i feel like my boat has been in the operating room. it has been an extended surgery. the fuel tank had to be removed and a totally new one fabricated from sheet aluminum. the bottom of the boat had to be examined in detail for every possible crack that might be bringing water into the hull of the boat. each crack identified had to be sanded, prepped and fiberglassed. and then when all that was done tubes had to be connected between the fuel tank and the motor. and the boat had to be stitched back up, after the fuel tank was loaded into its cavity on the boat. quite an operation.
the good news is that yesterday, around 3pm i was on the boat as it was lowered into the water again. these pictures give you an idea of the size of machinery that is involved in lifting boats in and out of the water. and, remember, my boat is a very small one – only 17 feet long.
once in the water, i turned the engine on, and waved my goodbye’s to Chris, the general manager of Sea Marine in Port Townsend, who moved heaven and earth to get his team working on my boat in the fastest time possible. a great job by a great team. thank you!
i then motored over to the nearest marina to fill up my tank with fuel, and then took off for the return trip to Seattle and my floating home (houseboat). luckily, the current was running with me and the seas were calm. i was able to get to the locks in Seattle in one and half hours running time. amazing. not only that, but the locks opened up for traffic going into the fresh water of Lake Union and Lake Washington just as i arrived.
after a stop at a fuel dock to fill up the tank again, which allowed me to determine exactly how much fuel i am using when i am traveling at a high rate of speed, i headed to my houseboat for the final mooring of this trip.
is everything perfect on the boat? no. there is still some water getting into the boat. not much, but some. so we still have some work to do to identify exactly where that water could be coming from. it is not serious and my bilge pump works great at getting rid of whatever water i am accumulating.
the second problem with the boat is more serious. my motor is running rough. it is ok at high speeds but when i slow it down to idle, the motor dies on me. so, something is wrong with the motor. not real serious. i was able to get into and out of the locks, into and out of the fuel dock, and tie up to my houseboat all without a motor at idle speed. not easy, but i was able to do it.
so, i have a couple of things on the boat that need to be attended to. but now i have plenty of time to work on the most recent problems.
it has been quite a trip. i had planned for this trip to be a dry run of my future trip circumnavigating Vancouver Island. i had planned to test out all my gear, and make sure i knew what i was getting myself into. little did i know that the most basic ingredient of the expedition — i.e., the boat itself — would be the main focus of the shakedown cruise. little did i know how serious the problems with the boat would be.
when i look back on the almost two week adventure, one thought more than any other comes to my top of mind. that being, how lucky i am. to have been stranded in open waters twice and been able to get back to safe harbors in each case. to have met so many wonderful people from different walks of life who know their stuff. to be forced to relax and stay put in very small towns.
i feel like i had the opportunity to see life up close and personal. and i liked what i saw.
P.S. i am now a jigsaw puzzle junkie!