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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Owning a boat is like....

There are lots of anecdotes about the expense of owning a boat... I am sure you have heard:
  • Owning a boat is a hole in the water that you throw your money in
  • The happiest day of a boaters life is the day they buy their boat, the 2nd happiest is the day they sell it!
  • If you ask how much it costs, you can't afford it!
  • BOAT stands for Bring On Another Thousand"
  • And this one had me cracking up, "a boat is a whore. takes all your money and you get screwed"
All pretty funny and sad to say, SO TRUE!  This year has been an expensive boating year for us.  Cast Away, unbeknownst to us, had a compression issue.  Don't ask me to even try to explain the details as I have NO mechanical sense at all... talk to Brandon if you want to hear the painful and excruciating details.  The short story is that the low compression in one engine led to both engines being rebuilt to the tune of several bucks!  That was painful for sure.  But the upside, and as Brandon always says to my chagrin, there's an upside to everything, we met and now have a great mechanic who is fair, very knowledgeable and does amazing work.  If you are looking for a great boat mechanic you should call Ev at Access Marine,

Then to add to the misery, about a week after the engine work had been completed, we took Cast Away out for a sea trial and as we headed back to the marina, we hit a floating log in Puget Sound and bent a prop.  We went from the high of enjoying the new and improved performance of the engines, to the pain of hobbling back to our boat slip, sputtering all the way. 

The floating log, that went unseen by the captain (no I am not pointing fingers or placing blame) led to another sizeable repair bill that also included a much needed repainting of the hull which according to the captain is necessary to keep the green fuzzy stuff from growing wild on the bottom of the boat..  Brandon hired Seaview Marine to do the haul out and bottom paint and we're VERY happy with the work they did.  The video is of the smooth, tranquil boat ride Brandon/"The Captain" had back to EMB upon picking up Cast Away from Seaview.

Hopefully that hole in the water is now closed for the upcoming boating season and now we can just enjoy our time on the Salish Sea.  Opening Day is the first Saturday in May - so just a little over a week away with lots of fun boating/water related activities to enjoy.  Then on to summer!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is it summer yet?

Beautiful April Evening @ EBM
Enjoyed a beautiful preview of summer last night and had dinner on the boat with Brandon, Izzy and Mason.  It was unseasonably warm - in the 70's!  We love mooring Cast Away at Elliott Bay Marina as we are spoiled with views of the Seattle Skyline as well as the Olympic Mountain range on clear days.  It’s pretty obvious, we are all dreaming of summer… we still have some cold, wet weather ahead of us before we are in the “dog days” of summer.  

Sue and Roy circa 1972 - ish
Having grown up in East Texas, summers in the Pacific Northwest are really never unbearable even though almost no one has air conditioning.  Living without central air is unthinkable in the hot summers near the gulf coast with temperatures soaring in the lower 3 digits with 100% humidity.  I lived the first 10 or so years of my life in an old farm house without that comfort.  My younger brother and I, in the heat of the day would find ourselves splayed out in front of a box fan with ice water and wet cloths trying to cool ourselves.  Occasionally temps do hit the 90's here - those days are priceless to me as much of the rest of the year I feel a deep, down chill I just can't shake until about July.

Along with the boating, fishing, swimming and just enjoying summertime, we are also looking forward to this year’s Salmon For Soldier’s event in the fall.  Below is short montage of photos from last year’s event.  The website also has great pictures and info on how you can pitch in to make the event an even bigger success than it was last year.  I encourage you to take a look at the SFS website and get involved!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The crew of Cast Away is reveling in the addition of their new custom mattress for their v-berth.  For the previous 3 years Brandon, Sue and Mason have endured the discomfort of hardened from age foam cushions guising as their bed.  This year, Brandon research and found a local mattress company that offers custom made boat mattresses - made to fit/order!  If you are in need of a custom made mattress for your boat or RV you should definitely call Nick at Slumber Ease in Marysville @ 360.659.8458.  The customer service was off the charts and the quality supreme.  They had our mattress ready in 1 week and it fit the v-berth perfectly.  Tonight is our inaugural sleep on the new mattress and we are looking forward to a sweet night's rest trying it out in our slip at Elliott Bay Marina.

The cruising season is just around the corner.  As Mason and Brandon play checkers sitting next to me at the dinette, I am researching and planning our summer cruising.  We are looking forward to a 10 day cruise in August exploring the San Juan's - specifically Sucia Island and the surrounding archipelago.  Our days will be filled with island hopping, hiking, fishing and hopefully braving the cold waters of the Salish Sea for a dive off Cast Away.  At night, we can revel in the stars above and sleep peacefully as the Salish Sea rocks us gently to sleep.

Before we embark for Sucia, we have a couple of other trips planned - our annual MYC Memorial Day cruise and July 4th @ Henry Island.  We will also be celebrating crew member, Izzy's graduation from UW on July 14th at the SYC outstation at Elliott Bay Marina - We couldn't be prouder of her!

We are hoping that both Izzy and maybe even the elusive Zoe will join us at some point this summer aboard Cast Away.  Both have embarked on their own journeys into adulthood.   I love them so much and while it is sad for me to not have them with me every moment, it is exciting to see what they will do and accomplish on their own!

Mason is now 9 - almost 10.... he has a love for the outdoors and is a burgeoning fisherman... Captian - otherwise known as dad - bought the little fisherman 2 fishing rods for the upcoming fishing season.  I have decided that I better embrace fishing or be left behind and dry docked.

I spent many summer days fishing with my dad and brothers on the warm freshwaters of East Texas and Louisiana.  I can remember sitting on the boat at dusk, warm, happy and tired from a full day on the water in the hot East Texas Sun - usually fishless (to my fathers chagrin)  but happy to have spent the day in my father's shadow and knowing that he was happy and at peace. 

One trip in particular had our motor on our little fishing boat crapping out just around sundown and with no tools on board we found ourselves stranded to far from shore on Toledo Bend reservoir.  We were stranded for hours and I was beginning to think we might end up sleeping aboard the little 18 foot open hull boat.  I was probably 8 or so.  My dad was totally calm and relaxed.  He sat at the little helm drinking Budweiser and pointing out the constellations in the night sky - and if you have ever been to rural East Texas or Louisiana, you will know when I say the sky is littered with stars, that I am not exaggerating.  Eventually another fishing boat crossed our path and ended up towing us in.  I honestly was almost disappointed that we were rescued - well at least until we reached our campsite.  As I jumped ashore, my momma rushed up and wrapped me and my little brother in her arms with tears on her face... she was so worried that the worst had happened.  I loved my momma so much in that moment and felt safe and warm to be back on dry land.  Secretly however, I always wanted to run off with my Dad - whether it be fishing or deer hunting.  It always felt so free and magical.

My first trip to the San Juan's aboard Cast Away conjured up those early feelings of being completely happy and at peace.  I love the magic of the Salish Sea and all the beauty it holds.  I look forward to journaling what we discover this summer.