Chronicles of the Joys, Trials, and Tribulations of Owning and
Maintaining a House and a Pond
This will be a rambling recap of what has gone before, and a
semi-up-to-date account of current events in the land-based lives of the Webcaptain and
Ladysailor. Mostly so we can remember what the heck happened here!
Purchased in the summer of 2005, rehabbed just enough to become livable in
the next 2 months, further improved the following summer with a second-story deck, new
roof and gutters, and pond where the swamp was, this house has never been occupied by it's
current owners in the winter. We were spending the winter in Mexico on our boat, and
hoping all was well while we were gone. Thanks to a couple who rented the place the
first winter, and our pal Buck who lives here full time now, there has always been someone
here to keep an eye on it. This year it will be our eyes as well, since the boat is
now in the southern hemisphere, and hurricane season is their summer, our winter.
We'll return to the boat in Fiji April 28, 2008.
The big plans for this winter are to finish the downstairs into living
space. You see, the man who built this place back in the 1940's was a plumber, and
he built a two storey house so he could live upstairs and work downstairs. His old
workbench and pipe vise are still down there, along with all the exposed studs, plumbing
and wiring. We sprayed for dry-post boring beetles and other critters today, and
this week hope to start hanging insulation and drywall down there, section by
section. We will plumb in another bathroom down there, as well as a full kitchen,
and with a ceiling and floor covering, it'll be just like a small apartment down when
we're done! May even rent it! We still have to get rid of mucho junk-o,
though, just to be able to work down there, so that will remain job #1.
Interestingly enough, yesterday I took pics of the unfinished windows and
doors, and today they're getting done...will post the "after" shots in a day or
two. Looking good so far.
12/6/07 The Christmas lights are up on the house, and now on the web site,
and today the tree will go up. Buck has been a champ getting the drywall all filled
in and mudded up in the interior around the doors and windows, and paint and trim will
appear soon, in time for Christmas, yay. We're going to try to get insulation and
drywall up in the "bedroom" alcove downstairs before Christmas as well, so
somebody can sleep down there in relative comfort. You know, we try to make even
relatives comfortable...ha ha ha. That reminds me, I better get off this computer
and to work!
So the pond was conceived as a remedy for swampy back yard, before we
realized the swamp was due to an old spring-box that was just left to drain into the
yard. When we discovered how much water was actually flowing into that old
spring-box (around 800 gallons a day?) we were already bitten by the "pond bug"
and couldn't wait for it to be dug and filled so we could begin raising Koi. We were
pretty naieve. It surprised us how long the job took and the cost of rocks, liner,
pumps, and back hoe time. Knowing what we know now, we could have done alot more of
the finishing work digging the ledges, etc, but we trusted our pond-guy Robert, and he did
a hellovabangup job. He talked us out of that landscape fabric that keeps weeds
down, though, and I wish he hadn't, because when we returned last week, the pond had been
overcome by WEEDS big time. I know our pal Buck did his best to keep them in
control, but these Oregon weeds are tough, wiley, and resiliant. Too bad you can't
use Round-Up (good weed killer) around the fish without endangering them.
One problem with creating a natural-looking water feature is that the
creatures in nature think it's all for them. The nerve of them! The pesky deer
and elk think it's their private drinking fountain, the bugs think it looks like a good
home, and the #*!@(%$? birds (and raccoons) think the fish are on their menu anytime they
get hungry. The latest pest is a Great Blue Heron who thinks he owns the
place. Being a member of a protected species has made this guy pretty fearless, and
he is young, big and hungry. I'm afraid many of my small fishy pals have become
lunch and dinner for him, probably breakfast too. I wish I had a bigger dog...
12/6/07 The slingshot worked- never hit the big ba..ard, but scared
him a little I guess. Unfortunately, the damage was done, I fear. Next we got
hit with a nice little storm packing 100 mph gusts, and Lake Lacrimose filled up with pine
needles, debris, and mud, so we'll never see any fish anyway for awhile until it
clears. I did make a basket out of screening to keep stuff out of the recirculating
pump, so the water is getting well aerated at least.
Another, more recent take:
It was the summer of '06 that we decided to confront the swampy back yard
and try to find a solution for it. The thought of a pond had crossed my mind, but
when I chopped my way through the huge blackberry thicket and discovered the old springbox
that used to supply water to the house in the old days it was decided. Since we
still had a good house rehab budget, and convinced ourselves it would be a good investment
(hahaha), all we had to do was find somebody to dig a big hole for us and we'd be in
business! We found Robert Holland in the phone book, and he told us he had a
"vishz" and we could have the pond of our dreams for 10 grand all up. For
some reason we trusted this guy and he didn't let us down. I kind of wish we'd
gotten a bottom drain, but not having to worry about leaks there is a good thing.
