Archive forFebruary, 2009

Three Hour Tour…

I have a treat for you today. BRIAN decided to blog, and he agreed (like he had a choice) to let me add my….um….comments (in blue). So grab your coffee, get comfy, and read on!

 

 

 Simone’s Maiden Voyage on the Absolut

 

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The weather was going to be nice for the next few days: sunny with highs of 12, 13 degrees, so I said “We should go boating.” to Simone.  “We could get the dinghy that Derek had given me, and the genset too.”  Her eyes lit up.  “Really!?” (WooHoo!)

 

 

“No use having a boat if you don’t use it”

 

We first had to make a pre-launch check list.  There are close to 20 things that should or must be done before embarking upon the river.  About half an hour later we were ready to go.  Just turn the boat around and … crap.  Not enough room to turn it around.   So we had to back it out by hand using push poles we borrowed from one of our neighbors at the dock who was also our send off party (Put poles on the To Get List..Ka-Ching). So 10 minutes later we were out!  Simone anxiously engaged the transmissions and we slowly moved away from the marina, the boat idling: Buddha, Buddha, Buddha. When out of the no wake zone, we bumped the engines up to 1200 rpm.  Under the train bridge, the car bridge and with Mt. Baker behind us, Simone had a big grin on her face.  She was piloting the boat!

 

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 Okay, my turn.

-Not that I needed the caffeine or anything, but a full thermos of coffee needs to be added to the pre-launch check list.-The poles are used to push away from or pull towards other boats or log booms etc. Note that I was at the stem and Brian at the stern and NO ONE was at the helm wheel. We moved and steered it with nothing but the poles…I KNOW! -He sounds so cute when he makes the Buddha Buddha Buddha sounds. I am so leaving that in Brian. Back away from the computer!

 

 We gently cruised down the river towards Kanaka Landing at about 5 and a half knots.

 

There is always something to see on the river and we took picture of some of them: the saw mills, the boat grave yard.

 

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It’s a shame that these vessels have just been left to rot in the water.

 

“You can dock the boat at Kanaka.” I said when we were about half way there.

 

 “Ya but, I have never…” she started.

 

 “You’re going to have to learn sometime.” I added.

 

 “Ya but, I’m going to need practice.” She said.

 

 “Sure.  We’ll practice at the Whonnock dock.” I replied.

 

 Her grin looked more like anxiety now.

 

 When we got to Whonnock, she said “There’s a boat at the dock.”

 

 “That’s ok.  You’ll pull in behind it.”

 

 “Ya but…”

 

 “No Ya but.  Just do it.  You’ll do fine.”

 

 

 It can take some getting used to putting a big boat were you want it.  The water is moving, the wind is a factor, and there are no brakes.  It wasn’t pretty, but we didn’t hit anything and I managed to get onto the dock.  Yes!  As airplane pilots say, a good landing is one you can walk away from.

 

 Anxiety? Me? Ok, maybe a little. But he just kept cutting me off…hmph. Because for every “Ya but” I voiced out loud, there was a inner voice saying things like, “You CAN’T be serious” or “I didn’t realize sometime meant today” or “THERE’S A BOAT AT THAT DOCK!” and “Oh, sure. I’ll do just fine, until I smack up your boat, the boat at the dock, and the dock itself, causing the dolphins (Huge wooden pylon kind of things) to fall down like dominos, destroying everything in there path, and sending tidal waves out to unsuspecting boaters, resulting in a pile up on the opposite bank, and creating a new, and instant, vessel cemetery”.

 

 Now that Simone had some practice, on to Kanaka.

 

 Practice? Practice my ass. A couple of attempts at best.

An important note here: When docking, the helmsman (woman in this case) doesn’t use the steering wheel. Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not kidding. The boat is controlled and directed in by only using the transmission controls (2 in our case as we have 2 engines), to steer the rudder. So there I was…talking to Brian, but getting NO help.. “Let’s see…starboard forward…or should it be reverse…or should port be in reverse and starboard in neutral…or maybe they should  both be in…um….Is that sand I see being churned up behind us? Well that got a response from him alright. “Throttle up and get us out of here!” Now THAT I could and definitely did…Whew.

 

 I know Simone was nervous coming into Kanaka.

