Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Romance novels? Check.
Perfectly good pants emblazoned with tiny teacups? Check.
Nope, this isn’t my Christmas wish list. These are just some of the tempting items sitting on Shilshole Marina’s free shelf today. The gallon-sized Ziploc filled with 27 tubes of Zipfizz came back to the boat with me (the pink lemonade flavor isn’t all that bad, save for the mildly funky aftertaste… still waiting for my energy boost, however).
The free shelf is always strewn with a variety of unique items, and poking through the clutter is a great way to kill time when you show up a few minutes early to transfer over your laundry. You’d really be amazed at the turn-over rate on wicker baskets, wrought-iron dog beds, computer monitors circa 1992, rusty muffin tins (with crud in the corners) and other trash… er, treasure. Here today, gone tomorrow. Everyone knows that boaters like a deal. And you can’t do much better than free.
Our fair share of flotsam and jetsam has washed up on the free shelf—old clothes, extra galley items, raingear (no roller skates or romance novels, though)—since it’s much easier to plop something on the shelf than to drive down to Goodwill. So I don’t feel bad when I take an armload of magazines… or Zipfizz. Give and take, right?
Now that I’ve advertised the teacup pants to the world, I’d better go grab them before someone else does…
Hmmm… This might become a recurring post: What’s on the free shelf today? Stay tuned.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We'd made fantastic time traveling north from Kingston to Port Townsend and arrived before the posted check-in time (so we didn't actually need to leave at O-dark thirty after all). Our reserved port-side tie slip was still occupied, but the starboard-side space was open, and since the two guys in "our slip" were warming up the engine and preparing to get underway, we decided to squat next door. It wasn't 5 minutes before they were on their way and we could shimmy over to the proper slip, easy cheesy.
Aaron pressed the ignition button and... cue the crickets... silence. Uh, this probably isn't good. And this is when we knew we needed more than that one-day "introduction to diesel engines" class. To be fair, Aaron knows a lot about our engine--and even I know that it's a Yanmar 30 (no, I didn't just get up and look). He changes the oil and filters and does regular maintenance, but when it came to diagnosing why our starter wasn't working, we were both at a loss.
There were worse places for this malfunction to happen, like, say, up in the San Juans where a broken starter might mean running aground or smashing into a rock. And I feel extremely fortunate that Sea Marine, a full-service boat yard, was within sight of our slip. While I got my coffee fix at the espresso stand in the Sea Marine office (how cool is that?), one of the mechanics walked down to the boat with Aaron. By the time I made it back, foamy cappuccino in hand, they had the engine exposed and the mechanic was poking and prodding it with various tools. And as often happens in situations like these, when the mechanic pressed the button, it fired right up. Good and bad, I suppose. We apparently needed to rebuild the starter, but he got it working again, and he thought it should be fine for the rest of our trip. If it did act up again, he showed Aaron how to start the engine by passing a screwdriver over something-or-other, which assuaged my fears of getting bashed to bits on the rocks. This awesome mechanic spent probably 30 minutes with us and, get this, refused to charge us! We were so grateful! Small town customer service is amazing. Thanks, Sea Marine!
The bottom line? We got ourselves on the waiting list for the Seattle Maritime Academy's next marine diesel engine class. The class needs a minimum of 10 students, so if you've ever wondered what the big, shiny, heavy thing on your boat is, take the class with us! Classes start in January 2010.
Seattle Maritime Academy (in Ballard)
(206) 782-2647 or (800) 906-7829
MARINE DIESEL ENGINE MAINTENANCE & OPERATION FOR BOATERS
T-Th 6:30-8:30 p.m., beginning 01/12/10 (11 weeks) -- $300
A course in marine diesel engines for the small boat owner that includes theory, operation, troubleshooting and repair. The student will learn fundamental operating procedures for marine diesel engines. Instructional format combines classroom lectures with applied training in diesel engine labs. Course requires a minimum of 10 students.
We're also taking the Basic Electricity for Small Boats class, since electricity is magic (and since Aaron hooked up our 12v head with speaker wire).
