It’s always darkest before the dawn…

When I was young and feeling totally overwhelmed my mother would often say “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, her way of telling us that things were going to be better soon.  And those words are as prophetic now as they were then and never ring more true than when I am trying to get Pandora ready for a new season aboard.

The boat yard where Pandora was hauled a few weeks ago has been buzzing with activity with boats being hauled constantly and everyone frantically fitting winter covers, winterizing engines and water systems in anticipation of the freezing weather that is just around the corner.    Yes, winter will soon be upon us as the green of summer gives way to the fiery colors of autumn along the CT River.

Unlike most others, fall marks the beginning of a new season afloat.  While Pandora is “commissioned” year round, we don’t spend much time aboard during the summer.  This summer our time afloat was limited to a few nights for me and Brenda and a quick two week trip to Maine for me with some friends and a club cruise with a few day-sails rounding out the season.   For us, the commissioned season really begins as the leaves drop and I head south in preparation for the winter aboard.

This season we again head south, this time to the eastern Caribbean, beginning in the BVI.  For now, I’ll be heading to Hampton VA, next Tuesday, to hang out with the participants in the Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean.   After that, off to Beaufort NC where Pandora will sit in a slip until mid-January when I will rejoin her for a run to the BVI and the Bitter End Yacht Club.

The last few months have been a blur with a frantic rush to finish the bathroom that I began working on early this summer, clear in the knowledge that all that stood between me and “the gallows” was a finished bathroom that Brenda could use , hopefully sooner than later.  I think it looks terrific.  More importantly, Brenda feels the same way.

That project took a few months longer than anticipated was a our master bathroom but it’s done now.   There were delays along the way, but we won’t talk about my two weeks in Maine that brought progress to a standstill.  No, I prefer to say that it was a much more complex job than I had anticipated and I needed a few weeks in Maine to “reflect” on next steps.  Brenda, however, might not see things exactly the same way.  I kept telling her that, as the highway department always says, “thank you for your patience, the inconvenience is temporary but the repairs are permanent”.   Not sure she was totally convinced.

Never the less, I did end up paying quite a price for the delays as once the bath was done I only had a few weeks to get Pandora ready for the water.   And, along the way, we had to fit in two trips to Brenda’s publisher in PA,  trips to the subject of her book, Archie near Albany.  As I write this we are heading from Albany to Baltimore for our second trip to Baltimore to visit our son Rob and his pregnant wife Kandice in just a few weeks, for a baby shower too. Did I mention that we will soon be grandparents?   Yes, so exciting.  Crazy busy too…

Yesterday’s trip to Albany was to photograph some of Archie’s work for the book, a total of 165 pieces that he has in his personal collection.   Some of the larger pieces had to be held up to shoot.  “Just hold that position for a few moments.   Wait…one more shot.  Can you raise the right side ¼”?”10-21-16a-023What a marathon day…

Today, off to Brenda’s publisher to return the photo equipment.   Here is Archie and Brenda celebrating the end of a long day and job well done. 10-21-16a-024Aren’t they cute together?

So, along with everything I somehow found time to get Pandora ready and this coming Monday, first thing, she goes back in the water.  Weather permitting I’ll head out with my friend Jim for Hampton late Monday or Tuesday.  Fingers crossed that everything falls into place as planned.

The GRIBS suggest a “brisk” run south.  Lots of “flags” forecasting strong NW winds.10-21-16-gribThe biggest project of this season was to take the higher capacity water maker from our old boat and combine it with the smaller unit that came with “new” Pandora.

Both units are Spectra but the one from “old” Pandora is manual and the one on “new” Pandora is highly automated.    This is a shot of the two membranes next to each other in my shop.  The “new” one is a lot larger.10-14-16a-012Spectra has an automated system they call “MPC”, basically a computer that controls it’s functions including startup as well as deciding when to divert “product water” to the tanks.  It even flushes the salt water out of the system and shuts it down when the tanks are full.  It’s a terrific system.  Expensive, but terrific.

Years ago I did some research on which system to put on “old” Pandora and settled quickly on Spectra as it uses a unique pump that is far more efficient than any other on the market with electricity consumption about a half to a third of what other systems use.  This means that a good solar array, such as is aboard Pandora, can power the system along with nearly everything else aboard.  This is important to us as we don’t have a house generator and still need a good supply of water.    Remember, a clean Brenda is a happy Brenda.

I described why I decided on Spectra in this post a few years ago.

The switch over from “old to new” units was more of a process of creating a “hybrid” system utilizing the automation of the Ventura system that came with “new” Pandora and the extra output and larger membrane of the Cape Horn Extreme system from “old” Pandora.

The basic difference the two units was first, capacity, with the Ventura system putting out 6 gallons per hour, on it’s best day, and the Cape Horn Extreme 7-14 GPH depending on the use of one or two pressure pumps.  The problem is that Spectra doesn’t want to get involved with someone trying to configure what is in essence a hybrid semi-automatic unit.   So, after thinking about the problem for about a year, I think I came up with a pretty elegant solution.

My solution was to use a single pump, which the MPC computer was designed for, as the primary driver for the unit. Along with a second pump, when I needed higher output, on it’s own power supply and switch, so I could switch it on manually when I need more output.   This is a shot of the old pump layout.10-14-16a-013The new system, with two pumps is set up with the one on the right serving as a ‘booster” when more capacity is needed.   10-21-16a-004I ran this idea by the manufacturer as well as their rep here in New England and both thought my idea was sound.

I have had problems with sound from the pumps resonating through the bulkhead and decided to add some vibration dampers.  Note that the black square dampers in the corners isolate the pump unit from the bulkhead along with the damper “feet” that isolate the booster pump from the board itself.  I purchased the mounts from McMaster Carr.  They have just about everything you can imagine. 10-21-16a-006I hope that this cuts down the noise.

I wouldn’t have been able to identify a workable solution, or had the guts to put it in place, if it weren’t for the support of Bryan Cooney from Headsync, the rep for Spectra.  Brian was very patient with me and even visited Pandora to review the system.  He endured many phone calls over the last year to listen to my ideas on how to configure things.   This is particularly noteworthy as I was doing the work myself which mean that there wasn’t much in it for him beyond my purchase of a few parts.   Thanks Bryan.

At the risk of sounding like a “Spectra groupie” I really feel that their units are the only way to go.   I have asked Brian to speak at the SSCA event that I am organizing in Essex next June.  I hope he can make it.

