“Those who risk going too far are the only ones who find out how far one can really go.”

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Broken Bones and Building Boats

Posted on Monday Jul 7, 2014

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Since getting the boat listed we've been busy having fun.  We started hiking and biking.  All was good until Sherrell took a spill and landed on the edge of a curb right on her knee.  It turned into a cantaloupe and we took her to the ER (after she somehow managed to bike 1.5 miles back to the car).

Ouch!  Completely fractured patella (knee cap).  The image on the right is the ER and the one on the left (poor quality) after 5 weeks where it has fused to about 70%.  It took about 8 weeks and now Sherrell is back on the bike and building up her muscles again.

The tough part was we had to abandon our home immediately because she could not get on or off the boat at all.  So we rented a fully furnished vacation condo (with hot tub) down town.  It was actually about the same price as renting a run down 1 bedroom with no furniture.

Now we are back on the boat and have moved to another harbor.  We started a project to build ourselves a large rowing dinghy that we didn't mind getting dinged up because this harbor is a bit rough.  We didn't want Sarana's main dinghy to get banged up after all the work we did on it for listing the boat.

We started with plywood and some free plans off the internet.  Here's basic structure with floor, walls, transom and the stations in place.  Still needs the seams fiberglassed and the joints glued and filled.



And this is what it looked like after it was glassed and the temporary stations removed.  We just set the seat in there for the photo.  The darker color of the wood is due to the 3 coats of epoxy we rolled on it to seal the surfaces and the white you see is the epoxy fills to even out the edges for fiber glassing.


And here it is all painted with the hardware installed.


Rowing it is fun because it is so light!


Now we own 3 boats!  And I'm sure the people on the dock are glad the project is done...no more sounds of power tools and shop vacs!

Sarana is for sale

Posted on Thursday Apr 3, 2014

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Wow!  It's been a great ride, literately.  We gave it a lot of thought and we decided 11 years of living aboard and traveling can't be beat. There's really no way to top it.  Life however has conspired to push us in another direction and we decided perhaps we'll try to sell the boat here in Hawaii, a beautiful tropical spot that is central to all things in the Pacific.

Sarana looks great and is ready to sail!  Check out our photos and info that we put up on Yacht World.

The loss of Switchblade in Thailand

Posted on Sunday Dec 1, 2013

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I was busy procrastinating on the computer and went to sailinganarchy.com  to see if there were any interesting stories when I got punched in the gut by their main photo.


I immediately recognized Switchblade in the photo.  Not many boats are painted with the exact same paint as a Ferrari.  In hopes they saved the boat, I searched the internet for information.

This was when I learned the newest owners have been chartering the boat in Thailand for races.  And there were some nice photos and they had added some tacky sponsor stickers to the hull.


We had some great races on that boat.  But what happened?!   Is the boat ok?  Sherrell managed to track down the story.  Apparently a squall rolled through and brought a lot of large waves that in 10 minutes pushed all of Mike Downard's "Sail in Asia" sailing school boats, which included two the region's famous sailboats Switchblade and Tag.

From the sounds of it they were all anchored and the owner raced down to check on them only to find them all up on the beach.  Switchblade had the keel ripped off.  I have to warn you the next photo is distrubing.

 
It really brought me down.  We had a lot of fun on that boat and admittedly I hadn't thought about it for years until I was gut-punched by its loss.

What did you do on Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

Posted on Friday Nov 29, 2013

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This is the first time in many years we've been in the US for the holidays and I was totally perplexed by all this conversation about "Black Friday".  I kept reminding myself to check the stock market and see what everyone is talking about.  Then I saw a Daily Show where they were making fun of the "news" coverage of Black Friday and what stores were open...oh yeah, shopping.

We spent our holiday low-key as usual.  A sailboat was pulled off a reef last week and limped into the spot next to us with some bottom damage.  I spent Thanksgiving helping him and another guy prepare to extract his big spade rudder so he could repair it.  Then on Black Friday (stupid name if you ask me, perhaps accountants like the sound of it) we extracted it from his boat.

It's a big heavy rudder and naturally it leaves a big empty hole in the bottom, so it's a job you have to take your time with and be very careful.  There is a real chance you could hurt someone and/or sink the boat.

I'm happy to report it all went well -- no injuries no sunken boat -- and is off to get repaired.   Sherrell heard all the commotion while we were trying to keep the rudder under control and load it into the dinghy and snapped a couple photos.   Perhaps we'll use them for holiday cards.



Brewing Beer on a Boat

Posted on Saturday Nov 23, 2013

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Often on a boat there's too many things to fix.  Sometimes the only solution is procrastination.  A great way to do this is by making beer!  Something we've been trying to perfect for a while on our boat.  By no means whatsoever are we experts, but we have a system now that works for us, so I thought I'd share it.

I don't go into how to brew beer, but rather how to do it on a boat where space and water are a tough to compromise.   Give it a read.

People!

Posted on Thursday Nov 7, 2013

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This post contains a GPS location. Click here to see it on the map.

That was the first thing I noticed after rounding the famous Diamond Head point. There were people! After a month of touring the Hawaiian Islands we haven't seen any other cruising boats and we only met a handful of people. We came out of the ocean swell and wind to the leeward side of Oahu and BOOM! Parasailors, tour boats, sail boats, motor boats, submarines, surfers, kayaks, Coast Guard...it was like Maui times 10 or Molokai times 10 million.

photo of passing by Diamond Head to Waikiki and Honolulu
(photo of passing by Diamond Head to Waikiki and Honolulu)

We are still trying to get a med-moor style slip and get our paperwork approved, so they stuck us at a public loading dock. We should get a spot assigned soon. But it has been a long long time since we were in a real city with the boat...and we are really IN the city.

