Delta Chillin’

Once we arrived in the delta our plan was to spend some time relaxing and easing into the ‘good life.’  It took us a week and a half before we could actually ‘chill’ and accept that having nothing to do was OK.

The first day was spent making sure our anchoring arrangement was sufficient and that our stern anchor was digging in below the copious amount of grass and weeds that you find up here.  Once we were satisfied that our home wasn’t going anywhere it was party time.  We spent the ENTIRE summer getting Ellie ready and now it was our turn to relax and enjoy ourselves.  Alyssa started inflating the floating pool toys, I cranked up the music and we started chipping away at the huge stash of Mexican cervezas that were left over from the send off party….now I can get used to this!

By the way – did I mention the Delta is FRESH WATER??  YA – we were diving in, swimming and bathing in FRESH WATER!  Ellie loved it as well – she got a bath and all the growth on her fresh new bottom died as soon as we were up here – Awesome.

The sunsets were beautiful.  A powerboat that anchored next to us took this great sunset shot.

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IMG_0670Alyssa made some delicious food and we ate like kings.  Check out these apps!

We got a little restless after a few days of just hanging out in the pool toys and the next day developed a workout routine we could do on the boat.  Alyssa went for the workout bands and the instructional DVD and I tried push-ups and sit-ups on the bow.  After a few days we had a decent routine down:  1) run up and down the companionway steps for about 15 minutes to get the blood flowing; 2) push-ups and sit-ups on the bow; 3) lunges and squats while holding the 5-gallon water jug over the head.

A few days later I added paddle boarding to the regime…..although we didn’t have a paddle board.  I used the zodiac and one paddle.  OK it isn’t quite the same and the Mermaid REFUSES to try it based on principle alone.  BUT it does provide somewhat of a workout and it’s fun.

Every morning I also swam out to the float that is tied to the stern anchor and cleared about 50lbs of nasty grass off the line.  It was a fun game because if there was a strong current running the float would disappear for 10 – 30 minutes at a time before surfacing again.  As soon as it surfaced I would dive in and try to make it to the float before it sank again.  It kept me occupied every morning.

We also met some great people that were anchored behind the same island.  Jack and Aline from Free Spirit’s and their friends.  They invited us over for cocktails and we all had a great time visiting.  They were very gracious hosts and we all became friends.

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Rina (Mother Mermaid, Princess Mom, Moma-Dupolus) came and visited and we all had an awesome time and we totally digressed back to party mode.  It was a perfect day with super warm weather and NO WIND.  The entire river was glass.  We loaded up the cooler with ice, packed it with wine and beer and literally sat in the floats all day until we were all burnt to a crisp!  We had a great visit.

After about a week and a half at anchor we needed to pump out our holding tank and take on fresh water so we headed to Willow Berm Marina which is about 3-4 miles from where we were anchored.  We had the opportunity to PAY $37 for one night on an end-tie that was perfectly lined up to throw us against the dock with every wake.  This was Friday night and let’s just say that the traffic was at a peak.

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There was even a fishing tournament EARLY Saturday morning and no less than 40,000 fishing boats went racing past us……didn’t get much sleep.  BUT Princess Pea was able to shower and blow dry her hair and we were able to do laundry.  The next day we even borrowed bikes from the marina and rode around the island which was nice.

Saturday afternoon we headed back to our little Island and our perfect spot was still there so we tied up again, dropped a stern hook (with a fender as a float so it wouldn’t sink) and were glad to be back in the lee of the island and relatively protected from wakes.

The ONE mistake we made this time was we tied a little too close to the island.  The result was evident that evening when we were watching a movie and conservatively 30,000 tiny flying bugs covered the entire screen and were all over the ceiling.  INVASION!!  Are the screens closed??!?  They were.  Then WTF?  How did they get in??

Turns out these little fkrs are so small they can get through our screens.  I was so grossed out and had no wayIMG_0730 to get rid of them I ordered all lights to be turned out, much to the chagrin of the Mermaid.  The next day we staged for war against the IMG_0726bugs.  Step one was to ease the lines that were tied to the island to buy us some distance.  The Mermaid went to work on replacing the screens with no-see-um screen.  Luckily we had a ton of it aboard already.  After a couple days all the screens were repaired and every other hatch had no-see-um screen.  It worked and we only had a few stragglers that made it through each evening.

Did I mention we also had a few mosquitos that made it in the night of the invasion?  Well, I went on Amazon and $100 later we had a mosquito trap, coils, sprays, bombs, even a roach bait station, oh and an electric fly swatter that looks like a tennis racket.  Bring it on bugs!!  The Mermaid says I have a problem with bugs – I don’t deny it.