Anyway, the syste is in place and all set now and Pandora is ready for action, or at least showers for Brenda.  The new system!10-21-16a-005She’s also all shined up.   You can see your reflection in her hull.10-21-16a-011With the sometimes overwhelming list of “to-do’s” and finding myself potentially facing grave “marital strife” if I didn’t get that bathroom done, it felt pretty dark there for a while.  Mom, your words rang true once again as the sun did finally did come up.

Things got pretty nasty aboard in the middle of it all. 10-21-16a-003Crap just about everywhere.  10-21-16a-001Some spilled out into the cockpit. 10-21-16a-002However, sun the sun came up after all and everything is back in place.4-26-15a-012 So now, let’s hope that the weather window is there for a departure for warmer climes as planned next week.

Stay tuned for updates, as always.

Listen to your surveyor! Duh!

It’s less than a week until Brenda and I leave to head to our son Rob and his wife Kandice’s home in MD for a baby shower.  Yes, we are going to be grandparents , finally.   Yahoo!   And, after we return from that jaunt, Pandora goes back in the water and I’ll head to Hampton VA, two days later, to participate in the run-up festivities for the Salty Dawg Rally.   And, it’s pretty important that I get there in time as I am on the schedule to talk about our trip to Cuba.

No pressure but I had better keep this post short…

The last few weeks have been really busy with travel to various spots including the Annapolis Sailboat Show and a bunch of other destinations to numerous to mention.  But I think it’s safe to say that we are uber-busy these days and the pace is wearing us both a bit thin.

One of the many projects on Pandora has been to replace the water heater and that brings me to the title of this post, “Listen to your surveyor”.  When I was considering purchasing Pandora we had a surveyor to go over everything and as he went through the boat over the course of a day, he pointed out things that were both good and bad.

By the end of a very long day everyone was tired, nerves were more than a bit frayed and one of the last areas he inspected was the compartment where the water heater was located.  He noticed that there was some water under the heater and it looked to him like the heater had been leaking for quite some time.  The owner was quick to say that “oh, it’s just condensation from the AC”.  That was a plausible explanation except that the AC unit was UNDER the water heater and it was doubtful that the water would travel UP HILL to the heater.  Alas, the moisture never went away and a year later I decided to check it out.

I was hopeful that it would be nothing more than a weeping pipe fitting that could be rebedded, so I decided to remove the heater and take a look.    Of course, like all boats, it was shoehorned into an impossibly small space with tons of other stuff around it.  Here’s what I faced as I thought “where do I begin?”.

First I had to remove all of the AC and heater duct work.  Not so easy.10-14-16a-001Now, wasn’t that easy?   Heater exposed.  Doesn’t look bad at all.
10-14-16a-003However, as is so often the case, the “beauty was only skin deep”.   I removed the stainless outer case and all of the insulation to see what I was up against.  Oops, major “up against”, in store for me.  Here’s what lurked beneath. This shot is a bit fuzzy (no make that a lot fuzzy) but you can still see major corrosion on the hot water outlet fitting.  It’s the dark spot on the lower left fitting in the picture.  That hole was eaten right through the aluminium fitting. 10-14-16a-007But wait, there’s more….  On various other spots on the tank I could see that corrosion had worked it’s way through the heater casing.   This spot is on the back of the unit, far from any fittings.  The water had eaten through the shell itself.   See the grey weeping spot?10-14-16a-008Water eating through aluminum?  I learned recently that product water from a reverse osmosis unit is very corrosive on aluminum, something that was news to me.  It seems that RO water is very low in PH and eats most any non-noble metal.   Think aluminum.  This turned out to be a problem for me as I use the RO unit for most of my water production as did the last owner.   Here’s what I found on a water engineer magazine site about the problem.   It said…

“The problem associated with reverse osmosis produced water is not in the processing, nor in the ability to provide needed quantities of water to supplement current supplies, nor is it in supplying finished water free from toxic contaminants, but it is in supplying finished water which is very corrosive to metal distribution piping. For anyone who does not know, reverse osmosis finished water has a relatively low pH (in the range of 5-6) and little to no alkalinity or hardness to act as a buffer. Thereby, this finished water is quite aggressive on metal distribution piping existing prior to the installation and operation of the RO system.”

Oops.  Aluminum and RO water don’t play well together.  So, what’s the solution?  Simple, just reintroduce minerals into the water as it comes out of the RO system, before it enters the tanks and other fittings that may be at risk.   I will do some research on that and report what I learn.   For now, a brand new water heater with a stainless steel holding tank.

Yesterday I installed the new heater.   It’s a lot smaller too and much better insulated.  We had this exact same unit on our last boat and loved it.  It keeps water hot for two days.  It’s made by Isotherm, in Italy and costs about twice as much as the Force Ten unit that I replaced.  I also opted for a 6.5 gallon tank, again about half the capacity of the last one and yet have found that it’s plenty of hot water.  Doesn’t it look cozy in it’s new home?10-14-16a-038Well, plenty of room around it until the heating and AC ducting goes back in.  After that, “what heater?  I don’t see no heater…”10-14-16a-039For now, everything is in place and it works.  That’s good too.

Next step, I have to modify and install the larger Spectra reverse osmosis water maker that I have from my last boat as it has twice the capacity of the one that “new” Pandora came with.  Of course, I’ll also have to come up with a way to re-mineralize the water that comes out of the system so corrosion will be less of a problem.     Having said that, I will have to review what else might be aluminum aboard that needs to be replaced.    Fortunately, the water tanks are not aluminum.  Whew!

So, there you have it.  Mystery solved.  Don’t use anything aluminum in the water system if you have an RO water maker.  Don’t tell anyone but my last boat had aluminum water tanks.  I wonder how long it would have been until they failed?   Now, that would have been a really fun project.

So, back to the title of this post and the moral of the story.  When you are deep into a survey of a boat that you are thinking of purchasing and the surveyor says “this may be a problem”, listen to him and don’t let the owner say “it’s only condensation” as it might come back to bite you.

However, there is a bit of sun under this little rain cloud as I now know about the corrosive properties of RO water and besides, we have a terrific new water heater. And, that will make Brenda happy.  Warm water, happy crew.  Or, as some have said, “happy wife, happy life”.

Next, find a way to put on a “re-mineralizeer thingy” and all will be right in the world.  Well nearly right as there are still lots of chores and time is really, really short.

As was once said, “time to make the donuts”.  Yes, indeed and be sure and listen to your surveyor!

