Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dock carts and sick cats

Having wasted a lot of my life wandering around marinas looking at boats I have always been envious of the yotties and their dock carts.  Its a silly thing I know but I can’t help it.  They just looked so happily nautical trotting down the docks pulling their little white dock carts.  Well now we have a whole gatehouse full of them for our own use.  And we’ve been making good use of them almost every day.  Seattle merchants may think it’s a Christmas bulge but it’s really just us provisioning Gray Hawk.  Ebay has done well off us too.  I hope Van and Paul don’t get tired of receiving UPS shipments before all the stuff gets here.

It’s not like we’ve been buying big stuff, just a lot of stuff.  The majority of it has been things like a crock pot (8.98 at Lowes – how the hell can they do that??), electric kettle, bedding, socks, toothpaste, soup and cereal – the list goes on.  And every time we pull into the parking lot one of us gets to go get a dock cart and then we wheel the whole works down Bravo dock and load it onboard.  Individually they don’t amount to a whole lot of weight but over time it has to add up.  I’ve got some bigger items coming off ebay – things like a SS anchor, some spare dock bumpers, new dock lines, brackets for the dock bumpers and a foam mattress to extend the bed.

Yesterday we filled the fresh water tanks for the first time (which of course required a white water hose – $18.99 at Evergreen RV plus another 15 or so bux in brass fittings from Lowes).  We hold a lot of fresh water – over 400 gallons – so that little project added about 2 tons to our draft. 

I’m slowly starting to get a handle on the systems.  There isn’t a whole lot of maintenance that I absolutely need to do before we leave for Sidney but there’s enough nevertheless.  At a minimum I want to do an oil and coolant change.  Yesterday I ordered a couple of coolant hoses from American Diesel, somewhere on the east coast.  Those will replace a hose that has rubbed thin where it was placed too close to an oil filter.  I also finally figured out where the coolant leak in the bilge was coming from and it turned out to be innocuous.  There’s a petcock on the top of the water jacket to bleed air out of the system.  Somebody had left it slightly open.

Then I bought 3 special SS hose clamps at West Marine ($5.94 each for 1” clamps).  Fortunately I have found a better source for the balance of the stainless hose clamps as I start putting together a bit of a spares stock.  Things like hose clamps, hoses, battery terminals, stranded wire, cable ends, oil, coolant, filters – the sort of stuff that you would run to the hardware store for if you were at home.  I’m thinking that if a water intake hose springs a leak 15 miles offshore I’d like to be able to mend it on the spot.  Even an imperfect patch seems preferable to waiting until I can get to the hardware store in that circumstance.

Jorgito is pretty well acclimatized to the boat now but he was a very sick kitty just 2 days ago.  He didn’t eat or drink the whole travel day or the following day.  We started out squirting water into him with the turkey baster but quickly moved to more aggressive treatments.  Marilyn found some “cat electrolyte” at a Pet Smart store.  (translation: plain ordinary electrolyte packaged in a small plastic bottle with a picture of a cat and an outrageous price on it).  We also picked up some baby liquid ibuprofen at Walmart and squirted a bit of that into him. 

The electrolytes made a miraculous improvement.  Within a couple of hours after the first dose he was starting to hold his head up and look around.  After the 2nd dose he started moving around on his own and by yesterday he was back to normal.  While I was inspecting hoses in the engine room he managed to get in with me and immediately dived under the genset.  About an hour later I had the door open again and he came ripping down the spiral staircase, through the door and across the engine room headed for the genset again.  That time I was too quick for him and got him turned before he made it to the Onan so he whirled around, scrabbled his little claws on the aluminum floorboards and went flying out again.

This morning I was up pretty early.  There is quite a bit of freighter movement past our marina coming and going from the port of Seattle.  George watched the lights of one leaving in the dark this morning.  He has figured the windows out and spends a lot of time looking at the big world outside but he’s still wimpy about going outside. 

The biggest challenge right now is to find places close by that have the sometimes obscure things that we need.  Finding foam to extend the bed for example turned into a major ordeal which I finally resolved by ordering it off Walmart’s online site.  Diesel antifreeze has turned into another challenge.  Yesterday I traipsed into several NAPA stores and endured the stupid looks from the idiot kids behind the counter when I asked for heavy duty diesel coolant.  I wouldn’t mind it so much if they just said “sorry, we don’t got none”.  When they look at me like I’m the fool and try to tell me that “everybody” uses whatever stupid brand of coolant they have on their shelf then I don’t always respond well.  I did manage to find Delo 400 in single weight and thanks to Google I have a NAPA truck store located for our travels today.  Another one that got some strange looks was when I asked for De-ox paste.  I’m sure I could walk into one of the chandleries and they would happily sell me whatever overpriced snake oil the yotties use but I’m fundamentally a cheap SOB and this isn’t rocket science.  Christopher Columbus got here by following the setting sun and we don’t plan to go anywhere near as far as he did.

No comments: