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Laura Domela
Portland, OR
Adventures in travel, technology, and style -- via sea, land, and air
Interests: Airstream, Nordic Tug, travel, camping, boating, cruising, San Juan Islands
Recent Activity
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Here we are all cozy tonight at Point Hudson Marina: It rained a bit this morning. Today we mostly worked here on Airship, except when it stopped raining we walked into town to get a stubby screwdriver so we could finish the fix of the Wallas diesel heater. We picked up our overnighted glow plugs up at the marina office and once we got back the heater didn't take too long to fix and put back together. Yay heat! I took some iPhone photos while walking through town today: And there we are on the far right: Kevin didn't take any photos with his iPhone because his iPhone is underneath our boat about 20 feet down. Sad face. :( Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Riveted
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I got up this morning around 7 and turned the generator and the electric heat on and then got back in bed until things warmed up. With the extra Pendleton on the bed we were cozy all night...but it got down to 48 degrees F inside last night without the Wallas heater running as usual. Bunch of seals coming into foggy Port Gamble Bay: At 9am Kevin called Scan Marine in Seattle about our Wallas diesel heater. The guys at Scan Marine were SUPER helpful. They described to Kevin over the phone how to pull the bottom of the unit off and remove the glow plug. They said once we did that and verified that was the issue, to call them back and they'd overnight a new glow plug to us. (We ordered two so we'll have a spare.) Kevin and I worked this one together. The positions one must achieve to work on boats is pretty crazy sometimes! The Wallas is inside this little vent in the wall beside the steps down to the front stateroom. Not a lot of room to maneuver (and with tools!!) in there: Glow plug removed: Glow plug. (It's the thing that lights the... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Riveted
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We took the dinghy out for a little more Torqueedo testing as the sun was setting last night in Port Gamble Bay. I have to say, I do prefer the ride when we're going full speed (which tonight was about 4.2 kts). The dinghy rides so much flatter on the surface with this lightweight outboard...it's great! I really don't think "gunning it" is in the spirit of Torqueedo ownership though, which is why we'll likely get a backup battery. Good news about the batteries: they take very little time to charge. Oh and this: it seems our Wallas diesel furnace quit working late yesterday afternoon. This puts a bit of a cramp in our boating plans for the next couple days...booo. We went through all the troubleshooting steps in the manual and got to "glow plug error" which is the thing that lights the little bit of fuel as it comes to the heater so it can make heat (and the fix is "Take heater in for service.") So as long as the generator is running, we can have heat. But if we want quiet -- no heat. :( Related articles Excitement at Sea! Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Riveted
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We headed into the town of Port Gamble today around noon. We wanted to check out the town and have some lunch at the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe (well, technically brunch, since we skipped breakfast). We took off in the dinghy, loving the quiet, non-smelly electric Torqueedo (though I think we may invest in a second battery, to tame the battery complex we occasionally feel while far from Airship). We toured the shore looking for a spot to beach. The point there where the mill used to be, just beneath town, is now a big construction zone, but we saw some people walking along the beach so we decided we could beach there and then walk up the hill to town. As we walked up the beach toward town, however, it appeared that we were "inside" an area that was fenced off from town. I called up to the cafe to see if they knew where we might be able to get some legal beach access, and they were not so sure, but the guy said he thought there might be beach access around the point toward the Hood Canal Bridge at a park near Salisbury Park. He... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Riveted
