What's in her name?

What's in her name (Salish Aire)?

from her new home the Salish Sea

Aire as in a melody of song.

Salish + Aire = The melody of the Salish Sea.

Salish Sea:
In the late 1700's Captain George Vancouver wandered around the waters of what are now known as British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA. He did the usual 1700's explorer thing and put names he chose on everything he saw. The names stuck and are recognized and used to this day.

New lines were added to Captain Vancouver's charts in 1872 (after a near war with Great Britain over a pig) which made waters on one side of the line Canadian and those on the other side of the line American.

It wasn't until 1988 (officiated in 2009) that someone finally realized that fish and various critters, (to say nothing of the water itself) were never involved in the boundary treaties and really ignored them completely. (This is best illustrated by the problems that Homeland Security has with Canadian Canada Geese and American Canadian Geese - it seems they refuse to carry passports and have been known to poop on the head of any border patrol person who tries to challenge their right to cross the border when and where they choose!) In reality the waters from Olympia to the well up the East side of Vancouver Island are pretty much one ecosystem.

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington state along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Salish Sea is named in honor of the earliest recorded peoples who plied her waters and learned to live in harmony with her.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Live Aboards

A Yahoo group we subscribe to recently had a discussion about blogs and what interest people.  That got me to thinking about who would be likely to read our blog and why we go to the trouble.  Since we are working through the challenges of being new to living aboard, and get periodic questions about how / why we made the choices we did, it seems reasonable to focus on us as new live aboard owners.

So backing up a bit:
  • Salish Aire is a 1996 Nordhavn 46 ft boat purchased in Florida to be moved to the Pacific North West (PNW) (Washington State, USA). 
  • We chose to move her in a freighter to get her to her new home.
  • Since getting her in her home berth we have focused on getting her ready for a PNW winter and making sure we understand her electronic systems and that they function the way we like
With those thoughts in mind, I will try to add some sidebar articles on what we have learned along the way.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Finally a "mini vacation" on Salish Aire

One advantage of living in the Pacific NW (PNW) is that you don't have to travel far to reach some of the world's premium cruising grounds.  Clarice and I managed to get 5 days off to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary on September 11th. We broke loose of our  home moorings on Tuesday when we both were done with work and headed north spending our first night anchored in (appropriately) Honeymoon Bay on Whidbey Island under a gorgeous full moon.  The next day we reached the San Juan Islands and put in for the night in Friday Harbor.  The initial location they suggested we tie up turned out to be too much for my current skills as the boat kept sailing towards other boats in the strong wind.  The Harbor Master offered us a different choice where the wind was on-dock and we had much more maneuvering room.  We were both concentrating so hard on landing safely that it wasn't until we were tied up that we realized our boat (hull #50) was directly across from hull #56.  This gave us a chance to ask lots of questions about how to deploy our paravanes (see below).  Clarice needed to get some work done for her company the next day and we had a good internet connection in Friday Harbor so she worked from the pilot house while I had uninterrupted time to work on a number of boat projects including (maybe) figuring out the last problem with the diesel furnace, checking one of the battery banks, securing a vent tube that had come loose, etc..  When Clarice finished her day we headed up to Stuart Island and decided to try our second main anchor (a Fortress brand Danforth style), we quickly learned it doesn't like kelp covered bottoms (although it worked great the next day in a mud bottom). Our primary anchor did set perfectly and we had another beautiful night with clear skies.   Last night we spent in Echo Bay on Sucia Island and then came down the Swinomish Channel today (with a 2 knot following current!)  Tonight we plan to put into Oak Harbor.

BTW: We now have AIS (see below) transmit capability so folks can watch our position on internet programs such as marinetraffic.com .  We can be found under the boat's name (currently the only Salish Aire documented in the USA) or our MMSI number 367631790 .

