Saturday, April 30, 2011

Procrastination and boat projects

Before I lived aboard a boat, there was always a rush to get projects done.   The boating season in upstate New York is short (Father's Day to Labor Day on Lake Champlain) and so things are carefully planned and must get done quickly so as to have time to enjoy the season.

Living aboard is different.  When I get home from work during the week, dinner is my top priority.  By the time that's over, there's only a couple of hours left until bed time so practically nothing gets done.  Weekends are the time for boat projects, but those days are busy too.

For example, this morning was typical- wake up, feed the cats, start the coffee, and take a shower.  Back to the boat, drink coffee, eat breakfast, check out several websites on the computer.  It is now 9:45 and the morning is half over.  It's time to take the dogs to the dog park in Norwalk to tire them out good.  Real good.

The dogs love playing with each other and other dogs, but they also love the attention they get from people.    Ruby is a good ambassador for pit bulls and quickly dispels the myths about them being mean dogs.

After the park, I guess I'll mosey over to the hardware store and see about buying a palm sander.  I really need to get after  boat projects and painting the inside of the gunnell is high on my list.  But it's kind of cloudy and windy today.  Shouldn't something like sanding be done when it's sunny and warm?  I mean, how can I enjoy a victory beer on a day like this?  I have a party to go  to tonight and if I get covered in paint dust, I'll have to take another shower (said with a whiney voice in my head).

Well, I guess I'll at least get the dogs to the park and then check out palm sanders at the hardware store.  Maybe I'll even buy one.  Then I can say I accomplished something.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Loons and Herons

Yesterday was a bird day.  I had just gotten into the shower when I heard the unmistakable call of a Loon.  I stuck my head out the shower door but it was so foggy that I couldn't see it.   I was still calling, but now farther away, and I knew I'd have no chance of catching sight of him.   This was the first Loon I've heard since sailing on Lake Champlain.

Last night, I had the dogs up playing in the park at the head of the dock when a Heron landed on a dock post right next to me, not more than fifteen feet away.  He was just staring at me, as if I was invading his territory and he wanted me gone.  Dogs too.  I kicked myself for not having my camera, as usual when I see cool stuff.   I decided to chance walking through the gate, past the Heron, and to the boat to fetch it.  I figured that the Heron would take off like birds usually do when a person comes close.   I did, and he didn't, even when I walked back up the dock right past him the second time.   This is him, a Black Capped Night Heron.

Ruby, one of the dogs, caught sight of him and decided he posed some kind of threat.   She charged down the dock and down the finger to the dock post he was on.   At that point he did fly away, about twenty feet to another dock post on another dock.

Living aboard in a city, I never thought I'd see so much wildlife and waterfowl.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Mess in the Head

Dave chatted about our rainy day last weekend, but I thought I'd share what I discovered when I decided to clean the head in our stateroom. I had noticed that there was a lot of moisture under the port and I had to frequently spray the area and clean it with Lysol mold and mildew cleaner to kill whatever was growing. Upon  closer inspection Saturday, I discovered the whole top of the shelf was also wet as well as the outer wall. I gave a little tug on the wall paper... oops.

Now I have a decision to make.... well, I couldn't leave it like that, so I began to tear out all the rotted wood. As I began scraping the rot on the shelf top, I discovered a lake under the wood!

I kept scraping and pulling up wet, rotted wood. Under the rotted wood was a solid fiberglass countertop. The outer wall was just as rotted, so that all had to go as well.

so after a lot of scraping, ripping and cleaning, the final result wasn't too bad. I can live with this for now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Easter turkey was too big

If the Easter turkey is too big for the convection oven, the only place to cook it is the old propane grill on the aft deck.

And when you don't have a turkey baster, you use the next best thing.  A 10 milliliter syringe from the vet's office.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Get Back On The Boat! NOW!

Today is one of ~those~ live aboard days.   A rainy Connecticut day.   It means no dog park and no outdoor boat projects.    

The first order of business was to drop my truck off for an oil change.  Back at the boat, Pam made a wonderful breakfast of omlettes, bacon, and toast.  She's really a great cook.

One of today's projects was to format and reinstall Windows on a PC I built a few years ago.  Pam's daughter (Megan) was using it in the guest stateroom and picked up some really nasty malware.   I started the format and let it run.  Time for a boat project.

I decided it was time to delve into the engine room.   It's a nice, big space for a boat, but it kinda became the place we put all the stuff we didn't know where else to put it (we also use the forward stateroom for this function).

For my non-boating friends, I need to explain about boat life.  When you own a house, you have living room stuff, garage stuff, attic stuff, garden shed stuff, etc.  Everything goes in it's proper room.  On a boat, you just have stuff, and it goes where ever you can fit it.  It doesn't matter where something lives, as long as it has a home and stays there when not being used.   It's important to be able to put your hands on something quickly sometimes.

I went into the engine room and surveyed my opponent.   Piles and piles of... stuff.   Everywhere.  I decided first to discard everything that wasn't needed.  First to go was the crappy sound insulation installed many years ago.  For some boneheaded reason, the installer used open cell foam insulation.  Open cells absorb moisture, and wet foam is heavy.   Periodically, pieces fall off the  ceiling and walls.  

Next was the small shelf unit.  I removed everything piece by piece and sorted it-  plumbing, electrical, engine, unknown, unknown but cool, and garbage.   Then I organized it into empty tool boxes and put stuff back.   Not looking too bad.

In this photo, you can see the cleaned up little shelf unit on the right.  The port engine and generator behind it are the catch-all for the junk... er... stuff.

