Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ugly Ass Boat

I remember hearing that the reason Drugs were so popular, and a continued scorn on society, is that they work.

In the like sense, Inflatable 'boats' are everywhere. Ugly ass boats that work.

Viking Star came with this Minto - and given the age of Viking Star, this is likely an original.

But, well, it just is not big enough. Or more correctly, we are too big. And that started the search for a new dinghy. We looked at a wide range - inflatables, a roto molded Portland Pudgy, adding Dinghy Dogs to the Minto - or even just tying fenders around it. But in the end we found a good deal on this UAB.

(Ugly Ass Boat)

It will be dryer, carry more weight, allow us to even bring a guest or two. It will row for crap, and well. It is ugly.

But in the end, one does need to be practical. (Though noted: the prior owners of Viking Star had two dinghies, the Minto and a UAB on the stern).

Oh Well. Maybe I will get to that. But until then - I am sorry Viking Star and her Minto. You made such a handsome couple.

Monday, December 28, 2009

End of the season – time to Get Busy!

Here we are. Christmas is over, the New Year is close. Rose Bowl is Thursday! (Quack) It is this time of year that I typically start the Big Messy Projects. Like the time I took most of the main cabin roof off to replace rotten plywood. Or when I did the same to the aft cabin. Or, that one year (Kristi will remember) when I just started about 5 medium large projects all at once. In each case two things are true:

  1. It is COLD out there.
  2. The boat becomes totally disabled due to the mess…

This year will be a bit different. I only have one major project to finish (anchor platform), and several smaller ones to finish. Well, looking at 1 and 2 above, maybe this year will not be all that different J

We are in the Short Strokes. Kristi reminded me that we are ½ way through our ‘6 months in the apartment’. So, guess the bottom line is: Need to get busy. What is on board for this week?

  • Wash the boat and cleanup from Christmas Ships
  • Tuesday bring over a RIB we are looking to buy and see if it fits on the boat well.
  • Travel to Seattle Wednesday to pick up the ‘real’ house batteries – these might live in the Pickup for a couple of weeks till I can roust up a couple of friends to help move them into the boat.
  • Service the motor: Oil, Coolant, Filters all need changing.
  • Order the Formica as well as a new kitchen sink.
  • Start framing in for the aft cabin sink.
  • Sand and paint the forward cutouts for portholes (now that it is above 35 outside.) Then can install the portholes.

And I am sure many other projects as time goes on. Well, it’s almost 9:00am, guess better get busy!

* Post-script from Kristi: For you non-boaters, a RIB is a Rigid Inflatable Boat, further translated 'dinghy'.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Only in the PNW...

OK, I grew up in Oregon. Web toes, moss on the North side, having to research that funny yellow orb that appears in the normally Grey sky every spring.

In getting ready to leave for St. Helens this morning I took this Picture. Perhaps only in the Pacific NW will one see a combination of moss and icicles hanging on the Swim Platform :-)

Oh, I just love it.

Kristi and I woke up at 8am this morning, had some 'fake Moka's' (Coffee and hot chocolate). I salted the still open Devil Seams and put the plastic cover on the windlass (January project). Getting ready to get underway, and hoping to get close enough to the electric power at the St. Helen's city dock. Else, will just have to idle the main engine for a couple of hours to keep the lights going.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Ships

We are in the midst of one of our favorite times of the year. Christmas Ships. It combines so many of the things we love--boating, Christmas, and family and friends.

Usually, we cruise at night-time. But this morning, we got up early and hung out on the Columbia River in front of Salty's Restaurant. It was a frosty, but beautiful morning! We got to watch the sun rise, and then were treated to breakfast, intermittent with interviews by one of our favorite TV personalities, Andy Carson, from KPTV's Good Day Oregon morning news program.

And for the curious, here is a photo of Viking Star from last year. Following the Christ part of Christmas we have a 10' star with the three wise-men looking towards it. If you want to see photos of more boats, as well as parade schedule, check out: www.christmasships.org

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Status Update

A while ago I posted a list of things I wanted to 'finish' before we were ready to move out - thought would update it some.