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We left Seattle yesterday around 11am and headed north. Passing Point No Point Lighthouse: The water was calm and we headed up to Port Gamble to anchor for the night (just inside the entrance to Hood Canal). Sunset from our anchorage: We anchored just past the spit on the north side, near Point Julia. Great holding...very calm in here last night. After we finish up some work here this morning we plan to dinghy over to town for some exploring (and more testing of the Torqueedo electric outboard). Happy Monday! Yesterday's route (31.5 nautical miles): p.s. OMG I almost forgot (because there were no photos)! On Saturday night we met up with our friends Kathy and Pete, who took us to the most fabulous Italian restaurant over in Issaquah. (I know!!) It's called Montalcino and it's a tiny, intimate family-run spot (max capacity 35) and there was a guy singing Italian opera and it was lovely but holy moly the FOOD. It's fantastic! We will DEFINITELY make a point to return to this place. Goodness...we haven't had food like that since Italy! I had a special pasta with wild boar and wild mushrooms that I shared with Kevin (but I... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Riveted
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Yeah I know, I'm the one who broke it in the first place, but I fixed it! The other day in La Conner while approaching the fuel dock, I set myself up poorly. Not familiar with (or prepared for) the intricacies of the current in Swinomish Channel, I left our moorage at the marina and headed over to get fuel prior to heading the rest of the way to Seattle. I started to dock with the current (wrong) and was fumbling while trying to regroup and spin around to dock against the current (recommended) and I did the thing...the thing I never thought I'd ever do: I broke/sheared the shear pin in the stern thruster. Well crap. Somehow I must have flipped directions too fast and so there ya go. No more stern thruster. Good things: (1) I don't normally use the thrusters when docking, and (2) A lot of boats don't even have stern thrusters. Bad thing: I was going to have to fix it. Booo. (The bow and stern thrusters on Airship are through-hull, and they allow you to move the bow and stern sideways, for maneuvering in tight spaces.) Once we were in Seattle tucked in at... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Riveted
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Gorgeous view of downtown Seattle from Airship this morning: We met some new friends for brunch (delicious eggs benedict with dill hollandaise) at Lola yesterday morning (Hi Elaine and Fred! Thanks again!) and then did some work at the boat before we headed over to the boat show for the afternoon. This is a very small portion of the very large boat show. The Nordic Tug booth ("booth" seems a funny term for what this is) has a brand new Nordic Tug 34 (beautiful...I want those countertops!) and a 39 that's a couple years old (but looks brand new), and they're playing Kevin's beautiful aerial copter video that he made at Patos Island (two places in the "booth" ... check it out if you stop by...or just watch it here). :) We roamed around and talked to people we knew and looked at boaty stuff, then returned to Airship so Kevin could finish up an article. Later on we met up with our friends Sam & Anna and had dinner at a place up on Virginia and 2nd called Shaker & Spear. It was delicious! Kevin and I shared a beets and butter lettuce salad with goat cheese, and octopus... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2016 at Riveted
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This heron was hanging out on our dinghy on Saturday morning. I very quietly lifted the top hatch on the door to the cockpit and snapped a couple of photos before it took off: We headed up to Anacortes from Portland on Friday afternoon and got to the boat by about 9:30pm. On Saturday we did a bunch of work on and around the boat. One of our projects was replacing the fuel pump on the Mercury outboard (which I did, with Kevin's guidance) and then making sure it ran nicely before giving it the boot and replacing it with a Torqueedo Travel 1003 electric outboard. More about that later, but early reviews are positive. We did some provisioning and then headed to LaConner for the night. (About 9.5 nautical miles.) We got up early and did the rest of the cruise to Seattle on Sunday and got into Bell Harbor marina around 5pm. Approaching Seattle by boat is always a treat. Closer shot of the paragliders along the bluffs: Last night, all tucked in (we're just to the left of that rightmost piling): This morning we got up and made breakfast and did some work, and then around 1pm... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2016 at Riveted