Some questions that come up from our landlubber friends:
  • Doesn't the boat rock a lot?
    • The boat is equipped with two stabilizing systems (most boats have one but a previous owner wanted the security of a back-up system).  Our primary system uses hydraulic fins under the water that are controlled by a gyro computer. It is simple to use with just the flick of a switch to turn it on.  Our secondary system uses tall poles that hang out both sides of the boat which support underwater paravanes ("fish") that resist roll buy pulling down as they "fly" through the water.  The best way I've heard to describe it is that when we deploy the fish we go from being a 15 ft wide boat to a 45 ft wide boat and from a 5 ft draft (depth under water) to a 15 ft draft. This system takes some practice and coordination to use (we haven't tried it yet) and we still have lots of learning to do.  On the other hand, folks who use paravanes report that they are pretty amazing.
  • What is AIS?
    • Automatic Identification System is the marine version of the "see and be seen" radio identification system used on aircraft for years.  Commercial boats are required to transmit AIS data, recreational boats may choose to ignore AIS, have receive only capability (Salish Aire came with this functionality), or transmit data at lower power than commercial vessels.  The utility of the system is that we can look on our electronic chart and see who is coming, how fast they are coming, the direction they are going, and know their name if we need to contact them on the radio.  Our chart plotter computer also automatically predicts our closest point with nearby vessels and flashes a warning if they get too close.  Cool huh!!
  • Isn't it hard to dock?
    • Yes and no.  It does require a new set of skills but the biggest challenge to docking a boat is crew communication.  Since Clarice and I have been practicing docking boats for a couple of decades we have what needs to be communicated down.  On the other hand I am moderately hard of hearing and this is a big boat so prior to her delivery we ordered some high end Bluetooth headsets so we can talk in normal tones (no yelling to add anxiety) to each other.  Step 2 was learning to work with a single engine / rudder boat which is very different than steering with outboards as we've done in the past.  We had great a great tutor in Don Kohlmann who brokered the purchase of the boat.  Finally we cheat - the boat came with bow and stern thrusters which are mini electrically driven propellers that help push the bow or stern sideways.  Otherwise we've had to learn how much power makes the boat move or stop or turn, where it pivots, and Clarice had to learn to tell me to move the bow to port or starboard rather than steering the stern like we did with outboard driven boats.
  • Doesn't it feel small for a home?
    • At times but usually no.  When we took our 26 ft sailboat to Alaska we were very concerned about getting claustrophobic cabin fever but instead we realized that with a view of hundreds of miles from the deck we instead almost felt lost in the spaciousness of it all.  That feeling remains with us most of the time.
  • What do you miss most from living in a house?
    • I have a lot of back and shoulder issues - I miss my hot tub, our bigger bed, and my recliner. I also wish I had a decent workshop.  Clarice misses her time for sewing and crafts as the boat itself has taken all of our spare time getting it into the shape we want it to be in.  She also complains about having to go to the top deck to use the barbeque rather than just having it off the kitchen like it was in our house. (Really, these are the two things she complained about!)
I see our anchorage approaching so I will sign off for now.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A moment of rest

Its Friday evening and I'm enjoying a quiet moment on the back deck.  Last weekend we had 8 people on the boat (4 grandchildren + 4 adults) and 2 dogs.  We slept in the main berth with Jarvis in his usual place at the foot of the bed on the floor wound into a circle in his bed, the two older boys slept in a tent on the boat deck, Et's mother slept on the pilothouse berth (with Becca her dog on the floor), our daughter and her two younger children slept in the guest berth bunk beds. We had a wonderful time but a bit of quiet is nice as well.  Clarice is currently driving Et back up to spend another week with us (while his dad and new step-mother are honeymooning in Figi). 

We are starting to realize / accept that we aren't going to get everything done in the first couple of months.  We had looked at the photos of the boat so many times and  thought about what needed to be done and we wanted to do that we were sure we had everything planned for the first two weeks.  In reality most of what we had planned has not happened yet because Salish Aire has her own set of priorities that keep taking time (e.g. we had to work on holding tank vents again this week - maybe they are both fixed this time!) In the long run we are coming to recognize that it doesn't need to all be done either.  The boat functions just fine as a home and is eager and ready whenever we have taken her out of the slip.  We intellectually gave ourselves a couple of years to get everything done - now we just need to emotionally accept that its OK to slow down.

One of the items called out by our surveyor was that our running / navigation light lenses were pretty fogged from age.  We have decided to try to replace items with "good stuff" that will last.  So we ordered a starboard LED light, a port LED light and a new LED anchor light to the tune of $600 (yes, things for big boats carry big prices).  Clarice hauled me to the top of the mast in our bosons chair and I replaced the anchor light while suspended by the halyard (rope to pull things up a mast - usually a sail).  After a major fall from a ladder while replacing light bulbs in a church and falling off a roof, I'm not real comfortable with heights but I can talk myself into "dealing with it".  While at the top of the mast my inner fear kept my thighs so tightly gripped on the mast that I came down and my wobbly legs would barely hold me.  Also while up the mast I dropped a drill from the bosons chair pocket; bit down onto our no-longer inflatable dingy (since repaired). So once again small project becomes medium project that becomes large project.