Getting ready to head south. Just a few more things to do…

It’s been a while since my last poste but, in my defense, I  have been VERY busy. Good news!  The bathroom is nearly done (a PRIORITY for Brenda, but you knew that already) so now all that’s left is for the counter and shower door guys are do their thing.

Whew!!!  Now I can turn my attention to getting Pandora in shape for the run south.  And I had better get moving as I have to be underway for Hampton VA as of October 25th, about three weeks from today, or not to put too find a point on it, in 22 days.  No rush.  Ha!

The reason that I have to be underway by then is that I am participating in the run-up events for the Salty Dawg Rally to the BVI and while I am not actually doing the rally, I am speaking about our trip to Cuba last winter at a luncheon on Friday of that week.   And, to make matters worse, I will only be home, between now and when I leave for Hampton, for about half of that time, 12 days.  But, who’s counting.

And, on top of that, I am also the luncheon speaker, again about Cuba, at the annual meeting of The Corinthians on November 6th, when I have to be back home.

And, somehow, between the Salty Dawg Rally events and the Corinthians luncheon I have to run Pandora to Beaufort NC, which is about a 4 day run from Hampton.

Other than that, I can just sit around, write blog posts and eat bon-bons.  Such a life of leisure.  Not a care in the world.

“So, what is so pressing with Pandora Bob?”   Well, I have to put in a bigger watermaker and somehow deal with a leaky water heater which I am not sure is on it’s last legs or is just leaking from a fitting.  And, as with just about everything on a boat, it’s shoehorned into an impossibly small space.  I am not sure I can even get it out at all.  And to put in the new watermaker, well somehow I have to find a way to relocate other equipment to make room for the larger membrane and extra pump.

Of course, there are myriad other details to tend to as well.  However, it’s nothing like the list that I had to deal with the first year as I prepared to head to the Eastern Caribbean.  Remember that trip that didn’t happen?

Dear reader, you may recall that I tried to get to the BVI but had to abort a day or so out of Hampton because of what I’ll describe as “technical issues”.  I won’t belabor repeating the list of things that went wrong but bagging the trip seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides, if I hadn’t changed my plans I wouldn’t have ended up making the run to Cuba.  Oh yeah, Cuba. remember that?

Well, you may recall that I left Hampton with crew bound for the BVI with about 57 other boats and as we crossed the Gulf Stream, things began to go wrong.   I wrote about the details of this fun filled experience in a post on Noember 7th.   And then later in Moreheak City NC, I chronicled the issues in more detail.  At that point I still thought that I was going to resume my trip to the BVI after Thanksgiving.  Oops, change of plan, again.

If you can stand yet one more link to ancient history, I was reading back through my posts from last November and recalled a post, where I wrote in all seriousness and for the first time, “hey, I wonder if we can get permission to travel to Cuba“?   Hmm… There’s a thought.  And we went.  But then you already knew that.   And one thing lead to another and I ended up taking Pandora to Florida and then began in earnest to do my best to “make lemonade out of lemons” and head to Cuba.

On the off chance that you missed it, all the posts from March and April are about Cuba and our travels.  And, not to put too fine a point on it, but there are 19 posts in those two months that I somehow managed to put up in spite of the HORRIBLE Internet access in Cuba.

So, here we are, full circle and I am planning on heading to the Caribbean once again.  Perhaps this time I’ll actually make it and, as I so often say, “details to come”.

About those plans.  The broad strokes are this.  I plan leave to head to Hampton VA later this month, spend a few days there and then head to Beaufort NC where Pandora will sit in a slip until mid January when I will join crew for a run to the BVI and a good deal of the winter aboard.  I say “good deal of the winter” as Brenda and I are going to be grandparents in mid December and unless you are one, a grandparent, you can only imagine how big a draw that will be for us.

And, add to that, Brenda’s bout with melanoma last spring and you can see that there is a big ??? regarding our time afloat going forward.   So, how long will we be in the Caribbean?  Who knows but I am going to give it a shot and we’ll see what happens.  Me determined?  As Brenda will tell you “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!”

Yes, I admit it…

But, before I break to head off and work on Pandora, I thought that it would be neat to talk about our visit to RI to Life Raft and Survival equipment, where we had our four man Viking Raft serviced.  Of course, anyone that heads offshore and doesn’t have a raft on board is, in my opinion, nuts.

We have a Viking life raft and it was due to be repacked.  Actually, it was more than a year overdue for it’s three year repack.  Oops!  I thought that it would be fun to be there when they inflated it and checked out the raft contents.

Life Raft Survival Equipment (LRSE) is a pretty scary name for a business but it would be a LOT more scary to be on a sinking boat without a well maintained raft or worse, no raft at all.  This is one piece of equipment that I sure hope will never be used.  As you can imagine, Brenda’s feelings on this topic are a bit stronger.

Anyway, our raft is a Viking four man offshore raft.  We chose it because it was not too expensive, if you can call $3,000+ not too expensive, and it was a good brand used by many cruise ships and commercial boats.    It’s in a valise pack which means it’s in a fabric pack and must be stored in an area where it won’t get wet.  It’s vacuum packed which suggests that it’s waterproof but we were shown a raft just like ours and the same age that had gotten wet.   It was a mess and probably had to be junked.

The tech put it on the floor, out of it’s soft bag.   The shrink wrap is silver and pretty tough. 7-26-16a-018Normally it would inflate with CO2 in a rush of compressed gas.    However, in this case he attached a compressor and inflated it in a more controlled way.
7-26-16a-009It still inflated fairly quickly, in just a few minutes. 7-26-16a-001The arch and canopy started to take shape. 7-26-16a-003Then it was fully inflated and the pressure release valve was hissing happily. 7-26-16a-016It was like opening a VERY EXPENSIVE present.   What’s inside?7-26-16a-004We unpacked all the “perishables”.  They didn’t look very perishable to me but everything had to be replaced.  I asked them to save the stuff for my ditch bag.   Spares or not, I sure hope that they never get used.   And, if they do and Brenda’s on board, well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t put a big bet on future cruising. 7-26-16a-015Good news, the waterproof compartment in the cockpit that houses the raft kept it completely dry so repacked it’s as good as new and back on board.

LRSE has presented at my June SSCA event in Essex for the last few years, complete with a live life raft inflation.  I hope to have them back again in June 2017 but want to be sure that we keep the demonstration fresh so perhaps we will go though the contents of a raft and ditch bag and review each item.    For me, seeing our raft inflated was the first time I had ever seen the contents in any detail.

