Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pictures of Jake with Santa

Jake had his picture taken with Santa at the Island Dog Wash on South Padre Island.

Our friend Jerry aka Jw Wilson and his company donated the photo sessions to raise money for the Laguna Madre Humane Society which operates a no kill shelter here in Port Isabel.
Walldog, Willie and Jake

Friday, October 29, 2010

WilliesTug For Sale

Price Reduced to $19,995 firm.  This is a bargain for a great boat.
For Sale Details   SOLD

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WilliesTug For Sale

Willie’s Tug 1997 Ranger R21 For Sale

$24,995.00 $19,995.00

We have bought a new Ranger R27 Tug.  We will take delivery in Seattle in May or June of 2011.  So it is with some regret that we offer for sale Willie’s Tug.  She is a 21 foot 1997 model in excellent shape.  There is nothing that we know of that does not work.  We made a modification to the original mast by shortening it 32 inches so that the Tug will fit in our boat house.  Now it has about 10 foot clearance from the gunnels.  At that time we changed out the mast head light and the anchor light to new LED fixtures.  We replaced the non-original cushions with new ones from the original factory patterns.  They were made by Kathy’s Upholstery of Arlington Washington.  She was recommended by the factory and did an excellent job.  We rewired the trailer and installed new LED lights all around.  We added an spare tire and bracket.  It is ready to travel anywhere.  Here is a list of the equipment and options that convey with the sale:
v  Hin Number:  RFB02772E797
v  JRC Color Radar 1800/Chart Plotter GPS with current Gulf of Mexico CMap chip
v  Autopilot Raymarine Sport Pilot ST600R with wired remote
v  Ritchie Compass
v  Lowrance X-25B Depth Fish Finder
v  VHF Marine Radio ICOM IC-M502
v  2 Shakespeare VHF Marine Antennas, one top of mast, one on Pilot House roof
v  Yanmar 18hp Diesel, you will not believe how little fuel this uses.
v  6 Blue Fenders and lines
v  Extra one gallon Diesel container
v  3 Standard Life Jackets
v  Spare Parts, First Aid Kit, Flares and other emergency items
v  All manuals
v  Shortened mast and boom with guys and lines
v  Cockpit shade cover
v  Bruce Anchor
v  EZ Loader Trailer with new spare tire and bracket
v  Red Cockpit Lights
v  Red and White Pilot House lnterior Lights
v  Red Vee Berth Lights
v  Basic Porta-potty
v  Small 350 Inverter
v  30 Amp Shore Power Receptacle, No power cord available
v  Factory Folding Seat for Skipper and First Mate
Contact Herb Stark at 903-736-7591.  Pictures are located here: WilliesTug Pictures

Friday, September 10, 2010

Poulsbo Yacht Club

Shortly after arriving in Bremerton for the 2010 Ranger Tug Rendezvous, we had a visit from Dennis and Julie Sheehan.  Members of the Laguna Madre Yacht club will remember Dennis and Julie as they formerly lived in South Padre Island and Port Isabel.  They were and still are members of the LMYC.  Dennis is currently Commodore of the Poulsbo Yacht Club in Poulsbo, Washington.  Dennis and Julie presented Willie and me with a burgee from the PYC.  This burgee has a Viking ship on it depicting the Norwegian heritage of the town of Poulsbo.  I promised Dennis and Julie that the burgee would be displayed at the LYMC in a place of honor.  Thank you Dennis and Julie Sheehan.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Addendum MV Cade Candies

During lunch at Randy's Pier 61 today, we noticed that the MV Cade Candies was in the water at the Dakota Industries dock.  We could not get close enough for a good picture.

Deception Pass September 3, 2010

The Town of Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island.  Just South of Fidalgo Island is the Island of Whidbey.  A narrow pass separates the two islands.  This pass is named Deception Pass.

A "local historian" gave me the lowdown on how Deception Pass got its name.  He said that a greek by the name of Fuca wanted to go exploring in the new world and he asked the Queen to sponsor him.  She said we only send Spaniards.  He said then call me Juan....thus Juan de Fuca went exploring.  He mapped the area along the Washington coast and when he mapped the pass, he saw the tidal flow ebbing at 7 to 8 knots and called it a river.  Later the British explored the same area and came by the "river" mapped by Juan de Fuca.  They passed at flood tide and found the pass.  Since they were deceived, they named the pass Deception.  I have not been able to verify all of this story, but some of it seems true, the rest may just be a good story.

