The Logbook

 
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By The Skipper:

Boat maintenance is an ongoing chore. Every few years there has to be a major refit. We have had several in the 25 years I have owned Lealea, now 40 years old. She needed a new engine in 1993 and a major engine overhaul In 2010. The standing rigging was replaced in 1996 and again in 2007. She got an Awlgrip paintjob in ’96 (She’s definitely due for a new one now – *next Summer) and we replaced much of the interior furniture in 2007. 

Now the old girl definitely needs some TLC. The mast support beam is showing signs of deflection and the main bulkhead has visible water damage. The remaining original sapele veneer plywood is finally beginning to show its age, peeling and chipping, looking shabby next to the newer sections replaced just 7 years ago. The bulkheads you can’t see are worse.

Basically, I have to take down the mast and gut the hull then put it all back like new.

Here is the plan:

First I have to secure a place to do the work. An empty two car garage will do. I think I have that part covered.

Next figure out how much and what type of materials to order (We are in SE Alaska so it is not as simple as driving to the nearest lumber yard)

Then, when the materials and tools are assembled in the workshop, take down the mast. Easy enough with the deck stepped mast mounted on a tabernacle. It is a one man job, though it is quicker and easier with two.

The interior of a Vega has been described as “Ikea furniture” – very simple. It can be removed and reinstalled with nothing more than a screwdriver.

It sounds easier than it is. But it is not complicated.

Keeping it a simple as possible, I intend to use the old pieces as patterns, fabricate and finish the new pieces in the workshop. Then reinstall the new interior in the boat.

What I am not sure about is what to use to seal and finish the new furniture. I intend to use marine plywood but have not decided what veneer to choose. (Laura has the deciding vote). The original furniture is sapele, aka African Mahogany and is the default choice.

Now that I have written this out and tried to visualize actually doing it, I realize that I do not know if the hull will compress/deform with the main beam and bulkhead removed. Glad I thought of that. It is not something you want to learn when you are trying to put it back together. Anybody know? 

Then, also, of course, there is the inevitable "While we have it apart we might as well...."

On the Move

by the First Mate


With Chuck's safe return to Petersburg it is time for us plan the rest of our summer.  I have mentioned my job at Waterways Vet Clinic many times since we've been here and I wrote a few months ago that Dr. Hill was preparing to take M/V Hallie out on her rounds servicing remote communities throughout S.E. Alaska.

The boat is ready enough to set a departure date which is next Saturday. Hallie is a 50' Aluminum Trawler which has been converted into a mobile veterinary clinic. A last minute staff change almost put a hiccup in this years trip but everything worked out and we are forging ahead. There are still many details to work out but the goal is to visit Coffman Cove and/or Thorne Bay and spay, neuter, vaccinate and treat as many animals as we can when we get there. 


Boating in Alaska combined with an ever revolving door of dogs and cats.  Does it get any better.  Chuck will be writing/editing wherever we are and I will post on the Logbook when I can.  Waterways Vet Clinic has it's own Facebook page and I will be posting there as often as I can.

Chuck is working on his journal from Williwa's trip while reviewing pictures and video from his trip down the Inside Passage aboard Williwa but getting Lealea cleaned up and ready to move is priority. We will both be busy this week, weather permitting.

Chuck and I received a wonderful gift from the Duprees as a thank you for watching their horses for a week.  Captain Farwell's Hansen Handbook (copyright 1951), they are kind of hard to come by.  The book descends from the original handbook of Captain Sofius Hansen and allows the user to navigate from Olympia, WA thru to Attu Island, AK. The tables correct all magnetic courses for changes in variation and it provides every aid to navigation along the way. 

Being a large fishing community we have seen several copies in the houses we have sat for, the oldest one was very fragile in it's original leather binding and and had handwritten notes on several pages.  Very cool.


Captain Farwell's Hansen Handbook (copyright 1951

Better things to do

By The Skipper:

After a couple of days of "Welcome to Petersburg" rain, the weather has turned fine with bright sunshine, clear as a bell skies and temperatures near 70f. Yesterday I finally put the pedals, seats and fenders on our bicycles so Laura and I could go for a ride down to the Harbor to check on Lealea.  We reinstalled the trim pieces Laura had removed during her painting project then had lunch and a pint at Kito's Kave. After riding back to the house and cat we are caring for we relaxed on the porch. The bikes, polished aluminum GT triple triangle hardtail frames, ca. 1994, by the way, are like new thanks to friend Jim, proprietor of Petersburg's "LifeCyclery" who brought them back from the dead after more than two years stuffed in the lazarette. Jim by coincidence, is the former owner of Williwa, the 1969 vintage Vega I recently helped take to Port Townsend.

The bikes are a delight to ride.  We are glad we decided to bring our full size mountain bikes rather than give them up for heavier, less capable, albeit easier to stow, folders.  Laura took off on her bike just now for the veterinary clinic. I am having my second up of java, listening to KFSK and planning (Yes planning) the rest of my day. First, of course, I will ride down to the harbor to check on Lealea.  I need to shop for project supplies. I have to go to the Post Office sometime today. Then there is that new  trail recently completed while I was gone.

The point of this, other than to thank Jim again,  is to say that it is another rare dry, warm day in Petersburg and I do not intend to spend it at the computer. 

Chuck's GT Hardtail Mountain Bike

Petersburg to Port Townsend-Six weeks. Return trip 12 hours

By The Skipper:

On Wednesday, August 13th, Tom had Williwa hauled out for a bottom job and replacement of through hulls and sea cocks, then to be put on a trailer for shipment to San Diego. I boarded the shuttle bus at the Port Townsend Boat Haven for SEATAC and my Alaska Air flight back to Petersburg. In the end, it took us five weeks to get from SE Alaska to the San Juan Islands in NW Washington and another very enjoyable week to complete the voyage to Port Townsend. 

We lost a crew member in Prince Rupert, BC due to delays caused by weather - just goes to show you have to allow more time than you think for a trip like this. We learned a lot, met some wonderful, helpful people, had a great time and a little adventure along the way. While we were in Friday Harbor I had a health issue that got me a helicopter ride to Bellingham and an over night stay in the cardiac ward but I was released in time for us to attend the annual Pacific Northwest VEGAtarian Rendezvous at Port Browning, BC, enjoy a reunion with several old friends and introduce them to the newest member of the Vega fraternity. 

