So the blog has needed a long overdue facelift. Much has changed (see Be Careful What You Hope For) and it’s time for my blogging to reflect it. I hope everyone enjoys the journey I share, I know I will.
Things todo before heading home and bringing Sarah up for Valentines.
1. Remove engine parts from kitchen sink and cutting board.
2. Remove screws, nuts, and gaskets from bowls and plates.
3. Wash above mentioned bowls and plates.
4. Search floor for and remove screws, nuts and washers that missed the above bowls and plates that could injure feet.
5. Hide any kitchen utensils damaged by being used as engine tools.
6. Search web for ways to remove grease from cutting board.
7. Dispose of grease stained wash cloths and towels.
8. Come up with a good explanation of where all the wash cloths and towels went.
9. At least try and make the bed.
10. Hunt for all lost dirty socks. Check the kitchen cupboards.
11. Check on the toilet paper supply.
12. Find the empty tequila bottle. It’s here. The bastard is hiding and I’m going to find it.
13. Leave a love letter so no matter how bad you screw up, she will hopefully forgive you.
I’m heading to Anacortes in a couple of days. The long travel times dictate longer stays. Two days on the road make much more sense when bookending several weeks. This trip will be a long one. I need to learn the engine and assorted hardware, valves and pumps. Warmer temps would make things so much nicer. I can dream.
There is a milestone to be achieved, on this very journey. From here on my time up North will be longer then my time in Oregon. In essence I’ll be living there and visiting what has been my home for years. Many days I’m not sure how I feel about that. So much left behind and so much more ahead. Winter is coming to a close in our corner of the world and I’m eager to see what spring brings.
The sailor’s path isn’t a fast one. While many explore in a flourish of speed and discovery, a sailing ship waits for tide and wind. When ready she slips off her mooring to catch what wind there is. At the wheel the captain never looks back. It may be hours till land falls from view, but it doesn’t matter. Sails up, sheets trim, water bubbling along the hull, the voyage is started. I’m not some fool who thinks himself a pirate, I’m just not in a rush. This path has been traveled by so many before me, I’m thinking it’s a good path to follow.
The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective.
Henry David Thoreau
Cold Slow Water.
Winter grips the world, low sun and cold shadow.
Warm clothes help but can’t cure the invasive chill. I feel the caress of winter, unstoppable and so inevitable.
Ice flakes drift down to coat everything exposed, a quiet statement. I hold my breath.
Each morning’s sun shines shadows crisp and clear, defines the day.
Yet cold, so cold.
We should perish in such harsh extremes but we don’t. A statement as to who we are and how far we have come.
Celebrate yet another season, cold winter past, …. lives held until spring.
As the days warm, light held a bit longer in the sky, we hold out for a better year. More light, warmer times to love and grow.
This is what we do. This is the way of the world.
A hope and a wish to keep warm till spring.
The world is cold. Slow water flows around us.
We learn to live with it.
The days seem to blur as preparations for the move North intensify. Insurmountable odds become goals, goals become items on a list that then get a check mark, the only note of their passing out of importance. Small consolation for the trouble caused just months ago.
Odyssey’s basic systems are stable, tested as we spend more and more time on her. She is also adapting well to the changes I’ve been making. Originally designed to live aboard, she’s lacking the more modern technologies available for such endeavors. Though ardent sailors of lore may shun such things, I see no reason not to install any item that follows the mantra of yachtsmen; Robust, Repairable, Removable. With my training and experience I’m comfortable with systems much more complex then most captains. I admire their confidence in what they know and wish them fair winds.
I have planed two more round trips to Anacortes, both longer then I’ve done before. Unlike my last trip where I addressed many different things, this next foray is all about the propulsion system. I have much to learn about diesel engines but from what I’ve been able to study, it shouldn’t be a problem. Pump impellers, seals, oil, zincs. I can do these things with a bit of study. The goal is to learn her engine, do any maintenance needed, understand what I need so if a problem arises I can fix it. I must then plan for her haul out, bottom paint and a cutlass bearing.
