Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Royal Canadian Navy

There was a show last night while we were having dinner......The Royal Canadian Navy's training ship, Orca, pulled up across the breakwater from us.  They were still here this morning, so I took a couple of photos, and Al got busy doing research.

This boat IS the Orca, first of 8 ships in the Orca class.  Here is the Wikipedia link, if you care to look at more information:

This morning's view to port

At 33 meters (108+ feet), the Orca makes Viking Star look quite small across the breakwater

This is what flags look like in 50-knot winds (57.539 mph)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Walkabout in the Snow

I just couldn't stand it.

I wanted to get out and walk around, take some pictures, and yes, reward myself with a latte and a sit at a local bookstore, if they were open.  They were not.  Only the 'major' stores braved the weather.  Perhaps with a larger employee base, they were more likely to have someone 'in town' come to work.

Here's some of what I saw:

In areas that are a little more sheltered, it appears to me that we have gotten 4-6 inches

The pond is choked with snow

Yeah, right.  Not today.


I did find some sun...

What are you looking at?!  Don't make me move!

My View of the World This Morning

I think I'll just stay tucked inside the boat today.  I have plenty of coffee and tea and the internet, so I will be okay.  Even if Friday Harbor loses power, which will cancel out that internet option, I have a shelf full of books, and we can be self-reliant for heat and lighting.  Plus there is a big pot of fresh chili Al made yesterday, simmering away on the Diesel Stove.

bliz·zard  (blzrd)
a. A violent snowstorm with winds blowing at a minimum speed of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour and visibility of less than one-quarter mile (400 meters) for three hours.
b. A very heavy snowstorm with high winds.

So far, we have not reached the requirements for the first definition of a blizzard, as the wind speed has not yet kicked up to forecast speeds, though it is getting closer at 30 at the moment.

To the port, into the harbor.  See how the snow is drifting around the barrier?

Looking forward

To the starboard, towards the Port office.

To the aft.  

26 degrees

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We had been told to watch for this flag.

Friday Harbor has been having snow showers off and on since Sunday morning.  It has been beautiful.  Mostly there has not been much accumulation, and it has remained slushy, thawing off in the afternoon sunshine.  However, as soon as that sun dips below the hills, the wetness freezes once again and becomes treacherous.

We had heard that the Port listens to the forecast for Victoria BC, and when that forecast calls for an extended time of below 28 degrees F, they would raise the flag that indicates water would be shut off on the docks.  Today the flag went up!

We had filled our tank yesterday, even though we still were half full, not wanting to get surprised.  And when Al first turned the valve, water only trickled to start with -- it was partially frozen already.  So we are glad we topped off when we did!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's a Small World!

Last summer we introduced ourselves to Hira by knocking on her boat Shatoosh and announcing 'We follow your blog!"  She invited us aboard and she told us stories of her FBR's as she calls them -- Faceless Blog Readers.

We suspect that we have a few too -- people who check out our blog, occasionally OR regularly, without going through the rigamarole of signing up to be an official Follower.

Well, today, we had OUR first knock on the boat with the words, 'I found your blog!'  It was Amy and her dog out for a morning walk.  She had seen our boat name, and looked us up.  I turned to Al and said 'I'll have to let Hira know we have our first FBR's!'  Amy didn't recognize when I said that we followed 'The Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina'.  http://shatooshandpashmina.blogspot.com

She and her husband had brought their  boat over last night to see 'The Muppets', held over at the Palace Movie Theater here in Friday Harbor.  They live on Orcas Island, on the other side of Mt. Constitution.  Turns out, their boat is an Albin, just the kind that Hira skippers.  She told us that they meet at Roche Harbor the second weekend in September, and we said that Shatoosh had been there last summer!  She asked again what Hira's name was, and then said 'Well, I know Hira!'

This reminded me of last Sunday at church.  I had talked to Samantha one other time, when she told of a Compassionate Friends memorial that was taking place that evening.  So, last Sunday, she stopped Al and I as we were preparing to leave, and we are glad that she did!  She is a lady sailor! And Al began picking her brain for her favorite places to go.

