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.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

2 plus years of living aboard and counting

We've lost count how many times we have been asked if we are glad we moved aboard a boat - the answer is a clear, YES!

Remembering that we moved aboard in June 2014 we now (October 2016) have almost 2 1/2 years under our belts. So at this point here are answers to the common questions we hear:

  • Do you miss not having a house and yard?
    • Clarice expected she might miss her yard and garden.  During our 40 years together we have gone from 5 acres with a very large vegetable garden and a private forest to a "small" yard with a couple of terraced gardens in town at our last house.  She even started an herb garden when we moved on the boat just in case she needed to weed something and feel some dirt under her nails.  She is now down to a mason jar with some sprouts in it and is happy as a clam.  
    • I miss having a hot tub. I have some neurological damage to my lower spine that results in aching legs and the only thing that seems to really calm them is hot water.  Our answer is to seek out a marina or hotel with a hot tub when I need a break and the boat (or marina) shower is not cutting it.
    • We do NOT miss having a lot of room to live in except on rare occasion when I get a bit of cabin fever (but that happened in the house as well - its just part of my nature to not be a sit still person).  
  • Does the boat rock a lot?
    • No - we are moored fairly far back in a well protected marina.  We also have a full keel and weigh 60,000 lbs so we will notice the wind moving our neighbor's boat long before we move much at all.  In reality we enjoy the sound of rain on the hatch over our sleeping berth as well as the movement when it does occur and sleep well.
  • Are you afraid of storms?
    • We feel safer in the boat than in a house with a tree next to it or a river that might flood. The strongest wind we have weathered in the marina was 60 knots last winter.  The noise of the wind through the rigging of other boats was LOUD and I felt obligated to wear a life preserver when walking on the dock in case I got blown off balance.  We worried about other boats but ours felt quite secure.
  • What adaptations did you have to make?
    • Rule #1 (#2, and #3) - any purchases must be CAREFULLY evaluated for space considerations. Buy ice cream - it better be a small container that will fit in an open space in the freezer.  Buy a new shirt - which old shirt is going off the boat. Furniture is for window shopping only. Kitchen gadgets better have MANY uses. Tools must be multi-functional and have a planned storage space. Etc. , etc..
  • Don't you get tired of being in such close proximity to each other all of the time?
    • Clarice and I are pretty blessed with really liking each other.  We have never really had a problem being together for long periods. 
  • What do you do for exercise?
    • We live next in a marina and park area where other people come to walk.  We have to walk 1/2 block to take out the garbage or take the dog for a walk.  Our mailbox is about 1/4 mile away.  In a real sense we have more opportunity for exercise living where we do.  Even I have found that "boat yoga" (AKA working in challenging locations in the engine room) has improved my flexibility a bit.
  • Where to you get mail?
    • A local marine hardware has rental mail boxes.
  • What about overall costs?
    • The answer needs to be qualified a bit.  We are paying our mortgage ahead as fast as we comfortably can so that we will hopefully own the boat outright in about 1 1/2 years.  We also put a lot of money into upgrades and repairs as we want to feel that she is fully blue water ready in another 1 1/2 years. Our moorage in a very nice marina (including all utilities and parking for the car) comes to about $800 / month. Insurance on the boat is not a huge amount more than homeowners insurance was for the house.  All in all we are probably spending about the same or a bit more than we did when we lived in the house (and seemed to always be remodeling a rental or some other project).
  • What about fuel costs?
    • Filling the tanks if they were all empty would amount to a fair hunk of change as we can carry 1000 US gallons.  In reality our fuel costs are very low.  We recently got our 2500 nm pennant which means that in almost 2 1/2 years we have not even used a single fuel load (about 3000 nm worth).  We tend to get down about 250 gallons and then fill a single tank when we see fuel at a good price. (When we were considering buying the boat we planned on $4 / gallon - the price has been consistently much lower since we made the purchase with our most recent purchase being about $2 / gallon.)
  • Does Jarvis still seem happy?
    • Jarvis seems to have fully adapted to boat life.  He considers the whole marina park to be his private territory (which needs to be well marked daily - roll eyes).  He also has a lot of admirers that know him and he knows he can get a petting session from if he greets them when they pass.  It is interesting to us that he clearly recognizes our marina and gets very excited as we come up the river when we have been out for a while..
  • Where do you plan to go on you retire?
    • We hope to retire in 2018 and will likely head north.  We have fond memories of doing the inside passage in our 26 ft sailboat but could only take a month and were always concerned about fuel consumption and where we could get the next fill.  We plan to go and take time investigating many little coves and villages.  We wont be surprised if we over winter in SE Alaska and then take another year to do Prince William Sound.  At some point we will get to warm water but the remoteness of northern latitudes has great appeal to us and Salish Aire is able to take us there in comfort.
  • How long can you go before you have to empty your holding tanks?
    • We have about 50 gallons of capacity divided between two tanks.  We usually plan on pumping the tanks about every 5 days. We carry about 250 gallons of fresh water and have a water maker so fresh water capacity is never an issue.
  • So final question: Why do you like living on a boat?
    • We find it a comfortable and cozy tiny house.  When we lay down to sleep at night it feels like we are in our comfortable little cave (why do people want 400 sq ft master bedrooms?????) and Jarvis snuggles into his kennel at the foot of the bed and all is well.  It gives us the ability to go out boating with about 15 minutes of preparation time.  We have a pleasant neighborhood and know more of our neighbors here than we did after 10 years in our house.  We always were jealous of people with a waterfront view who could look out and see the water and boats and the surrounding mountains - now we live in a gated community and are part of their multi-million dollar view.  In summary it is a home that meets our needs and interests that we are comfortable in and very proud to show off. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Just catching up October 2016