So after a couple of years of pretty much ignoring the pond while we
sailed around the Pacific, now in '09 we're here for a year and have started trying to
improve our little aquatic environment. We bought a $60 Home Depot sump pump to
drain the ditch which has been overflowing onto the lawn lately, and for grins installed
it in the pond and hooked a spray nozzle to it to see if the fish liked it. They
really got excited about it and started growing before my very eyes, so the next step was
to try to make something to filter some of the crud out of the water while adding still
more oxygen. Yesterday I bought some lava rock and stacked up some old milkcrates to
make a makeshift Bakki Shower, although the flow rate isn't nearly strong enough according
to the info online. I didn't quite buy enough lava rock to fill all six crates, so
the bio-balls I had in the intake pool went into the top crates. I was hoping if any
good bacteria were in the bio-balls it might help the lava rock to get colonized.
We'll see what happens, and if it looks good, we'll put the Bakki up where the pool is,
and route the main waterfall water through it. The pics
show the design development and final prototype in action. There are many more at Photobucket.
I'm subscribing to some koi boards to see what I can learn from the experienced
ponders. More later.
<Begin Non-sailing Captain's Logs>
Home for the Holidays 12/6/07
weeks after returning to our non-floating home, we are starting to get used to the
non-cruising life again. The culture shock was extreme when we first walked off the
plane, after 19 hours of travel time. Everyone was just as they were when we left,
and many folks we know only casually acted as if they had no idea wed been gone for
a year! We learned right away not to volunteer too much information about what
wed been up to, because many people just got a glazed expression on their faces as
soon as we mentioned South Pacific, or the boats still in
Fiji. Its better just keeping it our little secret unless someone is
genuinely interested, and very few are.
The house came
through our absence very well under Bucks care, and what few situations we
didnt care for (like the mess we had left in the downstairs) were quickly and easily
remedied. The pond pets were doing OK until a Great Blue Heron showed up
a few days after our return, and proceeded to nosh on whatever was swimming around.
The effect of the new slingshot was much like that of a late barn-door closing, and though
the big bird has moved on, there seems to be little sign of fishy life out there.
Buddy, on the other hand, is looking better than he ever has, though he is completely
bonded with Buck. We decided thats just fine, since were going to leave
again in a few months anyway, and dont want him to have to get over missing us all
were hoping Arabella will make it through a cyclone season there at Vuda
Point, and when we leave here to return, were also hoping there will be a finished
area downstairs that may bring in a bit of income.
home this time, I think this Captains Log type stuff will appear in the new House and Pond section, and will resume here in
early May, when were back on the boat.
Hope everyone has
a Merry Christmas, and the Happiest New Year!
HO HO HO,
Mike, Barb, Buck,
and Buddy the House Dog
Life on Dirt 01/10/08
Living in a house
on dirt has sure been a treat after a year of life afloat. Its hard to believe
its coming up on two months since our return. Little things that are
challenging to accomplish on the boat are so easy here, like doing laundry and getting
groceries. Its especially easy getting groceries of all kinds; fresh, good,
plentiful and cheap, with no long distance carrying or dinghy rides involved.
Booze too, even though Oregon has state run stores for hard liquor. We were used to
paying almost $100 for a bottle of vodka in Fiji, and $50 for a box of wine.
So its no
mystery why we sat around and ate and drank a lot at first, while staring at another
luxury Id missed for a year, the Boob Tube. Not to mention enjoying the great
views of nature we are so lucky have from this little shack on the dirt we call Casa
Dont get me
wrong, we have done some stuff since weve been back. Lots of cleanup
and organization mostly, trying to get the downstairs cleaned out enough to get some work
done, and the workshop put together enough to use in that pursuit. It actually looks
pretty good now and Im kicking myself for not taking before
pictures. Were working on getting a line of credit to pay off the credit cards
and buy home improvement materials, and it looks like it will all happen. A couple
of azalea bushes got transplanted and the pond area weeded to some extent, but the
inclement weather has impeded outside work. Weve had a couple of doozy storms
packing winds up to 60-100 mph knock down lots of trees around us, but the house has been
sealed up well enough that we hardly feel a draft.
Christmas was a
blast, with daughter Lucy and her soon to be husband Dave, twins Nick and Alex, his friend
Sara and my sister Deb joining Ladysailor and I here for a couple of days of feast and
Anyway, after New
Years we cleaned off the treadmill our first renters left behind, plugged it in, and it
works! Its a smart treadmill that can run online programs (iFIT.com) and
adjust its speed automatically while a virtual personal trainer talks you through a
workout. They even have an online diet/meal-plan that changes every day and is very
easy to follow. Maybe this will help a fitter, smaller webcaptain to emerge from
hibernation come spring.
Have to close for
now, Jennifer (my virtual trainer) says its time for my hike on the treadmill!
Hope your New
Year is going well and continues to do so.
Mike and Barb
Shore-leave Flying By 02/17/08
We flew out of
Portland on the 12th, bound for Hawaii and my daughters wedding.
After a marvelous visit with Barbs sister Mary and her partner Barbara at their
beautiful 14th floor condo in Honolulu, we came over to Maui yesterday to
prepare for the Big Day tomorrow. During our time on Oahu, we managed to tour the
entire island, see some major surf at Waiamea Bay (25 faces), visit all four yacht
clubs, tour the Maritime Museum, and even enjoy a tiny bit of Waikiki night life.
