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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!

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