Sunday, May 29, 2011

Haul Out

My apologies to any readers of this fine blog. I know that I've been remiss in posting in a timely fashion. As I mentioned before in a previous post, the fishing season is upon us and I only have so much time and energy to accomplish all that needs done. It's pretty much the same with anyone in Southeast Alaska. Boat owners are busy prepping for the season, gardeners are weeding and planting, home owners are working on all the projects that require a little warmer temperatures outside. There is always a flurry of activity in the spring here- more so than any other place I've ever lived. The season is short, so as the saying goes, you make hay when the sun shines.
 As you can see from the pictures, I hauled out the Bonnie J and got her all spiffed up. Like anyone, I wanted to present her in her best light. No one that I know would keep a picture in his wallet  of his wife or girlfriend when she first woke up in the morning with her hair all askance and holes in her PJ's. To begin with, you'd probably get punched if you tried to get a picture like that, and besides who wants to see it? Sooo... I didn't bother to get pictures of the boat before she was all painted up. Suffice it to say, it looked a lot different when I first hauled out.
 Unfortunately I discovered that I need a new bow stem as well as quite a number of planks. I had to affix a patch on both sides of the bow and my good friend Bob Pinard came down and took on the task of putting Bondo on some major holes in several planks. He's kind of like the Bondo King- I think he's worked with it on cars in the past. Anyway, he was a major help. I'm also happy to report that the bugs hadn't hatched yet so I was actually able to concentrate on the work at hand. When I worked on the haulout landing several years ago, the project lasted into June and the no-see-ums were vicious. I'm quite certain that they could drive a man mad. I brought my box fan down while we were pouring concrete and had it blowing on me full bore. Those other poor saps pushing the wheelbarrows had to leave the breeze and were mauled by those blood thirsty suckers. It was awful. I tried to get the project manager to send over some giant fans like you would use to dry out a building after a flood, but he was merciless. Anyway, I was nervous as a cat when it came time to haul out, but it went quite well. In fact, I think that from here on out, I'll utilize the travel lift- I think it was less stressful on the boat. The new harbormaster, Arlen Skaflestad, handled the lift like a pro and put my mind at ease. There is some kind of scale on the machine that weighs the boats as it lifts them up. I found out that the net tonnage is seven tons, not six as the documentation papers say. Somewhere along the line I picked up an extra two thousand pounds of weight- kind of like my gut over the past ten or fifteen years.
  I've got a few more projects to finish on the boat before I get out fishing. I usually like to be out on the water more by now, but the with the boat work, the high cost of fuel and few reports of good fishing around here, I'm getting a late start. Hopefully I can make up for lost time once I get out. I don't know when I will be able to post here again, but I'd like to do it at least once a week, I'll just have to see how it goes. Until then, Ta Ta!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Celebrity Ship at Twilight

This past Sunday the first cruise ships of the season showed up. I  have mixed feelings about it. Those of you who know me understand how I feel. I know that the ships provide employment for a certain segment of the local population, but like everything, there is a cost involved. The folks who live here who have very little or nothing to do with the tourist industry have to deal with all the ramifications of hundreds of people being unloaded, many of whom are from a foreign country with different cultures and values. They don't seem to understand that Hoonah isn't Disneyland and we aren't all employees here. The number one complaint that most folks here have is that the people walk in the middle of the streets without regard for the cars that are trying to get somewhere. That being said, I will say again as I've said before- if you are going somewhere as a tourist, please be respectful of the local population. You are a guest, regardless of whether or not you are spending money on whatever the locale has to offer. Your presence will impact the local population, please let the impact be a positive one. Now, onward and upward.
 I took these pictures Sunday evening while I was going down to check on the boat. I was on the gridiron all day powerwashing the hull so I could be hauled out and complete the work with some degree of comfort. I don't like to rush through the process of washing, painting and putting zincs on while on the grid. I'm getting too old to rush around like a mad man trying to get everything done before the tide comes in. If I had a fiberglass boat it wouldn't be so much of an issue, but wood boats require a lot more maintenence. If there aren't enough zincs applied, the fastenings,screws or nails, could be eaten by electrolosis and the plank could fall off. Periodically you have to recaulk the seams too. I want to make sure the water stays on the outside of the boat. My son, Ben wanted me to get some pictures of the boat on the grid, but I forgot. If you're reading this Ben, I don't have any pictures of the Bonnie J on the grid, but I have a few pictures of the Celebrity Millenium. I hope these will do for now.  I'll try to get some shots of hauling the boat out with the travel lift Bubba.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring is Coming...right?