While touring the Aloha Tower area we managed to get a pretty good look at Paul
Allens little 300+ floatie toy named Octopus, tied up to the pier
there. She only had one helicopter aboard, but we were relieved to see another
helipad on the forward deck. You have to have a place for guests to land aboard
also, don't you?
On a sad note,
words could never describe the progress that has occurred on the fair island
of Maui in the 40 years since the webcaptain has been here. Lets just say
there are precious few familiar landmarks, especially here in Kihei where several happy
summers were spent at my folks beach house. I couldnt even
find said house, and imagine it got torn down and replaced some time in those intervening
years. I had been warned about the changes here, but nothing could have prepared me
for the reality of the place. It makes me think of the old Eagles song about
paradise, and what happens when a place starts getting called by that name.
Admittedly, the island is still drop-dead beautiful, but it sure is starting to feel like
So tomorrow is
Lucys wedding, then well fly home on the 20th to resume our home
improvement project. The remaining two months in Oregon will be past before we know
it, and the time to return to Arabella will be upon us. Hopefully well
get our work done on the house before then!
Update 02/19/08 The
wedding was as beautiful as you could imagine, set on the beach in a perfect little cove
in the Makena area, where we used to go snorkeling in the old days. As they said
their vows the sun came around a cloud with that "TA-DA" effect, you know, the
rays shooting up and down like God is about to appear... a truly classic moment.
The reception dinner at Sea
Watch restaurant was a fabulous "surf 'n turf" with a crab cake appetizer and of
course wedding cake for dessert. Today we're going to ask them how in the hell the
bill came out $400 higher than they quoted Lucy. Seems kind of wrong, doesn't it?
Anyhow, today we'll tour
around a bit, probably go to Lahaina with sister Deb and her friend Virginia, and get
ready to fly home- see ya here with another update in a month or so.
Aloha from Maui,
Mike 'n Barb
Countdown to The Return 3/27/08
Could it only be
a month until we climb back on a silver bird for the gruelingly uncomfortable,
interminable flight back to our beloved Arabella? Since theyve
curtailed direct flights to Fiji from the States, we have about a 10 hour layover in
Auckland, New Zealand before we actually get to go to Fiji. Not sure what to do for
that amount of time, but hope well find something.
progress on the house appears less than exciting, although much has actually been
done. Despite how it looks, we may yet accomplish something like what we hoped
for. Miracles do happen, right? The next few days may actually see those new
water pipes actually carry water, and the downstairs bathroom finally become
functional. Thatd be a biggie, one of those things Id just never quite
thought could happen.
its just a matter of insulation and drywall, putting together a kitchen, and some
kind of floor treatment. Yeah, thats all
In the midst of
all these house thoughts, its a challenge to try to think about boat needs. I
need to hurry up and order some stuff, Im sure, and somehow figure out how
well get it all back to Fiji.
some great family time lately, with my kids and sister visiting for an early Easter, and
Barb just returning from a whirlwind tour of family and friends in Southern
California. Spring is in the air here in Oregon, but we drove through falling snow
yesterday in the coast range, so its not exactly hot yet. Fiji will be
shockingly sweaty for us, Im sure, but at least we will have missed the worst of the
heat if we timed it right.
The three new koi
are doing well in the pond, and one big heron-survivor has appeared from under the rock,
so we have four big guys swimming around. The four little Wal-mart koi are not
visible, and may have become food for a seagull; however Im still holding out hope
about it for now from the Casa Fulmor Koi Rancho, will try to get some pics up today.
Mike n Barb
(and lil Buddy)
Some Construction Progress Pics
The Next Season...
at Last 4/19/09
been quite a busy and hectic time, but we are finally in our little place at the beach and
really enjoying settling in again. This page would have been updated sooner, but the
new computer didn't want to accept the old software (FrontPage) and it's taken me awhile
to face defeat and dig out an old laptop that still works with it. This computer has
outlived the one I bought just before heading to the South Pacific in 2007, so I'm
wondering why I ever replaced it.
We had a
smooth departure from Bundaberg thanks to our decision to get off the boat the day before
our ridiculously early flight left, and stay in a motel across from the airport. The
trip was long and uncomfortable, however, and it was a great relief to finally get off the
plane 18 hours after we began our journey (only 12.5 hours flying across the ocean, the
rest was the hop from Bundy->Brissy and waiting around Brissy) and breathe the
wonderful air of LA once again. There was much visiting of family and friends for 10
days or so, then a really quick drive up I-5 in our new-to-us Toyota Sienna. As we
dropped down from the Siskiyu Pass, Oregon welcomed us with first a bit of snow, then some
rain, and finally, as we arrived at the coast, beautiful clear sunny skies. Since we
made it here to Yachats on the 14th, we've had a little rain, but mostly great weather, if
a bit colder than we're used to back in Oz.
downstairs project is looking very good thanks to the ongoing labors of our resident home
improvement maestro Buck, and hopefully it'll be really close to done by this coming
weekend when everybody comes to see it!
run now, will try to do an update close to the first of May with pictures and everything.
