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By the First Mate

The skies are dark and the rain has returned.

Williwa Down the Inside Passage Pt-2 was uploaded last night.  

If you enjoy Island Music and missed Chuck's Monday Street Beat program on KFSK the download link is available here

Ondine and Rod.  I truly enjoyed our conversation on Sunday. 

Ondine had some great thoughts regarding my blog post "Girl Talk" and we talked for quite some time. Still noodling ideas but will be posting an announcement soon.  Thank you.  


Happy Saturday Morning!

by the First Mate

Blueberry pancakes and a cuppa jo got our morning off the ground.

It took Chuck longer than anticipated to get the first chapter of Williwa down the Inside Passage edited and uploaded.  It seems our computer can't cope with a video longer than 10 minutes and during the editing process it continued locking up until Chuck had to give up and start from scratch so we will be uploading this series in chapters and then hope to combine them all into one longer video later. 

It is nearly the end of March, the weather has been fine and dry and we find ourselves eagerly looking to the horizon. We have gotten many questions lately about our summer plans and to be honest we don't know what we are going to be doing yet.  It seems we have tons of options and all of them lead in a positive direction, we are cruising after all and the best part of that is not being tied to any particular time, place or heading. 

Chuck has a trip planned to Vermont in May and I will be visiting my best friend in Victoria, B.C. while he is gone. When we arrive back in Petersburg we will determine our next course.  

Got Bike?

by the First Mate

I know we have a ton of friends who are pilots and I am willing to bet we have a ton of friends who are also into motorcycles.  Most of you know Chuck worked in the motorcycle industry before he retired but not many know I did as well. Chuck and I met because I sent him my resume...but that is another story.  I worked with him at Harley Davidson for a short time but my calling was the sport bikes so I went to work for Suzuki instead.  I raced 600 class for six seasons in Hawaii and it was Ed who convinced me to try.  

Memories...good ones. If you are interested in motorcycles (fast ones) or love hanging out in a garage listening to awesome racing stories then tune in to this new podcast with racers Ed Sorbo and Michael Gougis. I worked with Ed and raced with him and he is a very funny and knowledgeable guy, so, if you have any interest in racing or working on your own bike then tune in and I guarantee you will learn a few things and hear some awesome racing stories at the same time. 

Girl Talk

by the First Mate

Recently we have been getting a lot more comments from women asking some great questions and I have been considering the best way to answer them. To date I have been responding to individual emails but have wondered how many would benefit from the sharing of more in depth answers.  We now have two computers that are able to edit video (Thanks Tim!) and I'm wondering how much interest there would be in a new series aimed at women who just aren't sure if this life is for them.  

As I see it there are a couple of options.  You can send me your questions, if you send a video question it will be used in the response, and I will answer them in a similar format to our Q & A Series or we can arrange a YT Live Program if there is enough interest.  This could be fun so share this with your first mate or potential partner and get them involved! Based on response and feedback I will make a decision which route to take.
Meanwhile, Chuck continues editing our next series -Williwa down the Inside Passage and we should have it uploaded in the next few days, sorry, it is taking more time than he had hoped to complete but it is longer in length than previous uploads.

For any music fans out there, Chuck will be on the air today playing his favorite Island Music on KFSK around 1:00 (AST) or after the City Council Meeting. Live stream available on KFSK or check back for the download link after the show. 

Looking forward to replies and comments.

Now, off to the dentist to get a crown replaced.......

Snow in the trees on Sunday.

Internet Income

By The Skipper:

In a recent thread on Sailnet, a poster opined:

The DVD is dead.

In some ways this is a good thing but for those who are trying to make buck through photography, writing or producing videos it is unfortunate. We were all used to paying for a thing we could hold in our hands like a DVD, a magazine or a book. We understood that the thing has a cost and that the people who make it, pack it, transport it and put it into your hands need to be paid.

Magazines, DVDs and, to a lesser degree, books are rapidly going the way of the dinosaur however. Now all that content is available digitally on the internet with no physical thing to hold in your hands. Without a physical object to hold, people are reluctant to fork over hard earned cash when it seems that the content they watch or read is free. They complain about ads and ppv schemes yet, as all Heinlein fans know TANSTAAFL. Cameras, computers, talent and time all have value and all are expended in the creation of "Free" content.

As creators we have a problem. We want as many people as possible to see and enjoy our work yet, in order to continue, we have to come up with the money to sustain ourselves somehow. We are still using the "Magazine" model. Content is supported by the advertising that surrounds it. We are paid by the advertisers. There are flaws in this model. For one thing it is too easy for well intentioned friends or malicious trolls to cost you your ad server account by over clicking the ads. Too many ad clicks unsupported by traffic numbers gets you suspended.  Asking for clicks is a violation of the TOS and Adsense will yank your account if they catch you.

So please, do not clickety-click the ads in an effort to "Help us out"

Notwithstanding, the magazine ad model does work and has yielded enough"Golden crumbs" to encourage us to continue. 

Other content creators are experimenting with soliciting donations, selling subscriptions and pay per view. 

The subscription model is out for us. I think people who subscribe have a right to expect regular, frequent content uploads. Creating our content requires us to be away from reliable internet connections and unable to upload, sometimes, for months at a time while we are out taking photographs and shooting video.

As for soliciting donations, the jury is out. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it because of my upbringing. While I can accept a gift, I have a real problem asking for donations. Still, the culture is changing and I am not so obtuse I don't realize it. We may yet experiment with the idea.

We have been talking about producing longer videos and uploading them on a ppv basis in addition to the shorts we have been doing. We will see how that works out.

