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.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A baby step starts the “Grand Adventure”

July 30th Clarice and I both were a bit restless as we settled in for bed.  We were both thinking about our lease running out the next day and the requirement that we move Salish Aire by noon.  When we started living aboard I assumed that a boat slip was a boat slip was a boat slip and that moving from one to another was no big deal.  After all wasn’t that one of the adventures of this nomadic lifestyle? But we have come to realize that our slip has become our home as we know our neighbors and who walks by when so we are ready with complimentary greetings and smiles. Jarvis knows which footsteps deserve a gentle “woof” as they are a known neighbor, who will pet him on the head if he runs out, and who is unfamiliar and needs a major “bark-bark” (and much the same for dogs walking by – are they a friend, an “unfriendly”, or an “unsniffed”.) In the end a friend a couple of slips down contacted folks from his yacht club who were away for the coming week and was able to secure us a slip a short 75 feet away (but on a completely different dock group and thus a new “neighborhood”).  And so our Grand Adventure has started out with a move away from our home neighborhood, but like the child that goes to live in a dorm in the same town, we aren’t too far away and our friends still wave across the fairway and run over to check on last minute details.

Since the last post a number of major events have occurred as we get ready to truly cast off.  Clarice officially retired on July 14 (she is now the first “pensioner” as we like to say after watching the British Series, Last Tango in Halifax), we have spent a couple of weeks getting our retirement funds moved to a central broker, we have been completing some known boat projects and attacking a project that we had hoped to put off until it declared it didn’t like being ignored, and most importantly visiting with our daughter’s family as they joined us for their annual summer visit. So our plan is to leave Everett in two days when I also become a pensioner after we have had a couple of days to rearrange the boat from three weeks of  6-7 people living aboard.

Our daughter’s children have previously declared that the prime motivation for coming to visit us is that they can stay on the boat, so while it gets a bit cozy, we all stay on-board while they are here. Some notable quotes from this visit:

V (7 y/o granddaughter): (After I explained that Jarvis sees me as the alpha of his pack) “Oh, so Jarvis is the Omega.”

H (8 y/o grandson): “I don’t want my [loose] teeth to fall out before we get to the United States [from home in Canada] so I get a better exchange rate on my tooth fairy money!”

C (12 y/o grandson): Lots of puns and very happy to get a tin cup that says “Camping is InTentsive”.

V sleeps soundly in the Pilot House berth

H is happy on an air mattress on the floor

V has "moved in" to "her space"

V and H "Bow Surfing" 
V turned 7 while she was here

Kids found a pop-up book in a tiny library in Anacortes
Jetty Island water fun

Jetty Island mud fun

We start them early

Clarice checking C's tolerance to motion sickness

The kids flew back home on August 2nd after dropping our final motor car off at SeaTac airport where our daughter-in-law took possession as we had previously arranged.  Even though they had been in a cramped boat for 3 weeks the kids were all sorry to leave as they really enjoy visiting family, visiting friends, playing on the beach, playing with Jarvis, and just being on Salish Aire.

Today is August 4, 2017 and it is my (Norman) last official day before retiring (I’m taking a vacation day).  We left Everett about 6:30 this morning and are now steaming north on very smooth seas with warm (expected to be hot) weather, and very heavy haze from forest fires in BC Canada and about 30 miles east of us. We plan to spend tonight in the San Juan Islands after catching the 3 PM slack through Deception Pass and then enter Canada on Saturday the 5th where we will top off on fresh foods we can’t take across the border.

Red sunset from forest fire smoke

It seems to be a common theme among boating folks getting ready for a longer passage that they get ready over a long time (in our case, 3 years) but then find a whole pile of last minute things to finish up. Here is our list 
Bow thruster motor:  It had failed about two years ago when a solenoid’s contacts carboned up.  I took it apart and filed the points and it has been happy since until last weekend when it failed again and refiling made the contacts too short to function.  We have also had the motor hot enough to smell in the pilot house at least once so we have wondered for some time if it was going to hang in there. Salish Aire was built in Taiwan and, I have always assumed, fitted out in Southern California but she has a lot of local parts on her.  One of the parts is the bow thruster which was manufactured about 10 miles from Everett.  Recognizing the need to do a final repair and the convenience of being able to drive to the factory for parts (which they had on the shelf) we went ahead and put out “a boat unit” and bought a new thruster motor which included a pair of new solenoids.  I had planned to take the old motor into the factory to confirm it matched but I was having problems getting it loose from its base so I took photos instead which turned out to be a good thing.  The Wesmar factory guy took a look at the photos and let me know that I had a very non-standard installation and explained what a standard installation would look like. When I got back to the boat I found that he was correct that we had two stacked adapter collars on ours when one is standard.  On trying to install the new motor with the old coupler I realized that the old coupler was too long (it also was held from sliding by hose clamps on the motor shaft).  The next day I went back to the factory (so very nice it is close!!) and picked up a new coupler (which they machined to fit the older installation while I waited) and we recognized that the original had been extended by welding an extra length of metal onto it. I am guessing that the original coupler kept moving on the shaft and so at some point an attempt was made to correct this issue.  It looks to me like Wesmar has since addressed this problem by adding a second set screw so I don’t expect further problems now that the thruster motor is back to a standard installation (and I have a few more spare parts to store “just-in-case”).