So Two Months Went By
can I say, been busy and also avoiding the
Computer Room with its comfortable chair and certain way of making daylight go away
quickly. The same has been true of the Living
Room with its magic box and comfortable couch.
I try to walk by fast on my way to do something else. And there are lots of something elses to do around
here, thats for sure. Part of my
strategy for not thinking about smoking or eating is to stay almost continuously involved
with projects, and it seems to be working. Believe
it or not, its been 5 months without a cigarette, and Im down 50 lbs as well! Easy does it, they say.
what exactly have you been doing, I hear you asking.
Nothing too spectacular, just mowing and weed-wacking, organizing and
getting my shop ready for serious production, trying to improve the lives of my small herd
of fish through Pond Mods, and of course helping out with the Neverending Project
downstairs. There were daily power walks and
exercise sessions, then a two-week vacation due to a bout with some flu-like deal, which
were all still recovering from. If it
wasnt Swine Flu, it sure did pack a good wallop like it was a little brother. The question now is when to resume the
training regimen, like are we well yet?.
Neverending Project is actually kind of getting close, but Ive said that way too
many times to actually believe it, or expect anyone else to. The tape and mud process drags out towards
infinity, because there is no such thing as smooth enough walls. I wish the upstairs looked half as smooth. With 9
hrs of help from a drywall specialist friend, the bathroom did get ready for paint, so at
least that small, but important area will be finished.
The kitchen cabinets, sink and stove are all installed, along with the
window trim on most windows, so we have actually allowed ourselves to begin thinking of
floorcovering options. Maybe by
is a huge batch of my trademark stone, wood and antler creations begun, and hopefully
theyll be ready to turn into large wads of cash at the Oregon Country Fair coming up
the second weekend of July. Our good friends Dale and Jane will be joining us for a visit
Fourth of July, and were hoping theyll want to hang around for that
extravaganza. Our best Mexican buddy Piper
Lover is currently visiting friends in Canada, and were hoping he might come by here
going to have to close now, because the new Bakki Shower I built to help the water quality
in Lake Lacrimose (AKA da pond) is in need of service.
I have ordered a very expensive state of the art Muck Vac to clean the
bottom of the pond, and when it arrives the pond party will really get going. The fish have been energetic and growing like Sumo
wrestlers since I got them some more oxygen with the new filter and a sprayer system. Now they poop too much, though, and that creates
more problems. The fun never stops here at
the Koi Ranch, I tell ya!
all who read this are well and happy, and may the sun shine on your parade!
July Flyin By
from the nerve center of the Koastal Koi Ranch, where the men are men, the fish are fish,
and the moles are everywhere.
has been a fun but busy month or so, with several developments. On the home front, the downstairs project has taken a huge leap forward. We have completed all sheetrock, finished and
painted, with door and window trim going on. There
will be more to do, probably forever, but the greatest bulk of the work is behind us now,
and it is looking downright livable down there. Buck
is currently in Portland doing some work for his sister, so I have been hanging out a bit
down there to see what its like. Its
good! No more dusty, smelly, dark, scary,
spider-infested ghosts remain.
the pond front, the DIY Bakki
Shower, along with the new Muck Vac, have finally made the water almost as clear as it
was when we first filled it. The fish are
acting very happy and looking very healthy, growing like weeds and eating like horses. New babies keep appearing as they get big enough
to hang with the herd. There are so many
hiding places we never see them until that happens.
Country Fair was a smashing success for me, despite the
torrential rain on Sunday driving us out early. It
was really cool hanging with my daughter Lucy, and having some quality time together. Between Friday and Saturday night sales, I think I
took in well over $500, a nice shot in the arm. The
best part was watching the people admire the work and thank me harder than I could thank
them for the sales. I have lots of great
stock left over, and may post a pic one of these days.
the weed wacking goes on, along with major blackberry extractions and drainage projects,
so there is no chance of idleness around here. Whenever
I get a project done, three more present themselves, so away I go. I guess well be heading to SoCal for a
whirlwind visit at the end of the month so Barbie can go to Catalina with her sister,
brother and daughter for a reunion of the Girl Scout Mariners. On the way back well grab the rest of the
parental archives from the container in Goleta, and perhaps find a place for
everything around here (somewhere?) when we get home!
ya next time,
More Days of Summer? 9/9/09 log
I wish there were some great adventures to report,
but alas, life around the old Rancho del Koi has been pretty uneventful since
last time. We did have a fast trip
to California, but it became somber when we attended an ash-scattering
on our trip back. One of our
dear cruising friends from the Mexico Era passed away suddenly and we said
goodbye from the deck of a beautiful 48? yacht out of San Francisco bay.
One more reminder that this life doesn?t last forever- better not waste
any by not having a good time doing
whatever it is we?re doing.