The currents in Deception Pass can be very interesting to boaters.  A fast power boat can over come the tidal flows, but a small trawler such as Willie's Tug needs to excercise extreme caution when traversing the pass. Our top speed is only about 8 knots and with flows up to 8 knots we could be in trouble trying to go the wrong way at the wrong time.  Our best time to go would be at slack tide.  The period when the tidal flow starts to reverse.

A bridge built in the 1930s spans from Fidalgo to Pass Island and from Pass Island to Whidbey Island.  Willie and I walked this bridge and took some pictures.  I have to tell you that after walking this bridge so far above the water with large trucks shaking it, I feel safer in the boat in the water below.

It was a clear day, and we could see Mount Baker, the third highest mountain in Washington.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Monday, August 30, 2010

MV Cade Candies Tour August 27, 2010

Upon our arrival in Anacortes several weeks ago, we naturally drove around town to get our bearings.  As we drove through the commercial area and neared the coast (Guemes Channel) we saw a ship being built that towered over the downtown area.  We took a couple of pictures and marveled at the size, and wondered what it's purpose would be.

Sometime later, we hitched a ride with David from the 25 C-Dory "Anna Leigh".  David pointed out the ship from the Guemes Channel as we returned from a tour of the San Juan Islands.  He said that he understood that the builder was planning an open house on the ship sometime in August.  We immediately went to the builder's office as soon as practical to find out when the open house would occur.  Willie asked the receptionist about the open house.  The receptionist informed Willie that the open house would not be until October.  Willie must have seemed so disappointed that the President of Dakota Creek Industries, Richard Nelson, who happened to be in the front office noticed.  Mr. Nelson or Dick as he prefers to be called asked Willie about her interest in the ship he was building.  She must have convinced him of her sincerity as he offered to let us join a private tour he had planned for the Director of the Skagit County Port.

So that is how on Friday the 27th of August, Walldog and Willie took a two hour or so tour of this tremendous ship being built here in Anacortes, Washington.  We found out that this is not the first ship that Dakota Creek Industries has built for Otto Candies, LLC., an oil field services company based in Des Allemands, Louisiana.  A sister ship to this one and an only slightly smaller version are already at work for Otto Candies in the Gulf of Mexico.  This ship will join them in 2011 after being fitted in Norway with a 150 ton crane.  This link to the Ross Candies will give you the specifications of this ship.  I will not recite all of them here except to say that this vessel is over 300 feet long, or over the length of a football field and the beam is 66 feet.  It is anchored in place by a "DP2" system that will keep it at a spot in the ocean without moving more than 1 meter in up to 45 mph winds.  It is designed to carry and service ROVs or Remote Operated Vessels that perform maintenance on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico up to 8,000 feet deep.  The claws, pinchers, grabbers and other tools of the ROV are serviced in a workshop that is accessed by an opening in the deck of the ship.  The Cade Candies has quarters for 75 personnel.  I found it interesting that the ship has lifeboat capacity for 80 people on each side of the ship.

Dakota Creek Industries plans to float the MV Cade Candies this week.  The shipyard has an elevator platform that the ship will be pulled onto.  The cables are already in place.  Then the platform will be lowered into the water and the ship will be launched.  We hope to be there when it happens and document the event.  We have an album set up here with the pictures taken of the Cade Candies so far.  We will add others there as we take them.

Willie asked me to pass along her thoughts on the tour:

I am overwhelmed with the size of the vessel and the completeness of this self-contained ‘city.’  The purpose is to transport ROVs (remote operating vessels) to the ocean floor, such as those at Deep Water Horizon off the coast of Venice, Louisiana.
The sophistication is such that when the boat is in place for work (DP2 it is called), it will not move more than one meter (~ three feet) in a 45 mph wind.
All systems on the boat are in duplicate, so that if something is not working, the other system will, while the down system is being repaired.  If a navigation light goes out, an alarm sounds so the replacement can be turned on, and the crew will know to do the maintenance.
The staterooms are built for four-man, three-man and a few for two.  One stateroom is private, and is reserved for the charter of the boat or his representative.  There is a media room for orientation; there are many conference rooms for the ongoing decisions to be made while the boat is in operation.  Work goes on 24/7 and there are several crews.   In the galley there are dinner tables, as well as a counter and stools and a Captain’s Table.  As we pass through the galley, we see notes taped on the wall informing the construction crew that the appliances are stainless steel and they should not touch!
A seawater reclamation system provides fresh water.
The heliport is built with a crash in mind.  There are escape routes on the front and back of the pad, leading to the area below.
There are six levels on the boat – four decks – and the ladders of steel are steep and compact.
Joining us on the tour are Patsy, director of the Port of Skagit County in Burlington WA, and her sons who used to work for Dakota Creek.  At the end of the tour Dick invites us to his office, where he has windows with a great view of Cade Candies and we get to meet his wife Linda.  He gives us a calendar with pictures of the boat, and a souvenir pen.
If I say “Amazing!” or “Awesome” once, I say it a thousand times on this tour.  We feel very fortunate to have this experience.

You will notice some pictures of an articulated ocean going tug in the photos.  This tug, the "Legacy" and a sister ship the "Legend"  are being built by Dakota Creek Industries for Crowley Maritime to match up with two 330,000 barrel capacity ATB barges that will also operate in the Gulf of Mexico.  These rigs will carry product from Texas refineries to the East coast of the US.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Day in the San Juan Islands

Willie and I just finished a great dinner of Dungeness Crab. Yesterday David of Anna Leigh picked us up at Cap Sante and gave us a grand tour of the San Juans. We put a couple of pots down on the East side of Guemes and went as far as Jones Island where he showed us his grandchildren's favorite mooring. On the way back we checked the pots and divided up the spoils. We both had enough for dinner for our families. We cooked them according to David's instructions and they were fantastic. Willie and I were fighting over the last leg. 

Willie will give a more detailed post of our day later and I will copy it here for you to read if you choose. 

Many thanks to David for a great day in the San Juans.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day Twenty-six - Anacortes WA - July 24

Day Twenty-six - Anacortes WA - July 24: "
We might call this a wildlife we head across the walking path leading to town center, we are greeted by the honking of Canadian Geese and we see how close we can safely get to them. They don't move much, but watch us closely, and we see others sitting on the beach of Fidalgo Bay.

Farther along the tree and flower lined path a couple out for their morning exercise tells us about the eagle atop a telephone pole. He is pretty far up and surveying his surroundings, when a seagull does a few fly-bys to try to scare him away. Not successful! He stays put.

On our return we see the geese still feeding, and a couple of rabbits scampering through the campground.

It is hard to decide which restaurant to visit for lunch, but choose Rock Fish Grill and enjoy some salmon and almost halibut. A poster on the wall tells us how much people here love fish, and we think of our neighbors Sam and Bob in Port Isabel.

More exploring today takes us up to a viewpoint high above Cap Sante Harbor, and I begin to wonder how many boats there are in the world. I think they are all here. As we turn to leave, we see tourists observing our trikes, so Herb gives a bit of information on what it is like to ride them.

Back down the hill in a residential area as we return to the campground, we see more wildlife -- a deer crossing the street in front of us at a leisurely pace, and one on the side of the street enjoying more grass before she moves on.

In the late afternoon we take the trikes (and Jake) for a ride on the bike path that passes by the campground and which is fairly level -- an easy feat!

Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day Nineteen - Victor ID to Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton Natl. Park, WY - July 17, 2010

Day Nineteen - Victor ID to Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton Natl. Park, WY - July 17, 2010: "

The campground host advises us not to go over Teton Pass; however Herb has other ideas. We leave at 6:30A in order to be 'first in line' for a campsite in the Grand Teton Natl. Park, as they are vacated. As we travel, I am as much intrigued by the road signs as I am by the awesome mountain scenery -- 'steep curve,' '10% grade,' 'park for chain-up only,' 'runaway truck ramp,' and 'trucks use low gear.' Fortunately for the cars behind us, there are turnouts along the way, and we pull over to let those vehicles pass, as we go very slow. Herb notes at one point that the computer on his instrument panel tells him he is getting one mile per gallon of diesel. (We left Victor with a full tank.)

About 25 minutes later we reach the pass and the sight we see of the tiny village below is beautiful. We made it!

As we pass through Jackson Hole, we begin to see the Tetons again, and as I exclaim, Herb tells me that we were IN the Tetons minutes ago. Oh...............