Ya, does not really look like much progress. And you are right. progress has been a bit slow. But that is OK. Several things are in flight: new batteries on order, drawers being cut and glued up, Kitchen stove / propane locker just need final hook up, aft cabin insulation is 80% in, need to purchase and cut some more material. Selected the counter Formica, THAT in its self is progress. After Christmas Ships are done, hope to get a bit more wrapped up.

Plus, am going to start cutting down the Must Do list.

"Go Simple, go Cheap, GO NOW" is a know phrase with a lot of truth in it. **

Will push off things like the Flopper Stoppers, Sun Shades, etc. After all, don't want to use up all the good projects so there will be nothing to do once we are underway!

Updated List:

1. Wire up backup inverter
2. Install larger battery bank
3. Install Hydronic Heating system
a. Hurricane
b. Finish piping, circulation pump
c. Interface to Motor and generator
d. Interface to Diesel Stove
4. Finish Generator
5. Install water maker
6. New Anchor platform
a. Platform
b. Rebuild Windlass
7. Propane Locker
8. Decks
a. Devil Seam
b. Bungs on deck
c. Install aft cleats
d. Move aft spring cleats to mid-ship
9. Sand / refinish lazzorete
10. Finish Lazzorete Hatches
a. Framing
b. Rain water system
c. Finish Hatches
d. Install locking system
11. Install wood access hatch in aft cabin
12. Finish Aft Cabin
a. Finish trim around Hatch
b. Insulation
c. Headliner
d. Trim around top
e. Drawers
13. Install aft head
a. Door
b. Head
c. LectraSan
14. Kitchen
a. Cook stove
b. Doors
c. Polish Diesel Stove
d. Banana Hanger
e. Framing around refrigerator
15. Soles (cork)
16. Overheads in Main cabin
17. Forward Cabin
a. Overheads
b. Trim
c. Sink counter top and faucet
18. Wash down system
a. Raw water
b. Fresh water
19. Aft external shower
20. Leaks
a. Fly bridge
b. Forward cabin around deck?
21. Repair rotten framing Port side
22. Trim and racks
a. Forward helm station: Binoculars, Handheld, etc.
23. Install SSB
24. Procure EPIRB
25. Dingy
26. Sliding Door Locks
27. Install AIS
28. Install computer
29. Flopper Stoppers
a. New Mast
b. Outriggers
c. Flopper stoppers themselves
30. Rain / Sun shades

** "The whole idea is freedom. Go simple, Go cheap, Go now." Lin Pardee.

OK, the Devil Won this time . . . . .

When one thinks of the Anti-Christ, one thinks of rather unpleasant warm places. Well, this time Cold has been used. This week we are getting our 1st cold blast for the Winter. Ya I know, it is not really THAT cold - heck even in Portland we have had colder weather.

But, it is cold enough to preclude Caulking setting. 40 or more is what the directions say.

So, when it comes to the Devil Seam that I was planning on getting done, well, the Devil has won.

Too cold. With Christmas Ships starting I worry that the caulk will not set up and risk getting onto folks feet - and being tracked everywhere. Side note: Most folks who have worked with EBC (Evil Black Caulking) know the stuff is almost magical in its ability to leap large gaps. Like the gap between the end of caulk tube and your forehead, or your upper arms, or well just about anyplace you dont want it. Magic stuff, never do know how it ends up in all those places :-)

So. Going to pack the seams I have opened with Rock Salt and just will wait till next spring.

Bad Devil Seam, Grinning Devil...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A bit of the devil, in two ways…

Wood Boats often come with wood trim. Lots of wood trim. Both inside and out. Outside we are rather tame for a woody; only the cap rails and the transom. For that I use a product called Cetol. I know purists will scoff, “It is not varnish” “It looks dirty” lots of things. And you know what, they are right. Nothing looks like varnish. But for the exterior, I am happy with Cetol – it looks OK at 20’, and is much more durable.Inside: I am a Varnish Guy.

Sanding, cleaning, varnishing, some more sanding, more varnish, repeat.

And over the past couple of weeks I have been adding fuel for those who think of Varnish as the Devil: I have been ADDING trim to the aft cabin. Here you can see a band at the roof line, plus around the aft hatch. I also have been making battens for the overheads (ceilings in a house) so that we can put some insulation into the overheads before we spend a few weeks aboard during Christmas Ships.

More Sanding, more Varnishing, Sanding, Varnish. Repeat.

Some people run from this. They look for a boat they can wash ‘like a bowl in the dishwasher’. Tupperware to me, Evil to them..

But in the end, I love wood. I love the feel of it, and look of it. Wish I was a better craftsman - we are kind of going for the Shaker style on Viking star J

Today I put on the 2nd coat. Have had the Diesel stove going for several days to make everything nice and warm. I will get one, maybe two more coats on before Kristi and I leave for a week to see her Sister in Colorado Springs. What I do not finish before we leave I will have to finish when we get back. Five coats is the goal for me…

The other Devil I have been attaching is truly the Devil. Here you can see the where the outside decks meet the hull of the boat. That joint, or seam is known as the ‘Devils Seam’. I can only guess why, suspect it is because it is rather hard to keep instact as there is a lot of stress at that point, and hence a lot of movement. This is one of the last Big Projects on Viking Star, I need to clean them all out and re caulk them. Hopefully before we start taking Viking Star out into the rain for Christmas Ships. Not sure I will make it for all of them, but oh well. Just keep working on those Devils a little at a time I guess!

Also got the propane locker vent line in place. So, will be able to finish up the Propane locker and perhaps get the cook top installed.

And clean up the boat a bit – before Kristi reminds me of the Devil she seems to always be fighting. . . .

Friday, October 30, 2009

That’s Captain Al if you will.

Over the past 10 days I have been taking an all day training session and sitting for my tests to qualify for a proper Captains license. As you can see, it appears I was successful! My next step is to finish up the application package and submit it all to the Coast Guard. Then I will be able to be paid while operating a boat! The actual license I receive will be based on my time on the water and given what I have I will be asking for an Inland Masters 50 Ton. After another 180 days on the water I will be able to upgrade to a Masters 100 ton.

I am a bit proud of achieving this certification - it was a bit of work. Plus as Kristi noted we are no longer use to having to be up and somewhere by 0800, how easy it is to get soft :-) Some of you might know that I have already received a lot of training through the US Power Squadron (USPS.ORG), and in fact have completed all of their training courses through off shore / celestial navigation and now teach many of those same courses. I will easily say that my USPS experience greatly helped me over the past 10 days. In fact, with the exception of more material on Laws (CFRs), and duties of a Master I think I might have been able to purchased a study book and taken the test at the USCG directly. But I did enjoy (and did learn) from the 10 days focused course; Dennis has an excellent course and a ton of experience to share. Plus the cost of the course is covered by a retraining benefit in my separation package.

Ok. So What.

Good question. I really have no idea what I will use this for. And even with the separation benefit there are a few hundred $ out of our pocket. So, why did I do this? Guess it comes down to: I have a personal draw to the water, I believe in education and training, and there is a feeling of accomplishment in achieving a goal such as this. Plus there is that old common thread Kristi and I have learned: We really have little idea what she and I will be doing in the future (details I am talking here – Big Picture we are still marching towards). Who knows, perhaps a Captains license will come into play some time. (I also received my tow boat endorsement). Could be day cruises with folk, or a overnights. Could be moving or towing others boats. Could be on-the-water training of folks. Who knows. Could be nothing but a feeling of accomplishment.

One thing I do know: none of this will involve Viking Star. See, she is a foreign laid keel and as such is precluded by the Jones Act from being used in commerce to carry passengers. Other laws preclude her from carrying cargo or towing. But, there are ways around this: Act of Congress (not kidding about that), Pilot Small Boat Waiver Program with MARAD, a Prize of War (again, not kidding). Plus some obscure law (46 U.S.C. Appendix 14) which talks about ‘salvage’ and adding 3x value back into a boat. Perhaps all that work I have done on her over the years might play here? Hum….. “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tail...”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's Important.

It finally struck me that I haven't written anything about something that is very important to me--my faith. Perhaps because it is so personal. But because we are called to SHARE our faith, I want to put here the words I said in front of the congregation of my church when our pastor asked Al and me to say a few words in his 'Voyages' series, that week dealing with 'casting off' and called 'Into Deep Waters'.