I seem to be writing in reverse time today.  Going back to two weekends ago we all gathered in Portland for our son's wedding.  It was a lovely affair held outdoors in very sunny weather.  I don't thing the bride ever knew that about 1/3 of the flowers that had been carefully prepared into bouquets had frozen in the storage refrigerator as everyone pitched in to make the bouquets arise from the ashes.  The best person's dress was redesigned by Clarice the night before so it fit her rapidly changing figure (something about bearing a child 2 weeks prior) better. And finally the bustle on the wedding dress was emergently  sewn up between the ceremony and the reception with some sewing floss our daughter had along. When all of this happens and everyone keeps focus on the important stuff, it bodes well for the future of the marriage.

We also got to meet the Goldbergs who owned Salish Aire when she was Duet.  We had a lovely time with them on the new Duet (a Nordhavn 50) and learned a bit more about the boat's history.  (They also told us to look for THE BOOK (since found) with all of the wiring diagrams, plumbing diagrams, etc that Ron had put together)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Boat Warming and Blessing and "Secret Passages"

 Our daughter and her 3 children came for an extended visit from their home in Ontario.  Seems she figured she would use her brother's wedding as an excuse to visit us, her Washington friends, and escape the humidity and bugs. (Western Washington is incredibly comfortable this time of year and humidity with heat is pretty much unheard of.)  Her husband will show up later this week.

The Grandkids have provided endless entertainment as they have discovered the boat. 5 year old Grandson H noticed the "trap door" (AKA engine room hatch) in the floor almost immediately and spent the next three hours searching everywhere for "secret passages" and "secret compartments" with his headlamp on.  Once he found the engine room door and opened it he could hardly contain his excitement! (He really is MY grandson!)  He had to wait for the next morning before we allowed him to explore the engine room and he was up at the crack of dawn with his headlamp ready for his adventure to begin. 4 year old Granddaughter V immediately renewed her long standing mutual love affair with Jarvis.  And finally 9 year old Grandson C declared the pilot house berth to be his "turf" and started moving in to his space where he could rest from younger siblings.

Today we had an open house boat warming and blessing of the boat and her new name.  We had a proverbial as well as actual boatload of visitors.  Grandson C made sure everyone got through the gate to the dock, Grandson H made sure everyone got to see the engine room and "secret passages", and Granddaughter V kept everyone entertained.  Jarvis was generally well behaved but was very happy to discover that when his people "accidentally" lock him on the bow deck area that he can get back into the boat by diving through the hatch screen onto our bed.

The blessing of the boat and her new name was officiated by our Episcopal Priest, Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton.  Frankly, we expected a few kind words when we asked her to come, instead she put together a lovely service.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

Poem by Lucille Clifton
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back
may you open your eyes to
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

I bless thee, Salish Aire, in the name of the Father who created the waters above and below the heavens, in the name of the Son who sailed in life upon the Sea of Galilee and whom even storms obey, and in the name of the Holy Spirit who is born to us as a changing wind to carry us to new places and new life.  AMEN

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vistors are Starting to Come

I think all of our tales of "working our tails off" every day to organize the boat has kept folks away even though we have always said that folks stopping by causes us to take some very welcome breaks - they just have to understand that things are not to "Clarice" condition ("Bristol" has nothing on Clarice - keep reading).

Clarice's parents stopped by last week for lunch. ET our grandson from Portland spent last week on the boat with us. Then last Saturday my sister and brother-in-law brought my parents up.  This was a bit of a big deal as Dad is pretty disabled with a stroke and Parkinson's and Mom is convinced that anything within 50 ft of ocean water is sure to get hit by a tsunami or sink or be eaten by sharks...... Worse yet Mom has been convinced that the day we stepped on the boat would be the last we would spend in Washington.  I think she now understands that we don't live on a wooden raft held together with rusty nails and duct tape that makes you sea sick every time the wind blows more than 2 knots.

Today one of Clarice's (many) sisters came by with her husband and two kids.  After dinner we took the dingy over to Jetty Island.  I figured the water would be not-as-cold since the tide had come in over about 1/2 mile of warm sand with today's mega tide change but didn't expect it to be really warm!  We turned our backs expecting the kids to wade a bit and turned around and they were flopping in the surf like a couple of mackerels.  The really nice thing is they gave me an excuse to not take on a project when I got home as my back has been protesting mightily.

