Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Progress Report

Well things are moving along quickly. We spent the first day scraping off barnacles and other assorted sea life. I thought it would be a tough job, but found a plastic paint scraper worked great.Everything just sloughed right off. I think they must have been dead barnacles as the boat has been in reasonably fresh water for the last year.I say resasonably because its a tidal river and im not sure how much sea water comes back this way at high tide.

The next day, David took the pressure washer to the boat and removed as much paint , dead wood and lingering seaweed as he could.

Over the next two days he worked at grinding the paint off. He got one whole side done already. I LOVE the wood. The grain is gorgeous. I so wish I could leave the boat just like that. I want to get the wood working guy back here to do an estimate on the whole job, once we get all the paint off and see what we are actually dealing with. So much of the wood on the one side needs to be replaced with something anyway, if I want the fiberglass to stick. So might as well just do the job right and have a nice wood boat.

Too bad about the crappy patch job we found under the paint, the wood is sound but ugly if I want to go the wood route

Ive decided I dont like the bland look of the rear part of the boat under the back deck where the bedroom is, so have decided to put wood paneling over it to match the paneling on the cabin.

I did a ton of sanding inside the boat. I started with the floors but after seeing how nice they were looking, wanted the rest of the boat to look as good, so also did the sink counter top and kitchen counter as well as some rough spots on the walls. I spent another full day cleaning all the dust out of the boat, sweeping , vacumming, washing down every single inch.

I got the coolest gadget yet. An electric stapler/nail gun. It works great, hardly any effort required ( no sore wrists) I want to nail down some loose parts in the kitchen and reseal all the seams in the wood on the sink counter with caulk. Ive sealed the inside of the boat with plastic everywhere to keep out the water when he pressure washed and keep out the dust and debris while working on things.I really need a workshop, I am getting a rather large collection of tools during these renos.

Ive seriously been thinking about building myself a floathome. Ive been looking on craigslist and picked up a super cute corner jacuzzi tub and matching toilet for free. All I need now is a house to put them in lol.
And they just happen to be raspberry pink which will go with all my burgendy accessories!!

A super cute floathome just came up for sale the other day, I was drooling when I saw the ad. A perfect hobbit house to go with my hobbit boat.

I love how they used wood burls for furniture.

If I don't win the lottery so I can buy this place, this is quite along the lines of what I would like to build. I'd probaly add a second story though as I want an extra room for a massage studio and a good size workshop. If nothing else Im grateful for the inspirations it has given me to see these pictures. Ive been working on a drawing of what I wanted to build but this place best descibes the look and feeling of the place I want. Ive been collecting pictures of some ideas I want to incorporate, someday I will get around to scanning them to show you.

Dream on all you dreamers, there is nothing stopping them from coming true,except your disbalief.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Boats Still Alive

Well thanks to everyone who prayed for my boat, she survived the haul-out,although a more stressful day I couldn't imagine. I hurt my shoulder last night and even with demoral coursing through my system, I barely slept a wink worrying about today.

I was trying to aim for a high tide to make the job as easy as possible.
Unfortunately my boat mover couldnt get here till 10 am, three hours after the high tide. David hooked up my speedboat to the Lucky 7 and towed her around Mitchell Island to the ramp we were going to be using. We got there about an hour before the boat mover and had a hell of a time fighting the outgoing current to keep the boat from smashing against the rocks.There was a dock nearby, and we decided it would be safer to get the boat tied up to it while waiting for the mover to show up.

I was freaking out by the time he got there as the tide had dropped considerably from when we first arrived and I wasn't sure how the boat would handle the stress of being pulled up a large incline. We threw the bow line over to the shore and David pulled the front of the boat to the ramp. Paul and myself were hanging on to the stern line, playing it out slowly so the back end of the boat would line up with the trailer. The mover figured it was in the right postion and told us to drop the stern line which we did. Huge mistake! The current pulled the stern off course and we had no way to push the boat back in line. David jumped on the boat, climbed around to the back, fished the stern line out of the water and tried to throw it back to us on the dock. It was too far and we couldnt reach it even with a pike pole.

In frustration, I jumped in the water with all my clothes on and swam to the line. The current was unbelievelably strong and I couldn't get back to the dock. As hard as I swam, I couldnt move an inch forward. I yelled to Paul to grab the pike pole and extend it out so I could grab onto it and he pulled me in to the dock. That was too close of a call for me, I have a whole new respect for the river now. Thankfully all I got was soaking wet.

