October 28, 2014


This past weekend Ernie and I covered our boat for the winter.  This is a challenging ordeal, for a variety of reasons.  The fact that we are trying to cover a roundy sailboat with a rectangular piece of plastic is the first reason, of course.  Also, there are often issues with timing and weather.  We are usually scrambling to get it done, and it gets dark earlier now so there is even less time.  If the weather is clear, then it is nice and warm during the day, but as the sun sets, it gets really cold and all of the jackets and gloves are trapped inside the boat that is now covered in a layer of plastic with no door.  If it is raining or snowing, then it is wet, cold, and unfun.  And hopefully not windy.  The other big challenge is that Ernie builds things all of the time for fun and profit, and I do not.  He has plans and ideas of how things should be done, and in the absence of direction, I just make things up as I go along.  And I get distracted easily.  I am not a good flashlight holder.  That is Chris' job.  Also, I am not psychic.  So when we start to build he expects me to do things without telling me to do things and then gets frustrated when I don't do them.  It takes a little while for us to figure out our groove.

This year took us about 2 half days, which I think is the current speed record.

Our current protocol (updated every year):
  • a framework of pvc pipe is installed to hold up the plastic.  Hoops are formed by bending the pipe across the top of the boat
  • reinforced polyethylene sheeting is put over the hoops, cut to size, and stapled to a row of wooden battens along the bottom (just under the cap rail)
  • straps are run under the keel in several places to pull down on the plastic 
  • a door, windows, and a stovepipe are added
 It takes longer than it sounds like it should.

The first day we got the pvc skeleton (which we reused from last year) in place.  We also got the cover on in front of the mast.

The framework.  The bent pipes fit into another pipe running along the deck of the boat.

The first day.  The rain tarp is back on for the night, and I think it looks a bit like a covered wagon.

The second day we finished covering the boat aft of the mast, and added the fittings so the stovepipe for our diesel stove could go through.  Due to technical difficulties this did not get done last year and we couldn't use our stove for heat.  It will be nice to have it this year, especially if the power goes out.  We also got coverings up for a window on each side of the boat.  They are super nice to have, so we can see what is going on outside without leaving the boat.  We also got the (first) door up.  We decided to try zippers, like a tent fly.  They might work out, but we may have to add in a wooden door.  The cat is disappointed about the cover, since it separates her from fresh rain water and her crow friends, but that's life.

The finished product.  Ernie is really a master at getting the plastic tight and even.  Our cover always looks the best.

So the cover is on, and my car is at the shop waiting for snow tires.  We are just about ready for winter, although we haven't had any snow yet.

October 19, 2014


I posted already about pulling the boat out of the water in September while we were house-sitting.  We fixed some thru-hulls, and the bottom got a nice coat of paint (or two).  That was at the end of the month.  At the beginning of the month, we managed to get the inside painted.  That was a job that had been on the list since we bought the boat, but we didn't have time to do it before we moved on, and there are several reasons why we couldn't do much painting while we were living on the boat.  Especially with the cat.  With an entire month at our disposal and the cat off of the boat, we were free to paint every possible surface.

We used oil based paints for the interior.  They were a little whiffy going on, but we are hoping that they will be more water resistant.  We chose a dark-ish purple-ish color for the trim, and a very light gray-ish color for larger areas.  In the main cabin of the boat that covered up flaking white and light blue paint, undoubtedly full of lead.  In the v-berth that covered up paint that was piss yellow.  I don't know why every bedroom we have had since Astoria has been painted the color of pee, but it has.  This includes the room that we stay in while we house-sit.  There will be no yellow walls in any of my future houses, ever.

Here are a couple of pictures showing paint color when we bought the boat.  I am reminded of how much work we (mostly Ernie) have done since then.

The aft wall of the v-berth

In the main cabin.  There is a bookshelf covering most of the white wall now.  That is our fridge built into the seat.  We normally keep its door closed.

New paint!
In the third picture you can see the colors of the new paint.  It is so shiny and clean looking, and so non-offensive.  The part that bothered me the most was the floor, and we painted it with the lighter color.  It is mostly covered by rugs, but there was always a little bit of the floor showing, and it looked dirty and gross.  It is so much better now.

I should clarify, Ernie did all of the painting.  I am too clutzy to be allowed to paint.  I did a lot of the taping and prep work.  This is true of the outside of the boat as well.  Someday I will have a space of my own that I can paint.

The last thing that we are trying to do to spruce up the inside of the boat is to cover up some of the silver insulation that covers the walls.  You can see what it looks like in the top picture.  It doesn't bother me too much, and our curtains kind of match the walls, but it would look a lot nicer of the bigger areas were covered up.  We just aren't sure of the best way to do that.  So far, the (possibly) best idea we have had is adhesive vinyl wallpaper.  No one sells it in town, so I ordered a sample to see if it would work.  Here is the sample pattern that I chose.  
I probably wouldn't actually use it to cover too much wall space, maybe just the ceiling in the v-berth, but I thought the extra could be used for other crafty things.  I haven't tried putting it up yet, but if it works out, it could transform the interior of our boat, and we would look a little less like we live in a space ship.