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One of the things I can't take with me when we're traveling is my Portland photography studio, so when we're back home for a few weeks this usually means scheduling photo shoots. I do have a compact, portable setup for doing location work, but nothing beats my nice big studio space for ease of use. Just for something different, I thought I'd share a few photos from a couple of recent studio shoots! This is my incredibly talented friend Storm Large (yes, that's her real name). She is an amazing singer, and you can learn more about her here and listen to her here (scroll down and watch/listen to her version of "I've Got You Under My Skin" ... it's SO GOOD!) I've been shooting her publicity photos for over ten years now, but we still manage to come up with new things in the studio each time. (Storm's hair by Tuesday Teal.) There are several more shots of Storm on my web portfolio here if you want to see more. These next few are of Lily and Maya. They're both super-talented young ladies and we did an all-out editorial model photo shoot last month...for fun mainly, but also to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2016 at Riveted
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You guys remember Margaret, from our flotilla to Alaska last summer? She was crewing for Mark Bunzel, our flotilla leader from Anacortes to Ketchikan? This is Margaret, being awesome at Fury Cove after our crossing of Cape Caution: Margaret asked me a few weeks ago if I'd co-teach a seminar with her at the 2016 Seattle Boat Show. Margaret is a very experienced mariner and sailing instructor and I'm a new (but enthusiastic) power boater (with lots of pretty photos), so the combination was natural, right? :) This seminar is on February 1 -- "Women's Day" at the 2016 Seattle Boat Show, which I have to say was initially a bit of a turnoff to me. I told Margaret that I would probably never take a seminar just for women, and maybe that sounds bad to you, but hear me out. I like to do things. I like to do things men can do. My gender doesn't feel to me like it should come into play. I have a pilot's license. I tow our Airstream. I can take a boat to SE Alaska. It bothers me when everyone assumes Kevin is the skipper of our boat just because he's a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2016 at Riveted
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You know that moment, right? The moment when you think "Aaaauuuuggghhh!! Thirty seconds ago everything was great and now it's not! Rewind!" but you can't, because life doesn't work that way? Well, last week we had one of those moments. We returned to Portland on Tuesday night. It had been snowing and temps were low, so by the time we got to our house it was a little icy. The truck made it okay up our sloped driveway and we were cool. I had a photo shoot scheduled for the next night (Wednesday night) but it was still icy. I opted to reschedule it, and we stayed in and made dinner at home. Later in the afternoon I went out to check the conditions. Yep, still icy. (We live on a hill that's at about 900-1000 ft elevation, and so even if the rest of the city is clear, it can often remain nasty up here for a few extra days.) We'd been inside all day working, and Kevin decided he wanted to stretch his legs and walk down to get the mail. I'd told him it was still icy, and as he left, he said "Wish me luck" to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Riveted
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We left Roche Harbor yesterday morning and headed around the back side of San Juan Island to look for orcas. (Spoiler: no orcas.) But wow what a gorgeous sky! Kevin worked while I drove the boat and kept an eye out for cetaceans. It was a pretty chill cruise the whole way. We hit Cattle Pass at exactly slack tide, as if we'd planned it. Seals and birds: We eventually chose to stay the night at Spencer Spit State Park. We were the only ones there. Dinner last night was a chicken curry that I made in my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (boy do I LOVE this thing) based on this quick recipe. There's presently no room in the galley for the pressure cooker though, so it'll probably go back home unless I figure out a solution. (I know! Bigger boat!!) :) Here's today's route (27.5 nautical miles): Related articles Rosario to Roche Harbor K-Dubs and HBs Why do you guys move around so much? Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2016 at Riveted
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We cruised over to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island yesterday (from Fox Cove on Sucia Island) -- about 20 nautical miles. We needed a couple things at the store and figured we'd skip a night of cooking and have dinner at McMillen's. We were at Roche Harbor with our friends Jake & Patti on New Year's Eve last year. It's always decorated so festively for the holidays: We ate in the bistro/bar (the little rounded room on the right) and had a few small plates (oysters, wild mushrooms in butter and garlic, a caesar salad, and then shared the lobster risotto with a side of green beans). It was all delicious. It's still quite cold up here, and a few clouds have moved in, but it's such a lovely time of year to be cruising the islands. Here's yesterday's map: Related articles Happy New Year! K-Dubs and HBs We're Back in the Islands! Roche Harbor to Patos Island Why do you guys move around so much? Patos to Sucia to San Juan Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2016 at Riveted
