Saturday, June 30, 2007


It's been about a week now since Kris burned himself. Thankfully things were not nearly as bad as they could be. The only area that continues to concern his doctors is the top of his left foot, from the toes back a couple of inches. They are hopeful that there will not have to be skin grafts.

He has been working pretty hard doing physical therapy. Lots of walking and lots of manipulation of his foot, ancle and toes. The idea is to retain range of motion as the skin heals.

He has been pretty positive about things so far, believing that maybe his higher power has put him through this for a reason. He has been getting very welcome visits from Brenda, Tim, Scott and Dawnell, all members of the bible study group that he attended along with Judy and myself. They are wonderful people!

On the boat front, I have started working on the anchoring system. I was going to focus next on some of the issues I felt were important to sailing, such as lazy jacks and various leads for our control lines, but after having had the misfortune of supplying one of the corner anchors for our last raft up (seventeen boats) I feel that the most important next area is the windless, chain and anchor.

I removed the 200' of 3/8" BBB chain that the boat came with, and took it down to a chain supply house to have an additional 100' added. I am in a quandry about this 200' however, as the galvanizing is pretty much gone on the outboard 100'. There is a very light layer of rust, but no significant loss of metal. I am inclined to keep this but I need to see if I can identify where is was manufactured. Most domestic chains (and maybe foreign chain) have identifying stamps imbedded in the links every so often. There are no such marks to be found on mine, leading me to believe that it might be some cheap crap that lacks the strength of the good stuff. I am going to contact Bob Perry, the boats designer, and see if he has any idea where the boatbuilder might have got it from.

If I can't get a good read on this, then I think I will just buy 300' of new Acco chain and rest assured, while anchored in a gale, that our chain will not fail us. This will not be cheap....$2.84 per foot plus tax.

Also will be rebuilding the Muir Cougar windless and getting an anchor to replace the 45 lb CQR that we now have.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Went to our quarterly dock captains meeting Tuesday night with Tom. Good meeting....the Port is really trying to be a customer driven organization. Quite remarkable for a government organization. One big item that they let out is that we will be issued key chain fobs for the new card readers that will be unlocking the dock gates, and better yet, the fobs will be universal. We will be able to get on all of the marina docks with the fobs. This is good for the live aboard community, as we now all possess perloined universal keys that give us the same access. Without the universal access the live aboard community would be severely challenged visiting each other.

That was not the scary thing though. When Tom and I got back to the car, I found a note from Judy on the seat. Kris, our youngest son, had just been taken to the Harborview Hospital burn center, and that Judy was on her way down. This was the extent of the note.

Two years ago I lost my older sister to burns. She was in a house fire, and had been severely burned. I rushed down to Portland to her, and was there as family started arriving from all over the country. The extent of her burns made recovery an impossibility, even though she could be maintained using a ventilator. They recommended that we stop all heroic efforts and let her go, which her childern decided to do. About an hour after support was removed, she passed away.

All this was flashing back on me as I rushed down to the hospital. When I got there I was met by a social worker who took me back to Kris's room. Much to my relief he was awake and talkative, but in great pain from some very severe localized burns on his arm, hand, leg and foot.

Now, several days later, it looks like the only really serious area is his foot. The arm, hand and leg look like they will not need skin grafts, but we don't know about his foot. That will depend on how it responds to treatment the next several days. We are all praying.

One complication, besides his diabetes, which reduces healing of foot injuries, is his drug history. He has grown a tolerance to opiates, so his pain management is very complicated. To little and he is suffering, a little bit more and he may fall into a coma and lose the ability to breath. The sweet spot between the two is pretty small.

I would say too bad, face your consequences, but too much pain also inhibits healing. Besides he is trying so hard, working every day and doing so much right in his recovery that this attitude is just not appropriate.

I feel so bad for him.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sat. Night

And here I am at work...At least I got a bellyful of wine. Was it a good wine? I can't remember, but maybe the name gives a clue: OOPS. Yeah, a wine from Chili named OOPS. Marketed by some dude in Peru, or maybe it was Bolivia. Can't remember.

Left for work about an hour early. Takes that long to get here when you're doing the speed limit.

You know, I could make a career as a cop busting people doing the speed limit. The only folks driving the speed limit on Saturday night are drunks. Duh!!! Another give away: working taillights. Drive the speed limit with both taillight working, on a Saturday night: in my book you're a drunk felon with warrents. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

So here I am, having run the gauntlet of dumb cops, drinking decaf tea with nothing on my mind but sleep.

