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.