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This morning's sunrise (taken from our moorage in Fox Cove, looking toward Fossil Bay) was tough to capture in a photo. The glow coming from behind that forested hill was much cooler in person. After breakfast and a bunch of work, we dinghied into shore to do some hiking. Sucia Island is one of our favorite hiking destinations in the San Juan Islands. We headed for Johnson Point today, since we hadn't done this hike in a while. The weather today (again) is sunny and cold and gorgeous. The trail was a little icy and crunchy in spots: Approaching the point: Beautiful view from Johnson Point: Smooth, colorful Madrone trees: Here's a trail map of Sucia Islands (via Mobile Maplets). We took the trail out to Johnson Point, and then on the way back we took a (maybe non-official, low-tide-only) trail along Snoring Bay and Mud Bay back to the homestead and then joined up with our original trail back across to Fox Cove. Heading back to Airship to get warm: I think I'll make a pot of soup for dinner tonight, because....brrrrrrr. The high today was 39F and the low will be 25F. Our heater is working hard out... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2016 at Riveted
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We celebrated New Year's Eve last night in Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island. We met up with some friends (Dan and Eileen, and their Nordic Tug 32 "Fortunate") on their boat for happy hour and then dinner. Dan and Eileen made a delicious risotto with chicken and we brought champagne and salad and asparagus. It was a fun night! We took no photos at Stuart Island...and there were no visible northern lights last night either. I set the alarm for a few times in the middle of the night, but no luck. Oh well. Guess we'll just have to go back to Alaska for that! The outboard on the dinghy died yesterday afternoon (while Kevin was out pulling in the crab pots, and our last crab of 2015), so he spent some time this morning in Prevost Harbor trying to diagnose that. At about 1pm we headed back over to Sucia Island and we're now moored in Fox Cove. More clear mountain views on our way over: After a bit more work on the outboard here, we did some testing and took the dinghy over to the beach. It ran okay, but it's going to need some work. (We think... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2016 at Riveted
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We're back in the San Juan Islands and the weather is lovely! We came up on Sunday with some family in tow and took a quick little two-hour excursion in Airship over to Cypress Island and back in the rain. It was still fun, but we're happy the weather has improved since then. On Monday morning we all took a little cruise on the new Nordic 44 that's at Cap Sante right now and almost ready to head off to its new owners. Nice boat!! Then on Monday afternoon we headed over to James Island to meet our friend Sam for some cruising. Once we got there, we all decided that it might be a little exposed for the winds, so we moved over to Brigantine Bay at Decatur Island for the night. We rafted onto Sam's Nordic Tug 37 and had a nice time catching up. A dusting of snow on Orcas Island: Rafted at Decatur Island: Our route: Anacortes to James to Decatur (with a little detour before mooring to finish up a phone call while in cell range): In the morning, we dinghied into shore and hiked up to the top of Decatur Island (well, almost the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2015 at Riveted
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The dinnerware we have on Airship is the blue Willow pattern. There was something that really appealed to me about this traditional, blue and white pattern when we were outfitting the boat. At some point a couple years ago, I became aware of artist Don Moyer. Don was just starting to design a series of plates based on the Willow design. He called his dinnerware Calamityware. It was dark and funny, and we loved it. He began with a Kickstarter project, plate by plate. His first four plates were 1/Flying Monkeys, 2/Giant Robot, 3/Voracious Sea Monster, and 4/UFO Invasion. Word spread and Don and his crazy plates gained popularity, and so another set of four was born. The next set was called 5/Pirates in the Neighborhood, 6/Rambunctious Volcano, 7/Tentacles! and 8/the Vortex of Doom. So now, we have integrated Calmityware along with our Willow, and it's a fabulous union. Plate on the left: Vortex of Doom. Plate on the right: Willow: Pirates in the Neighborhood (with detail): UFO invasion: Sea monster (detail): Recently, Don created some Calamity mugs called "Things Could Get Worse" and they've got it all...a giant frog, pterodactyls, robots, a zombie poodle, Bigfoot, UFOs, sea monsters, pirates,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2015 at Riveted