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After we had the bugs under control we chilled out for a few more days.  Alyssa set up the hammock on the fore deck.  We read books, worked on the blog, worked out and relaxed.  We even found a great happy hour spot – the Riverboat Restaurant in Isleton.  They have microbrews for $2 from 4 – 6pm.  We went three days in a row!

We decided to head to Napa on Friday before the long weekend to avoid all the crowds and craziness.  It was a perfect window of weather with relatively light winds and we made it in a single day covering about 50nm.

I’ll leave you with a cool picture of some mating dragon flies that were in our lazy jacks.  These guys were everywhere!  You would be laying in a pool float and they would land on your toes – pretty cool.

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Delta Bound

After leaving the marina we headed straight to warmer climes; in the SF bay that means the Delta.  The first day we motor-sailed from Redwood City to Middle Slough near Pittsburg covering approximately 50nm.  We spend the night at anchor and in the morning we had a delicious breakfast and left Middle Slough bound for Potato Slough, a trip of approximately 25nm up the San Joaquin river.

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Once we were under way I decided it would be a waste if we didn’t trail at least one fishing line.  The Salmon are starting to run up the river and any free protein we can snag means more money left over for beer!  So out went the line on our largest ocean rod.  We put the rod in the port rod holder – a mistake that will become clear in a few sentences…

About 15 minutes later Alyssa said she smelled something and asked if I could smell it. I said it was probably outside but asked if she could check the engine compartment to see if she could smell it down below.  She came back up and said it was very strong near the engine bay and smelled like something burning.  I immediately started searching for a place to drop the hook so we could shut the engine down and assess the situation.  We dropped the hook behind an island and shut down the engine.

In the process of turning the boat around, the damn ocean rod we were trailing on the PORT side was high enough to get its line completely tangled in the wind generator!  So we have something burning in the engine bay and a fouled wind generator…great.

I decided to focus on the burning smell first.  It seemed to be coming from the aft starboard lazarette.  We emptied out the lazarette and were trying to identify the culprit.  I noticed the low pressure pump on the watermaker was piping hot – oh fk.  One look at the watermaker control panel verified it – we accidentally hit the switch and the pump was running dry and generating a ton of heat.  I opened the fuse box and the fuse was melted in two pieces!  Well at least it was just a fuse and possibly an impeller but nothing catastrophic.  Once we put everything back in the lazarette it was wind generator time.

I climbed on top of the monitor windvane and stern rail and cut the monofilament out of the wind generator and it appeared that I got it all out.  Turns out a few days later the blades stopped spinning and I had to repeat the process but eventually got it all out.

So with control restored we pushed on the rest of the day and had a gorgeous sail – or rather drift – to Potato Slough.  We flew a full jib and averaged 3.5 knots.  By the late afternoon we were anchored in the lee of a peaceful little island with very good protection from the howling afternoon “delta breeze.”

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Send-off Fiesta!!

Lewis and I are so excited to start our journey around the world and see where we end up. As Lewis mentioned in “The Route” section of the website, our approximate planned route is just that, approximate. This means that it may take us 4 years to make it around or 7 years, depending on if we take longer detours than expected or even love a place so much we decide to stay for an extra season. We are hoping this blog will be a way for us to keep in touch, allowing everyone to follow our adventure, hopefully learning from our experiences and laughing at the mishaps I’m sure we’ll have along the way.

So what better a way to say goodbye to all of our closest friends and family than throw a send-off fiesta! As with many dock parties to come, we were ready to practice our cruising lifestyle, seeing how much (or should I say, how little) we could spend to throw a rager while staying on budget. After all, we had just provisioned for a month in the delta, so the fridge was pretty full. A couple cases of beer and marg mix from Costco, we were all set. Calling it a BBQ potluck on the e-vite, everyone was overwhelmingly gracious with their contributions. Thank you!

We also only had time to “de-name” the boat while we were on the hard in Sausalito, so this was the perfect opportunity to have a little show, praise the ocean gods and rename our Tartan 37. Here’s a clip of our renaming ceremony:

Renaming Ceremony, Aug 10th, 2013

We will greatly miss all of our friends from the marina. Docks can quickly become a close-knit community, and we appreciate all of the advice people have given us, whether it be varnishing tricks, wheat grass growing tips, or just the simple “stop working and leave already!” Lewis wants to add, he will forever be indebted to the legendary Captain Bob of Gypsy Wind for his advice and knowledge of boat repair and maintenance.

 

Feel free to post more advice, comments and shared experiences…here we go!