 

“Don’t hit the Lady Mary.” I said.  The Lady Mary is my brother Mike’s boat moored on the outside just downstream of the Kanaka dock where we needed to moor in order to crane the genset onto the Absolut.

 

 We coasted in for a perfect landing.  Simone looked like a pro.  Well done Simone! Thanks Dear…J

 

Brian seemed to have complete faith in me, so other than repeating to myself “Don’t hit the Lady Mary. Don’t hit the Lady Mary”, I stood up to the plate (or helm in this case) and with viewers in sight, brought us into dock. What a great feeling…woohoo!

 

We had the genset in the boat within 10 minutes.  Now to get the dinghy.  First we had to climb the chain ladder up to dock.

 

 

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 I think the look on my face pretty much says it all.

 

The dinghy had seen better days and needs to be cleaned up, but it was the perfect size to fit up on the bow of Absolut.  It’s a little plastic pontoon thing that is only 6 feet in length.  It’ll hold two people…just.  It had a gouge in it that had let in some water, so we drained it.  We gently eased it into the water to keep the interior dry. 

 

“Get in.” I offered to Simone.

 

 “Are you kidding?”  she replied.

 

 “You’ll have to get into it sometime to use it.”  I commented.  “Stay low and to the middle.”   She got in without any further banter.  Cool!  I think she didn’t want to climb back down the chain ladder. -You got THAT right-  I put the oars in and got in.  I’m not sure if Simone new she was sitting in the bow of the boat, but since one of the oarlocks was broken we had to use the oars as paddles.  That meant she had to paddle backwards.  Around the net shed we went Simone blathering (What the hell kind of word is that? I don’t “blather”…do I?) about having to paddle backwards and how ridiculous this must look.  You’d think she be used to that by now.  She even threatened me with the oar!  I reminded her that I had one too.  Calm ensued. :p

 

By now the dock master was on the dock and advising us that we should moor beside the net shed if we were staying overnight.  Since we took a leisurely cruise down, etc,  the sun would be down before arrived at Mission if we left now.  First mate Simone would have to move the boat backwards and around the Lady Mary over to the net shed.  It was probably good that she didn’t have too much time to fret about it.

 

 “Don’t hit the Lady Mary.” I said.

 

 “Yes, don’t hit the Lady Mary.” Said Mike.

 

I few people had gathered at the dock and were watching.  There’s always something to see.  We fired the engines again and Simone proceeded to reverse away from the dock pilings.  It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the boat got moored beside the net shed.  -Re-docking in reverse was another first for me.- Nothing hit, nobody hurt,  good stuff.  By now a party was in full swing on the upper dock.  Time to celebrate an empowered woman. Yes indeed…Party! Somebody pour me a coffee, with booze, and no coffee. 😉

 

 

Oh Ya…The first picture?  That was the boat I talked about in earlier postings that was sunk, resurrected, then floated away one night, and was recently found and towed into the Kanaka Landing dock.

 

 Day Two…The Return Trip.

I was already awake when I heard the fire cracker go off. It was the kind that screams and then goes bang.  Nothing like starting the day with a bang.  Simone didn’t hear it.  She was still docking boats in her dreams.  We stayed overnight on Mike’s boat.  It’s warmer on his boat, and he had bedding.  (And food. Stocking the boat is now on my To Do list).

 

 

It was another beautiful sunny day.  The Absolut looked beautiful in the morning sun. There was frost on the dock, so we decided to go for breakfast.  Upon return, the frost was gone and it was time to get back on the river. 

 

The check list was run through, engines fired, and we were off.  We glided by the Ecstasy (the boat in the pic at the top) and then headed out into the middle of the river.  We motored at about 7 knots up to the Whonnock docks where Simone would try again to dock the boat.

 

The other boat was still at the dock much to Simone’s chagrin.  Oh well, better to practice when it’s difficult, then all else is easy.  This time we approached at a shallower angle and a little more slowly.  Again it wasn’t perfect, (Yes it was) but the point of the exercise was not to dock the boat, but to learn how to control the boat; to learn how to steer the boat with just the engines and transmissions.  Nothing was hit, nobody died.  It’s all good.

 

Back to the river.  I can tell Simone is feeling good about not sinking the boat.

 

Time for a treat.  “Simone, take the engines up to 3 grand.”  I order.

 

“Really?” she responded. I sooooo wanted to speed up and…well..Zoom Zoom.

