Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pulling wires in prep of relocating the batteries. Or -- doing things twice . . .

This photo shows the pile of wire we are about to pull in preparation for relocating the battery bank aft.  Someone once told me:  You get to do things twice on a boat;  and darn if they have not been right.  But as the boat is 1) More complete than it was a year ago, and 2) now our HOME - it is just much much more difficult to do things again.  To prep for pulling the wires we:

  1. Removed the Washer / Dryer
  2. Moved out the Freezer
  3. Moved out the Laundry Basket (ok, that was not that tuff)
  4. Cleaned out under Kristi’s shelf.

Then we will pull wires:

  • Two sets of 10/4 cables for the two inverters
  • Two 4 gauge wires for the dedicated bilge pump feed
  • Two sets of remote panel control wire (telephone cable!) for inverters
  • Two heavy Green Chassis bonding wires for the inverters
  • Wire set to serve as voltage sense point for main engine house alternator
  • Control wire for remote enable / disable of inverters (for when we have to manually ‘reset’ the Prosine 2KW inverter ….)
  • Sensor wires for Link10 battery monitor

In all, about 500+ feet of wire.  And this does not even count the heavy 373mcm I need to adjust for the 12v feeds to/from the inverters (once I physically relocate them )

And then after pulling all this wire I get to secure  them every 18”, that will involve all of the above prep work  PLUS pulling all the drawers out on the Starboard cabinets.

Boy it sure would have been easier to do this 2nd time around when I did it the 1st time.  But in the end it will give a better balanced boat, and I will be changing the wiring approach  to better match the needs to a full-time live aboard cruising boat vs. the times we were at the dock.  So, in the end will be worth it.

Kinda Sucky

Thump, THUMP!

What the....? Is there someone on the boat?  Oh, that's just a pillow next to must be Al out there.  What time is it? 4:53 AM.

CLANG!  Checking the stove?  Again?

And then the sound of the vacuum, and all the unkind questions are answered.  Yes, it IS rather cold in here.  And there are snow showers predicted for the next 24 hours.

The vacuum means he is cleaning out the stove in preparation for re-lighting, which is quite a process with our old diesel stove.  I also hear the day tank being pumped up.  We have been struggling a bit with the stove this year it seems.  It has gone out several times.  Is the screen plugged again?  Is there something wrong with the pump?  Is it not filling the tank?

Al says 'No'.  He simply thinks we did NOT pump the tank full when we THOUGHT we did.  Maybe we should just adopt the policy of filling the tank every day?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fun to Suck ratio..

We often get asked ‘So, how is it living on a Boat?’, and there is inevitably a pause on my part.  Some of this is waiting for Kristi to share first – in an attempt to get her true feelings on the topic, but part is also:  How does one really answer this question?

Do we share the ‘Great Sunset, Closer to Nature, closer to Each Other’ moments, or the ‘Rain, Rain, MORE RAIN, Fixing Toilets on Father’s Day, and of course those Being Closer To Each Other – CLOSER’ moments. (well, that last one is actually not that bad. )

Truth is, Living on a Boat is like almost everything else about a Boat:  It has compromises.  We can move around easily, and when not tied to a slip need to move around often.  We do get memorable views of nature, and am sooo much closer to this great world of ours.  We also get chills from the less then even heating in the boat.

I guess the bottom line is:  Life on a Boat has wonderful moments, ones that we could not imagine land based.   It also comes with more demands and compromise:  Things, Energy, etc..

And hence the Fun to Suck Ratio.  (btw:  I first noted this F2S ratio in a comment on Third Day’s Blog:   Idea in Life is to always keep the Fun to Suck ratio in the Positive Territory.  Guess this is true no matter where you live, but it does open a good way to approach the question ‘How do you like Living on a Boat’ :  the F2S ends are more extreme.  Yes, there are down sides; and do not make light of that when life on a Boat Sucks, it can really suck.  But in return, the upsides are even greater.

Honest answer:  Loving it.  Even if the Head Pump needs to be rebuilt again….

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ahh, Sunshine!

Bookmark this page so you can come back to remind yourself  when the dreary days return  that we DO occasionally have BEAUTIFUL days in winter in the Portland Metro area!