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We've been trying out a new service called Plated. Plated delivers everything you need to create "delicious chef-designed recipes." You receive a weekly box of fresh and seasonal ingredients, pre-portioned for the recipes you choose. The recipes/ingredients are meals for two, and you can opt for two, three, or four meals (for two) per week. You get to choose from 7 standard meals (included in your normal price) with the option of a slight upcharge for a "Chef's Table" meal with slightly more expensive ingredients. (Also available: desserts.) A friend recommended Plated to us, and after some research into some of the other similar services, Plated definitely looked like the best one with the most interesting recipes and the most variety. We've been using it now for a few weeks and it's fantastic. There hasn't been one meal that we didn't like. The ingredients are fresh. The pre-portioning is brilliant and makes things SUPER easy, and it's perfect for the boat!! We opted for a 3x/week plan, but added a fourth dinner to the delivery we got right before we headed up to the boat. It made cooking dinner a breeze. Having all the ingredients pre-portioned without having to have... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2015 at Riveted
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We left Anacortes on Friday morning (after returning from The Willows Inn on Lummi, and after stopping to look at a couple more boats) and drove back to Portland. We didn't get in until about 10:30pm on Friday night, and as Kevin brought in the last of our stuff from the truck, said "Please tell me you already brought my laptop bag into the house." [crickets] Well shit. Guess where Kevin's laptop was? Waiting patiently in the pilothouse of Airship, back in Anacortes, four and a half hours away. We had a flight to San Francisco on Sunday morning, a birthday party for a good friend in SF on Sunday night, and then starting Monday mid-day in San Jose: meetings meetings meetings for two days. The presentation we'd been working on was on Kevin's laptop and we couldn't make do without it. So, guess what we did on Saturday? About nine hours of driving to go get that laptop (and give Airship another little pat on the bow). It was super windy and pouring rain for most of the drive, to boot! (See, it's not all rainbows and unicorns around here.) We made it fine to SF and had a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2015 at Riveted
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On Thursday afternoon we left Anacortes and headed for Lummi Island for Kevin's birthday dinner at The Willows Inn. We did not take the boat since the weather was marginal and the mooring buoys out front are not really a very well-protected anchorage. We drove the truck the hour and a half or so from Anacortes to Bellingham, and then took the Lummi Island ferry across to the island. This is the ferry: This video below will give you an idea of what I mean by the term "marginal" when referring to boating conditions: The ferry didn't seem to have any issues with it, but it was definitely a woolly ride. A little bit fun, a little bit scary (but not really). Glad it was a short one though! (You'll hear me gasp early on in the video.) Arriving at The Willows: We were SO looking forward to dinner again here. I thought the last time we'd been was July 2014, but I was wrong. I brought Kevin here for his birthday last December. We just didn't do a whole post about it filled with food photos because it was so dark. But that time in July? That one has... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2015 at Riveted
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We've been kickin' it on Airship back in Anacortes for a few days just working and doing a few boat projects. We've looked at a few new boats and a few used boats (thinking about the "one size up" we'd like to get to store guests more comfortably...and stuff...guests and stuff). The past two days have had gale warnings and some stronger-than-usual winds, but honestly it hasn't seemed that bad. The clouds today are haulin' fast across the view off the stern while I work though: Today is Kevin's birthday! We're working here on the boat this morning, and then later on we'll head up to Lummi Island (by car) and we'll stay tonight at The Willows Inn. Looking forward to another incredible, creative meal by Blaine Wetzel. Here's a post from the last time we were at The Willows. There's a mooring buoy out front of The Willows, but so far we've never stayed there. It's not a very protected anchorage, and the weather isn't exactly calm this week. One of these days though it would be fun to anchor or moor out front and dinghy in to dinner. :) Related articles An Unexpected Break in the Weather Work... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2015 at Riveted