 

“Sure, the engines sound good”. I reply.

 

Slowly, she brings up the throttle.  The boat responds immediately, picking up speed and bringing up the bow.  She’s still only at 2000 rpm

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“Some more.”  I order again.  She bumps up the throttle some more.  Again the boat picks up speed and lifts up the bow even more.

 

“More.” I order again.  She getting tired of being ordered around now.  Hmmm, maybe I should use “instructed” instead of order. (He is SO not the boss of me. Except that technically, it’s his boat…but still…hmmm…Nope, he’s still not the boss of me..ha.)  She bumps up the throttle again.  The engines are running at about 2800 rpm now and start to sputter. 

  

“Bring it down!”  I shout.  She throttles down.  “I have to take the flame arrestors off.”  I say. ”They are choking the engines.  These engines may be rated at 340 Horse Power per engine, but not with flame arrestors installed.  After pulling then off, we are quickly back up to 2800 rpm without sputtering.

 

The bow is now way up in the air.  Time to use the trim tabs.   The trim tabs are used to level out the boat for just this situation.  They bring the bow down, and allow the boat to plane just below planing speed.  Yes, plane.  You know how when a flat rock is skipped across water.  It is planing.

 

“Faster”, say I

 

She bumps it up to 3000 rpm.  Simone has a big grin on her face now.  Think of the Miami Vice theme music.  Now you get the picture. Grin, nothing. I don’t think I could have smiled any bigger. And it got even better!

 

 “Take it up to 3400 rpm” I yell.  I have to yell now, because the Miami Vice music is so loud…I mean the engines are so loud.  They are not going Buddha,Buddha, Buddha now.  They are roaring.  Our carbon foot print is now equal to that of a small medium size village. Carbon, schmarbon. All I know is that I was having a great time.

 

planing at 3200rpm 

 

After a few minutes of rocking the little boats of the sport fishermen with our wake, and because we are so environmentally conscious (Not to mention that twin 454 engines love to suck up fuel…Ka-Ching), we throttled back down to 6 knots and enjoyed the afternoon on the river.

 

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 Final Exam (I couldn’t call in sick this time) 

 

 

 

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Our "street"

Our "street"

 

What you are looking at is a picture of where we have to berth.  See the little blue speck on the left hand side way at the end.  Our stall is just behind that boat.  There is just enough room to get the boat through down the street, with the fenders out.  Remember the first part about pushing the boat out with poles?  Well now Simone was going to motor in and dock.  She didn’t know that yet.  I didn’t want her to stew on it.

  As we approached the marina, she asked me if I wanted to take over.

 “No.  You can do it.” I said.  She looked concerned.

I’d like to remind you that I was going to park, or I guess I should say dock, a 10 ton watercraft that’s 36 ft. in a spot that’s about 42 ft., on water, with no steering wheel allowed, and no brakes…I KNOW!

 “Are we going to pole in?” she asked hopefully. (Sounded good to me)

 

“No.  You are going to motor in.” I replied coolly.

 

“I don’t know if I…” she started.

 

“You can do it.” I said confidently.  Her grin was gone.  “Just take it slow and easy.” I added.

 

Buddha, Buddha, Buddha,  The deep rumble notified our neighbours that we were back. Old Ben Kenobi (Ok, I don’t know his last name, but he kind of looks like Obiwan without the cloak), came out and noticed Simone piloting the boat in.

 

“It’s a woman driver!” he exclaimed. (Damn right, I say!)

 

 

10 minutes later, we were safely moored at the dock without hitting a single boat!

 

Ah, yes, I docked without playing bumper boats! WooHoo! But really, was there any doubt? 😉

 

Awesome job Simone! (Thank you dear…J) After running down the shutdown check list, it was time for a drink on the dock.  Simone had a grin on her face you couldn’t remove with a wire brush.  Even Ben congratulated her with a firm handshake.  

 

Another good day on the river.

 

Oh, I guess that’s a pass on the Final Exam.  Actually Final Exam is a misnomer.

It’s really just the start. 😉 Watch out, there’s no stopping me now.