Declaring a won battle in this war, I decided to check on the rest of the crew.   Upstairs, I found the dogs had ransacked the main saloon.

The dogs were in the helm station, demanding to go outside. 

It was raining out pretty good, and someone needed to take the  dogs off the boat.   I looked as busy as I possibly could, and so Pam decided to do it.  :)

Of course, once the dogs are off the boat, they want to  play.  They don't care if it's raining.   Pam does however, and after a short time started yelling at the dogs to get back on the boat.

Ummmm.... no.

Finally they did, of course.   Pam can be very persuasive.  

Meanwhile, I was running from the engine room to the PC.   Sort and organize, toss out.   Install Windows and drivers.   Move stuff around.   etc. etc.  I picked the truck up from the dealer.  I was biffed $101 for an oil and filter change, and air filter change.  I guess I won't go back there again.

 Back at the boat, I checked to see what Pam was doing.   She decided to clean the head in our stateroom.   She discovered that some of the dirt was rot, and lots of it.   Again, for my non-boating friends, modern boats are fiberglass, which is great stuff.   But to make the boats more cozy, boat builders cover everything with veneer.   Boats with old fashioned teak decks, like ours, leak (that will be another blog), and when they leak for a few decades, the veneer rots.    Isn't this nasty?

Pam is scraping the old veneer off the fiberglass subsurface with a putty knife.  Ugh.

After she removed the veneer from the cabinet top and the wall, she could see where it was leaking.   She decided to take advantage of it and created an  irrigation system for her plant.  

The critters decided that a rainy day is good for naps.


Pam finished her demolition project, and I decided that I needed time to consider my next engine room move.   Victory beer time!

Meanwhile, Smudge was fed up with the whole day.

I think the rest of the day will be internet surfing and movies.   We'll see what the weather decides for us to do tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What a difference a day makes

24 little hours...

Yesterday was nasty.  Cool, rainy, and windy!   I got the dogs to the dog park in the morning before the rain hit, which was good.

Sorry that this pic is askew, but the boat was rocking a bit.   This is looking out the channel towards the seawall and Long Island Sound.  We're well protected in here, but Megan (Pam's daughter) got a little queasy last night anyway.  I guess we'll have to get her some dramamine.

Today dawned sunny and beautiful.   The boat heated up quickly, both from the sun and from cooking breakfast.  I turned off the diesel heater and turned on the air conditioning in the main cabin.   Smudge found a nice soft place to enjoy the morning.

No wonder my clothes are always covered in white stuff.  Here I thought it was from me.

Last night high tide was predicted to be 8.8 feet at 11 PM, which is a couple of feet higher than normal.   The strong winds were out of the east yesterday, which piled up Long Island Sound at the western end where we are, resulting in high tide probably at 10 feet or more.   This is what a normal high tide looks like.

The tide went up over the rock wall and onto the grassy area and parking lot.   It did no damage and we got a bonus.  A new stick!

The dogs enjoy playing tug of war with a stick more than just about anything.

I enjoy people watching from our boat.  There's a yacht club and a marina behind us, a public park to our east, and a public beach and boat launch ramp to our south.   I found this person interesting.

That's a long walk out the seawall, and it looks like it requires good balance.

And I see that J787 is back.   I took a photo of him two years ago and reported sighting him to the USGS and Environment Canada.

The Catalina Goose was back too.

And finally, I spotted our Osprey's nest.  There's a baseball field in a park beyond the yacht club, a nice one with lights for night games.  One of the light poles is outfitted with a box for Osprey's to nest in.  

I wonder how Osprey's know what it's for?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting Mauled By My Own Dogs

Saturday was a nice day for sitting outside.  I had finished cleaning up the storage bins under the helm in the flybridge of many years worth of clutter and debris and was celebrating with a couple of victory beers on the foredeck.  It was sunny and warm, and the dogs were enjoying it as much as I was.

Ruby and Chevy were doing guard dog duty, watching for evil doers, communists, and whoemever else posed a threat to national security.

They soon got bored with that and decided to play with whatever was handy.  Anything is a toy to a dog, and towels are just  fine.

They soon tired of that as well and decided a dog nap was in order.

That looked good to me too.  There was a tarp lying on the deck and the sun had heated it up nicely.   It looked like a perfect place to lay down and reflect on world matters through the inside of my eye lids.

The dogs thought this was a curious thing for me to do and came over to investigate.  Ruby, the very protective and motherly female, decided that I needed saving from Chevy, the vicious pit bull.

She climbed on top of me where she could defend me best.  She was insistent and I was having a hard time getting her off.   I called for help from Pam, and being the dutiful girlfriend, decided to grab the camera instead to record my impending doom.

FYI- dogs don't care where they step on you.   A couple of shouts of pain got Chevy's attention...

and Ruby was right there to fight him off. 

Ruby then thought my face needed washing and proceeded to clean me up.   

It looks like she's trying to eat my eyeball in the photo below, but she's actually smothering me in dog kisses.

Side note- it looks like I'm getting a little thin on top. 

Well, I never got my nap.   But it's reassuring to know that I'm at least well protected from evil doers, communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Chevy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Morning Reflections

This morning was simply beautiful.   Sunny, no wind, and 43 degrees, so Pam and I decided to have morning coffee on the foredeck, one of our favorite places.   I brought along the camera to share this perfect morning with you.

We both love living aboard.   To our landlubber friends, it's difficult to explain.   To our liveaboard and cruising friends, no explanation is necessary.