Thursday, December 4, 2014

Atlantis Submarine Tour in Waikiki

Through a charity auction we got tickets to go on the Atlantis submarine tour in Waikiki, Oahu.  The sub was the 64 passenger Atlantis XIV.  According to the tour guides on the ship it is the world's largest non-military submarine capable of going down to 850 feet.   The restriction for safety limits them to 125 feet because of the need for safety divers who are on call at the surface.

We made reservations for 11:00am over the phone for the tour, for my grandson, my wife and myself. At 10:55am we were running down the Hilton Pier that was in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Ali'i Tower.  Although the website and the brochures both said be there 30 minutes early we made it to the excursion boat with minutes to spare.  I guess its Hawaiian time.

Before getting on the boat of course they take a family photo that they try and sell you later.   Once on the boat the crew went through a safety briefing and video.   The briefing and the video were done in the air conditioned lower part of the excursion boat.  Then they ask those who are prone to seasickness to go to the top of the boat under the large bimini. 

The excursion boat takes us out about a mile and half to the site where we will board the sub.  There are two small blue tugs that are service vehicles for the two submarines.  Since the subs only travel about 2.5 to 3 knots under their 85 HP electric motors the two small tugs pull the subs out to the area every morning and back in the evening.

From the stern of the excursion ship to meet the subs.

Charing and Ezekiel under the Bimini.

One of the two blue tugs.
When the excursion boat got out the site we watched as a air bubble was released from the sub.   Since the sub had no view of the surface an air bubble is released to show where it will come up.   Once the air bubble is seen, hopefully with no other boats around the tugs signal the sub that it's okay to raise through a radio.   The sub then surfaces and the tourist get on.   

On the deck of the Atlantis XIV waiting to go below.
Once you climb down the ladder/stairs into the sub there are two rows of bench seats each facing outward with a window in front of every two seats per side.   The color of the sea, and the sunlight shining through it make everything in the sub have an aquamarine green tint to it.  Forward facing is the captain/helmsman seat at the bow and the first mate is in the stern of the ship.   A large convex porthole enables the helmsman to have a 270 degree view of the world, blocked by the top and the sides of the boat.

facing the bow of the sub.

Once the hatches were closed the tour began.  The bottom of the ocean had cinder blocks with marked tags that enables the helmsman and the tour guide to navigate under water.  We first submerged to a depth of 45ft.  Soon fish appeared out of no where circling the sub as we descended.

One of the large fish from the artificial reefs.

The sub passed a couple of man made reefs from the University of Hawaii, but soon passed a sunken ship which had scuba divers on it.

diver on another wreck

There were planes too that had sunk during a hurricane.  

Plane on the bottom of the Waikiki Bay.

At one point we had gotten down to 103ft, where there was a ship that had sunk because of a fire on board.   The crew used part of the cargo of soy sauce to try to douse the flames before it sank.

103 ft on the depth gage

Soy Sauce carrier, sunken on the bottom.

Once the tour was over the sub ascended, and we boarded the excursion vessel back to the pier.    The entire trip, pier to pier was about an hour and a half.   

Overall the tour was great for adults, while Ezekiel (who is 6yrs old) was a little board, he really loved the experience.  He talked about it for the rest of the day.  I would recommend anyone who hadn't been on a submarine or hadn't scuba dived to take the tour, it's money well spent.

Monday, October 27, 2014

SIYC 2014 Halloween Cruise

Friday October 24, 2014

It's been an entire year since the last Halloween Cruise with the Sauvie Island Yacht Club.  I had been looking forward to the cruise since we returned from Canada.  Being the end of October, one knows that the wind and the rain are coming and it did.   I texted Ray and Alicia earlier in the week, we decided to leave for Government Island's Bartlett Landing on Friday afternoon.  Since everyone else in the family had plans I single-handed the CarolMarie up river for the cruise.

Ray and Alicia had worked all week on their Bimini to keep them dry throughout the cruise.  It looked great, and seemed to work well keeping the light rain off them.

From under the dodger and cover on CarolMarie following Rowena to Bartlett Landing.
Rowena with her new Bimini.
We docked without a problem, but somehow in the night I lost a fender and the line attaching it.