After the Rendezvous, we returned to San Juan Island, then made for Port Townsend Boat Haven and the end of the voyage. Now, only two months after buying his first boat, Tom has logged cruising experiences most people only dream of while I am thinking maybe Laura and I will make the trip down the inside passage to the Port Townsend Boat Haven next year in Lealea. She (Lealea, not Laura) needs a coat of paint anyway.
 

PS:  I took copious notes and a few photos and some video along the way.  I will be working up a full report soon.

Journey Complete

by the First Mate


Williwa arrived safely in Port Townsend yesterday afternoon.  After a two month trip down the Inside Passage the first leg of her journey is over and she will now be hauled out and transported by trailer to her new home in San Diego. I look forward to Chuck's post and can't wait to see video and pictures of the trip. 
    


It is a rainy day here in Petersburg and we are expecting nearly two inches of precipitaton in the next 24 hours. I had hoped to install the interior trim pieces this afternoon but when I went to pick them up I decided they were in need of a fourth coat of varnish. I am using the back room of the vet clinic as a work space so it is no surprise but as I was applying the last coat I was thinking of our "Cat Hairs in the Varnish" video and of Bree and I was thinking there wouldn't be any hairs this time when one drifted down out of no where and landed perfectly in the wet spot. I miss our cat.

Trying something new with the MinWax Polycrylic.  I did not want to use Cetol for the 
interior and I didn't want to buy a whole new quart of interior varnish, turns out I barely used a third of an 8oz can for this job.  It went on differently than varnish which is why I needed four coats but I am happy with the results.....except for that one hair. 


Leaving the trim pieces to finish drying at the clinic I headed down to the boat.  I was able to re-install the wooden trim in the v-berth and remove all of the blue tape but found everything too damp to get much else done and I need a dry day to proceed.  I still need to put new weather stripping on the forward hatch, wash all the cushion covers and curtains and stow everything back in the v-berth.  With any luck the boat will be squared away by the time Chuck returns.

.


Checked out.

by the First Mate


Good news.  Chuck is out of the hospital and on his way back to Friday Harbor.  

Thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes, they were very much appreciated.

Chuck and Tom expect to be in Port Browning for the Vega Rendezvous on the 5th.

Minor Scare

by the First Mate


Chuck was medivaced out of Friday Harbor this morning to a hospital in Bellingham. Atrial fibrillation is the initial diagnosis. He willl be staying overnight for observation but at this time it looks like he will be released in the morning pending results from his EKG. 

Luckily he was around good friends who took very good care of him. 

I will post more tomorrow when we have the results and I know anything more.

2014 Vega Rendezvous

by the First Mate

 

Excited to announce that Chuck and Tom have decided to attend the Vega Rendezvous in Port Browning, Aug 5-7th before taking Williwa to Port Townsend for her haul out.

Williwa arriving in Friday Harbor

by the First Mate


Back to civilization with cell service.  Chuck called this morning and the crew of Williwa was about an hour away from arriving in Friday Harbor.  Clear customs, grab a shower and then grab a beer are the first things planned, I'm sure.  I do not know how long they intend to stay, probably not more than a day or two depending on the weather.  I know Tom is anxious to get Williwa to Port Townsend where she will be hauled out and then he can fly home to visit with his wife. The trip has taken a lot longer than "planned" due to the bad weather along the way. 

Chuck is hoping to attend the Vega Rendezvous while in the area.  More details when I can talk to him for more than a few minutes.  

Williwa's Progress

By the Skipper (Aboard Williwa in Port McNeill, BC)

The continuing saga of the Vega 27 "Williwa" cruising down the inside passage from Petersburg, AK to Puget Sound.

Day 30:  Many weather delays.  Most recently we spent six days at an abandoned fishing camp in Rivers Inlet on Penrose Island waiting for gales to settle down so we could safely cross Queen Charlotte Strait.  Now in Port McNeill, BC.  Canadian beer a poor substitute for Alaskan IPA, but the cheeseburgers have been pretty good.  I smoked the last of the twenty cigars I brought for the trip and have not been able to find any decent sticks so far in Canada.  Maybe when we get farther south.

Now at the NW end of Johnstone Strait. We were forced to stop due to heavy fog and lack of progress from Port Hardy to our planned anchorage at Port Neville.  We will try again tomorrow.  Close attention to currents is critical at this point in the trip with a boat that can only motor at 5 kts. We must be sure to wait for favorable winds.  Forecast is for NW winds (Good) and we must depart at or near slack water on the flood or face dangerous wind waves when the wind opposes the strong currents. Also, we must be sure to reach the anchorage before the current turns.   We plan to run Johnstone Strait in two legs then transit the equally challenging Discovery Channel into the Strait of Georgia.  After that, it should be easier going in the familiar waters South of Nanaimo.

We found the Vega "Walkabout" (Ex Sin Tascha) moored close by in Port McNeill.  We had heard John and Ann had started out from Gig Harbor about the same time as we departed Petersburg and had hoped to cross paths somewhere along the way but were informed that John had a medical emergency.  They had to return to the US to see their doctor and were forced to leave the boat.  Prayers for John.  We hope all will turn out OK.

With luck, and good weather, we should be in the San Juans in a week and may even be able to attend the Vega rendezvous at Port Browning in early August.

Williwa in Port Hardy

by the First Mate


Received a Skype call from Chuck day before yesterday. Communication was spotty and the call was short but the crew of Williwa have arrived safely in Port Hardy after spending several days holed up at an abandoned fishing lodge waiting out the weather.   

Summer Haze

by the First Mate


I have not heard from the crew of Williwa since the 11th. Chuck's last call had them enjoying a beer in Bella Bella, BC and then leaving the next morning for the Queen Charlottes. I had been putting off posting anything until I heard from them next, however, as I was gently reminded by a friend via Facebook...POST!