With a newly serviced raft I can be confident that when I head south that there’s a well maintained raft available, if needed.

I also have to begin boning up on the cruising guides and charts that I have for the Caribbean and I have a lot of them.  10-2-16a-038Yes indeed, lots to do and time is short.  I had better get to work on Pandora or I’ll find myself sitting in an armchair in front of a fire reading about cruising instead of doing it.

Gotta go…

How many degrees separate you from, well, anyone?

When I made a run south from Greenport to Ft Lauderdale last week, I spent some time getting to know the crew, Captain Mark, First Mate Pete, Engineer Anthony, Chef Mark and Stewardess Heather.  A great crew and a real change of pace for me after years heading here and there on small boats.  Well, my boat Pandora is not that small but at 47′ she’s a shrimp, canoe, dink, whatever compared to a the 130′ motor yacht that they crew on.

Anyway, along the way Pete, the first mate, and I got to talking and it turns out that, along with his working aboard mega-yachts, he’s also an accomplished yacht illustrator.  I had actually seen his work in the past in Showboats International, which I subscribe to.  It’s a VERY glossy, and apparently successful magazine of super yachts, if thickness is a measure of success.

One of the features of the publication is a page each month that includes illustrations of notable yacht launches along with some details of the build such as where she was built and the number of crew.    This is a layout from a recent issue that was done by Pete.   boat-international-april-2016-in-this-issue-01
To be a reader of this publication and to then run into that same illustrator proves once again that it is indeed a very small world.  You know, the whole “six degrees of separation” thing?  Interestingly, Facebook has determined that there really isn’t six degrees of separation, it’s more like 4.74, not to put too fine a point on it.   Check out this link to Facebook to learn more.   Twitter did a similar analysis and they think that the number is 4.67. Close enough.

As I used to tell our boys when they were younger, “watch what you
do in public, you never know who might see you…”.  Indeed.

So, Pete’s process is to take a number of photos of a boat and to create an illustration.  Most of them are done in profile, like this piece that he did for the South Street Seaport Museum.  lightship-ambrose-print-rgb-03

He also does pieces in perspective like this sell sheet that he did for Palmer Johnson, the yard that built the boat I headed south on. khalilah-ad-mockup-01Most of his work seems to be focused on large yachts.  I particularly like this one of Foggy.  Frank Gehry, the famous architect, designed and owns her. foggy-01Here’s a shot of the boat herself.  She’s a real work of art in her own right, with some very unusual features.  One of the standout features of the boat are her “portlights” in the hull and deck. Pretty arresting and, it seems, pretty leaky.  Oops. landscape-1444054183-tcx100115gehryboat003A shot of Gehry himself aboard.  He’s the one on the right.  I guess it was a sunny day.  No leaks. foggy-2I show Foggy in particular as yet another example of “degrees of separation”, when I was at Newport Shipyard last summer.  Foggy was there.   I did a post that had some information about his boat.  The yard owner, where she was built is Steve White, grandson of E.B. White, the poet.  In a video I included in my post, Steve talked about the challenges of making the deck lights leak proof.  Ok, perhaps he has to rethink the engineering on that one.

The boat pushed the boundaries in every way.  Not your typical bowsprit. downloadLighting?  Talk about complicated construction.  Can you say points of (water) egress?1-2-16-018I guess pushing boundaries isn’t new to Gehry when you consider this as one of his designs.images-1I wonder if the windows on this building leak.  I’ll bet that he doesn’t have to live in it on a rainy day at anchor, so perhaps that’s OK. images

Another boat that Pete illustrated is Kismet.  I spied her in Ft Lauderdale and included her in a post, last year.  She’s so big, at over 300′, that my blog won’t fit Pete’s illustration of her.   kismet-02Oh yeah, if you get the itch, you can charter her for $1,200,000 per week.  Plus fuel, of course, crew tips, etc., etc…kismet-running-shot-1Want to learn more about her?  Check out her charter site.

So, what’s all this leading to anyway?  I really liked Pete’s work and commissioned him to illustrate Pandora.   I just received it today and am thrilled.  Nice work Pete.

He even included a special piece commemorating Pandora’s trip to Cuba.  It needs a few tweaks but it’s great. pandora-cubaSo even if you don’t have a megayacht you can have Pete illustrate your “super” yacht.  If you want to connect with Pete yourself here’s a link to his site.

So there you have it, 4.74 degrees of separation from you to, well, anyone, or at least Pete and even Frank Gehry.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to watch what you do in public.  You never know who may be watching.

What makes her go? An engine room tour.

Well, I am back home now and will be taking the sails off of Pandora later today to prepare for hauling her out on Monday.    Plans include an upgrade of her water maker as I have one from a prior installation that is dual speed and makes either 7 or 14 gallons per hour.  The current one has a speed and plugs along at a very modest 5-6 gallons per hour, not enough for what Brenda and I use each day.   With the “new” Spectra unit I’ll only have to run it for less than two hours each day and we will be all set with plenty of H2O.  I’m feeling cleaner already.

I’ll also be sending out the sails to be checked as there are a few small issues that need to be addressed.  Nothing big but there are lots of miles on them since their last checkout  and I don’t want any problems.

As far as other projects go, well, let’s just say etc., etc…  Details to come.

If you somehow missed my posts from last week, I was lucky to be able to crew on a 130′ motor yacht from Greenport LI to Ft. Lauderdale.  Want to learn more? Check out the last 4 or 5 posts.  Anyway, this was the boat that I was on.  She’s very pretty and wonderfully appointed in every way.  Here she is as she pulled away from the dock in Greenport.9-8-16b-024Well, four days and 6,000 gallons of diesel later, we arrived in Ft Lauderdale.  As the crew was getting her settled in her berth, I asked the engineer Anthony for yet another tour of the engine room.  It was better to go down there when the engines were off because it’s REALLY, REALLY NOISY when she is underway and we’d have to wear hearing protection. In spite of all the noise in the engine room, it’s very well insulated so it’s quite quiet elsewhere on board.

