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.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

I'm embarrassed to see that I haven't posted anything since July when we returned from Canada.  We are alive and all is well.  We are currently in the middle of the Pacific Northwest Winter as it is Christmas Eve and even though the solstice has passed we still have pretty short days with about 8 1/2 hours of daylight. We have continued to work on long term maintenance items and upgrades on the boat.  I finally finished getting hoses, belts, pump impellers and so forth done on all of the diesel engines when I completed work on the generator last week.  The wing engine has gone from being somewhat hard starting with lots of vibration to easy starting and smooth running now that I've cleaned its injectors and reset the valve gaps.  Jarvis continues to be a happy boat dog as long as we don't turn the boat around - we have a gang plank on the starboard side that makes it easier for him to get aboard and he is used to it.  When we had the boat turned around so that the port side was next to the dock (we do this when we need to work on that side) he misjudged the gap at least twice and ended up in the water.  We have procrastinated all summer about sanding and varnishing the teak on the bow (the rest of the boat looks good).  We finally did the job late fall and it really went quickly and was not a big deal.  The only issue was that our dry weather window closed and our final layer of varnish on one side got rained on before it had set.  Clarice has read up and learned that it should provide protection for the wood over the winter and then in the spring we should just need to do a light sanding and redo one layer of varnish.  My latest project was to put a real defrost system in for the pilot house windows.  It uses heat from the hot water circulation system and should be a real asset on moist mornings.  Our fun for the season was winning the Port of Everett decoration contest by turning Salish Aire into Rudolf the Red Nosed Nordhavn.   Clarice again decorated the inside of the boat by putting a lighted garland around the salon and hanging our ornament collection from it.  I talked her into letting me purchase a very nautical oil lamp to go over the table to finish our old fashioned boat look.  We have weathered a couple of significant wind storms already this year in our slip and have been hit by rain storm after rain storm so that the Snohomish River where our marina is located has been running near or over flood stage for several weeks (we are more affected by the tide than the river flow where we are moored).   In an interesting turn of events - our very close friends of many years, John and Laurie, returned from 9 months doing the American Great Loop in a Ranger 29 only to return to their house and realize that they didn't need all of that room.  They have sold the Ranger 29 and moved onto a Kady Krogen 39 and are moored directly off our bow across the fairway from us. Tonight we (I) am hoping for the chance of snow to turn into a very very rare Puget Sound lowlands White Christmas.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Back home

We have been back home in Everett for a week now and are trying to settle back into our work routines. The last half of our trip to the West Coast of Vancouver Island is now posted at http://ncgregory.larper.com/Chapter-Pages/First%20Big%20Trip%20part%202.pdf .

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First part of our first big trip

We are still out on our 3 week adventure to the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  A travelog is at http://ncgregory.larper.com/Chapter-Pages/First%20Big%20Trip.pdf .

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ground Transportation

When we moved to Salish Aire we kept two means of ground transportation, our Volkswagen TDI diesel Sportwagen (up to 45 mpg!) and my 400 cc scooter.  The scooter spent the winter in our storage locker and I knew it needed a going through which would likely require about $1500 in parts and a garage to work in.  It seemed like maybe it was time to let it go after 7 years and about 25000 miles.

That left us with one vehicle.  This system works well about 95% of the time as Clarice works from home most days.  On the days she is off work and wants to do errands or needs to make a run in to her real office it can be a bit of a hassle.

We have had nice full size bicycles on the boat but our marina doesn't let us store them on the dock next to the boat and I didn't feel comfortable leaving them in the bike racks near the very busy parking lot which meant that they had to be lifted with the crane up to/from the top deck every time we wanted to use them.  Seeing how I a) work up at the top of a very steep hill from the marina, and b) don't include much time in the morning for things like getting a bike off of the roof, I just wasn't riding.

We finally broke down and bought electric assist folding bicycles.  They are the first ones we have found that are sturdy enough that my large size is stable on them.  So far we are finding them a lot of fun and I can get to work in the same door to door time as with the car (I can park the bike in my office rather than a block away as I had to with the car).  The electric assist makes it fun to ride and I don't smell like I came from the gym when I get to work and yet requires enough effort from me that I am getting significant exercise.