Things are getting better all the time.

October 17, 2014

Friday Night sunset

The sunset tonight was like fire in the sky.  I took a couple of photos to share, partially as proof that I am getting better at carrying my camera around.  It was much better in person, of course (and colder too), and I missed the wonderful alpenglow on the mountains to the north, but here are a couple of the shots I did get.

It has been a good week here.  It is slowly getting colder, but it isn't too cold yet.  The pattern lately has been a couple days of rain, a couple days of partly cloudy, and that's not too bad.  It does seem to be getting noticeably darker every day, but that is to be expected.  All in all we are just living our quiet little life in Juneau (although we are hankering for an adventure).

October 12, 2014

Princess Daybreak

Our beautiful kitty cat loves our boat.  She rules over it with grace and generosity.  It is the perfect space for her, small and comfortable, and not too scary.  She is not a brave cat (unless there is food involved) and she isn't friendly to new people.  Or to other cats.  She is very happy to be an only cat.  Her brother, on the other hand, didn't take to boat life.  He ran away 3 years ago this month.  We both kept hearing little kitty meows over the last couple of weeks, and looked around to see if it was him.  Not so far.  We would be overjoyed if he came back.  The princess would be outraged.  It's not likely to become a real issue.

As much of a scaredy-cat as our baby girl is, she sometimes likes to go outside to sniff around and drink rainwater.  She has never left the boat on her own (and only one time with us--under duress), but she is cool with hanging around outside as long as nothing scary comes by.

Strangely, she doesn't seem to be too afraid of crows.  Occasionally, when I open the doors for her, the crows will see her and start circling the boat, swooping down over the cockpit and cawing.  She holds her ground and watches, but doesn't run away.  I wonder if she sees them as a possible food source?

View through the doors.  There is a crow on each side of the picture, sitting on each of the white davits.  They swoop around and take turns sitting on our boat cawing at the cat.

Nine more crows joining in the fun from neighboring boats.
Eventually all of the crows in the neighborhood are perched on nearby boats and pilings and circling around our cockpit, squawking and carrying on.  It is a sight to see.  Then something happens and the cat finally gets freaked out and darts inside the boat and it's all over.

October 09, 2014

Snow Report #2

Here is the view from the Safeway parking lot yesterday morning:

It was a beautiful fall day.  Sunny, crisp, delightful.

Today is just rain.  Cold, cold rain

October 07, 2014

Not much to report today, as it is Tuesday.  The highlight of the day was that the boat next to us moved out today, so we got our boat turned around.  When we came in to our slip last, we moored bow-in because it was easier.  During the winter we moor stern-in so we don't have to walk as far down the sketchy finger.  And that is how our step is positioned.  Since we have returned from dry dock, I have been taking a three foot step up and down on the boat from the slippery, wobbly dock, always with something in my hands or a pack on my back.  I was tempting fate every time I left the boat.  Getting my step back was very exciting, especially as the wood could be frosty any of the mornings when I leave.

Also, this:

OMG!!  My demon kitty is soo pretty!!

October 06, 2014

Jellyfish season!!

I'm here, for all of my readers who missed me (ha ha ha).  I had some technical difficulties last week.  Everything is back on track now.

It continues to be autumn-y here.  The weather patterns are changing, and now every night while we are trying to sleep, a storm blows through and rocks us all over the place.  In this harbor the docks move at about the same rate as the boat, so it doesn't take much of a storm to make you feel like you are no longer attached to anything.  The thought that I use to comfort myself is that we would certainly hit something quickly, right?  It isn't like we have one of the outer slips and could just drift out to sea while we slept.


The best part about the cool seasons is that there are jellyfish everywhere.  (I mean, maybe not the best part, but I get pretty excited about it) They are so calming to watch, just hanging out below the surface and pumping water around.  We have started to see a few recently, so I took a couple of crappy pictures with my crappy camera.


The internet tells me this is probably a lion's mane jelly, Cyanea capillata for you science types.

I told you they were crappy.  One of the deals that I made with myself is that I get a new camera if I blog regularly enough.
This was a very nice specimen.  It was about the size of a basketball and looked like a flower, with long stringy tentacles.  Most of what we see are moon jellies, which are beautiful, but not as colorful.  Also, if you lay down on the dock and put your face almost to the water, you can see a bunch of different types of comb jellies swarming around.  I will try to get a picture next time I am down there.  Luckily my camera is water proof and floaty.  For when I drop it.

The snow level is still coming down.  This morning there was snow on the top of all of the near mountains, even on Douglas.  I didn't get a picture then, and it is too dark to take pictures after work these days.  Don't worry, there will be more pictures of snow, I promise.