Friday night's boats.
Later in the day, Paul came on Openwater and David on Hawksbill.   Paul, Ray, Alicia and I stayed on Rowena after dinner to play cards, which went well into the night.  While Ray, Alicia and I shared in some cocktails, we noticed Paul's card playing got better through the night.  Paul didn't drink of course which likely explained why he seemed like one of Vegas's greatest sharks by the end of the night to the rest of us.  After Paul had five winning straight hands, I knew it was time for bed so I turned in about 11 pm Friday night.

Saturday October 25, 2014

The winds howled from the East through the night. The boat rocked and bounced pulling hard on her lines.  As the winds picked up speed I was certain I was hearing voices in my sleep, which was really the wind in the rigging.  At 2:00am in the morning I realized that part of the voices I was hearing was coming from the VHF which I had left on. I got up and turned it off, checking the rest of the boat.

At 4:00am I was certain I was being boarded and people were whispering all around the boat.   It was a real haunted feeling as I lie there in the dark wondering what to do.   Should I get up and run off the spooks or just go back to sleep and enjoy the wild dreams.   I decided to get up and check the boat, stopping first at the ship's clock.  The ship's clock read 4:21am, while the barometer read 1002 mbar and continuing to fall.  That was a drop in 24 mbar in less than 24 hours, explaining the strong winds.

4:21 am reading of the barometer.
I went outside to add a spring line to the boat, when I noticed I had lost one of the fenders through the night.  With another line on I went back to bed and slept until 8:30am.

In the morning we had a nice breakfast on Rowena; Alicia's a great cook.  I went on a walk about the island to stretch my legs and explore.

Bartlett Landing sign.
 Looking at the Bartlett Landing sign I decided to first walk down to the beach, since it was closest and the weather was crazy; storming and sunlight.

A photo from NW Beach looking back at the dock.
I then turned north from the beach down a trial lined by blackberry bushes to the cattle pasture.   The island actually has a nice 15-25 foot raise to it from the beach, then another 10 foot for the hills grazing lands.  When I was in Fort Vancouver the park ranger told us that Ulysses S. Grant actually farmed in this area between 1852-1853.   In reading his Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, "I with three other officers concluded that we would raise a crop for ourselves, and by selling the surplus realize something handsome. I bought a pair of horses that had crossed the plains that summer and were very poor. They recuperated rapidly, however, and proved a good team to break up the ground with. I performed all the labor of breaking up the ground while the other officers planted the potatoes. Our crop was enormous. Luckily for us the Columbia River rose to a great height from the melting of the snow in the mountains in June, and overflowed and killed most of our crop."  I am not certain if this happened on the island but I could see it there in the fields. 

Sunlight breaking through the clouds.

Cattle lands on the island.

 Following the fence line back westward I found my way back to the beach, realizing I had walked a good two miles back westward past Bartlett Landing.  There was an interesting placard there about the native American's dugout canoes.

Dugout Canoes

Arriving back to the dock, I watched the first half of the Mississippi State v Kentucky game.  During the game Paul dropped in and later Ray did.  Garry arrived about half time, and everyone rushed out of the boat to greet Gary on Cambria.   We had lunch on Rowena, then set up the tents on the dock along with the portable heaters.   The winds were now strong out of the south, and the island blocked us from the brunt of it.
Tents and heaters set up.

Paul then added his own version of the shelter by providing an old orange spinnaker with sail patches on it to make a pumpkin face.

Paul and his pumpkin chute.
I brought out a few beers to share while Ray and Paul carved pumpkins for the contest later that night.

Paul carving SIYC into the pumpkin.

Ray working on his own version.
Everyone went off to prepare their dishes and costumes for dinner.   At 5:30pm we all met again on Rowena for dinner.  Ray and Alicia were dressed as Greek Gods'

After a wonderful dinner, and good chatting, I turned in about 8:30 pm.

Sunday October 26, 2014

I woke up the next morning at 6:30am, best sleep I had had in weeks.  I took a shower on the boat, watched some of the morning's news, then took a short walk on the island again.   The sun was shinning and the wind was brisk still out of the south.

