Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011 - Kiket Island, Watmough Bay, Eagle Harbor

We finally get to take a trip longer than just an overnighter.  The kids got out of school at noon on Friday which is the start of winter break.  They donj't go back to school until next year.  Kathy had already taken Monday as a vacation day Monday so we have Friday afternoon through Monday night for a boat trip.  And guess what, the weather cooperated this time around!  Light winds for the whole trip and Saturday is supposed to be nice and sunny.  Yahoo.

Friday afternoon we took the short cruise over to Similk Bay/Kiket Island which is a good place to stage yourself for an early morning departure through Deception Pass.  Slack water is at 8:00AM and we intend to be there for it.
Sunset on Friday night at Kiket Island.

Friday night is very calm with virtually no wind to worry about.  It does rain overnight though which makes me doubt the sunny Saturday forecast a bit. 
8:00AM slack current at Deception Pass.

We head over to Watmough Bay on the south end of Lopez Island Saturday morning.  This is supposed to be a great sunny day.  There is a very nice hike to the top of the cliff that overlooks the bay.  It is pretty spectacular.
Having lunch at "the cliff" overlooking Watmough Bay.

Looking down on "Adagio" from atop up the cliff.
We have Watmough Bay all to ourselves.  Winter boating at it's best.

Up at the top there are a lot of trails that wander through the beautiful wooded forest.  Someone has built a really nice rope swing up there that has been here for several years.  After I give it a good test to make sure it's strong, the kids start their swinging frenzy.  They love this swing!
The swing is still here.  Who goes first?
Cindy catching some serious air!

Kevin gets up there too during one of his turns.  What fun.
Back down on the beach there are some really huge boulders to climb around.  Despite the kids getting bigger each year, these boulders don't seem to look any smaller  :-)

Huge boulders.
It was a spectacular sunny December day; cold and clear with no wind.  Perfect!  It rains quite hard overnight and we are pretty sure that the sunshine is now gone for a while.  When we wake up Sunday morning it is cloudy with some fog patches.  It is still drizzling a little.  Quite a change from yesterday.  We decide to head over to Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island.  There are a bunch of great hiking trails there too.  We hope the weather breaks so we can go for our walk and not get too wet.

It's an easy two hour motor over to Eagle Harbor.  The rain stops and there are a few patches of blue sky now and then.  We arrive in Eagle Harbor and grab a buoy only to decide that it might be just a bit too shallow when the low tide rolls around at 5:30PM (after dark).  So, we untie and move to a buoy in much deeper water.  We them put down the dinghy and head to shore to hike up to one of the little lakes on the island.

On our way up the road we find something we've seen here before.  In fact, we've ONLY seen this on Cypress Island and nowhere else in the San Juan's.  They are everywhere.  The kids must find dozens of them within a few hundred yards.  I'm sure you are asking what by now?  Little salamander creatures!  Needless to say, this is a SLOW hike.... but it's a lot of fun.
Cindy with her salamander

Kevin has a pair of them.

Close-up of one of these cute little reptiles.

We eventually make it up to the lake and take the lake loop trail.  It's a cute little lake and at one end we find a well built log shelter.  This would be a good place to hide from a sudden downpour.

The very sturdy rain shelter...

We find a lot more salamanders on the way back down, then we climb into the dinghy and motor back to our boat to warm up.  The diesel furnace is sure nice, but it is having one problem, and it's somewhat serious.  The furnace boiler refuses to "fire" when the engines are running.  After the engines are shut off it takes me a while of tinkering with it to get it up and running again.  I've discovered in my tinkering that the furnace will fire instantly when the generator is running, and it will also keep runnning just fine under gererator power even with the engines running.  So, I'm narrowing it down to some sort of issue with our old inverter, which creates 110v AC power from the 12v DC house batteries.  I need to do more testing.  Right now the net effect is we either have to run our generator when we are motoring somewhere, or we get cold and leave the generator off while motoring.

It is a perfectly still night with absolutely no breeze.  Monday morning we awake to overcast skies, but no fog or rain.  We get a fairly early start and take the dinghy over to Pelican Beach which has good access to the Eagle Cliff trail.  Pelican Beach is full of great flat skipping rocks and the kids are learning how to skip rocks.