The only problem so far occurred a couple of days ago when I had Jarvis in a basket on the front of the bike.  He does really well there IF he is tired.  In this case I hadn't run him enough and he decided to exit the basket while we were in motion going down a hill.  Long story short is that I had my first experience going directly over the handlebars and my chin ended up with road rash.  Outcome: Bike - bell handle broken and minor scratches, dog - "gee that was fun Dad, can we do it again!", me - very sore hand and bloody chin. 

Happy Anniversary!!

I just checked; We moved aboard Salish Aire on June 21, 2014 and today is June 23, 2015.  Happy First Anniversary as Live-Aboards!!!

As we get ready to take Salish Aire on our first long trip (well 3 weeks!) it might be a good time to look back to all we have done to bring her up to her current stage of readiness.   (When we bought the boat she was truly seaworthy but at 18 she was ready to have a good makeover.)

  • new LED lighting throughout the boat 
  • new stove/oven
  • new bilge pump
  • new carpet
  • new forward battery bank
  • aft battery bank moved to make more room in lazarette
  • main, wing, and generator engines oil and filters changed
  • all diesel filters changed
  • engine room floors changed out and painted
  • sea water screens cleaned, changed and new hoses as needed
  • black water tanks cleaned (yuck!)
  • engine room exhaust fans replaced and re-ducted
  • engine room blower fan rebuilt
  • main engine harmonic balancer replaced
  • main and wing engine coolant replaced
  • bottom painted
  • keel cooler cleaned and re-o ringed
  • seals replaced in hydraulic stabilizers
  • diesel furnace rebuild/repaired
  • hull polished and waxed
  • solar cells rewired where corroded
  • navigation systems reworked
  • pilot house roof painted
  • dingy motor replaced
  • dingy oar blades replaced
  • dock lines made from 3 strand nylon that came with the boat
  • air conditioning system controls replaced
  • washer/dryer replaced
  • head sink sump pump replaced (probably over powered but I was tired of cleaning the little original style pump every couple of weeks)
  • AIS installed
  • anchor chain cleaned, remarked and swapped end for end
  • Name added on stern and sides
  • hot water circulation for heating systems coolant replaced
  • leaking heater replaced (old unit repaired and put in stand by inventory)
  • gang plank added
  • plastic windows added around cockpit
  • mast winch / boom system reworked in preparation for using paravanes
  • adjusted valves on main engine
 And finally the systems we still have not touched:
  • Wing engine needs a good going over
  • need to go through generator engine
  • haven't even tried to start up water make yet (maybe on our upcoming trip)
  • haven't tried to deploy paravanes yet (again, maybe on our upcoming trip)
  • refinish brightwork that needs it

All I can say is that the year has gone quickly and brought us one year closer to retirement and the dream of weighing anchor for good.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

First Haul Out

I plan to write up a full description but suffice it to say that we survived our first haul out experience (remember that all of our previous boats were on trailers).  Salish Aire weighed in at 60,000 lbs.  The guy we had contracted to do the bottom was caught a bit off guard by our underwater profile and ran out to get an additional gallon of paint as he kept muttering, "that's a really big boat!" . We took the keel cooler off ourselves and took it apart at C's parents where we had access to a wire brush wheel and were able to use their tractor bucket as a basin for a mild acid wash (the factory suggested dilute muriatic acid which worked wonders on the thick coat of calcium deposits for years of marine growth.  It went together with a new set of seals, new zincs, and some new bolts and looks great back in place.  The only problem was that when the stabilizer fin seals were removed the port side had what looked like 90 wt oil rather than grease behind it suggesting water intrusion.  The repair guy recommended about $5000 worth of parts and labor and only agreed to reassemble them with only new seals after I made it clear that I am mechanically inclined enough to understand the implications (worst case is probably seized bearings - I would not expect significant leakage).  We believe that since we plan primarily inland water use of the boat for the next couple of years that the stress on the bearings will be minimal while we take time to plan ahead for a proper repair.

