springs and a reunion with SV Carina who we last saw when crossing the Pacific aboard MV Shearwater, 2013
Jim and Kathleen joined us in Sitka, from where we ran back to Baranof Warm Springs and saw bears, bears and more bears along the way. A special treat for our guests, was spotting a colony of the rare and elusive Sitka flamingo. Jake, who we first met at Hebe Haven in Hong Kong (and later buddy-cruised with us in SE AK aboard his SV In Your Dreams, along with Shearwater, and Honu) joined us for a run from Sitka to Juneau, via Elfin Cove and Hoonah, which included a glorious hour with a pod of 20-25 humpbacks bubble-feeding at the intersection of Chatham and Peril Strait. And should you happen to stop by Shirley & Merce's Coho Bar & Grill in Elfin Cove for a beer or a burger, and have the urge to use the restroom, you're welcome; Jake and I installed the new, insulated-tank toilet.
Very end of August / beginning September, Dorothy, Rusty, Rascal and I dawdled back to Wrangell from Juneau, checking out areas we'd never been into before. Wrangell Harbor lifted DE out for a quick power wash and inspection by Don at Superior Marine. Don's the guy responsible for our beautiful paint job topsides and our perfect bottom (7 years after blasting and re-coating).
After the lift-out, Dorothy, the boys and I spent a couple days just catching our breath and visiting with Wrangell friends, before starting the southbound passage, back to our winter world.
Are we tired of it? Working on the boat during the winter; cruising SE AK in the summers? Not a bit. Are there other places we'd like to cruise? Of course! Our friends Ginger & Peter aboard SV Irene are now in Greenland having mostly completed a west to east Northwest Passage transit, and we'd like to do that also with the goal of a couple years in Northern Europe. For a variety of reasons that's not in the cards right now, and may not happen at all. In the meantime, we're loving what we're doing.
Winter's coming and we have a wish list of projects and improvements for the good ship DE. How far we get will always depend on time, money, energy and other unknown variables. For certain though, is that we've got an appointment at Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-operative 10 October, for a rebuild of the house charging system -- bigger alternation, bigger charging cables etc, etc.
The weekend before our boatwork appointment is the Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture Race. We're hoping to finish our southbound passage in time for this eclectic event.
As I write this, tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so until we spy yer sail on the horizon, mate, I be wishing ye fair winds and bountiful booty... Arrr.
Cruising 2017 has begun
30 May 2017 | Photo is Meyers Chuck, north of Ketchikan AK
The MV DavidEllis 2017 cruising season is well underway. 9May we -- Dorothy and I, Rusty & Rascal and guest crew Sue and Clancy, made our way out of Lake Union into Puget Sound via 3 lifting bridges and and the Ballard-Chittenden Locks (which are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year). After overnighting at Shilshole Marina, we headed north to LaConner, once again to raft up to Ben & Hillary's tug Susan H.
We washed away the winter's dirt, mold and algae from the deck in the pouring rain and after two nights and a couple projects advanced, moved over to Anacortes for 725 gallons of fuel. Actually, we were shooting for 750 (as this marina is currently offering a big price break at 750) but couldn't get that last 25 gallons into the 5 keel tanks. The kid running the fuel dock took pity and gave us the discount anyway.
The following morning, DE was northbound, out of US and into Canadian waters, bound for Nanaimo. From Nanaimo to Ketchikan, it was a reverse trip to our run down the Inside Passage last September -- Nanaimo > Campbell River > Port Neville > Port McNeill > crossed Queen Charlotte Sound to Pruth Bay > Bella Bella /Shearwater via the 'jungle cruise' among islets west of the main channel > Bottleneck > Lowe > Prince Rupert > crossed Dixon Entrance and re-entered US waters, Ketchikan -- but with much more sunshine than last September. Whoopee!