Anyway, in no particular order, here you go…

There are two 1,000 HP Cat engines that push her along at a cruising speed of about 12kts.  At that speed the combined engines burn about 4o gallons per hour.  Push that up to 14kts, her top speed, and the consumption goes up to more than 6o GPH or 1,500 per day.  Yikes, that’s a lot of fuel.    But then, she’s a big thirsty girl.9-12-16b-048With consumption like that, she needs big tanks and a lot of them.   This is all the valves that the engineer uses to move fuel from one tank to another to keep her in trim.   All fuel for the engines is fed to the engines through a 1,000 gallon “day tank” that is replenished as needed from other tanks.   9-12-16b-050And, if you love well set up valves, and I do, you’ll love this array.  It’s the valves for each of the bilge areas.  Don’t these just make you go weak in the knees?  Ok, perhaps not that weak but they do look pretty neat.  Right?9-12-16b-054Fuel filters?  Yup, lots of them. 9-12-16b-049Interestingly, the muffler has two exhaust ports.  When she’s at rest the exhaust goes out on the starboard side above the waterline and when she’s at speed, the valve is closed so that the exhaust goes out through the bottom of the boat into the slipstream in front of the props.   The big white drum is the muffler and the white tube is cooling water injection from the engine. 9-12-16b-052And speaking of cooling, this is the heat exchanger on the front of the engine.   Seawater runs through this “radiator” along with engine coolant.    Like everything on this boat, it’s a big cooler.
9-12-16b-051And speaking of cool, how about the three AC units?  The boat has an enormous amount of cooling capacity as there is a lot of “make up air” brought into the boat so that all of the air is replaced, I think twice each hour, to keep humidity down.  Even the air in the bilges is refrigerated and refreshed.   Even when the engines are running the space around them the engine room is cool.  It takes something like 10 tons of capacity to keep the boat cool verses perhaps 10-20% of that for a similar amount of volume in a house.    9-12-16b-055And, to generate all that electricity there are two generators of 100kw each.    Yes, huge is the word that comes to mind.   See a pattern here?

And, just like Pandora (what little they have in common), they have a watermaker.  No, make that two with a capacity of 750 gallons per day.  That’s how they can have bathtubs in most ever cabin and a hot tub on the upper deck.  No need to conserve on this boat.  9-12-16b-053And all of this “stuff” is monitored on video screens just about everywhere aboard.  The galley, bridge, the Captain’s cabin, crew mess and who knows where else.    With all this complexity there’s ample opportunity for things to go wrong and plenty to keep Anthony busy.  9-8-16b-031Not sure that I look quite at home among all of this equipment.  Besides, I am wearing a white shirt.  No wait, there’s not a speck of dirt anywhere.  Anthony can even pull up the stainless flooring and climb under the engine to wipe up that last drip of oil.  I wonder if he wears a white crew shirt to do that.  Probably as he doesn’t have to do laundry.  That’s Heather, the steward’s job.   No problem.  Bring on the grime.
9-12-16b-056She’s a remarkable vessel, that’s for sure.

And, speaking of remarkable vessels, how about Global, an expedition yacht that is berthed near the 17th street bridge in Ft Lauderdale.  This sort of boat, and she was built in 2007, is designed to go, well, to go anywhere.  She sure looks like she means business.9-12-16b-061As you’d expect, she has a nifty spot to land a helicopter.   The second deck is also set up as a landing pad when the lower deck is cluttered with “toys”.   She has a submarine, of course, and you know how much room they take up take up. That crane is for heavy lifting, subs, cars, boats and all.  If you are interested, their site is pretty interesting with a good overview of her capabilities and toys.

For now the upper “pad” is covered with astro turf.  I’ll bet that it’s a great spot for Fifi to do her thing.   Somehow I have this image of Fifi being swept overboard by the downwash of a hovering copter.  “Fifi, Fiiiiiifffffiiii, somebody please find her…..”

And speaking of landing on a boat, they have a video of a helicopter landing on their back deck, and they are doing so by remote control.  As it’s on Vimeo, I don’t know how to embed it here so you’ll have to click here9-12-16b-058And of course, a pool with a lovely ocean motif. 9-12-16b-060Well, going on and on about yachts isn’t getting any work done on Pandora, much less the bathroom remodeling.

Better sign off and get on with it.  Thanks for the tour Anthony.  Awesome.

She’s back in her shed. Back to real life for me.

It’s Monday afternoon, I am alone aboard and the boat is all snug in her slip, er shed.  We arrived in Ft Lauderdale at dawn today, just as the eastern horizon was brightening.  9-12-16b-021Now, here’s an amazing coincidence…  You may recall that the first thing I saw as I boarded the ferry in New London to join the boat was a sub and, as luck would have it,  that was the last thing I saw as we headed into the Port Everglades channel into Ft Lauderdale.   No AIS but I am pretty confident that she wasn’t the USS New Mexico.   Note the port running light.   How about subs as bookends to an amazing trip?  You can’t make this stuff up.   Really…  9-12-16b-035It looked like Ft Lauderdale had it’s own little rain cloud hanging over it.  Well, not so little.
9-12-16b-031As we entered the channel, we passed this pontoon boat heading out.  Back in the early 70s everyone thought it would be a great idea to make an artificial reef out of two million discarded tires tied together and sunk off of the beach.  9-12-16b-036Well, it turned out to be a really bad idea as nothing will grown on them and now the fastenings that hold all of them together are breaking down and tires are beginning to wash up on the beach.  Some have even drifted as far north as the Carolinas.   Oops.    This guy has the contract to remove them one by one and he’s only able to go out about half the time and brings in something like 30 tires at a time.  Do the math.  2,000,000 divided by 30 tires.

Coincidentally, way back when, the project was christened “The Osborne Reef”. No relation, I assure you.  Besides, they spell it with an “e”.

Like so many best laid plans, the reef “seemed like a good idea at the time”, Oops!  It’s going to take years and years to fix as they began removing tires back in 2009 and they aren’t even part way done.   This guy will probably be at this project for the rest of his life.  And you wondered where those tires off of your old AMC Hornet went, Sheryl.  Now you know

Just after clearing the 17th street bridge we turned left into the first canal.   It looked impossibly tight to me. 9-12-16b-045We approached the boat house on the left.  It’s the only facility like it in Florida. It was originally built to house a boat that one of the owner’s cousins has and still keeps there.  It costs $12,500 a month to keep your boat here, and they have to pay year round, even if they aren’t there, so they don’t loose their spot.

Sometimes they find themselves paying for three slips at the same time in various places so they won’t loose their spot. Speaking of “slips” that word sounds entirely to tiny for such a big space.  Perhaps “maw” would be more descriptive word.  “Let’s keep the yacht in the MAW tonight boss”.9-12-16a-005As we approached my pulse started to rise and I was just a spectator.   “No biggie, we’ve done this thousands of times although it’s a bit trickier in the dark.”  Show-off!

