Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Years Wish – Let’s Make the World Great Again

It seems like such a nice thought for 2017 on this billboard in Moscow! All the worlds nations improving their economies, growing democracy and safety blossoming, turning swords into plow shares, health care for all and peace among men (and women). I wonder if the Russian version translates the same?
We had a good Xmas dinner on our Scottish friends Colin and Izzy’s boat Endorphin. That’s Colin on the right and Izzy on the left. Filling out the table were their daughter Rachel and partner Jack, friend Cara and Chris and me. Izzy put together a meal to remember!
Lots of beach to do some long beach walks on.

We spent New Year’s day in the anchorage at Tauranga – technically in the beach town Mount Manganui next to Tauranga. We aren’t the only people enjoying this beach town. The Ovation of the Seas tied up right behind us for a visit. The ship is pretty new, built in Hamburg and going into service April, 2016. Its 1,142 feet long (348m) and carries between 4,000 and 4,900 passengers. It’ll push its 18 decks through the water at 22kts.
Tauranga likes to put forth its ‘family friendly’ face for locals and tourists. They have a set of fireworks on News Years Eve that they set off at 9:30pm. I think that is pretty cruiser friendly too. The pic above is proof that Chris and I stayed up late enough for the first round of fireworks. After a few hours of sleep we caught a glimpse of the midnight round, too.

shaunIMG_6097 Shaun the Sheep would like to wish you all a wooly 2017!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Season’s Greetings

I was going to title this Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, but being in the middle of summer here in New Zealand while most of our reader[s] are in the depths of the upper hemisphere winter makes Season Greetings fit so much better.
The picture above is what the fireplace on Georgia would look like if it was cold and if we had a fireplace. I borrowed the image from our friends Connie and Tony on Sage. They are currently in the South Atlantic on the island of St. Helena. I will return the image when we are done with it.
I’m not going to write about 2016 or make any comments at all about the political state of the grand ole U.S. of A. Since D.J.T. is not president yet, nothing he’s done or said really makes any difference. So why get the angst up over something that will surely change over time. I will wait in wonder till he and his lovely family take up residence in the newly renamed Whites-Only House in D.C. I am looking forward to his replacement for my Obamacare health insurance policy – the one that will be much better and save me lots of money. I’m figuring on donating all that money we save on our really great new insurance to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
Look what we found under our tree! (Xmas comes a day earlier down here.)
Chris and I wish all our friends and family a great holiday, a healthy New Year and a fighting chance of trying to maintain Peace on Earth.
Paul and Chris

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A View from Nepal

Welcome to Nepal, the home of ancient kingdoms, the Himalaya Mountains and many-armed dieties. Recently I got the wonderful opportunity to return to Nepal (I was here to trek close to 25 years ago) to do some work. There have been many changes since I was here last, mostly in Kathmandu Valley, some for better, many not so much. But the dieties have not changed, no surpise since they’ve been here since around 1500BCE.
My work involved assessing a project that supports the distribution of family planning methods from small privately run ‘corner’ pharmacies. Here I’m visiting one of the pharmacies with some of the Nepali ‘Quality Assurance Officers’ I was working with.
This is Bimala, a Nepali nurse who worked as my interpreter as we travelled about visiting various pharmacies, and her 8-month old daughter, Nina who travelled with us on most visits.
Everyone loved Nina, including this pharmacy owner.
Bimala and one of the Qulaity Assurance Officers in front of one of our stops on the rural route. You can see the ‘Sangini’ family planning logo of the project above the pharmacy entrance.
The hill roads were a challenge and at times terrifying for the white woman who was always given the seat of honor up front. This is a two-way road, with many buses and large trucks on it. To the left in this picture is the sheer drop off from the road. The driver brought a god along (lower right), just for a little extra help I guess.
‘the birthplace of Buddha is in Nepal…’
One of the many buses plying the scary hillside roads; the only mode of transport for many Nepalis.
nepalDSC_0111Although I didn’t make it to the mountains this visit, I could see the snow covered peaks in the distance.
Surely Ganesha, the elephant-headed diety revered as the remover of obstacles, is laughing somewhere.
But, I didn’t spend everyday working. I did get out to visit the  ancient ‘durbar’ squares, the courtyards of the palaces of old kingdoms scattered across the Kathmandu Valley.
Most of which suffered terrible damage from the April, 2015 earthquake.
Above is an image prior to the quake that Google found.