Once again we all met on Rowena for breakfast.  After breakfast we packed up all the tents, shelters, and other items on the docks and headed back to our respective moorages.  I had a great time, single handing the boat back to the slip.  It was a wonderful weekend with friends.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Head for S/V CarolMarie

Work has been too busy recently to go out.   But the final touches were done to the head over the weekend, and I think it's finally there.

When we first took ownership of the boat the head was placed sideways in a small closet, on a elevated platform forward of the captain's bunk.

Original Head

Appart from being oddly placed ladies don't care for pumping for some reason.   So we decided to move the head to a better location and convert it from a manual to an electric flush.  We hired Gary from our yacht club to do the work.  We aren't all that good with wood, and he's a master.

The first step was finding a place to put it.  Most Han Christian 38MKII have the head in the bow of the ship.   Usually the head is in a small locker of it's own and shares the space with the shower.   We liked the idea and had ours moved there.

The second step was to pick out the toilet and get a plan to build the box around it.  

As you can see there was a good fit and plenty of room on the shower floor to back the head into the bow of the ship inside.

Once the plans were made, Gary built a platform for the head of marine plywood, that was level with the shower floor.  He cut the gate to match the remaining area of the shower floor.

The next step was to fit the toilet into to the bolts as shown below.

With the toilet in place Gary constructed the box around the toilet.  He used the batteries as weight to keep the pressure on the pieces as the epoxy cured.

Finally a lid was built for enclosure, and the last item of a brass plaque reading W.C. was added.

Several coats of epoxy were added to the box to keep it waterproof with the shower being in the same room.    

Numerous people said that it wouldn't be useful at sea because  you'd bounce around to much to use it.   After traveling to Barkely Sound and back I would have to say they were all wrong.  it worked out very well.   Also sitting on the box while showering was also helpful, and comfortable, both at anchor and at sea.  I am extremely happy with the way it turned out.

The nice thing is now we also have a large closet on the boat!!

Closet were the head once was located.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Barkley Sound Trip, Our Big Adventure (Part 2)

July 7th, 2014

After loading up with supplies from the Co-Op we set sail outside of the Ucluelet Inlet up Loudoun Channel toward Pipestem Inlet.  The entire way up was about 13-15 miles, not very far considering the journeys a couple days before.   The problem was there are underwater rocks everywhere just below the surface that would wreck a boat, and none of them are marked on the water, just in charts.
Leaving Ucluelet

Following Rowena through the rocks

Local fisherman

Wonderful landscape

Following Rowena

Following Rowena

Following Rowena (there wasn't much else to do)

Lucky Creek inlet across from where we stayed.
Finally, about 4:30pm, we tucked into an anchorage behind Bazett Island.  I noticed two things right off the bat.  First the reason brown water was flowing from the side of the gunnels was the holding tank was full.  And second the reason my chart plotter wasn't showing the area correctly was I hadn't changed C-Map Cartridges.  Katie rushed out with the kayak and paddled around the area a while.

Anchorage behind Bazett Island
After dinner we got out the dinghy's and looked for a way to get into the hot springs.

Instead we found another inlet where we watched a bear from a healthy distance.

A man lived on a small island as we went into the inlet.  He said he'd not talked to another person in about 3 days.  He had some set up on his small rock island as you can see below. He was nice enough to direct us to Luck Creek's waterfall across the inlet.

Lucky Creek was about a mile long before you reached the waterfall.

After our dinghy ride we returned to the boats, had a night cap and went to sleep.

July 8th, 2014

The next day we split up with Rowena.  They went down to Effingham Bay in the Broken Group Islands, and we went back to Ucluelet to pump out the holding tank.  We motored down to Ucluelet, but the winds had picked up to 20 knots inside the inlet by the time we arrived.  We couldn't find a pump out station, so we joined Rowena in Effingham Bay.

The anchorage was crowded and had a steep bottom.   The anchor didn't bite at first, so we ended up doing an anchor watch all night.   The next morning we took another dinghy ride after breakfast.

Afterward we hoisted anchor to head off to Flemming Island, to stop at the Port Aberni Yacht Club's remote dock at Smuggler's Pass.