The distance between the shed opening and the far side of the canal is shorter than the boat is long.  This means that they have to put the bow into the shed on an angle and slowly work the stern around without raking down the side of the 80′ sailboat that’s tied up across the canal.  As all of this is happening, the captain can’t even see the stern and has to rely on the First Mate Pete to guide him.  “2′ clearance Cap, you’re in great shape.”  Really, 2′?
9-12-16a-010The chef, stationed up on the bow, held up fingers to let the captain know how much distance there was between the starboard bow and tons of concrete.  At one point just two fingers went up.   Two feet and they didn’t even have a fender out in case things went south.   No fenders out because there wasn’t enough room to squeeze in a fender between the boat and dock.  YIIIKES!9-12-16a-013Easing into the slip?  Maw?  Cave?  Oh S#$%!   For scale, the three doors in front of the bow are full sized garage doors.  9-12-16a-023Anybody have a tub of KY?9-12-16a-017I couldn’t believe it.  No fenders and a perfect fit with less than two feet on each side…9-12-16a-029And it looked like less to port.  Like a glove.9-12-16a-027“Look Captain Mark, I can touch the bow with my hand.”9-12-16a-035She doesn’t look all that big in the shed after all.  Besides, she shares it with 5 other boats.   Big shed indeed 9-12-16a-033Cool as a cucumber, Captain Mark, completing his log.   All settled without a scratch.   9-12-16a-025What do you say Brenda?  Want to try that with Pandora.  No, that would be a CLM (Career Limiting Move) for sure.  I’ll leave this sort of maneuvering to the pros.

So here I am alone aboard as everyone bolted shortly after securing the last line and washing the salt off.  I can’t say that I blame them as they haven’t had a break in 3 1/2 months.

In a few days they will be hard at work again chipping (poor choice of words) away at Captain Mark’s to-do list.  No rest for the weary.

Me?  I’m flying back home tomorrow to renew work on my own list.  I expect that the lawn will need mowing.  Real life, here I come.

Captain Mark?  Need crew?  Take me away.  I may be available but not until I finish remodeling the master bath.

Oh yeah.  I had a blast.

Sunrise at sea

I’ve been teased about putting so many pictures of sunrises and sunsets on my posts over the years.  Perhaps, with the exception of mentioning Brenda’s name in posts, I have written about sunrises and sunsets and included more shots of the sun in all her glory more than anything else.

Just in case you think that it’s been too long without a sunrise fix, and you probably don’t, here you go.   Last night’s sunset was spectacular as well but I was up on the bridge and to run three levels down to my cabin and get the camera and head back up three levels was too far, or so I thought.   By the time I realized that it was going to be one that was not to be missed, it was too late.  With no photo to prove it, you will just have to trust me on this. It was a great burning sunset.

All is not lost as this morning, as the eastern sky began to brighten, I dashed to my cabin and brought up the camera.   Not missing this one.  9-11-16a-008As I headed out of the bridge, I was struck by how humid it was and I am pretty confident that the camera felt the same way as the lens steamed up immediately. In the cabin I have taken to wearing a jacket as it’s fairly cold most of the time.    “Poor downtrodden Bob, he has to wear a little sweater.”

Never mind…  We are traveling south along the western wall of the Gulf Stream to avoid the north flowing current.  At times we catch a small counter-current of about one knot so generally our speed over the bottom is between 11.5 and 13.5 knots.

I had mentioned in one of my posts that the boat burns 1,000 gallons a day at about 12kts and that raises to nearly 2,000 per day if we push it to 14kts through the water.  That’s a lot of fuel.   It seems that I was wrong.  She burns about 1,500 per day when at cruising speed.  That’s 60 gallons per hour.  The first winter Brenda and I were in the Bahamas I think that we burned less than that one hours worth in four months.

They are scheduled to have her hauled out in a few weeks for some bottom painting and their gross weight is a consideration for even the largest lift.   In order to keep her weight down, they will drop out their anchors and chain before they head to the yard which will reduce their weight by about 10 tons.   They will also have some fuel taken off as well or run extra hard as we get closer to burn more than normal.   Fully loaded, they carry nearly 125,000 lbs of fuel.   Imagine that, between the anchor gear and fuel, that’s something like 80,000 tons.   And that doesn’t even include the boat itself or all the water that she carry.   Big girl.

If they arrive at the yard with too much fuel they are required to have it pumped out by the yard and when they leave, the yard will “sell” it back to them. Otherwise, they would have to pay storage for the fuel in the tanker truck while the are on the hard.  What a racket for the yard.

Anyway, great sunrise today.  As the sun rose higher in the sky the view was spectacular with towering white clouds on the horizon. 9-11-16a-005Interestingly, the sky was clear of clouds in every direction except to the east over the Gulf Stream.  Because of the massive amount of warm water pushing north, the GS creates it’s own weather with thunderheads popping up without much warning.

A short while later we were visited by a pair of dolphins that swam in the bow wave.  I had to lean way over the bow to get a shot.    Notice the fogging of the lens on the lower right hand of the frame.  9-11-16a-027Today is going to be a beautiful day and we will be blessed with another easy smooth day powering our way down the Florida coast.

We anticipate entering Lauderdale inlet sometime around dawn Monday.   After our arrival, time to clean up the boat and remove all of the salt that has accumulated over the last few days.

What a great way to begin the day.  A beautiful sunrise and dolphins frolicking off of the bow.

Onward we go…

Settling into life at sea

It’s Saturday morning and I just got off watch.  We passed Cape Hatteras last night, shortly after midnight, which marks the half way point to Florida.  At the current pace, we should arrive in Ft Lauderdale on Monday, making for a four day trip.   With Pandora, the same distance would take about twice as long.

Actually, as going south is against the prevailing SW winds, it’s not likely that a run with Pandora could be accomplished in much less than two weeks, with time spent waiting for good weather.   Motoring into seas like we encountered yesterday would be very uncomfortable.

However, the fact that Pandora only burns about 2% of the fuel takes some of the edge off of the longer time needed to get there.    Running through 4,000 gallons of diesel for each run would be pretty painful to our budget and when Brenda groused “that damn boat”, she’d really mean it.

