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Winter Maintenance

       Now is a good time to take care of all those little things you noticed needed taking care of last summer.
I'll bet you see a list coming!
boat camping
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This list is for me, but I've added a few lines that may apply to you.
  • whip or fuse unraveling lines
    • I tie my dirty lines in a bundle, in a pillow case, and toss-em in the washer when Linda isn't looking, spin dry with no heat! (easy on the bleach)
  • make better dock lines
    • you need at least four dock lines and in my opinion two should be 1 1/2 times the length of the boat. I carry many more and some are very long.
    • While you are at it, teach your self to make spliced loops, it's fun
      • Note on loops: Loops on lines are not always desirable--sometimes they snag and get caught causing problems.  Loops on cleats can jump off.  I properly cleat my loops regardless.
      • learn to tie a bowline (loop) behind your back or your eyes shut, it impresses little kids, (then try it one handed)
    • patch, scrub and pump up fenders
  • renew Rain-X coating on windows
  • improve the bilge pumps
    • get a hand pump and/or a bucket with a stout handle
  • check for crevice corrosion telltale rust streaks, then actually test for weakness
    • testing means to push, pull, sit, twist, and pound  while trying to break it
  • change oils and antifreeze and filters at end of season
    • use fuel stabilizer type products if needed
      • run the kicker out of gas
  • grease trailer bearings, get a spare tire and bottle jack, make sure lug nuts aren't rusted in place
  • make the trailer lights and brakes work, and for once do it before you need them
  • get new flares, if the date is expired the coasties will yell at you
    • have you got the other required stuff? (whistle?)
  • check pfd's, and inflation cartridges, clean off mildew
  • check your anchor tackle, and re-mark the rode at 100 foot and other lengths
    • I never anchor for long in less than 15-20 feet so my first mark is at 100 feet, then 150, 200
    • get a second anchor set up if you don't already have three or four like me
  • switch lines/halyards/rodes end for end if your able to
  • tighten screws and bolts, there are hundreds
    • this is when you re-bed cleats, rails, stanchions,windows, etc.
      • I use white or black polyurethane (rtv or silicones are not welcome on my boats)
        • some people will let a thick bed set a day or two before final torquing. Note: this is not appropriate for all situations. Some things should not wiggle-period! (my opinion)
  • clean the bilge use perfumed detergent and make it smell good
    • don't let laundry detergent get in the water, it's illegal!
  • check electrical connections for corrosion and remedy any issues
  • get a new battery if its past it's prime or you have any worries at all
    • make sure you have a trickle or smart charger maintaining battery
  • check your zincs
    • be very, very suspicious of zincs not being eaten up
    • A West Marine employee told me he didn't think his boat had any because it was fresh water cooled. You decide if he's right! (not)
  • operate all your valves, make sure they still work
    • I make a point of yanking on them every time I'm near
  • hoses have a life span and will need to be replaced once in a while
    • re-torque all your hose clamps, this will tell you which ones are garbage
      • the screw is the culprit, many are rusted and break off when used
        • simply being SS is not enough, they must be in good shape
          • ignoring this may sink your ship!
  • Touch up the varnish
    • fix those little nicks and spots before they get worse and you will have less work in the long run (maybe!)
    • I use this stuff (outside) and really like it  - Deks Olie D1 and D2 - made by Olwatrol, its a little hard to find, but Defender has it.
  • re-sew stitched things, and patch vinyl stuff
  • update ships log
    • create inventory and location list for all my misplaced, lost gear
  • totally empty all damp under-deck compartments and store stuff indoors
    • skipped this last year and regretted it

  • More to come, check back later!

This is important: You must test your boat and equipment on a trial outing before you take off for the big trip.  If your like me and do all this stuff over several months, you are bound to overlook something, and you don't want to find out what it is ten miles from shore, or two hundred miles from home.


Places to go and things to do in the San Juan's - I'm making a go to list!

My best places list is my - Go to List

If you have been following my rants, you know I realized long ago that our best times in the San Juans have been when I allowed things to just unfold from a very loose agenda.  That means, I set aside some time, go prepared for anything, and let it happen. But I do think about what I want to accomplish.  My partial list below, except for biking Shaw, is mostly made up of places and things we have done before.  If I remember, I will post a follow-up of what we really end up doing.  I already know one of my daughters may get involved, and likes biking so we'll see what really happens!