Oh, about "Clarice Clean", anyone who knows Clarice knows that our homes have always had a "comfortable messiness" about them but you could eat off the floor.  The past couple of days Clarice has responded to her inner passion and attacked the decks with soft scrub, a hand brush (yes, on her knees) and finally, the coup-d-grace her (no longer in mouth duty) toothbrush.  After nearly 40 years I have learned to just stay out of the way when she is in a cleaning and/or organizing mood (I also try to keep Jarvis at a safe distance so he doesn't get the toothbrush and cleanser treatment.)  I will say that the deck looks really nice!

A note about Jarvis our Jackhuahua:  He really loves having kids around (our granddaughter has been able to poke him in the eye since she was 9 months old and he still adored her).  We took off in the dingy with the niece and nephew and he stood on the front deck watching us and let out the saddest, loudest, wail we have ever heard from the little guy.  Clarice had to come back and put him inside the closed boat where he settled down.  I think if he knew that our granddaughter and her brothers were coming next week he wouldn't sleep for next 5 days waiting.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Birthday stove, first SCUBA, and first night at anchor

We continue to work on the boat's systems and learn about them. 
  • Pumping the blackwater tanks was still being an ordeal.  The Port of Everett includes every-other-week pump our service as part of our moorage contract but when the expert pooper pumper girl showed up she let Clarice know that "it just isn't working right" and suggested we check our tank vents.  We disconnected the vent line from the tank we knew how to access and the poo pumping went much better!  A water flush through the line and we think we have it fixed.  That left the second tank which we have never actually found.  After tracing the hoses we finally found the access under my clothing drawers in the main berth.  Some testing suggested that the problem was a clogged vent with tank #2 as well.  Some sucking of the vent hose with a vacuum cleaner seems to have cleared that one.
  • We still haven't been able to get our diesel furnace to light.  This is more a "we would like to know if there is a problem" issue than a we need it right now as we are having record setting hot weather.  I think I know enough about the system now to be able to troubleshoot it but the next steps really would be easier with 2 people so I've put it off until Clarice and I get some time to work together.
  • We do have 3 air conditioning units that did test OK when the boat was surveyed.  The can also be run in "reverse" and used as heaters.  When we tested them the one in the main salon didn't get any sea water to carry away or add heat (boat systems often use sea water rather than air as water is a much better heat transfer mechanism and is generally a better temperature for cooling an air conditioner).  On further inspection we found a clogged sea strainer in the back lazarette (an hold filled with equipment and used for storage under the back cockpit deck).  I managed to fold myself into the lazarette and clean the strainer followed by disassembling the sea water pump to make it happy so it would pump water to the air conditioner.  Now that the system works, it turns the main salon into a refrigerator very quickly when its hot outside.
  • Our first big (and planned before purchase) modification was to install a "professional" size stove/oven in the galley.  The boat originally had a standard marine stove but a previous owner decided they would rather have a dishwasher and cooktop and use the microwave/convection oven for the oven.  The advantage in hot climates is that the convection oven creates a lot less heat in the galley.  In any case I bought Clarice the new large size stove for her birthday.  After the cooktop, cabinetry and dishwasher were removed we decided we should go ahead and replace the 20 year old propane hose.  Step one: trace the hose requiring climbing in little cabinet doors and pulling the ceiling down in the guest berth. Step two: another trip to Sure Marine in Seattle as they were the only place we could find that could make up a new marine grade propane hose. Step three: have Clarice put her shoulders into some very small cabinet doors (I have wide shoulders and physically can't fit) and pull out the old hose while feeding the new hose. In the end the stove did fit in the space of the old stove without having to modify either the cabinetry or the stove and it looks great.
  • We were concerned when we chose this particular boat that it didn't have a swim platform as we are both advanced divers and are eager to dive off of the boat.  We did find the boarding ladder and decided it was a long and strong one so before we went to a lot of expense we should try diving once.  Today we anchored out a few miles from home and dove (for the first time in a long time - boy were we out of practice) off the boat.  Our first impression is that we may be able to forgo the swim step as we have certainly gotten out of and into boats with much less comfortable arrangements. (It is also nice to have the electric boom crane lift our gear out of the water and onto the boat rather than dragging it over the side when we are really tired after a dive like we had to do on our last two boats.
  • Tonight we are training on Salish Aire's anchoring gear and flopper stopper system.  We chose an unprotected cove near our home marina that we knew would be open to wind and ferry wakes so we could see how she lays at anchor with her flopper stopper motion calming system.  So far it has been very comfortable with 2 ft wind waves and 3+ foot ship wakes.  We do need to work on how we connect the anchor bridle to the anchor chain.  We have always had boats with nylon rope anchor lines ("rodes").  The nylon acts as a shock absorber between the anchor and the boat.  With an all-chain rode a nylon rope bridle is recommended to absorb some of the shock.  So far we have not felt we have a good system for attaching the bridle - more to learn!
Now its time for me to get to bed for our first night at anchor.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

First Week

After bringing the boat home last Saturday we have been in constant motion as we tried to turn her into a home and learn about her as a boat. 