Shortly after our return in early August we drove
down to Grants Pass and acquired 250# of beautiful Oregon soapstone from the son
of our old supplier. A week later I
had a pretty nice batch of my little sculptures made and they sold very well in
Portland shops. Came back and made
an even larger batch, and they also sold out in a few days around Portland.
Cool deal for me, because finally I am getting paid decently for doing
something pretty fun and relaxing, extremely green, and on my own schedule.
It was a fortunate discovery in slightly tight times, and it?s almost not
like work, just something to do for a few hours each day.
On that note, it?s starting to look more and more
like our dear Arabella might have to go on the block.
We aren?t hurting in any extreme way, but have lost any semblance of
financial cushion; and there are too many variables when cruising not to have a
backup plan and a way to fund it.
Maybe someday we?ll hit the high seas again, but for now we need to trade
in our summer home for a daysailer kind of rig.
Today we tested the prototype net I made to corral
the fish so they can be dipped out with the hand net.
It?s 35? long x 6? deep, has floats on top and weights on the bottom, and
worked pretty well until the fish figured out what was happening and made breaks
for it. Our big koi actually jumped
over the top, while the smaller guys found gaps at the end and underneath.
The test was pretty successful, though, and I think we?ll have the bugs
worked out soon. We ?re going to
need to thin the ranks some due to all the new babies this year, so we?ll plan a
big round-up soon. Maybe try BBQ
carp, you ask? No, we?ll find good
homes for them I?m sure.
Tomorrow I?ll start a new batch of soapstone art, and
maybe take some to California in the next week or two when we go back to take
care of some family business matters.
It?s a work-a-day world?beats the alternative, tho.
Until next time,
Mike and Barb
So not a whole lot of exciting things have happened
since September, hence the lack of updates here from the desk of the ?ole
webcaptain. We have been quietly
working on money-making schemes of various types, remembering what it is like to
work for things that we want. Our
efforts to stimulate the local economy by spending like a drunken sailor have
had the desired result, though, since we just heard the recession is now
officially over in Oregon. It was
lots of work, but we pulled it off.
Unfortunately, now we?re pretty tapped out, and the boat is going to have to go.
It will be listed at $125K Australian, which would leave us almost even
after commissions and taxes are all paid, along with plane fares etc etc etc.
It?s looking like we?ll be heading back downunder mid
January as planned, and hopefully returning within a month or so if she sells
quickly. There is some family
business that will require our presence, and the Koi Ranch has become a
full-time operation, what with spring branding, mending fences, and tending the
The blog will continue until the boat sells, and
we?ll relate the whole process here, but after that I?m afraid it will be
getting pretty boring until we begin our next sailing adventures, perhaps in a
trailerable ?yacht? that we can sail upwind at 60 mph on the interstate.
So it?s back to filling out spec sheets, planning for
our departure, and preparing to do major cosmetic work once we return to
Arabella. Oh, yeah, and trying to
figure out how to pay for everything, minor detail.
Seaya next time,
Mike and Barb
I could bore you with stories of life at the Koi
Ranch since last entry, but lucky you, you?re spared.
I feel like I?ve been hustling full tilt since we?ve been back, and the
thought of merely sanding and varnishing, painting and polishing, etc back on
the boat was beginning to sound like the resumption of retirement- not bad at
all. But- wouldn?t you know it- an offer
for Arabella came in from our broker
for ?as is, where is? and although it?s about as lowball as it could be, we went
for it anyway. The financial
hemorrhage had to cease, and my berth fees ran out the end of the month?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, things have progressed
somewhat, and we could finally throw a minor Bacchanalia for our friends to
celebrate the Ides of March before we left to drive south.
We showed off Buck?s new tile entryway
and future slate encrusted cinderblock chimney behind the woodstove downstairs,
and it was a fun little cocktail party to kick off Spring/adios Winter.
We had a great whirlwind visit south to SoCal since
we?d already planned to be there for our Australia departure.
We had rehearsed the visit for so long in our minds, we were able to fit
two visits in every day and see multitudes of friends and family in a very short
time. We were home yesterday, 10
days after we left, some kind of record no doubt.
Barb just reminded me it was exactly three years ago
we set out from Vallarta for the Marquesas?lots of water under the keel since
There have been a couple of fish sightings in Lake
Lacrimose, so the herd will be emerging from hibernation soon, and the fun will
begin trying to thin them out some.
Now that we?ve sold the boat I guess we can start a few more projects around
here while looking for a suitable trailer-sailor to take to Mexico next season.
We really miss Mexico and all our pals down there.
If anyone ever decides to sell their boat after the
long ?coconut milk run? across the Pacific, I couldn?t recommend a better broker
than Wayne at Yachtdomain. They have
offices in Bundy and Brissy and know how to market a yacht from the States.
I am still in shock a little bit since the boat deal
just settled a few days ago, but am gamely trying to consider myself ?boatfree?
instead of ?boatless?. Hope I start
Seaya next time,
Mike, Barb and Buddy
So Where is Summer? 6/1/10
It's finally sinking in that The Cruise is over, also known as The Honeymoon,
and The Vacation. The thought occurred that since Barb and I got together
we've been preparing for, taking a break from, or actively being Vacated.
