Cutting the Roots

We’re cruisers and we’re used to being on the move.  We go from place to place and meet different people along the way, and we’re forever saying “hello” and “goodbye”.  We end up running into a surprisingly high percentage of people again, sometimes years later, and we love that.  Winter is the one time of the year that we tend to sit still somewhere and because of that we tend to “grow some roots”.  The more often we return to the same place, the deeper those roots can go.  After spending 6 very happy winters in the Keys we had some very tough roots to cut, but the anticipation of new adventures in the Pacific Northwest took a little of the sting out of saying goodbye to dear friends and favorite places.

We’ve only been in Victoria for one winter, in a part of the country where we barely know anyone, but we found that it was hard to cut our fresh roots.  For one thing, Victoria is a “sticky place” – it’s a place that’s just nice with lots to do and everything is convenient… so it’s easy to not-leave.  But the harder thing is that we’re starting to make some friends out here – some boating, some knitting, and reconnecting with some from our previous lives.

The winter started out pretty lonely – there isn’t the kind of community of liveaboards on the docks that we’re used to on the east coast, and we barely even saw any neighbors much less got them to talk.  Thankfully, I am a knitter, and I think it’s a universal truth that knitters like to gather and knit.  I found the local knitting meet-up group and started attending the Tuesday and Friday evening knit nights.  The first night I met another newcomer who also happened to be a boater and a liveaboard – how lucky is that?!  And we hit it off and became great friends, often meeting for coffee and knitting on our own.  After a while we got together for dinners with our spouses and it was great fun.  Later on I got to know some of the other knitters and made particular friends with two more.  Jim often came to Friday night knitting for a little while since we met at a cafe with good food and killer desserts.  That solved the problem of what to feed Jim while I was off knitting, and he got to meet some of the gals and enjoy some conversation (and eat dessert – it’s all about the sweets).  It’s much harder for guys to make friends, I think.

OLY20140418_004 vic knitting group 2 RESIZEWe’re very excited about our next adventures so that helped us make the difficult cut to those roots and cast off the lines.  We’ll be back.

We headed out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and had a nice view of the Olympic Mountains to the south.

20140423 6390 olympic mountains strait of juan RESIZE20140424 6391 clam bay rainbow RESIZEIt felt great to be at anchor again and we enjoyed a quiet day waiting for the winds in the Strait of Georgia to settle down.  We were greeted by a rainbow that first morning…

…and we had a few curious surf scoters come by and check us out.

20140424 6384 surf scoter RESIZE

Working on the Boat

Before we can cast off for a long trip we need to finish a few maintenance items – we’ve learned that it’s much easier to perform preventative maintenance than to do repairs in some remote place.  Some projects had to wait for warmer weather such as working on the davit (a small crane that lifts our 600 lb dinghy up to the boat deck).

20140418 6353 davit apart  RESIZEWe used our ladder to help hold the heavy arm up in the air so Jim could disconnect the hydraulic lines – it’s always good when we can manage things by ourselves.

20140419 6361 splicing amsteel  RESIZEWe had to replace some spacers between the sheaves as well as the “cable”, which is actually a synthetic rope (called Amsteel) that’s as strong as a steel cable.  The rope is a bit pricey ($2/foot) and it requires an eye to be spliced at each end, but I’m a pretty good splicer.  If we ordered the prepared rope from the davit company it would have cost $450!20140419 6356 davit back together  RESIZEThe next project was to adjust the valves on the main engines – a job that should be done every 1000 hours or so.  We put a lot of hours on our engines and it pays to take good care of them.  It goes pretty quickly, though there are 12 valves on each engine to check.  20140420 6368 stbd valves  RESIZEAnd while we were doing engine maintenance, Jim replaced the impellers that draw seawater through the heat exchangers to cool the engines.  The old ones were in good shape, but they were getting too old…

20140420 6370  impeller RESIZEIn the meantime I’ve been giving the boat exterior a thorough washing and a bit of Awlcare.  Cloudy/rainy days are the best for washing a black boat since the sun heats the hull too much and the soapy water can get baked on if I’m not quick enough with the rinse.  Sometimes people ask us if we want a bigger boat and we always say no.  A bigger boat is more boat to wash and clean… things are bigger than two people can handle easily… and you pay for dockage and haul-outs by the foot.  This is plenty of boat for us to take care of!

On the other hand, if you have to wash your mega-yacht, you need to be comfortable with climbing gear and heights!

OLY20140416_002 washing megayacht closeup RESIZE