Sunday, December 31, 2017


Looking back, last year (2017) was a hoot, which can only be appreciated by having a blog ! So, for 2018 these pages will become a Ships Deck Log for-the-record.

Beginning with the 4 January Snow-storm by looking back at those pictures (right column), remembering the Windy Cove G Dock rough sawn docks, the no-water shut off days, and the 30 amp electrical agonies, being an illegal live-aboard in Winchester Bay Harbor, the distance from town, and the many many problems aboard So...fea inherited from the last owner that kept preventing us from cruising to Florence.  Whew !

But, the past 8 months of 2017 "was" spent here in Florence, and, all of the problems (noted above) are gone ! 
2018 has a very short list of boat problems, and virtually no personal problems, with freed up time to  try and make the Harbor situation here better.

Without sitting down to tally, we think that since I left the Navy (53 years ago), that we have moved about 40 times, many of those moves were for as long as 3 years on one job (but involved multiple living situations), and there were many 6-8 month jobs, and  those 2-3 week contracts too ! Funny how they were almost always 500-1000 miles apart.

Tired of the travel, short stays, and with America losing it's manufacturing/ship building industry to overseas, in preparation for early retirement, we almost bought the motor-sailer "Zora" back in 1993, but opted instead for 30 acres of dense forest land in Ohio where staying "grounded" and ashore, seemed like a good idea. 
Then, we inherited the two disabled Mom's for 11 years of in-home care (back here in Oregon), and 6 more moves before/after the Mom's passed and we moved aboard So...fea (25 years .

A tourist walking down my dock stopped to watch me as I took down some of my my Christmas lights on deck . . . it was a 45 degree 15 knot wind overcast day, and the harbor was doing a small rolling dance, the decks were wet from rain squalls, and I was working over the rails.

As I went onto the dock to access some wires, he candidly said "must be new to boats, eh ? you act very uneasy up there, like you are afraid" . . .   Coming from a landlubber insults and unkowns are commonplace, I shrugged it off and mumbled something like "if you have fallen overboard as many times as I have , you get a little cautious, especially at 75".

later, I began to think about just how cautious I am... and why,  even here in Florence harbor, our 40 degree water can kill you, but obviously the public does not know that.

Most people do not realize that as cold as the Western Alaska Islands are (-50 plus degrees ashore), the actual Oregon-Alaska-Bering ocean water temperature rarely goes below 38 degrees, fresh water freezes at 32 degrees, but sea water freezes at 28 degrees because it has (4%) salt.

On board fish boats (before brine sprays and blast freezers came in) we used to fill our 2,000 gallon port-and-starboard brine tanks with sea water, then chill it down to zero or below, by adding salt (20%) to keep the rapidly circulating water from freezing. a fresh 100 pound tuna would be rock solid in 20 minutes.

In the book “Essentials of Sea Survival” some comments are made about fishermen falling overboard in cold  (40 degree) water, “if you are lucky enough to survive long enough to die of hypothermia, you have done very well; most people die in the first minute of immersion”.  

"cold water shock" tends to kill people. and is a leading cause of water related deaths in humans, when a person is immersed in cold water, there is an immediate, involuntary inhalation, which if underwater, can result in drowning.  The cold also causes blood vessels to restrict, causing an almost immediate heart attack. Recently newly developed cold water coveralls for falling-overboard protection have been developed, these bulky Overboard Immersion suits allow survival up to 18 hours in 35 degree waters (if worn correctly).

Speaking of water.... at 1800 during dinner, a Hot water line blew out under the aft head sink, noticed no pressure when trying to rinse dishes, went aft to go on the dock and check water, waded through 3 inches ! bilge pump time and quite a mess, great after dinner exercise. now fixed, and back to a normal life. Aren't boats fun ? 

Finally got the last of the lights off, whew !

Three days of blue skies-50 degrees-10 mph winds-and zero rain ! WHAT a dry December !   Staying aboard for the full moon clear skies tonight (like every night) for New Years, and waiting for another nice 50 degree day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 POST # 35 - 26 DECEMBER - the afterglow

A followup from my earlier post on here, ...   When Hurricanes Hit a Hurricane Hole — the Aftermath of Irma and Maria   wave action, either wind driven or tsunami driven damage looks like this, add in a 100 MPH wind and you have a mess. All through the Dutch and French Antilles (and the Virgins) this was the scene... the shore facilities and dockages all suffered as well, there are "many" full-time liveaboards all over the Caribbean, making this an extremely terrible time for us all.

Super day here in the harbor . . .  50 degrees, full sun in a almost completely blue sky, zero (0) wind on the anemometer, the water is "flat and mirror-like", and I am out on deck taking down lights ! eat your heart out San Diego.

Snagged dock walker Mark Brennan, reporter/columnist from the Siuslaw News(paper) today, and learned that he took some other pictures of So...fea lighted up on different nights. Both front page Siuslaw News photos (November and December) of the two light contests were his photo and articles, so, I will post some more pictures on here next week !
Mark lives on the top floor of the in-harbor condominiums here, and has a birds eye view of the entire boat harbor and down Bay Street, so, he lives line-of-sight some 900 feet from So...fea.