Pastor Dan chose the scripture passages for the week, but one especially struck me. And here is what I responded:

In the voyage of my life, this is NOT the first time I have had to 'step out in faith', or go 'Into the Deep Waters'. I remember the first time away from home at summer camp. Graduating High School, and then going to three different schools in the next three years. Getting Married and moving across the country. Having children --which is STILL some pretty deep water! Getting divorced. Finding Al, and making 'THE PLAN'.
Of the scriptures read today, the one that spoke to me most in our case was Luke 5:3-4, but especially verse 4 'When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.'

My thoughts, in two parts:
Out into Deep Waters
Al has told me on several occasions, usually after I have said 'I'm not having fun!' , that the boat is capable of handling MUCH more than the crew can. Even after all my education and preparation for what may come, I must Trust the Boat. The boat will carry me across the surface of deep waters. We will use charts and depth finders to stay in deep waters. If a storm is approaching, and you cannot make it safely to port, it is best to head for deep waters.

And the second part: Let down your nets
No, don't just let them down--FLING them out there! And do it with expectation! The expectation of 'catching', the expectation to be fed, that your actions have purpose, and that you will be rewarded.
God is my boat. And as Al and I prepare to sail away into the deep waters, I will be trusting God. He is capable of so much more than I. I must trust him. He will carry me. 

And Prayer will be my net. I will fling it out there with the expectation of catching God's answers, of being fed by his Word, that I will have a greater purpose, and a great reward.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sleeping In

This waking-to-an-alarm is for the birds! Al has begun classes this week, all day, every day, for 10 days, to get his Skipper's License. And after nearly three months of 'not working', this alarm is quite rude!

Yes, Al has been working his new job for about 6 weeks now, but even then we were still able to sleep until we wake on our own. Being in the apartment most nights has gotten us away from the jet noise. Mind you, we can STILL hear the air traffic, but it is much subdued at our apartment location. And the seasons are changing, and the sun rises later. All these things contribute to our recent ability to 'sleep in' on a regular basis.

I have to tell you, as a person with fibromyalgia, this is the single most important factor in my physical well being.

We are counting the days! The completion of today's class marks the half-way point of the course. But, after 5 days of the alarm, Al commented that today it seemed easier to get up than it has been. Oh no! Are we getting used to it already?!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Whats been going on with the Boat?

OK, I know I have been a bit distracted lately with the new consulting job, but I also have been working on projects. So, here is a bit of an update.

Currently have three major ones I am pecking away at. You might remember remember when I needed to carve up all that nice new framing around the lazzarette hatches in order to take out the old water tank? Well, have been patching that all back together.
Is, err, a bit ugly. But thanks to heavy timbers in the 1st place, and modern Epoxy will eventually get it back to good condition.

Also have been working on the forward port holes. Pulled the old ones a while ago, and am prepping the cutout for the new ones. I do need to do some cleaning up of the framing, but figure will get it all cleaned up in a week or so.

I have been focusing on installing the propane cook top. Though we do have the Dickinson Diesel stove to cook on, that is a bit over the top when we do not need to heat the cabin to 85+ Ala, any time during the Summer! So, made a step down for the cook top, today ran the propane lines into the locker I had previously completed. Monday will finish the plumbing, install the locker drain, and maybe get it all hooked up.

Oh, and I put a maintenance Cetol coat on all the exterior Bright Work. As well as totally stripped and refinished the stern. Cetol, ARG!!! I know, not REAL Varnish, but I like the easy maintenance. I save real Varnish for the interior. Speaking of Interior, I also have been milling the trim for the aft cabin and have installed most of it.

Also ordered the new House Batteries as well as a new Ship Computer to replace the laptop that gave up the Ghost last summer during that 100+ week. Kristi and I have also been Dinghy shopping. No purchase yet, but looking - that Consulting Job lets us get a few of these last items a bit more quickly.

See, have actually been getting stuff done!

And just FYI: The two following pictures are the Garage, and our 'storage room' (2nd Bed Room). This is what is left to either be installed on the boat, or be stored on the boat (ala, spares.) Not too bad . . . . .

And Finally. Here it a photo of what we affectionately call the 'Toilet Seat'. The thing in the Red
circle. See, the marina we are in is way too cheap to actually dredge accumulated sand, despite the rather dear rates they charge. Last year I moved slips because of this, and this year it is much worse: August, September, October. Until the Rains come. We have canceled several trips out, and missed just going out for a Sun Set Cruise this late summer. It is so bad we can only attempt to get in or out with very high tide. And even then I need to wear my John Deer hat...