With Chuck gone I have been busy.  The interior of Lealea took a beating with us not staying on her during the winter and we had mold growing in corners, most all of them. The main cabin took me about two weeks to complete between working at the vet clinic and the many rainy days.  I stripped off most of the interior trim pieces which need to be re-varnished then pulled everything out so I could wash, sand and re-paint the main cabin. With that complete it was time to start on the v-berth so after two more days of cleaning I was able to finish sanding and masking off with blue tape yesterday and my hope is to begin painting this afternoon.

All masked off and no place to sleep.


Main cabin, finished with the painting.

Beside working on the boat I have started horseback riding again.  I made contact with the owners of three of only seven horses located on Mitkof Island and have tried to make it out to the barn about four or five days a week.  It has been a very long time since I've ridden and I am having a blast. 
 
Three Amigos, Moon, Cache and Snuffy.

Luckily I am house sitting at the moment which has made painting the interior much easier but a house takes time too. The owners have a small garden which needs tending and an abundance of berry bushes on the property so I have been going out almost every night picking salmonberries and blueberries and then freezing them or making jam. It has been many years since I have done any canning and I had forgotten how easy it is.  Of course it is easier in a house but I am reminded that small batch canning is just as simple and I plan to do more of it once back on the boat.


Strawberry/Blueberry, Strawberry/Rhubarb and Apricot.

I will post again as soon as I hear from Williwa which should be any day now.


      

Happy Independence Day!

By the First Mate


Light rains and downpours persisted through the 4th of July festivities in Petersburg but that did not deter the town from coming out and celebrating with vigor. 

There was a lot going on immediately after the parade but I did not have the opportunity to watch as I volunteered to help at the Kid's Carnival sponsored by KFSK and manned the Baseball Toss for a few hours but I did manage to catch the tricycle races and Xtra Tuff races which were a blast to watch.

Competition was fierce in the tricycle heats.
 

Even with the downpour the town came out in droves.
 

There were more activities scheduled for this afternoon but the rain which had been forecasted today did not arrive so I took the opportunity to apply the second coat of paint to Lealea's interior.  Only one more to go then I just need to varnish the interior trim pieces and re-install. I just hope I can have this all done before Chuck gets back.

 





 




Williwa Southbound - Prince Rupert, BC

By Chuck:

I am rated as Swab on this voyage aboard Tom Straughn's Williwa, Vega#385.  My duties are primarily handling the anchor and Dock lines and relieving our Skipper, Gary at the helm occasionally.  Tom is doing all the cooking and Gary has my usual role of navigator.

So far we have been proceeding by fits and starts but we have made it to Prince Rupert, BC after having to hole up waiting for weather for a day or two each at Coffman Cove and again at Ketchikan. The weather is crap so we wait; perhaps tomorrow? Meanwhile we have made some minor repairs and adjustments to Williwa, most important being the depth sounder which broke off the first day.  It is now re-mounted in a safe place and should serve well for the rest of the trip.  Williwa is otherwise handling the trip just fine.

We got a ride into town from a local boater for a grocery and email run to Safeway and Starbucks.

I will add more next time we get a chance to get on line.  Occasional tweets #WiliwaSouthbound


Checking in.

by the First Mate

 

Received a call from Chuck yesterday.  Williwa has arrived in Ketchikan.  The crew were celebrating the completion of the first leg of their trip with pizza and a beer.  

 

They were delayed an extra day in Coffman Cove due to weather but reportedly the trip is going smoothly, so far.  Next stop Prince Rupert.

 

The sun has come out again after many days of constant drizzle.  One of the home owners returns today so I can scratch frequent dog walking off my daily list and maybe, just maybe, I can begin prep for painting and start masking off the interior of Lealea this evening.

 

And they're off!

Williwa left her slip this morning at 10:15 am.  Gary, Tom, and Chuck were all glad to be underway after several small delays. Today is Chuck's Birthday and once again it will be spent on the water.                    

House sitting at the moment, for two places, and watching over a dog and a cat. Different homes of course.  Thankfully a car comes with the house and I was able to grab myself a coffee and drive with Puck, the dog, to Papke's Landing and take a few pictures of Williwa travelling up the Wrangell Narrows.  Destination, Port Townsend, estimated travel time....two weeks.
Williwa in the distance passing Papke's Landing

While Chuck is away I will be busy with several projects.  Chuck has requested I continue uploading video to our YouTube Channel while he is away.  As most of you know, I shoot the video, Chuck edits the video.  I have made a few video's myself but Chuck edited the majority of them. O.K., so let's see how that goes.

I continue to work at the vet clinic two days a week and during the next dry, sunny spell I hope to start masking off the interior of Lealea so I can begin painting and in my spare time I have started horseback riding again.  It took some time but I finally met the only folks in town that own horses and offered to help. Their owner uses them as riding/pack animals for hunting deer and moose and they need conditioning for the fall hunting season.  Sweet!

Chuck started a hashtag for Twitter users #WiliwaSouthbound and he plans to post along the way.  It is Chuck's turn to take the video and I look forward to seeing the results...ya, I'm jealous!

So summer is in high season and Summer Solstice has come...and gone, and it is time to go outside and play! 
  

A Disappointing Week

By the Skipper:


Eagle on float

This eagle was working the stream at Hammer Slough when we returned from just below Papke's Landing on Wrangle Narrows.  We had set off a few hours before heading South in Wiliwa bound for Port Townsend, WA.  Unfortunately, a problem with the outboard motor mount made itself evident and we decided to return to Petersburg in hope of remedying the problem quickly.

We will need to reinforce the transom on this series I Albin Vega (Hull#385) to handle the stresses of the 15 hp outboard engine.  For some reason this was not done by the previous owner. We are exploring different options hoping to get this fixed and be on our way again in a few days.  Meanwhile, a steady downpour is making for poor working conditions and is not helping the crew's morale.  Still, we should be on our way in a few days.

Preparing Wiliwa for the Inside Passage South

By the Skipper:


SV Wiliwa, Vega 385

For the last few days Tom Straughn and I have been readying Wiliwa, Vega #385, for the trip from Petersburg, AK to Port Townsend, WA, down the inside passage.  Mostly Tom has been cleaning her up.  I gave him a hand starting the process of replacing the running rigging and rounded up the soon to be previous owner to show us how the electronics work.  We pulled out all the sails and ground tackle, used a lot of WD-40 and seine twine and made several runs to the dumpster.