We finally got the boat straightend out and on the trailer. I said a prayer and held my breathe as his tires spun before getting a grip and slowly but surely out she came and all in one piece, thank god.

There was a scary moment when I thought it wouldn't fit under the bridge but it cleared that fine. Unfortunately we wern't so lucky with the shop. It turned out the boat was about 6 feet too tall to fit in. David grabbed the saws-all and cut off the fiberglass wheelhouse. I almost cried. That did the trick though and we got it in and on the stands.

Now the fun begins, the first order of the day is to scrap all the barnacles off before they rot and stink up the shop. Tommorrow it gets pressure washed to try and remove as much paint, rotten wood and debris as possible.I have some fiberglass and resin on order and a stack of cedar boards to pick up. In the meantime we will be covering the bottom with a tarp skirt and using heaters to dry out the bottom.

I had started to sand the floors, but it turned out to be way more of a job than I anticipated and didnt get finished in time. The worst of it is done, just need to go over it with finer sandpaper, clean up all the dust everywhere and get some varnish down before the wood dries out. I cant wait to see the finished product, the floors look so much better already.

I have a huge amount of work on my hands but the fact that she came out in one piece makes me think that this was meant to be. So many people told me she would never survive the move. I knew in my heart she would but all their naysaying got me nervous for sure. Im overwhelmed by the task facing me but plan to just go one day at a time and try not to think of the big picture. Set myself manageble goals and work on them one at a time. I cant wait to show you all the finished product. God give me strength to see this through.I cant wait to be back on the water, lulled to sleep by the waves.

The tarp came off the day before, was cool to see my boat again as its been undercover since a few days after I got it.

David leaving the marina with the Lucky 7 in tow

The boat finally loaded on the trailer

And finally up the ramp and in one piece still

Ooops, someone forgot to measure the space first, now what??

A little modification ( cutting off the bridge) and its fits like a glove

How scary is this? These are some of the holes in my boat just above the water line that we covered with doorskins last year. No wonder I always felt a draft in the winter!

As you can see I have my work cut out for me. Anyone want to come and learn how to how to refurbish a boat with me?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to Landmonkey Status

The last few weeks have been busy and hectic for me.The people who were in the shop finally got moved out after a few days delay. They had been keeping four large birds in their apartment above the shop and it was filthy with bird guano everywhere. The place smelt like a barnyard, so I spent over a week scrapping, cleaning, steralizing and painting the whole place. A lot of work that I wasn't anticipating on top of the move itself.The only good part about it was I managed to work off my first months rent here.

In the midst of all this, I got a series of four phone calls from my Dad telling me about several deaths in our family. I went to Victoria last week for my cousins funeral. He was killed in a motorcycle accident, a sad and tragic end to a fine young man.I couldn't make it to the others as they were too far, or I got the news too late. A sad week for sure.

The actual process of moving was hard to say the least. As the doors on my boat are so narrow, I could only fit boxes the size of milk crates through them. So I made about a million trips off the boat, along the docks, up the ramp( always low tide during those days of course!)around the compound, through the large shop and up a large flight of stairs.My arms are still numb from all the carrying.

I knew I had a lot of stuff on the boat, but was amazed to see the boat come about 8 inches out of the water when it was fully unloaded. It practically floats above the water now! I must make an effort to be more careful what I put back on there, surly some of that was gratuitous weight. Ive impressed myself with my ability to pack stuff away. I have twice as much space in the apartment but its already stuffed to the brim with the stuff from the boat, its a huge pile all spread out.

I miss the boat and the constant movement of it swaying in the river.However there are some aspects to this apartment that Im loving. First and foremost, a proper kitchen with counter space and a huge fridge.There is a really large deck outside that we have been barbquing on and enjoying pinic dinners with a view of the river.

Secondly is the killer bathtub. It is set into an alcove in my bedroom and its huge.I have the tv on a stand next to it and can swivel it to watch it in bed or in the tub as the desire strikes me.

And last but not least, I finally have a secure satellite and internet line. It took me awhile to get the internet sorted out but hopefully from today on, I will be ok.Ive only managed to get online for a few moments each day by catching some rogue wireless signals, I think we have things sorted out now though.