My To-Go List for 2015
and some notes
(not in order of importance)
Bike Shaw Island
  1. try to avoid usual rolly anchoring overnight at Odlin Park if possible
    1. Indian Cove for anchoring or ask to stay at store float by ferry dock
    2. Indian Cove may be great place for dinghy sailing and hauling bikes ashore but there's no dock.
Get over to Victoria (not all that important, but always a good time)
  1. visit museum 3-4 hrs
    1. Almost forgot, they used to have free Wednesday mornings
  2. hang out for one or two days watching street performers
  3. dinghy sail around the inner harbor dodging taxis and planes 
  4. order a tray full of those little glasses of beer somewhere
  5. find Gracepoint filming location while biking shoreline roads
  6. snoop around the Empress gardens
  7. don't go to Butchart Garden (went two years ago)
  8. explore the estuary
Go Orca watching off Lime kiln (this has been on many past lists, but gets bumped or heavy weather)
  1. drift with current in Haro Strait  alongside San Juan Island 
  2. maybe do this on way to Victoria
  3. visit Smallpox Bay
  4. have breakfast at the Lime Kiln Cafe at Roche Harbor 
  5. visit English Camp after breakfast                                          
  Hike Eagle Bluff on Cypress  (high on list, probably do this list first, only 2hrs from Squalicum))
    1. only after July 15th closure, if time, anchor at Cypress Head and hike to airstrip, if more time, run down to Deepwater Bay and watch salmon jump.
    2. swing by Doe Island to see if the dock is fixed yet.
    3. swing by Blakely's for my usual
    4. while in Cypress area, try to find park at S. end of Lummi Isl.
    5. Spending night at Cypress Head or Pelican Beach is OK
    Plan two nights at Jones (whats another word for plan?)
    1. shoot hike pictorial for posting on this site
      1. include reopened west loop trail, and hike center trail to end.
    2. pet some deer and have campfires
    3. high on list, because I really missed kicking back here last year.
      1. avoid backing over dinghy painter again
    Strongly consider a romantic dinner at Friday Harbor
    1. anchor out and use money saved for splurging
    2. not the pizza place up the hill either!
    3. dinghy over to Turn Island for a picnic hike, but don't spend night.
    4. go to whale museum before Orca watching makes good sense
      1. some years ago they told us where the Orcas were recently sighted.
    Plan to put in at Squalicum Harbor for free parking
    1. eat dinner at that great buffet uptown
    2. visit with Bill for breakfast before casting off
    3. Try to arrive on a Monday to miss crowds
    more notes:
    Don't forget free hot showers at Lopez Village
    1. Maybe stop by Lopez Village after a week for a shower, and fudge recharge, or bike over from Odlin Park
      1. Anchoring off Lopez is very rolly, and shallow, but the walk and dinghy ride is short.
          1. Saturday Market is a good reason to stop by on Saturday 
    2. I think my daughter is planning for Aug 1st. arrival, but I don't know where.
      1. She did mention getting bike camping reservations at Odlin Park
      2. I might suggest we consider a bike ride to top of Mt Constitution from Olga or county dock. (this could be a fantastic or horrible idea, and Linda wont go)
        1. Update on daughter: she has suggested  meeting  on Orcas somewhere, she wants to ride her bike (with camping gear) from Anacortes.
    Even with going to Victoria, this is only about a week, we may have to slow down some, I would like to spend about 10 days (I think) I will come back to this post and make updates/changes as my July cast off date approaches. I am really looking forward to this cruise, I have a cast off date of late July, so the hard work is already done.  That's right, setting the date is the hard work!

    There you have it, 
    my barely thought out list of places to go, 
    and things to do in the San Juan's this summer.
    I truly hope some of you benefit. 

    San Juan County dock at Eastsound
    We ended up here?
    This is the Eastsound dock where we came to get a new battery and pick up Ryan and Kiraney after they rode bikes over from Anacortes.
    We never made it to Shaw for bicycling, but it is on my next "to go list"
    We also never saw any whales, but didn't try very hard either.



    My registration just expired!

    Boating the San Juans