Skipping rocks at Pelican Beach.
We hike up to the top of Eagle Cliff, which seems much easier this time around.  Maybe it's because the kids are older and we are having trouble keeping up with them?  Or maybe it's because we started our hike at Peilcan Beach instead of way back at Eagle Harbor?  The view from Eagle Cliff can be specacular, but it's overcast with some low clouds.  In fact, some of the clouds appear to be lower than us.

Great view from the top of Eagle Cliff, even on a cloudy day.

We hike back down to Pelican beach where the kids skip some more rocks.  We then dinghy back to the boat and pack it all up to head home.  It was a very quiet trip home with only one other boat on the water.  In fact we only saw half a dozen boats on the water the whole weekend.  It always amazes me (Steve) how few boats there are out there during the winter.  Another successful and rewarding trip.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 04, 2011 - Similk Bay

We took a close-to-home overnight trip.  Friday night we took the kids to the Elemetary School x-mas party where they made crafts, decorated cookies, and then watched the movie "Rio" in the school auditorium.  So, we couldn't leave Friday night.  Saturday morning my sister took the kids to the Santa breakfast in town, so we couldnt' leave early Saturday morning.  Sunday Kathy and my sister Pat are taking Cindy and her friend Natalie to see the play "The Nutcracker" at a local theater.  So, we couldn't stay out on Sunday either.  This was definitely a short trip.. 

Zappa watching for logs as we leave Shelter Bay.
We left Shelter Bay after the kids got back from the Santa breakfast.  It was overcast and cold; about 37 degrees.  We motored over to Similk bay and it was nice and calm.  During the ride over the furnace stopped heating, or perhaps it stopped circulating hot water.  I tried several restarts of the system while underway but couldn't get it to work.  Once anchored I was able to get it running again and it was fine for the rest of the trip.  Our new anchor seemed to get a good bite.  This is the first time using it.

We have new appliances in the galley; a new propane cooktop, a new refer, and a new convection microwave oven.  We got to try them all and so far so good.  Kathy loves the propane cooktop.  The refer is quiet and uses virtually no electrictiy compared to the old home unit that was in the boat.  The convection microwave is something we need to learn how to use.  It is supposed to function as an oven and we did cook potatoes in it for dinner and they turned out good.  But, we really don't know how to use this thing yet.  The furnace performed perfectly overnight and easily kept the salon at 68 degrees despite the low 30's temp outside.  I installed setback timers on both the pilothouse "loop" and the salon "loop".  This let me turn off the pilothouse and salon heat overnight and set it to come on an hour or so before we woke up so both areas were warm for us when we woke up.  It was very nice not to have to heat it all night (a total waste of diesel and electricity) or wake to a 30 something degree room.  Luxury!

 We wanted to take a dinghy ride Saturday afternoon but it was cold with a slight breeze (making it even colder!) and it was drizzling.  So we decided to stay inside and hang out.  The kids played with some Legos while Kathy and I did some reading and puttering on the boat.  The drizzle stopped so I put the dinghy down only to find out that the motor starting battery was too weak to get the motor running.  Bummer.  Maybe I better install a bigger battery?  So I put the dinghy back up and went back inside.
Trying to get the Yamaha outboard started.  No luck.

Playing with legos.  We are enjoying the furnace (short sleeves!).
Kathy and the kids play "Risk" for a while before dinner.  It's a somewhat challenging game but they are getting the hang of it.  After dinner the kids (and me too) watch a DVD.  Then off to bed for the kids.  We got them new adult-sized sleeping bags and they like 'em.  Both Kevin and Cindy said they were very warm.  They went to sleep easily. 

Kathy and I turned in at about 11:00 after watching a DVD.  We never get to do this at home.  Being on the boat is definitely a nice change of pace, and it's very relaxing for us all.  It is raining from time to time during our DVD and we can hear the raindrops dancing on the boat deck above us. 

In the morning we wake to a beautiful sunny day with no wind.  It is cold outside.  The foredeck is a sheet of ice when I go to pull the anchor at around 9:15AM.  Brrr!

