Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall in San Diego Bay

Pacific Ocean looking down from Sunset Cliffs
Well, since we've had to turn back our clocks an hour, guess Fall is officially here.  We enjoyed daylight savings time, but we can't figure out what to do with several months worth of savings.  All we know is that happy hour needs to start an hour earlier because of the new (and improved?) time the sun drops into the ocean.  

We've expanded our walking horizons a bit and now include (every other day) a hike due west, over the hill that is Point Loma, to Sunset Cliffs, take a breather, then hike back over the hill again.  Almost like climbing a small mountain.  But good for the cardio-everything.  Sunset Cliffs is just south of Ocean Beach, which is just south of La Jolla, which is w-a-a-a-y south of San Francisco.  Speaking of exercise, we've even managed to get our bicycles to shore and take a ride or two around Liberty Station (the old Naval Training Center where prospective sailors had basic training).  

Hal admiring tile work
Brother Vern had another bathroom that needed some attention, so big brother spent some time there and sawed tile and posed for an "in progress" pic.  Nancy keeps saying there aren't enough pictures of Hal in this blog.  Well, most of that dearth of photos seems to stem from who is taking the picture and who is brave enough to stand before the camera.  Anyway...

Our little Honda 2hp outboard was starting to give us fits when the throttle was turned up.  It is supposed to go forward when one twists the handle.  Problem seemed to be that the mechanism that engages the clutch went on strike.  We hauled to motor up to a shop that fixes them.  We got word back a couple of weeks later that the corrosion (which stemmed back to a "sinking" of the motor into Port Angeles Harbor while hauling up crab pots in windy/wavy weather) necessitated replacing many major parts of the engine. Cost estimate: $550.  Ugh.  Told the guy to box up all the pieces and give them back to me.  Bought new motor.

Alternator removed an awaiting exit from engine room

 Speaking of motors, our 4.3Kw generator started to billow out smoke from the engine room, where it shares space with the main engine.  After shutting it down, started troubleshooting the small diesel engine (which turns the alternator) and found nothing wrong on the front end.  Thought perhaps there was too much load put on the alternator, so restarted and slowly applied bits of electircal load.  Everything was fine, for about five minutes.  Smoke alarm notified us that there was indeed a problem.  Shut it down again.  Concluded problem was in the alternator.  Of course, getting to the alternator required some 4 hours time in order to get the generator positioned to even get to the back of the alternator.  

Back of alternator with broken bearings and other loose stuff 

Needless to say, after opening it up, it was quite a shock to see all the loose pieces of what was once parts of the alternator laying at the bottom of the casing.  Time to stop and reflect on options that may be available.  Besides, it was now happy hour.

What came out of alternator after flying around at high speed

After pulling out all the pieces, decided that it wasn't going to fix itself, and especially not while attached to the engine.  I placed a couple of calls to the folks who originally assembled the generator, and was lucky enough to chat with an actual technician, who helped me through the process. Luckily, we had the right hammer....  Finally broke it loose, after two days of pounding, and hauled it up to an alternator repair shop. Luckily it was close to the dinghy dock and was just small enough to fit into our large canvas shopping bag.  The shop told me that if they could find the necessary parts (Italian manufacturer) the estimate to repair would be between $1500-$3000!

After recovering from this shocking news, I immediately got on the internet and started roaming.  At least I found out that Alt Mecca (the Italian company) was still alive and producing alternators.  I then called the folks at Central Maine Diesel, from whom I'd purchased the generator from, and found out that they would sell me a brand new replacement alternator for $784, shipping included.  Deal was done, went back to local shop and unceremoniously tossed the old one, and waited for the shipment from Chicago to arrive.

Meanwhile, we (Nancy, Hal & brother Vern) hopped into Vern's car on the 17th and drove north to San Francisco to attend a Memorial for brother Wayne.  We stayed with Mom & Dad in Concord during the few days we were in the S.F. Bay area.  

Hal & Vern relaxing on new (Vern-built) bench in front of
 Mom & Dad's place.  Nancy took pic as evidenced by her
reflection in the window
Upon our return to San Diego on the 22nd (October), the new alternator was waiting for us. The process was reversed and, miraculously, alternator got attached to motor and repositioned. Hooked up all the wires, fuel lines, etc.  At 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, the 26th, we were back online and generating (smokeless) power!  Would rather not have to experience this again...
These are local regular customers of the Point Break
Cafe who kind of get together occasionally and
goof around with their guitars.

One of our favorite places to hang out, sip a few, chat with folks, watch football games (if we don't get them on our antenna tv) and sometimes get a chance to watch and listen to live music on the patio, is the Point Break Cafe.  The Cafe is really close to where we land our dinghy to go ashore, so it's convenient and, when we're really hungry, a great place to eat.  It's really like a place you'd find near, or on, a beach.  The "crew" there are really great.

