May 27, 2010

day 13 at sea

I took a four day detour up Jervis Inlet - North of Vancouver - and sailed solo up to Princess Louisa Inlet - these are dramatic glaciated fjords that make for some incredible sailing. This was the view from my forward hatch at my anchorage at the end of the Louisa Inlet. That is a 5,000 foot high granitic mountain rising right out of the sea. John Muir would have loved this place.

The mountains form a U-shaped valley, dotted with hanging waterfalls, indicative of powerful glacier activity - this place reminded me of Yosemite.

I finally got around to installing solar on the boat. I have yet to see what it can do on a sunny day, but after three hours of partial overcast - this one panel bumped my deep cycle battery up from 13.00 volts to 13.5 volts. This may not seem like a lot - but it means I am now energy sufficient. With the meager 8 amps a day I can generate with this panel - I can run my interior LEDs, anchor light LED, VHF and stereo and keep the starting battery topped off so I have enough cranking amps to start my 20 hp diesel after a long spell living on the hook.

I'm off the grid, YO!

day 8 at sea - crossing the Straights of Georgia -

So far so good - fair winds and head winds - rain and sun - flood tides and ebb tides. These first few weeks are serving as a shakedown cruise to ensure all systems are working before I head North into the British Columbia wilderness - where there are no hardware stores for fix its.

I had a full boat of crew as I left Seattle - that quickly dwindled down to just Theodora Tolkin and then she left at Pender Harbor- now it is just me.

After waiting out a gale in Nanaimo - we crossed the Straight of Georgia in calm weather.

For the record, this was the second time I have waited out a gale in Nanaimo only to cross the Straights with little wind the proceeding day. The problem is . . . I am neither a fan of calm winds nor Nanaimo (no offense to locals Dianna Krall and Pamela Anderson) - so if this happens again - I am crossing the Straights in the gale.

To be clear, I have a lot of love for Canada - but there is something wrong with Nanaimo - it got hit on the head as a child or something - sort of reminds me of Bremerton back in Puget Sound.

May 1, 2010

Pre-Alaska haul out

Pre-Alaska haul out.

It has been almost three years since I first bought the boat and had her hauled out to see what I had gotten myself into. This means I was only one year late for the bi-annual haul out when Alize was pulled out this week and thrown up on sticks and blocks of wood for a well deserved wash, wax and paint.

Nothing but good things to say about Canal Boatyard in Fremont. On time, reasonable cost, friendly guys - they let me do all my own work and they showed impressive concern for the environment impacts of boatyard projects.

The success of this haul out lies squarely on the shoulders of a few excellent friends who contributed multiple days of blood and sweat and risked their health through exposure to a vibrant mix of 3M toxic industrial products.

Most valuable player award is shared equally by Steve Springer, Josh Newman and Federico Prado.

Honorable Mention goes to Micah Wait for assisting western passage through the large Ballard locks and Teddy Tolkin for assisting eastern passage through the small Ballard locks.

This series of van/boat shots means a lot to Steve and I, but probably means little to anyone else. This is the first time the van and the boat have been in such close proximity. My move onto a boat was largely inspired by Steve's nomadic lifestyle. Once we get around to instating the 'Squalorship', a small stipend for doctoral students in the Biology Dept at the UW who do not live in houses, we will use this shot for the home page.

Teddy caused a feeding frenzy at the boat yard when she starting buffing the hull. Salty dudes that hadn't talked to me in three days started walking over to my boat to see if we wanted to borrow their step ladder...which we did.

So, at the end of the week - I view the haul out as wildly successful. Alize is no longer Alize II, just Alize. She has fresh sacrificial zinc anodes, the struts and shaft are true and the propeller blades are coated with Petite zinc paint. Her previous coats of SeaLife 1000 had held up very well, so the scraping and sanding prep for this coat was minimal. After spending the better part of Wednesday morning, we got the 42% copper into solution and applied 2 more coats of anti-fouling paint.
We washed the fiberglass hull above waterline, then due to a very kind gesture from the guys at Pacific Fiberglass - we were loaned an electric buffer and 3M Imperial Buffing Compound (not cheap) - so for the first time on my watch - Alize had the faded, oxidized outer layer of fiberglass removed - so as to reveal a fancy sheen (hard to see in these poorly lit images - but trust me, its there). Then we capped off the hull with a coat of protective 3M Scotchguard wax and put her back in the water.