2 Years Living Aboard our Boat, What a Dream Come True….#48

This month, June is the 2 year mark for us being underway from our home at Columbia River Yacht Club in Portland Oregon. cropped-img_2364-2.jpgWhen we started this adventure, we thought that this 2 year mark we would be close to being done….but that isn’t the case. Our plans have adjusted multiple times, as they should when things happen. But we are so happy they did because we would not have experienced some places that we were not planning on going.

This first disruption of our plans was the overhaul in the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico  Shipyard at Opequimar. It took many more weeks than we anticipated. They did a great job but the length of time made us change our plans. We decided to head north up to the Sea of Cortez  for the summer. And what a great time we had! We would go back for sure and maybe someday we will do that. It was one of the best times we had.

img_6046One of the other best times/places, that was unexpected, was when we hit the San Blas Islands on the Caribbean Sea side of Panama. This was definitely in our plans but we were totally surprised by the level of friendliness from the native Guna Indians. We were blessed to have them share parts of their lives with us and we will never forget this memory. Also the beauty of the land and the hardship these people live every day to just survive is amazing. We were blessed to be able to experience it.

Now we had many small change in plans and we really only plan out the next stop just before leaving the current one. But the Sea of Cortez was a major change to our plans. One of the other major changes to the plan was just recently when the Covid 19 hit the world. We were in Jamaica  and we planned on going to Turks and Caicos and had family coming to join us. Well, of course that didn’t happen and we decided to undertake the longest run we had ever done, 4 days, alone with no crew. We made it safely to Florida and were glad to be in the US during these trying times.

We are frequently asked by people we meet about the roughest weather or worst storms. Of course you will all remember our cruise from Costa Rica to Panama, Our most TERRORIZING Cruise ever. We tell this story often to people we meet along the way, with wide eyes watching us as we point to the top of the fly bridge where the sea water attacked me in the middle of the night. This was a life changing event for me as a sailor and I truly respect the sea as it has its own agenda.

Of course, we are always doing repairs on the boat, well, I guess I should say Dan is always doing repairs. At least the repairs are being done in exotic locations, right?  Because repairs are so much of our energy, to keep moving and be safe I asked Dan what his most concerning repair was and why. This repair issue was the overheating of our main generator. It actually had two issues, but we did not know that at the time.

Being that the overheating was in our main generator and it was old, we had a bit of concern and needed it fixed quickly. We were in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico at the time, which adds to the complexity if parts are needed. The first issue was a clogged and leaking heat exchanger. It was very troublesome because it was difficult to disassemble, being old & rusty and was hard to get it unfastened in a very tight location. Eventually he was successful, but the part had to be ordered from Cook Engines in the US and then have it shipped. Because it was heavy and expensive part, we paid bucks! Customs in foreign countries can hit you hard. The second issue was found a couple days later after the heat exchanger was replaced. We had a worn out and clogged exhaust mixing elbow. The sea water passage had become clogged, limiting the flow which causes more overheating. We had lost our main generator again. But this time we had friends coming down and they brought the part with them in their luggage and helped Dan fix the elbow. All of this was a major concern because this was our main generator wired to our inverter. We had to use our alternate generator which limited us to 50 amps max.

The winner of best pictures is a slam dunk on “Sunsets & Sunrises”. So many I may need to create a picture book with all these pictures to put on my coffee table, someday!

 

 

 

I was not sure how to put these two years into a overall blog when there was just so much to talk about, So I thought I would put the last 2 years into a list of data points.

  • 730 days/2 years living aboard Angelique
  • 8,386 nautical miles
  • 7 countries visited
  • Cruised past 6 countries without stopping
  • 12 Scuba/snorkels dives – not enough times, for sure!
  • 1 new dinghy
  • 1 haul out/overhaul
  • 5 times we used 2 anchors – bad holding & bad wind/wave direction
  • 3 times major direction change in plans
  • 2 marina power failures while gone off of the boat – not fun!
  • 18 airline tickets purchased, traveled away from boat
  • 1 pandemic
  • 2 intruders
  • 1 awesome supermoon
  • 100’s of amazing sunset/sunrise pictures
  • 40+ dolphin sightings
  • 1000+ hours fixing & maintaining stuff
  • 24 engine oil changes
  • 1 stolen phone
  • 3 Airbnb’s – during shipyard work
  • 50 different visits from our friends/family
  • 4 different visits from Ken and Cheryl – Our good friends
  • 6 different visits from our kids, Kylie, Chase & Mitch
  • 2 Hired hands – who were brothers
  • 2 Navy football games attended – different cities
  • 40+ motorcycle rides
  • 48 blog posts about our adventures
  • 75+ books read (hard, on-line & audio)
  • 100+ bicycle rides
  • 60+ Uber and taxi rides
  • 27 nights Angela spent on boat without Dan
  • So many new boating friends/acquaintances
  • 2 very grateful and blessed owners of Angelique

As we reflect back on the past 2 years living aboard our Motor Yacht, Angelique, we are amazed at how far we have traveled, IN OUR OWN BOAT! So many awesome memories we have and we are EXTREMELY GRATEFUL that I have been writing them all down in this blog. Also, incredibly grateful to our friends and family that have joined us and helped with moving the boat in those times we needed it. And of course, all the people we met along the way, which are now new friends with which we will hopefully keep in touch.

