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Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10: Did you miss us?

This entry is not going to have any photos because I have one from Angel Island with about 7 photos on it and I'm having trouble uploading it.  Blogo times out before it's finished.  So, no photos this time.

So, where have we been and what the heck have we been doing?  And why haven't we written?

Well, by now you've read that we were anchored at Angel Island.  There is absolutely NO internet service available to the public on Angel Island.  We ended up staying on AI for 5 nights.  Here are some miscellaneous entries covering our stay:

Blue Angels and the Fleet Week Airshow:  We had sort of planned to anchor in Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square in SF to watch the air show over the weekend of the 9th and 10th.  But, on Thursday afternoon (or was it Wednesday?) I was sitting in the cockpit reading when there was a humongous roar overhead.  Who should come screaming by but The Blue Angels.  Close, too.  Watched them practice most of the afternoon from the comfort f the cockpit anchored at East Garrison Beach on Angel Island.  And no stress of trying to anchor and weigh anchor under sail only.  The show is probably more dramatic and impressive right down on the waterfront but this was pretty darn good.  The next day, Lulu and I went ashore and hiked around the island again.  Got to see them performing again.  So, on Saturday we were all set to go ashore and find a good vantage point.  We had a really hard time finding anyone who could tell us when the show was supposed to start.  We got all these vague answers like "Oh, between 10:30 and 3:00 I think".  Well, we had ourselves a nice sunny spot with a great view at abut noon.  By a little after 1:00 we got sick of waiting.  We heard someone say that the show would start at 1:00 and the BAs would be on at 3:00.  Well, no way we were waiting around for 2 more hours.  Heck, we'd already seen them after all.  So we gave up our spot and hiked around the island again.  Settled in at the Cove Cafe to eat overpriced nachos and drink a coule of overpriced Coronas.

The Dinghy:  As I think I mentioned before, the little engine that could, didn't.  The Suzuki outboard failed to start for me so I decided we'd just row ashore.  It was a really easy row over to the beach.  But the climb from the beach to the road above was a beast!  No trail, almost straight up, and so many thistles that you couldn't use your hands to help for fear of coming away with a mittfull of thorns.  That was the first trip over. After that we figured we'd be smart and just row around Quarry Point to Quarry Beach.  Nice beach to land the dinghy on and roads leading right up from the beach.  And there were bathrooms and recycle bins.  What else could a guy want?  We had a great day ashore and then it was time to row back.  Of course, things weren't quite as mellow by then. Started out OK but as we rounded the point things started to get a little dicey. The water was getting pretty rough but the dinghy handled it well.  However, as we got further around the point it was taking all my strength to row just to keep the dinghy stationary.  We weren't going anywhere.  It was getting a little scary especially since I'd just read an article in Latitude 38 about some kayakers who were in danger of being swept out of the Bay because they didn't pay attention to the tides and currents.

We decided that the next opportunity we got to go ashore, we'd take it and drag the boat around the point by the painter.  The water was calmer in our anchorage than it was around the point.  Well, shore, in this case, consisted of barnacle and seaweed covered rocks.  But that's where we had to go to get out of the boat.  Which brings up another point:  in a previous blog I wrote about how we'd learned to go barefoot in the dinghy and carry our shoes along to keep them dry.  Well, fortunately, before we left on this trip we decided that it would be even smarter to wear our Keen sandals in the dinghy.  Good move.  Those rocks would have eaten our feet up had we tried to do the deed barefoot.  But back to the story...

We managed to get ashore okay.  Lulu ad the painter and I had the boathook. The idea was that Lulu would go ahead as far as the painter allowed and I'd use the boathook to hold the dinghy off the rocks while she pulled it forward.  Rinse and repeat as often as necessary.  Except I couldn't keep it off the rocks all the time.  Over and over we'd end up dragging it across these nasty, rough, jagged rocks.  I was so glad the boat is made of thick plastic.  It was sure to be taking a beating.  Well, we finally reached calm water, climbed back aboard and rowed back out to the mothership without further trauma.  On our next trip ashore we decided that the vertical climb from the beach wasn't so bad after all.  Oh, and the bottom of the dingy does have a few scratches but it actually looks remarkably good.  A wooden or fiberglass boat would have been chewed to shreds.

Galley Pump:  As I've reported before, we use a foot-operated pump for fresh water at both the galley and head sinks.  I also reported once about how the foot pedal on the galley pump was having a hard time coming back up after being depressed.  At the time, I ordered a pump rebuild kit but before the kit arrived, I got the brilliant idea to  just change the filter on the suction side of the pump.  That did the trick and the pump was working great.  So, when the rebuild kit arrived, I just put it "on the shelf" for later.  Since then, whenever the pump starts acting up, Lulu changes the filter and everything is jake.  However, during our stay at Angel Island the pump started giving us problems a day or two after a filter change.  And then the head pump started messing up too.  I decided it was time to rebuild the galley pump.  Not sure what led me to this conclusion since the head pump was also having problems.  But never mind, rebuild the galley pump is what I was going to do.

