Thursday, December 20, 2012

Memory Lane

Willie was sorting some old photos B4D (Before Digital) for storage.  I found a couple that I wanted to share so I scanned them.

The first is a picture of Sam and Inez Thornton, and Willie and Herb with their motorcycles.  Last night Sam and I were talking about his Yamaha that he and Inez rode to Durango with us in 1995.  Our bike was a R100RT BMW.  We were on our way the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association Rally in Durango CO.  We were traveling from Sam and Inez's home in Fayetteville AR.  They now live here in Port Isabel near us.

This picture is of Champ.  Friends who know me will think that this Jake, but it is not Jake.  Champ came to live with us in 1987 and went to dog heaven in 2001.  This picture was taken in the early 90s at his favorite place, the back porch of our home in Avinger Texas.  People say that Jake is a large dog, but Jake weighs only around 80 pounds.  Champ weighed 98 pounds his whole adult life and he was not fat.  He was very active living in the woods and farm as we did then.  He ran beside my 4 wheeler anytime I used it.   As he got older I traded the 4 wheeler for a golf cart.  He ran beside the golf cart each and everytime I went around the farm on it.  In his final years, his hips gave out and I had to carry him from the porch to the golf cart.  He did not like riding, he wanted to run, but he still wanted to go with me.  Champ was named for my grandfather, Wimby Stark nicknamed Champ.

Champ was a good dog.

This final picture is of Willie, Champ and Pepe in the back yard of our home at the Blueberry Farm in Avinger Texas.

Walldog, Willie and Jake.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nice Day for a boat ride

Out near the end of jetties going into the Gulf of Mexico at South Padre Island.  Photo by Willie.

Monday, August 20, 2012

On the Water Again

We have been living on our boat day and night since May 14, 2012.  Last week after two days at anchor in Montague Harbor, Galiano Island, British Columbia, we planned to weigh anchor and cruise to Anacortes, Washington, USA.  Willie turned to me and said "It will be good be back on the water again!"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Desolation Sound 8-1-2012

Willie's Tug was cruising up the Homfray Channel, destination Homfray Lodge, a new remote wilderness lodge that just happens to have a nice dock.  Since Homfray Lodge is only accessible by water, this is a necessity.  What a pleasant surprise to arrive and find that 3 C-Brats had arrived ahead of us and were already sampling the wonderful hospitality of the Macey brothers.  Katmai, Dreamer and Sea Pal were proudly lined up on the dock.

We spent two nights visiting with old and new friends before moving on to continue our tour of this fabulous area.

Left to Right: Roger of Dreamer, Bob of Sea Pal, Betsy of Sea Pal, Mary of Katmai, Casey of Katmai, and Herb of Willies Tug.
Jake, Sleeping on the dock.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Anchorage at Fisherman's Bay

We slip into the narrow channel that leads to Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island.  Our first trip here, we look for a suitable spot to anchor.  We are at about half tide and find 9-10 feet below our hull all over the bay.  Lots of private mooring buoys taking up space as most of them are empty.  We see a nice open area out from the Lopez Islander Resort and stake our claim.  The Rocna sets perfectly tugging our bow around smartly as we back away.  Pushing the throttle up to over 1000 RPMs in reverse holds steady, we are home.  After a bit we hear a seaplane taxi out into the bay.  We watch in awe as he pours the coals to his throttle and lifts off just a few feet from us on our starboard side.  When another lands and takes off on our port side, we wonder if we have broken some unwritten rule about anchoring in Fisherman's Bay.

After speaking with the Marina attendant, we find that it is suggested that you anchor East of an unmarked line.  So our second night here, we move a bit East just to give Kenmore Air plenty of room.  I am glad they do not fly at night.

After moving in closer to a dinghy dock for Jake's ferry, we find an anchorage that appears we will not bump into adjacent boats.  During the night the weather picks up with rain and winds.  In the early morning I hear a crash bump bump and jump out of bed.  After assuring myself that we did not in fact bump into another boat, I find that a case of Diet Cokes has tumbled over in the cockpit.  What a noise!!  Scary!!

Anyway after daylight we determine that the Rocna has again held fast and it does not appear to have dragged any at all even with the wind and waves.  Looks as if the weather will improve as the day goes on and this afternoon will bless us with drier conditions.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Hour at La Conner

We have traveled the Swinomish Channel several times and past the neat city of La Conner but have never stopped.  Today we decided to spend the weekend in La Conner.  The weather forecast was a bit unsettled for island hopping and anchoring out.  We want to try out our new Rocna 10 anchor.  It has been on our list since last year and moved to number one this week.  After seeing the standard anchor not set after 3 tries at Conover Cove and seeing a Rocna set on the first try last week, we bit the bullet.  West  Marine had one in stock and met our best online price.

We pulled into La Conner just about time for happy hour and were met by Roger Clark, a friend we met last year in Anacortes.  Roger and Janet are from Sequim and own a C-Dory Tomcat.

During happy hour we see "Restless" pass by.  This is a Ranger Tug R27 that was at Bellingham and was recently purchased by Clair and Richard Dinard who keep it here in La Conner.  I woke Jake up and he barked at their two Labs.

After Docking "Restless" Clair and Richard stopped by to say hello.

And here is Willie's Tug tucked in for the evening at La Conner sporting her new Rocna, no SS bling, just the standard galvanized version.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ganges, Salt Spring Island

Willies Tug crossed into Canada yesterday via Bedwell Harbor with Moondance and Destiny.