Captain Gary is arriving today on the afternoon flight with his charts and personal navigation gear to take charge of the voyage.  We expect to depart sometime in the next few days and Tom and I are both expecting to learn a lot from the experience.  This will be my first time sailing without Laura in eighteen years so it is sure to be interesting

And the fun begins....

by the First Mate

 

We have had clear skies and warm days for the last week but it started raining this morning.  Figures.

 

Tom S. arrived yesterday from San Diego.  Tom and Chuck will spend this week getting vega385 ready for her trip down the Inside Passage to Port Townsend.  They had planned to start replacing the running rigging this afternoon but it is raining too hard at the moment.  That is o.k. since there is still plenty to do inside the boat.  Captain Gary arrives on the 11th so there is time to get a few things done.

 

No date for departure has been set and won't be until the Captain arrives and makes his final inspection but if all goes well and the weather co-operates the crew should be setting off next week-end. 

 

Meanwhile, I will be staying behind to take advantage of Chuck being gone by cleaning and painting the interior of Lealea and getting some minor varnishing done.

 

It has been a very busy week at Waterways Vet Clinic.  We had a full schedule last week and are pretty well booked through the next.  Preparations continue on M/V Hallie for her Prince of Wales trip tentatively scheduled for mid July.

 

 

Summer Fun!

by the First Mate


The town of Petersburg positively buzzed through Memorial Day Weekend.  The 33rd Annual Fishing Derby lasted four days with a total of 325 King salmon caught.  The winning fish came in at 46.4 lbs and landed it's proud owner a $7K dollar first prize.

The last few weeks have been busy for us between the Little Norway Festival and the Derby.  Several opportunities have come up for us this summer and we just finalized a few details on one of them.  

If you follow us on Facebook you probably saw many posts regarding the sale of Vega 385.  After many co-ordinating phone calls and emails the boat has been purchased and next month Chuck will be assisting the new owner with her delivery down the Inside Passage to Port Townsend where she will be put on a trailer and shipped to her new home port in San Diego.  Also this summer, both Chuck and Laura will be assisting Dr. Hill of Waterway's Vet Clinic with his summer schedule aboard the M/V Hallie, a 50' steel trawler that has been modified as a mobile veterinary clinic. Dr. Hill has for many years provided veterinary care to many pet owners in some of the most rural areas of SE. Alaska and we are looking forward to some great trips.  Video to follow! 

Other projects on the horizon include the continuation of our Q&A series, a new series about Lealea's previous boatyard experiences and re-fits and shooting has begun on a feature about Petersburg and her harbors. We certainly have no shortage of material to work with.

Also this last week we had the opportunity to visit a short while with the crew of Schooner Mahdee. Her owners were busy with projects during their stay getting the boat ready for it's trip to Glacier Bay and with projects of our own we missed the opportunity to say good bye and Fair Winds before they left.

With the warmer weather we struggle to make ourselves sit at the computer some times and we have been remiss on posting links in The Logbook to three of our latest uploads.


As the summer fishing season gets busier so do the canneries.  During peak season they will process fish 24 hours a day.  

The work dock at the Cannery in Petersburg, AK, photography bu Laura Wong-Rose

Little Norway - The Rites of Spring

By the Skipper:

Back on the boat just in time for the Mayfest/Little Norway Festival. The weather has turned fine and mid-May has brought long days with clear skies, temperatures near seventy and an influx of new faces.  Some familiar faces are now seen in full viking garb strolling the main street, Nordic Drive.

Now the week long festivities are in full swing. Laura volunteered at the KFSK spaghetti supper on Wednesday.  Yesterday was the dedication of the New North Harbor facilities. 

It was difficult, but I managed to force myself to take advantage of the longer daylight and dry weather to clean up Lealea's decks and Scotch Gard my foul weather gear in the afternoon.

Today, we enjoyed a liesurely pancake breakfast at home (The church pancake breakfast is on Sunday) and are getting ready to go out for a stroll around town.  For lunch I think we will stop by the KFSK fundraising Hot Dog tent, next to Kito's Kave d;^)

But, right now, we are headed over to the baseball field to watch the Petersburg HS Vikings play their rivals from Sitka in a double header.

Happy Mother's Day!

by the First Mate

The weather took a small turn this morning and after a week of sunshine we have some light rain.  

We had a small scare with our computer yesterday when the Black Screen of Death appearned announcing it could not find the hard drive.  But...but..but we just replaced it! Luckily it booted back up immediately and we were still able to upload our latest video,  Harmony Island to Craig.

Everyone in Petersburg has shifted into high gear as the town prepares for the Little Norway Festival next week-end. We enjoyed the festivities last year but plan on seeing even more this year.  There is so much happening it is hard to take it all in. 

I helped Dr. Hill put the M/V Hallie on the grid last night and it looks like I will be applying bottom paint this afternoon. We don't have a departure date set yet but the clinic is nearly re-stocked and ready for this summer's travels.  





Aloha Friday

by the First Mate


Full speed ahead! Q&A 13 uploaded to YouTube last night.  We are often asked if we fish while sailing.  Yes we do. We have yet to catch anything but we certainly don't lack for fish.  Sometimes it is more fun to shoot video than to catch. 

Chuck will be on the radio this afternoon at 12:50 (AST) broadcasting his Aloha Friday program.  Live Stream available @ KFSK.org.


Whale Dance and Totem

by the First Mate


Our latest video, Whale Dance and Totem was uploaded to YouTube last night.  Thank you everyone for your patience, it has been a crazy month.





Status update

by the First Mate




Chuck has gone for a walk into town so I decided it was time to sit down,  edit some pictures and get a blog post done.

We have had been very busy this last month.  We mentioned Chuck's computer, after many years of strenuous use, gave up and decided it needed a new hard drive.  We were fortunate the local computer gurus at Home Port Electronic's had a replacement in stock and they had us up and running again within a few days.  The hard part came after we downloaded our back-ups.  We had been using Windows XP and our new drive was loaded with Vista. Chuck has spent hours upon days upon weeks getting updates downloaded so all our programs will run in sync again.   Still finding blips here and there but we were able to finish a video this afternoon and it should be available by tomorrow morning.  We have also been posting video links to our Cruising Lealea Facebook page.