The Toilet Seat is our Tell. When the water is to it, I can get out with a lot of trouble (meaning, I need to do the Tug Boat Dredge to clear the keel in order to make the turn and get out of the slip). I'd rather like to see the Toilet Seat covered. This Friday we are hoping to get out to attend a river wide cruise. At 5 AM we have sort of a high tide, I am hoping it will be to the Seat at least!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

As Promised, San Francisco Pictures

Here are just a few photos from my 6th trip to San Francisco. Those who know me well know that I LOVE this city. There is SO much to see and do, even after six visits! I do wish that it wasn't so expensive, however! Even so, I know I will return again and again.

My Facebook friends who were curious will have seen all these photos already.

The photos here are not in any special order. I have difficulty, or am greatly frustrated, by my attempts to post pictures to the blog, and add text. You cannot simply drag and drop photos where you want them. And text may not go where you want it to. Perhaps I will learn tricks with experience. Anyone know any?

Well, I should go soon. I am out and about this afternoon, exploring downtown Vancouver WA, and my battery is running short, and I don't see a convenient plug-in. Look for another post from Al soon--last night he said he should add one. He will be travelling again next week, but I will be holding down the fort this time.....

Friday, October 2, 2009

Moving Sharon's Boat

Tuesday we waited for high tide and gave it a go. Al jokes about a John Deere hat being suitable for such operations, but there WAS plowing being done! Once out of the marina, the rest of the trip downriver and into the Multnomah Channel was uneventful. We had a pleasant evening at Hadley's Landing, and met Sharon on Wednesday morning. It was a rainier day than we had hoped, but Al got out his Gorton's fisherpants .

Plans were discussed and instructions given. I admit I was having fun being the photographer, and forgot to prepare the fenders on Viking Star to receive Sharon's boat. I was also amazed that the dinghy with it's little motor was able to tow with Al merely holding the bow line!

She was soon nestled up close to Viking Star for the rest of the trip to her new home.

I am sorry I didn't get a picture of her safely tucked into her new slip, but we were hurried out of the way of another boat coming down.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello from San Francisco!

We are here while Al does business. Poor Al! He was gone from the hotel for 14 hours yesterrday. Today and tomorrow he will be working also. But we will have Saturday all day together, and departing Sunday.

Christine is along too. She has a broken toe, which prevents her from work, but allows her to tag along for this trip. It is fun to show her around one of my favorite cities in the world. Yesterday we drove down Lombard, the crookedest street. And up to Coit Tower, and since the weather was quite clear, we got some fabulous photos from the top. Next we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge (cloaked in fog) to sunny Sauselito for lunch at an Italian bistro. And drove through Golden Gate Park, and strolled through the botanical gardens.

We do have to make concessions for Christine's toe. We move quite a bit slower, and have to consider our routes. Today we will be riding the cable cars, doing some shopping, and perhaps going to Alcatraz. They have a special tram for those unable to climb the hill to the prison, so she will have to take advantage of that!

All for now. Will post pictures later. The internet is quite intermittent in the room, so I am writing from the parlor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things have changed a bit...

Throughout this past year+, Kristi and I have figured out that we can not really 'plan' things more than two weeks out. Oh, we may have a general direction, but in terms of Planning, Wasted time. In that light, things that Could Of, Should Of, or May Of happened have somewhat happened and as a result we have changed direction a little.

Not much, mind ya, but a little.

Some background: In the Big Picture, we had been looking to 'Pull The Plug' in about two years (well, more like 1 and a half now :-) And it was that timeline that we were working towards: Things, kids, Boat, us. Well - Getting Laid off in January kind of accelerated those plans, we went into hyper gear: Finishing the boat, selling the house, dumping stuff onto the kids, etc.

Throughout all of this there has always been rumblings of a Job. Over the past month, those Rumblings became more solid and this week I started a consulting position with the EPA on their ENERGY STAR program. We also moved into an Apartment.


Yes, I can hear everyone screaming! Well, almost.