We are quickly being reminded that nothing is simple with a boat.  Our first lesson had to do with the fuel system.  In the Duet Blog (see lower right of this blog) I learned that her previous owners had done some pretty fancy modifications to the fuel system.  The blog even includes a diagram which I spent a fair amount of time reviewing to make sure I understood it.  I didn't bring a copy with us to Victoria and that was our downfall.  We spent Friday evening reviewing the system after the engine shut down with our first test run and had to be bled to get it going again. We also noticed that we had managed to move about 100 gallons of fuel from one side of the boat to the other without intending to. After some study of the system and finding a vital fuel manifold under a floorboard we managed to get the engine bled and running smoothly.  We finally got to bed at about 10 PM. I woke up about 4 AM after our first night in our new home and started running fuel flow diagrams in my head.  By 4:30 I was up and had figured out how to move the fuel back from the port fuel tank to the starboard fuel tank where it had started from.  Don showed up at about 7 AM, the day was beautiful, the engine purred and we headed out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It took a few miles for the last drops of fuel from the tank I had emptied to get sucked out and the  main engine to stop cold - oops.  Don and Clarice when to the engine room to troubleshoot while I fired up our wing (emergency) engine and felt secure in the idea that we had a backup.  Problem is that unlike newer Nordhavns, ours doesn't have a dedicated fuel supply for the wing engine and it soon sucked its line dry - oops.  About then Don found that the fuel was being pulled from the tank I had emptied and not from the one I had filled.  He quickly reset the valves and Clarice got another lesson in how to bleed a diesel engine. ( For those who don't know Clarice, this really was something she wanted to learn as we fully expect either crew member to be able to do all functions on the boat in an emergency. .... For those not familiar with diesel engines, traditional diesels have an Achilles heal of sorts in that they won't start or run if their is any air in the fuel line.  A basic skill requirement of any ocean going diesel owner is knowing how to bleed the fuel lines.)

Sunday we decided to make short work of removing any doo doo that was in the blackwater (AKA - sewer) tank.  To make a long story short: It took us about 3 hours for a job that should take 20 minutes.  In the process we leaned where our overboard valves were and that we had two rather than one doo tanks.

That seems to be how everything has gone and is likely to go.  We bring stuff on the boat from the storage shed and then try to find places to put the stuff only to find spare parts and other unidentified stuff (probably useful but we aren't sure yet) in the places where we planned to put our stuff that has to be moved to someplace, etc, etc, etc...We spent most of the week trying to make the boat a home and put off her move on water function until later( but I can't resist trying to figure out what makes her tick so poor Clarice puts up with me tearing up the pilot house while she tries to clean and organize).  In the midst of it all we both have jobs that must be attended to (and hers required making some hurried modifications to the pilot house that serves as her office).

So are we having fun yet???? YES!!!! Every evening to be on the water is a dream come true for us (let's hope we feel the same a year from now).  This week our grandson ET came up from Portland and is our first overnight visitor (he is having to sleep on the pilot house berth as the guest berth is covered with stuff).  This evening we decided that since I took tomorrow off from work and Clarice can work on a moving boat we would remind ourselves that this home is also a boat.  We took a quick trip to Langley and are snug in that marina for the night.  The main engine purred, the generator generated, and I was able to get the wing engine back up and running after running it dry last weekend.    I'm also proud to say that after having worked with an excellent teacher last weekend, that our first solo landing went without a hitch (it is really nice that Don taught us right off how to land the boat without depending on her bow and stern thrusters so they become a nicety rather than necessity).

Our big excitement yesterday was finding time to put our new logo on the stern so we look official (for those worried about not having done a renaming ceremony, we plan to ask to have the boat (with her new name) blessed at our upcoming open house).