 

 

Thanks for riding along with us. I’d just like to add that I had been looking forward to handling and docking the boat. I just hadn’t expected to do it solo so soon. It was an exhilarating and empowering feeling. Brian’s unwavering faith in my abilities, along with his bossing…I mean encouragement, reinforced to me that I’m an intelligent, capable woman who can do anything I put my mind to. I’m truly grateful, and proud to be your crew. Now, get out there swab the deck…What do you mean that’s still MY job?….Crap!

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Schools in session…

February 12-15, 2009

 

Well, I’m over the flu, and you know how I know? I was cheerful during our morning coffee and Brian piped up with “You’re so much happier when you’re not sick”. Really?.. Hmmm… Would never have guessed. So my cheerful, healthy self is up and running… Correction: Not literally running, because…well I don’t run. I walk, saunter, strut, doddle and I’ve even been know to meander, but run? Ah… No. My memory takes me back to Junior High School and Physical Education. And speaking of the whole memory thing, would somebody please explain to me why, as I get older a (small) step away from my youth, I can remember Junior High, but I can’t remember if I put on my bra this morning? Oh, look, I did J. Anyway, where was I? Ok, I remember. It was mandatory to run the track during Phys Ed. which wasn’t a problem for everyone (the boys), but some of us were the carriers of…well… mammary glands. Now I admit that I was “average”, but even so I found it uncomfortable bouncing around, trying to run while keeping my arms crossed under my chest. The “well endowed” girls would be thrown off balance, ending up two lanes over, not to mention arriving back at our home room class and trying to explain to Father McMann how they got a black eye. Of course there’s also the fact that I don’t revel in activities that make me sweat…Well most activities…wink. So in conclusion, at this stage in my life, I am now somewhat above average, so running isn’t even IN the running when I’m mobile. But I challenge anyone to a doddle.

 

Onward and Upward…

Literally. Now that the weather is a little nicer, we’ve started going for more walks again, taking forestry roads. We veered off in a new direction, in hopes of reaching a radio tower we’d seen from afar. The trek was more of a workout at this time of year, because there’s snow in them thar hills. And as we get close, he challenges me to a race to the finish line (top). Hellooooo that would mean running (see above entry)…uphill…in boots…in the snow…I think NOT! .. So we saunter on up the rest of the way to the tower, and THAT”S where Brian decided to open school (When you’re with Brian, school can start up at anytime). So with his writing utensil (a stick) and white board (snow) he set to work trying, I repeat trying, to teach me about:

            Transformers – I learned these aren’t the robot toys that transform

                                     into other things, but kinda like robots on a pole.

            Rotational Operators – No, not people, but something to do with, well, rotation.

            Vectors – Something…direction…arrows…something.

            Matrix(s) – Math…need I say more.

Anyway, you get the picture. We continued school most of the way home too, as the white board was pretty much everywhere. I must say that school in the mountains is pretty nice, and although I tend to use him to draw my humor from, Brian is a patient teacher, and a good sport (There, that should keep me in his good books for a day or two. Well that and maybe…never mind) OH…I even got the right answer to one of his questions…I KNOW! I think I surprised the hell out of him too. There’s hope for me yet.

 

Last for today…

The following picture is dedicated to my cousin Ewen, who, along with his wife Tracy and their two dogs are exploring the US in their RV.  And for those who have been following my blog, it should also be self explanatory…………I know!.bra-bungee3

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AaaaCHOO!

AaaaACHOO!

 

Sniff….Oh sorry. It’ll just take me a second to wipe off the screen…There, that’s better.

 

Well I caved in, and got the flu. I didn’t actually go looking for it, and I’d been quite good at putting it off, but alas it caught up to me. After discussing it for awhile, my body betrayed me and let it in….sniff. Not a so so form either.  Oh no, not for me. I went for the All You Can Ache variety. I mean…sniff, even my skin and hair follicles hurt. Brian has been good to me throughout it too.  Trying to keep me from dwelling on it, what with bringing me things like the dishes, the laundry, his food bowl. (Just kidding dear, and you’re missing a sock). So anyway, after spending the last few days feeling like a Mac truck had driven over me and then backed up, I’m over the worst of it. Today (Tuesday Feb.10th) I felt like I needed to get out for a bit of fresh air, and when Brian headed into Mission I had him drop me off at the gas bar down the road and I walked home. Well, I felt so good, I washed the floor, and the little rugs. I couldn’t get the vacuum to work, but did that stop me? Nay Nay. There I was on my hands and knees, using strips of duct tape to pick up what was on the surface of the carpet. Hey, like the toilet brush thing, I used what I had at hand. Resourceful Eh. Then I set about making home made lasagna, during which time the RV filled up with smoke and the fire alarm went off…..I KNOW!  I open the oven door to see it had bubbled over a bit, and then ALL the smoke from in there came out too…I KNOW! So a few minutes later I’m thinking “Hmmm…   I wonder what Brian would think if he pulled up right about now, the door  wide open, smoke streaming out, the alarm beeping, as he looks in and sees me running back and forth while madly waving one of the floor rugs in the air”. EXACTLY. But I managed to get it all cleared out, the alarm reset, and on his arrival all he found was…sniff… one very tired woman, and a perfect pan of lasagna.