In my view it takes quality content, effectively marketed to generate income worth the effort. The only question in my mind is which revenue model or combination is optimum. Fear not, however.  We have no intention of turning this into a business with the goal of maximum revenue.  We really do not want to work that hard.

What a week...Sunshine!

By the First Mate

Chuck finished the 7th and final video of our Honolulu "Prequel" series - Sailing Away.  We have had many laughs looking back at our earlier archived stuff.  We've learned an awful lot since then.  

It has taken Chuck longer to view and edit this series than any of our previous ones, even taking into account how much he has learned and efficient he has become. We shoot roughly one hour of video for every minute of video used and it can take an hour to edit every minute of finished video.  We will watch 11 - 15 hours of video two or three times first to determine what we can use, then Chuck's first hurdle is to get everything organized and figure out how best to put it together, then we sit together and watch the editors cut and I get some input on the finished video.

During this series we made many jokes of "trademark" violations because we lost a lot of good material due to a radio or some sort of music running in the background.  We also lost a lot of good material because we were just learning how to use the video camera, bad angles, bad lighting, background noise and so on.  Everything we show is us being ourselves but the hardest part is capturing that moment and having everything aligned so it is watchable later. We've learned a lot.

Speaking of captured moments.  I am working on a new series which will share a few moments in time during our cruise. This first one was an experiment and I wonder if it was too short.  The first cut ran around 2:30 and I was worried it might be too long.  Any thoughts?

If you missed Chuck's Feb. 16th Street Beat radio program you can grab the download link here until Monday. 

Today the sun is shining and it feels like spring. With temperatures in the mid forties the last few days we have been taking frequent walks along the trails to the grocery store and Post Office.  It is warm enough now to think about getting some chores done on the boat. 



The rain returns....

By the First Mate

Most of the snow is gone.  The rain began yesterday and our temperatures are back into the 40's.  If you missed Chuck's Monday Street Beat radio program be sure download the link here before next Monday's program.  Is it just me or is he getting better every time?  If you love Island Music be sure to tune in.


The land of ice and snow.

By the First Mate

We've both been busy this weekend.  With the snowfall the last few days Chuck has been hiking down to the boat twice a day to shake off the snow.  
Chuck getting ready for a duel.
For the first time in quite a while I actually felt like sitting in front of the computer and doing some editing of my own.  For some time now I've been in the habit of shooting a few moments of video before taking any stills.  As a result we have many hours of spectacular footage but not all of it can be used in our videos.  I've been trying to figure out a way to share those moments and came up with this - Captured Moments.   Chuck rendered this one using five channel surround sound and we would love to know how it turned out.  

Chuck also finished The Ala Wai Part 6.  It is hard not to laugh when we remember Bree.    


by The Skipper:

After all the dire warnings from the weather service, the "Severe Winter Storm" turned out to be not so bad after all; at least not in the snug harbor of Petersburg.  Although the blustery winds, gusting at times up to forty knots, kept the snow thick in the air, the borough easily handled keeping the streets navigable and the schools open.

The snow plow woke me up at 0530 as it came down 8th Avenue, then backed and filled, alternately scraping and beeping as it cleared the four-way-stop intersection.  After a pot of coffee, I sent Laura off to the clinic and went out to clear the driveway.  Then I walked the 8 blocks down the hill to the harbor to clear the snow off the boat.

Back to the house for lunch, I shoveled the driveway again, grabbed a camera and headed back down the harbor to check the snow accumulation on the boat.  After checking in with the harbor master, I walked over to Kito's Kave and had a beer with a few old fishermen hanging out at the bar telling tall tales about the weather.

While I was out, I shot a video 

Dry period.

By the First Mate

We have had a few days of clear dry skies but the forecasts are predicting snow Tues. We've heard that before.

The Ala Wai #5 was uploaded last night.  We had a few laughs and a few tears watching as Bree is still missed very much. 

The town of Petersburg is firmly planted in front of the TV for this afternoon's game.  The Seahawk flag flies in front of many homes in town and there is a quiet hum of expectation.....


The rain continues...

by the First Mate

We have had a very wet January, which is fine since it means we've not had to visit the boat daily to shovel snow. There are rumors of snow headed our way but so far it remains to be seen.  

Chuck finished The Ala Wai #4 and uploaded it last night.  Time frame for this video is only seven days after Chuck's last day of work. Both of us were working hard to get the boat ready and we were on the go from sun up to sundown to make it happen....and sometimes even in the middle of the night. 

Watching the videos has given me a jump start to get back in shape. It takes lots of time to edit video and publish and all of it is spent sitting in front of a computer. There is a small gym only five minutes from where we are staying and I have started using it.  Feels good!

If you missed your chance to catch Chuck's last Street Beat radio program on Mon. 26th download link Here.


Stormy Days

by the First Mate

The weather has been rather awful the last few days and the heavy winds and rains have taken their toll. We just heard the tender Eyak, which has been seen in several of our videos, sank a few days ago just outside of Sitka after running aground.  Article here. Her loss is a big hit to the local fishing fleet and remote S.E communities. 

Chuck has been busy this week.  His Monday Street Beat radio show featured a different type of island music.  KFSK only links the volunteer shows for one week so the download is only available until next Monday.

Since we have rain there is no snow and we've been getting accustomed to looking outside and saying "it's not raining that hard" and gearing up to take a stroll.  The two dogs we sit for during the day have us both out walking the scenic trails which criss cross and conveniently connect the town. The house we are sitting is perfectly positioned for us to take a pleasant hike while visiting the Post Office and grocery store. 