Here it is May 11 already, and I'm still waiting for some sign of spring. As you can see from the pictures of the trees, the leaves haven't arrived yet. Maybe they're on vacation someplace warmer. The snow is still pretty far down the mountain yet too. I try to placate myself by saying that it will provide more water if this is a dry summer. The only thing that even remotely gives the appearance of spring are the dandelions that are sprouting up. Oh joy! They're about as welcome as a fart at a debutante ball. They're tenatious little plants. They probably wait under the snow all winter for the sun to come out so they can pop out of the ground like a Jack-in the Box and yell "Surprize!" I was up early this morning like I am most mornings in the spring and summer. The combination of light streaming through the window at four AM  and those obnoxious ravens calling  make it hard to sleep. I usually  don't get out of bed just because I'm up though, but today I figured I'd go fishing.When I checked the weather it was calling for a dense fog advisory and light and variable winds. They got the fog part right. I had to navigate with electronics just to find the beach where I wanted to fish. It was so thick you could just about swim in it. I almost  froze for the first few hours I was fishing, it was really cold. Then the wind started in. When I checked last, the trees were whipping around like a rag doll on a raging bull. So much for light and variable. Those guys at the weather service have such a sense of humor! Ha Ha Ha. Unless I'm mistaken the first cruise ship of the season is supposed to be coming to Hoonah in a week or less. If things stay as they are the tourists are going to be in for an unpleasant surprize. I should probably park my truck down by the cannery and rent out winter coats for twenty bucks an hour. I've seen tourists dressed like the Michelin Man in July when I was sweltering in a T-shirt, so I don't know how they're going to take to this weather. I live here and I'm chilly. Gee, I don't like cold weather, I think I'll move to Alaska. Why yes, they do call me Brainiac, why do you ask? Oh well, I guess I shouldn't complain. I have to admit, things are much worse elsewhere. I'm sure the folks along the Mississippi would gladly trade my little discomfort for what they are going through right now.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

FIRE!

It seems that every day there is a new tragedy on the news- either the tsunami in Japan or the floods in the Midwest or tornadoes down south.  There is no place on earth exempt from some calamity or another. Though it won't make the national or even the state news we had our own disaster yesterday in the form of a fire. I was sitting down having a cup of coffee after lunch when Jan called to tell me that the Sportsman's Bed and Breakfast had flames coming out of the roof. The building is located just around the corner from my place and I'm surprised that I didn't notice the smoke right away.  I believe that the owners had just returned from Nebraska where they spend the winters and had lit the wood stove. I'm not sure what the cause of the blaze is exactly, you hear rumors, but I haven't heard anything definitive. I hate to see anyone lose their home and business. I'm not sure if the building can be salvaged or not, there was a lot of water poured on the fire and I'm sure it made it's way down to the lower floors. If anything good can come from this, I understand that the building was fully insured and the owners had moved their keepsakes back to Nebraska in anticipation of selling the business. They had previously retired from logging and were doing this as a side job. Fortunately no one was hurt and the fire didn't spread to any other buildings. Frankly, I hope we've seen the last of the trauma for awhile. As anyone in a small town knows, when tragedy strikes one family, everyone is affected. The loss of the Sportsman's will be felt by everyone in some way, but as with all loss, we'll help each other out and carry on.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Mayday

 It's May first- Mayday. I think it used to be a day of celebration. I really should look it up before I start making comments about it, but I assume it was kind of like a celebration of spring or some such thing years ago. How something happy could have a totally different meaning is beyond me. If you  hear the words MAYDAY! on the radio, it's a sign that someone is in serious trouble and needs some help. It's something you hope to never hear while out on the boat and you certainly don't want to be the one who is declaring  a mayday. As per usual, I've taken a subject and run with it in a manner that I hadn't planned on, though frankly, I'm not sure what I'm writing about right now.
 It's cold and windy and spitting rain today, not at all what I would imagine May first to feel like, or at least not what I was hoping it would be like. While I'm grateful that we aren't experiencing tornadoes, snow, wildfires, floods or other severe weather phenomenon, I'd still kind of like a little spring-like sunshine. I'm sitting in my office with a blanket over my legs and my jacket on. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older, or there is so much more of me in the middle section that the blood can't get to the extremities as easily, but I'm cold right now- and, I might add, a little depressed. I think so much of my attitude is this weather. Whine bitch, complain- and I'm not even out fishing!
 I was going to do a little blog on Plantar Fasciitis; it's a condition that leaves the bottom of your foot feeling like you've got something in your shoe all the time. I recently had a bout of it and had to go to the doctor and do exercises and and wear a doo-dad on my foot. It eventually went away. The other night when I was at work I thought it might be making another appearance, but I think that it was a stone in my shoe this time. I was thinking about the name, Plantar Fasciitis- it made me think of Planters Peanuts, which led to Peanut Foot. "Doc, I've got a bad case of Peanut Foot, what should I do?" "Stay away from salt and don't nibble on your toes." My mind goes on endless journeys when left without a purpose. That's one of the problems with mindless work. Then I started thinking about the Peanut Gallery. I don't have a memory of it, but my older brother said that the Peanut Gallery is where the little kids used to sit on the Howdy Doody show. You probably wouldn't be able to get away with a name like that on a kid's show now. Parents would be up in arms and there would be calls for boycotts and whatnot. The kids would have to get counseling for feelings of low self-esteem for being forced to sit in the Peanut Gallery.  I guess it's a good thing I never visited Ol Howdy- I'd be a real basket case right now.