I hope that if this is something you are interested in doing, that you do it! Yes there are rough times, lots of maintenance and repairs. But what an adventure you will live and relive as you remember what you accomplished.

We hope you and your family are healthy and happy. Blessings to you from Dan and Angela on MV Angelique 

US Coast Guard & Navy interactions with Angelique….#10

I am amazed how you just never know what could happen while cruising. There is so much that could happen to you or witness something happening to others.

Based on the title… “you guessed it” we had an encounter with the US Coast Guard. These wonderful folks are on the water to help you in so many ways. They are the Maritime law enforcement keeping the waters safe (drugs/law enforcement etc). They also have a vast knowledge of the water and can advise you if needed, can bring pumps if you are taking on water, search/rescue for lost vessels, towing of vessels and of course conduct vessel safety checks.

“They saw us coming and thought what a nice looking vessel.. lets go have some fun!”

As we pulled into Neah Bay the Coast Guard was hanging and watching as we arrived.  They called us and asked to board for a safety check. (this is common practice) Which, of course we were fine with. They agreed to let us anchor first, which turned out to be for the best. The waters, waves and wind were really strong that day. They had a hard time getting close enough to board us without crashing into us. The pic shows them attempting to board on our stern. They eventually came starboard of us and boarded from one of our side doors.

They boarded with two officers, one a more junior agent called a striker, (non-rated enlisted which is striking to be and aviation mechanic) he was keeping notes, while the other more senior agent went around with Dan and asked to see all of our safety items. We passed with 100% within 20 minutes. They were very happy and explained how some boats they board are in really bad shape and they could spend up to 2 hours with them on safety. I was happy about “Dan my safety man” after all.


~Now for the Navy encounter~

A few days prior to the Coast Guard boarding us, we were heading to Roche Harbor from Bainbridge Island. As we were making our way along our path, Dan commented that he saw something up in front of us and thought it was a submarine……. of course I said “no way” Yes! it was. It was an US Navy submarine and his entourage escort service. It was one of the coolest events we have ever seen.

Please forgive the lack of good quality photos as I magnified as much as possible. 

This coast guard boat is moving around checking out any non-military vessels. As the Sub and protection vessels are cruising towards their destination.

Coast Guard came very close to us

When the Coast Guard approached us he pulled out his hailer/megaphone and talked to us. Asking us how many people on board and to make sure we remained on the same course & speed we were currently doing. Obviously, so we don’t interact with them.

I heard from a reliable source…. that once they see your boat, they have high-powered technology that can give them any data on you that they want within minutes. My source told me “they will get in your pants….” 

You can see in the pictures below that there were two big boats on either side of the sub. They have big wall like structures that block attacks if one were to occur. Dan said that this was not in place when he was on Sub’s, most recently started after 9/11.

The Sub was heading back to Naval Submarine Base Bangor on the Hood Canal. It is a trident missile submarine from commander submarine group 9, where Dan was the reserve unit commanding officer from 1999 to 2001.  We don’t know which sub it was because that is what they like, unidentifiable.  Dan of course sent a pic over to the group, which they are always thankful for, especially the crew that were on the sub at the time.

We are always grateful for these life experience. Hope you enjoyed the pics.

Stay tuned for “Oprah’s Angela’s Favorite Things” Blog.. I might include a couple of Dan’s too.

Blessings to you all from Angelique MV

A Dinghy Saga, lemons in paradise….#8

storm picLiving on a boat/yacht isn’t all sunshine and roses, beaches, food and friends. If you are doing it on your own (no crew to help) there is a lot of work that has to be done. If you own an older boat, things break and many times they are important and must get fixed. I’m very lucky Dan is so handy and knowledgeable with all this stuff.