Annie and Hagar on the docks (before the rain)

It's hard for Chuck to sit and edit video when there is so much cool stuff to do outside. Even so, he finished The Ala Wai #3 and just got it uploaded. A walk down memory lane now that the boatyard and fuel dock are both gone.  

Life flows by

By the First Mate

The temperatures have been so mild it is sometimes hard to believe we are in Alaska.  Highs this week are expected to be around 46-47 degrees, the rain has been light and has made for some rather pleasant hiking. 

It is common to run into friends and neighbors out walking their dogs along the many trails around town.  Radar is a fine dog and one of many favorite visitors at the vet clinic who keeps his owner busy playing "find the ball" in the muskeg.
Chuck continues editing archived video and should be ready to upload the next installment in a few days. If you missed his Monday Street Beat radio program on KFSK you can listen or download here until the 18th. 

I've deliberately stayed away from the computers during December to give Chuck time to get our systems networked and running smoothly but now it is time for me to knuckle down and start uploading some photos and written material to Ports of Call. Stay tuned.

Happy New Year!

By The First Mate

The Holidays are over, the New Year is here and a new video is up.  

The Ala Wai- Part 2.  Chuck takes our new video camera for a tour of the Ala Wai and Leah arrives in town to participate with Laura in the Tinman Triathalon.  This series will cover liveaboard life in the Ala Wai and our preparation of Lealea to begin our cruising life.  The quality of the video is shaky to start as we learn how to use the camera but be prepared to laugh, we certainly have. 

It began snowing last night, just a light dusting but the snow plows were out early this morning. Temperatures have been ranging from the twenties to thirties and it has been cold and dry.  

Laura has been busy working at Waterways vet clinic.  Puppies, kittens and surgeries have been filling her days while Chuck has been wrestling with the computer gear and editing.  It has taken him more than a month to get all the computers backed up, networked, reconfigured and functioning happily together.

There have been some great new forums showing up on Facebook. Sailing and Cruising, Cruising with Pets and Women who Splice are a few, all are by invite only but if you are interested send a PM.


By the Skipper:

 pot of beans

I like cooking with the pressure cooker.  The possibilities stagger the mind. Today I am making a simple old family favorite.  Uncle Tom's Real Cowboy Beans.  They can be served as a soup or a stew as a main course or side.  They can be mashed and refried, served with tortillas, chips or corn bread.  AT Uncle Tom's ranch we had them with almost every meal; fried up with bacon and eggs and corn cakes for breakfast; in a bowl with a tortilla for lunch; as a side with or instead of potatoes for supper.

Of course, "Uncle Tom" wasn't really my uncle; no relation at all really.  He was my Mom's older sister's ex-boyfriend whom my Mom had had a crush on when she was 12; and he wasn't really a cowboy either.  He was what Mom would term a "Drugstore Cowboy".  He worked in construction.  He did have a ranch though, a couple of acres in the San Bernardino Hills where he kept a couple of horses.  There was a run down ranch house with a big kitchen, tiny bedrooms, uneven floors and a wide screened in 
porch.  There was also a bunkhouse attached to the stable where Brother Gary and I got to sleep when we spent the summers there.

Aunt Dora (Tom's wife, same deal.  Not really related) actually did the cooking so I'm not sure why we call them "Uncle Tom's" beans. Aunt Dora always kept a pot of pinto beans bubbling on the back of the old kitchen stove.  We had them with, or for, almost every meal. 

Just to be consistant, this is not really Uncle Tom's and/or Aunt Dora's recipe.  It is my recipe so I suppose I could call the dish what I like.  I call it "Uncle Tom's Real Cowboy Beans" as an homage to an old family friend because my beans are a fair approximation of the ones Aunt Dora and Uncle Tom served at the ranch and as old Tom liked to say "That's how real cowboys do."

On the boat the pressure cooker is perfect because cooking with it uses much less fuel and takes much less time to cook. The pressure cooker is more economical and, because the lid locks on the pot, safer than a conventional soup or stew pot.  Before we got the pressure cooker it took 24 hours to make a pot of beans in a slow cooker or on the stove top, soaking the beans over night and simmering for 10 to 12 hours.  I made them in an electric slow cooker (Which we have long since thrown out) because it  burns too much fuel to cook them in a regular stew pot on the boat's alcohol cooker. In the pressure cooker I pressure soak the beans for 15 minutes, then rinse and add the onion, garlic, and other ingredients, cover with water and bring to pressure.  Reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes then remove from heat and let pressure subside before opening.  Great with Laura's Cast Iron Cornbread!

1 lb dried pinto beans
1 fresh Jalapeno pepper
1 yellow onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cumin

NOTE: The original recipe as served at the ranch included a ham hock, soup bone or chunk of bacon or salt pork for flavor.

Adjust to taste of course.  This is, more or less, what I use.

Wash and sort the beans and start them soaking.

Chop up the onion and the Jalapeno and crush the garlic cloves.

Drain and rinse the beans.  Add the other ingredients, cover with water and give it a stir. Put it on the heat.  If you are using a pressure cooker it will be ready to eat in less than an hour. If you planned it right your Cast Iron Cornbread will be ready at the same time.

If you are planning to serve these beans with Chuck's Award Winning Renegade Chili, omit the Jalapeno and cut the cumin to 1 tsp.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The Crew

Julebukking at Lee's Clothing this evening.  Pickled herring, smoked salmon and eel.  The table was loaded with a fabulous assortment of food and the line was out the door. Celebrations in town continue through tomorrow. 