And she said ' I should put you in touch with a friend of mine who is off cruising now, He and his wife used to live in Silverton OR'  and I laughed and asked 'Is that the Yoders Afloat?!'  http://yodersafloat.blogspot.com .  Al has been following their blog, officially, for quite a while now, and I read it on occasion also.  Another 'small world' experience.  Samantha is long time friends with Steve, I think from high school, and gets his blog sent directly by email.

So Steve and Lulu, here is a picture of me, Kristi from Viking Star, with your friend Samantha at Friday Harbor!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Things that . . . Work: HARBOR FREIGHT multi-tool

"Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool"
This one is a shocker for me.  I, like many, have wandered the halls of Harbor Freight lots of times.  When I do purchase a tool I do it with the idea of using it for one job, cause it likely will not last beyond that.  Well, when finishing up the Devil Seams last spring I was having a Devil of a time (ha!) getting into some of the tight places with the combination of my reefing knife and hand chisels.   On a lark I had noticed that Harbor Freight had their Multi-tool on a Super Coupon for $19.99 and decided to give it a try.


Now I know Fein has had these out for several years, and I have drooled over them many a time (mostly when I was reefing out the caulking on the deck).  But that tool, though I am sure it is a Fine Fein, was just too much $$$ for me to justify.

Well, $19.99 – OK.  Give it a try.  And does it work.  I have no way of comparing it to the Fein, but can say – for those jobs where the high speed osculating blade works, this is magic.  Those devil seams used to take me 30-45 mins / segment to get them nice and clean for re-caulking.  About 5 with the multi-tool.  Just today I needed to enlarge a clearance hold around a pipe -- would have been hard to get a chisel in there.  Multi-tool took 5 minutes.

This is a Harbor Freight tool.  I still get a chuckle out of the ‘spare brushes’ that came with it, and it does vibrate like the Worlds no end – glad most tasks only take 5 minutes.  But for those times when it is needed, it works.  Who would have guessed.

And all for $19.99!

Meet Juanda

Just before Christmas we visited the Mystical Mermaid here in Friday Harbor.  The young couple that owns and operates the store are very friendly, and when we stopped in, we realized we had actually become acquainted with Rebekah the day before at the grocery store!

Anyway, we were there for their grand re-opening, after they moved their shop into a new location on String Street.  They have a carved wood mermaid out front, and they were soliciting ideas to name her.  I asked Al what he thought he name was, and he answered immediately 'Wanda!'  I asked why, and he said, because of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Ha ha!  I thought it should be spelled Wanda, but Al and Brian and Rebekah all thought Juanda was the way to go.  Al won a $50 gift certificate for his idea!

The other day we finally had the camera along on a nice day, so we stopped for a photo or two.


First, a picture to make you gasp at the beauty.....

What a gorgeous sunset the other night!  And I was out without my camera!  As I rushed down the dock and back to the boat, the color was fading fast, but I grabbed the camera and headed back towards the port office.  I turned around to start shooting and -- what fortune! -- Chetzemoka was coming in to harbor.

Go ahead.  Double click and take a closer look!

Have you checked the Port of Friday Harbor webcam lately?  This photo is very nearly the shot you get when you do........http://www.portfridayharbor.org/marina-webcam/

It's views like this, and the friendly people in town, at the church, in Power Squadron and yacht clubs that make this town so lovely.  This morning I was sharing with Al that maybe it WAS time to be moving on.  I told him that even though last summer I was so excited to go to places we had never seen before, the longer we stay here, the more I like it!  When you are in such a beautiful, nice place, why would you EVER want to go anywhere else?

And Al admitted -- GASP!!! -- that he had been having the same thought!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

There's a New Kid in Town!

Last Saturday morning, when the Washington State Ferry Sealth pulled away from the dock in Friday Harbor, she revealed another ferry at the secondary dock that we didn't recognize!


She is one of the newest ferries in the Washington State Ferry system, launched just over a year ago.  Based on a design from back east but built locally, her class has earned the nick-name Eileen (I-Lean) due to the unusual non-symmetrical design resulting in a built in 1 degree list.  Loading takes care of that.

We would not normally see this ferry here in the islands, but last Friday Yakima had some unexpected issues and was suddenly taken out of service.  Evergreen State (one of the oldest ferries in the service) was shifted over to cover for Yakima and  Chetzemoka was moved up to take Evergreen's inter-island route.