Now I see a couple of small glaciers. An easy drive on into Grand Teton National Park, we find Colter Bay Campground, and sign up for our site. It is on a loop with half-moon turnouts, close neighbors, but we have plenty of room for our slides and Jeep.

After getting settled in, we pick up our tickets for the breakfast cruise tomorrow, and look up Joan and Capt. Jim Bathurst, our friends from Port Isabel, who are working in the park this summer. We especially chose the day for the cruise when Capt. Jim is piloting. Jim now gives us a tour of the marina and a bit about how things work around here. Our visit in interrupted when he is called for a 'blue shirt' duty.

Lunch is a huge buffalo burger with copious quantities of fresh vegetables at John Colter Cafe Court. Salsa they bring out is a bit different from what we are used to in the Valley.

In front of the Visitors' Center we see pay phone booths -- strange -- but then I remember that cell phone service here is unreliable at best. We meet a guy who is interested in our trikes, and he tells us that he has ridden his trike from Portland OR to Death Valley CA. Incidentally, he is a Death Valley books author.

At the end of the day we join Joan and Jim for snacks and Happy Hour. I get to meet Izzy, the well traveled kitty, about whom much has been written. She inspects my camera at length. I want to photograph her, but I discover there is no chip in my camera. ..................but then, that's another story.

I ask Jim who should be responsible for the chip being in the camera (1) the one who uses the camera or (2) or the one who took it out to download the pictures into the computer. He agrees with both answers, and reminds me that he is wearing a sport shirt and nowhere on it does he have a badge that says 'manager.'

We catch up on the news fast, as we all have an early morning tomorrow -- Joan to the gift shop, Capt. Jim to the marina to prepare for the day's tours, and Herb and I to the marina in anticipation of a fantastic tour of Jackson Lake, views of the Tetons up close, and a scrumptious breakfast!

[No pictures posted here for obvious reason. :) ]

Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake

Day Eighteen - Island Park ID to Victor ID - July 16, 2010

Day Eighteen - Island Park ID to Victor ID - July 16, 2010: "
One last walk around the RV park with Jake and he finds a Shih Tzu he falls in love with. Soon we are on the road, stopping for diesel at a good price. Before long we come to a 6% grade area which gives us some gorgeous scenery. The Tetons are 'everywhere;' we see them for miles and miles. Along the highway are many pastures, all being irrigated. "If it a'int rock, it is being irrigated." At one point, the irrigation equipment is too close to the road and washes our windshield.

The rolling hills we see give us a ribbon like highway -- still with the Tetons in the background. We come upon a silo with a faded sign, "Pillsbury Mills," but the fields look like grass for hay and not wheat. The bicyclists are very brave, riding on the narrow strip of roadway, but I am sure they are enjoying the hills.

Arriving in Victor we see 'Old West' decor on the buildings and miss a flea market by just minutes. Lunch is Japanese fare in the cafe area of the large supermarket in the neighboring town of Driggs, where we stock up on supplies for the next few days. We are delighted to at last find the wonderful fresh cherries grown in the Northwest.

Our campground for the night, Teton RV Park, is lovely with its pines, spruce, and roses. Jake enjoys a run in the dog yard pasture near our RV site. It is good to be free!


Day Seventeen - Island Park ID - July 15, 2010

Day Seventeen - Island Park ID - July 15, 2010: "

Our day begins with an expected cool morning, so I dress a little more warmly than yesterday. We leave the Harwells supervising Tim the carpenter and his crew, and drive to West Yellowstone to Wild Bill's Pizza and Saloon, the restaurant David recommends, and enjoy one of the three best pizza places we have ever found.
We then pick up a few items for dinner, which will again be at the Harwells,' and a cookie sheet for David to use for appetizers on his outdoor grill.

We drive a ways into Yellowstone and take a side road along the Madison River, which at that point may not get your ankles wet if you waded. We do not. We see many fallen trees returning to nature as the forest renews itself.

Late afternoon we return to the Harwells' for what will be the last visit for a while. Did I mention that today I am wearing a turtleneck and Herb for the first time on this trip is wearing bluejeans instead of shorts! Before long, everyone is a bit warm in the sun on the patio, and we decide the best place to be is inside the cabin among the remodeling activities. Shady, cool, and a great view!