If you are following my Blog you know we got a hole in our dingy. We first noticed it when we took a stop on Orcas Island at the ferry terminal, so I could go grab a few things at the grocery store. The wakes were really big and the dock and dingy were jumping around really hard. As we pulled away, the tube on the aft starboard side was making a bit of noise that we had never heard before and looked like it may have lost a small amount of air. Luckily we were in Blind Bay minutes away from our boat. On arrival I didn’t think much about it and unloaded our stuff, Dan went to investigate. Dan discovered some type of hole, but we couldn’t tell how big it was. So we adjusted plans (this happens a lot when you own a boat and something turns up wrong etc.) and had to pull the dinghy up on top in the racks to get a good look and fix if possible.

“For Non-boaters… your dinghy (or tender) is your car to shore. It is a necessity to have a working dinghy. You don’t want to be without one for any length of time”

Once we got it up on deck we could see that we had a 2 inch cut or tear and would need a big repair. Dan used a life raft clamp on the tube just in case we needed to use the dinghy. It wasn’t a permanent solution but would do in case we needed the dinghy for some type of emergency.

life raft clamp

We made the decision to put off the fix until we got back from Portland. We had to get to La Conner to rent our car and head to Portland. (Portland story in eps #7)

After returning from Portland we decided to stay a few more days in La Conner so we could do the repair. (Much easier to do a repair at a dock rather than anchored) The complication with the repair was; the tube that was damaged was on the far back corner. When it was lifted and put onto the facing forward position it would have been dangerous and almost impossible to try and fix, as the damaged corner almost hangs over the starboard back deck corner .

“Size/weight = 19 feet, 1500 pounds, 130HP Honda Outboard”

Our solution was to attempt to put the dinghy on “backwards” on the rack.  The crane, rack and dinghy isn’t set up to do that so we had to figure out how to make it work. The dinghy engine was the tight fit while swinging it backwards on the crane as the actual crane arm was not letting it go past. We had to keep adjusting it to the correct angle and squeeze it by… Now would it land on the rack backwards, was the next question? We took it down very slowly and it fit, not perfectly, but good enough. Dan started the process of cleaning, sanding, setting up a flat backing to press on, then gluing the patch. Now wait 48 hours for the glue to dry.

We then headed to Bainbridge Island to meet Kylie and Ryan for the weekend.  BTW, We did travel with it backwards in the rack, if you were wondering.

When we arrived at Eagle Harbor Marina we filled the dinghy with air and she seemed to be doing well, so we put her in the water and headed for a test run. Dan noticed a few bubbles that didn’t seem right. We didn’t think the leak was much, so the kids and I convinced Dan to grab some lunch, then hurry back and check on it. Lunch took longer than we wanted. They certainly weren’t the fastest. But by the time we got back it was almost flat and the transom only had about an inch of freeboard left!!  Dan pumped it up right away and we took it back up top, backwards again. After looking, Dan saw that there was a second hole near the first one, another patch was needed. This one was not as big. AND the process began again…

There was a lot of discussion that night about what we would do and where to go if it didn’t work. We realized that it may have gotten more damaged than we could fix. We decided we would hauling her in to a Seattle Inflatable business at Ballard locks called Waypoint Marine Group….not what we wanted to do but we can’t live without our car. We also realized that it may take weeks to repair if they were busy. So we crossed our fingers for a good outcome with the patching process.

So, 48 hours later we took her down to test her out again.  SUCCESS!!! She is still holding air and we think it will work for some time. We may have to get a new tube later, not sure how long the patches will last. Dan might add a second layer for more protection. 


More trouble in paradise…. As we started to get underway from Eagle Harbor Marina to go anchor for a couple more days, our port engine didn’t start, at all, didn’t turn over, didn’t make a sound. So Dan started his trouble shooting efforts again. We were planning on being out of the marina by noon…. but it took a couple hours to figure out what was wrong. Dan chatted Ken Williams on the phone for ideas to look at as well.  Dan found that we had a short in the ignition switch and instrument circuit, so he traced the wires to figure out what was wrong. He found the short in a power wire to an alarm system and isolated that. Used up a bunch of fuses with that troubleshooting until he determined what was going on. Engine is now working but we have a disabled wire that will have to be traced.

We also were having an issues with our starboard engine starting. The cylinder wasn’t getting fuel and struggling to start. Dan discovered the Racor fuel filters are draining back to the fuel tanks. He found a priming pump that was out of commission. The pump’s power supply was disconnected and he reconnected that and installed a new fuse. Now we can prime the engine and it starts easily. Dan still needs to rebuild the Racors so the check valve works properly.

Welcome to our life! Constant troubleshooting and repairing. Does it ever end? I’m guessing no. I think we will always be troubleshooting something. Thank you Dan for all you to to help us with our dream life and for data input on this article.

If you guys have questions about any blogs we write and or suggestions on what you want us to write about please let us know in the comments section below, or shoot me an email.

Don’t let the lemons ruin the party, Drink Lemonade, Cheers!