A final word: I think I finally have the photo thing figured out for the blog so we should have more photos as we go along.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Yesterday after about 4 hours of sleep after arriving in Portland Oregon from Belize we drove to our temporary home in Everett.  Then we quickly grabbed our "go get the boat" packs and were driven to Vancouver BC by Clarice's parents where we hopped a ferry for Victoria and finally slept on OUR boat for the first time. 

Today with the help of Don Kohlmann of Nordhavn NorthWest we headed south across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (with one unexpected stop about a third of the way across to bleed the fuel system after a valve was mis-set).  US Customs were very pleasant and welcomed us back into the country in Port Angelas (where Clarice and I are proud to say our very first landing of a boat larger than 25 feet was an 8 out of 10 under Don's patient tutorage) and then we headed South for our home port of Everett, Washington.  We had a gorgeous run south with both Mt Baker and Mt Rainer out in their full glory along with the Olympic Mountains. 

Finally about 19:30 we pulled into our slip with several friends on hand to help tie us in (and to bring Jarvis aboard for the first time.  We should sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Arrival in Victoria

We just watched as the freighter passed the Victoria Harbour breakwater.  This morning we received the unloading schedule and we will be in Belize Thursday when Salish Aire finally gets wet in the Salish Sea.  The current plan is to have the shipping company tie her up in Victoria until we return.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Off to Belize with no Boat in Sight

Yesterday we saw a glimmer of hope as the freighter carrying Salish Aire moved past the center of the storm and started to gain speed - then this morning it showed a path that went north then west then southwest.  Something wasn't right.  Sure enough we got an email from the shipping company that the main engine was having fits.

 Getting it here by Wednesday (it is now Monday) wasn't just a matter of convenience but all of our plans had assumed that we would pick up the boat and bring it down ourselves (with some help from a very patient volunteer captain and crew). The problem is we have to leave for Belize Wednesday evening.  The plan is now out the door and our anxiety sky high.

So why Belize, now?  Back in 2004, Clarice and I spent a year volunteering at Hillside Heath Care Clinic in the southern tip of Belize ( http://hillsidebelize.org/ ).  While there we wore our RN hats, teacher hats, pharmacist hats, computer programer hats, etc..  We also met a local Maya woman who was obviously very bright, very dedicated, and determined to become a nurse.  She had gotten some support to start correspondence school to finish our equivalence of high school but that source ran out of money so we asked a couple of churches to help support her. A decade has passed and she is going to graduate next Saturday with her Bachelors of Nursing degree from the University of Belize and we plan to be there to cheer her on.  I'm sure other Mayan women from the villages have gone to the university but I'm also very sure that they are incredibly rare as few young women we encountered in our year of working with them ever even considered higher education (AKA our high school) as a choice they had.  We are very very proud of Margery and look forward to seeing her again.

So back to the boat:  This afternoon we have been on the phone with our outstanding "even after the sale" boat broker, Don Kohlmann, and Raven Offshore Yacht Shipping and believe we have a plan that will get Salish Aire tied up awaiting our return.  Our heart rates have returned to normal for at least a day or so.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weather Gets in the Way

We continue to wait impatiently for the delivery of Salish Aire.  We have a pick-up team ready to head to British Columbia on short notice, our slip is waiting empty (and paid for) in Everett, but no boat yet.  The AAL Dalian was keeping a very tight schedule all of the way from Florida to Ensedada Mexico but since then the winds of the west coast off California have become a major issue for even an ocean going freighter.  This morning the Dalian is virtually at a stand still with 40 knot winds ahead of it and intermittent gales forecast for the foreseeable future until it gets well up the  Oregon coast (it is currently north of San Francisco).

We are also trying to prepare for a 10 day trip to Belize which we have been planning since 2004 when we left a year long volunteer posting at a clinic in the southern part of the country.  At that time we arranged to be the conduit and conductors of funding from a couple of churches to keep Margery Cho of the Maya village of Crique Jute in school.  Next week she will graduate with a Bachelors Degree in nursing.  I expect this will make her one of only a very very tiny handful of Belize Mayans (ESPECIALLY women) who have gone to college and I would guess maybe 10 or fewer RN's in the country that are native speakers of a Mayan dialect.

We really did not expect the boat plan and the Belize plan to every overlap and yet here we are.  Hopefully the next posting will include photos of Salish Aire floating in the Salish Sea.

In the mean time we continue to be very very grateful of our friends John and Laurie who continue to share their house despite the death this week of Laurie's father providing them with their own "life's challenges".


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Progress Report

We have just learned that the AAL Dalian carrying Salish Aire has arrived at the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal.  We use an AIS tracking program that allows us to monitor the progress of the ship whenever it is within range of a tracking station.