Got it all on deck and began removing lights on Monday, but, the no wind, warm, full sun day got us easily derailed and lazy, will have to finish it tomorrow, was amazed that on Christmas Day NO ONE was out on the boardwalk or docks, eerily quiet day,  for Tuesday the 26th we were expecting another nice day, You can always trust the weatherman. we got 40 degree 10 mph winds, and grey clouds with mist ... wasn't very warm, but it sure was cold.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

POST # 34 - 23 December, 2017 - TEARDOWN

Some fun with the "other" decorated boat participant, and the contest last night (the 22nd).

We are 300 feet away from Len and Kelly's boat, after the lights went on last night we could see activity on their upper deck, it was looking like some sort of animated-computer-robot thing, there was a 10 foot lighted staff with a red ball on the end, and what looked like a up-down lighted waving arm (similar to the new halloween life-sized figures that animate).

Later, while out in the mist checking things I heard loud yelling, and assumed it was their hailing system blasting out on deck.

Wrong !

Here is the email we sent after learning the truth:

Incident Report:
Attn: POS Security Cameras !
        Kelly, this is in "fun" not serious.

Friday evening, In some sort of an aternative mind-zone, a deluded local boat owner morphed together the "Electric Cowboy" and a lance-carrying 12th Century Knight-in-armor into an obvious attempt to win the 2017 POS Boat Light Contest.

Teetering on a non-skidded fiberglass Bimini, in a misting Oregon rain, after dark, on a 40 degree December night, wrapped in electrified Christmas lights (we're not sure he was wearing anything underneath !), he began waving his lance and arms while shouting in a desperate measure to attract the favorable pity of the contest judges.

The judges (fortunately) were afraid he could be armed with more than one flask of intoxicants, and then managed to talk him back and down from the slippery edge . . . into the safety of the galley and hot black coffee by promising him a shared 1st Place win. 

We are donating our $50.00 award value to the Oregon Coast Boat Owner's Mental Health Society, and wish him well on his recovery.

But seriously, our warmest and utmost sincere congratulations to Len and Kelly who gave us a real run-for-the-money (which isn't as much as our lights cost <s>), but, a yeoman effort by all, we got a real chuckle out of the Len image/antics, we honestly thought it was a computerized robot.  Happy Holidays,  (see tomorrow's blog for more, Sunday, 24 December)

very respectfully, an'ya and peter M/V So...fea 

So, the activity we could see  from here, was not a robot !
it was Len !

   Had fun this year doing both of the light shows, but, the effort is high and the attendance super-low, so, next year is almost a foregone conclusion. 
Without promotion, enthusiasm, sincere interest, and advance planning any event is not worth doing, an'ya put signs all around Florence about the show, and the POS did nothing.

We helped out this "new-kids-on-the-block" naive year , and learned a lot, but, next year, we are legal veterans. 

   Lit off again Saturday the 23rd 1730-2000, and saw 31 people view, for a four night total of 56 people ! (certainly not worth the effort of doing this for the public's viewing alone), and, it is highly questionable if anyone from the Port saw either presentation first hand (other than the judge) . . . using promotional photos should be a must here,  to promote the POS and future events, but, the landlubber based management attitudes here skip the logics of growth: doing advertising, promoting events, or encouraging and exploiting any boat pictures sporting huge signs that read "PORT SIUSLAW ROCKS !".

Another windy storm is moving in late tonight, so, we are spending Sunday tearing it down and stowing away anything on deck that swings, time to move on to "our" computer conversions and website redo's and finishing So...fea's new wiring circuits that I started on ages ago.

Some more light display photos are coming, and I will post them next week after Christmas. 

20-21-22 DECEMBER 2017 - RECAP POST # 33

Ready for lots of things, if you missed this ! (we put one on order) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyhBfVib1VM  ,

Today was Bonnie's sixth month to not have set foot off of the boat, and our sixth month to not have been out of Florence, Oregon even once ! 

We are guessing . . . This must be both, the driest and the warmest - sunniest Florence December ever ! (I make a liar out of myself soon !)

An interesting note, the US Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) found that, in 2012, 80 percent of the, illicit drugs smuggled into the US came via maritime routes. Of the drugs that arrived on US shores by sea, 30 percent were found to have been smuggled in narco-subs (bringing back the tales from my whazammo.com  website about the commercial fisherman and where the money really came from in the 1950's-1980's ... article).

After yesterdays 40 mph all-day wind storm and gale (42 degrees), we rebuilt and got everything finalized and tested for the three day 20-21-22 December Christmas POS Harbor Boat Light Contest,  we are ready ! ?  the wind and rain played havoc with lots of our decorations and the sign, we fired off at 1700 (still daylight) and worked til 1900 getting everything adjusted, (but the sign and star) and got up and running.

We still need to repair the flag light (lost two rows of white), and the mast top star (not lighting at all), and repair our 12 foot wide lighted sign that was damaged as well (before we ever got it mounted), but, we are going to fire off on this day one (20 December) as a pre-test for the judging on the 22nd.