BASIC ELECTRICITY FOR SMALL BOATS AND RECREATIONAL BOATERS
MW 6:00-9:00 p.m., beginning 01/11/10 (8 weeks) -- $250
An electrical class designed for the recreational boater and for the small boat owner, that will take the mystery out of how electrical systems work. Topics to be covered will include batteries, alternators, solar and wind generators and related charging systems. Small A/C generator and power inverter systems will be investigated. Methods for determining load requirements; wire sizing and wiring techniques will be discussed. Electrical system troubleshooting, meter reading and hands-on training will be offered to the small boat owner. Course requires a minimum of 10 students.
C'mon. Sign up. You know you need to. It'll be fun!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
We high-tailed it (read: cruised at 6 knots) over to Matia, snagged one of the two buoys, settled in and took the dingy to shore where a huge rock wall and old growth forest awaited us. Amazing! We hiked the loop trail, which passes through one of the only old-growth forests left in the San Juans (most of the other islands were opened to logging and homesteading), by huge glacial erratics and stone walls and out onto cliffs overlooking the islands. In 1892, a Civil War veteran named Elvin Smith built a small cabin on the island and spent 30 years living alone there. Although people referred to him as “the hermit of Matia,” every week he’d row his boat 2 miles to Orcas Island and hike into town to visit with the locals and buy supplies. One day in 1921, his boat laden with provisions, he and a friend mysteriously disappeared. Some say you can still make out the footprint of his cabin, but we combed the area and didn’t see a darn thing.
We spent two fabulous days on Matia, rowing the dinghy around and exploring the trails and coastline. The rippled sandstone formations, the impressive rock walls and the quiet forest trails were something we won’t soon forget (and fortunately we took lots of pictures!).
Thursday, October 22, 2009
She could always be counted on to enjoy the sunshine… ...attack any balloon in sight ...tolerate little outfits ...not accept one stuffed chipmunk when 7 will do
... roll in dead stuff...and pose for an arm shot
She was a pretty smart cookie too; check out a sampling of her tricks.
Here she is on Blake Island fetching and digging. She loved the beach!
We always knew how special Greta was to us, but it wasn't until she passed that we found out just how loved she was by others. We received lots of emails, cards and calls from those who were touched by our precious little wiener dog as well. While it was (and continues to be) a difficult time for us, knowing that everyone who met her (save for the squirrels and the neighbor's Burnese Mountain Dog, Burgundy) thought she was amazing too made the hard times just a little bit better. Thank you, thank you, thank you to our fabulous family and friends.
Rest in peace, baby Greta. We love you always.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This is the midships H2O engineering compartment. AKA under the table. We have a watermaker but haven't yet needed to use it.
The water meter is installed on the pressure side of the water pump. I put it between the water pump and the accumulator.
The small dial on the right side of the meter indicates hundredths of a gallon. The wire is connected to the LCD display.
You can mount the LCD readout anywhere you want. I figured the galley was as good a place as any and wouldn't require any crazy cable fishing. A previous owner had moved the propane system to the deck box on the bow and put in a new solenoid switch in the head. The solenoid switch that was still in the galley was disconnected. I am going to have a labeled placard made for the water meter LCD readout to replace this, but until then I just cut a hole in the aluminum solenoid plate with a Dremel and mounted it there.
Installed and ready. It's hard to make out in the picture, but just below the readout display is a gray button that resets the counter to zero. The LCD unit is powered by a lithium battery that the manufacturer claims will last 5-10 years.
I topped off with water and then waited to see what the meter would read when each tank ran dry from normal use. I did this several times and the meter provided consistent readings of 112 gallons.
Forward tank = 53 gallons
Aft tank = 59 gallons
So whenever we fill up with water I hit the button to zero out the meter and we always know how much water we've used from our tanks.
The watermaker would of course mess this reading up if we didn't run it long enough to top off the tanks, but thus far we haven't been able to take a long enough trip to need it.
It says, "If you pick up this bottle please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org"