Monday, June 28, 2010

McMicken Island Cruise

One more time I had to dive my boat and good I did. The "barneys" were over 2" thick on the skeg and lower rudder, and about an 1" thick on the prop. The last time I scraped was just 2 days shy of 3 months ago and the growth of barnacles was incredible. But once again, I acted as home wrecker and disposed of thousands of the little bastards. Once that was done I relaxed with a good shot of Canadian whiskey. I was happy I cleaned this underwater community off of the MV Independence otherwise doubt I would have been able to have any speed or steerage.

On Saturday morning the skies were cloudy with a light breeze out of the SW. I untied the MV Independence from its moorings at 10:30 AM and headed N out of Olympia Harbor towards McMicken Is. There was a -2.5 minus tide and the max ebb in Dana Passage was about 9:30 AM, and slack about 12:20 PM. By leaving at 10:30 I could still take advantage of a good ebb out of Budd Inlet and Dana Passage and into Case Inlet. I moved slowly out of the Olympia Harbor to ensure the engine heated up properly. This was my first cruise since last August so I was taking it slow. By the Olympia #3 Day Marker every thing was working perfectly, so brought her up to cruise speed at 1,800 RPM and 6.8 knots. As the Independence worked its way up Budd Inlet and Dana Passage the speed increased at one time reaching 8.5 knots. However, once we reached Pt. Wilson on Hartstine Island the speed had dropped to 6.5 knots. Low tide at McMicken was not until about 1300 so I was still fighting a bit of an ebb coming down Case Inlet. I reached my anchorage just inside McMicken Island at 12:45 PM. I dropped the hook in 30' of water at near low tide.
The SV Mary O'Farrell was still about 45 minutes away. I dropped the dinghy, tied off fenders on the starboard side in preparation for rafting, and opened a cool beer. Just as I finished the beer, the Mary O'Farrell came 'round the N end of the island. We secured the SV Mary O'Farrell and then went off to the beach - the dog had to pee. The day turned out to be absolutely gorgeous - not a cloud in the sky and warm.

After our beach excursion we came back opened a few beers, had some chips and salsa, and started to slowly prepare for dinner. I had decided to make a Carribean jerk chicken for dinner. I had switched from beer to a nice smooth Scotch. I cooked the chicken low and slow and it came out oh so good and not too spicey. Not too long after dinner we all called it a day. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out.

Woke to cloudy threatening skies and a light SW breeze. I took the dog to the beach and then came back to make breakfast - a nice traditional corned beef hash. Oh my it was oh so good. It was quickly devoured by all. Shortly thereafter the SV Mary O'Farrell departed an headed back to port. The Independence crew decided to clean up a bit, sip some more coffee, read a bit, and then pull up anchor at 13:00. We took advantage of the flood current all the way back to Olympia. Just by Olympia Shoal we saw the tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington. We pulled in to our slip at 15:15. A good simple cruise.

Here's some statistics 36.7 nm, average speed was 7.6 knots, and total time was 4:31.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

That's the charm of it...

My weekends lately have been filled with getting the boat ready for the summer cruise (more on that later in another blog post). It's rumored that BOAT stands for "Bring On Another Thousand." Well that thousand can be dollars or hours. Last fall I created a list of 27 to-do items. I am now down to the final 6 items. Some of these items were routine, and others were not. Here's a sample of a few of the maintenance items that were on my list. Change oil (engine & injector), change fuel filters, replace raw water impeller, clean foreward head, clean flying bridge, paint foc'sle deck, paint aft cabin deck, remove stains on bow, grease radar, new bilge pump switch, clean bilge, paint mast, patch & paint spots on cabin, touch up teak trim, clean inside of main cabin, wash windows, vacuum all cabins, replace starter battery, replace transmission oil cooler, clean main heat exchanger, replace all zincs, check all hoses, replace alternator belt, and the list goes on. Some of the above items are cosmetic and others are required for trouble free & safe cruising.

As I check off items on my maintenance & work list, I routinely find more items to work on and the list then grows. To mitigate that I keep the galley refrigerator stocked with beer and the larder stocked with snacks. Another mitigation is to keep my work and attitude in check. Sure, I put in the hours on my projects, but I also make sure I take beer breaks and time to recognize what I have accomplished. For example, the foc'sle deck looks great. I think I'll sit on my freshly painted deck, lean up against the cabin, relax and enjoy a beer. I think about the future anchorages this summer - some new and others I revisit like old friends. Then my chores are not so much drudgery, but part of the enjoyment of boating.

I also learn along the way. For instance... install the transmission oil cooler hoses first before connecting the raw water hoses. That way you can spin the oil cooler to tighten the first hose on. Or, coat the impeller with dish soap and use a hose clamp around it to easily insert it. It seems this year that I have learned so many new tricks that made some of my chores much easier. Maybe, just maybe, I'm just another year older and wiser. Finally in all my thousand hours of work or dollars, I am reminded of Ratty's words in Kenneth Grahame's classic, "The Wind in the Willows"..."There is nothing- absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it." Whether you celebrate Ratty's notion sailing, motoring, rowing, paddling, boat maintenance, or... whatever... "it doesn't matter... that's the charm of it".