Saturday, May 16, 2020

867 Screws—Or—When It Rains Inside Your Boat . . .

In the past, if we weren't under covered moorage, this pot would be full
of water and the towel around it and the surrounding floor area
would be soaked. At those times, we were too miserable to take photos.
"Leaky tikis" are the nickname for otherwise awesome trawlers. Our 1977 Puget Trawler was no exception. When it rained hard enough outside our boat, it rained inside, too. 

When we got our boat, Larry and Nancy, its former owners chuckled about how they dealt with the issue. "We put up a rain gutter, inside the boat, over the bed, because that's there it leaked the worst when it rained." Most of the time, we all sidestepped the problem by keeping it in covered moorage. 

But we all loved to take the boat cruising in the beautiful Northwest. Problem is, part of the reason the Northwest is so beautiful is because it rains. It rains in winter. It rains in spring, It rains in summer, It rains in the fall. Rain here is unavoidable. We needed a better solution.

Wayne, removing the original seams on our upper deck more quickly than
the prior ones thanks to the loan of a router from our friend Rick Hoffman. 
Where our diesel heater stack came through the upper deck was an additional water entry point into our cabin.

Overall, though, finding the source of leaks is tough. Where the water enters the boat is not usually where the leak shows up inside the boat. 

What most leaky tiki boat owners do is rip out the teak decks and fiberglass over the top. But outside the caulk leaks, our teak was in reasonable shape, other than in need of a good maintenance sanding. It seemed a shame to just toss all that potentially beautiful teak.
The wood with new plugs and recaulked before they get planed and scraped.
This teak on our upper deck was in the worst shape of all our teak on m/v Serendipity.

Wayne did some research and some mulling. He discovered that often in the building process, manufacturers did not waterproof the entry point where the screws were drilled into the fiberglass to lay down the teak decking. Over time, as the caulk seams between the decking wore out and water could make its way through. Because the fiberglass deck screws were properly sealed, the water eventually worked its way inside.
The wood plugs Wayne used to replace the original decking plugs. There were a lot of original plugs.
In order to save the original teak decks but stop our leaks, Wayne adopted this process:

  1. Remove the original sealant between each teak deck plank.
  2. Remove every original screw which bolted the deck to the floor.
  3. Replace each screw, bedding each replacement screw with epoxy to make its entry point watertight.
  4. Put a new wooden plug over each original decking screw hole.
  5. Shave the new plugs to level with the teak deck surface.
  6. Clean every newly routed channel with mineral spirits to get the teak oil off.
  7. Recaulk. Let it dry and remove the tape if used.
  8. Clean and level the entire deck surface by sanding it, 
  9. Vacuum up the mess.
  10. Retape and retouch any caulking areas that need it.
  11. Cetol (varnish) 5 coats over the entire surface.
  12. Pull the propane exhaust pipe out, clean it up, slide it back into place, Thoroughly seal all around the exhaust pipe until it's watertight.

Wayne tapes the sanded deck for final caulk touch-ups.

I asked how many screws the upper deck took, he guestimated 867. "I really needed to do 100 more plugs," Wayne confessed. "I definitely still need to fix 40." When I asked why he didn't do that, he summarized "Lack of patience. Lack of time. Lack of plugs." Wayne estimates he's used about 1400 plugs so far for decking repair. He ordered more. 
Sanded deck, almost ready for varnish.
The upper deck was our last large decking area that needed refinishing. That and the propane exhaust pipe that ran through the upper deck were the most likely culprits for our remaining leaks. The propane exhaust pipe was just pulled and recaulked, too.
Wayne, laying down the fifth coat of Cetol.
Considering how rough the surface of the upper deck was, we were stoked at just how pretty it looked after sanding. Would it be as nice as the less damaged teak decks done previously?
Finished deck. Cetol varnish applied. The silver apparatus is where the propane exhaust came out.
It was also recaulked.
Close-up, teak deck, varnished.

We are pleased! It was a big, time-consuming job. What a relief to finish it at last!

The question still remains to be tested in June, as we leave our covered moorage at the end of this month . . . When it rains, will it only rain outside the boat?

Cross your fingers for us!

Location Location
Wayne laid the final coats of varnish on our upper deck on our getaway weekend at Sauvie Island. 
The weather graced us with stellar views of Mt. St. Helens (above), plus
Mt. Hood, Mt, Adams, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Jefferson.
We are still in Jantzen Bay Marina, Portland Oregon until May 31st (with some darned fine views of Mt. Hood on those rare clear days). We did slip away for an epic weekend May 8-11 to anchor off Sauvie Island, where we plan to head off the grid to for most of the summer. 

