Friday, August 11, 2017

July 2017 Back to Texas

We spent 4th of July at our 3rd Naturalization Ceremony. It is a great way to celebrate the USA as we welcomed over 500 new citizens to our country from over 60 different countries. No other 4th of July event can compare with attending this event.

Proud to welcome a lot of new Americans to the United States.

That is the scrap metal bin at the Admirals fathers hobby shop.

We filled it with over 250 carbuators and other scrap metal from his shop.

Big Dave drove the fork lift as we loaded up the remaining stuff from the second story storage areas in his shop. Then we went down and helped to sort the stuff of just  toss it out.

Just a few remaining items, almost done, One more fork lift load finished getting all the carburetors, hydraulic hoses and connections, Propane hoses and connections plus a lot of miscellaneous stuff down.

Done, all the shelves are empty.

Big Dave called two friends up and they each took a truck load of stuff they wanted.

We started each morning about 8am and finished by just after 10 am due to the increasing temps in the shop.

No big deal for a Texan who works in this every day, but we have acclimated to the Pacific Northwest where it has been in the 70's during the day and 58-62 degrees at night in July You have to really work to get a sweat going but here the sweat starts at 8am. 

lots of Cushman carburetors.

A new project has appears in the back lot of the shop.

I lived in Ft. worth for a little over 7 years, mainly during my high school years. I took some time to drive by the homes we lived in. five different homes in those memorable years, this Third one on Cork Place. 

This second on Olive Place, Two of the homes, one on Curzon, and on on Byers had been removed and replaced by more modern construction. Did not make it over to Bluebonnet circle to see if that one was still there. 

When we made it back to Settle I was intent on getting our engine work complete on Snowball. I hired a Mechanic who is a long time resident of Poulsbo and he has a large clientele that keeps him busy. I started doing some of the easy things like replacing engine hoses, thermostat, and starting the project to replace the transmission cable. 

I explained to the mechanic that if he could just come and finish the heat exchanger, exhaust riser, and the anti-siphon that I would get all the rest done. This seemed to spur him into action and the job is now complete as of Aug.7.

I'm going over this weekend to change all the filters, the antifreeze and oil. Then Snowball will be sailing the waters of Puget Sound safely very soon!

July 2017 Back to Texas 
We looked forward to our trip to Texas since it seemed a very long time since we had been back. I was missing our Texas Family and so we made sure to have some quality Austin time for sure. The main goal to help the Admirals dad get all the rest of the stuff down from the second story of his 3,000 sq ft hobby shop. It was obvious he had been doing a good job of downsizing since we were here last. Not always easy for some to get rid of stuff they have been collecting for a lifetime, but Big Dave is gettin'er done!

the temps were in the 90's when we arrived and we paced ourselves, but the day we flew out of Austin back to Seattle the high was 114 that day. After almost four years here in Seattle our bodies have fully acclimated and so returning to what used to be just a hot day was a lot more to us. Our July in Seattle has had no rain, every day sunny and in the 70's with a couple of 80-81 temps, and cool nights around 60.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Introducing SNOWBALL


Our search for our Puget Sound Vessel took many twist and turns. Ultimately we focused on the Catalina 36 as being the vessel we wanted. There were a couple of other that we considered if we could find one that passed our test.We stepped on seven different C36's in the Puget Sound region from Anacortes to Tacoma. We made an offer on four from a 1987 to a 2004, but during the process each one was found to have a serious structural problem that we did not want to deal with. Boat shopping is usually a fun activity but due to the unusual Pacific Northwest boating environment this endeavor was turning into a lot of work.I turned my attention to California and continued the search. I found several on the market and decided to start this part of the hunt in the San Francisco Bay area. Emeryville is just across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco and just south of Oakland. Since we would be hunting long distance I planned a different strategy to try and limit the number of what could develop into a lot of  expensive trips.  
The Admiral and I had refined our ability to research vessels due to all the others that did not make the cut. We spent a lot of time researching and making sure we had all our questions answered from the owner before making our first trip to the Bay Area. I had the surveyors lined up and if the engine survey passed then the next day the C&V Surveyor would be employed. Even though this boat had some issues, they would not be insurmountable. I have resigned myself into thinking we could find a boat with minimal or no renovation to do after the sale. It is obvious in today's society many buy boats to use not to maintain. People use the boat and put them away without considering the things that one would consider preventive maintenance. Instead they just fix things when they break, or they just let certain things go if it does not stop the fun. They are mainly day sailors or weekend warriors racing. It is a valuable pastime that takes them away from their very busy daily professional lives. 
I knew I could manage the things this vessel needed and it would not be near the type of restoration we did on our previous cruising vessel. The boat had a whole new set of very nice sails and all new rigging both standing and running. The only thing the deck needed was a new set of lifelines and some new cowl vents on the stern. There were about 12 leaks that would be pretty easy to fix and they already have been. The electronics would need updating and since we will live aboard for periods of time we will add a full enclosure for the cockpit. I think by summers end we will have it complete including the upgrades.

