header photo

Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Index of Interesting Blog Posts

Most Amazing

 A Lone Humpback Whale    

 Panama Canal Crossing

 Isla Talon


 French pastries delivered?!

 El Salvadorian chicken boat

 America's Cup Races

 French Canal Boat


Emotional or Funny

 Reaching the Canal

 We can't catch a thing

 Flying the Dingy

 Snakes on a boat Part 1

 Snakes on a boat Part 2

 Melissa can't fly a Spinnaker

 Embarrassing laundromat trip


 Helping the Mexican bureaucracy

 Squid attack!


Best Land Side Trips

 Caiman Capture!

 Swimming in the Amazon River

 Arches National Park

 Machu Picchu

 Best Zip Line

 Paying our first bribe

 Seeing our first wild monkeys

 Evening in Tlaquepaque

 Melissa attacked by monkeys

 Most beautiful cities in the world

 Oaxaca market day

 Monte Alban ruins

 El Salvadorian wedding

 Copan ruins

Scary Stuff

 A bump in the night

 Remind me why Greece is fun?

 Tried to kill the boat owner

 Getting caught in a fishing line

 Apsaras tries to sink herself

 Dark and stormy night at sea

 Fire aboard the boat!

 A scary marina entrance

 Michoacan Mexico Unrest

 Engine trouble at sea at night

 Automatic weapons fire?

 Frogman Mike


The MacGyver Stories

 Debugging the starter problems

 Outwitting the Panama Canal

 Bringing back the icemaker

 Fixing Saltydog's autopilot

 Saltydog gets a new navigation system

 Towing a boat across the bay

 SSB Seminar

 Stabbed by a broken beer bottle in Mexico

 Autopilot failure in Alaska

 Removing the washer/dryer

 Where is that leak anyway?

 The day Dave wanted to sell the boat

Rescue Stories

 Paddleboard Rescue

 Rescue on the Amazon River

 Fuel transfer at sea

 Aground & Rescue of Joint Decision

 Day 1 and Day 2 of fixing the generator




Current Journey - RSS Feed at http://svapsaras.com/entries.atom

What's for dinner in Winslow?

Because we have Melissa's Aunt Char and husband Dan here with us this week for Dad's memorial, we figured it would be nice to do a bit of a sail as Char and Dan have never been aboard Apsaras before.  Melissa had this bright idea on Wednesday while on the way to the airport to pick them up.  Dave was like, hey you do know its going to rain and be windy, right?  Well, yeah, but you know, not like we haven't been rained on before!

So Thursday night just after sunset, off we went.  Yes, that's right.  In the dark.  And the rain.  And 4 foot seas.  Yeah, ok, not horrific or anything, but not exactly a nice sail in the sunshine either.  We got over to Winslow to find that in the dark and the rain we couldn't see the entrance marker.  So Dave gets Melissa to stick her head out the window (did I mention the rain?) and see if she can spot it.  Whew!  There it is! Ok, now we are feeling safe.  Only to come round the bend and find the ferry boat pulling out and honking its horn at us.  We call on channel 16 and ask if they want to pass port to port.  No answer.  So Dave dives off to starboard where he knows the ferry will have a hard time hitting us.  We pass them by only to have them call us and chew us out for not talking to them on channel 13.  Channel 13?  But yes, we all know channel 16 is the international hailing frequency.  Alas somehow magically we were supposed to know the ferries won't respond on the standard channel?  Um no.  Actually they are supposed to respond on 16.  Everyone is supposed to.  Sigh.  

As we head into the bay, Melissa says to Dave "you see the piling in front of us?"  Dave says "yeah".  Melissa says "the one RIGHT in front of us?".  Yikes!  Dave takes a turn hard to port and says, "maybe you should go up on deck and watch".  Already in her rain slicker, Melissa heads out on deck into the inky blackness.  Alas she hadn't dawned her full bib rain gear.  Cuz, ya know, its not raining THAT hard.  You know where this is going, right?  Mistake.  Big mistake.  By the time we got attached to the mooring buoy Melissa was a drowned rat.  Good think she had a spare pair of jeans aboard or she would have had to wear PJs the rest of the trip.

Anyway, we find a mooring buoy in the bay, but alas, in the dark, Melissa can't see the black hook at the end of the boat pole.  So she can't catch the dang buoy.  Dave comes on deck to help and between us we get it hooked, but even Dave can't lift it high enough to get a line through it because the dang chain is stuck in the middle.  What is it with mooring buoys anyway?  Like half the ones we encounter stick like that.  The chain is supposed to come up through the middle so you can bring it aboard and get your line on it.  So, only option is to back down on the buoy and snag it off the swim platform.  Ok, so this is a little tricky because (1) Melissa is being VERY careful not to drop the line off the back and wrap it around the prop, and (2) Dave can't actually see where the buoy is to the aft under the dingy which is hanging over the swim platform.  Fortunately Melissa and Dave have well developed enough hand signals that Dave gets to within a few inches of the buoy first try, and we snag it.