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Another sunrise. (Yawn. Literally. I just popped out of bed quickly for this one and then climbed right back in! Brrrrr.) Ewing Cove on Sucia Island: We left Ewing Cove this morning and headed back over to Eagle Harbor at Cypress Island. We really wanted to do the hike up to Eagle Cliff on Cypress Island (the one we didn't do last week when we were here because we were too busy socializing with friends...that one!) Nice view of Mt. Baker from our new spot in Eagle Cove: We dinghied to shore and set off up the hill. More fungus along the trail! We have done the hike up to Duck Lake and the Duck Lake loop, and done the up-up-up trail to Reed Lake, but hadn't done the Eagle Cliff trail. This trail came highly recommended by a Riveted reader, so we really wanted to do it before the trail closes in February. (Thanks Glen! Good tip!) Here's a trail map: We started at Eagle Harbor (sea level) and hiked up to Eagle Cliff. The hike was beautiful, but nothing super out of the ordinary, as far as hikes go.... ...until you get to the end, where the really... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2015 at Riveted
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Sunrise in Fox Cove on Sucia Island. (And lest you think, based on the past couple days of sunrise photos, that I'm up at sunrise every morning, let me tell you how this happens. In the stateroom up front there are two portholes...one on port and one on starboard. I can lift my head--or not--and see the light and landscape reflected in the chrome sides of the porthole and usually tell if it's good enough to get out of bed for. :) This one was.) After breakfast we did a little work and then decided to give ourselves a slight change of scenery and go around to the other side of Sucia Island. We took the long way around (and by long way, I mean a loop around Patos Island...the next island over). Here's our map (8.6 nautical miles from Fox Cove, around Patos, to Ewing Cove). We're the hard-to-see orange line: The Patos Island light house with a pretty good rip tide happening out front: Here we are moored in Ewing Cove (tiny dot behind the sailboat): There are three mooring buoys in Ewing Cove, and great beach access to the trailhead. We hiked the same trail we hiked... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2015 at Riveted
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Sunrise at Friday Harbor this morning: We left Indian Cove at Shaw Island yesterday morning and did a little sightseeing and whale watching searching. Sights were beautiful, but no whales. We arrived at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island right around 1pm. We had a Thanksgiving dinner reservation for 3pm at the Coho Restaurant. Last week when we figured out we'd be up here in the islands, I called to see if they had any availability for Thanksgiving. They said they had a waiting list, but that they did have one last table available and it was a table for two at 3pm. We took it, and our 3pm Thanksgiving dinner was delicious! I started out taking photos, but only got as far as the amuse bouche (meaning, I took one photo of the very first thing and then spaced on all the rest...oh well). That first thing was really good though: a deviled egg with smoked salmon on top. Delicious! The next courses were a sweet potato ravioli with brown butter and sage sauce, and a crab cake with a pomegranate and citrus chutney (they were both great), then a soup and salad (the soup was the winner: a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2015 at Riveted
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This morning we worked for several hours and then finished up a couple of boat projects we started the other day. Boat projects completed are: (1) Secure LED rope lights behind valances in salon (2) fix master stateroom dimmer on LED lights (3) replace bezel on under settee cabinet with new one so Tiffani and I don't cut ourselves on it ever again (4) sand the edge of same under settee cabinet so door will open and close without sticking OMG that was so annoying for so long (5) procure new raw water impeller for Onan generator and replace the old one (which as it turns out, really needed replacing, see photo below), (6) come up with better solution for closet storage (7) install XBox, and (8) get a new lightbulb for the engine room light fixture. Happy with our progress, and noticing that the wind had died down considerably since yesterday (which was gusting to 47 kts!), we decided to head out! We're now over at Indian Cove at the south end of Shaw Island. We anchored and then set out a couple of crab traps, and now I'm about to start prepping dinner. Tomorrow we're having an early... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2015 at Riveted