Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring: part 2

April was a busy month aboard, upgrading some systems and and repairing a few others. Rhapsody now sports a new Espar heater in the salon, one new head (toilet) and another improved, and three nicely refinished/reworked wood panels in the pilothouse. The captain also worked through his lengthy checklist of things that keep the boat and two dinghies running. This involves more fluids, hoses, clamps, tools, activities, parts and pieces than I care to list.

I took inventory of ship’s stores and built a detailed shopping list of items (1) we’ll need between Campbell River and Ketchikan and (2) larger quantities of heavy or specialty items. For example, mango chutney wasn’t available in Petersburg when I needed some last year, but lingonberry jam was ONLY available in Petersburg. And who wants to lug 10 pounds of flour and coffee plus other groceries in a backpack during a rainstorm on the half-mile trek from the grocery in Ketchikan back to the moorage in Bar Harbor? Not me!

A five-page Excel spreadsheet (the purchase list) kept me busy shopping and then there was the fun of storing everything and recording its location. We’re stuffed to the gunwales and ready to cruise.

Sociability is also part of spring outfitting and we love reconnecting with CR friends and chatting with other cruising boaters. Thanks for your hospitality and it will be our turn to host in September.

Spring: part 1

March haulout
“Spring” - now there’s a word to evoke thoughts of sunshine, warming weather, gentle showers, budding trees and blooming bulbs. Well, not so much in 2009.
 First we postponed our drive north to the boat due to inclement weather on Vancouver Island. Inclement? Hey, I’m talking snow and temperatures too cold to apply bottom paint. The following week we left home before dawn and traveled in sunshine until we drove off the ferry in Nanaimo right into a blizzard (well, it felt like a blizzard ). We joined the line of vehicles following two snowplows up island most of the way to Campbell River on a slow and safe journey. Did I mention slow?

The cold temps delayed haulout for a few more days - still too cold for bottom paint. Then the winds picked up and it was too windy for Ocean Pacific to launch the boats already in the yard, so there was no room and too much wind to haul new ones out of the water. Where is this Spring gentle, warmer weather???

When haulout morning finally did arrive we found both the wooden slats on the dock and our fiberglas decks were frosty and skating-rink slippery. Oh boy, this made line and bumper handling a challenge, but the lift itself was routinely smooth. We now sport fresh bottom paint, new zincs and OOPS! a smoothed blade on the port propeller. Hmmm, it must have been one of those mysterious “thumps” we heard with no visible evidence of logs or drift. Shhhh, don't tell.

Our haulout was routine but there was some boatyard excitement. Four tugs were tied up to the Ocean Pacific pier the morning we arrived. One of the tugs had sunk in deep water near Sayward, been raised using its own tow cable, and was waiting for haulout to finish pumping out water and any remaining diesel in its tanks.  Also OP staffer Jenna slipped on the frosty dock and slid into the water between the finger pier and the inboard tug. BRRRRR! Two OP men were aboard an outboard tug and rushed at her calls to pull her out of the 47 degree water. An EMT unit arrived to gurney her up the ramp and whisk her away to the hospital. (Jenna is fine but will be sporting a full-leg brace for ages to let torn cartilage heal)

The OP crew worked hard to get us back in the water on day 3, though I’m sure it was my daily cookies and muffins that provided extra encouragment. Luckily the winds held off until we were back at the marina in our usual spot. Now it's time to provision and run through the checklist of projects and functional tests.