For those who are interested, here is the 'official' Washington State site: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/vesselwatch/VesselDetail.aspx?vessel_id=65
And here is a great site with even more info!: http://www.evergreenfleet.com/Chetzemoka--2010.html

We have been anxious to take a ride on Chetzemoka, and on Tuesday, Al's regular work phone call closed up just in time for us to throw some snacks in the backpack and hotfoot it to the ferry dock.  The attendants asked as we boarded "Orcas?  Shaw? Lopez?"  and we said "Inter-island!  We want to take a tour!"  Their reply -- "You aren't the only ones!"

Actual bike racks, instead of a rope at the wall.

The obligatory puzzle.  Though Al does not like the smaller tables!

We have a literal front row seat as we pull out of Friday Harbor.

Turtleback Mountain on Orcas Island is peeking over Shaw.

Pulling up to Orcas Landing

Into the sun at Shaw!

Orcas on the left, Mt. Baker through Obstruction Pass, Eagle Cliff on Cypress Island is behind Obstruction Island, Blakely Island on the right.

Ferry Landing at Lopez Island

It's not too windy here, at the moment...

Yes, we knew it would be the sunset cruise.  Mmmmm, romantic.

Back home to Friday Harbor.

Let the Beatings Begin!

OK, This one is a serious note - so pay attention.

Being rather isolated, even when near towns, boats need to be more concerned about safety than say an automobile or house.  It is hard to just pull over to the side of the road when something goes wrong, and even harder to just step outside if needed.  Take for example one of the most feared events to a mariner:  Fire.

Rattle, Rattle, Rattle?
Most of us carry the required number of Fire Extinguishers, and many carry far more (we have 7 aboard Viking Star).  Perhaps the most common are the Dry Chemical fire extinguishers, and what I want to talk about is a much needed maintenance for them.

At issue is  that over time the dry powder begins to pack down inside the extinguishers.  Think back to flour, and how it can pack down into a denser mass.  Same thing happens with the powder inside these Dry Chemical fire extinguishers.  Assisted by the motion and vibration aboard modern boats - over time this packing can be very effective.  To the point where, when called upon for duty, the powder will be so packed in it will not come out.

I remember several years ago there were a series of moorage fires in the Seattle area.  One thing that caught my eye was during one fire 7 portable extinguishers were used, and only 2 of them worked!  Now, I do not know for sure if the other 5 failed because of packing, but can guess it is a likely cause.  Just because the pressure gauge reads Good does not mean your inspection is complete.  You need to take them out of their mounts and shake them.  Shake them good.  If the powder is free you will feel and/or hear it.

Whack, Whack, Whack!
If however you can not hear and feel the powder moving inside, it is time for a good beating!  Often you can just use your hand (assuming things are not too well packed in), but I like to use a rubber dead-blow hammer (I got mine at Harbor Freight for about $3).  Works great and does not risk denting the extinguisher (or my hand).

A few whacks will get things loosened up in no time.

Then give them a visual:  no parts missing or broken, hose still in good shape, no rust, and that pressure gauge is in the Green/Good area.

One other hint, if you can mount these horizontally (as opposed to hanging vertically from a wall) that will greatly reduce the chance of packing the powder, but not totally eliminate it.

I find I need to do this about twice a year to keep things moving freely.

So here's to yet another item one hopes to never use, but if we need to, we want it to actually work. . . .

Refinements to the Water Maker

As mentioned in the prior posts, we have had issues with the Heat Exchanger.  Not in its operation, but in its construction of the mounting flange.  It is rather soft material, and very thin; causing distortion and making it difficult to keep it sealed correctly.  In this closeup photo of the flange  you can see what I am talking about..

Addressing this,I soldered on some brass stiffening trips as you can see here.  I used 1" x 3/32" stock, purchased from a local hardware store.  If you can find thicker (ala 1/8") it would work fine, but need to have it 1" wide.

Yesterday I bolted it back on, and it seems to be working well - at least the flanges no longer distort!