See :-
Job: This is a consulting position that is part time (10-15 hrs / week), and will provide some additional Boat Funds without tapping into Savings. It might last a year or two, but more so: it is one that I can largely do from the boat with only a Laptop and a Cell Phone.

Apartment: Blame Oregon on that one. They made a change in their Tax law that nullified a key provision I was counting on, and has effectively driven me out of the state. So, we have an apartment in Vancouver to establish Washington residency. I have more to say on this, but rather not have it in 'print', at least not in this pseudo family-friendly format. But know this, Pissed Off over this I am. . .

Boat: We will work to complete the boat this fall and Winter. Will be a bit slowed by Job, but then funds will help some with some major purchases (battery, sun/rain shades, Pactor modem)

So, basic 'plan' (err, sorry, basic Direction) right now is: We are living on the land in Washington, working on the boat through the Winter and some time next Spring will give up the slip and the apartment to move full time on the boat. Will cruise the Columbia for the summer and next Fall look to head north to the Sound Area (remember, the only real firm 'Plan' we ever have had was "Go down river and Turn Right")

Finally, Kristi and I spent a few minutes putting together a high level 'need to do' list. In no order than what came to our mind, here is what we will be working on over the next few months:

  1. Wire up backup inverter
  2. Install larger battery bank
  3. Install Hydronic Heating system
    1. Hurricane
    2. Finish piping, circulation pump
    3. Interface to Motor and generator
    4. Interface to Diesel Stove
  4. Finish Generator
  5. Install water maker
  6. New Anchor platform
    1. Platform
    2. Rebuild Windlass
  7. Propane Locker
  8. Decks
    1. Devil Seam
    2. Bungs on deck
    3. Install aft cleats
  9. Sand / refinish lazzorete
  10. Finish Lazzorete
    1. Framing
    2. Rain water system
    3. Finish Hatches
    4. Install locking system
  11. Install wood access hatch in aft cabin
  12. Finish Aft Cabin
    1. Finish trim around Hatch
    2. Insulation
    3. Headliner
    4. Trim around top
    5. Drawers
  13. Install aft head
    1. Door
    2. Head
    3. LectraSan
  14. Kitchen
    1. Cook stove
    2. Doors
    3. Pollish Diesel Stove
    4. Banana Hanger
    5. Framing around refrigerator
  15. Soles (cork)
  16. Overheads in Main cabin
  17. Forward Cabin
    1. Overheads
    2. Trim
    3. Sink counter top and faucet
  18. Wash down system
    1. Raw water
    2. Fresh water
  19. Aft external shower
  20. Leaks
    1. Fly bridge
    2. Forward cabin around deck?
  21. Repair rotten framing Port side
  22. Trim and racks
    1. Forward helm station: Binoculars, Handheld, etc.
  23. Install SSB
  24. Procure EPIRB
  25. Dingy
  26. Sliding Door Locks
  27. Install AIS
  28. Install computer
  29. Flopper Stoppers
    1. New Mast
    2. Outriggers
    3. Flopper stoppers themselves
  30. Rain / Sun shades

Saturday, September 12, 2009

No longer liveaboards...

Since Al will soon be working as a consultant for the EPA, we have taken an apartment in Vancouver WA. We signed on the line last Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. It was another two days before we actually spent a night there, but we just had our second morning at the apartment, complete with coffee! (Can you tell I am writing from the boat--calling the apartment 'there')

It seems we have spent the past two and a half months just schlepping stuff! SO MUCH STUFF! Again, it is my goal to work through the many boxes we have brought with us. Hopefully, after spending 6 weeks living on the boat, I will have a better perspective about what is NEEDED there, and space that is AVAILABLE, and will be able to get rid of quite an amount.

Although my parents would argue, I consider myself to be pretty neat and organized. Let's just say that as an adult I am pretty neat and organized. And after 6 weeks living on the boat, I find myself even more intolerant of mess and disorder. The goal still is a place for everything, and everything in it's place. And now that is carrying over to the apartment. I think the sailor life is a good place for my OCD/Virgoness to shine!

So, what is the apartment like? It is a two-bedroom, one bath place with a patio complete with tomato, squash and green beans growing on the edges. We have noted that there is more room for TWO butts in the kitchen than there even was at the house.