When we got married and set up household in Channel Islands Harbor, we knew it
was just temporary until we could climb on Arabella and sail away later
that same year, and away we did go, right on schedule, for six years of
adventure. When we later had some time to actually hang out at our house
here in Yachats, it was always with a departure date hanging there when we knew
we'd be gone- back to the floating life.
So reality has changed in a big way, and it's going to be interesting to see
if or how we manage to get adapted to dirt-side life (shudder) on a "permanent"
basis. Somebody had the genius suggestion to look into local yacht clubs,
and sure enough there is a great little club in Newport (Yaquina Bay Yacht Club)
where we can at least hang out with some like-minded folks and talk Boat, even
if there are few actual cruisers there. I have to get back into Racer
Mode, I guess, which can be lots of fun for not too much $$$. They even
have some club dinghys to use, but it looks like a wet-suit may be a necessity
due to cold bay water temps. And the ever-present danger of flipping one
of those little tea cups, as a friend calls them. Hate to picture myself
in a wet-suit, tho.
For now I am trying really hard not to look at boats for sale. The
income situation is still sub-standard, and if I got a trailer boat I'd need a
towing-capable vehicle, and the expense parade begins. Luckily the weather
this spring has been so cold, wet, and generally miserable around here that I
find myself giving thanks every time I didn't buy a boat.
I'm going to try to reactivate my lapsed Captain's ticket and try to do some
deliveries this summer, maybe do some teaching, who knows. I'll let you
know as soon as I do!
Mike and Barb, ex-cruisers
Summer's Flying Now 8/9/10
Yeah, it finally got here around the Fourth of July, and has been a real
beauty so far. Even here at Fog Central aka Yachats, we've had sunny days,
warm temps, and NO RAIN since then, like somebody just turned off the shower or
something. We're certainly not complaining, but my poor koi pond became as
green as pea soup, and since returning from the
Oregon Country Fair the fish
have been hiding and not hungry. This of course has me very upset and I
have ordered a bunch of new stuff to improve the water circulation and hopefully
clear things up so I can see if my fishy pals are alive or dead.
The really big news is the acquisition of a beautiful 30 year old Catalina
Capri 25, which came to us despite all my efforts to remain boat-less for awhile
longer. Our great cruising friends Bill and Karen from Miela had
bought her a few years ago to feed their sailing jones when not aboard their
beautiful Moody 45, and as it so happened, didn't really use her all that much.
Half jokingly, I told Bill I'd buy her if he delivered her to me from Chico, CA,
where he lives, and he called my bluff! I'm not at all sorry, though I
will be strapped financially (again) trying to buy all the goodies and new sails
she needs, not to mention paying for a slip at the beautiful
Embarcadero Resort to keep her
near the yacht club. We've had her out a few times so far, a fun trip
upriver to Toledo and a wet Wednesday race last week. So far she seems
like a really fun, fast little boat, and I'm sure we'll remain really glad we
ended up with her.
Besides the pond drama and the boat fun, I've had a busy time with my
soapstone business and garden work, and it all has added up to a summer
beginning to look like a blur. More later...
What a Great Summer it Was 10/13/10
If you're wondering why it's taken me so long to post any
updates here, see the post below for the arrival announcement of the new family
member, or GRP mistress, however you want to look at it/her. Suddenly my
free time evaporated and life became a series of Wednesday night sails on
beautiful Yaquina Bay. Getting the bugs worked out of the boat, my new
crew, and my own rusty sailing ability has been the main focus, but occasionally
some work does get done here at Koi Acre. With the help of Alex, Twin Son
#1 (or is he #2?) a framework was built for the long-awaited fence across the
front of the property, and Buck came along after like a super-star and applied
fence boards that he bought himself. Everyone seems to like the finished
project; complements flow freely. I know I really like not having to look
at the road anymore.
So back to the boat. We came in late to the Summer
Series and tried to stay out of everyone's way at first, being the new kids on
the block. Though the boat came without a spinnaker or a halyard to hoist
one with, we did discover we could sail along downwind with the other boats,
even when they flew theirs. This was great to find out, but we also found
out we don't point as high as most of them, so we need that downwind advantage.
As the series drew to a close I finally decided on a new name, since nobody knew
how to pronounce "Hejira" and I also got tired of telling everyone what
it meant. It was a toss up between Grin, Grins, and Grinner, but something
had to go with the big yellow happy-face flag I bought, and it finally was
decided it would be Grinner because it rhymes with winner,
dinner, and spinner (as in penalty turns for racing fouls and violations).