Since making the decision to buy a boat from the Atlantic side of the country was a big deal, I think we will both feel like a major milestone has been crossed when the ship reaches the Pacific.

The current best guess schedule puts the Dalian into Victoria, BC on June 5 with unloading of Salish Aire planned for June 6.  We have never started and operated the boat on our own so we are working with our broker and another local Nordhavn owner to see if we can get some "experts" with us when the boat is handed over to our care.

Norman and Clarice

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Her trip West Begins

We decided to go camping in Eastern Washington since everything was set up for a Saturday loading of Salish Aire onto her freighter transport.  Never is such a thing so simple - 1) the hired captain for Salish Aire only understood we needed to get her in the marina near the ship .... wrong, OK he would stay the night and move her Saturday to ship side but it would cost us more (kaching) 2) the freighter captain decided he wanted to load Sunday not Saturday - more kaching.  (We did end up having a really nice camping trip despite having to make a run to a more cellular friendly hilltop away from the campground to get messages exchanged.  We came back over the North Cascades Cross-State Highway that was cleared of snow last week for its summer opening and it was beautiful!!!)

We did get photos today showing that Salish Aire is securely nested inside of a hold of the freighter (this is good as she will be much more protected than riding on deck as we had expected).  We now plan to watch the freighter's AIS feed and see how she progresses.

Norman and Clarice

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WOW - We have joined a comunity and other changes in the past couple days.

We keep feeling like we have a moment to rest and then a new email comes with word of another step coming sooner than we expected. Today we were "casually" lining up a captain to move the boat from her current berth to ship-side with the expectation that she would need to be moved sometime next week.  The captain's cell phone dropped the call and before I could get back to him I got an email from the shipping company that Salish Aire needs to be ready to sling aboard the freighter on Saturday.  Back to high gear to get customs brokers lined up, the captain paid, fuel in the boat, final payment to the shipper, etc, etc..

I did take a minute to think about our new "family" today.  We knew that there was a strong sense of community among Nordhavn owners but the reality is beginning to sink in. We had some in's to start with.  The owner of the house we are borrowing is a long time friend who owned one of the first Ranger Tug 25s.  Since our Rosborough was a similar design and we have similar interests we joined the early Ranger Tug rendezvous here in Puget Sound.  Our friend and his wife had been primary organizers of one rendezvous and introduced us to the owners of a Ranger 29. Those folks have now moved up and own Nordhavn "Salish Rover". Then our friends decided to move up to a Ranger 29 themselves and bought their current boat from the owners of N40 "Hayden Bay" who we met at the Seattle Boat show.

From this beginning we have added an amazing number of folks who have contacted us after our announcement on  the Nordhavn Dreamers and Owners sites that we are now owners (including the past two owners of Salish Aire) with kind words and offers of help wherever we happen to be in need of advice, good conversation, or help.

We also want to express our deepest appreciation for all of the time, words of encouragement, and just plain kindness of our broker Don Kohlmann.  He has really gone above and beyond to help us make this a reality and we look forward to having him as a friend rather than a business associate.

Norman and Clarice

Friday, May 2, 2014

Owners, finally!!

The money wires were all sent out this morning.  We now consider ourselves the owners of Salish Aire (paperwork yet to be completed).  We learned last night that she has a spot on a freighter leaving Florida on (or about) May 12 (only 10 days away)!!

On my way home tonight I stopped by the marina office to update them - they informed me that they hadn't had a chance to call and ask if we were ready to move from the waiting list to a slip opening on June 1 (we had expected to park in a temporary location elsewhere in the marina) - talk about timing!

The interesting challenge was trying to change our driver's license addresses on line.  No problem for the vehicles but apparently Washington State Driver's license system doesn't recognize the marina as a legitimate residence location or a marine store as having PO boxes.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Closer every day!

Today our two house sales closed and we overnighted all of the notarized paperwork to complete the boat sale.  Just wiring of money around the country and the boat will be ours.  After about 2 years of starts and stops this doesn't quite seem real yet.  Next step will be to secure a berth on a freighter to get it to our area as quickly as possible - we hope to have it loaded as early as next week!!

Erin suggested that we post a kind of FAQ's blog while we wait for the boat - we will also try to get some photos up.