David gets their journal and it becomes a guest book, which we and the Dahls sign as guests at the first house party in their new mountain home. We are honored to be the first. Hors d'oeuvres of Al's avacado dip and fruit are served prior to David and Herb's tamales and chili. After much picture taking, we say "so long for now" and drive down the hill for a good night's sleep.


Day Sixteen - Island Park ID - July 14, 2010

Day Sixteen - Island Park ID - July 14, 2010: "
Today Patti and David Harwell take us still in the Island Park area to the Johnny Sack cabin, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is owned by the US Forest Service. Sack was from Germany and became known for his craft of split bark carpentry. He took three years to build his cabin single handedly with mostly hand tools. We pass Big Spring, which is the headwaters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, and we watch for a time to see rainbow trout, without success. Indian paintbrush and violet geraniums line the path to the cabin.

Outside the cabin we see -- still operating -- Sack's construction of a water wheel and generator to create electricity and bring water into his cabin. If only we could capture the quiet, soothing sound the wheel makes........ The design features of the cabin itself and his furniture are nothing short of amazing, and we have the best historian and tour guide ever -- our own friend Harwell. Inlaid flooring with a different pattern in each room, handmade furniture with the split bark trim, and a lamp shade made of some of his photographs on parchment add to the awesomeness of the home. A must-see!

We are joined for the rest of the day by Melba and Al Dahl, friends from Longview, who are camped in the Valley View RV Park as our 'neighbors.' David now drives us a short distance to the Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area, and we see the mountain where a section broke off during a 7.5 on the Richter scale earthquake in 1959 and killed 28 people camping along the river. The slide dammed the river, creating Earthquake Lake, which we still see today. It will be allowed to revert to a river as erosion occurs downstream. One of the survivors was an 80 year old resident who jumped five feet from her floating house to the bank of the river.

There are several faults in the area, and it was determined that two of them moved to cause the quake. During the interpreter's talk at the Visitors' Center, the group is asked what would be the first thing they should do if they came into the area to camp overnight. Some of the answers given are 'register with the forest ranger,' 'pitch a tent,' (where is he going with this question?) and 'don't feed the bears.' Then someone is heard to say, "Pour a glass of wine." As the audience laughs, I forget what his answer it.

As we leave the Center, we see the many-ton boulders that slid during the one minute quake. The rapids that are created downstream of Earthquake Lake are rated #5 and most dangerous.

We stop for lemonade at Longhorn Cafe, and then on to the Harwell cabin for heavy hors d'oeuvres. Because of the cool mountain air Annie and Jake travel with us and enjoy frequent walks and water breaks. Leashes used and no squirrel chasing today.

From Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grand Tour Summer 2010 Day 14-15

Day 14
Moab to Ogden Utah Log 274 Miles 2884 Miles total

We plan our stop here primarily to see our long time friends Karl and Emily from South Louisiana.  Karl is retired, but doing some consulting work for companies that build electrical substations.  They have been in Ogden since February and will leave next week.  So it is great that we were able to catch them here.

We park at the Century RV Park and Karl and Emily arrive shortly after.  After a visit in our motorhome, we head up the mountain for a drive and dinner at a local eatery.  The Oaks is a perfect setting to continue our visit and experience the excellent climate at this time of year.  We have a table overlooking the river that supplies Ogden's drinking water from a reservoir above this location.  Lots of foliage and the pleasant sounds of rushing water.

Back at our RV we get a good nights sleep and plan our next day.

Day 15
Ogden Utah to Island Park Idaho Log 272 miles 3156 Total

After leaving Ogden, we cross into Idaho and start to see the Tetons off to the East in the distance.  Lots of snow still on them.  Soon we will see them up close.

We arrive in Island Park and are shown to a spot in the Valley View RV Campground and Laundromat.  Our large grassy spot overlooks Henry Lake, a prime fishing spot in this part of the world.  Our friend Bob passed through here a few days ago, so I am sure there are no fish left.

After getting settled, we go to the cabin David and Patti are remodeling on the North shore of Henry Lake.  They have a new Golden Lab that came into their lives after Jake's cousin Gunner died a few months ago.  Annie and Jake pick up right where Gunner and Jake left off when they came to visit us in Port Isabel over New Years.  Dogs are wonderful, they became BFFs immediately.

After filet Mignons on the grill for dinner we say goodnight to rest for a full day of sight seeing tomorrow.

Walldog, Willie and Jake