Oh, the boat.....

Decided to forget the inverter and all things electric, unless directly related to getting off the frigging dock. Have started to install a deckwash pump. Deckwash is a misnomer, as it will be used primarily to wash our anchor chain as we bring it back aboard. Our anchor locker, really a chain locker, is seperated from our berth by a mere 5/8" bulkhead. The bulkhead has doors, and the doors have louvers. In essence we sleep with our chain..... and I don't want to sleep with a chainful of smelly Puget Sound bottom mud.

So deck washfirst. Lazy Jacks second. And pictures to follow, when I remember to bring my camera.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Boat Projects cont.

Ok, back to work.

Got a new project to add to the list.....ME!!!

We took a couple of hikes while in the San Juans and I thought I was gonna die. It was all I could do to drag my ass up the hill from the dock. My heart was pounding, my head was spinning and my legs were spaghetti. And this was only the first hill of many on the four mile walk to Turn Point Light House. I did make it. The only thing that kept me going was day- dreaming about the nice beer chilling out on the boat, awaiting my thirsty return.

We did this hike a few years ago when I was in shape, and I don't recall that it was much of a problem. I remembered it as a nice stroll. This time, however, it was a wake up call: How much sense does it make to slave away trying to have a fit boat and end up with a body that is not. A person does need to be in good condition to safely sail, I am my new first priority.

Step one was to get my bike out of storage. Two, get a tonneau cover installed on my truck to hide if from parking lot thieves and shelter it from salt air coming off the Sound. Three, find my helmet, shoes etc. stored away in some nondescript box in one of our multiple storage areas. Four, buy a new tire pump, replacing one that was stolen from bike storage in our condo. Five, (tomorrow's job) pump up the tires, climb on and ride.

Will follow the program I used last time I was starting up from scratch. Ride six days a week, starting at six miles and gradually work up from there. Last time I was doing about three hundred miles a week before my knee gave out. Actually, it wasn't really my knee that gave out it was my will. I only used the knee as an excuse. I was training for a ride across Washington in one day(286 miles), but didn't think I could make it because I lost a week vacationing in the BVI's, and a week riding the Harley from Fort Meyers, Fla. to Seattle. Lost time and lost motivation. So I put the bike away....... for about three years.

And turned into a tub of lard.

This time I am not going to overdo. I'll limit my mileage to something reasonable--50 to 60 miles per week and do the weight circuit at the gym that I've been a member at for the last four months. Will be nice to get back. Havn't been there since they gave Judy and me the new member tour. Thank God Judy goes or it would all be money down the drain.

And then there is the boat.

Started installing wire for the inverter today, but I'll save that story for next time. It'll be a good look at how I muddle through things. There is absolutely nothing elegant about the way I go about my projects, I just try not to give up until I have made all the mistakes it is possible to make...... I just sort of hang in there until I am all dumbed out.

I'll try to remember to bring my camera down here the next time I do this. All text is no fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tripping in the San Juans

We finally broke free from the dock. Our boat has not moved since we brought it down from La Conner last December.

It was a great relief to have the engine and electrical system work as well as they did.

I rebuilt the entire raw water cooling system on the Volvo diesel. Replumbed the water lines, rebuilt the raw water pump, relocated the syphon break, removed and acid cleaned the fresh water and oil heat exchangers, renewed the exchanger zincs, replumbed the transmission cooling lines, changed the belts, filters, oil in the tranny and engine, and replaced the coolant. There must be twenty new O-rings that could have leaked but didn't. The thing ran perfect, which is very unusual for one of my projects, since I normally only get thing back together approximately right the first time.

I also ripped out and replaced a ton of old non tinned 2/0 wire, junked three 165 lb. 8D gel batteries, replacing them with six Trojan T105 golf cart batteries and a dedicated engine start battery, installed fuse blocks and fuses on all the major circuits, installed new battery switches, and rewired the voltage regulators on our charger and alternator. Everything worked great. I did feel a little less apprehensive about the electrical work since I had to have everything kind of working every evening by the time Judy got home. She would not have appreciated going without power for lights, the stove, American Idol, etc.

The beauty of the Islands still amaze me. Each one is a jewel in its own way, and when you want to have a little dose of urbanity, Friday Harbor is real close with its fabulous brew pub at the foot of main street.