Monday, September 20, 2010

From one Cape to another

It makes me a little sad to open up my blog and see how long it has been since I took the time to sit down and make contact with the outside world. For those that don’t see me that often, you might think that I went to Cape Decision and stayed there. As much as I would like to have E-mailed Rhonda and asked her to bring some food, a summer’s supply of Port Royal Stout from our friends at Seven Seas, and our dog Captain Jack, I did not. We did however have a very productive two weeks and at the same time made some good friends at the University of Alaska Southeast. I would like to elaborate but want to use my time to bring us a little closer to the present.

As always the fourth of July celebration at Salmon Beach was a big all day party more or less starting with the rowboat race that starts on or around noon. I had our 1948 Willits canoe in the water for its annual paddle up and down the beach and the conditions were perfect to actually participate in the race. Amber was supposed to paddle with me but ran a little late so I took on the field by myself and held second place from start to finish. It was still the prettiest boat on the water and paddles like a dream.

In August Rhonda put together a very nice sit down dinner to celebrate my birthday (does 56 at 56 sounds like a good reason to have a little party?). Then late in the month my two wonderful sisters-in-law (Jeana and Linda) and our daughter Amber threw a party to mark our 30th wedding anniversary. The gathering was wonderful with friends and family filling the room with love and laughter. A few hours later down at the beach our special group of beach friends threw another party that went on till 2:00 am the next morning. It is humbling to be the center of attention like that but we had a great time and we thank you all for your love and support. Nobody can successfully do anything for thirty years without the help of the people you surround yourself with.

All this time we are getting Amber’s new place ready for her to move into. It has taken almost every week night and all of our summer weekends and we are just about there. I knew when I was making plans for my trip to Alaska that it would be pretty much it for my summer but It has been worth it to not only spend some valuable time with our daughter but also to get a chance to see her so excited about putting a house back into shape after years of neglect. The place was a grim sight at the start but she stayed with it and our finished product is something she can be proud of for a long time.

Not that we needed any more projects on our plate but as we finish up this one and start to dream about getting back to the Whitehall, an opportunity that could not be ignored popped up . It think I may know what it may have been like to be in a boat that just harpooned a whale. The opportunity arises, you take your shot and hang on for dear life and ride it out till it kills you or you get your prize. It has felt a little like that for the past month when Rhonda and I along with our neighbor, good friend, and now partner made and offer on a place at Salmon Beach when it came up for sale. Some things in life are, in my opinion, meant to be and I felt from the beginning that this was on of those things. Just like before when Rhonda and I bought #56 this could not have happened without the help and cooperation of many many people. In both cases it was a little like putting together one of those 1000 piece puzzles but in this case we had the added excitement of a very short window of time and the possibility that someone else was more interested(hardly likely) and better funded (more likely). Thank you to everyone that we involved in this, especially my wife who for no perceivable good reason continues to allow me to pursue my wild dreams. I am pleased to announce that the new home of the S.B. R.P. rowboat will be in the first floor shop at #76 Salmon Beach.

 Jessie at #34, location of our current boat restoration project has asked if we would at least finish and launch the Whitehall down there and I see no reason why we shouldn’t do just that. He and Kat have the perfect little sandy piece of beach for a relaunching party. So sometime this fall we will get organized and get started on the new shop while hopefully the finish work continues on the Whitehall.

The main reason that I have the time to sit down and get you all caught up is that Rhonda, Chris and I are sitting around out at Chris’s parents Cape Cod summer home. Rhonda and I had been planning an anniversary trip for this fall and Chris was looking to share his place with someone so we took him up on his offer. The trip has been wonderful with our first stop at Mystic Seaport. I was more than a little disappointed that we were going to miss our annual pilgrimage to the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend until spending a full day at Mystic. I can tell you that it takes more than one day to properly take in all it has to offer and we went away happy and tired. I definitely want to go back to see the small boat collection .I always come away from the boat festival inspired and energized I think that between our great experience at Mystic and the R and R of two weeks away from all of our projects, we will be ready jump back into it when we get back.