It is kind of like living in a motel, or Al says, like being in a college dorm, or starting over again. We don't have much stuff-- borrowed furniture, just two pans for cooking, even had to buy new sheets and dishes,and no art on the walls. I think we need to get a dresser of some sort. Still living out of bags.

I am trying out the washer/dryer we have for the boat. It is an all-in-one unit that washes, THEN dries. It takes only a small load, and things come out of it VERY wrinkled. This is going to be quite an adjustment for me! I have always said that laundry was my favorite chore, but this contraption may alter that view.

Speaking of dishes---I TRIED to shop at Goodwill, I really did. But when they wanted $2.99 each for plates, and I had to search to find four that matched, plus bowls and silverware---it would have cost $50-70 for a jumble of items. I went to the K-Mart down the street from there and got a box with a set of dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, and silverware for $22. AND it all matches/coordinates!

I spend the afternoon yesterday cleaning. The apartment has an odor that we don't particularly enjoy. The borrowed couch is contributing it's own unique aroma. I washed out cupboards with bleach, lit candles, and sprayed Febreeze. By evening, it seemed to smell better. The real test comes with that first whiff when you have been away, and then come back.

You have probably noticed that it has been awhile since Al has posted. He's been busy. At this moment he is hanging the mahogany panel for the storage unit in the aft cabin where the laundry will be. He has this week also removed the back sections of the rails, sanded down the back of the boat where he re-caulked last fall, and is reapplying Cetol.

Though we do now have an apartment, we still plan on spending the major part of the day at the boat. There is that list of over 34 projects still to do before actually becoming cruisers. We need to keep plugging away.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wet and Wild Weekend

What a handsome thing! Some people ask why we get up so early. Lots of reasons....the airplanes start flying around 6AM, we are kind of naturally 'early to bed, early to rise' people, but this time, it was High Tide--the only time we can get into or out of the slip this time of year. But if we DIDN'T get up so early, we would miss so many experiences like this.
The view from our 'front window'.

Sunrise behind Mt. Hood

Evidence of wildlife.....I didn't have the camera for the sturgeon we saw on the beach, half picked clean, but surprisingly NOT smelly!

Isn't Viking Star pretty? She had a bath and everything! And just like washing your car, it is sure to rain within the next 48 hours! I am thankful that the big bed had been installed in the aft cabin. The rain reminded us of a couple of leaks in the V-berth...

Curious cat Capitan from Paradox came to visit. We miss our kitty, but she would NOT be so at home on a boat.

Wow! The moonrise on Saturday night was phenomenal!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Out with the OLD, In with the NEW

So, several changes around here. Some small, some not as small. Have been working on the plumbing aspect of the aft sink and washer/dryer. Yesterday got the rough drain in; today completed the hot/cold water. Now just need to fit the counter, and can start installing the aft sink! Guess that is really just in with the new.

OK something out and in. Have been mentioning about the possibility of a job, well. Looks like I will be consulting with the EPA as they extend their ENERGY STAR program to Data Center servers and storage. So, out with Lazy Life, and In with Job. Just need to finish the contract and can get started. In the mean time, I have been busy learning about and setting up a small business in Washington. LLCs, DBA's, State and City Licences. Combined with insurance and other fees, it seems like I will be working the 1st Month just to be able to be allowed to work...

Now, some have wondered about how this will affect our cruising plans. A little, but not totally. This is a part-time job, and much of it will be able to be handled remotely. So, after a Hard Days Work working on my naps and the boat, I can pull out the Laptop, pop in the 3G/4G card, and do my 'job' while enjoying the sunset on the aft deck.

Sounds rough, but we will see how it goes :-)

Washington? Yes, Kristi and I are moving to Washington to establish residency. Oregon use to allow one to file exempt if they were out of the state and had no real property. Now they also require that you reside in a FIXED dwelling. So, if I am in Belize in a shack on the beach, I can file exempt. If on the other hand I am on Viking Star anchored 100 yards off that same beach, well, Oregon wants me to pay income taxes. Now, I am not against paying my fair share, but IF I am anchored in Belize, not sure why I need to send money to Oregon. Too bad, as I have lived here all my life. But what can one do . . .

More out and in: Been pulling out the nasty old Port holes and replacing them with nice new bronze ones. Today I pulled the forward ones, and will put in the nice ones soon. The After picture is from the Aft cabin.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's been a month.