Wishing all our friends a very Merry Christmas and hope you enjoy Captain Chuck playing a few Christmas tunes for you in our

Mele Kalikimaka on KFSK Petersburg, Alaska

By the Skipper:

Julbukking in Petersburg

Laura and I took a break from JULEBUKKING to do the Monday Afternoon Street Beat Program on KFSK Petersbug.  As usual, we took the opportunity to share Christmas music that is not often heard this far North.  The program is about 90 minutes long and features Christmas music by Hawaiian artists the Brothers Cazimero, Melinda Carrol, Willie K, Na Leo and more.  DOWNLOAD LINK

Sons of Norway Hall at Sing Lee Alley, Petersburg, AK

Bad Luck

By the Skipper:

We received an email from an internet friend this morning. He was transporting his recently purchased Vega to her new home when a tire on the trailer blew out.

The trailer is wrecked. The boat is repairable but the project is beyond the skills and budget of the current owner. The boat, an Albin Vega 27 same model as Lealea (But newer) and located in Beaufort, SC, is for sale - Best offer.  The listing will be on the American Vega Association site soon.

This is really sad. The owner has been looking for a Vega for some time.

Tis the Season

by the First Mate

We are finished sitting two homes and have now moved full time into just the one until April.  As it turns out looking after two places is a lot of work and we found ourselves not getting a lot of other things done.  Life keeps happening and if you aren't careful time can pass quickly by and one day you look at your blog, which you just posted on yesterday, and suddenly it is ten days later.  

Chuck has spent hours editing his next project but we are still having difficulty with our computers. Quite frankly, the sheer volume of video we have stored on various hard drives acquired over the years is astounding.  We pride ourselves on living a minimal life. Living on the boat for these many years has given us a pretty carefree life. Being in a house we find ourselves spreading out and, funny enough, we find our computer gear to be the worst offender of our rules about space, electrical consumption and time consumption.  Chuck has been taking all our data and moving it to one convenient place (more or less) and backing everything up.  All it takes is time..... 

Stepping back into real time.  Its Aloha Friday on KFSK Petersburg this afternoon Chuck's program today features classic and contemporary Hawaiian Slack Key guitar selections. (12:30 - 2:30 AKST after the Fish Report)  Live Stream available on

Work continues on my ditty bag project.  I've gotten the body finished and will be starting on the bottom next. The body was the hardest part because of the long strait seams and I wanted the stitches to be presentable looking. It should only take one good evening to stitch on the bottom but it will take a few more to hand make the grommets and get them stitched in.  If all goes well I should have it complete by next week.

I am spending more time at the vet clinic and taking on more duties. I learn something new every day and have a hard time calling it "work".  Follow Waterways Veterinary Clinic on Facebook. 

Project - Ditty

by the First Mate

Progress on the ditty bag I am making.  Completed the first seam last night and will work on the second one this evening.  Our copy of Hervey Garrett Smith's - The Arts of the Sailor is getting dog eared and torn from the number of times it has been read and referenced. 

Temperatures today have gotten warmer (37 degrees) making the previous days snow terribly slick.  Every time one of us leaves for a walk the warning "don't fall and break a hip" makes us both laugh but we do take it to heart.  I have a pair of cramp-ons that slip over my boots which have saved my hide several times but then I must remember to take them off before entering into a store or I am guaranteed to take a tumble. 

Chuck's Street Beat radio show from Monday is available for download until next Monday, Dec. 8th.


Back Woods

by the First Mate

We headed up to the Post Office this afternoon to check mail.  There is a beautiful hiking trail we enjoy using rather than walking along the roadway. The snow had been cut already by hikers and skiers, luckily for Annie, who is so small she kept high siding in the drifts.  

The Post Office here in Petersburg is the true meeting place in town since there is no home delivery or drop off mail boxes anywhere in town. Even Fedex is delivered through the postal service.

Only a couple of inches of snow came down overnight so Chuck only had to spend a few minutes this morning shaking off the awnings on the boat. The harbor is quiet this time of year with mostly the birds and sea lions making any noise.  

My whipping twine arrived in the mail so it's time to get busy on my Christmas present.


by the First Mate

It started snowing last night and this time it looks like it will be sticking around for a while.

Overnight we had a good 3 inches so Chuck and I headed down to the harbor first thing to check on the boat and brush snow off the awnings then afterwards we decided it was a perfect morning to have breakfast at The Fisherman's Net Cafe. French toast with homemade rhubarb syrup is my favorite!

At last it is starting to feel like the holidays!

Chuck will spend the afternoon editing his radio program for tomorrow's Street Beat show and I guess we will head down to the harbor again later to remove more snow.   

The Window

By the Skipper:

We are currently caretaking two houses.  We spend the night at the one on the shoreline.  In the morning, before we head up the hill to the other place, I like to sit and enjoy the ever changing view from the window.

The window faces Northeast across Frederick Sound with the Devil's Thumb , twenty five miles away, in the center of constantly changing scene. I never tire of watching.  Some mornings the sound and the mountains beyond are shrouded in mists or partly obscured by a passing rain squall.  On clear days, like today, the morning sun pours golden light out of the mouth of the LeConte Bay valley to the East until it catches the snow capped peaks and the ice on the sound.  Some days the mists hide the peaks or swirl and flow down the valleys suggesting mystery and adventure across the water

Most days there are icebergs across the sound that light up like huge diamonds and sparkle with blue light that seems to come from deep within.  The ice that calves off the LeConte glacier and naturally makes its way to the North end of the Wrangell Narrows is one of the reasons  Peter Buschmann founded the town and built his cannery here.  The cannery no longer depends on the natural ice from the glacier but the town still depends on the fishery for its livelihood.