Ok, now for a dry change of clothes, and then an important decision.  Do we try to go ashore for the nice dinner reservation in the pouring down rain and wind?  Hmmm.  Well, what are our other options if we stay aboard for dinner?  We take everything out of the canned goods cupboard to find (1) three cans that were so rusted through we could no longer read the label (tossed those in the trash!), (2) two cans of salsa, (3) several cans of artichoke hearts, (4) a can of garbanzo beans, (5) a few other things like olives and mustard.  Oh, and plenty of wine.  Ok, got that going for us anyway.  Fortunately, Char and Melissa had gone to the store earlier in the day and bought ingredients for breakfast.  So breakfast for dinner it is!  Bacon and raisin bread french toast.  And a nice dip made from artichoke hearts and garbanzo beans.  A cross between humus and artichoke dip served with chips.  Not bad for scrounging.

By morning the weather had broke and we went ashore for breakfast.  Then it was time to head back to Seattle.  Dave put up a sail on the way back and leaned the boat over.  Not nearly as windy as the night before, but good enough to get a nice boost from the sails.  Everything in the cabin went flying - including the big screen TV.  Ooops.  Fortunately nothing got damaged.

We had to head back to Seattle, cuz everyone is headed for the condo tonight for "Thanksgiving" dinner.  We cooked up a great meal - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, apple pie, pumpkin pie - the works.  Been a very long time (likely more than 30 years) since this crew was together for Thanksgiving.  So Melissa is in seventh heaven cooking for a crowd.  All in all a good day.

4 years in the making - Apsaras is back at Elliot Bay Marina

We pulled out of the bay behind the islands at Port Ludlow early this morning.  Dave wanted to make tracks before the tide went out to make sure we had plenty of clearance on the way out.  We stopped for diesel and then were off to Seattle.  Against the currents it took us hours to make the crossing.

It was four years ago exactly - Memorial Day weekend when we departed for Alaska.  Today Apsaras came home to Elliot Bay.  Here's what it looked like pulling in today.  Home sweet home.


Port Ludlow

The plan this weekend was to bring Apsaras down to Elliot Bay so that Dave can do some maintenance on her - nights and weekends.  There's a long list of stuff to be done - including replacing her generator - which you may recall caught fire in panama.  So we made the 10 hour long trek down from Canada to Port Ludlow today.  When we crossed the boarder, Dave called US Customs, and gave them our Nexus numbers, along with the boat registration numbers, and "Welcome to the USA".  Love not having to actually pull into port to clear customs!

As we were pulling in Port Ludlow, the light dawns on Dave that we have no cruising guides for Puget Sound.  Melissa has a vague recollection that we gave them away when we were headed south thinking we wouldn't need them again till they were out of date.  Doh.  Best laid plans... meanwhile Dave is trying to remember how to get behind the little islands at the end of Port Ludlow.  One of the three entrances is a "sucker hole" that the deer walk across at low tide.  Hmmm.  But which one?  Dave chooses to the best of his recollection and goes very slowly.  Melissa stands on the bow peering into the murky water hoping to see ground before we hit it.  We motor on through with no issues - 7 foot clearance below the keel at high tide.  One of the sailors yells at us as we get to the back "hey - you want to come through that other one next time - you were lucky!".  Well, not exactly.  The entrance that is truly un-passable we promptly see deer wandering across.  So we did the one passable only at high tide.

Best Lamb Burger

Last night one of Dave's colleagues from work, who wanted a refresher on how to fly in and out of Canada, flew us to Nanaimo.  After a quick provisioning trip to the store, we headed out to anchor in the bay just outside the Marina.  Beautiful sunset!  Yes, we are only 100 yards from the marina.  But that distance is the difference between noise and peace.

Dinner was lamb chops with mint and lemon with rosemary garlic potatoes.  The lemon was from some preserved lemons Melissa made last fall in an attempt to keep them from going bad.  They marinated in the olive oil all winter long and were yummy!

This morning we had a heck of a time pulling up the anchor.  We feared having caught something - but no, it was just the mud here is so thick that we had to use Apasara's motor to pull out the anchor!

Then Melissa fried up some Bacon underway along with potatoes and mushrooms along side.  Oh, and don't forget the mimosas!

Along the way we saw a whale watching boat and were hoping to see whales.  Alas no whales, but still a spectacular day with calm seas and the mountains visible all around.

Then it was off to Bedwell Harbor.  Dinner at Poet's Cove resort.   Dave says it was the best lamb burger he has ever eaten.  He thinks maybe it was the goat cheese they used atop it.

Apsaras gets a black bottom

The yard tells us that black bottom paint performs better.  Dunno if that is the truth or if they just had a ton of black paint left over from the last bottom job they wanted to get rid of.  Regardless, she looks great!

And on the way back to the Marina - 7.5 knots at 2500 RPM!  Apsaras is one happy boat!

Apsaras goes to the yard

Dave took off around 12:15 after updating Spike's software and mapping databases. He landed at Nanaimo around 1:00. Landing was fun (NOT!) - 10 knot cross wind gusting to 17 knots. It wasn't turbulent so he just did a no-flaps landing coming across the fence kind of hot so it was easier to align to the runway. As he got close, the cross wind subsided and he touched down halfway down the runway. He still had some rudder left but not much.  

After taxiing to customs, it took 10 whole minutes waiting on hold to clear into Canada. Pretty painless even with the wait. National upgraded him because they had no small cars. Just what he need for a 10 mile commute - a SUV. Went and got lunch and headed to the haul-out yard to get situated. It turns out that they use a semi-truck and a fancy hydraulic trailer to pull boats out. His instructions were to tie up at the boat ramp and they would position the trailer under the boat and pull it out. Tie up at the boat ramp in a 45' sailboat? That is a first. 

 Dave arrived at Apsaras around 2:00 and started her engine to get it warmed up. It was blowing about 15 knots at the marina so he found a guy to help him cast off. Backed out and headed down the fairway with no difficulties. Dave arrived at the boat launch a bit early so he tried to dock by himself. No dice with the wind directly on the side blowing him off. So he backed out to wait until help arrived only to find a shallow spot. The depth sounder is perfectly adjusted. Apsaras came to a stop just as it read 0 feet. Sigh. Tide is coming in so he was not worried. In only a couple minutes it had come up far enough to power off the mud. 3 for 3 in Apsaras getting her off on her own power. The yard showed up and helped him tie her down.

And now we can see why she can't steer very well, and is slowed by about 30%.  Yikes.

Snow on the decks

Dave awoke this morning to snow covered decks.  Brrr....  Thank goodness he has fixed the heaters that warm up the interior of the boat while underway, or it would be downright miserable.  Back to Ladysmith Marina.

Dave was hoping to maybe fly home today and make this venture a two day deal.  Alas the weather is not cooperating, and Dave has to fly home Monday morning.  Come Monday he arrives at the boat to find it covered in snow and ice.  He tries to get the de-icing truck out to de-ice his plane, but they are worried about how much de-ice they have for the big jets and won't do it.  But they feel bad for him and the truck shows up anyway - about the time Dave has the snow brushed off the plane by hand.  As its now a sunny, but cold day, its actually a good day for a flight home.

Just a paperwork thing

Apsaras' clearance into Canada was only good for 6 months.  Since she cleared into Canada Sept 5, her clearance was up March 5.  So last night, Dave flew up to Nanaimo in Spike, so that this morning he could head out to the USA.  Since we got our Nexus cards, this meant he could sail across the boarder, call US Customs and get his clearance via phone.  Then turn the boat around, cross back into Canadian waters and call Canadian Customs and get his clearance back into Canada - thereby resetting the 6 month clock.  Yeah.  Kind of silly, I know.  But what you going to do?

Apsaras really needs a bottom cleaning.  Best she can do is 5 knots at 2500 RPM.  If her bottom were clean she would be doing 7 knots.

Dave spent the night at Bedwell Harbor.

Not sure Jim will fly with Dave again

Jim and Margaret had left their car at the ferry dock at Anacortes.  The plan was for them to take the ferry back to Anacortes from Victoria.  But Jim much loved the idea of flying home in Spike.  So Melissa and Jim switched spots.  Dave and Jim drove Melissa and Margaret down to Victoria and dropped them at the ferry terminal.  Then Jim and Dave drove back to Nanaimo airport where they hopped in Spike planning to take off for home.  They should have beat the girls there by several hours.  Alas it was not to be.  Spike's right brake failed as they began to taxi.  So as Dave tried to stop the plane, he ended up going in circles to the left.  Hmmm.  Probably shouldn't take off like that, huh?  Because breaking on landing is gonna be problematic.

Fortunately, there was a mechanic on a Saturday afternoon at Nanaimo airport who was perfectly happy to help.  Spike had blown a seal on the piston that controls the caliper on the brake.  The mechanic had the right part, and got it installed in under 20 minutes.  But the delay to figure out what was wrong, and find the mechanic had delayed the guys to where Melissa and Margaret knew they would be ahead of them.

So the girls stopped and grabbed supplies for dinner and headed to Jim and Margaret's for one last dinner together.

Back to Ladysmith

An uneventful journey back from Montague Harbor to Ladysmith Marina where Apsaras will spend the winter.  Along the way, we saw a whale, but not close enough to get any really great pictures.


View older posts »