Unfortunately, by today the 21st there has been absolutely only two remote/obscure blurbs about this event (one paragraph on the POS web page, and an e-version note posted very late Tuesday), nothing in the Siuslaw Newspaper or elsewhere... very sad promo, and pitiful. 

To spend around 60-80 man-hours in the 40 degree wind and rain, mounting some 4,000 lights, enduring two massive destructions by weather, then redo it again, over and over, for a non-event is pathetic (to do it in the spirit of Christmas is cool), we ran the lights from 1700-2000 last night, and had 8 (we counted them !) people observe.... over the 3 hour period.

Will we do this again ? will anyone notice if we do ... or don't ?

Last event (20 November) ended with no one from the harbor ever noticing or visiting or commenting on the display, but possibly hundreds from Florence viewing.

The harbor people will be down here (maybe ?) on Friday night (the 22nd) for the Coast Guard judging, (we think), or, they may just stay home and look at the photos (or just stay home, and forget the photos-they are "that" interested !). 

The sign is going up tonight (the 21st) and I will have to fix the two other problems tomorrow, too damn' cold to get any longevity out there today, and the sign simply had to be completely redone-trashed from the storm, right now it looks like snow ! 29 degrees overnight, high today a damp 40 with wind.

Second night of lights, 21 December, 3 people came to view ! judqing is tomorrow.... we wonder if we can make it to 20 people for the week ?

OK, on the 22nd Big judging night, a light drizzle, at 1730 fire-off everything is working but our star, there are only two boats in this competition, (but, eliminating the details of the story) . . . it was decided, that we "both" would win,  and split the $100.00 prize money.

end of comment. 

We had 14 more people show up tonight... making the viewer count an astounding 25 for the three nights of display ! and still no promo or advertising, so, we will do tomorrow night 1730-2100 (saturday the 23rd), and then tear down.

This picture was from night one, (the 20th) and is missing the 12 foot lighted sign,  

Monday, December 11, 2017


29  NOVEMBER Big Port of Siuslaw "Open to the public meeting"... wherein the Port district is seeking to find purpose, direction, and a better reputation by inviting the general public in to solve problems, give input, and guidance . . .  really ?

We went, (prepared to discuss the issues affecting us here in the Boat Harbor), but the meeting was laid out as a regular board-centric ego meeting, (not even as a Town Hall Meeting, with a 5 minute limit and a sign-in to speak,  speakers faced the board (not the crowd), a board-run gestapo hearing, and overwhelmed with city dwellers with homes, lawns, with their "I stop by the boardwalk once or twice a year" experiences and insights, so, we shut up, and listened (and managed to stay awake), and be polite enough to stay 'till the end, I passed when our name came up to speak, my subjects were way too intense for "this" crowd.

Sadly, this POS bunch could be on a sinking ship at sea taking on water, and would rather assemble all hands in the galley for a Chaplains sermon on "Oh woe is us, God help us prayer" than to assemble everyone into a bucket brigade and concentrate on the source of the problem . . . for a fix.

5 DECEMBER, 31/33 degree nights , frozen dock surface, and frost on the decks ! clear, very sunny days at 55, Easterlies blowing, with ten days in a row predicted.

12 DECEMBER, 7 days into a 12 day clear East wind  weather pattern and Learning about the Florence winter, which is far different than the Winchester Bay winter and  perplexing, here, the winds have been Easterly to East/South East just like 10 degrees off due East (so far) at a "constant" 6-10 MPH loading, and gusts to 12-16.

We are knowingly, and by intention, tied in the most animated dock space in this harbor . . . we face our bow due East, so, the wind hits our Starboard bow on a sharp angle that kicks us away from the dock, these gusts push us to-fro, plus, being on the open end of the pier, the river flow splits on the dock-end and angle-cuts across our bow as well. End result is a constant rolling churn, mild, but it is there 24 hours a day, during the pre-dawn winds 'with" the tidal flow, that becomes an extreme churn with a hard sideways lurch.

At Winchester Bay the winds were always from the North or Northwest, we faced West and were always pushed sideways into the dock... very stable and reliable. We expected those North winds to be here at Florence, pushing us up against the dock . . . not so, here in winter.

This night-time circular yaw and dipping yaw action is noisy on the cleats, and so extreme that the cats can get sea sick and vomit, no sleeping (deep) through that 0200-0555 time frame, and it all is potentially rough on the boat and dock fittings as well. Looking at the annual weather charts these Easterlies are not normal... so, we wait for the normal Northern Winter winds to arrive.

All spring/summer/fall here in port there is always a constant 5 mph to 10 mph wind 24/7, yet, up on shore in town, there is no wind. Rarely did Winchester Bay exhibit a "current", here we live in a constant active and fast flow-by, so, you really cannot compare these two harbors, they are VERY different.

Upcoming on the 20th is the second "light-up" for the 22 December Port of Siuslaw boat light contest and judging here in the Port, we tore down the last display and are redoing the next show with a lot of different stuff, but, being out working on deck in this chilling wind is brutal, there is a 3 hour work envelope of tolerance daily, so, things move very slow.

Be sure to stop back on the 23rd for an update and pix.