With six of us aboard, we are split up into three groups, with two on the bridge at all times.   Mark, the captain and I share watches from 04:00 to 08:00 and 16:00 to 20:00.   To be sure, Mark is the guy that does most of the work but I am there to be and extra set of eyes and to keep watch if he has to leave the bridge for any reason.  With all of the systems on board, there is always something that needs his attention or some alarm that is going off.   Also, somebody has to go below and take a look in the engine room several times during a watch to be sure that everything is running well.

I set an alarm for about 30 minutes before I have to begin my watch and it is customary for the incoming watch to arrive 15 minutes before so they can observe traffic in the area and to become accustomed to the dark before the standing watch is relieved.

Yesterday was quite rough and we were pounding along with the boat seeming to fall off of a wave periodically.  In a normal seaway, every now and then, perhaps every ten waves or so, one will come along that is much larger, perhaps twice as big so it isn’t uncommon to have the boat lurch unexpectedly when you least expect it.  As we were powering into the waves and against the wind, yesterday was a noisy and bumpy day.   The steward, Heather, wasn’t feeling too well which I can understand as the crew quarters is set way up in the bow where the motion is the worst.   In the nanny cabin,  I have it great as it’s near the center of the boat, where the motion is less.

Overnight things calmed down considerably and we should have a smooth ride for the second half of our trip.   It’s a beautiful day. Nice view from the bridge. 9-10-16a-006I haven’t poked my head outside since we left Greenport NY and was stunned to see how much warmer it is after just two days.   It’s pretty chilly aboard as the AC is running all the time.  And it has to be on as the carpets are silk and the wallpaper is delicate bamboo.   Very light and airy.

This is one of the owner cabins.   The spread and pillows are beautifully monogrammed but I had to block it out as the owner is sensitive about privacy. You’ll just have to imagine lovely gold letters of the boat name.  Quite elegant and you can see a women’s touch in the decor.  Of course the owner, and it’s a woman, isn’t aboard for the delivery.   Just love the rope lighting under the bed. 9-10-16a-011There is a very nice and secure walk area down the side of the boat.  It’s a beautiful spot to stand and watch the world go by.   Beautiful teak decks and a perfectly varnished rail.  It’s a lot of work to keep up all of this and hours a day are spent making sure that all parts of the boat are clean and polished. 9-10-16a-012I spend 8 hours a day sitting in the right helm seat.   Very comfortable.
9-10-16a-005My four hours spent in each watch passes quickly as there is a lot to keep track of .  And, when Captain Mark isn’t filling in the log each hour with all sorts of vital stats, we have plenty to talk about.  I’d love to share some of his stories he’s told me about his years afloat but I might be tossed overboard if don’t keep my mouth shut.

I can only imagine what this instrument panel cost to assemble.  No coffee on the dash.  Spill something here and you are….  Well, it wouldn’t be pretty. 9-10-16a-003As my watch was ending this morning Chef came to the bridge and asked what we’d like for breakfast.  How about an omlet and toast?  Ok, if you insist.  I resisted the impulse to photograph what turned out to be a perfectly cooked cheese omelet.  Yum!  Ten minutes later I took my plate down to the galley to put it in the dishwasher and you’d never know that anyone ever cooked there.   If Pandora had a galley like this my biscuits would be even better.   Of course, the weight of the granite counters alone would sink her.  9-10-16a-010This is the crew mess, where we take our meals.  The TV is always going and there is an endless selection of chips and cookies.  “Bob, pace yourself!”  “Ok, I’ll have an orange.” 9-10-16a-009Safety aboard is key so there is a laminated disaster plan and boat schematic posted for everyone to see. 9-10-16a-008Perhaps I’ll spend some time today hanging out at the stern watching the wake behind us.  What a sight.  9-10-16a-013So what next?  I asked Anthony, the engineer, to spend some more time with me checking out the engine room and systems.   The machinery that keeps us moving, comfortable and safe is very complex and he has to be capable of fixing just about anything that can go wrong along the way.

We’ve settled in nicely to life at sea and it’s turned out to be a terrific voyage. When we get to Ft Lauderdale I’ll be giving a presentation about Brenda’s and my two months in Cuba to the crew along with the captains of some of the other boats.   That should be a lot of fun.  Besides, I have to earn my keep.

I understand that they keep the boat, all 130′ of her, in a shed, along with a half dozen other boats in Ft Lauderdale to keep her out of the weather and safe in the event of a hurricane.  It’s hard for me to imagine a boat shed big enough to house this boat along with several others.    That will be something to see.

Oh yeah, I guess Mark is happy with me so far as I found a few crew t-shirts neatly folded on the foot of my bunk this morning when I returned from watch.   Well, it is either that or I am beginning to smell a bit off.  Whatever the reason, happy me.

As Steve Martin exclaimed in the movie “The Jerk”, when he saw his name in the phone book, “Now I am somebody!”.   “Yeah, yeah Bob, nice shirt…don’t get ahead of yourself”9-10-16a-017Say what you will, this is fun.  Totally!

280 miles to weather in one day

It’s Friday morning and I just got off my 04:00 to 08:00 watch with Captain Mark for our first night at sea.  We have made great time heading south at a steady 12kts even though we are headed directly into a 25kt SW wind.     Actually, all it takes is 2,000 HP and the willingness to burn 1,000 gallons of fuel a day.  Spray or not, we don’t get a drop as nobody goes outside unless it’s absolutely necessary.

We rounded Montauk around noon yesterday and are currently between the Delaware River and the mouth of the Chesapeake.  I’d guess that we will  pass Cape Hatteras sometime tonight.

I haven’t been able to post since leaving Montauk as the satellite receivers weren’t properly lined up to receive the signal.   However, it’s all fixed now so I can get this post up, thanks Captain Mark.     Oh well, a bit of technical issues with the receiver dishes.  Such is life on the open seas.

Yesterday at around 07:30, we slipped off of the dock and moved over to another spot where the fuel  truck could reach us.  I had to stay on the dock to catch the lines at the other dock where we took on fuel.   She looked great in the early morning light. 9-8-16b-024The fuel truck pulled up and fed her 3,000 gallons of diesel.    The boat carries 15,000 gallons, about the same amount that a semi truck that services gas stations holds.   The truck looked pretty small next to us. 9-8-16a-001For the trip we will use about 3,000 gallons or 1,000 per day of fuel.  Don’t worry, that includes the 100k generator too.   Whew, for a moment you thought that was how much the main engines used.  Nope, they only use about 900 gallons per day.  The generator uses a little less than 100 gallons per day.  Oh yeah, and nobody worries about water.  Use all you want as their water maker puts out, well plenty.