After that? We'd hoped to chase summer. However, who knows what our options will be, given COVID?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Flourish: Fort Vancouver Spring Blossoms Burst Forth

For my friend Lili . . . 
on her sailboat Heron, stuck in the Canaries because of coronavirus restrictions. It's so dry there, they water the cactus. "I'd love to see more of your flower pictures," Lili told me.
Historic Fort Vancouver, Washington, once a thriving trading post for Hudson Bay Company,
selling boatloads of beaver pelts.
These photos were taken the last two days of April at Fort Vancouver, just across the Columbia River, that divides Oregon and Washington. It's a 5-minute drive or a 20-minute walk to it.

Lili may need to wait until the end of the month unless restrictions open sooner to watch the video as her wifi aboard her boat is limited.

Location Location
We're here until June, then anchors away!
Another marina near us on Hayden Island where I usually take my evening walk.
Fort Vancouver directly across on the other side of the river.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Update—The Dork: We've Created a Monster—Time to Change Our Ways

Our only coronavirus marina guest. He's the dorkiest goose I've ever met.
Wayne was bored. The goose was persistent. First, there was a little piece of bread, Then another, and another, and another.

Before long, every time Wayne came out his newfound feathered friend beelined his way over to our boat—fast. 

More bread. Tortilla chips. Crackers.

"Next time we go to the store, we should get whole wheat bread, with seeds," Wayne suggested.

Beau, waiting, expectantly. Eventually, I will get a photo of him
in his new favorite pose—mouth open, his long, skinny red tongue out.
"Let me get this straight," I countered. "You, the guy who thrives on gummy bears is now worried we're not feeding the goose well enough?"

Wayne smiled and flushed.

"Please don't feed him bread," a GWT reader emailed. "It causes angel wing syndrome."

Image from, advising, "Don't feed the waterfowl."

We gotta give him a name, I insisted (and either more appropriate food, or, better yet, charming and insistent as the goose is, none at all).

"Dork," he said. "He's a dork, so call him The Dork."

I'm calling him Beauregard; that's a dorky enough name. Beau for short.

This afternoon the girl in the boat in the next slip tossed the goose goldfish crackers. Beau ignored the crackers—until Wayne tossed him one. Then the goose decided they were indeed quite edible.

Tonight he tossed Beau a tater tot. "Dork says tater tots are good grub," Wayne announced. (Fatty, salty food is especially bad for geese.)

"Tater tots don't float."

"Yeah, he dove for it."

"You were so worried about feeding him unhealthy food. Instead, you've turned him into a junk food junkie!"

Wayne smiled.

Come June, Beau will sort it out. We push off from the marina then. I'm gonna miss The Dork, err, I mean Beau.

Be healthy, Beau, even if it means your diet is not nearly as fun. We can relate.
Beau, our friendly fowl. Jantzen Bay Marina.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Almost Normal in the 'Hood

Mt. Hood view from my kayak around Hayden Island on a Portland Oregon spring afternoon.
On those rare and special days when the thermometer hits 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the Pacific Northwest in April, it would be almost criminal to waste it. If a sunny spring day wasn't enough of a lure, I'd finally indulged in the new-to-me kayak I'd lusted after for the past year, an Eddyline Skylark and could hardly wait to take her out on her maiden voyage.
Hayden Island's party sandbar, open for business (even if Paradise Cafe is still shuttered for now).
Even with Covid-19, it's easy to social distance and still be social when you're on a kayak. It was a treat to experience what felt like a normal sunny Saturday, cruising past happy boaters and friendly floating home residents soaking up the sunshine while enjoying an evening cocktail on their riverside decks.
Alfonso's Taco Truck, La Quebrada Taqueria,  our Hayden Island haute cuisine.
For a hot night out on the town for, us we go for comfort food, close at hand.
La Quebrada Taquera's taco plate dinner—delish!
Alfonso's meals fill our bellies without emptying our wallets. Mexican food anytime we want was what we missed most cruising, so we savor it all the more now.
Wayne, working away while I played, prepping Serendipity
for our summer escape. This is the last deck left to retore.
I felt a bit guilty about kayaking while Wayne worked, but I promised to work part-time at West Marine this summer to support our boat habit, so he'll play this summer while I work. With luck, when Wayne completes his desk refinishing, if it rains after we leave our covered moorage, it will only rain outside the boat, not inside the boat. 
Geese poop on one of our restored decks.
Another less-than-glamorous aspect of life aboard a boat.
Older teak deck trawlers like ours are nicknamed "leaky teakys" for this reason. Most boat owners rectify this by ripping out the teak and replacing it with fiberglass. We have a soft spot for classic teak decks, so we're bucking that trend with an alternative solution. It's a tedious process that requires removing the grout between each plank, taking up the plank, pulling all the decking screws, rebedding them with epoxy, replacing the planks, regrouting, then applying cetol varnish over the finished decks.
We nearly hit a goose crossing the highway in downtown Portland last week. With so few cars on the road, it seems the geese don't notice the difference between a sidewalk and a freeway these days.
Photo credit: JLS Photography Alaska
This time of year I'd normally be hitting the trails in the gorge to enjoy the spring wildflowers, but those trails are all closed, too narrow to allow sufficient social distancing.
Cool enough April for tulips to go out in a prolonged blaze of glory,
Lily of the Valley, still blooming in late April on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon.
These days, that means taking the time to appreciate what we have in our own backyards.
Azaleas on their way out as spring progresses. April, Portland Oregon.
Will my favorite Gorge trail, Tom Dick and Harry, be open before the wild rhododendrons are done blooming? All the more reason to enjoy the azaleas here and now.
White dogwood, a quintessential Pacific Northwest bloomer.
Will I see the bunchberries, those tiny dogwood family wildflowers that hug the ground? Meanwhile, their grander domestic cousins are putting on a lovely show.
Pink dogwoods, Hayden Island.
While I don't know how long it will be before I can hike a trail on Mount Hood, the view from afar is still breathtaking. This view is part of my daily walk (except when I kayak instead).
Mt. Hood at dusk from Hayden Island.
In a little over a month, we'll be able to enjoy even better vistas and more privacy, a worthwhile sacrifice in trading off ready access to unlimited fresh water and electricity. 