During supper, I filled him in on my day, and received (not surprisingly) the eye roll, some laughter, and the shake of his head… :p.

 

So anyway, a little later I decided to curl up in bed with the PC in my lap, and do a bit of this blog, and he decided to find out why the vacuum wasn’t working. Well we all know what THAT means, don’t we? I immediately had a flashback of the furnace motor escapade, and felt my headache growing by the second. As I’m trying to put my thoughts to print, I hear him rummaging around and talking to himself (He tends to do that when he works…I’m just saying). Things like “Now why is that there?”, “Hmmmm”, “How does that come off?”, and “Piece of cake”. Well soon enough, I see him (He’s now in my line of vision) plunk down, on the counter, part of the vacuum, which  turns out to be, you guessed it, the motor. Go figure. Curiosity gets to me, so I sit up and glance out into the RV….Aaack! He’s not only taken apart the vacuum cleaner, he’s managed, while looking for the right tools, to turn the place into a total mess. Déjà vu!…I KNOW! mess-from-vacuum-projecthpim1485hpim1486

Within minutes, he’s gleefully showing me a piece of wire (the culprit, it seems) and explaining (like at this point I care) what the problem is, and the fact that he can quickly fix it (yippee). I roll over and try to sleep, and shortly after,  suddenly find myself  jolted up in bed by one VERY LOUD ROAR, and I see him drop the motor, with sparks flying (I swear I saw fire, but he totally denies it) onto the floor. My screaming and facial expressions had him laughing at me, while apologizing for the noise…hmph. In the meantime, I’ve lost my hearing, my hearts about to explode, and my headache, I swear, has now turned into a full blown stroke! BUT, the fire alarm didn’t go off, AND the motor works, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Noise Bylaw Officer show up next time I vacuum. Note to self:  Add ear plugs, and Extra Strength Tylenol to the shopping list.  

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First week of February

The first week of February has been just that…the first week of February.

 

Brian and Mike, with the help of Derek and his hoist, managed to get the generator out of the boat. hpim1479hpim1482

 

Afterwards they continued on to our new moorage spot at the Mission Marina, which is a lot closer to where we live. It’s always amusing to see those two playing with their big boy toys, and today I mean boats. We all know that big boy toys range anywhere from silly putty to anything, and I mean anything that has a motor and moves, in any direction, on any surface, fast or slow, although fast is much, much better. Vrrrrroomm, Vrrrrroomm! Now since their last experience moving the boat (Remember the fog run), they were thrilled to have no fog, smooth water, clear blue sky and sunshine. So after shoving them off at the bow (Not the guys, the boat…Although there have been moments…), I headed off to Mission to wait for them, which seems to becoming a new past time for me…sigh. At some point during the trip, Brian had the boat up to 4000rpm and planing on the water, the wind blowing through his hair, the adrenaline (and too much caffeine) flowing through his veins. Ah yes, Captain Invincible was at the helm when..…BANG! Something had hit the hull…Aaack. Well that just put a crimp into things, didn’t it? Immediately dropping down to an idle, the two of them looked at each other with eyes the size of a hub caps, smiles turning to OH OH’s, hoping the other had an instant, and reasonable explanation, while searching the water for some sign of whatever had the NERVE to collide with their toy, only to find nothing. Now the only other reason for such a bang would be that something within the boat was the cause, and later Brian did find that the electrical panel had dropped down, so that might explain the first bang. Oh, yes, shortly after the first, there was another bang… OH OH …again. Still nothing obvious. Things seemed to running fine. The boat wasn’t taking on water. There wasn’t any smoke or fire. No pirate ships shooting torpedos in sight, and the control panel wasn’t showing anything wrong. Mind you that could be because the control panel isn’t working yet…Ah, Ya…I know. Anyway, the rest of the trip was done slowly, they came into dock smoothly, I got to do the bowline tie-up, the boat was secured to the dock and all was well. What a crew!