The ruined temples in the squares are slowly and painstakingly being rebuilt, one brick at a time... The Nepalis have to be among the most resiliant people on the earth. They seem to just put their heads down, shoulders to the wheel and get on with what has to be done. Hence the implacable Ghurkas?
From this…
There is no shortage of highly skilled craftspeople in Nepal. Stone sculptors, metal workers and woodcarvers are hard at work now, rescuing and restoring.
…back to this!
Or, this (Paul’s favorite), a woodcarving gracing a temple support. This temple sports carved beams depicting various positions from the Kama Sutra. (Cover the children’s eyes! And get that pigeon voyeur out of there…)
That’s better, a god on a turtle.
I also visited some of the Buddhist stupas located around the valley.
This is the entrance to Swayambhunath, also known as the ‘Monkey Temple’ for obvious reasons. A large part of it was also badly damaged by the earthquake… it’s very sad to see.
Despite the destruction, the Buddha still looks serene.
Of course, honoring the goddess of consumerism, I also got a little shopping in. Presents for grandaughter Quinn bought from a women’s fair-trade crafts collective.
Despite the dust and destruction, beauty is everywhere in Nepal. I hope I get to go back soon!

Off the Dock – Finally!

Chris got back from working in Kathmandu on Sunday night. I gave her a day to recover and we snuck out of the docks at Riverside Marina in Whangarei, where the boat has been since last January. There’s a hierarchy of boat living discomfort for me: Worst is living in the yard while the boat is hauled. Then scary, crazy anchorage.  Next is hanging too long at a dock. Best is a quite, calm anchorage. We motored the 2 hours down river from Whangarei town to the Whangarei Heads at the entrance to the river and anchored for the night in Urquhart’s Bay – shown in the morning picture above. Best.
A lot of small boat jobs were done before we left. The biggest was finishing up the new standing rigging (wires that hold the mast up). OK, almost finished up. There’s still a few hard-to-get parts on order that we’ll pick up on our way back North after playing on the Kiwi east coast for a few months. Above is our Viking Rescuyou-4 liferaft on its return from getting inspected and repacked in Auckland. If you aren’t going to do the work yourself then you are pretty much restricted to using a manufacture’s authorized inspection station. This model requires an inspection every 4 years. This ended up costing NZD$1,800 (USD$1,260). Seems like a lot for a liferaft that we bought for $2,400. I think its like a slow version of the razor and razor blade business – the profit is in the blades.
Another project was adding non-skid to the companionway steps. The varnish had gotten pretty beat up on the steps. There’s only three wide steps here, making getting in and out of the cabin easy.
After re-varnishing the bull-nose ends and putting Seadek rubber padding down. Better wearing and less slippery.
Before we left momma duck brought over her 10 baby ducklings to wish us Merry Something (it was hard to hear what she was actually saying) and beg for the leftovers of last nights focaccia bread.
We are headed about 150 miles south, to Tauranga to meet up with our Scottish friends on Endorphin for an Xmas dinner. We are two thirds of the way and hunkered down in Cook’s Bay, Whitianga, waiting out a blow. Above is Hole-in-the-Wall at the entrance to the bay. You can pretty easily guess why they call this Cook’s Bay – there seems to be a lot of Cook’s Bays in the world. Cook was here in November, 1769. For his journal:
"my reasons for putting in here were the hopes of discerning a good harbour and the desire I had of being in some convenient place to observe the Transit of Mercury, which happens on the 9th instant and will be wholly visible here if the day is clear between 5 and 6 o'clock"
The often uncooperative Kiwi weather has us spending an unwanted day at anchorage here in Cook’s Bay. The wind is forecast to turn to the SW and go to 25kts gusting to 35kts. We’'ll wait a day for it to let off a bit before finishing the last 60 miles down to Tuaranga. Hopefully we’ll make it before Xmas – they are having it on the 25th down here this year. That’s the 24th for those of you on the other side of the dateline.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No Longer a Trawler

Here’s Mathew, owner/rigger from C-Spar, undoing the crane from Georgia’s mast. New standing rigging all around – wires, turnbuckles, ball fittings, etc. Got most everything hooked up except the backstay. It needs the backstay adjuster.
The black item in the pic is the Navtec hydraulic backstay adjuster. All the fluid leaked out while it was not in use with the mast out. It’s down in Auckland getting rebuilt now.
Then to make things a little more interesting I decided to throw the stainless grabrail on the side of the dodger into the water. A brief shot with a grappling hook didn’t give it up. So I decided to pull out the Hooka (underwater breathing like scuba but connected to the boat) and jump into the ugly, dirty, brown river water – not to mention the giant eels. I spent about 30 minutes feeling around, brail style, in the deep, deep mud but could not find it. So I invested in two hotwater shower coins and tried to decontaminate from by dip.
Throwing things like this rail in the water helps to keep my To-do list from getting smaller. Chris is working in Kathmanu till mid-December doing real work.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Out of the Yard