  • Why aren't you driving the boat from Florida to Everett?
    • We don't have the required experience yet and we don't have the ability to walk away from our employment for a couple of months at this time.
  • Are you retiring and sailing away now?
    • No.  We expect to work for about 5 more years.  During that time we plan to learn the systems of the boat and practice operating her in waters we are familiar with.
  • Who will maintain all of the systems?
    • Norman has always enjoyed working with his hands and actually looks forward to a new mechanical challenge.  Clarice recognizes that if something happens to Norman at sea she will need to be able to keep the boat running so she is planning to take classes in maintaining the diesel engine, etc..
  • What are you doing for shoreside transportation?
    • We are keeping the VW Sportwagen and Burgman scooter (as well as bicycles).  There is also a bus line serving the marina area.
  • What about laundry?
    • The boat comes with a washer/dryer (one machine that does both).  We will also have access to laundry facilities in the marina.
  • Do you have to go to shore to use the toilet and shower?
    • The boat has two heads (bathrooms), both with showers. The marina provides boatside pumpout service as part of our moorage fees. 
  • How much does moorage costs?
    • We are expecting to pay about $900/month which includes the space, 2 auto permits, TV cable, garbage service, water service, holding tank pumpout, and internet.
  • How are you getting mail?
    • A local marine store has PO boxes they rent out.
  • What is the first big trip you have planned?
    • Our goal (likely next summer), is to circumnavigate Vancouver Island.  Currently we don't have the time away from work nor will our insurance cover us outside of the Salish Sea.
  • Where do you work?
    • Clarice works for one hospital district from home.  She will have her office in the pilothouse (the dog loves this arrangement as much as Clarice does).
    • Norman works at the hospital in Everett.
    • We are both long time RN's.
  • Who is Jarvis?
    • Jarvis is our Jackhuahua  (Jack Russel - Chihuahua mix) who loves boats and boating adventures but hates getting wet.
  • Why not a sail boat - (free propulsion and all)?
    • Free is a relative word.  In a lot of reading we have done, folks who have traveled the world in boats like ours after having sailboats report that because of the very high maintenance costs of wind catching appendages, it is cheaper in the long run to operate the trawler.
    • While there are some folks who don't even have an engine on their sailboats, most sailboat owners report motoring about 70% of the time.
    • Trawlers don't have to tack - straight lines are much shorter.
    • Sailboat cabins feel like "caves" to us (yes, we owned and enjoyed sailboats in our past) compared to the cabins of trawlers.
  • Why a Nordhavn brand?
    • There are about three companies making production, ocean crossing qualified, trawlers.  They all compare themselves to Nordhavns.  We paid a lot for that brand name but believe the quality of the boat justifies the difference in cost.
  • So how far can it go and how fast?
    • It moves at hull speed like a sailboat so 6 - 8 knots (hull speed boats don't ever go faster than physics allow as they move through, rather than over, the water) but is VERY efficient in doing so.
    • We expect to average about 3 nautical miles per gallon of diesel and can hold about 1000 gallons.
    • consider this - for the cost of 1000 gallons of diesel we can take as many people as we want AND our house to Hawaii.
Enough for now.  Leave comments if you have more FAQ's and we can try to answer them in future posts.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Waiting Patiently?????

I suppose a blog needs to start someplace so now may be as good a time as any (although I have a superstitious fear of having something go wrong if I sound to excited and anger the sea spirits).  So the present state of affairs is:
  • Sea Meadow (our Rosborough RF 246) remains unsold and looking for a buyer but she is OK sitting on her trailer in our friends driveway
  • We expect to close two house deals within the next 3 days and be officially "homeless" for the first time in many many years
  • We are currently very comfortable in our friends' house in Marysville as they are our doing the Great Loop on their Ranger 29
  • We hope to have a closing date set for Phantom (soon to be Salish Aire if all goes well) as soon as we clear the money from the houses and get the last two pieces of paperwork to the finance company.
  • The next step will be confirming a berth on a freighter so she can come through the Panama Canal from her current home in Florida to her new home in Everett. 
  • For those who haven't tried to finance a live-aboard boat in the past 3 months or so - the market is in total disarray with new federal regulations going into effect.  Currently Essex Credit is the only company willing to jump through all of the hurdles.  If you plan to finance a live-aboard we suggest including the birth certificate of your first born in your paperwork (just kidding Erin).
  • The Port of Everett seems very eager to have our business in their very nice recently completed marina which is just about 3 miles by road (1/2 mile as the crow flies) from my (Norman's) employer.  We are making backup plans for Clarice's internet needs for her to continue working from home (AKA the pilothouse of the boat).

Enough for now.
Norman and Clarice