Since there are several makers of vinyl boat lettering who sponsor my web site,
it was just a matter of figuring out which one to use. I don't want to
bore you with the details of my selection process, but I will tell you the one I
selected, Java Signs has great
service, does great work, and ships out your lettering rolled up in a sandwich
of backing paper, so all you do is peel off the "boat side" and stick the whole
name on at once-- maintaining the spacing and positioning of the individual
letters-- then peel off the top translucent layer when you're happy with the
location. I made the "Grinner" like a smile (you create the whole thing on
their web site) and it came out great with an outline and shadow. It looks
three dimensional. Perhaps I should have made it larger, but it will be no
big deal to replace sometime. I also asked them to reproduce the Cheshire
Cat from Alice in Wonderland for a decal to put on the stern, and they also did
a killer job with that. The price for everything was very reasonable, and
I can't recommend them highly enough.
So here's the punch-line to this rambling story: I did
the de-naming/renaming ceremony right before the first race of the Fall Series,
and guess what? Right! She lived up to her new name and proceeded to
sail past the whole fleet and win the first sailboat race I've ever won.
It may have only been a beer-can Wednesday race, but it felt like the America's
Cup to me. Let's hope it's the start of a trend.
Last weekend was the official end of the racing season in the
form of YBYC's
Regatta. There were boats from all over Oregon there, but mostly they
came from Eugene, and these guys are really serious racers. It was going
to be a challenge racing against them, and the weather didn't help when it blew
up to 20-35 with gusts above 40 on Saturday and was extremely light and shifty
Sunday with a huge tidal shift creating huge current in the bay. The
stress of "survival sailing" Saturday became the stress of not being able to get
to the start or the marks on Sunday as the current had us sliding backwards as
much as making any headway. Needless to say we didn't bring home any
hardware in the form of trophies, but we only missed fourth place overall by
three points. Oh well, there's always next year.
So the koi have all gone into hibernation as the water in the
pond has cooled down close to 50 F, and the yard is looking the best it's ever
looked thanks to Buck buying a nice riding mower with his real estate earnings.
Much more fun than pushing the string trimmer around for hours. Barb flew
down to SoCal to visit family and friends and I'll be driving down in a couple
of weeks to fetch her. Hope all is well in your world, and this will be
the Webcaptain signing off for now.
Here Come the Holidaze 11/13/10
So there we were, enjoying the Indian Summer, and next thing
we knew, it was almost Thanksgiving. Funny how everything seems to speed
up as we get older...or maybe time just flies when you're having fun?
Anyway, not too much has happened except a fun quick trip down
south to pick up Barbie. Made some new business connections on the way
down as well as on the return trip, visited friends and family including an old
high school pal I hadn't seen in 40 years, and tasted lots of great wine on the
drive back up Highway 101. The traffic was easy, and the normally crazy
areas like Newport Beach, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz were practically
deserted. All in all it was a great time to be on the road, with beautiful
Fall foliage as an extra bonus.
We're still looking for somebody to rent the last two big M-1
spaces in Goleta, but I have every confidence it will happen soon. Some
business that needs a big shop or warehouse and a separate showroom/office area
would be ideal. Just putting that out into the universe...
The yacht club
seems to want to elect me Rear Commodore at the meeting next week, putting me in
line for Commodore in two more years. This will be an honor I'm not sure I
deserve, but I will try to serve to the best of my ability. The club is on
a nice upswing, and it will be rewarding to help the growth continue.
Oh yeah, almost forgot, I found a used spinnaker for
Grinner at Minneys that
is close to class legal, and now I can't wait for good sailing weather to get
out there and try to fly it. Actually I already put it up in the slip, on
a light air day. It will add some excitement to those beercan races, and
give more jobs for crew to help with.
The camera has been on strike lately, or the photographer has,
or something, because we can't seem to get any photos taken...maybe next time.
Until then, fair winds and fine feasting to ye!
Twenty-Eleven is Here 01/04/11
A new year always seems so full of possibilities. This
might be the year things finally come together, we tell ourselves, and we can
stop making all the old mistakes, dealing with the old problems, and watching
the movie of our life going through the same old plotlines. And why not?
There is nothing to stop us from breaking out of the old mold and reinventing
ourselves if we really want to.
As a "returned cruiser", however, things look a bit different.
It would be all too easy to just sit back and say "been there, done that, don't
need another t-shirt", etc. and just let the adventurous life fade away replaced
with boring normality. Lately, however, this writer has decided that
course has no appeal, and a new adventure must soon be created to keep from
growing barnacles on the brain . The adventure doesn't have to begin
immediately, and indeed needs it's fair share of planning, re-planning, and
preparation to work, but at least it's a goal and a destination, and something
to dream about in the midst of mundane living.
For awhile, the new plan was to acquire a suitable pocket
cruiser and towing vehicle and go mobile around North America, camping and
sailing as we went. After exploring Mexico and the South Pacific, it
seemed like a good idea to check out our own backyard, so to speak.
Ladysailor has been to the East Coast, but your webcaptain hasn't been east of
Chicago or south of northern Arkansas. It sounded like fun to be able to
splash our yachtlet into the Chesapeake or LIS, maybe a Great Lake or two, and
on down into Florida waters, all the while enjoying reciprocal yacht clubs and
meeting new friends. It still sounds like a fun plan, but with gas prices
rising like they are...the whole idea of living "free as the wind" becomes more
appealing every day. Ultimately I think we would always be missing the
good ole days of living off the grid, anchored in deserted coves eating
fresh-caught fish as the solar panels and wind generator charged our batteries,
with the simple pleasures of living close to nature for our daily entertainment.