About the Name. 

The previous name had a meaning only relevant to the previous owners. We do not take renaming lightly. Out of the four previous vessels we owned we only renamed one, also due to being a bit dark for us. The Admiral and I discussed several names but we just could not find one that worked for us. I was over at our Seattle family's home caring for our 3 year old grandson. I told him we were about to buy a sailboat and asked him what he would like to name it. Without hesitation he said SNOWBALL! Well I never heard of a boat named SNOWBALL, in fact I search the Coast Guard documentation records and not one came up. We had just had a real live Seattle winter and had a couple of mornings with significant snowfall which is unusual in Seattle.I was walking to a local drugstore one of those mornings and I could not resist making a snowball and throwing it against the wall of a building just for fun. When he said SNOWBALL I thought "What could possibly be wrong with SNOWBALL? Where is the downside to a SNOWBALL? There is none. A SNOWBALL is 100% FUN! I  felt that we now had a name. Lynn and I tried one more time to agree on a name, we wrote down several options and it was obvious, SNOWBALL was going to be sailing the Salish Sea. 

Welcome to Puget Sound and Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island, WA 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Solstice 2017 Orcas Island

Summer Solstice 2017 Orcas Island
Tuesday June 20 9:24 pm

Being our last full day on Orcas, we decided to keep it low key and just walk around to see more of the East Sound community.

House Finch....we think

We heard some ethereal music wafting out of the Oddfellows Community Center. The
Admiral decided to join their Free Dance, I walked on to check out the East Sound dock.

They have added a few Mooring Balls called "Mooring Bouys" in Washington State. I was curious to see if they added a pay station for the Bouys. No, they are free but online they say they are just for Day use but a couple of vessels enjoyed a few days on on

Just across the street from the Oddfellows Center

The Madrone trees are plentiful.

A Black Bunny free footin it....
It's all about the Solstice. Winter or summer it does not matter, these are Holy Days in the Pacific Northwest.The Longest Day is Glorified and the Shortest Day is equally appreciated as it means the days will continually get longer.....very important when the winter nights are very long and the sunshine spotty at best. We decided to just go back to the North shore just a 10 minute drive from our spot in East Sound.

We got the last parking spot. The sun is just behind the cloud line.

When exactly is Sundown?

If your up there much later.

Sun is resting upon the distant island

Texas is Gods Country

But God lives here

Sundown for sure

Monday, July 3, 2017

Doe Bay, West Beach, and Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island

Doe Bay

We took this week on Orca's to try and see as many of the places that we have not.Doe Bay Resort is on the South East side of the Island and offers a laid back easy going, some say Zen like complete with stand on your head Yoga.

Sorry we were not hungry, would have like to eat at the cafe.

For a more complete Zen, rent a Yurt

Wonder if Carlos
Castenada was here?

West Beach

Across President Channel is Waldron Island

The Admiral learned about West Beach when she was searching for water taxi's to Sucia, Same outfit picks up passengers here.


You see that boat out there ? There are several mooring balls out there for $25 per night.

Can't beat an umbrella and a IPA right here. We were thinking we might return to this spot for a solstice sundown.
Mt. Constitution

Mount Constitution elev. 2399 is a mountain on Orcas Island, the highest point in the San Juan Islands and the second highest mountain on an ocean island in the contiguous 48 states. Only Devils Peak in the Channel Islands of California is higher.[3] A stone observation tower patterned after a medieval watch tower stands at the summit. The tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands, the Cascade Mountains, and many Canadian and American cities. On a clear day, the view encompasses locations as diverse as Mount BakerMount RainierSaturna Island, and the cities of Vancouver, and Victoria, British Columbia. Wikipedia.

The tower at the top was closed for restoration so we walked the perimeter looking for views.

Lummi Island and Bellingham is just beyond

Great view of Obstruction Island and Obstruction Pass

Looking down Lopez Sound and that little island is Frost Island

This is the best view of Sucia, You can see it all from the tower though.

 Incredible Mt. Baker

Barnes Island is the short one and Clark Island the longer Island

So many incredible vistas. Impossible for words to describe, just have the pics speak for themselves. It does not mater if the sun is out or if it is foggy and rainy, the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest is always a spiritual experience.