Just needs to have the blue tape at the waterline removed and she’s ready to splash. That’s US$475 blue paint and primer, aka 4 top coats and 16 liters.
This is Brian putting on Propspeed to the running gear (the metal prop, shaft and strut). Propspeed is a yellow chromate metal primer topped with a clear silicon paint. Basically nothing sticks to the slick silicon keeping the busy barnacles at bay.
It’s nice to be in the water not risking my life each time I use the ladder to get in and out of the boat and to get out of the dusty yard.
Now its time to work on getting the mast back in the boat. Hopefully next week.

Monday, November 21, 2016

2016-2017 World Apology Tour

I’m a news junky. While up in Bellingham I had an unlimited, very large Web connection pipe. Fast enough that if I had stayed just a few more weeks I would have been done with all of Netflix. With all that I was getting a little overwhelmed with too much news of the repugnant election. So I was looking forward to getting away from all that and working on getting the boat ready to restart cruising. I ‘m calling this year’s cruise the 2016-2017 World Apology Tour. Not sure if we should sell t-shirts yet.
When I arrived at the boat from the airport and the ladder that was there when I left was missing. I wandered over to the yard office and the crew was on a tea break. Karl and Shane gave me hardy Kiwi welcome back, then the first comment was So how’s Mr. Trump. Guess you can’t get away from it.
The pic above shows coat #1 of the blue bottom paint. Two more to go.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Back in Kiwi Land

After almost 5 months enjoying Ferndale (Bellingham, WA) it was time to head back to New Zealand. Chris is still working in Tanzania on setting up education changes for mid-wives covering preventing maternal to infant HIV transmission. She won’t be down in NZ till Dec. I headed to Vancouver, Canada for the Air New Zealand flight. Since I only had a one-way ticket, Air NZ needed to get confirmation from NZ immigration before they’d let me fly. I had a copy of the boat Kiwi Customs paperwork, but that wasn’t enough. After a pleasant conversation with Kiwi Immigration they decided to let me fly. Four movies latter and a few hours of sleep I arrived at what they told me was 5:30am in Auckland. I made the mistake of checking Yes on the arrival form over hiking gear. That put in onto the W-bench where they took my hiking boots into the back room for a complimentary wash and fumigation. Returning them in a sealed bag.
Fortunately our friends Art and Nancie (Nordic 44 Secondwind) were flying out on the 9am flight back to Vancouver and on to Seattle. We met up for a good coffee (In Kiwi talk I had a Flat White). They gave me their car to use while they are gone, making it pretty easy to do the 2 hour drive up to Whangarei. All I had to do is keep yelling at myself on the drive: Stay left, young man! Stay left! If you are a foreign driver in New Zealand you are allowed to use either your turn signals or your windshield wipers to indicate a lane change or a turn. Turns out you can’t use your turn signals when it starts to rain.
On the upper picture you can see that the earth quake didn’t knock Georgia over. It was actually primarily on the South Island with some damage on the lower North Island in Wellington. I had a local painter (Simon SK Painting) repaint the blue and white boot stripe while I was gone. He did a thorough job, but ended up billing me 40% over his estimate. Oh well.
Now its time to get the bottom paint on. I decided to start with a primer tie-coat (Altex Primashield). This should give a good base to cover the old Petit soft paint with Altex Carboline 3000 (same as Altex #5). The tie-coat went on pretty quickly and dries really fast.
Oh yea, a gratuitous picture of Quinn hanging with gramps.
Time to go paint a coat of bottom paint.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Alt Reality

I've lived in this country for over 60 years. Yea, I know Older Than Dirt. I thought I knew the place pretty well. I've read a newspaper almost everyday of my adult life. I've lived in Florida, California, Oregon and Washington. I grew up in Florida when Florida was really part of the South. I drank from the Whites Only drinking fountain when I went to the grocery store with my Mom. I saw blacks attacked with thrown soda bottles from speeding passing vehicles because they were black. School integration occurred for me beginning in junior high school extending into high school, where police at the corners of classroom buildings were needed on occasion. I remember when Roe v. Wade became the the law of the land. I remember working in the defense industry where they took women engineers resumes for job applicants and threw them directly in the trash. Chris remembers high school friends being thrown out of school, pregnant because birth control was not available to them and illegal abortions were killing American women. She remembers having to join the boys sports teams in high school, before Title 9 was passed, expanding girls access to public school programs including physical education.