It's been a month now since I moved onboard Viking Star.

The question I am asked most often is 'Are you driving each other crazy yet?' I think I can answer that one 'No'. Other than a few moments (a day or two?) that COULD be attributed to PMS, 'No'.

We have both enjoyed time away--I have played with grandchildren, Al has helped his kids with projects. But other than those 2 or 3 occasions, we have been together constantly. I HAVE noticed an increased incidence of reading each others thoughts, however. Even after knowing each other more than 10 years now, and over 7 years in marriage, I continue to be surprised by the extent that we seem to be 'on the same wavelength'. I think that's a nice place to be.

And, after a month, we are both agreed with other retirees who say 'I don't know HOW we found time for a job!' Boy, for the last week, we haven't even done a thing towards boat projects!

Yesterday we did a small 'warm-up' project, and today Al has already interupted me several times to come give opinions. He will be working on plumbing for the washer/dryer and sink for the aft cabin. I plan to 'swab the decks' to make Viking Star more presentable for the cruise we plan to attend this weekend. Even though the forecast is for rain this Labor Day weekend.

So, it's been a month. We have agreed that it has been no hardship at all to live aboard. We do seem to have all that we NEED, even with a garage full of things we need to either dispose of or move onto the boat.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

A nice ending....

We enjoyed a peaceful ending to the 2009 District 32 Cruise....The only exception being about the worst case of 'land sickness' I have experienced as of yet. After three weeks on the boat with time off the boat spent in other moving vehicles, it was QUITE disconcerting to sit at the breakfast table in a large room and feel the world rocking!

Most participants in the cruise left the docks at St. Helens before noon on Sunday. We stuck around until late Monday morning and then we mosied up the Multhomah Channel, stopping at Scappose to drop something off for a friend's boat. We moved on to an anchorage in the North Portland Harbor to wait for high tide. Water levels are quite low at this time of year, and we have been experiencing some difficulty getting into/out of our moorage. While waiting we had quite a few visitors!
Our duck friends swam over from shore, happily shared one of our bagels, and circled the boat several times, even stopping for a snooze in our shade. It was perfect weather for a bit of sunbathing, and this dragonfly agreed. He posed for several photos, but the first shot was the best.

Steve Hankins and his wife also came by in their boat. They had admired Viking Star from afar, and came for a closer look. They were a pleasant and friendly couple and we enjoyed passing an hour in their company.

The sunset was a perfect end to the day. I have taken several shots of our Beaverton Sail and Power burgee--here is the latest. Where have you taken YOUR burgee?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Troy's first 'overnight' on the boat

I was brave (some would argue the choice of this word) and invited Troy--the oldest grandchild-- to come along to our US Power Squadron District 32 Rendezvous. I got up early and drove to Hillsboro to pick him up and get back to the slip before the benefit of high tide was withdrawn. All was well, and we got away with no problems.

Since the back of the boat was 'too sunny' we spent most of the time at the bow, riding the waves. 'Papa' even joined us with his remote control to steer the boat, and Troy got a turn at the wheel. Troy was very interested in all the big ships we saw at anchor. We also observed, TWICE, an osprey pull fish from the river!

At the dock in St. Helens, entertaining a small boy became more challenging. The Leapster came out for a bit. Then we explored the playground where Troy became a spider, and took a spin in another boat. Later, people began setting up stands for the weekly market held near the park. They brought children! All took care of entertaining each other, and Troy had a blast.

The band 'Rambling Rose' played from 6-9 PM, but we left after the raffle drawing at 8. There was enough hot water for Troy to take a much needed shower, and to do the dishes. A snack, bedtime story and a flashlight, and we were ALL tucked into bed.

I awoke to the flash of Troy's light under our door and his complaint that the light wasn't working. A trip to the head, and words to point out that there was plenty of light coming in his window satisfied him, and he went directly back to sleep. I stumbled back to my bed and checked my phone, surprised to find it was already 5:15. I have been awake since. But Troy sleeps on. It is now after 9 AM.

Troy's father will be picking him up here this evening. Then Al and I will hope to relax and enjoy the rest of the cruise meeting with fellow Power Squadron members. Troy has had a hard time understanding that 'cruising' also includes being tied at the dock.