While walking our "Shelter Island Shuffle" route, we just happened to get lucky and see a lady arriving by car, get out and immediately attract a large flock of seagulls. Apparently they know her, and they became frenzied when she pulled out her bag of bird food and started throwing it behind her as she walked.  We chatted with her for awhile, learing from her that some varieties of seagulls were becoming extinct because of lack of food.  Apparently, according to her, the food chain has been interrupted, suspecting a chain reaction from the Fukashima nuclear power plant that was swamped by the Japanese tsunami awhile back.  And, apparently, the flocks have dwindled because of the cleanliness of the area, leaving the seagulls with very little garbage to munch on....

Catching up with the flotilla
The annual Baja Ha Ha fleet assembled during the latter part of October and sailed away on the 27th.  We jumped into the dinghy and watched them leave.  Some 151 boats sailed out this day, headed for Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with stops in Turtle Bay and Mag Bay.  We had actually met a few of the crews of boats joining this rally.  We had previously decided not to join the rally, as it was scheduled to move too fast for our tastes, so we'll take our time and "smell the cactus" on our way down the Baja coast.

Harbor Police boats "water waving" goodbye to the fleet

The "Grand Poobah"'s (leader of the pack) catamaran

The fleet (or most of it anyway)
A familiar sight to some...harbor seals at the transient dock
at southern tip of Shelter Island, with Shelter Is. Bay in background.
Panels mounted on pulpit railing
The solar panel project finally got underway, now that the generator problem seems to be resolved (and working well).  Decided to add two 100w panels mounted on the bow pulpit. These will, necessarily, be only for use while at anchor.  Installed some quick release plugs on the leads coming from the panels, which then allows for the panels to be removed and stored below while underway. An additional 100w panel was added some weeks ago to the aft port rail.  The two panels amidships, attached to our port and starboard deck storage boxes will remain where they are mounted and the three panels on the aft rails will be up or down as weather dictates.  We now have a total of 670 watts worth of solar panels.  Hopefully this will reduce wear and tear on the newly rebuilt generator!

The new 60 amp controller
The "junction" for the 3 pairs of panels.  Still needs dressing out.
And, as always seems to be the case, we take photos of sunrises and sunsets which is a good way of signing off for this particular update.  We're looking forward to getting our act together and finish up some projects and doctor visits and stocking up and all that stuff. We're still hoping end of November will be our time to depart the U.S. and head southward.

A Fall morning sunrise

Moonrise yesterday evening (6 Nov)....5:40 p.m., calm, 82 F...
hard to beat!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Catching up on Summer in San Diego

We're roaring through the summer, although spring was just yesterday....wasn't it?  And, wouldn't you know it?  Today is the first day of Fall!   Seems like we updated this Blog then, and have come to the realization yesterday was almost three months ago!  AND....we got a call from the new Bar Manager at the Port Angeles Yacht Club letting us know we are WAAAAYYY behind....

Anyway, although we're still hanging on mooring balls in America's Cup Harbor, we've managed to get out and about the area utilizing our multitude modes of transportation (feet, kayaks, bicycles, rental car, and bumming rides from brother Vern).  We're still sort of on track to head south come November, but having just read the hurricane season isn't officially over until Nov 30th, and the Baja Ha Ha fleet will have departed towards the very end of October, we might rethink our departure date to around end of November.  That will give the hurricanes a chance to get out of our way and will give some of the stops down the coast a chance to restock after the Ha Ha depletes them during the first few days of November.  

The old Naval Training Center w/Headqarters Bldg. in background
We did do a lot of walking, a bit of bicycle riding in an attempt to stay in some sort of shape.  It's a bit harder than when tied up to a dock, because you have to get the dinghy ready, shut everything down in the boat (like you're taking a trip for a long time).  Then drive the dink to the dinghy dock, lock it up, exit dinghy, walk up the ramp, stretch, and then walk a few miles, reversing the process back to the boat, turn everything back on, thru-hulls, and so forth.  It's compounded when you have to load, unload, load and unload your folding bicycles.  MUCH easier to just jump off the boat and begin whatever you're set on doing.      

Nancy got finished with a couple of more sewing projects, to wit:  cover for windlass and cover for our backup Honda generator.  We are very happy with all of them!

The Windlass Cover
Generator ready for complete protection
Generator in its new cozy blanky

Crew arrives onboard Shakedown
July brought us lots of joy, as son Steven flew in from Maryland on the 1st...just in time to celebrate the 4th with us. As you can see, since this isn't his first time visiting, he found the apropriate garb and made himself right at home on the foredeck.  We actually walked to the airport from the dinghy dock, waited around for his flight to arrive, then after baggage retrieval, we three walked back to the dinghy dock, piled in and managed to arrive back at Shakedown with baggage and crew intact....

Goofing off in the airport 

Fourth of July arrived (on time, for a change) and we were advised that where we are "anchored" in the America's Cup Harbor mooring field, is THE BEST PLACE on the waterfront to watch the fireworks.  So, believing the old sages around here, we prepared accordingly.  Got BBQ fixin's ready, then headed out in the dink to see what was up around the other side of Shelter Island.  We saw a "Parade of Dinks" all dressed up in red, white, and blue bunting and flags, there was a water playground for the kinds, and lots of folks rafted up in a designated weekend anchorage preparing for the festivities.  
July 4th on the water
Parade of Dinks

Water paradise for the kids
Then we headed back to Shakedown to complete preparations for food, drinks, and fireworks.  It was indeed a great place to be, as we were able to simultaneously watch all four (4) platforms they were shooting a coordinated fireworks show from.  What a great night!






