21 November 2011 | Hayden Island, Columbia River
13 November 2011 | slip 40
05 November 2011 | Tomahawk Bay Marina
15 October 2011 | Hayden Island, Columbia River
11 October 2011 | Portland
10 October 2011 | Too Far North
11 September 2011 | Stumptown
05 September 2011 | Portland, Oregon
07 August 2011 | in the marina
06 August 2011 | Portland, Oregon
31 July 2011 | Tomahawk Bay Marina
24 July 2011 | Columbia River, Portland, Oregon
17 July 2011 | Portland, Oregon
16 July 2011 | Portland, Oregon
My Life as a - UPDATE
08 July 2014 | Orcas Island, Washington
I've returned to Orcas Island after being away for nearly two weeks. My wife Kathleen and I drove back to Portland for a few days, and then went south to Central California for my 40th Class Reunion. Now, it's back on Wilparina and back to work. My number one task: redo the varnish on the exterior brightwork.
"Brightwork" is the name of varnished wood trim that often adorns boats and yachts of all types. While it may look classy, exterior wood trim requires regular maintenance in order to retain that shiny look. The initial stripping and then multiple coats of varnish takes several days. And that's if the weather is nice. But once it's applied, you're not close to done; you're never done. Every several months, it will need to be sanded and another coat or two applied. If you fail to keep up with the many hours of sanding and varnishing - many coats are necessary year after year - then the varnish will fail as well. It will bubble, crack and discolor. And the only way to remedy the situation is to strip the section down to bare wood and start again.
I'm very familiar with stripping - stripping varnish that is. When I moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1984, I didn't have much of an idea what I was going to do. But I saw an ad in the local paper: Varnishers - $5 an hour. I answered the ad and got a job with VIP Yacht Charters in St. Thomas. I ended up becoming the operations manager for the charter company. But for the first couple of months, I worked with a West Indian guy, Joe Piper, who taught me the in's and out's of varnishing boats. Joe was a master of varnish work. He would not let me cut any corners. The most important part of the process is prepping, the stripping, sanding and thorough cleaning of the wood. Once the wood is ready, coat after coat of varnish is applied. It has to dry between each coat and then be lightly sanded before the next coat is applied. When laying on the varnish, you have to be careful not to apply too much which can run or make a blob. The West Indians always gave me a hard time because I was making "alligators." Alligators are blobs of varnish that dry up and look like rough alligator skin. It's like a fly in the punch bowl; it's ugly and amateurish.
One of the most beautiful things about Wilparina is the traditional design, and generous brightwork is a major part of this look. But the prospect of keeping up on all of this varnish is low at best. Fortunately, there are some new products out there that last longer and take much less time. Cetol, a once oft-maligned product is now testing better than all the other products out there. I'll probably be going with this solution. What I won't be going with is good old fashioned varnish. I wonder what Joe Piper would say?
UPDATE - 16 July 2014
On Wednesday morning, as soon as the dew dried off the boat in the warm morning sun, I applied that final (3rd) of Cetol - a synthetic varnish product. So far, I am very happy with the results. (The picture doesn't do it any justice.) While they recommend three coats, I'll add a fourth for good measure, and then one or two coats a season for many years. I hope NOT to have to strip the boat again in the time of my ownership. (There are a few more pictures in the Library; but please forgive the sideways photos. I'm having difficulties using Windows 8.1 with the blog. It wants to post photos 90 degrees counter-clockwise; and even if I turn the originals 90 the other direction, it still posts them the same way. I'm not happy about it, and "Sailblogs" support hasn't been able to give me a solution.)
Return To Portland
21 June 2014 | On Dry Land
Kathleen and I drove home to Portland yesterday. I'd spent over three weeks away. As we drove south on I-5, passing some of the stretches of the Columbia River that we'd navigated back on May 28th, it seemed like a year ago. My biggest concern then was getting across the Columbia Bar. That turned out to be a relatively easy part of the journey; it was the next 40 hours that were challenging as we battled 20+ knot head winds and six-foot swells. Not that the Bar isn't dangerous. I just read this morning that a 26 foot fishing boat capsized yesterday. Sadly, one died, but six were rescued by another boat that was following them into port.
I woke up this morning, and for a brief moment, I thought I was back on Wilparina. I even had a dream about her last night. I still have that lingering feeling of the slight rocking of a boat on calm waters. I realize that I kind of miss being there. Waking up here in Portland is nice, and the luxuries of being home are comforting. We have some birds singing out our window; and in the background I can hear the white-noise hum of the I-5 freeway a quarter mile away. Waking on the boat in Orcas however - even in our marina - I hear what to my unaccustomed ear seems like an endless assortment of birds, and the only traffic I hear is the occasional car or truck passing along the road that skirts the White Beach Bay, in West Sound on Orcas.
On the road trip south, I towed a large, empty sailboat trailer for one of the owners of the West Sound Marina. Delivered it without any problems.
I'll be returning to Orcas on July 4th or 5th, and will continue with some maintenance, including a haul-out later in the month to get new bottom paint and replace the anodes. Will also have a few friends visiting, so there will be some new adventures ahead.
14 June 2014 | West Sound, Orcas Island
NOTE: This posting was delayed. Don't know why.
Saturday morning brought rain to the island. It's pretty well socked in with wind and intermittent rain.
I cooked some salmon, potatoes and brussel sprouts for dinner last night. It turned out pretty well, but it will be nice to cook for others again. It's kind of lonely at times, but it's also given me a lot of time to practice guitar, so I'm learning some new tunes.
It hasn't taken long, but the "To Do" list has grown pretty large again. Isn't it always the case? I guess that it's good to be living next to a boat yard. Ian and Becky run West Sound Marina, brother and sister who took over the family business. They have a pretty good inventory of supplies. They sure seem to stay busy. I'm having the boat hauled and the bottom painted and had to book that over a month in advance.