I really thought that those were mostly long gone days. Wow, I feel like I am now in an alternate reality.  How anyone could overlook the racism, bigotry, misogyny, policy shallowness and glaring contradictions of our president-elect is beyond me. These people apparently dream of going back to the good old days of the 1950's, when taxes were high, racism was the law, women's rights were still under male control, and government subsidies for education and housing mortgages, not capitalism, drove the economy and national growth.

While the popular vote is close, it appears that the president elect didn't actually win the popular vote. Even without that, it is still a mandate. The Senate, House and soon the Supreme Court are all heavily weighted to one side. Its a mandate. Can the president elect deliver for his followers his promises: deport 11 million immigrants in a 100 days; build the Mexican border wall and force Mexico to pay for it, get rid of the EPA, get rid of the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare, and replace it with something so much better, cherish women, ban Muslims, ban Syrians refugees, prosecute Hillary Clinton and throw her in jail, cut the NASA budget, bomb the shit out of ISIS, bring back waterboarding, renegotiate the Iran deal,  bring back jobs from China, Mexico, Japan, etc, force Nabisco to make Oreo cookies in the US, grow the economy 6% annually,  cut the deficit by $18 trillion, renegotiate the budget to get a 20% discount, get rid of banking regulations and consumer protection laws, cut taxes on the rich, get rid of corporate tax loopholes, fix the mental health system to stop mass shootings, allow concealed carry in all 50 states while enforcing a 5 year minimum sentence for committing a crime with a gun, provide more money for drug addiction treatment.............

Its a mandate, can you deliver or will the people that voted for the president elect look like the picture above along with the rest of us.

I guess I feel like I should just jump on a boat and sail off into the great blue ----------


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Updated Travel Map

Georgia's travels from June, 2010 to Oct 2016. You should be able to click on the icons to get the date and time any comment made when the position was logged.

Updated Travel Map

Georgia's travels from June, 2010 to Oct 2016. You should be able to click on the icons to get the date and time any comment made when the position was logged.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

Deadliest Catch

Now that we are official grandparents you probably thought that this blog would migrate from cruising-sailing-around-the-world to all cute grand kid pictures, all the time. Wrong – not a single picture of the grandkid in this entry. We’ve been hanging out in Ferndale, Washington, just north of Bellingham, for the last few months. Mostly doing the good grandparent thing, although Chris now is on her second trip to Tanzania working on a maternal-neonatal HIV prevention education project for local midwives.
In the photo above I’m headed out with son-in-law Tyler into the rough and tumble Puget Sound to set crab pots in the desperate search for Dungeness crab on opening day of the season.
Here’s the pull of the first pot. It was lunch-bag-let-down. They are all Rock crabs. Too early in the season to set the pots this far north for Dungeness.
Here’s the view from ‘Baker Farm’, Meghan and Tyler’s (daughter and son-in-law) front yard of Mt. Baker. The property is about 5 acres and we have 21 foot travel trailer on the property that we live in while here. Can you say trailer-trash?
Life in the country…To keep busy I’ve been taking care of the pet Nigerian goats. The green platform is the fine goat furniture that I built for them. They like to sleep on something high to protect themselves from the predators.
Here’s a couple of the coyote predators caught eating the dropped pears and apples in the backyard.
Gotta water the gardening each evening too. The vines on the right are hops for fall beer brewing.
There are other animals here besides goats. This is Bubba. Bubba is an adopted ex-tomcat – well not really. Bubba is actually a dog who was born in a cat’s body. He is the only cat that I have ever had a real, meaningful relationship with. he loves to hang with his humans and comes when he’s called… sometimes.
clip_image016 This reminds me of some of the jobs I worked on in the past.
Making gallons of pear juice for cider, starts iwth the wood chipper...

clip_image020Then to the press to produce the raw juice.
clip_image022Boiling the juice before the yeast is added and fermentation begins!
More critters- this is a Pacific Tree Frog guarding the flower basket on the front porch.
The next project to take on was rebuilding this long abandoned out- building on the property. The initial job was to tear out all the rotting and smelling insulation. A dusty ugly job, which required wearing appropriate protective gear.
Behind the walls and insulation were some odd fellows. This possum must have climbed into the wall as his last rights.
clip_image030Progress is being made on the bloke shed. Love those air tools.
clip_image032I promised that this post would not have any grandkid pictures and this is not a grandkid pic. This is a picture of the interior of our land home, the travel trailer, with paid models in the foreground to spice it up. This shows pretty much all the living space.
OK, I lied. Here’s one more grandkid picture. We’re here for a few more months to watch her put on some more pounds, then its back to New Zealand…