The rich, cold waters of Frederick sound are a favorite feeding ground for an amazing variety of wildlife small and large.  I have watched Humpback and Killer Whales, Brown seals, Harbor Seals and Sea Lions, sea birds of several species, ducks and Bald Eagles harvesting the herring and salmon and other sea life that is abundant in the area.  Coal black crows scavenge along the shoreline and many, many other birds I can't begin to identify soar and dive for morsels of food in the water and on the shore. Earlier in the season there were often formations of Canadian Geese overhead. We were even visited by a pair of snow white Cattle Egrets, sighted for the first time this far North just a few weeks ago.

The town deer like to pass by the window on their way down to the tide flats at low tide and sometimes bed down in the grass near the two small Christmas tree sized spruces in the yard.  The yard is a twenty foot wide strip along the back of the house and ends with a fifteen foot drop to the high water mark.  At low tide, the water line is a good two hundred feet from the window.  The deer will make their way down the wooden stairs at the side of the house or along the ravine to the shore to browse the sea grasses kelp on the flats, usually in pairs; does with their fawns with only an occasional young buck. 

All this just from the window while sitting warm and comfortable in the living room. Imagine what we see from our boat in a remote anchorage.

New Equipment

by the First Mate

It was a cold, crisp evening for Petersburg's Tree Lighting ceremony last night.  The town turned out in droves even with the chilly 18 degree temperatures. 

We had a quiet Thanksgiving day and celebrated with a dinner of Cornish Hens roasted with lemon and rosemary served with carrots and red potatoes and sauteed green beans with garlic followed by homemade Pumpkin Pie.  It is this time of the year I most appreciate having access to an oven.

I got the green light to do my own Christmas shopping this year and yesterday took the leap. To date I have been using our Sony Handycam, Nikon AW100 and Bloggie for taking pictures, each has its limitations and are considered entry level equipment. My new Sony RX10 should be arriving next week and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.  

Several weeks ago I mentioned we got a new coffee press and grinder. We have been wanting to make a video but lighting is key and it is certainly too dark to take any video aboard Lealea so I got permission from Dr. Hill to shoot video aboard M/V Hallie

Many thanks to Jason from Idylc Homes for providing us with a new KONA French Press and if you feel the desire to purchase one for yourself you can save 15% using discount code DL9MWYWQ if purchased through Amazon.


Thanksgiving Morning New Video

By the Crew:

Kicking off a new video series that can best be described as a "Prequel".  We are resurrecting the video footage we shot when we bought our first camera and began learning how to use it around the harbor in Honolulu in 2006.  No sailing in this series, just harbor life as live-aboards in the Ala Wai. 

On the Air

By The Skipper:

Great fun in the studio today.  The program features the Ka'au Crater Boys, Cecilio and Kapono and the Hawaiian Style Band.  The download link on the site will be available until it is replaced by next Monday's show

A Little Ditty

by the First Mate

The weather has been very mild, the first snow did not last more than a day before the rains came back and washed it away.  

Began a new project last night.  

During our stay in Port Townsend I picked up a bunch of close-out canvas pieces made for director's chairs but once the stitches are picked out the material is perfect for other things. I made our ditty bag as a Christmas present for Chuck several years ago and hope to finish another for a friend this year.  

I managed to get all the pieces cut last night but then found we are out of the seizing twine I need, funny enough none of the chandleries in town carry seizing twine so I called the WM in Anchorage this morning and will start sewing as soon as it arrives.

Eagerly waiting Black Friday sales this week as I have been given the green light to buy a new camera.  Woohoo!!  I've been looking at the Sony DSCRX10 which will be a massive step up from the equipment we use now.  

Chuck continues digging through our video archives to produce a new series. I know we haven't produced any videos recently but I believe these will be well worth the wait. 


First Snow

By the Skipper:

We had our first snowfall Sunday night.  Just enough to make the roads treacherous.  The borough road crews were on it right away, of course, sanding critical areas on hills, at intersections and on curves.  Rain and snow are in the forecast for the next few days with temperatures hanging just above or just below freezing.

I decided to make my Monday Street Beat program on KFSK Petersburg a "One finger salute to winter": All live, all Jimmy Buffett, all recorded in Hawaii.  Here is the download link for the audio.
The link will be live until it is replaced by next Monday's program

Meanwhile, I am struggling with the next video series.  There is so much material from before we got organized or had any real idea what we were going to do with it and a lot of otherwise great shots that are out of focus, too shaky to use or otherwise not up to our current standards.  Still, I think it will be worth watching as we tried to document the months leading up to us departing on our first voyage.  Then we have material we have not published from our time in Admiralty Inlet and the San Juan Islands.  We hope you will find it worth the wait.
Lealea in Port Angeles

Heavy Frost and Homeless Cats

By the First Mate

Sunset tonight at 3:41. The weather has been crisp and cold and there is a thick layer of frost on the ground.  It sounds like we will get some rain along with warmer weather next week.

Link to our Monday's Street Beat radio program which had a car theme in memory of the Click and Clack brothers.  The show will be available for streaming or download until Monday, Nov. 17th.

We have had busy week at the vet clinic, it seems there are several batches of homeless kittens in town.  After being trapped, given a brief exam and shots the Petersburg Humane Society has been scrambling to find them all good homes. 

Chuck continues working on his next video project about his trip down the Inside Passage aboard vega385, Williwa.  No expected upload date at this time but stay tuned.

The Wild Life

By The Skipper:

Sitting on the couch, drinking my morning coffee and reading the news, I am distracted. The scene outside is surreal.  

Looking out the large picture window at Frederick Sound and the mountains beyond, now capped with a dusting of snow under the racing clouds, I noticed a whale spout about a quarter mile offshore; then a second and a third.  This is the fourth morning we have observed the pod feeding right in front of the house we are caretaking. We think we have counted six whales feeding together.  