Jan works in the marina store, and she and her husband live on a wooden-hulled trawler in the marina. She invited me to come to the local pot luck, which is just down the street at the community center. I bought some veggies at the farmers' market in East Sound and will put something together. I look forward to meeting some of the locals.
Today's "have to do" tasks: change the fuel filter and change the oil in the outboard. Then I'll be ready for the family's arrival on Sunday.
13 June 2014 | West Sound, Orcas Island, Washington
It's been nearly a week now since Jim and the gang left. I've been occupying my time doing the various boat repairs and upgrades, and also spending a little time exploring my new domicile.
Wilparina is now located in a slip at the West Sound Marina. I was able to sub-let a slip for the next month and a half at a very reasonable rate. In August, we'll be setting out for a more extended cruise and will no longer need a home port. The only drawback is that parking is limited, so when I'm gone, I'll need park the car elsewhere.
For now, it's convenient to have the marine hardware store on site as I'm trying to knock off a few chores each day. There are adequate restrooms and a shower. It's pretty rough, but then, this is an industrial setting, not a resort. In July, I'm having Willa hauled to paint the bottom and replacer the zincs.
There is definitely a slower pace here in the Islands. This is a large Island, but the top speed limit is 40 MPH, though 35 is more common. There isn't a lot of traffic, though waves of cars do coincide with the rhythm of the ferries. The ferries add a dominate beat. Tourists and goods are delivered daily, and most basic needs can be met by the local vendors. Power is delivered via submerged cable. Cell service coverage is sketchy. Plus, FedEx and UPS also serve. However, there are some things one must go off-island to obtain.
For instance ... On the trip up here, my iPhone broke. It wouldn't charge and simply faded away, no matter how long I'd plug it in. There's no place on Orcas to deal with this, so it was off to Anacortes and Burlington. The AT&T store couldn't help, unless I wanted to buy a $600 phone. They did recommend "BadApple," an apple repair business in Burlington. These guys fixed me up with a new part and i'm back in business for a fraction of the cost of a new phone.
On a more personal note, on the trip up here a couple of things broke:
- my phone
- my eyeglasses
- my wristwatch
- the plow (CQR) anchor
It think it's sort of ironic in that all these things have to do with personal orientation to the world - socially/economically, visually, chronologically, and geographically. Maybe there's more to this journey than simply moving a boat from Portland to the Salish Sea. I've since reestablished all of these earthly things, but perhaps this initial severance from the normal life represents a rebirth into a new style of living. More shall be revealed.
I'm excited that Kathleen, Justine and Liz are coming up on Sunday. We'll have a few days to do some sailing and kicking around at the anchorages.
We had about an hour of heavy rain this morning. Overcast and cooler this afternoon.
Early Summer Weather in San Juan's
08 June 2014 | Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, Washington
During Jim, Chris and Raquel's five-day visit, we made a short tour of San Juan highlights. In addition to Sucia and Roche Harbor, we stayed a night at Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. I love Stuart. The three-mile walk to the light house at Turn Point is always enjoyable. The photo is of Prevost Harbor, on the north side of Stuart. That's Mt. Baker in the background.
It's really nice of the locals who put out fresh water along the popular trail. They also sell locally designed t-shirts and hats - sold on the honor system. You simply take what you want from a large wooden chest, and then mail them your check when you get back to "civilization."
Perhaps the best part about this cruise was that yesterday, the wind came up strong out of the south-east. We were sailing in 10-12 knots of wind. Wilparina was very happy on a beam reach, hitting 6 knots, and feeling very much at home. We sailed for a couple hours yesterday afternoon for no other reason than just because it was fun to sail. With Yoga Jim on the boat, he spent lots of time tuning and adjusting the rig, so it felt like we're getting her dialed in.
I dropped the crew off at the ferry dock this morning. They all had a good time. Chris and Raquel are from Colorado, and this was their introduction to the San Juan's. It was fun to show them around this wonderful place.
Now I've got a week ahead to do some work on a new and growing list of "To-Do's." I also have to go over to the mainland and get a new phone, fix my glasses and get my watch fixed. All three were casualties of the trip north. Fortunately, there were only a few other things that broke on the passage up. It is weird in this day and age to not have a cell phone.
Oh ... the weather is continued nice, though we may get a few showers in the next couple of days.
COOL THINGS THAT Happened: While we were in Roche Harbor, we met Virginia on the docks. She's from Colby Creations, Inc. www.colbycreations.com She creates custom bed sheets for the odd-shaped beds and bunks that you find aboard boats. Anyway, she had an entire ice chest full of just-cut, organic asparagus and said, "take as much as you'd like." We loaded up with that and added it to our dinner Friday night on Stuart Island. Yum!
San Juan Summer
06 June 2014 | Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington
Clear and warm
We are being treated to an early summer here. The weather has been mostly warm and dry for the past five days, and good weather should continue for a few more days.
Last Tuesday, Kathleen and Jack returned to Portland. My good friend Yoga Jim, his nephew Chris, and Chris's girlfriend Raquel joined me for a short cruise. We went up to Echo Bay on Sucia our first night. The place was practically empty. Great sunset that night.
Yesterday we got a few hours of sailing from Sucia to Roche Harbor. But as the old saying goes, "You know how to stop the wind in the San Juan's? Put up your sails."
We wandered into Roche without knowing this was a power boat weekend festival. There are only 3 sailboats on the entire guest dock.
We're off to Stuart Island today, and back to Orcas on Saturday.
All is well here. I have to pinch myself when I see Wilparina in this new environment. Wow ... after three years, it's happening for real.