Back to Seattle and a change of plans…….

Don’t listen to anything we say any more about our cruising plans. The last few paragraphs will explain what I am talking about, but anyway……

Our last update (two months ago, sorry) left us cruising in Alaska. Not much changed for the entire trip other than we went to some absolutely spectacular places. The further we went north, the icier it got and we really had to be careful not to bang into ice. Glacier Bay was one of the highlights of the trip. We had a guest on board, Andy, and he really got to experience the best of Alaska. Glacier Bay is a HUGE national park. It takes (at least in our boat) several days to go from top to bottom. You have to make reservations to travel in the bay well in advance or try for the last minute reservations hoping for cancellations (which is what we did). They only let about 25 boats into the bay at a time so you almost never see anybody else on a boat. The bay is about 3 to 5 miles wide on average and about 65 miles long from one end to the other and is absolutely kept pristine because the park ranger crew is abundant with tree huggers. You have to stay at least one mile from shore or you get a call on the radio from one of them threatening a hefty fine. Of course, when anchoring at night, you have to be closer to shore and that is allowed. There are bears EVERYWHERE, whales swimming all around and all kinds of birds to see. My personal thrill was traveling to the end of Glacier Bay and stopping about 300 feet away from a huge glacier. When the glacier “calves” (large sheets of ice falls off) it sounds like a huge explosion and in rare circumstances, produces huge waves. Fortunately we did not experience any of that!

After Glacier Bay we started to head back South, stopping at about ten different places in Alaska on the way back. We stopped at Tennakee Springs, which is a tiny little town of 50 people. The first thing I noticed was that lots of people carried rifles with them, even a teenage girl riding her bike down the street. Evidently, the bears have decided that there are goodies for them in the town an frequently visit. We also anchored in Appelton Cove and took the dinghy close to shore to spy on two big grizzly bears on shore. They actually don’t look that big while on all fours, but when one of them stood up to look at us…….yikes!!

On the way back after leaving Alaska, we stopped at a place called Breakwater Island, just off the coast of Vancouver Island in Canada. It is owned by friends of ours and they allowed us to spend the night at their dock. They were not there but it was fun to see it after hearing about it for all these years.

Before returning to Seattle we stopped in Victoria, a must stop for all boaters. We docked in front of the Empress Hotel and spent a few days tooling around the town.

The cruise back to Seattle was long but we were anxious to get back and have the boat hauled to repair some damage from the ice we hit in Tracey Arm. At the same time we decided to have the Keel Coolers (Non Boaters: Keel Coolers are a series of pipes formed in a grid which are outside the bottom of the boat. Coolant circulates in the pipes so that the seawater can cool it before it returns to the engine, hydraulic system, air conditioning etc). It had been years since they were removed so we had the boat hauled, all keel coolers removed and cleaned and replaced all the hoses in the engine room. Also, the ice had knocked off the kelp cutters which protect the stabilizer fins and needed them to be replaced and we also decided to check the props and shafts for damage. That’s how it started……..

………We ended up having the shaft and propeller removed from the main and wing engines, replaced the cutlass bearings which were worn and had the line cutters on the main shaft reworked. We also needed to have new seals put on the stabilizers and as it turned out, we had some pretty bad corrosion on one of the stabilizer shafts and had to replace that too. While the boat was out of the water we decided to have the thru hull transducer replaced on the depth gage with a newer unit that also gave water temperature and speed over the water. It should have ended there and we should have left as planned for San Diego, but…………..

…………Then we decided to replace ALL of our appliances – Dish Washer, Clothes Washer and Dryer, four new Sub Zero Refrigerators and Freezers and we replaced the oven and converted the stove top to propane so that we didn’t have to run the generator at anchor for cooking. It all ended up costing us 5 times the cost of the appliances to get them installed as none of them were exact replacements as far as size. At least the stock market was up a little then. We should have stopped there and left but……….

……….Then we decided to get all new electronics. We got all new day and night readable computer monitors for the pilothouse along with a new black box Furuno Radar. This involved completely redesigning and rebuilding of the dash in the pilothouse. We also installed a new radio, an Furuno AIS (transmit and receive), video monitors for the engine room with cameras and new navigation software. We also replaced my beloved Ekorne chairs in the salon with new ones. We had the injector pump removed from the main engine and had it rebuilt. Installed all new cooling pumps for the hydraulic system. We had a switch installed which will allow us to boost shore power by up to 20% if we need it.

If we had left here when we had originally planned, we would be in sunny San Diego by now, but delaying our trip gave our devious cruising friends, Ken and Roberta and Braun and Tina, time to formulate a plan to brainwash us to changing our itinerary COMPLETELY!!!!!! We have decided…..

……..that next summer we will go BACK to Alaska with them but this time cruise out to Dutch Harbor and the Aleutian Islands, then cross over to Siberia (yeah, that one) and down to Japan. This is a great departure from our previous warm weather plans and probably enough to have us certified as crazy, but we are kind of excited about the trip. So anyway, we have decided to keep the boat in Seattle inside a fresh water lake called Lake Union for the winter and do our warm weather traveling by plane and car. In the meantime, we have to update the boat further as I hear that they don’t have good mechanics in Siberia to fix yachts. Just suggesting it to them might end us up in a Gulag. We are installing a new generator and replacing the Air Conditioning compressors with more power efficient modern ones. See…I’m going green too!

After spending the better part of a year in Japan the plans are a bit murky but I guess we will probably head toward the warmer climates, being careful to avoid the areas prone to piracy.

Until then, we are truly…sleepless in Seattle (tossing and turning about the economy, getting all this work done and having nightmares about the Gulags). But other than the cold, Seattle is a pretty good place to be as there is so much to do here. The people are great and the marine services are beyond belief.

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  1. Who did the repair work in Seattle?

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