Yesterday a good friend of Chris’s came down from Boston and the four of us took a field trip all the way to the north end of the Cape and sought out as many light houses as we could. We got to three different sites and got into one for a tour. Now you all have access to my description of my trips to Cape Decision Light House in the old postings here on the blog so you know what an adventure it can be just to get to it and I wouldn’t want to suggest that they have it easy here but the Cape Cod Light is in a golf course for crying out loud. Granted, they do have a beach erosion problem and the light has to be moved every 130 years or so but still…

So tomorrow we are planning a side trip out to Nantucket, hoping to see more of the east coast small boat fleet and I will let you know what we find. Till then, if the weather is bad don’t let it get you down and if it is nice ,well, get out and enjoy it while you can and we will see you on the trail.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Watching wind blow

It has been far too long since I posted an update but I have at least one good excuse and lots of bad ones. Unfortunately I have no good news about the rowboat to report but on the other hand no bad news, unless you would consider that the fact that I haven’t even touched the boat since my last post bad news. It is not as if I have just been sitting buy the fire looking out the window however…I have been very busy. Most of my time has been spent with my daughter getting her first house ready to move into. Fun, but a real time eater with so many other things on my list. Actually more than one list if you break it down into boat related and non boat related. The non boat related list seems to be getting longer the harder I work at it and the proclamation in my last post that “this is the year “ may have been as usual a little optimistic but I prefer to look at things that way, it keeps me from just giving up.

The reason that I even have the time to sit down to write this is that I am waiting for the weather to break in Juneau AK so we can make a dash for the Cape Decision Light house (one of my favorite distractions). This years trip in will be by boat from Juneau with a load of brand new kitchen cabinets. If the weather cooperates the boat, a 32 ft. welded aluminum landing craft style boat with twin 225’s should move us along at 27 knots. An approximately 7 hr trip. If the wind does not settle down, well ,It could be a long wet day. The reports we have gotten from the light house is that the sea is “as bad as they have ever seen it” and the fact that one of the windows blew in would be a good indicator of that. I will have more about the trip as it progresses.

A few weeks ago Scooter and I got to help sail the schooner W.N. Ragland for the annual mothers’ day event at the Center for Wooden Boats at Cama Beach on Camano Island Washington. My deepest thanks and eternal gratitude to our friend Andrew Washburn, who runs the Center for Wooden Boat at Cama Beach and the captain and current owner of the Ragland Walter Wallace for the opportunity to crew on such a beautiful and special wooden sailing craft. It was, since I was a kid on the beach at Fox Island, a fantasy of mine to sail on a ship like that and to actually realize a dream like that on such a glorious sunshiny day with enough wind to sail…well I am the living proof that fantasy can become reality . Dream to live and live to dream, check out the Ragland on the Wallace Yacht Co. web site and you will see why we have been coveting this boat for the past few years. It was also a nice treat when on Sunday (Mothers Day) Andrew got out one of the centers nice double rowing boats so Rhonda and I could go for a row. It was another spectacular sunny day, no wind and perfect for our several mile row.

I just received a call from my traveling companions and good friends Steve and Rachel and it sounds like we are going to try to leave at 5:00 AM tomorrow. The adventure begins, I will keep you all posted. Next stop Cape Decision Light House!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 This Is The Year!

We have all finally made it thru the holidays and into the new year, no into a new decade. I have to say the optimist in me is thinking that this is going to be a good one. My friend Scott is back and we have even managed to squeeze in a day of work on the Whitehall before he flew off to see his folks and before hitting the books again. We had decided that although we had done several coats of epoxy on the inside of the boat that there were enough holes and cracks that if we didn’t fill them we were risking somehow getting water in contact with the old tender original wood that we have worked so hard to protect. So once again we are going over the interior of the boat filling scrapping and sanding. I have discovered that the most valuable skill one can bring to a boat restoration project of any size is patience.

We are into our winter weather now with short days and plenty of rain, good weather for staying inside and working on a boat (as long as it isn’t freezing outside as we don’t have a very good heat source in the shop).This has also been the time of year when we get our highest tides of the year and as long as the wind doesn’t blow, it can make for interesting water watching as the stuff that is floated off by the high tide floats by on the outgoing current. I am not suggesting that a good blow with a 14+ tide isn’t interesting but it can be a little destructive and that’s just another thing to keep me from the boat shop.

A week before Christmas Eve I dropped something large and heavy on my right foot and although it didn’t break any bones it has slowed me down some. I did however in the week that I was at home with my foot propped up, have a chance to complete a little project that I was trying to get done for Christmas. I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to do something to show my appreciation to some of my friends that have been so helpful on the current rowboat project. So with the help of the good people at Ink Inc. in Tacoma, we came up with some nice artwork to put on tee-shirts and sweatshirts. They came out great although the one I had done for Amber was too big so I will be doing another order soon.

I have never been one to do the whole New Years Resolution thing but I have been thinking that I should make a promise to myself to spend more quality time in the boat shop. That sounds a whole lot like a resolution but I may do better with a promise. Anyway someone the other day asked me if this would be the year that we would be rowing the Whitehall in the 4th of July rowboat race and I had to smile. I have been saying every year that “this is the year” and this may be the year. So hang in there and tag along if you like, there will be some interesting distractions (some already in the planning stages) and I will try to keep you up to date as best as I can. Happy New Year