No Time for Tsunamis

Everyone has been asking if we were affected by the tsunami caused by the Chilean earthquake. Though we kept the VHF radio on to hear updates from other cruisers who were monitoring bouys off of Acapulco, Manzanillo, and Cabo San Lucas (which saw .5, .9, and 1.2 foot surges) we weren’t very concerned. We were too busy getting ready to launch! And thankfully, there was really no effect here.

We’ve met a number of people whose boats were flooded while they were in “dry” storage during the hurricane. Typically this happened because the cockpit filled with water and then emptied into the cabin. For some it has just meant a muddy mess to clean up; for others, it has meant lost gear, dead batteries, and ruined engines. One guy (who, incidentally, is responsible for reintroducing wolves to Idaho- you meet such interesting people while cruising!) had hoped to spend a month sailing the sea, and instead is hauling his rusty engine back home. So, we were even luckier than we realized!

We worked hard getting ready to launch. While Todd was busy taking the engine apart and then putting it back together, I was in charge of scraping all the old cetol (varnish) off the boat. After coming off my previous job of waxing the hull, which took two days and left me with some sore muscles, I was glad to move on to a less taxing chore.

Though removing the cetol wasn’t difficult physically, it was very time consuming. And, since we were using a heat gun to soften the cetol so that we could easily scrape it off, I ended up with a number of burns on my hands and fingers.

“Why don’t we hire someone to do this?” I asked Capn Taskmaster. “A lot of guys would be happy to do this for $40 a day,” I pointed out. Todd shook his head, saying “No, this job takes a lot of concentration. You have to be careful not to damage the wood, or burn the fiberglass. I really can’t trust it to anyone but you.”

My heart swelled with pride! I had an important job that my Captain would trust to no other! My burns became badges of honor, and I threw myself into the work.

Well, one afternoon the Captain deigned to join me in scraping varnish. “Ah,” he exclaimed, “it’s so nice to do mindless work for a change!” Excuse me? Mindless? Oh no he didn’t!

As my scraper clattered to the deck, he realized his mistake. Capn Backpedal did all sorts of verbal somersaults, saying how difficult this work was, how important it was, how good the boat was going to look, and ending it all with a promise to take me out for a margarita as a reward for all my hard work. (Of course, then I knew he really thinks I’m an idiot; obviously he’s the one who wants a margarita…but, I figured I might as well get something out of him, so I went along with it.)

Speaking of idiots, one afternoon while we worked, we listened to Queen’s Greatest Hits. Freddy Mercury sang, “I want to ride my bicycle…” and Capn Camel observed, “I think it’s so funny how in this song, one guy says ‘Buy’ and the other says ‘Cigarettes’!” I paused a moment, trying to make sense of his statement. “They’re saying ‘Bicycle Race’,” I explained. And thus Todd has joined the ranks of those who woefully misunderstand song lyrics, like “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” (Purple Haze) and “There’s a bathroom on the right” (Bad Moon Rising).

Well, despite a little scheduling hiccup, we managed to launch on Tuesday, March 2. We’re now anchored out and so happy to be back in the water (and out of the dusty yard)! The only downside of anchoring out is that there have been some thefts recently- some solar panels taken from one boat, and an attempted dinghy theft. We’d be really screwed if we lost either of those things, so we’ve been locking everything up at night and checking topsides any time we hear noises in the night.

We’re almost done putting on 6 coats of cetol. We need to get the wiring done for the new windlass, and do our big shopping run, before we head out across the sea. The winds have seemed pretty variable, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the weather as we ready for our departure.

For those of you who are interested in the Idaho wolves: The guy we met is a wildlife biologist who was hired by the Nez Pierce tribe to help reintroduce wolves and bighorn sheep. What Todd found most interesting was the method of capturing the wolves: they went up to Canada, got in a helicopter, then flew about 20 ft above the wolf packs, armed with net guns. When they were in the right position, they’d shoot the net and hope to get the wolf. I was most intrigued by the difference in methodology from the Yellowstone wolves (“Yeah, Wyoming gets all the press,” lamented our biologist friend). The Yellowstone project tried to capture related wolves, and release them as packs. In Idaho, they just got a bunch of random wolves and let them go. Both methods were successful. In Idaho, they released something like 35 wolves, who first took off roaming all over the state, then paired up and formed new packs. They now have over 900 wolves!

7 Responses to “No Time for Tsunamis”

  1. MArcus says:

    I enjoyed looking at those pictures of the cetol coming off. The funny thing is, I remember some of those swirls in the wood grain. And the first time I stripped the caprail I burned it near the bow. I also melted the gelcoat near the old location of the CF numbers.
    Excuse me while I eat this pie…

    and then someone told me it doesn’t go…
    “Hot Dog! I say Kool-Aid Man”

    I am glad to hear that she is back in the water. Have some fun!

  2. MArcus says:

    Oh and don’t forget from Pink Floyd’s the wall that;
    “The ducks are hazards in the classroom.”

  3. MArcus says:

    You made the rice, I made the gravy,
    But it just may be some tuna fish you’re lookin for…
    Billy Joel

  4. Dan says:

    Hey Guys,

    This is Dan from Euphoria. Sounds like things are going well for you down there. I had a question on your windlass wiring, what size and type of wire are you using? I was thinking of using tinned wire but Royce said he wouldn’t and just seal it up good. I have found 1 gauge welding wire for about $2/foot vs. $3 for tinned. As a reference, my windlass motor is 1200 Watts and I have about a 35′ – 40′ run, times two.

    Thanks and safe travels

  5. Susan says:

    Hi Dan, Good to hear from you! Our new Lewmar H3 windlass is 1000 Watts and we have a 35′ run (or 70′ round trip) which meant we needed 2AWG wire. If it had been just a little shorter we could have used 4AWG wire. I always use the West Marine wire sizing guide for sizing wire: http://www.westmarine.com/pdf/MarineWire.pdf

    We went with the Ancor tinned wire which we bought from http://www.wholesalemarine.com/ . Regular wire would probably work fine too if you tin the ends with solder and then seal the lug really well.

  6. Susan says:

    Also one of my own misunderstandings- from ‘On the Road Again’ by Willie Nelson. He says ‘The life I love is making music with my friends.’ I thought he said ‘The *wife* if love is making music with my friends.’ And I was like wow, he really does like being on the road so much, he doesn’t care that his lady is fooling around.

  7. Sequoia says:

    Poor mama… Are your hands better yet?

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