The following day, brother Vern visited and we all took turns paddling the kayaks and hanging around.  
Kayaks ready for action

Notice the sun shade above it at the PAYC "swap meet" in 2012
We got a chance to do a "Pub Crawl" through a number of micro-breweries in San Diego, with brother Vern being our guide and taxi.  Apparently, San Diego has LOTS of these little places...(like Ballast Point, Stone, and Ican'tremember...)

Vern and Steve finding their way to the front door

The piping behind the brew

Steve and Vern discussing world events...

 The following day, believe it or not, we all piled into Vern's car once again and visited Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla Beach receiving a bit of de ja vous from visits in the past.  We made a nice long, pleasant day, starting with breakfast and ending with another visit to a micro-brewery...
Breakfast of Champions

"bulking up"
Couldn't believe I'd ever see one honoring "live" military guys as well....

The outcropping and Steve taking picture for friends back in Maryland
Nancy, Steve and Hal

Steve in new headgear
Steve giving Vern a "thumbs up" and the coolness of the place
La Jolla beach
The former Green Flash...sorry to see it had changed ownership

Nearing the end of the day....
We did take another tour out in the kayaks, and took some walks, then it was (already!) time to say goodbye to Steven as he needed (after 13 days) to get back to the east coast....

Hal prepares to pull a docking maneuver with Shakedown
Steve finishes his final kayak ride....
The remainder of the now "empty nest" month consisted of addressing a number of issues on the endless repair list.  Just keeps getting longer, and that's compounded by buying new things that can go wrong and end up getting on "the list".  But that's what cruising is all about...RIGHT?  One of the joys of doing some of the repairs/maintenance (in this case, replacing the mast headlight) is going aloft to work in the rigging.  It's especially fun if one remembers to take a camera.  So, here is a brief "birds eye view" of where we are and our neighbors and surroundings here in America's Cup Harbor.

About 2/3's up the Main mast looking aft

Looking out to starboard

Looking to port

Looking straight aft towards Bali Hai restaurant at N end of Shelter Island

Looking towards aft and to port 

Shipyards in background

Our neighbors to the West (dead ahead of us) with Point Loma in background
More neighbors forard and starboard of us

We've made a concerted effort to get out and walk almost every day, barring unforseen circumstances (which always seem to pop up), have had the hull scraped (finally) by a diver.  The daily needs of being "at anchor" ...which, we now realize has been since last Christmas, brings with it daily chores to keep things running smoothly.  Things like walking to the grocery store for those items which require us to purchase more single-ply TP so the crappers don't clog up.  Similarly, if we want to continue with our sanitary habits, water is required to be "trucked in" via dinghy and five 7-gallon containers on a regular basis (2-3 times a week).  Showers are great, running the washing machine and dryer is also.  We have to get fuel as well, to operate outboards and generators, so diesel and gasoline are regularly "trucked in".  We like our coffee and food hot, so propane is also in the mix of what needs to stay up-to-date.  

We managed to get our bikes tuned up and had a great 12-mile bike ride to Seaport Village, Ace Hardware in Liberty Station and back to the boat.  
Mexican Navy training ship port-of-call near the Maritime Museum
Air Craft Carrier memorial

Seaport Village

USS San Diego memorial
So, new fans have been installed (which Nancy just LOVEs) just in time to ward off the 85-90 degree swath of weather.  The humidity has been pretty bad (horrible, if you ask Nancy), and has been hovering in the 85% range for weeks now.  Even the local guy watching the parking lot at the Marine Exchange store says this is the worst humidity he can remember in his life (about the last 65 years is my guess).   The main genset has gone south on us, and the troubleshooting is going to be extensive.  A repair job on the forward house deck needs to be completed before it rains again (who knows when THAT will happen here).  

One of Hal's younger brothers, Wayne, passed away on Friday the 29th of August, only 55 years old.  Needless to say, much sorrow exists in the Rogers family.  

More solar panels have arrived (3 x 100W) which should help with keeping the batteries topped off.  Football season has arrived and we're on top of it.  Hal's a die hard 49ers fan and Nancy still harbors feelings for the Seachickens (oops, Seahawks).  You might be able to tell....

We are just about two months away from our projected departure to the south (Ensenada, Mexico to start with) and we've started visiting the Dentist and have scheduled our physicals and so on.  We've got a few more "major" purchases to look forward to, such as a hookah diving system that supports two divers at the same time, a host of charts and guides,  and lots and lots of single-ply T-P.

Will try to update more often because we'll be busy and getting busier as the departure date becomes a reality.  We really like it here, but are most eager to venture "out there".....

Looking aft and a bit starboard with City of San Diego in background
Nancy wondering where her girlfriends Katherine and Judy were