Still wondering what the bangs were? So are we, although MY theory is that it was just a  little bump up against a stick, and they embellished the whole thing because we girls know that’s what guys do (ha), and really, how could they make a bump with a stick into an exciting story worth telling…unless they could somehow work in silly putty.

 

We’ve met some of our new dock neighbors, including 5 men, 1 woman, 3 dogs, a cat, and a pigeon. They’re quite a friendly bunch with lots of advice, like “Kiss your money goodbye”.. and….um… Well that’s pretty much it. Apparently BOAT stands for

Bring Out Another Thousand, and after the past month I believe it. Plus if what you need has the word Marine associated with it in any way you can double the price. It just about makes you want to cry. And they don’t even offer air miles. But then that would defeat the whole purpose wouldn’t it, because that would just put us all in the air and not in the water. Well it’s time to go boat stuff shopping. Here’s a fresh Kleenex Brian.

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January comes to an end…

January Comes To An End

 

Before my usual ramblings, I’d like to mention that my cousin, Wayne, passed away suddenly from a heart attack this week. Once again, a reminder not to take the present, the future, or those you care about for granted. Look for something positive in each day, and don’t forget to say “I love you”. Seems obvious enough, I know, but often forgotten.

Oh, and don’t forget to floss and brush daily too…J

 

And now…

 

Well the last week of January was fairly easy going. We spent a day (and I mean a DAY at the Pick Your Part looking for 2 alternators for the boat. Now for those of you who don’t know what that is, let me explain. Picture a BIG yard. And in that yard are lots and lots of cars and trucks. No, no, not a dealership car lot, or a mall parking lot. These vehicles are passed their prime, as in that they’re all dead, but some of their parts are still good. Ahhh, you’re beginning to see. Good. It’s like a Toys ‘R’ Us for men. They (men, in case this needed clarification) show up with smiles on their faces, tool kits in their hands, practically skipping along in excitement, humming as they go up and down the rows, lifting hoods and trunks, looking for whatever part(s) they need, and with any luck, they find it, remove it (if they’ve brought the right tools), keeping in mind that the parts NEVER come out easily (insert swear words here), pay for it, take it home, and find out it doesn’t fit (insert more swear words here). Since meeting Brian I have been to a parts lot several times, and the ONE tool that I’ve decided to start taking along is a whistle. And as soon as he finds, and removes, the part(s) he needs, I’m blowing it. Times up. Move away from the vehicles. Go straight to the check out. Never mind the ’62 Chevy back 3 rows, with yadayadayada. We’re out of here mister.  So, anyway, success was ours, and then Brian spent the next couple of days rebuilding them….I know….It’s just his thing, and in the end he got both engines working…GO Brian!

 

We also experienced more snow…arrgh…followed by rain…yay…and the last couple of days have been sunny…woohoo!

 

Taking advantage of the sun, we tackled the windlass (anchor winch). This should have been fairly easy and quickly done. However, the screws holding it place wouldn’t unscrew. They just spun around, and around, and around. After verbally abusing the person who put this together, we managed, using 2 screw drivers, set of pliers, a hammer, some muscle, and sheer determination, to get them out (new screws are on the shopping list). The anchor is now securely fastened. One more thing checked off the To Do list.hpim1465

Following that, it was decided that after leaving marks and dirt (from out boots) on the deck, maybe a wipe up was in order. So Captain Brian, being the slave driver that he is, forces  me to swab the deck….with a toilet brush….I KNOW!…. He even took pictures just to humiliate me, and  forced me to post them, or he’d make me walk the plank….What a Scallywag! Ok, ok, Brian, I’ll tell it your way, but only because I don’t want to be shackled… again. So we couldn’t find a scrub brush (add to list), but we had a new toilet brush, and since he had to unhook the generator for repairs, I volunteered to do the clean up. Happy now? Hmmmm?  hpim1462  hpim1463

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