Off the boat again for a short time house sitting.  While off the boat this time we hope to get a few things done to the interior.   Warm weather is expected for the rest of this week so I hope I'll have the opportunity to paint the interior. Difficult to accomplish while living aboard.  Will let you know when we get started.

I have spent more time at Waterway's vet clinic this last few weeks.  With the warmer weather both man and dog are going outside more often and the clinic has been busy. Porcupines, car and silly accidents have increased in the last few weeks.  

As we get Lealea prepared to go cruising this Summer,  Dr. Hill is also getting his boat ready.  M/V Hallie is a  50' steel trawler which has been modified into a travelling vet clinic. During the Summer he visits remote areas of SE Alaska which are only accessable by boat and provides care to animals who rarely see a vet.  

The opportunities for photographs, video and practical experience are vast when combining boating with pets, so, while we are preparing Lealea to go cruising we are also planning to work with Dr. Hill this summer as we explore more of what SE Alaska has to offer.

Spring Cleaning and Computer Woes

by the First Mate

The sun continues to shine and boat clean up progresses.  We are digging deep into lockers and determining there is a bit more work than we originally thought but still nothing major.  We will be house sitting again for a week looking after Hagar and Annie while their Mom attends a funeral.  Since it is warm now we will take the opportunity to get some painting done on the boat and maybe remove some woodwork for touch-up. 

We have known for several months now that Chuck's computer was not a happy camper.  It was not built for the volume of video we have been editing and has started fritzing out so we have taken it into the local computer guru for a check-up and hope to have it back soon.  Video editing ceases until it's return.

Activity around town has taken a noticeable jump as fishermen begin prepping their boats for the coming fishing season.  We took a walk through the South Harbor yesterday, where most of the big boats are located and the sound of power tools permeated the air.  Construction on the North Harbor is nearly complete.  They are preparing to pave in front of the new ramp entrance  and putting final touches to the electrical and water hook-ups.  Grand opening is expected to be the week of the Little Norway Festival.

 

Back Aboard

By the First Mate

 

Spring is here and we spent the weekend getting the boat cleaned up.  House sitting kept us off the boat through most of the winter and we just got back aboard on Friday.

Queen Annie

The last house we were watching came with two old but very active dogs. There were many trails nearby and we had fun taking them for walks...frequently.  The house itself was located on the water and literally every room had a view which we thoroughly enjoyed. Between the tides and currents and the assortment of water birds, passing boat traffic and small icebergs, the view literally changed every minute.  While there neither of us felt much inclined to use the internet much.

But, it is nice to be home again.  We have spent the last few days discussing the merits of living in a home and while debating cost verses comfort, hands down we are much more comfortable on our boat.

So, now that we are back aboard, spring cleaning has commenced.  There are lockers that need to be emptied, cleaned and re-organized and ground tackle that needs to be replaced.  Thanks to a friend we now have some rigging tape and our To-Do list is relatively short.

We will continue to edit video and upload as often as we can until we depart for the summer.  Q&A's will continue for a short time longer and we are beginning a new project about Petersburg. 

Apologies since we have not posted the last four links to videos on the Logbook

El Capitan to Sea Otter Sound

Sea otter Sound

Q&A - Twelve -  About anchors and Anchoring

Hecata Island

We don't expect to leave Petersburg until after the Little Norway Festival in May but at this time we have no idea which direction we will be headed.

For now, we enjoy the sunshine.

Harbor Life During Construction

By The Skipper

The demolition and reconstruction of the North Harbor began just after we departed at the end of May 2013. It is scheduled to be completed about that same time this year.  The project proceeds apace and we have a ringside seat from our slip on the Northernmost finger of the Middle Harbor.  The current stage of construction involves driving the pilings that will secure the finger piers which is why, when asked to host the Tuesday afternoon “Street Beat” program on KFSK last week, I opted for Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar music over the 80’s rock that is usual in that time slot.  Mercifully, the construction crew is not pile driving constantly, due perhaps to the weather, and they don’t usually begin until 8AM or so.  The library opens at 11:30, a quiet haven of which we take full advantage. 

 

The construction does not seem to have diminished participation in the morning coffee gathering in the Harbor Office; mostly older men, fishing boat captains checking the latest weather or, having decided not to go out today, are dropping in to socialize. The collective experience in that group runs to several hundred years in the SE Alaska fisheries.  Time spent having a cup of the Harbormaster’s coffee can be very worthwhile if only for the entertaining yarns. I dropped off a dozen cupcakes with green and white icing for the group. 

 

In the afternoon, skippers and crews can be found at the Harbor Bar or Kito’s Kave.  I have spent a fair bit of time going over charts in Kito’s with fishermen.  I have found them always eager to share favorite anchorages and routes through tricky passages. We also spend a lot of time talking about new DVD’s at the library and, occasionally, books.  WARNING: Like seafarers everywhere, fishing boat crews with money in their pockets have been known to ring the bell frequently.  If you don’t know what that means, you have not spent enough time in waterfront bars.

 

Latest video: Q&A No.11 - What sailing books do you recommend?

Q&A and the Blues

Chuck is outside filling the water tank.  The sun continues to shine with no clouds in the sky.  Temperature this morning a toasty 16 degrees.

Q&A-Ten has been uploaded where we answer a question about heaving to.

Chuck subbed for another D.J on Tuesday night's Ebb Tide on KFSK.  The link to his show will work until next Tuesday.  Hope you like the Blues. 


Sorry to have neglected the blog.

by the First Mate

We have been very busy the last few weeks and needed to catch up on a few things.

We are back aboard the boat after spending six weeks in a house.  It took a full day to clean the house and move our stuff back on the boat.  Chuck went for a long walk while I unpacked and got everything stowed back in it's place.  We slept very well our first night back. 

We enjoyed taking advantage of the light and space of a house combined with unlimited bandwidth and electrical outlets.  During our stay we managed to edit 17 new videos plus add new content to the website. Our next house sitting job is in another month and will only be for a few weeks.

We had only been on the boat for a few minutes and KFSK broadcasted a call that a pod of Killer Whales had just been spotted making it's way up the narrows and had just passed Hungry Point.  The house we had been sitting was on Hungry Point.  I grabbed my camera and Chuck and I walked out to the end of our dock.  Fifteen minutes later a pod of 5 or 6 whales went cruising by at a business like pace.  Yep, I got it.  Will post it soon.