Location Location
Jantzen Bay Marina: home for another 6 weeks or so.
June 1st we'll leave the marina to anchor off Sauvies Island for most of the summer. After that, who knows? We are all learning how to celebrate our good fortune by living one day at a time.

We're also using this time to check in on our cruising friends, many of whom are not allowed to leave their boat, or if they are, only for groceries or medical emergencies. Will the welcome mat come back out to cruisers? We hope so, as our adventuring may be on hold, but we're rarin' to roam again.

We are all the more grateful for our February road trip to the California-Mexico border when traveling freely was taken for granted. I'll post the final highlights of that trip soon.

For now? Stay safe. Be well. Embrace kindness.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Kayaking with Eagles

April 8, 2020. 
A beautiful spring day, kayaking with Keith Morgan. Everywhere we looked, we saw an eagle! The highlights are on this one-minute video. Enjoy the ride!

Did you know that bald eagles don't develop their distinctive white head and tail feathers until they turn four years old? This Audubon link shows you what they look like before then.

Location Location
Serendipity is currently moored on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon. This kayaking trip was on Sauvies Island, Oregon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Springtime in the Pacific Northwest (Finding an Open Park for Walking)

Wayne crossing Marshall Park's charming stone bridge
After a long stretch of gray skies, getting out on a sunny Sunday was irresistible. We really wanted to head to the beach, but read reports that with all the coronavirus concerns, Oregon coastal towns placed their unwelcome mat out. State parks and many reserves were also closed.
Marshall Park bridge, replaced in 2019.
City, metro and county parks were still cleared for amblers. We'd never heard of Marshall Park before, and its stone bridge photo charmed me enough to want to see it. The drive was less than 20 minutes from our marina into Portland's West hills area.
Verdant canyon, Marshall Park.
In the late 1940s, F. C. and his wife Adele Marshall donated "a charming little park which he would like to dedicate without too much fuss to the recreational use of the public." With trails, picnic tables, and playgrounds, today the park spans over 26 acres.
Marshall Park's supposedly closed playground.
While the trails were open, the playground was closed—in theory. Bicycles also weren't allowed, but a cyclist passed us on the trail. Then again, the prevailing philosophy is to avoid all unnecessary travel, and we were here.
Salmonberry blossom.
Alltrails warned Marshall Park would be muddy, but a great place for wildflowers. 
Yellow violets.
We'd had our share of showers, but I was rarin' for wildflowers, even if the trails were muddy (and they definitely were muddy).
Seeing the trillium in bloom is a spring rite of passage in the Pacific Northwest. Marshall Park delivered.
Trilliums fading.
Trillium blossoms start out a pristine white, fading to pink and even sometimes a muted red. If I could choose, give me a pretty pink pallor like the trilliums' for my final goodbye.
Fig buttercups, aka lesser celandine (thanks Keith Morgan for the i.d.). According to Wikipedia,
"regarded as many as a harbinger of spring."
Marshall Park is surrounded by residential areas. This upscale neighborhood treehouse brought back memories of a simpler time, of the treehouse my dad built when my brother and me were kids. Our treehouse was a much simpler affair than this one; a basic platform on stilts with a railing and a flat roof, accessed by a ladder.
Treehouse, adjacent to Marshall Park
Birdsong, the babble of Tryon Creek, the crack of a hammer and buzz of a saw made up Marshall Park's soundscape. Exactly what you'd expect for a pocket paradise park tucked in the canyon surrounded by neighborhoods.
Vibrant green moss coated these otherwise-naked tree branches.
This neighborhood magnolia tree between two park entrances was past its prime but smelled divine.
For an easy walk and a change of pace from my usual neighborhood loop or our almost as frequent trips to Vancouver Washington parks and riverwalks, Marshall Park offered a pleasant outdoor diversion on a sunny spring day.