We tried to be extra thrifty by 1) hauling during the off season which ended the week after we re-launched, 2) doing some of the work ourselves after work each day, and 3) staying in Clarice's parents' camper van in my employer's parking lot at night rather than paying for a hotel.

In any case we were very, very happy to get back in the water and sleeping in our own bed (the marina initially told us that we could not stay aboard while in the yard - later they changed their tune a bit but we were settled in the van by then).  Jarvis was also clearly ready to get back home after living in the van (he loves camping but this just didn't make him happy).

Prior to being hauled we had started changing our batter banks around - that in itself is another story.  Oh- and be sure to read the story titled "the drip" - a classic tale of a "simple" repair job on a boat.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Helm Chair Installed

Our new helm chair is installed (and the old Captain's Plank removed).  This link will take you to the full story (Helm Chair ).

Friday, March 6, 2015

Batteries and The Boat Dog

Jarvis our dog apparently got tired of waiting for me to get his story written.  Please go to the learnings  section and you can read his version of life on the boat.

While the NorthEast is having record snowfall, here we are enjoying an early spring after one of the warmest winters on record.  We may get up to see the daffodil and tulip fields this weekend long before they are due to bloom for the annual tulip festival.  We did go back and visit our Daughter, Son in Law and Grandkids in Ontario and were delighted (well Et our grandson we took from Portland and I anyway, Clarice was a bit less enthusiastic) to experience a Midwest winter for a few days complete with a tour of a maple syrup forest/farm on a horse drawn sleigh through the falling snow.

To take advantage of the lovely weather we took Salish Aire on a 3 day run over the weekend and circumnavigated Whidbey Island.  Our moorage costs were zero as we were able to use yacht club reciprocal privileges (there isn't a lot of competition for the slips this time of year) and our diesel furnace for heat so we didn't need shore power. 

Having conquered the furnace gremlins, I have decided to take on getting an understanding of our DC systems.  Salish Aire came to us with solar panels, 2 heavy duty charger/inverters, and 2 heavy battery banks along with a plethora of instrumentation.  Being a true "I want to understand it so I can fix it person", it has been hard to ignore the system but I wanted to be able to focus without excessive distractions when I took on this task.  Since the system seems to function to the level of our present needs, we agreed to just accept that the black boxes are working up to now.

The first step has involved reading manuals then running down and looking at the equipment and then back to the manuals to make sure I have understood what I have read and know what it applies to.  Currently I'm trying to isolate the forward inverter and battery bank until I can understand them fully and make sure that the batteries are not beyond their natural life.  The front bank consists of a pair of 12 V Rolls brand batteries.  They are huge, industrial, and highly rated but don't seem to be accepting a full charge.  The first step in wet-cell batteryology in confirming the status in this case is to desulfate the batteries by charging them to a much higher voltage than normal - the goal of this is to drive the hardened sulfates from the surface of the lead plates and back into solution so that the lead under the surface is able to participate in the electricity making reactions.  We hope to run this process over the weekend.

Our other excitement is that our helm chair is finished and our son is bringing it up from Portland tonight - more on that later.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friends on the Dock

As we are moving towards the 8 month mark of living aboard Salish Aire we both agreed that we really aren't ready to move.  Since the whole idea of a moveable residence is the ability to pick up and leave with a minimum of fuss this came as a bit of a revelation.

I was considering if it was time to change positions with my employer and one option was to move to our corporate office about 40 miles south.  The problem is that 40 miles south means traveling through Metropolitan Seattle on either Interstate 5 or 405 - now listed as 2 of the most congested roadways in the USA.  (We joke that I-5 is a speed limit sign rather than a road marker.)  This led to the thought of moving across Puget Sound to Bremerton where the marina is offering 2 years or moorage for the price of 1 year (and a much lower base rate than we currently pay).  The commute is still time consuming but much of it is via the state ferry system and bus rides.