I also notice we have not posted links to our last four videos.
Sorry Mom.

Q&A - Seven

Q&A - Eight
Q&A - Nine
Cruising-Port Protection to El Capitan

It is March already and time we start thinking about making plans.  We have a list of things to be done but it is remarkably short. One of our solar fans died at the end of last summer and needs to be replaced.  Not a big deal during the winter when it would not have worked anyway but once the summer is here we will need the ventilation.  Along with the fan we also need to order a roll of rigging tape.

The weather has been fantastic and so sunny and bright we had to dig our sunglasses out.  It feels like spring already.

Gee, it is good to be back home. 


Memories

by the First Mate


I found a couple of articles from some early sailing trips that had been posted to The American Vega Association and have just finished moving them to The First Mate's Journal.

Sailing Honolulu to Nawiliwili was our first overnight trip sailing Lealea to Kauai to participate in a Nawiliwili YC event.  I went looking for it because of the last Q&A where we talked about the picture of the cooler handle dangling after we had been knocked down.  Look closely and you can see the complete mess of stuff dumped on the floor in the back ground.  My first valuable lesson about everything having a place and securely stowed. 

The second article appeared in the NYC newsletter in 2004 and is about my trip aboard the 70' wooden schooner "Spike Africa" which I helped deliver from San Diego to Nawiliwili in 2004.

Both articles are in PDF format but we will  convert them to HTML shortly....I just have to find all the pictures again. 



Snow and Rain

by the First Mate


Snowed lightly for most of yesterday with temperatures in the mid teens.  This morning finds the temperatures back up to nearly 40 degrees and it has started raining.  Seas 15 feet, S. winds 15-20 knots.  Expecting 45-50 knots tomorrow.  YUK!

Newest video, Port Protection was posted last night.  I just love the shot of the fishing boat we see entering the cove.

Chuck recently finished an article about keeping a logbook.  It can be found a few posts back and we would love some feedback so we can polish the article and post to The Captain's Notebook.  Laura is also working on an article temporarily titled "Only One Captain Aboard" which should be complete in another week.  Q&A's will continue as long as we are house sitting and we should be able to get another 6-8 done over the next two weeks so keep sending questions. 

 

 


Q&A Six

by the First Mate



We got a light dusting of snow last night and it is lazily drifting down this morning. Temperature is a mild 16 degrees.

Q&A Six was uploaded last night.  We will continue the Q&A series as long as we are in the house and have questions to answer.  We are certainly having fun with it. 

Uploaded new pictures from this summer's cruising to Fine Art America and have several hundred more to sort through.  If you are interested in buying any photographs use discount code BAYHBL to get 20 % off any purchase.

Southeast Crab season opened today after several delays due to weather.  We can see boats coming and going through the entrance to Wrangell Narrows from the window. Boats have been arriving over the last few weeks to prepare for the opening and the grocery store shelves are empty of essentials until the next barge arrives. We have the utmost restpect for the crews who go out and get the job done.  Simply saying "it's hard work" doesn't begin to cover what these guys go through to get the crab to market. 
 



A Ship's Logbook?

By The Skipper:

Should cruisers keep a formal logbook?  If so, what form should it take?

While a there is no legal requirement for a small yacht to keep a log of any kind, our experience has led us to think that good case can be made for all boaters to keep an organized logbook.  

Since there is no legal requirement, your boat’s log can take any form you like.   Historically, the log was a legal record of everything that occurred “Officially” aboard the vessel. Frankly, I do not know very many sailors who keep a formal ship’s log.  More commonly, a notebook of some sort may be kept with navigation notes and possibly records of past passages.  There may be a maintenance log for the engine, recording oil changes etc. and the cook will usually keep a grocery list of some sort.  Many cruisers keep a scrapbook of souvenirs, mementos and notes. Many of us keep personal journals, or some sort of electronic record but a formal log is rare.  I think it is a good idea to combine most of these into one ship’s logbook.

Our logbook is kept in a loose leaf day planner binder with tabs and pockets to organize the contents. The book is in a in a zippered cover to give it some protection from the elements. Inside the front cover, pockets hold our passports, vessel document, FCC radio license, insurance policy, health certificate for the cat and any other pieces of paper that government officials may want to see.  Next is a plastic card holder with yacht club membership cards, business cards of important contacts - doctor, attorney, vessel assist towboat etc.  Tabs separate inventory, stowage plan, chart list, meal plans, recipes and our record of expenses with a plastic zip-lock envelope to hold important receipts. Other tabs organize engine hours and maintenance logs and, of course, the daily record of events and ship’s position.  In the back of the logbook another tab set organizes our address book and important dates. We also keep a couple of credit cards and a small amount of cash in the logbook while at sea.

When boarded by the US Coast Guard or checking in with customs we can instantly produce any documents they may want to see.  They seem to like that.  It is also convenient when checking in at a new marina where a credit card and copy of the insurance policy may be required; or just buying fuel at the end of a long voyage when our shore clothes and wallets may be put away.  In the event we have to leave the boat suddenly we will not have to fumble around or search frantically for important papers, ID or cash and credit cards to get us through an emergency.  It is all in the logbook.

Aboard Lealea, we think that keeping all essential information and important papers is just good seamanship.


Q&A Five

by the First Mate


Q&A - Five was uploaded this morning.

Off to work at Helse for the afternoon.  The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day!


Lost!

by the First Mate


After days of searching Chuck finally gave up looking for video shot between July 26 - July 30th. We hope it turns up eventually since we had some amazing footage of a close encounter with a whale while we were at anchor in Farragut Bay.  

So we carry on... the next video, Wrangell Narrows was uploaded last night.  Q&A Five is nearly finished and will be uploaded on Saturday. 

I spent most of yesterday sorting and editing pictures which I have not had a chance to do for a while.  Uploaded a few new photos to Fine Art last night and plan to put a few more up this evening.