Since our last update we moved down the coast of mainland BC and put into Fisherman's Terminal in False Creek on the south side of Vancouver.  This is one of our favorite places as it is truly a working boat port (our trawler looks right at home - especially since another Nordhavn 46 moored on the dock across from us) and is just a block away from the tourist fun spot of Grandville Island.  There is even a Go Fish restaurant shack in the parking lot (Go Fish is a chain of shipping containers turned into fish and chips shacks that serves lots of good food at a good price - even on rainy days there is a line for lunch and dinner (which is saying a lot as they have NO covered areas for customers)).  Vancouver is a very bicycle friendly city with a level trail all along the waterfront that I thoroughly enjoyed and just wished that Clarice could have joined me.

We stayed for a couple of sunny days.  I think that if Clarice's foot had allowed her to have more activity then we likely would have stayed longer.  We have decided this would be a great place to go and just hang out for a week. 

Grandville Island area and Public Market
Inside of the Grandville Island Public Market

Grandville Island marinas - Fisherman's Terminal is to the left

Bike ride around the waterfront - here on the north side of Stanley Park with the Lions Gate Bridge
At the end of our vacation, Clarice was very excited to submit enough miles to the Nordhavn distance pennant program to qualify for out first award (2500 nautical miles).  Its taken us 2 + years to get this many miles - hopefully they will add up much faster in the future .

Clarice shows off our 2500 nm pennant from Nordhaven.

We got back to Everett with some time before we had to return to work so we took the time to start a long planned project.  We have nursed our Hurricane furnace along for 2 years and it has shown signs of age and slow decline.  The problem has been that a marine version of our furnace is not longer made and all of the new models are a few inches bigger.  Those few inches simply cant be accommodated without a major remodel of the engine room.  After much discussion with the manufacturer they offered to rebuild our current unit.  We took the better part of a day getting the furnace out and loaded into the car and then the next morning dropped it off in Vancouver Washington and went on to visit our son and his family in Portland.

While we were on our vacation we noticed a couple of pieces of exhaust flange gaskets lying in the engine room.  Question: were these remnants of a historic repair that had worked their way down the stack or something new.  Answer: after the heater was removed I cut into the old insulation wrap and immediately found evidence that the flange gasket where the stack enters the false stack had blown out.  (Yes this means that exhaust gases were able to get into the engine room but my concern for exposure was low as the vent fans would have quickly pushed them up and out through the false stack.)  At every boat show we ooh and aah at the pretty custom made insulation blankets that are available from a marine exhaust specialty company near us.  It was clearly time to change the insulation and replace the gasket while the heater was out of the way.  Bad news:  The new blanket came to $500 -  about twice what I had guessed.  Good news: the furnace came in $500 less than the estimate.

 Today we are out to test all of the new stuff on a lovely October day.  It has been raining and stormy for most of the month so the river is brown and running high but today is the PNW at its finest.

Jarvis claiming his usual seat for underway.

Clarice piloting out the river. (And she did her first unassisted back-in landing when we got back home!)

Lots of folks taking advantage of a nice October Saturday

Passing Naval Station Everett