Today is the first day of December 2018. It is also the first day of my dear friend Lori’s cruising dream realized. After a lifetime of planning and one hellacious year of hard work, she left Galveston this morning, setting sail for Florida, and then on to the Caribbean.
She and her crew on this leg, Mike, Janet & Will, will take S/V Trident across the same Gulf that Monte, Joe and I crossed with her back in February.
My heart is full, as I see them pull away from the dock this morning. You did it, Lori. 🙂
We are pet sitting this week – our niece, Julie’s, dog, and Doray & Tom’s parrot. Because of that, we have been sticking close to home. But, today we took the opportunity on this beautiful day to take a drive.
We stopped by several vantage points around the lake. With the emergency flooding situation behind us, Lake Travis is dropping about 1.5 feet a day now, currently at 695′ above mean sea level. The butterflies were thick today, which makes me very happy – so much of what humans do have hurt their populations over the years. It’s nice to see them out there despite us.
I believe these are Queen butterflies, on blue mistflower. I think I’ll plant some of this in my yard!
We also stopped by the marina to check on our boat. Our marina’s staff has been doing a wonderful job keeping all the docks floating and clear of obstacles. They are running a shuttle to the docks for boat owners, since the lake is still flooded, and the water level is still about 15 feet above the parking lot. Everything looks fine. Our batteries are doing well (electricity has been off to the docks for 12 days, so far).
I brought my completed propane bag out to the boat and hung it. It works great, and I found the perfect spot for it.
I scored a civic triple this week. I chatted with my district’s city councilman at a neighborhood block party over the weekend, voted early yesterday, and today I headed downtown for jury duty; on the bus, no less. There’s too much traffic and not enough parking to try driving down there and back at rush hour. Monte gave me rides to and from the metro station and I caught the Express, which drops me and picks me up two blocks from the courthouse.
I drove down to the coast this week to join Lori and Mike on Trident to work on some boat projects. We sat through a day-long, hands-on class for “Marine Diesel Engine Introduction and Maintenance” which was delivered on-board Trident. I learned a tremendous amount, and now feel like I have a basic understanding of how a diesel engine works, and how some maintenance can be done. At night I dreamt of primary fuel filters, lift pumps, fuel pumps, engine fuel filters, injector pumps, injectors, oil extractors, heat exchangers, impellers, strainers, shut-off valves, stop-cocks, oh, my!
Today, after the lecture part of the class, Lori and Mike performed the following maintenance to Trident: primary fuel filter change, engine fuel filter change, impeller change, oil change, oil filter change, belt tension check, transmission fluid check, heat exchanger coolant check, raw water strainer cleaning). Nine hours of learning and doing. I’m looking forward to opening up Nirvana and seeing if I can identify all the components on her 3 cylinder, 30 HP Yanmar diesel.
Why do they put such big engines in such small places?
The engine and generator are inside this compartment, comically called the engine “room.” There is actually a guy (the teacher) sitting on the generator inside this compartment, pointing to components on the engine behind it.
Lori is changing the primary fuel filter here, reaching through the aft access door to the engine “room.”
We recently celebrated our anniversary. Tonight, we had Lori and Pooh over for dinner and popped open one of our oldies.
It was a bottle from a winery that we visited on our honeymoon – an almost 20 year old chianti that we brought back with us. The cork didn’t leak or budge in the last two decades, so the wine was really pretty good! I am very happy to be able to share it with friends.
TripAdvisor just announced their list of top museums in the world, ranked by their travelers. At #1 is my favorite, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. I’ve visited Paris on four different trips, and hope to make it a few more before I’m through. And when I do, I will walk through the entire d’Orsay again. It’s beautiful – a restored train station, the Gare d’Orsay, that was built for the 1900 World’s Fair. It opened as the Musee d’Orsay in 1986. Its exhibits are diverse and gorgeous.
Here is a pic from my last visit, it looks just like any other taken of its expansive great hall, around and through which its galleries are placed.
And another pic of the old clock, with a bit of my own artistic treatment (using the Brushstroke app).
The next day, we drove to Colleen’s house. She cooked pulled pork, from scratch, and it made for delicious sandwiches. We visited with her, Lee and Jake all night. The next morning we headed to Whidbey Island for a day trip.
The smoke and haze was very bad. But it’s a beautiful destination.
Whidbey Island Distillery makes a nice whiskey, and delicious berry liqueurs. They use a continuous still, homemade – see the copper pipes and tubes in the second picture below.
I walked down to the beach to get a view of the Deception Pass bridge…We popped into the Admiralty Point lighthouse…Then we hopped the ferry to Port Townsend…VERY smoky. This is a shot from the deck of the ferry of the sun setting over the beautiful Olympic Mountains. 🙂
We made an overdue visit to the Pacific Northwest to visit family and friends.
Fires are burning all across the area, and in Canada as well, so smoke was thick everywhere.
A drive up into the Olympic mountains made for a lovely day trip, but you could not really see the mountains, even standing amongst them at 5700′.
Port Townsend is one of my favorite places. I just can’t visit there too many times. We walked through the Maritime Center and watched shipwrights work, and walked the docks where the Wooden Boat Show will be in a few weeks.
The next day we took the ferry to Seattle and spent the day exploring the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and Seattle Center.
I’ve just returned from a week of sailing down the Texas Gulf coast from Galveston to Port Aransas and back. Monte and I joined Mike to crew for Lori on a shakedown cruise on Trident as she prepares for her cruising life later this year. The week flew by, with the drive to the coast, 2 days of boat projects in Kemah, then anchoring overnight off Galveston Island’s Moody Gardens before sailing in the Gulf of Mexico for 450-ish nautical miles roundtrip, including an overnight watch while sailing each way, and a two night stay at Port Aransas Municipal Marina, and back again. It was a fun trip – lots of laughs, sun and wind. The weather was very different from February when we sailed across the Gulf – much calmer seas and weather this time, and MUCH hotter.
Doray and I visited Warbler Woods and Crescent Bend Nature Park today. We saw many more species than I was able to capture on camera, but here are my only keepers. I love the variety of migrant birds we get to see here.