Wrangell, AK.  Looking at Zimovia Strait     

Q&A 4 and a link to...garbage?

by the First Mate


Crisp, clean and beautiful.  Forecasts for the next week call for sunny skies, with a high of 34 and lows in the mid teens. The frost is so thick in the shady spots it has the appearance of snow. 

We had the opportunity to listen to a local radio program this morning which addressed the topic of garbage being washed up in local Alaskan waters from the Japan Tsunami. The Anchorage Museum is sponsoring an exhibit called "Gyre" to help raise the public's awareness to the amount of trash being washed up on beaches, not just here in Alaska, but worldwide.  Artists partnered with scientists and local beachcombers to put together unique displays made from trash that washed ashore. There is talk of moving the exhibit to other museums around the State.  I hope so as I would love to see it. 

Q&A - Four is finished and Five is almost done. We lost several days of video somehow but while Chuck was searching he discovered long forgotten video taken during preparation for our first voyage.  It will take time but we plan on doing something with it. 
    

Productivity

by the First Mate


The frost is thick and the skies are clear.  Temperatures have dropped to 16 degrees this morning but we are still not expecting snow.

We continue to take advantage of the superior internet service and multitude of electrical sockets and have been busy.  For some time I have been working on an article "The Cruising Budget" which is a big subject and many versions of the article were scrapped for being too specific or vague or preachy. A big "Thank You" to Glenn DeAtley for his editing skills and assistance in getting this article done.
 
Q&A-#3 was uploaded to YT last night.  Pavel's question about how we keep the boat clean was a good one and we had some fun with it.     

Frederick Sound Photography by Laura Wong-Rose

Picture Purrfect

by the First Mate


Artwork by School Children, Petersburg, Alaska

It is a beautiful dry, clear day out.  The days are getting longer with sunrise at 7:53 this morning and sunset tonight at 4:18.  From the window we can see several small bergs dotting the opposite shore of Frederick Sound.   These bergs come out of Thomas Bay and flow by continually.  Highs expected today of 43 and lows to 23 degrees. No snow in the forecast.

The last few days have flown by.  I have been getting up early and heading to the vet clinic for morning surgery, heading back home for lunch and then back again to the clinic for afternoon appointments.  Kennel Cough has recently made it's way into Alaska and we are busy with vaccinations.

Chuck finished his article, Internet Income for Cruisers, you can find it in The Captain's Notebook.  We hope it answers some of the questions we have gotten about income potential from the internet while cruising. I hope to have my article about our cruising budget finished and posted in a few days. 

Our latest video, Tracy Arm Ice, went live on YT this morning.  It took Chuck more time than usual to put this one together because we had so much great footage. Enjoy!

We will both spend the afternoon editing.  Chuck is working on a new trailer for our channel and I will be working on the next Q&A which will be uploaded on Saturday.  We are getting a 19.8' tide today so I want to get out later and take some shots. Cat artwork done by school children in Petersburg and hung for viewing in the local coffee shop, Java Hus.

Meanwhile...

The Skipper is frantic. 

I cannot find any video files for the period 26 to 31 July 2013.  Everything we shot between Tracy Arm and our departure from Peterburg heading South appears to be lost.  We have a lot of still shots and a few minutes of video from the GoPro but the primary video, the logs etc., from that period are nowhere to be found. Searching through our backup hard drives has been fruitless so we shall just have to punt.

Don't worry, though.  We still have a lot more great video of cruising down Wrangell Narrows, Port Protection, El Capitan, Sea Otter Sound and more.

Q&A Two

by the First Mate

Busy last few days.  I have been filling in at the vet clinic so I did not get the chance yesterday to post our new Q&A video.  David plans on bringing his boat up the inside passage and asked what cruising guides we would recommend.

Off tomorrow so I will have time to post some pics.  

Rolly Polly Sunday

by The First Mate


Bright clear skies this morning with temperatures around 36 degrees.  This beautiful flower bloomed this morning and made a pretty shot.

Blooming Flower Photography by Laura Wong-Rose

We were sluggish getting out of bed as we are recovering from dinner last night which was cooked for us by Petersburg's own Gourmet Club.  When we came back to Petersburg last October it was for KFSK's annual fundraiser event.  Chuck and I won a drawing for the much coveted Dinner for Four prepared by the Gourmet Club. The table was set for 8 and we were served a spectacular six course meal with each chef bringing out his or her contribution and explaining it's ingredients.

Hors D'oeuvres
Crab Cakes and Gin Fizzes 

Soup Course
Cajun Jambalaya

Intermezzo
Mint Julip Sorbet

Entree
Pecan Bourban Pork

Salad Course
Shrimp Salad

Desserts
Homemade Pecan Ice Cream
Bananas Foster
Chocolate Pralines

The meal was accompanied with many groans of appreciation as we delicately devoured each course. Combined with many bottles of wine and excellent company we had a wonderful evening and as a result are rolling a little slow.

Sorry, no pics....we were too busy eating the food to take any pictures of it. 

Thanks KFSK!

Q&A

We uploaded our first Q&A video today.  Laura will be doing the bulk of the editing on this project to give Chuck time to work on the Cruising Alaska series.

So far it has gone pretty quick and we already have several episodes in the queue but we are still experimenting with camera angles and format so bear with us.

Keep the questions and feedback coming.

Foggy Morning

by the First Mate


We continue to be blessed with mild temperatures.  The fog has been rolling in and out all day and when it does the sun breaks out and shines through the trees in the backyard.  Sunshine is expected through the weekend and there is still no snow in forecast. 
Through the Trees Photography by Laura Wong-Rose


I will be working at the vet clinic regularly for the next few weeks. Yesterday morning was busy with owners flying their three dogs in from Wrangell who all needed exams  followed by the always varied assortment of afternoon appointments. Although I don't wish anyone a slow recovery from getting their wisdom teeth removed, I surely do enjoy filling in and meeting new faces
Friendly Faces Photography by Laura Wong-Rose

Dr. Ken Hill examines Jax's feet which have become deformed from the effects of malnutrition. Jax was rescued off the streets of Juneau seven weeks ago and still needs to gain about 15 lbs. I am always amazed at how thankful rescue dogs are.  Jax has been in his new home for only a week now and he seems very grateful.  What a sweet dog.
Jax Photography by Laura Wong-Rose

Our latest video, Taku Harbor to Tracey Armwas uploaded this morning and to give everyone a heads up, we plan on posting our first Q&A video on YT Sat night.  Having workspace for both our computers plus all our notes have allowed us to get quite a bit done. We received so many great questions from our last video and we are having a fun time answering them. 