After a bit of head scratching and futile searches, I finally found the rebuild kit.  Funny how that computerized inventory we did hardly ever works.  I pulled the kit our of the locker and the pump out from under the sink.  Spread a bunch of towels out on the table and got to work taking the pump apart.  Rebuilding consists of replacing both diaphragms and all the o-rings as well as the flappers on the check valves.  Well, first the diaphragm didn't fit.  The one I pulled was thinner and had bolt holes.  This one was thicker and no bolt holes.  Okay, maybe the old diaphragm would still work, although it does look like it got a little boogered-up when it was originally installed.  I'll just go ahead and change out the o-rings and valve flappers.  Alright, now wait just one darn minute!  NOT ONE FREAKIN' PART FITS!!!!  I check the package: Rebuild Kit for Whale Gusher Mk 3 Galley Foot Pump.  I check the pump: Whale Gusher Mk 3 Galley Foot Pump.  WTF?  Nothing fits.  Not one single item.

So I go ahead and put the pump back together.  But before I do that, I change the water filter and guess what... That;s right.  The head pump is now pumping like a big dog.  Okay, big deal.  I g ahead and put the galley pump back together using the used parts which, other than the boogered-up diaphragm, don't look any the worse for wear.  And guess what.  If you said "it worked just fine" you'd be WRONG!  When it works perfectly it pumps on both the downstroke and the spring-driven upstroke.  When the filter gets plugged it still pumps in both directions but you have to lift the pedal with your toe to help the spring out.  Now, after the "rebuild" it didn't pump anything on the downstroke but pumped like a fire hydrant on the upstroke.  Say what?  Oh, and there was also an expanding puddle of water under the pump.

Okay, out she comes again.  I figured that the boogered-up diaphragm was the one that pumped out on the downstroke and sucked water in on the upstroke. Maybe I could modify one of the kit diaphragms to make it work.  Well, I did exactly that.  Well, except the "make it work" part.  Oh, it still pumped but it was pumping just like before: on the upstroke only.  And still leaking.  So I wrapped a towel around it and promised Lulu that I'd either fix it or replace it but it might have to wait until we get to Downwind Marine in San Diego. Good sport that she is, she said that'd be fine.

Going Aground:  Well, we didn't quite go aground but we sure came close.  Last night (Saturday), we were sitting around in the cockpit while I gave the evil eye to two boats who had anchored way too close.  In the end it turned out they just stopped for dinner on their way home from the air show so we didn't have to spend the whole night worrying about them hitting us.  Anyway, after they left I noticed an awful lot of beach was getting exposed.  I turned on the depth finder and found we were in 3.5 feet of water.  Huh?  We draw 4.5 feet so something must be wrong.  So I checked the tide table on my GPS and found out that in an hour and a half we would bee looking at a -0.9 ft. low tide.  And, according to the table we had 1.4 ft. right now.  Any way you look at it, we were headed for a grounding.  Just to be sure, I extended the boathook and tried to see if I could reach the bottom.  Oh, yeah!  I didn't even have to lean too far over before I was pushing the hook into mud.  I figured we were about 6" from touching bottom.  And over an hour to go until low tide.  This is not good.

Decided that the best thing to do would be to start the engine and back down on the anchor in the direction of deep(er) water.  Worked pretty good for awhile.  However, we slowly started to drift to port back towards the beach.  If I put it in reverse, thew prop walk would cause us to go further to port.  So, instead I went forward and tried to work my way back out to deeper water without eating my anchor chain with the prop or pulling the anchor loose.  And now it was getting pretty dark.

I finally lost confidence that the anchor was still holding.  After all, I'd been pulling at it from every direction for most of an hour.  I called Lulu up so we could retrieve the anchor and reset it somewhere else after the tide started to fill back in.  We were in the process of retrieving the anchor when I noticed, in the dark, a law enforcement boat of some kind just sort of hovering to seaward of us.  Just sitting there watching us I assume.  Since it was dark and we were moving I had Lulu go below and turn on the navigation lights.  Of course my anchor light and a courtesy solar-powered light we use at anchor were also lit s 'm not sure what message we were sending.  That patrol boat was making me nervous.  But, with the anchor back aboard I started motoring slowly back and forth parallel to the beach, waiting for the tide to rise.  I figured this must look pretty suspicious so I was really surprised when I looked back one time and the cops were gone.  Whew!  Now I can breathe easier.  Not that we were doing anything wrong but water cops are just like land cops; they can always find something to bust you for if they really want to.  And the way California needs money these days, any infraction is probably going to cost dearly.

We finally got reanchored back where we were to begin with once the depth increased. Of course, now I had to stress out for awhile until I was absolutely sure the anchor was firmly set again.

And, other than our trip from Angel Island to Half Moon Bay today, that's what's been happening since the last time we talked.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know you were missed. five or six days is a long time to be out of touch. Love, Mom