The last trip is the final move. All I own will be on that boat or in a small storage space. When I leave Odyssey in March she will be as ready as she can be. A brief respite on the Oregon coast and then the last trek up North, not to return unless absolutely necessary. What’s necessary becomes subjective from a small bay on the north side of Shaw Island in the San Juan Islands.
I look forward to the adventures to come and will keep sending you these updates and letters. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy writing about them.
I’m glade you are getting over the flu and I’m sure your return home will be greatly appreciated by Tea.
-Rebuilt the Groco toilet. Although supposedly new two years ago, it didn't look it.
-Replaced all lighting with LED. Painful but I was tired of heating the boat with the old ones.
-Installed an inverter.
-Installed a solar charge controller.
-Repaired the saloon table so it doesn't wobble.
-Rewired the charging circuit. The ACR was installed incorrectly and would never have worked.
-Installed a DC fused distribution block to avoid a bundle of wires under the cabin sole as thick as my arm.
-Installed under cabinet lighting in the galley.
-Spliced a chain snubber.
-Made a hell of a mess.
-Cleaned up aforementioned mess.
Couldn't be happier.
ON A FUNNY NOTE.
Some things just make you smile...those must be some big fillets.
Back on Odyssey.
It seems that every problem taken care of, every 'fix' put into place, just uncovers one more item to add to the never ending list. I know, this is the way of the boat owner and I accept it. I'm not sure what I would do if there was no wiring to do or water leaks to fix.
I'm here on my own so that some of the messy projects can be tackled, projects that require every surface to hold tools, parts, or the remains of day old sandwiches. Odyssey is a great boat and came to us in beautiful shape with so much new gear and rigging it would make your head spin. What she didn't come with is the equipment to live on her. On the hook. For example the house battery set is massive but no inverter was installed. Not a single LED could be found. Every single item in excellent shape but just not up to speed for energy conservation or living aboard.
There are endless little(some big) projects to do, things to add, and we'll get through them. There is a satisfying aspect to taking care of your ship, your home. It isn't just a place to sleep. Our boat is a home. Eat, sleep, laugh, love. Explore. If you spend time and effort anywhere I guess this is as good a place as any. Maybe the best.
"There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats"
From "The wind in the Willows"
My dad had told me that if you ever want to change your life, just move. Change apartments, move across town, move across the country, it doesn’t mater. Much of what we believe and how we act is dictated by our environment. Changing your environment can change where you shop, who you know, how you view the world. I’ve experienced this many times and still believe the truth of it.
The last year or so has shaken my world view in ways I never expected. I moved from a family setting in a large comfortable home to a small uncomfortable sailboat that needed considerable work. Late last year my horizons abruptly changed again as a newer, larger, ready to live aboard sailboat came into my life, located in a different state. To be honest, my thoughts were already focused on moving up north, but thoughts turned to wishes that came true suddenly and with a finality I couldn’t deny. The path was clear, problems solved, windmills slain. This year finds me happy and excited about what is to come.
We have just returned from a two week escape to the new boat, and it was wonderful. Horrid weather with gale force winds, snow and sub freezing temperatures. It was so cold a layer of fresh water froze over the salt water giving the marina a magical touch. We wanted to stay longer, but couldn't. On returning south we both commented on our lack of enthusiasm for being back in a house and all the comforts it held. It seems that Odyssey, our boat up north, had become our new place, providing us with a new view of life and new friends.
I think your ‘home’ is where you go, every other place you just visit. It was surprising to feel my home shifting from one place to another. We went to visit Odyssey over the holidays, but in a very short time it became our new place, our new home. It wasn’t monumental nor a blinding insight. Somewhere on the long drive back to the Oregon coast we realized our world had changed and it was a warm and satisfying feeling.
We made it back ahead of the snow, forecast to make travel over the mountain passes difficult. Not really home, not really visiting, the transition over the next few months will keep us busy. We look forward to heading home soon.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.