It only took a phone call this time to clear customs.  Some of you may remember that the last time we came through during the Desolation Sound Cruise last year, we spent an hour or so on the dock waiting for customs officers to arrive from Sydney to check us out.

All in a row at Ganges.  Stocked up on wine and few perishables and now off to Conover Cove.  Hey Winslow check out Jake on the cockpit.

Finished up the day at dinner with a few of our friends and traveling companions.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Yanmar Recall

Day 2 of the Saga replacing the oil line of Willies Tug continues. 

Day 1 was started about 3:30 PM when the mechanic arrived from Cap Sante Marine Service. We spent the next couple of hours removing panels to even be able to see the line. Removing the wood and insulation sound panel at the front of the engine was easier once we realized that the vertical panel in the cave that has the 120vac outlet and 12volt outlet had to be removed first. The rest of the time was spent removing the offending line and talking about ways to assemble the end of the oil line with the turbo line and the 3 copper washers. It will definitely be a two man job. Luckily the competent mechanic Dale is an ex-US Marine of about the same vintage as I, and we get along fine. Consensus is that we will use a combination of coat hanger and gluing or sticking the washer that goes against the engine block. Then bringing the bottom of the oil line with the other two washers and the bolt assembled to the turbo line. The problem is that we can only get two fingers to the area either from the side or from the front. And the only way to see is to be at the front and guide the person at the side. Hopefully at the end of today, I can give you a report that all is well again with our beloved Willies Tug.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sleepless in Seattle

Willies Tug Crew has been in Seattle for the past three days after cruising down from Anacortes.  The Northern part of the trip past La Conner was in about 4 foot wind waves with rain.  We just tugged along snug and dry.  We were in Shilshoe, Bell harbor and finally today through the locks into Lake Union at Fisherman's Terminal.

Monday, April 09, 2012


Years ago, my prime means of transportation was my motorcycle.  I would work until I could take some time off and I would then ride my MC some place fun.  Well sometimes the work took longer than I would like and my attitude would suffer from a malady I called the Mullygrubs.  So in order to get my head back on straight, I would just have to fire up the bike and take off.  No destination in mind, just ride until the Mullygrubs were all cleared out.

Today was one of those days, it had been too long since the last time I took Willie's Tug out.  On my walk with Jake this morning, there was not a bit of wind and the skies were clear.  When got home, I fired up the boat and went for a ride, just like days of old on the motorcycle.  I watched the sun rise as I crossed the bay to the causeway.  Thinking that the Gulf would be calm as the bay, I ventured out past the jetties.  Well it was not calm, but not bad.  The further I went out, the higher the swells.  They were far enough apart that I did not get pounded too bad and when I turned around to return the currents gave me a nice push.  Crossing the bay again on the way back a couple of Dolphins got friendly with the bow of Willie's Tug.  No pictures, just a great morning and no more Mullygrubs for a while.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Saturday, March 03, 2012

We Needed Some Boat Time

On Wednesday February 27, we loaded Willie's Tug and headed North on the ICW. Willie, Jake and I were on board with a stocked reefer and ice chest, a couple of changes of clothes, and a general idea of where we wanted to go.  Actually the first two days were planned.  We wanted to be in Island Moorings at Port Aransas to spend the weekend with a few boating friends.  We had actually planned to leave on Thursday, but the weather Friday was predicted to turn nasty with rain and high winds.  So we left a day early in order to be in a safe harbor when the Norther came through.

The first night we made it to Port Mansfield and stayed at El Jefe Marina Y Cantina, one of our favorite places to visit.  The community lives for the fishing industry.  A couple of South Padre Island's fishing boats, we call them head or $20 dollar boats, are now based here because the good fishing grounds are closer.  With fuel prices that makes sense for them.  The cantina at El Jefe's is lively and has great food.  After happy hour on the boat, we stepped up to the cantina for a burger for dinner.  I wish we had ordered a big steak, because a customer of the cantina who was working in the area insisted on buying everyone in the place their dinner.  Anyway the burger was extra good that night and we will order it again.

The next morning we continued up the ICW, now on virgin waters for us as we have not been further than Port Mansfield previously.  We kicked up our cruising speed a few knots as we had about 87 nautical miles to go to Port Aransas and Island Mooring Marina.  At our economical cruising speed of 7 Knots, it would take us over 12 hours to arrive.  We set the throttle to give us a comfortable 12 knots at about 3250 rpms.  Still an easy speed for the 180 hp turbo charged Yanmar engine as our top speed is around 20 knots at 4000 rpms.

Yesterday we found that our Nikon DX40 has died.  This was a birthday present for Willie a couple of years ago.  It has served us well but now needs a trip to the shop.  Hopefully the salt air environment we use it in mostly has not harmed it beyond repair.  We find the phones do a pretty good job of taking pictures.  Even so I hope to find a nice point and shoot in Corpus Christi.

The ICW in this area is long straight runs with little traffic.  We go for hours without seeing another boat.

 As we enter Corpus Christi Bay, the traffic picks up and leaving the ICW for the Corpus Christi Ship Channel we have lots of large vessels making their way toward the Gulf of Mexico.  Here we tread water waiting to tuck in behind the "Buster Bouchard" an ocean going tug pushing some barges full of oil.

A few miles out the channel, we find the small channel into Island Moorings Marina. After fueling up, we take a spot along the transient dock which will be our home for the next few days.  Our neighbor is Buster the cat who owns this nice sailing catamaran.

Next up our time at Island Moorings Marina.

Walldog, Willie and Jake aboard Willie's Tug.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Porch Roofs

The Porch roof over project is coming along nicely.  We should be finished next week.