In Molokai

We haven't written much because we've been having fun. We visited the Big Island, Molokini, parts of Maui and now we are anchored in Molokai! It's been hot with the temperatures near 90 and there's no sign of fall approaching, much less winter.

Today is Sherrell's B-day! We made her some cupcakes...chocolate of course. Tomorrow we are going to "borrow" a car and do a tour of the island for a couple of days. Molokai has been a very friendly place and there are many things here that remind us of Mexico. (I should probably clarify that this is a good thing because I understand that many people have the wrong impression of Mexico based solely on news coverage.)

The trades are expected to pickup this week so we might be here for a while waiting for a window to get to Oahu, but that's ok because the anchorage is calm and we aren't in a hurry to start working on the boat and rushing around the big city of Honolulu just yet.

Leaving the Big Island

Posted on Monday Oct 14, 2013

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The Frog King, the Fishing Lady and many others will be missed but NOT the ice machine.  Our past couple of months inside the Wailoa Harbor (which is really just a tiny boat basin) hasn't been dull.  When your boat is parked curb-side and open to the  public 24/7 you get to meet everyone.  Really the only downside with this very public spot is the ice machine that is about 50 feet from our bow that dumps out about 100 pounds of ice every hour and has a motor that won't quit along with a work crew that starts around 3am with lots of shouting and music.  Other than that it has been interesting seeing the world go by and floating in what amounts to a fresh water river that keeps the bottom of our boat super clean.

We've enjoyed our time here on the Big Island but it is time for us to sail on to Maui and the other islands.  Friends are going to ship our car to us on Oahu once we get there so we'll have transportation again which will be fun.

We are both a bit anxious to get moving again.  Three must be something wrong with us. 

Here's a parting shot of our boat in the basin with big-ol' Mauna Kea with its telescopes in the background.  Awesome.


Brewing beer and 40 bottles of beer on the boat

Posted on Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

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UPDATE: Check out our guide to brewing beer on a boat.

What do you get when you combine some starches, Hilo rain water and yeast?  Vog Head IPA!  Vog is volcanic fog and it drifts around the islands Volcanoes depending on the wind direction.  It's toxic and can be quite a pest sometimes.  Since we were using rain water we thought it might make a subtle difference to the beer.  Ok, we also thought it makes a great name for a beer.  Vog is a very unique feature to the Big Island of Hawai'i and even the WikiPedia page for Vog features Hilo.

The past year or so we've been experimenting with brewing our own beer.  We've learned a few things about it and how to do it best on the boat.  Now we've refined our technique and upped the brew size to almost 4 gallons.

In this picture you'll see our white fermentation bucket (food grade) with a spigot and a vapor lock.  Then we have our 16qt. stainless pot for brewing.  And since we are beer snobs, we have to have some fresh grains.  We use a "mash extract" technique where we crack the grains (for best freshness) with the grinder you see on the stove, and then we soak them in a bag we made out of bridal vale material.  We also use some dry and liquid malt extract just to make the ingredients more portable.


Then we cooked it with the malt, grains and hops, which is a hot job in the tropics!


This is our biggest batch of brown sugary stuff yet!  Hard to believe that turns into beer, but add some bacteria and it does the work.  It takes about 10 days to ferment in our warmer climate we can't keep it at the proper temperature so we have to be careful not to let it sit too long.
We were a bit worried how our 4 gallons of bubbling beer would do during the tropical storm that came through, but fortunately we didn't get bounced around too much and the beer looks and smells good.
When it's done fermenting it's time to break out the freshly sterilized bottles, bottle caps and priming sugar!
Now the hardest part is letting them "bottle condition" for weeks.  Agh!
Some of the tricks we've worked on refining is using minimal water for sterilization and cleaning.  We've also have a system the eliminates the need for a bottling bucket, siphon, and a second fermenter.  It's a work in progress so we'll see how Vog Head turns out when the bottles are ready to be cracked open.  I hope it's good!

Mauna Kea Biggest Mountain in the World

Posted on Tuesday Jul 9, 2013

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Sure it's only 13,796 feet above sea level, but measured from it's oceanic base it stands 33,500 feet (more than twice the base-to-peak height of Everest).  No sherpas or clamp-ons for us -- we drove to the top

I've always been a big Astronomy fan and ever since playing around in the University Observatory many years ago I've wanted to see the best facility this side of our atmosphere for a long time.  I wasn't dissappointed.

On a rare clear day you can even see some of the large telescopes perched on top.


From the visitors center at 9,000 feet we climbed a small hill to try to acclimated as we both felt the altitude.


At the dizzying top we were freezing cold, the wind was cranking and the views were stunning.  (Yes that's me in foul weather gear)



While it was pretty cool to drive up to 13,700 feet.  It was even cooler to see the tools we as a species have built here just to look at the sky and search for answers.








My personal favorite was the Submillimeter Array (see the photo with Sherrell and one of the big dishes).   And I also liked the James Clerk Maxwell submillimeter telescope.  We were going to sneak in on a tour that was looking at it, but we were spotted so we just stayed outside...bummer.

In the cheesiest sort of ways seeing this massive investment in pure science research from countries all around the world gives me hope for the future.   Learn about the 12 Observatories here or check out some live webcams of the mountain top.

It's not so much the mountain top that is spectacular, but rather the things you can see from it.  I'll leave you with one amazing image from Mauna Kea:  Interacting Galaxies NGC474 (Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope).