Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is this the 3 hour tour?

Friday May 13-2006  
Finally, a month later - we are on our way back to Homer to get our boat.  The weather is supposed to be good all weekend, Little Mike is able to come meet us and help run the Sea Glass and bring some equipment we are lacking right now - survival suits, life vests, GPS... I guess all Scott and I are bringing is the boat!  We bought a four place inflatable to use as our dinghy - it isn't exactly what we want but it will do for now. 

Saturday May 14-2006  
We arrived in Homer at 7 a.m., schlepped all of our stuff from the ferry dock to the harbor, then went back for breakfast.  Mike drove down from Anchorage to meet us, we did a few short errands to pick up extra filters, a few groceries and topped off the fuel we thought we would need. 

High tide was to be at  4:00 p.m. so we planned on leaving the harbor as close to 3:00 as possible to ride the tide change out of the bay.   On our way out people were still shouting across the water from their boats, "Hey, is that the Mish Mish?" "Way to go!" "Good job!"  - had our own little flotilla to see us off! 

We had paid a month's moorage at the Homer harbor, so we just made that deadline - at midnight we would owe them more money - we're outta' here!

Our expected speed was about 8-9 knots, but riding the current out we were making 12-13 for a while.
The first 4-5 hours were pretty much as expected.  As we got out into more open water it got rougher,  the seas were 5-6', close together, and around the points of different land masses it was pretty rough.   We had a full moon so it wasn't pitch black, but it was still plenty dark. The GPS kept us on track, which was nice since it was real hard to make out land masses, through the Barren Islands, past Tonki Cape and Marmot Island .    At one point the Tustemena ferry passed us and we wished we could keep up since she was headed to Kodiak also.  How easy it would have been to just follow her!
We brushed a few logs during the trip which scared the snot out of me - I kept holding my breath waiting to hear water gushing somewhere but all went well.   Those thumps sounded pretty loud to my inexperienced ear!

It wasn't dangerous weather, but it wasn't just a Sunday boating on the lake kind of thing.  We discovered the difference between what we thought was secured and what was actually secured below decks!  The only real casualty was our microwave oven.  It took a rather fantastic leap across the wheelhouse, crashing to the floor in a rather impressive impact.  No popcorn on this trip, boys!

Scott was having trouble with motion sickness, and would rather stay up top so he took the wheel watch for most of the time and nearly froze!  When we left Kodiak he thought his gear was already on the boat, but it was nowhere to be found so he was at the helm in jeans and a leather jacket.  Later the thought struck us that he could have put on one of the survival suits  laying in front of him and been much more comfortable.  We tried to keep 2 people on deck, letting one go below and rest for a couple hours.  It was also tough for Little Mike - once again he had been on duty all night before coming to meet us. 

At one point Scott was pretty tired and Mike took over and gave it a shot trying to steer from below at the helm inside the wheelhouse. The problem with that is  our bow rises pretty steep and you can't see straight ahead.  He was trying to read a little screen the size of a postage stamp and look out the side window in the dark. Scott was laying down (on top of the survival suits!) and was looking up, and watched us circle a couple stars!  We looked at the track on the GPS later and had a chuckle.

It sure was nice to pass under the bridge as we entered Kodiak - Melissa and Scott's cousin Bruce were up there watching for us, waving.  We almost forgot we were cold and tired!  When we finally tied up we crawled into our berths - what heaven.

Then I heard the noise  again-

that same crazy noise I heard  the night we launched.  Again, I was positive I could hear a pump running somewhere, and I was still convinced it was on our boat since it was the same noise I heard while we were in Homer.  It was intermittent, seeming to start and stop with no apparent reason or explanation, audible only when we were below.  As soon as we went topside it was gone.  All of a sudden we made the connection between the noise and the arrival/departure of other boats - I was hearing the noise from the underwater props as other boats moved around! 

We didn't use nearly as much fuel as we had expected.  We went an average of 7/8 knots for 18 hours, and used barely 55 gallons.  Now we have an extra 55 gallon drum and six 5 gallon cans of fuel!  Better to have that than run out.  Now we know.   The other reason for carrying that much extra was that the fuel on board when  we bought the boat had been stored for maybe 10 years and we had no confidence in it's condition.  We drew off a sample and it seemed OK, but there are so many things that can be wrong it  would be foolish to count on it in open water.   The tanks had been topped off before storage, there seemed to be no condensation, water separaters were showing no sign of water , filters showed no sign of algae, but there are still other issues that can affect how well it might burn after being stored that long.

We learned what happens to a sailboat that has no mast - it doesn't lean and hold, but rather wallows side to side, not in danger of capsizing, but not a very comfortable ride in the weather we had.

Overall it was a good trip, a little bouncy, but after having been through it we have a lot more confidence in our hull and engine.  Now begins the work remodeling, rebuilding - enough activity to keep us out of trouble for a long, long time.