There has been some delay in getting my boat out of the water. I contacted several boat movers who sounded like they were going to do the job but then backed out for fear of liability if she cracked apart during the move. Ive finally found a guy that sounds like he will do it, just trying to coordinate everyones schedule with the tides to make it happen. It looks like its a go for next Tuesday.I would have liked it out sooner so it can dry in the warm weather, but as the whole moving schedule got bumped back a few weeks, its better this way as I still want some time to re-do the floors inside the boat before I bring it inside.

I was supposed to get cut back to two days a week at work this month, but one of the girls broke her arm, so I am still picking up some extra shifts there. Ive been getting some calls about my mobile service again lately , so it looks like there is some work there if I want it.

Right now ,I am just going one day at a time. I have no idea what Im in for in trying to move and fix the boat. No idea of cost or effort required. Just jumping in with both feet and praying that things work out, money is available when needed and this will all be over some day.

Ive been thinking that as much as I love living on the boat, its a bit small for my needs on a forever basis. I want to fix it up, then build a floathome for myself with more living space and rent the boat out as a B&B and /or use it as a cabin in a more remote spot.I could build a massage studio in the floathome and have a home based business which suits me fine. Another dream to work on, but making my dreams come true is what keeps me going in life.

When Boats go Sideways

One of the interesting differences between boating on the river and boating in open ocean is when you lose control of your vessel.In the ocean you are bobbing around and likely to get turned sideways so your broadsiding waves. Not too scary if they are small, much more worrisome if they are big.

The river ,however, is a much more dangerous place to lose control. Depending on the tides, currents can be running very fast or if its low tide the danger is running aground. The river is narrow in places, there is all manner of boats, logbooms, pilings, other river traffic ect. to crash into and bridge spans all along the way to be avoided.

We have witnessed a few hairy situations down here in the last little while. The most impressive one, unfortunately I didnt get any pictures of, but got to see it. Mt. Kleeman ( the huge white boathouse that was parked here) was getting towed up river to its new location.I saw what I thought was the tow line pulling tight but it was actually snapping in half.There was a good size motor boat pulling it and Grieg in his skiff guiding it from the back. I dont think he realized for the first few seconds that the line had broke and was continuing to motor towards it. Mt Kleeman slowly got caught in the current and started to drift back downstream with the front end slowly swinging towards the far shore.By the time everyone realized what was happening it was picking up speed and getting pretty horizontal in the river and heading towards our marina.The boys scrambled their boats and managed to catch it and get the ropes retied.Disaster adverted just in time, phew!!

A few weeks later, the Lightship was preparing to get towed out of here to its new location. I wasn't here, so a little unclear as to the exact details but somehow the bow line to the Bowie snapped and the whole front end went swinging out into the river where it stayed all day until the tide changed. The tugboat that had come for the Lightship spent a few hours pushed up into the front of the Bowie to hold it against the current so it wouldnt swing into the other boats down here. It was a sight to see for sure. Luckily no-one was hurt and the marina wasnt squashed like a bug, but anxiety was high that day for sure.

The Bowie out in the middle of the river

Some concern from our neighbors as the Bowie gets too close

The tugboat vrs Goliath

A broadside view of things

The Lightship finally underway

The Lightship safely gone to her new home and our new and improved view up the river

The tide finally came in later that night and pushed the Bowie back into place where she was tied up once again.

A few days ago we noticed some activity aroind Andrews boat. He had been tied up on the Bowies bow line waiting for someone to come and tow him upstream. I guess those plans had fallen through and he had decided to untie himself from there and push his boat around the front of the Bowie and drift downstream until he could tuck himself back into the lagoon behind the Bowie. Im not sure how much thought had gone into the process but he had no motor and seemingly no help. He untied his boat, pulled it around the front of the Bowie and jumped on it as it drifted downstream. As the current caught it ,it started swinging sideways and seemed headed to crash into some boats. I couldnt believe my eyes when he pulled out a plastic paddle and started to try and paddle his way in. He was no match for the current and the situation soon got out of hand. Steve jumped onto one of the boats down here and went out to throw him a line.After almost getting pulled over-board trying to hang onto the line( Note to self, always tie the rope to the boat before throwing the other end), Steve got Andrew to throw the line to people on the dock who then pulled him in to safety.

Adrift in the river

The boat starts to slide sideways

Now competely out of control the paddle comes into play, too little, too late

The day is saved with a thrown rope

Not to be outdone here is a tugboat out of control doing the sideways dance down our river, have I mentioned there is never a dull day around here?

Im thinking of building a shark cage around my boat to protect it from
out-of- control floating missiles :)