While I was at it, I also took the opportunity to re-route some of the plumbing as shown in this update diagram.  The difference is we now run the sea water through the heat exchanger before sending it to the RO membranes.  The reason for this is Revise Osmosis membranes are temperature sensitive.  When they say 40GPH, it is when using a water temp of 77oF.  Up here we see water in the 40's to the low 50's.  It might get up to the mid 50's during the summer,but never to the 70-80o range.  By pre-heating the water I am expecting to get more produced out of the membranes while still keeping them within their design specification.  Once we get underway next month and start using the Water Maker again I will report on its performance.

Click to make larger

Update:  See some more thoughts on this pre-heating idea here:

And one last point:  Those motor mounts I used, the ones I just plucked from someone else's design that I thought were a bit on the small side.  Well, yup.  While inspecting things I noted one has collapsed.  Does not impact anything other then a bit more noise put into the hull.  But those are obviously one part that is not right.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yup, it is time.

Remember that old joke about the Rich Guy who would purchase a new car every time his ash tray filled up?  Well, perhaps not in exactly the same vane, we are none-the-less getting some hints about our stay here in Friday Harbor..

I mentioned before about Moss on the Deck.  Here is the proof.  And I found some lines showing a bit green to them as well!

Not to mention what happens to the Inside of a boat when it sits too long at dock. . . .

-- The Look of Shame --

Finally, here is a photo of what Kristi has been calling our 'Front lawn'.

Well, take a look here!  Yup, looks to me like the Lawn might need mowing soon - so it is DEFINITELY  time to get underway!

We talked to the Port office Friday and told them we were looking to head out Feb 3rd.  This will allow us to attend a Feb 2nd Friday Harbor Power Squadron event where Terry and Linda Lush will be presenting on their travels to Broughton Islands.  Then as long as there is not a weather event we will leave the next day.

But before we get away there are a few projects which need to be completed.  First off we need to tidy the boat some.  As the photo above shows, we picked up a few (5 actually) large boxes of stuff during our last trip back to Portland.  Need to find a home for those.  Need to get the Generator / Water maker back on line, service the main engine, and hook up the aft cabin radiators into the hydronic heating system.  Busy Busy Busy!

Kristi and I have enjoyed our stay here at Friday Harbor, and very much enjoyed the hospitality offered by all we have met.  After another season of cruising there is a good chance we will winter over here again next November.  Providing we do not end up in Victoria -- got a lead on great winter rates there as well!

Things that . . . Work: Paragon JR Water pump

This is a follow up to a prior post concerning house Water Pumps:


Pump and pressure tank - does take up more room then before.
As a summary, we had gone through two of the new 'smart' Jabsco variable speed water pumps - they just would fail after a short time on a Live Aboard vessel. It was too bad as the concept is brilliant, and worked very well (varying pump speed adjusting for demand). Maybe the newer designs work better, but I suspect much of what one finds in the 'marine' catalog these days recognize the fact that most recreational boats see perhaps 20 days of use a year - far different then what a full time boat will.

We installed this Paragon JR pump almost a year ago and I feel comfortable to declare it a Things that Work! With one modification - - -
Need to change out pressure switch.
The stock pressure switch is a weak point, causing way too much variation between the on/off cycles. Researching on the Internet called out this is a known issue. The solution is to go to a local supplier and purchase a standard water pump pressure switch - replacing the stock one. After doing this on Viking Star I have to say we can tell when the pump cycles (differences in pressure), but it is hardly noticeable and absolutely not an problem.

Couple of hints: make sure you get a switch that allows you to adjust the cut in AND cut out set points - open it up and look for two adjustment screws. What you need to do it set it for a rather small range (we have ours set for 25 and 30lbs) to get a seamless flow. And DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE A GAS POWERED BOAT - as domestic switches are not spark sealed. (the standard switch is..)

After using this pump for several months we are very happy with it. It flows well, is reliable, surprisingly much quieter, AND it is rebuildable! Wow.

Their downside: they cost a LOT. more then a Boat Buck. But they also show up in Surplus shops, we picked ours up for about what a new Jabsco variable speed pump would cost.

An additional followup - our backup house pump is now an old PAR style pump. The same pump I use to pickle the water maker!  And it also is one that can be taken apart, cleaned and put back together. AND that parts are available to allow for rebuilding if needed.