The whales are not the only interesting things we see through the window in the morning.  Apparently there has been a school of herring hanging in the area attracting more than whales.  Sea lions and smaller brown seals cruise through the bait ball. Gulls and other birds circle and dive, including two bald eagles I have watched for hours as they shuttle from the water to their nest in the tall spruce next to the house. A squadron of squaw ducks dives below the surface of the water and re-emerges in unison.  All performing against the incredible backdrop of the rugged snow capped mountains above the waters of Frederick Sound. 

Right on cue, the rising sun struck The Devil's Thumb peak twenty five miles away to the North lighting it like a torch. In a few minutes the sunlight caught the small icebergs that come down the Stikine into the sound making the ice sparkle with blue light.  As if that were not enough, half a dozen of the town deer were foraging along the shoreline at low tide; does and fawns in pairs picking their way through the rocks and sampling the seaweeds a hundred feet from the window. The scene was so stunning I had to stop what I was doing and just soak it all in.  

The temperature is about 40f. There is a major storm brewing in the Gulf of Alaska.  I need to get down to the harbor to make certain the boat is secured for weather...

After one more cup of coffee.

High winds.

by the First Mate

Power outages and downed trees, very exciting. Ketchikan saw some of the worst with winds measured over 70mph. Glad we are snug and secure in our slip.

Bree's Boat Tour is available again on The Boat page, sorry for the limited access but we had some issues with YouTube over copyright.

Windy days and Hawaiian Music.

by the First Mate

Expecting high winds this evening.  Chuck went down to the boat to make sure all is secure. We will begin stripping items off the boat tomorrow starting with the wooden blocks on deck and our tiller which all need re-finishing.  We are very fortunate to have access to a two car garage which will make a perfect work space for us over the winter.

Fenders out in preparation for the wind.

I realize I haven't mentioned working at the vet clinic lately. Still putting in two days a week and having a blast.  The assortment dogs and cats coming into the clinic is a constant source of entertainment.  I have been posting regularly on our Waterways Facebook page if anyone is interested, who couldn't use a few more cute pet pictures to start out your day. There has been some suggestion about taking Hallie out one more time this year, weather permitting.

I had the opportunity to join Chuck in the studio at KFSK on Monday for the Rising Tide radio program. The Download Link to the program will be available until next Monday. 
Beginning next week Chuck will be hosting a regular Street Beat program on Monday afternoons and has asked me to join him regularly and he promises to turn my mike on next time.   If you enjoy Hawaiian music then be sure to have a listen.      

Tomorrow's Rising Tide

Chuck and Laura will both be in the KFSK studio for tomorrow morning's Rising Tide radio program (8:30 - 10am AKST).  If you like Hawaiian music be sure to tune in.  Live stream available at

Rainy Hallow's Eve

by the First Mate

The rain actually took a break last night and allowed the Trick or Treaters to collect their booty and stay dry.

We figure around 30 or so came to the door.  Each was very polite, only took one piece of candy and said "thank you" before running giggling into dark of the night.

It is raining fairly hard at the moment but our day was brightened by spotting one of the Cattle Egrets that mysteriously found its way to Petersburg. The birds must feel like rock stars with all the pictures that have been taken of them since their arrival.

I've mentioned the two dogs we are caring for and couldn't resist posting a  video of Annie and I playing together. 

Happy Halloween

by the First Mate

The awnings are up and we are ready for the first snow.  None in the forecast yet but that could change any day. 

Time change on Sunday which means some dark days coming up.  Chuck has invited me to come into the studio with him and help with Monday's Rising Tide radio program at 8:30am . Lava Flow is the theme and it sounds like he has some great music planned.  Live Stream link on

Chuck was looking out the window the other day and remarked about the birds outside. A pair of Cattle Egrets managed to find their way to Petersburg and now we have bird watchers flying in from other towns.  They have been spotted in areas of Alaska before but are rare.

Heavy rains tonight, not sure how many Trick or Treaters to expect but regardless of costume I'll bet almost all will be wearting XTRATUF Boots. 

Chuck getting ready for Christmas.

The Archives.

by the First Mate

Whew!  What a crazy week.  Sitting two houses may be a bit crazy but we are having fun.  

I mentioned that one of the houses also acts as the cat shelter for the Humane Society. We've only been there for a short time but it has been fun getting to know the gang.  They are all loving, wonderful cats waiting for good homes.  Some have lived there for years.
Volunteers come every day to clean and visit but it is obvious when you spend time with them they all wish for more.  Unfortunately none of them would suit living aboard. 

The second house has become our workspace.  We are glad that two dogs come with this one as it will get us up and outside walking every day throughout the winter. 

Heading to the boat in the morning and we hope for a small break in the rain.  The awnings need to go up before the first snow.  Chuck noticed this morning the snow line had dropped in the mountains.  No snow in the forecast but the temperatures the last few mornings have been just under 40. Somewhat pleasant really, even with the rain.  

Tomorrow we need to inspect the awnings and make sure none of the pieces need re-stitching. With luck we can measure and cut the new ties, do some cleaning and make it to Kito's before it gets dark.

The Logbook Archives are now available through a sidebar link in The Logbook.  We have been writing in The Logbook since 2007 and I've learned it's not a good idea to just let it go and run off the page.  Copying and pasting years of logs has been a months long task and I have enjoyed re-reading all of the comments along the way.
Have a safe Halloween.

Green be gone!

by the First Mate

Light rains today with temperatures in the 40's.  

Chuck has just taken Hagar and Annie for a walk to the harbor so he can check on the boat and get a couple chores done.