Another beautiful morning...

by the First Mate


Yet more advantages to house sitting: The availability of light and space and multiple electrical outlets.  Chuck and I spent yesterday shooting and editing a video to kick off a new series which will be titled, "Cruising Lealea, Q & A".  We will be in this house for several more weeks and the set up is perfect in that we have a small, well lit "sound stage" and a perfect work space.  Unfortunately, this is not something we can do on the boat so while we are here we will shoot a series of video responses to many commonly asked questions.

So, if you have a question be sure to leave it in the comments and we will do our best to answer it and, judging by the first video posted last night, we will have a few laughs while we are doing it.   

The view from the window, Devil's Thumb is roughly 30 miles away.

Devil's Thumb

Mild Temperatures

by the First Mate


Chuck put the finishing touches on the latest video, Taku Harbor, and it was uploaded late yesterday.

We have been blessed with extremely mild temperatures that have ranged from the low 30's in the evenings to a balmy 48 degrees yesterday afternoon.  Any snow on the ground melted ages ago and is seen only in stubborn, little dirty piles here and there. We have been able to walk to the market for exercise and are always treated to a view. 


I've started working at Helse again waiting tables every Saturday. What a great place to meet the locals..... and it's fun. 

Chuck is still waiting to get called off the bench for a radio program.  I know he was hoping to keep the Friday spot longer but the fellow he was filling in for came back sooner than expected.  I will be sure to post when he has another show. 

Saw these guys (gals) in the yard this morning, sigh, couldn't resist throwing them a carrot. They were both healthy looking and very plump.  



Baby had the nerve to give me stink eye when I wouldn't cough up any more.


Seems to me that (in a pinch) hunting around here wouldn't take much more than an apple and a baseball bat.

Interview with The Sailing Podcast

You can now download our phone interview with David Anderson at The Sailing Podcast

The one hour interview covers a little bit of everything from our cruising philosophy to the versitility and sea worthiness of the Vega, so pour yourself cup of coffee and enjoy.  

Back to Work

By The Skipper

Frederick Sound and Wrangell Narrows from Mitcof Island. Petersburg, Alaska

It is time to stop reading and web surfing and do some writing and editing.

New House.  New view.  We are sitting another place at the Northwest corner of Mitcof Island with a view looking out over Frederick Sound and across the Northern mouth of Wrangell Narrows at Kupreanof Island. After checking on Lealea, snug in her berth in the Middle Harbor, we enjoyed watching the gale sweep across the sound and the tide rip running against the wind in the Narrows from the comfort of the living room.  The house has a great sound system and internet access but no TV; and no pets but otherwise very comfortable. Laura tried talking the owners into adopting a pet before they left but, sadly, they did not go for it.

We had a nice chat with David from The Sailing Podcast last week, during which we recommended David Mercy's "Berserk" (Available in Lealea's Book Locker).  David says he can't put it down and that is why the podcast has been delayed. We understand.  We couldn't put it down either; except to catch our breath from laughing so much.  We will let everyone know when the interview is released.

Now I need to get started on the next video.  Laura got some great shots of the ruins at Taku Harbor and we had some fun on the swing.

By the way, The fellow I was replacing at KFSK for two months on the regular Friday afternoon show has returned so there will be no more "Aloha Friday" programs for a while as I go back on the bench. I am sure "Coach Tom" will put me in from time to time though.  Meanwhile, for a short time yet you can still get my last program, broadcast December 27th, at the link in the previous log post.

A Brand New Year!

By The Skipper:

New video up today - Funter Bay to Auke Bay.  This one is bit different. Hope you like it.

Aloha Hawaiian music fans! The radio station has fixed the problem with the web site so my last two Aloha Friday radio programs are now available for download from the archives.

Christmas Program, Dec. 20th
Aloha Friday Program, Dec 27th

Listen to the live stream Fridays 12:45 to 14:30 Alaska Time at KFSK.org

Ah hui ho!




Phones down, Video up.

by the First Mate


If you have not yet had a chance to listen in on Chuck's "Aloha Friday" Street Beat radio program today is the day!  Live stream on KFSK.org today at 12:50 (AST).

New video is up Hoonah to Funter Bay.  Only in Alaska can you see folks rowing with snow shovels, LOL!

Tried making a few phone calls yesterday but two APT phone towers are down in Petersburg allowing for Emergency Calls only.  We usually talk to family on Christmas day and friends on Boxing Day.
Maybe tomorrow....

Temperatures are in the very mild 40's, it's starting to feel downright tropical.
   
Twilight over the Harbor, Petersburg, AK>   

This is the Log of the Sailing Vessel Lealea, recounting the sail cruising life; voyaging, sailing and living aboard a small boat in the Pacific Northwest,  the San Juan Islands, the Canadian Gulf Islands, Alaska, British Columbia, Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific. Cat and crew set off in 2007 to voyage and live aboard at sea seeking a simpler life in harmony with nature. We seek to avoid the crowds, complication and stress of life as we have known it in the business world. City society is just not for us. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to sail away from it all, follow us on our journey across the seas. Subscribe to our video logs on YouTube and check back here frequently for the latest updates. 

We will be voyaging to far away destinations that interest us, far from the cities and civilization, as we search for peace, health and the simple joy of living with nature rather than trying to bend her to our will. Our Motto: Quality of Life is inversely proportional to population density. Our operating philosophy is “Go small. Go simple. Go now.” Our vessel is the Albin Vega diesel auxiliary sloop Lealea, 27 feet on deck, 8 feet beam and 4 feet draft. The well seasoned and harmonious crew consists of Captain Chuck, First Mate Laura and Boatswain Bree T. Cat. There will be log entries concerning life at sea and in port; cooking, eating, watch keeping, maintenance and seamanship and how we manage the challenges our chosen life presents. Updates will be frequent when we are in port but we will not update this page when we are at sea.

d1 Month EasyPrep Food Storage
Food Storage with The Ready Store
MREs from The Ready Store