Playing "UNO" on our way back to Shetler Bay.
We have to be back so Kathy and Cindy can leave the house in time to pick up Pat and Natalie, go have lunch, and make it to the Nutcracker on-time.  On our return trip I notice the water temp as indicated by our depth sounder.  That's some COLD water.  I wouldn't want to slip off the boat into this water!!!

Now that's some COLD water!
It was great to finally be on the boat again; it's been way to long for us.  We have been missing it.  The new systems in the boat performed well and have defintely transformed the boat into a much better cruiser for our style of boating.  I came home with a short list of new projects, but overall I'm very happy with all the work that I've done during the past two month on "Adagio".  She's slowly transforming into our boat, setup for the way we use her.  It is starting to feel like our home on the water.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

October and November 2011 - no boat trips

Well it's been a long dry spell for us!  We haven't been out in two months which is likely a record for us.  I tore the boat apart to replace most of the galley appliances and to install a diesel furnace so we can stay nice and warm during the cold winter months.

After our boat renaming party where we followed traditional maritime tradition, I began to tear the boat apart.

NOVEMBER 23, 2011 - Thanksgiving Trip cancelled:
We were planning on taking the boat out for 5+ days during the long Thanksgiving vacation.  I spent a lot of time in the weeks just before Thanksgiving getting the boat furnace installation completed, and putting the boat all back together.  I made it in time for the long trip, but the weather just did not cooperate.  It was VERY windy throughout the long weekend.  The forecasts were calling for 50 knot winds with 6'-8' wind waves.  At one point I saw the weather station at Smith Island (just a few miles south of the San Juan's) report 58 knots.  That's almost hurricane strength.  Obviously we didn't go out.  We decided to instead stay on the boat Wednesday night at the dock.  It was nice to be on the boat again, even if just sitting at the dock.  We played games, watched some DVD's, BBQ'd dinner, just as if we were out in the islands.

Playing "Clue".  I think it was Col. Mustard, in the Conservatory, with the Candlestick.
This version of Clue is from the 1950's.  Wow, how has it survived this long!

Eating popcorn and watching  a DVD.

Kevin playing with Mom.  Good times on the boat.

September 10 through November 22, 2011 - Projects:
This has been one long dry spell without boating.  But, I knew that I had some serious work to get done before the boat was going to be usable in winter/cold weather.  I also knew that our home refrigerator had to go.  It was literally sucking our house battery bank dry overnight.  It was also an excellent opportunity to deal with a great number of other issues.  I was able to take advantage of the good weather and caulk/seal all of the windows.  I also repainted the flybridge and the cockpit floors.  I removed all of the old snaps, filled the holes, ground out any cracks in the gelcoat and filled them in.  I painted with Interlux non-skid mixed into the first coat of paint.  Followed by a second coat of just paint to even out the finish.  It turned out great.

The flybridge just before the new non-skid paint.

Just after the new paint.

The cockpit before the new paint.

The cockpit, after the new paint.  Looking good!!!
I also tore into the galley removing the electric cooktop that was damged in the trip up the coast.  I also took out the microwave, which only operated on 220 volts meaning it could not be run via the inverter, only the genset.  I also took out the house refrigerator.  That was a total power hog; consuming at least 10 times as much power as a boat-specific refrigerator.  This meant tearing cabinets apart in the galley, which was not fun.  The washer/dryer had to be removed in order to get the refrigerator out of it's hole.  I seriously contemplated cutting the refer into pieces to remove it, but decided that the environmental impact of releasing all of that freon into the atmosphere just wasn't the responsible thing to do.

The galley before the remodel began.

Washer/Dryer removed so refer could be taken out.

Appliance Central.  I could open an appliance store!

One of the new refers.  Also the new cooktop.

The new convection microwave, the propane cooktop, the efficient 12-volt refer

Repainting the chain locker.