One of our many boat projects needing doing, was to get under the boat and scrub the zincs. DE has a total of 21 zincs -- sacrificial anodes -- which provide electrolysis protection to our steel hull, bronze prop, stainless prop shaft and other submerged metal. But zinc metal develops an oxide coating in freshwater, nullifying their function. DE sat in freshwater all winter, and it is/was past time to take a wire brush down under and scrub them clean. So finally, with a couple days required waiting for weather in Prince Rupert, I decided to get it done.
But here's the thing: I gained about 25 pounds this winter (too much lying on the couch, eating bon-bons and binge-ing on Netflix); and my wetsuit was really too tight even before that, so I hauled out my dry suit (which I haven't worn in 10 years) because it is more forgiving re: size. Between my increased girth, and the thick dry suit underwear, my old free-diving weight belt would not go completely around me and I had to join two of them to make a workable weight-belt. (No I'm not twice as big around! Just bigger than one belt; they're good natural rubber belts and I didn't want to cut one, so joined two.). Besides rebuilding a weight-belt system, I needed to add an inflator hose connection (for the dry suit) to the second stage hookah regulator and despite Clancy's help, by the time I had the compressor and hoses set-up, wheelhouse roof ladder down on the boarding ladder so I could get in and out of the water; dry suit, weights and regulator harness on; lanyard for the wire brush, gloves, mask and fins ready, I was exhausted! It turns out that each of the three hoods I have aboard are way too tight around the neck over the top of the double-layer dry suit neck seal... shit! I thought, all this effort, I don't want to just quit, maybe I could last long enough without a hood, to clean the prop hub zinc and the two hull zincs closest to the prop.
Not a chance, within 30 seconds of going under, my head was in a vise. I could barely see or think. I took a swipe or two at the hub zinc and realized I was not going to be able to do this. I won't bother to detail the hassle of trying to get my fins off to climb the ladder out (the dry suit underwear was so tight I couldn't bend), but I did manage to get out, strip off my gear, sit in the shower and contemplate the complete obliteration of my former status as a "prominent frogman". I hate being old, banged-up and out of shape!
The following morning, after determining Prince Rupert apparently does not include a dive shop where one might get a properly-fitting hood, I cut down one of my hoods to where it was a cap with a chin strap and tried again. I left the zipper down on the dry underwear, hoping for a bit more flexibility (not so much). But, again with Clancy's help dressing and managing air hoses on deck, I did manage to scrub all the zincs clean and took a scotch-pad to the algae at the waterline. It may not have been the most miserable dive I ever made -- after all there were no dead bodies, or body parts, to deal with and I was hanging in open water, rather than plowing through bottom mud* -- but the only thing making it less miserable was that I did get the job done.
From Ketchikan, with Sue and Clancy's visit coming to an end, we made a series of short runs, stopping overnight at Meyers Chuck and Thom's Place before arriving in Wrangell, SE AK. Local person, Cassie, is still bringing out cinnamon rolls to boaters at Meyers Chuck, in the morning.
We've got a full summer of cruising with family and friends. We're looking forward to visiting with other cruising friends and SE AK locals with whom we've become acquainted. Now that we're here in SE, we're seeing boats and people we know from the cruising and commercial fishing communities. Whales, dolphin, bears, otters and eagles are all waiting for us too.
* if this reference to muddy bottoms and dead bodies is confusing to the reader, for many, many years I did body-recovery diving for Sonoma County Sheriff.
Great aerial video of Hong Kong
22 February 2017
Readers of this blog may recall that we took delivery of MV DavidEllis in Hong Kong, September '06 after being built by Seahorse Marine, Dou Men, CN. Besides several extended periods living aboard in Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, south side HK Island, we've stayed in HK many, many days and weeks from our first visit in January of '04 until as recently as last April ('16). When you think of HK, no doubt you think of the iconic high rises of Central the and crowded street scenes frequently seen in movies. But our experience of HK, thanks to our wonderful friends there, looks much more like this video (it appears you must cut and paste the link to see the video):
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