Friday, July 23, 2010

Hurry up! It's time to launch!

Friday April 7-2006 
Time for bottom paint (for any readers not familiar with that term: no, we are not painting our bottoms!  It is a special anti fouling paint to keep things from growing under the water line.)  The only problem is, we aren't really sure where the water line is.  There is no residual line from it's last stay in  the harbor, so we are kind of guessing.  After we have a chance to see it in the water we'll fix it next time we haul out. 

This paint dries quickly, so after a little more than three hours Ryan came and restacked the dunnage (all those blocks that keep us upright) so we can seal and paint the sections that are still not covered. 

Saturday April 8-2006 
Melissa arrived on the Ferry  from Kodiak this a.m.  She came over to see us and the boat - we could tell she was a rather underwhelmed with it.  At this point it still takes a lot of imagination. 

We took off for Anchorage (4 hour drive) to pick up a few things and Mike Busey is meeting us with a radio, so we are all meeting for dinner & celebrate Missy's birthday - I can't believe she is 22!

Sunday April 9-2006 
Drove back to Homer to meet with Mike Orth, the fellow that is going to run with us to Kodiak.   We needed to talk about all the particulars involved - weather, lines, tides, times, and can we really do this crazy thing?  We still don't know for sure that our engine will be ready, so what is our plan if he has to tow us? 

He and his wife run a huge, classic wooden boat as a tender for various canneries during the commercial season, and I think they also do some charter work.  He has many years of experience so we have a lot of confidence in him. 

Now we have a problem - two Mikes, so we started referring to them as Big Mike (Mike Orth) and Little Mike (Mike Busey).

Melissa left on the Sunday evening ferry on her way back to Kodiak.  We'll see her in a few days when we take the boat over.

Monday April 10-2006
Really cold today, but worse than that, it is really windy.  We aren't sure what this will do to our plans to launch.  Weather has been calm and beautiful for the past two weeks and we need it to continue just a little longer.  Wouldn't you know?

The mechanic finally made it by and we are still struggling with the exhaust system.  He has 2 days to get it right, but some parts will have to be manufactured.   Everything is coming down to the wire and it makes me nervous!

Now Scott is having second thoughts about leaving our bowsprit behind, so we hunted it down- climbing around in the boneyard, and Scott, Little Mike and myself struggled, wrestled, grunting and groaning to get that fat pig up on the rack on top of the van.  Where the heck did Ryan go with that forklift?  I'm too old for this!

Tuesday April 11-2006 
Weather is so bad - high winds, high seas, and it is only forcasted to get worse.  Big Mike is not planning on going either, so that cancels our plans on heading to Kodiak Thursday. 

We'll have to go ahead and launch and just tie up in Homer's boat harbor.  If we don't launch Thursday we will have to wait a month for another tide that is high enough thanks to our 9' draft.  Time is getting short for us to get to Kodiak for Scott to get to work on Monday. 

On top of the weather, the mechanic hasn't finished the exhaust so we still don't know if we have an engine.  He might finish up tomorrow, but we don't know for sure.  Big Mike will stand by with the Rolphy  when we launch to get us to the harbor and Bill can finish the exhaust tied up to the dock if he has to. 

We checked in with the Harbormaster to secure a spot - they were very helpful folks.  We are in a spot where they can see it from the office and will keep an eye on it when we leave for Kodiak.

Wednesday April 12-2006 
Nerve wracking day today.  Bill (mechanic) is everywhere except on our boat today, the marine lift is standing here waiting to scoop us up any minute.

4:30 p.m. they picked us up in the slings and drove over to the launch site.  We are positioned bow out of the cradle - we don't know if we will have the engine running to come out under our own power, so we have to be ready for Big Mike to hook up and tow us.  

Little Mike was standing behind the Sea Glass  off to one side and started chuckling.  I look at him and he pointed to the stern.  Where the rudder was hiding the Gl of Glass, it made our name look like the Sea ass.
It's always reassuring when you local law enforcement has the maturity of a 12 year old!  (Sorry Mike, couldn't resist the jab!)

10 hours and counting.  Bill showed up finally to install the fabricated exhaust piece.  We still had not run the engine for a good test, let alone any water trials!  Finally, 8:30 he finished up and we were able to do a small test with the water truck hook up to our intake. 

Now it gets interesting - 9:00 Big Mike calls - his batteries for his mains (engines) have failed in a big way, our tow is dead in the water!  Of course, with his boat the batteries are not exactly sitting around on a shelf at NAPA, and even if they were, they are not quickly or easily replaced.  Our original plan is as dead as his boat.  This is very bad news at 5 hours and counting.

We called around to other water taxis, but late hour, short notice for a middle of the night launch isn't exactly getting them all excited to line up for the opportunity. 

Thursday April 13-2006 
Sometime in the middle of all this, midnight came and went, the clock is running down to our launch time of 2:00 a.m.  We at least know our engine is going to run so we have power, but since they put us in the cradle bow out, we can't actually fire up until we are clear of the straps on the lift.  Let me see if I understand this - don't fire up until the lift is no longer securing you,  the wind is kicking up, 2:00 in the morning, untried mechanicals,  oh boy.

Little Mike has driven down from Anchorage, his extra hands and experience are welcome - he is an  Anchorage Police Officer,  was on duty all night Wednesday, drove 4 hours, and is running on fumes about now. 

A call from Big Mike, he has good news, he found another boat he can use and will meet us at launch time and stand by.  Now we need to take a short nap and wait in the slings.  I crawled up in my bunk and tried to rest, and I must have dozed off because pretty soon Scott is calling us to get up, it was TIME!

What a crazy sensation being on board when they lower you into the water.  When the keel and engine water intake was submerged Scott fired up in neutral.  The lift operator kept working his straps to slide us out of the slip a little at a time until we were finally clear of the lift. 

Scott put it in gear and for the first time the Sea Glass was under it's own power!  It was reassuring to have Big Mike out ahead of us to pilot us to the harbor - kind of a treacherous place with some large rocks in front of the launch site and very, very dark!  Little Mike had a hand held GPS, and I was glad for the chance to see it in operation, but I am old fashioned, and liked having a live person who is familiar with the local area. 

We kept looking over the side to see the water exhaust - not believing how well it was all going.  Engine running well,  transmission and steering, new packing on the shaft doing fine - we can hardly believe it!  After that short run we docked, shut things down and gratefully crawled into our bunks.   

Then came the mystery noise. 

I kept hearing something - which is funny that I could hear it an nobody else seemed to.  I'm the one that has only one functioning ear!  It sounded like a pump kicking in, then would stop, start again, stop,  over and over.  I kept running around trying to locate it, but it was always in a different location and would not be audible when I went up top.  The idea of hearing where it was coming from was even funnier considering it was me trying to figure it out.  I have no directional location abilities with one ear.  It just doesn't work.

Neither Scott or Little Mike were offering any explanations nor did they seem very concerned, so I gave up after deciding that we weren't sinking and fell asleep.   Tomorrow is another day.

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