Marking the chain every 25 feet.  Red/White/Blue = 25'/50'/75'

Our new anchor.  This baby is MASSIVE!  Yellow/red/yellow = 100'/200'/300'
But the biggest change of all was the  installation of a new diesel furnace.  This is a HUGE project.  It's a really complex system.  There is a diesel-fired boiler in the engine room that heats water/antifreeze which is circulated through PEX tubing throughout the boat. 
      There are 4 loops in the system (PEX tubing loops, that is). 
         1.  The v-berth and guest head. 
         2.  The master stateroom and head.
         3.  The pilothouse.
         4.  The salon.
Each loop is considered a zone and has it's own thermostat.  That means we can set each zone to a different temperature or even turn a zone off if desired.  This allows great flexibility when using the boat in cold weather.  I had to fabricate a custom stainless steel exhaust for the boiler to vent to the outside.  I had to tap into the fuel tank.  There were a lot of elctrical wires needed to connect everything.  Plus, running nearly 275' of not very flexible PEX tubing from one end of the boat to the other.  Definielty a big project with great rewards; year-round boating!  That's enough boring details for now..... here are a few pictures.

The di$tribution manifold.  4 zones plus a water conditioner/filter loop.

I painted and installed the vent on the right.  This pulls fresh air into the boat to dry things out.

The 2.5" double-wall exhaust.  I don't like cutting hole in the hull.  But, this is  a quiet system!
The exhaust on the inside.  Nice heat insulation blanket.

Beginning the wiring for the control module.
The furnace control center; fuel filter vacuum gauge, master power switch.  3 setback timers.

One other little project was to polish the portholes in the master stateroom.  You could not see through them when we bought the boat.  It turns out that with plastic cleaner followed by plastic polish, applied with my Porter Cable random orbin sander using some special polishing pads, you can actually buff very cloudy Lexan back into a "window" you can see through.  I never knew...

The porthole before cleaning and polishing.

The porthole after restoration.  What a difference.
In addition to all of this I dealt with some other random water leaks.  I installed new digital tachometers in the pilothouse.  I removed all of the temporary electronics that I had installed in the pilothouse for the trip up the coast and remounted those that I wanted to keep in the overhead.  I also upgraded the navigation PC monitor from an old LCD screen to a nice new LED backlit, widescreen unit.  How nice!  Widescreen allows multiple windows to be displayed simultaneously, as well as a pane for navigational data.  I big improvement.

Waht's next?  The galley needs to be finished.  We have a second refrigerator-only unit on order.  It will really only be used during longer trips where we overflow the new refer/freezer.  We are going to convert a galley base cabinet corner, which is kind of a dead-zone into a custom-built freezer with large capacity, and efficient operation.  This might wait a few month while other project are completed.  The v-berth has been torn out and needs to be rebuilt so it can become the kids room or guest room when we have overnight company.  This will take a month or so.  Next might be the salon u-shaped settee.  After that it will be the pilothouse dash reconfigure.  This would be followed by the master stateroom remodel, which won't be a huge project, but will yield us with much greater flexibility when we have guests overnight.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 - Boat Renaming Party:
We had a boat renaming party on the dock with a bunch of our boating friends.  It was a great time.  Kathy read the traditional boat renaming "script" that is used by mariners to appease the gods of the sea so that we may have good luck aboard our new, and renamed, vessel.

Our group of boating friends for the boat renaming party.

The ceremony was complete with offering champagne (not the cheap stuff either) to the sea gods, pouring in specific directions (North to South, West to East, etc).

Reading the traditional renaming script and toasting the sea gods.

Pouring the champagne during the ceremony.
It was a fun party and it was the first time some of our friends had seen the boat.  The kids had a blast running around the boat, up and down the boat, on the dock with fishing nets, and acting like kids. 

The kids stop for a moment.  They were having a lot of fun.

Aidan getting off their dinghy.  Don't spill that wine young man.
Kids grabbing some beverages.  I hope they don't drink our wine!

The party went well into the night.  I feel sorry for my Shelter Bay neighbors who had to endure our late party well after dark. Sorry friends and neighbors!!!

Still partying!  I think we got pretty loud.  Ooops.
Our boat is now officially (both with the Sea Gods and the US Coast Guard) renamed "Adagio".  It was a fun night with our friends!