There is typically only one adapter (black band) here instead of 2 stacked 
Old thruster motor being readied for removal 

hose clamps had been added at some point to the shaft to keep the coupler in place

Pilot house woodwork: Salish Aire’s pilot house has had 20 years of adding and taking away of gauges, controls, etc from her pilot house and the woodwork shows it with many patches and holes.  I recently learned that a local place wholesales teak plywood and that they will sell retail so I went and bought a sheet of 3/8 plywood and a sheet of thin veneer to use to bring her back to her stately self. The purchase was made a week prior to the kids arrival and I was able to rough in the overhead dashboard but that was about it.  The rest of the materials were cut down to sizes that could be stored and they currently are laid on the top bunk in the spare berth room. The grandkids love to sleep in the pilot house so I didn’t want to varnish until they were gone so yesterday I finished the woodwork just in time for our departure.

This is the beginning of the dash replacement project (previously it was gray Formica with a lot of patches)

Scrubbing and buffing: There is no way that Clarice is going to leave the dock on a less-than-shiny boat so she has been working over the past month to get everything washed and waxed.
Provisioning: We have been slowly gathering food and material staples for some time but stocking a kitchen for 7 persons (including 3 youngsters) is very different that having the galley ready for the two of us and Jarvis so final runs were made the past 2 days.

Clarice waxing

Clarice removing the last of the scum line

A new dingy: We had planned all along to continue using the Carib dingy that came with Salish Aire but our resolve started to weaken when we lifted one of the newer aluminum hull boats and realized we could have a longer boat and it would be easier to heft up a beach. When I was really paying attention to the Carib (I had to replace a patch I had placed on it in 2014 from dropping a drill while I was up the mast) I noticed that the fabric was really showing some age.  I had always assumed it was about 10 years old with a 10 – 15 year life expectancy.  Out of curiosity I read the dingy documents and realized it was more like 20 years old.  Long story short we ended up buying a new dingy last week (we haven’t even had a chance to really test it yet as we have been so busy with Grandkids and preparations).

Provisioning: We have been slowly gathering food and material staples for some time but stocking a kitchen for 7 persons (including 3 youngsters) is very different that having the galley ready for the two of us and Jarvis so final runs were made the past 2 days. 

Vacuum packing the brand of dog food that agrees with Jarvis' GI tract

Plenty of coffee beans for Norman

Easily stored dried fruit

A seat full of canned goods

The shaft packing:  Salish Aire uses a traditional shaft packing to keep water from entering around her propeller shaft.  This system has been in use for hundreds of years and involves putting rope around the shaft and tightening a fitting that squeezes the rope until it seals the shaft – almost.  The rope would quickly overheat and potentially damage the (VERY expensive!) propeller shaft except that the wise old shipwrights figured that if you let a slow drip of seawater lubricate the rope it would keep it both lubricated and cool.  We try to set our seal so it drips several drops a minute at rest.  Last week Clarice noticed that the drip rate had increased enough to cause the bilge pump to cycle fairly frequently and so we readjusted it. Mind you that adjusting the seals is a very inexact process and involves turning some nuts and then listening, then making the shaft turn and checking again.  Last evening we decided it was now dripping to slowly after sitting for a week – so after pondering the whole shaft seal thing for 3 years we ended up readjusting it the night before we started our long trip.  The good news is that thermometer checks are showing a cool shaft so we think we got it right.

Today we declared our intentions for all to see by flying our Inside Passage flag given to us (and designed and sold by our friend John Gray.

So the Bon Voyage Parties, Happy Retirement Parties, goodbyes to friends and family, and Blessings are done and we are finally on our way.  

A final blessing for our adventure at Trinity Episcopal Church

A final family gathering at my mother's apartment

Mom is making the best of our leaving but would rather we be close 
My sister Margie, brother Timothy, and Myself (sadly I missed seeing our brother Alan when he was up the prior weekend)
Clarice letting me know that all lines are clear and she is aboard
Backing out of Everett Marina for the last time in the foreseeable future

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I am looking forward to reading all about your adventures! Thank you for sharing. I walked into work Monday and missed you. Have all the fun every day can give. Tish