The boat is now sitting in her slip in the new North Harbor.  

Amazingly enough the main awning fitted in the triple washer at the laundromat just fine (with room to spare) and is clean again.  We ended up having to cut off all the lines we use as ties because they were completely green but they are easy enough to replace.

Yesterday Chuck rented a pressure washer and spent several hours giving the boat a much needed cleaning.  I was beginning to think we should start a garden on deck because of all the green.

Work continues in the background on the Logbook.  Several months ago I started archiving previous years and am just now seeing the light at the end.  Turns out it is not a good idea to just keep typing.The logbook goes back to when we were posting our cruising experiences on the American Vega Association website before we started our own site.  The Archives should be done by the week-end and will be available as a side link in the Logbook. 

Clear skies, boat stuff and coffee.

by the First Mate

Bright sunny skies with temperatures in the 50's, a perfect day for Oktoberfest. 

After visiting the Community Gym and drooling over the assortment of baked goods, jams, handmade chocolates and enjoying various crafts from local artists we made our way to the boat to get the engine started.  Chuck had tried to start it the previous day but she would not run.  He had run the engine just before his trip last June aboard Williwa and had changed both the oil and the fuel filter at that time.  He ran the engine afterwards and had no problems.  We decided to bleed the fuel line first  and go from there.  Five minutes later the engine was rumbling peacefully along.  

The weather is expected to hold through tomorrow and we have more chores on the boat.  We have been meaning to move Lealea to the North Harbor for some time now and have just not had the weather do it.  There have been some pretty big fronts swinging through and we need a fairly dry and windless day to take down the awnings.

I hope the triple washer at the laundromat will be able to handle our main awning as it badly needs a wash.  If not, a brush, some soap and a hose on the dock will have to do.

We found an item today while shopping that we have been searching for for years.  A good, manual coffee grinder.  One small enough to stow on the boat and built well enough to last.  Surprisingly hard to find.  

And surprisingly perfect timing.  Recently I started participating in a sailing forum on Facebook ( Sailing and Cruising ).  One of the topics that got a tremendous amount of comments was about how you make your coffee? The debate went on for days from sailors all over the country and was entertaining to read.  

We have always used a french press and recently got a new one of those as well.  The hardest part of using a french press is getting the grind just right.  I have high hopes for coffee in the morning.  

Oktoberfest time again!

by the First Mate

Just got back from taking the dogs for a walk to the market and back.  

We seem to have put our thumbs in a whole bunch of pies this winter and are keeping busy. Dog sitting and house sitting by day where we have set up the computer gear and are doing our online stuff then sitting another house and cats at night.  

Oktoberfest this weekend with a bounty of events to choose from. We hope the rain continues to hold off until Sunday so we may comfortably walk into town and have some fun. First stop, the 38th Annual Oktoberfest Art Share at the Community Gym.  Local arts and crafts, Norwegian scarves and a ton of homemade goodies.  I picked up some homemade jam there last year that was fantastic.  

The emails we have gotten in response to our question posed on the Logbook a few days ago have made some interesting reading.  We have gotten some great feedback, mostly in support of us keeping things simple.  Decision made, no drones.  Thank you.

Another perk of house sitting is that we get to sit back and watch game 3 tonight. Another whooping like last night?  Or the night before?

Headlamps. Love them or hate them.

by the First Mate

Sailing at Night:  Can you see in the Dark.  If you have not had a chance to read Teresa Carey's article in Cruising World then take a few minutes.

Recently I took a trip aboard a 50' aluminum trawler and we made one part of our passage at night in the rain.  Although I was certainly more comfortable sitting in the Captain's chair in the heated cabin I found myself reaching a state of anxiety I have never felt before simply because I could not see outside.  Ambient light from the cabin and instruments reflected back in the window wiping out any night vision capabilities and I found myself in the uncomfortable position of relying solely on instruments.    

Chuck and I learned light discipline while we were aboard HMB Endeavour where there were no lights allowed on deck.  Period.  The compass was lit but kept covered and we steered by the stars when we could and the compass if we couldn't.  I distinctly remember the night Endeavour arrived in Hawaii as I was climbing to the Top Gallants to furl sail in the dark and we had boats coming along side that kept shining their spot lights into the rigging to "help" us see which actually made the situation much more dangerous.  

Aboard Lealea we use a single led red light, the kind you attach to a key chain, to light the compass.  We do not use headlamps.  In my opinion they are often used unnecessarily and create dangerous situations. I can think of several voyages I have made with crew who use headlamps and every time I have been completely blinded because the other person seemed to not be aware what happens when they look in your direction. 

Even on the darkest night we have never had a problem seeing or working on deck as long as there is no artificial lighting to ruin your night vision. 

Give your eyes some time to adjust, don't get in the habit of using a head lamp all the time and you will be surprised at how much more you can see.  


New Look

by the First Mate

If you are seeing the same old look be sure to hit the refresh button!

May we ask a question?

by the First Mate

The leaves have turned color and are starting to fall. We have comfortably settled into the house with our 4 cameras, 4 back up drives and 3 computers spread out and plugged in.  Work has begun.  

This time last year we posed a question about which social networks you use?  If you only checked our website for updates or if you also visit our Facebook or Google + pages? Based on feedback we focused on increasing our web presence through social media.  

This year our website is due for a facelift.  In the next few days we will be making changes which should improve functionality for mobile users.  We would appreciate your feedback along the way about performance, how well does the website load or display on your phone, pad, laptop, or desktop. Do you have difficulty reading the articles, is the font size too small or does it take an overly long time to load? 

As always we look forward to hearing what works and what doesn't. 