Location Location
Sailboats and rainbows on Hayden Island, Portland, Oregon.
Until June, we're roosted on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon. We are incredibly grateful we slipped out in February for our two-week road trip, a sun break to the Southern tip of California. I still have some catch-up posts of those highlights.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Covid-19: Life in the Hot Zone

March 14, 2020: One of the first school closures in the country for Covid-19.
January 19, 2020 marks when the first coronavirus victim was identified in the US in Snohomish Washington State about a 3 1/2 drive from "home." WA State raised the alarm early about the true nature of the pandemic. Still, it didn't take long to spread to the Portland metro area. Last week, nearly all schools on both sides of the Columbia river closed until late April. 
These are in scarce supply, Fortunately, most of the stores now keep sanitizers
at registers for customer use. Photo credit Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.
Social distancing and hygiene recommendations increased in volume, detail, and frequency. Hand sanitizers and wipes quickly disappeared off the shelves before stores took the initiative to request limitations. Why toilet paper and paper towels also became the items to hoard is beyond me. Do people get coronavirus up their a--? Not that I've heard! Australia, aka "Oz" seems to have cornered the market on #toiletpaperapocalypse.
Currently not feeling 100 percent. Photo credit Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.
Even free stuff can cause anxiety. Is it safe?
We're not sure whether we are infected. Is Wayne's cold just a cold? An allergy? Coronavirus? Is my very low-grade nausea nerves? Or coronavirus? We don't know. The other night Wayne told me he calmed me down from a nightmare; that I was shuddering. That's a first for me. I consider myself not that anxiety-driven, but perhaps my subconscious doesn't buy it.

We're both generally healthy. We're being careful. Little to no social contact. Definitely no touching besides with each other. I'm reasonably sure even if what we have is Covid-19 we will be done with it within another week or so. Generally, healthy folks are believed to shake it within two weeks. We have no fever. We're isolated enough we don't see a good reason to jump through lots of hoops to stress an inadequate testing system.
Random Numbers Pie on Alberta Steet, Portland. One day before the shutdown.
The numbers already thinned out.

Restaurant business dropped sharply.

This is the norm for many restaurants.
Now, except for take-out, for the most part, restaurants are shuttered. Tonight we were grateful to eat a meal from our friendly neighborhood taco truck.
Those restaurants not closing temporarily or indefinitely are offering take-out.

Today we headed back to our boat, less than one week into what would have been a five-week house-sit. We understand the pandemic is driving folks home to hunker. For the most part, other house-sits have dried up. 

The homeowners at our housesit generously offered to extend our stay at their place even after their return. We are genuinely touched by their kindness, though we are too fond of our private space.

We consider ourselves among the lucky. We can go back to our boat. Our needs are simple. Our bills are few. There's even six rolls of toilet paper aboard. We don't have a huge amount of food aboard because our storage space is limited and we brought food from the boat to our housesits. There are plenty of grocery stores nearby. Maybe we won't get our first choice for everything but cruising taught us to hone our adaptability skills.
A sidewalk mandala in the Sabin neighborhood where we just finished our house-sit.
If there is only one lesson to learn from this pandemic (besides not hogging up all the toilet paper), it's how much we are interconnected. Even separated, we're all in this together. Most of us will survive. Our lives will change in ways we didn't imagine. In the years ahead, what will we say when we look back at this period?

I'm not yet sure how I will be able to help beyond doing my part to do no harm. Maybe it's simply acknowledging this is happening, then encouraging the importance of living our lives beyond it.
Yesterday: perfect weather for kayaking with a friend. Thanks, Keith!
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working at home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin of money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically
Warp our arms around each other.
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
--author unknown (posted to share outside a home in Portland's Sabin neighborhood)
Carol Mackey daphne. One of my all-time favorite scents of spring.
Coronavirus does not erase the beauty of springtime. Getting outside is still perfectly acceptable and even healthy. Reaching out to others, even digitally, is still connecting. Focusing on something other than the coronavirus is important, too.
Coronavirus or not, Darby had his priorities! We could learn something from him.
My next post will not be on the coronavirus! If you must focus on the coronavirus beyond what you need to know to stay safe, please make your addition to this social distancing playlist (and thanks Deb Blakewood for finding an earlier version of this floating on the internet).

Meanwhile, take care.