Of course we are locked into at least another couple of years
staying close to home since we've taken on the responsibilities of involvement
with our local yacht club, and finances aren't what they need to be anyway, but
that's OK, as long as the Plan is still there as a source of inspiration and
hope for the future. Meanwhile I'll be improving my sailing skills out
there on Wednesday night beercan races, and who knows, maybe start winning more
The internal debate about what form the next adventure will
take, and where it will take us, is most likely just a personal pipedream since
the Admiral seems very comfortable being Home on the Range here at Koi Acre, but
I'll remain foolishly optimistic since I can't help it. I can only hope
she'll get bored with comfort after awhile, and I can entice her with promises
of endless warm tradewinds once again.
I hope you all have a great Twenty-Eleven and enjoy dreaming
big dreams if not living the Big Life!
Fresh, Fair, and Warm Breezes,
Over Halfway Through the Year 7/31/11
I was busy, but didn?t realize I haven?t checked in here since January?oops.
So what?s been happening since then?
Hmmmm?..let?s see?.well, I started the long process of regaining my
Captain?s License in February, beginning with getting my TWIC card which is a
requirement before going any further.
Yacht club stuff kicked off with the Wine and Seafood fest in Newport,
where we were bartenders for a couple of days, then we drove to LA the first of
March for sister Linda?s big Seven-O party, before flying to Nashville to meet
little Ruby, the cutest little granddaughter anyone ever saw.
We had a really great visit with Lucy and Dave, and managed to connect
briefly with my old pal Donald from North Carolina while we were kind of in the
neighborhood. April was a little
quiet, thank you, and then May had me running around like a crazy guy getting
ready for teaching sailing all summer.
Also that?s about when 27 y.o. Captain Julia came floating in on her
highly modified CT 41 Rowena, with
plans to sail to Vanuatu in cyclone season.
We put on a fundraiser for her non-profit
Live Ocean and tried to talk her into hanging around the West Coast, which
she finally decided to do. By June
there was teaching Tuesdays and Thursdays, racing Wednesdays, and starting to
think I was living in Newport for the amount of time I was spending there.
All this time chipping away at all the various requirements for my
captain?s ticket, which finally wound up in early July before the Oregon Country
Fair. Barb was abducted by her Mom
and Sister for three week?s road tripping all over the Northwest, and finally
returned towards the end of the month, and that?s about all the big news I can
just waiting for the Coast Guard to approve my application, go in to take the
all-day exam, and get that dang credential thing back on my wall!
sailing school has been going great, though, and once I get the facilities
inspected I can start to actually certify my students.
The only problem is, I?m sailing so much these days it?s almost starting
to be like work! Never thought I?d
see the day?
life keeps rolling along here in Yachats, the fish are happy in the pond, the
lawn is looking good, there?s a new 10 gal. batch of beer going, and next week
Alex will be here to help with major projects.
I?ll try to keep this little commentary up a little better in the future!
Mike, Barb, Buddy the Wonder Dog, Steve the Chihuahua, and
Shy the Big Labrador Girl
is Here, Bring on the End of Daze. 1/4/12 log
So it would appear that this log has now become a bi-yearly offering.
It must be because either life is too dull to report, or I've become too lazy to
report about it, not sure right now.
The time since the end of July when your webcapt last laid fingers to
keyboard in this space has been pretty mundane. Sailing lessons went
almost into October as it turned out, several guys called who had bought boats
and needed some coaching on sailing them. When the weather became too
crummy to continue sailing, the workshop came to life all November, and lots of
product was made for our trip to Cal in December. Grinner took
the first-place honors for the Fall Series once again, and hopefully this year
the schedule will be modified so that might actually mean something.
So December 1 came along, and Ladysailor and I hit the road for SoCal, where
a legal wrangle was awaiting us, trying to collect a bunch of $ we improperly
were charged a few years ago. Luck was with us, we prevailed, and had the
extra bonus of being in SoCal to spend the Christmas holiday with Ladysailor's
family for the first time in several years. It was also nice to see my
peeps who still live down that way as well. We made it home safe a few
days before New Years, and had the pleasure of catching the last performance of
the DeSoto band at the Embarcadero New Years Eve.
Grinner wished she could have made the Frostbite sail New Years Day,
but she's sitting in the driveway awaiting repairs before she gets to sail
anywhere! The weather was perfect, if a bit chilly, by the way.
This year your webcapt is Commodore of Vice at YBYC, so it will be another
busy one at the club, as well as Ladysailor being the House Queen once again.
Still waiting for the USCG to decide if I am going to regain my Captain's
Licence. Seems as soon as I provide one expensive set of requirements they
want two more, so discouragement is beginning to set in. Stay tuned for
Hope you have a great New Year and the end of Daze is fun for all!
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