Saturday, June 25, 2011

Raccoons eat mussels?

I've blogged before about the surprising variety of wildlife around our marina here in Stamford, Connecticut, including Rocky the Raccoon.

He comes out most evenings about a half hour before sunset and searches along the shore for mussels.   I have no idea how he gets them open.

Update on the Canada Geese- the kids are getting big, probably teenagers now.   They'll need feathers if they intend to fly south for the winter.  Like their parents though, they may make Stamford their year round home.  If so, in a few years there won't be any room for boats here.   The place will be full of Geese.

I'm a little concerned about the Thunderbird.  The marina is paving the parking lot and we have to park on the  lawn for a few days.  I hope Rocky doesn't decide to make himself a new home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thompson's Water Seal follow-up

I finally heard back from Thompson's Water Seal customer service on Tuesday, one week after submitting an inquiry to them.   This is what I wrote:

I purchased Thompson's Advanced Formula Water Seal to seal the teak decks of my boat. I applied it to the flybridge and aft deck and it worked beautifully. I bought another jug of it and it looked different. I compared the two jugs and the first one is "Natural Wood Protector" and the second "Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer". The directions indicated it would work so I applied the second jug to the foredeck. It did not work. It looks bad, and the wood under the water seal is getting soaked. Please advise.

This was their answer:


 Thank you for taking the time to contact Thompson’s. We appreciate your
 interest in our products.

 The Multi-Surface and the Natural Wood Protector are two different
 products. Can you please answer the following questions so I can better
 understand and resolve this issue.

 1) Can you explain in more details why it looks "bad"?

 2) Were the products applied next to each other?

 3) How were these products applied?

 Thank you for your time.  Please respond with e-mail history if you
 additional assistance.


 Thompson’s Product Support

My answer:

Hi Kevin,

1)  The foredeck that was coated with the Multi-Surface has a blotchy
appearance.   Not so with the deck coated with the Natural Wood Protector.

2) Yes.  The port side deck runs up to the foredeck and are next to each

3) The products were applied the same way, with a brush.

The Multi-Surface isn't waterproof.  When it rains, the deck turns the same

wet-wood look it did before applying the Multi-Surface.   The decks treated

with the Natural Wood Protector look fine and water beads up and runs off.

Dave Gibson

This was Kevin's reply yesterday:


Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.  If the Multi-Surface
is not beading up water, that means the product penetrated so deep it
cannot protect the surface layer.  I would recommend applying another thin
application over these areas.  This should help even out any blotchiness
and make the surface layer 100% protected, like you other applications.
You want to make sure to apply as thin as possible, if applied to heavy the
surface will seem oily or tacky.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Thompson's Product Support

So, what to do?  I'm thinking I'm not going to apply the Multi-purpose.  I'll save that for waterproofing other things, like the dinghy's bimini.  I'll go back to what I know works, the Natural Wood Protector.  I may wait a bit for the Multi-purpose to wear down first, I think.

Anyway, the lesson learned here is to read the labels carefully.  These two different products look too much alike.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Whatcha got heeeere is yer waterfront prop-i-ty

On Wednesday, I posted about the problem I had with the Thompson's Advanced Formula Water Seal "Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer".   Put simply, it didn't work.   I applied it to Drift Away's foredeck and water runs right through it (the first Thompson's product I used,  "Natural Wood Protector", worked great).   I wrote to the company using on online form on Tuesday asking for advice and answers.   Why did the second product not work at all?   Can I apply the Wood Protector over the Waterproofer?    You can tell a lot about a company by its customer service, and put bluntly, Thompson's stinks.  If I ever hear anything, I'll let you know.

On a brighter note, I took a pic of these guys the other day.

There were actually three of them, all chirping away loudly.   I figured one was a real estate salesman with a New York City accent...  "Whatcha got heeeere is yer watta-front prop-i-ty.   Ya buildcher nest right ova theeere where ya can poop on the foredeck seat...."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thompson's Water Seal Deck Report

The old teak decks on Drift Away leak, pretty badly in a few places.   Pam has been working at digging out the old sikaflex caulk and recaulking it, but it's a slow, arduous process.   Meanwhile, the decks leak.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to experiment with Thompson's Advanced Formula Water Seal and sealed the flybridge deck.  If it didn't work, I'd simply fiberglass it over.  I made sure to really glop it into the places where the caulk was missing and where the bungs covering the screws were gone.  Thompson's worked beautifully and stopped all the leaks.    After a couple of weeks, though, we found a very small leak and so I applied a second coat and the leak stopped.

I then did the aft deck and the port side deck, and again it worked great.

The Thompson's made the old worn teak look much better.  You can see how the water is beading up and running off.

I decided to do the foredeck and grabbed another jug at the local True Value.  When I got home and opened it, I noticed the sealer looked different.  Instead of a yellowish color, this was a thin milky white.   Looking at both jugs, I noticed that the first was "Natural Wood Protector" and the second "Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer".  Cripe.  You'd think they'd put them in different color jugs, or at least make the label clearly different.

Reading the directions, it said it worked on stone and masonry and also wood.  So having great confidence in Thompson's, I applied it to the foredeck.  It went on the same, but as it dried, it didn't look very good and had a mottled appearance.   It rained pretty hard here on Saturday, and the second product didn't work at all.

As the photo above shows, the rain penetrated right through the water seal, which is bad enough, but the stuff also looks really bad.  There is no way the multi-surface stuff should be used on wood, or at least on teak.   Now I'm wondering whether I'll be able to apply the wood protector (the good stuff) over it.  I emailed Thompsons last night and I'm waiting for their advice.  I'll let you know what they say.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stamford Wildlife

I've posted several times about the abundance of wildlife we see while living aboard Drift Away.  We see many species of waterfowl, which should not be surprising, but yesterday Megan (Pam's daughter) had the day off and watched a deer leap off the stone wall  behind our boat and into the water, in broad daylight.   Luckily, she grabbed the camera.

I must note that we live in a marina in Stamford, a city of 125,000 and surrounded by the smaller cities of Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, and other towns.  That we see deer, raccoons, and other critters still amazes me.    Several towns even report black bear problems!

Last night was typical.  This is what we usually see while enjoying sitting on the aft deck.


grows into this.

What a handsome bird, eh?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raccoon and weekend boat chores

I was walking up our dock early yesterday evening and I saw this guy.

See him?

He saw me as I approached and scampered down the rocks and into the pipe.  He was really cute, but I made sure I kept my distance because raccoons aren't supposed to be out in the daytime.   It was getting close to dusk so he's probably OK, but it's better to be safe than sorry.   Rabies shots aren't fun, I've heard.

So the plan for this weekend was to clean the teak deck on the port side of the boat and seal it with Thompson's Advanced Formula Water Seal, then a car show tonight and another tomorrow.   That plan has already been derailed somewhat as it's alreay 9:30 in the morning and I haven't gone after the deck yet.   The marina wifi went down and I spent an hour rebooting and resetting that.   Turns out it was a burned out LAN port on the hot spot.

So off to the deck!   Right after I finish this cup of coffee.   Then to the deck!   Well, I really should eat breakfast first, but then right to the deck!    Well, I need to brush my teeth, and I probably should shave, but then right to the deck!  Oh wait, there's something on the news about the Hudson....