While we were waiting the hour or more that it took to put in all that fuel, they stowed some of the last items aboard including this scooter.  Up she went. 9-8-16b-025The bridge is amazing with redundant equipment for everything.   Very comfy chairs.  9-8-16a-005And, then there is the communication equipment.  That’s Captain Mark.  Nice guy.   Besides, he loves catboats, just like me and Brenda.  Double nice. 9-8-16b-040There are monitors everywhere to keep the crew appraised of any possible problems.  This screen monitors the fuel and water tanks. 9-8-16b-033Love the schematic to let you know exactly where in the boat something may be amiss.9-8-16b-034The engineer, a great Aussie, gave me a tour of the engine room.   We had to wear hearing protection as it’s REALLY NOISY in there.  However, outside of that room, it’s very quiet and on the upper levels, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the engines are on if it were not for the low vibration.   It’s so clean you could eat off of the floor.    I expect that isn’t allowed as someone might leave a mess.  “who left that banana peel in the bilge?”9-8-16b-029There are monitors all over the ship but this is “command central” in the engine room.   Looks like the control wall for a power plant.
9-8-16b-031The engineer says A-OK, ready for liftoff…9-8-16b-032Amid all the high tech gear Mark has put together a simple Captain-Mark-made sling cyclometer for measuring the dewpoint.  It’s funny to see such a rudimentary piece of equipment among all the other amazing gear.   Aboard a yacht like this nearly everything is complex, by design and EVERYTHING has an alarm built in to keep you on your toes with the possible exception of this nifty gadget.   No wait, if someone was to “sling” it and rap it against something I expect that Captain Mark would make quite a noise.  9-8-16b-038So, how about the view from my cabin?  Of course, there are blackout shades on these portholes in the cabin and head to make the cabin dark as night.  They are motorized of course.   9-8-16b-041Last but not least, there’s Hillary.  It’s alarming to see her just standing there in the “media room”.  How appropriate given her near constant presence in our lives these days.   I have to pass her each time I head to my cabin.9-8-16b-026Well, that’s all for now. With nearly 300 miles under our keel in a single day, that’s a lot of peddling, especially directly into the wind.

They say that “gentlemen never go to weather”.  Well, those guys must not have been aboard a motoryacht.

Oh yeah, almost forgot.  Steak filets, perfectly done, for dinner last night along with roasted baby potatoes (they never stood a chance) and mixed veggies.   Thanks Chef.  Awesome!

Of course, we do have to keep our strength up.

Time for a nap.

Heading south in grand style.

It’s Wednesday evening and I am all settled aboard my “ride” to Florida.  The boat I am on is amazing.  She’s 130′ and a real stunner.  The captain has put me into the “nanny cabin” which is more like a nice hotel room than a cabin on a boat.

When I arrived I plunked my gear down in the “TV room” and before I knew it the steward has whisked it way and put everything into my cabin along with a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo along with a little monogrammed note pad of course, etc, etc.

I have a double bed, all to myself along with a full bath, complete with granite counters and there’s even a full size tub. Happily, there is wifi all the time via satellite so you’ll have to put up with my daily posts until we get to Florida.

Here’s my ride at the dock in Greenport.  She’s the blue one.  Beautiful. 9-7-16a-098Tomorrow at around 7:30 we will shove off and visit the fuel dock. I am told that she burns about 1,000 gallons per day when underway.  Our cruising speed is 12kts.  She will make the trip about twice as fast as Pandora.   She’s big, like a floating condo and a large one at that.

Early today I caught the ferry in New London to get over to Greenport,  What a sight as we passed Electric Boat in Groton.   There is a sub under construction.  I guess that they build them in modules.  Either that or someone forgot to solder the front and back together.  I sure hope that they aren’t planning to launch in a the near future.   9-7-16a-066Perhaps more than you want to see about partially finished subs but I sort of liked the shot from this angle.   She sure looks like she means business.  Nice crane.9-7-16a-069Seeing a sub under construction was neat but seeing one steaming into the harbor was even better.  I think that she was the New Mexico, the sub that I encountered last summer off of Groton as I passed by.    I think it’s her because I had heard from the chief of the boat, who I have been corresponding with told me that they were in town, would be out for a week or so on maneuvers and then would be back.  Well, it looks like they are back and I was lucky enough to be there when she arrived. 9-7-16a-079As she passed I was able to get a great shot of the crew on deck.  I expect that there is a very well established pecking order as to who gets to ride up in the sail. They probably don’t draw straws or play rock, paper, scissors.   “get down from there skipper, I won your spot fair and square”.

Love the Victorian  home, if that’s what it is, in the background.   Amazing contrast.9-7-16a-087Big boat.  Long way from the sail to the tail fin, if that’s what they call it.
9-7-16a-089How about the gunboat riding shotgun as she came into the harbor.  I waved to him and he waved back.  Not sure he was smiling though.  Probably not allowed. I wonder why they wear camo colored uniforms.   If they are trying to blend in, it’s not working even a little bit.  I’d think that a nice beach pattern with a delicate cerulean blue and sand tan motif would be much more fetching.
9-7-16a-076Anyway, it’s going to be an amazing trip and I can’t wait to get underway in the morning.   I was warned that I’d have to watch what I ate aboard or I’d surely gain ten pounds on the trip.  After dinner tonight, I believe that the risk is real. Grilled chicken breasts with fresh tomato and shiitake mushrooms with orzo along with asparagus and well, let’s just say that it was amazing.   And my cabin.  Wow!   TV too.  The steward even left the drawers open so I’d know that there was a place for me to unpack. The bathroom is larger than mine at home.  Note:  I use the guest bath as Brenda doesn’t like to share.  I know my place.     And there’s even a bath tub.  And I don’t have to share with anyone.  I wonder how much the water sloshes in a seaway?  Hmm… Better not push my luck. Well, I had better sign off as tomorrow is going to be an exciting day.  My watch tomorrow night and every night after that, will be from 04:00 to 08:00 with the captain.

Yes, I think I’ll take a shower.  I’ll bet that they have a ton of hot water.  I’ll find out soon.

What an experience and surely a lot more comfortable than Pandora.  Good thing Brenda’s not here as this experience would surely spoil her for good as this is grand style indeed.   I do promise to work hard too.  I can do dishes, you know.

Time for a nap.   Did I mention that  I have a tub?   Thought so.

Busy day tomorrow.