When Clarice and I discussed this idea we both commented that we like our current neighborhood.  We lived in our last home for about 10 years and really only knew a couple of families on the block well.  We have lived in the marina for less than a year and frequently stop and talk with other live-aboard families.  In other words, we have more friends here than we did after a decade in our terrestrial home.  Its amazing how quickly you get to know people when everyone HAS to walk a block up the dock to get to their car.  We can't just put the dog in the back yard to do his doodle (he will happily pee on his designated fake grass pad if it is raining but that doesn't provide much exercise and he doesn't poop there unless it is the last option) so we walk him about 3 times a day - along with every other live aboard owner who has a dog.  When its below freezing and the Port shuts down the black water pump system we all strive to conserve precious tank space by plodding up to the marina bathroom - jammies are considered acceptable attire so all sense of decorum goes out the window.  When there is a storm we all run up and down the dock making sure everyone's lines are secure and boats and people are safe.  In a way this is our own little version of a village were people can't hide in there house and car and never interact with their neighbors.  Add that to a common love of boats and everything water borne and you have a place to call home.

Back once again to the infamous Hurricane furnace - we believe we have won the battle, click on the link for chapter 5 in the index and you can get the full story.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our first holiday season

I can't believe I haven't written since October!  Since I really enjoy writing that says something about how busy we have kept ourselves.  I always took it with a proverbial grain of salt when I read books and blogs from other live aboards about how busy the boat keeps you with ongoing maintenance projects.  It is very very true.  We are finally feeling caught up with projects for a while.

Some updates:
  •  Our Christmas Tree 2014
  • the Hurricane furnace has gained a new gremlin and after 6 months and a fair amount of money we are planning to take a serious look at a replacement unit at the Seattle Boat Show next week.  It starts quickly but will not maintain a flame.  My suspicion is that there may be an internal water leak when the system is pressurized. I took the boiler out of the system last weekend, and believe it should now have all air bled.  If we pressurize the system without the boiler (using heat from the main engine) and the water level doesn't go down then I will be pretty sure I am right.
  • Bob Senter (AKA "Lugger Bob") is the factory service trainer for Lugger/Northern Lights company in Seattle.  (Our main engine is a Lugger (Lugger Company marinized a John Deere tractor engine) and our generator is a Norther Lights brand.)  He is reputed far and wide among the trawler community to teach excellent classes at many of the boat shows.  His classes are fairly expensive and fill up fast but are considered to be worth the cost.  We learned through the grapevine that if he is in town he will come to your boat for a reasonable cost and do a customized class for you.  Clarice and I took him up on this and consider it money well spent.  He was able to go over common maintenance issues, provide us with some valuable history lessons about the equipment we have and, being very familiar with our boat model, point out some common problem areas that we need to fix while they are small.
  • We purchased a ultrasonic device that is reputed to dramatically decrease the marine growth on the outside of the hull.  It is either the smartest $2300 we've ever spent or the dumbest.  Only time will tell but we could not find much information on the devices.  In any case we did the final installation steps this week and will see how it goes.  
  • We had up to 8 people staying on the boat over the holidays. See the sidebar story for further details.
  • We are looking forward to next weekend when we will make our annual pilgrimage to the Seattle Boat Show.  We have a number of things we want to check out and will be holding down the Port of Everett booth with our Yacht Club for a few hours.
  • Speaking of "our yacht club".  We joined the Mukilteo Yacht club.  Serendipitously for us they recently lost access to their old facility in Mukilteo and moved their meetings into the local sailing club building here in the Everett Marina.  The cost is very low.  The people are laid back (no polyester in this group) and friendly.  The cool thing is that we tend to go out on the boat in the slow winter season when there is little competition for reciprocal moorage so we are getting lots of free dockage during a time of year when anchoring out and using the dingy looses some of its charm. (For the non-boaters: guest moorage in Puget Sound runs from $.75 to $1.50 / ft / night.  With a 46 ft boat, it adds us quickly if we aren't careful.)