We are also thinking ahead to next year and what our goals are.  Do we reach for the next level in video production by spending money on equipment or do we just do our best with what we have, like we have been, and keep it real. We currently have no special sound equipment or helicopter thingies (Yah, Drake we are jealous.) but, realistically, nothing takes away from spontaneity quicker than setting up cameras and sound equipment. Not a pressing issue but one we still need to consider. 

Chuck has been busy this week finishing the new trailer for our YouTube Channel.  Lots of fun stuff coming up but it just takes time....and lots of computing power.

Thank you again Tim K. 

Fall is here.

by the First Mate

Hard to believe it is October already.

Once again it is time to settle in, edit video and get some writing done.  Many thanks to Tim K. who helped with our computer woes.  We are very appreciative and expect the improved reliability will make life much easier for us. 

Annual Humpy 500 go-cart race.  King Crabs take the lead!

We have moved into another house for the next two months. The residence also doubles as the local Humane Society which houses a number of cats looking for good homes. Dogs very rarely come up for adoption here but cats are another matter.  Several of the "inmates" have been here for years. It will be fun getting to know them.

(The living quarters are seperated from the cat house by the two car garage and is accessed via it's own entrance.  There is only one "House cat". Chuck)

We posted a Real Time Update to our YouTube Channel yesterday after taking a walk. Chuck has been going through early videos taken when we got our first video camera.   Prepping Lealea for her first passage, the haul out, the near sinking, installing our watermaker, culling clothes and tons of other stuff.  Not sure at this time how it will be presented, depends on how much usable footage is available but it sure has been fun looking back at how much we have done and how much we have learned along the way.

Hiking along Raven Trail which begins a short distance from Sandy Beach Park.


by the First Mate

I need to charge camera batteries before I can post any pics from the Humpy 500 go-cart race held in town yesterday.

This morning we are off to the KFSK's annual pot luck fundraiser.  Chuck will be doing his radio show tomorrow morning at 8:30am.  

We had a brief slowdown of the rain yesterday for the race but it has returned again this morning.

Chuck Robb, please say Happy Birthday to your dad for us. Chuck has owned his Camillus Marlinspike rigging knife for many years, he has others but this is the one that gets the most use. 

Carney, thanks for the link, very cool!

Sal, we are going back and forth on doing a re-fit here in Petersburg or waiting until we get to Port Townsend.  I think it will all come down to how cold of a winter we get since we need to do some fiberglassing work.  Stay tuned.

Manning, yes, we have found a snug harbor, in more ways than one and yes, you are correct about this being our third winter here but we are not yet ready to permanently drop our hook.  If all goes well we should be in Washington this time next year.    

Fancy Bits

By The Skipper:

One of the (Many) winter projects on the list is renewing or refinishing some of Lealea's fancy bits.  That got me to thinking about whether to remove and replace some of it, rather than just slap on another coat of paint, now that I can do a prettier job of tying the knots.

The tiller was the first thing I did on Lealea and is very simple.  I just wrapped it with 1/8 inch cotton clothesline and finished off each end with a basic three strand running turks head. I put matching ropework on the teak boat hook and on the two tube holders on the stern (Turning two ugly but functional pieces of PVC pipe into beautiful conversation starters).  Look closely and you can see how practice improved my results. The learning process is ongoing fed by my interest in historical methods used by sailors during the classic age of sail.  I started, probably like most sailors, with a whipping on a new sheet, moving up to putting an eye splice in new three-strand dock lines, and on to making practical gear and decorative stuff for the boat.  Learning the skills has been a "One piece at a time" process, each piece adding a new knot, bend or splice, or combination, to my repertoire. 

Using a book, “The Marlinspike Sailor” by Hervey Garrett Smith, it took me about 45 minutes to come up with the first useable turks head for the project (Whipping the tiller)  The second, and of course subsequent ones went more quickly.  I would say, the whole project took two hours to complete, after I mastered the turks heads. (It is finished off with high gloss white paint and of course that takes a little longer) You could say I learned how to do half the decorative work on Lealea in an hour.  More complex projects really do not take much longer to learn, one knot at a time from diagrams and instructions in the several good books on the subject.  Rather it is the time required to complete a project that keeps you from seeing fancy ropework on more boats. Marlinspike seamanship seems such an arcane art to most people but it is rooted in the practical necessities of running merchant ships under sail at the lowest possible cost.  In today’s “Time is money” world where sailing is a leisure activity, many of the things we now think of as decorative art on old ships have been replaced by patented manufactured gear we normally just purchase at the local chandlery. 

Which brings us to… 


The same philosophy that informs us that:

It is cheaper, but more time consuming, when confronted by a slippery stainless steel handrail, to pull a spool of tarred seine twine out of your ditty bag and clap on sixteen inches of French hitching capped with running turks heads, than to jump in the car for a run to West Marine to buy a roll of friction tape.  

Also insists: As long as the hitching is doing it's job I will maintain it with a new coat of paint rather than cut it off for vanity's sake.


By the way, our latest video, Wrangell to Petersburg, Part 2, is up.

Now we are off to the Humpy 500!


“The Ashley Book of Knots” by Clifford W. Ashley is, quite simply, the definitive work on knots. We think if you have more than a passing interest in marlinspike seamanship or decorative knotting this book is pretty much a “Must Have” This book is a high mass volume.
-Chuck and Laura

“The Ashley Book of Knots” by Clifford W. Ashley is, quite simply, the definitive work on knots.  We think if you have more than a passing interest in marlinspike seamanship or decorative knotting this book is pretty much a “Must Have” This book is a high mass volume. 
                       -Chuck and Laura
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