Sunrise at OMSI, downtown Portland

The service docks at Swan Island

A Navy 'Oiler' in the dry dock

Saint Johns, the prettiest bridge in Portland, IMHO

Mt St Helens with her cloud cap 

The Vancouver railroad bridge swing span and bridge tender's house flanked by Mt. Hood

My view approaching the railroad bridge, notice the Christmas Ships burgee

We left downtown Portland early this morning so that Al could get us through the Steel Bridge lift we need, and then begin his work call.  I took the helm at the Fremont Bridge and brought us back to the marina, where Al's call completed just in time for him to bring us into dock!  (Of course, I adjusted speed to insure that happened.  I have not brought Viking Star into close quarters yet--I have only practiced touch-and-go's, once.)

Now I am busy hauling laundry back and forth on the dock, and made a trip to acquire more quarters to run said laundry.  Also gassed the car and did some light provisioning.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Bluebell

We knew she was coming SOME time this week, so we weren't totally surprised, but we were very excited to see the Bluebell join is for Christmas Ships on the Willamette River last night.  Our crew cheered and waved as we passed, and theirs cheered and waved back.  This picture doesn't do justice.

We had the honor of sharing a dock with the Bluebell on our downriver trip on the Snake.  Check our previous post to see daytime and sunset pictures :
(Bluebell is the USCG ship that tends the buoys and markers on the Columbia, Willamette and Snake River. In this way, she has left her mark all up and down the rivers.)

The Christmas Magic is still at work.  There was a tornado in Aumsville OR yesterday as a cold front passed through.  Portland had black clouds and heavy rain.  But there were only perhaps occasional sprinkles as we paraded.  Here we are on a march downriver, where due to the Bluebell and Portland Spirit accompanying us, all bridges from the Hawthorne to the Steel were opened.  We stopped traffic all over town!  Here we are as we pass through the Burnside Bridge with the Convention Center towers in the background.

Timing was almost perfect----the rain began again as we docked for the evening.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Magic!

What a deluge!  In the hours before the first night of the regular season of Christmas Ships, on several occasions thinking 'Could it rain ANY harder?'  and the answer was proven 'YES!!!'  The weatherman on the 5 o'clock news told me that we had over 1.4 inches already for the day, and parts east were over 1.7 and he was waiting to see who would be the first to go over 2 inches.

It has been said that in an Oregon rain, it can rain all day and you don't get wet.  Which on many days can be true!  The fine mist that often falls here can run all day, and then the weatherman says something like 'Precipitation in Portland was 4 one-hundredths today'.

We must have warped to another universe lately.

But anyway, the Christmas Magic worked once more last night.  Just before parade time, the rain ceased, or at the least became very light.  We only had to run the wipers for a few swipes!

And for once, I got some tolerable shots of a few Christmas Ships.

Starting Point

Rock Steady

Silver Knot

Southern Belle

Tide Change

Tom and Jerry

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Morning!

A good night's rest, bit of snuggling this morning.  Coffee, Train on the Radio.  And this view!  What is great about it?

  1. Sun
  2. Door to aft cabin awaiting to be mounted!
  3. AND a mock up of the Hurricane Heater to begin placing it (Box on floor in lower left corner)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Ships 2010 Begins

Last Saturday we began the 2010 season of Christmas Ships.  Camas/Washougal is notorious for foul weather, and Viking Star can handle it pretty well, so we always make a point of being there for the kickoff.  The Dolphin Yacht Club feeds us well, and local businesses spoil us a bit with small gifts, but that is not why we do this. We love boating, and we love Christmas, and we love to share both with as many people as we can!

Here are a few pictures from the dock.  It was a beautiful clear day!  But WINDY (sustained 20+ mph, gusts to 39 mph), which added to the COLD!  Mt. Hood was beautiful above all the white caps.

We thought the dock was filling up well, but more and more and more boats came.  We had 18 begin the parade, which I think is a recent record for Camas!  Two had difficulties with displays and pulled out early, but otherwise, the weather did not seem as bad as feared out on the water.

The boat in front of us, Last Call, has a new display this year.  They have Christmas musicians playing on the sides, and a sign on back that says 'Christmas Rocks!'  but I took this photo for the cute 'window' display on their upper deck!

This is just a warm-up. The regular season begins this Thursday.  We are looking forward to another good run with the Christmas Ships.