Tidepool Shakedown


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A week of good weather saw us get the boat out, cleaned up, and serviced. The weather stayed good, so we went for a short trip.

We had some sun, but the clouds over the mountains made it clear that gloomy weather was coming.

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Still, we saw a few sparkles.


The wood is much prettier on the beach. It’s a little spooky to see in the water.



We saw a Sea Labrador. You can identify them by the flat spot on the underside of their tails. This one was eating flounder like they were good for him. Labradors are goofy.



Dances with Trucks.


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It turns out Tucson is knee-deep in Bobcats. These are two of the four we saw catting around my sister’s house.


Then it was off to Albuquerque and another great zoo. This bull giraffe was eating off somebody’s lunch plate that blew into the stone barrier around his pen.


Everybody loves zoos.


We talked to over a thousand kids on the trip about Jimi & Isaac books and the importance of storytelling. Almost everyone was great. Way above average, certainly.


Because we could, we hopped in the RV and tootled over to Amarillo Texas to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law. Pretty cool tootling. The high plains are pretty high. We didn’t get a free 72oz steak, but we found this amazing canyon just south of town.

There were obligatory long-horn cows watching the park gate.


Our campsite was riddled with gophers that probably didn’t have plague or hanta virus, as far as we know. We were able to plug in and run the heater, which was great, because it was 16 degrees at night. That’s like -500 Canadian.


Dana and Joanne loaned us mountain bikes and took us mountain biking all around the bottom of the canyon. It was super pretty and quite an adventure. Mountain bikes are way different than stingrays. There’s no place for the sissy bar, for instance.


These deer pretended to be tame and lure us into a trap, but I know they can eviscerate soft humans with one quick kick, so we stayed a safe distance away.


The coyote was not after him at that exact minute.


We ran back to the Mohave to get a little heat, and found an amazing remote campsite just 1/4 mile off a paved road. Absolutely beautiful – sunny and warm.

This is a yellow-banded heat seeker. He never moved. Perhaps he never will.


We assume this is a cow that stepped on our tire tracks. It would be a shame if we didn’t see an elk. We know we didn’t see some deer, either.


It was a great trip. RV’ing can be surprisingly fun.



So we’re driving around the Southwest in the NAB (NotABoat), giving Jimi & Isaac book talks and camping in the desert. In the southwest, there’re lots of places where you can just pull off the road and park/camp for up to 14 days. It’s terrifying. Also pretty cool. Sometimes cold. Not really hot, yet. We’re hoping for hot at some point in the trip.

Pictures follow:


This is the LA drinking water, pumped from what’s left of the Colorado River. We didn’t bathe in it. As far as you know.


The desert in southwest AZ is paved in iron-rich basalt. It looks shiny.


This mine shaft in the middle of nowhere had four-wheeler tracks leading right into it. They either got the four-wheeler out or buried it in, but we couldn’t see it.


Before we’re done with this trip we hope to learn what animal lives in what size holes. Apparently the baseball-size holes may be tarantulas, which is pretty cool.


There’s terrific camping just outside Phoenix, overlooking the Maricopa Sheriff’s shooting range. We figured it was probably a pretty safe place.


Got a little rain in Tucson.


Sedona was, of course, crazy pretty.


There was a monument to the Monty Python Trojan Rabbit on one of the hills…


and a few motorcycle gangs touring through.


The camping overlooked a crazy-great model airplane field. The models and the flying was amazing. This is a picture of a model.



The worst trash source we’ve found are these Mylar balloons. We pick them up everywhere. At least they don’t stink.


The Sonoran dessert museum was a hit.


The Reviews are In!

We gave our boat show talk at the Big Seattle Boat Show on Wednesday. Amazingly, the room was full, and the results are in.

The people who were disappointed with the talk failed to fill out survey forms, so they don’t matter. Those who voted loved the talk, with 44/45 points awarded. The most constructive critism was that we should include better information on communication and weather data. Unfortunately, our advice to research Iridium puck systems, and probably install a SSB radio, and for sure get a SSB receiver, is the best we can do. Everything is changing too fast.

Others asked for a bigger screen and more chairs. That’s cool.

Nobody asked for more cowbell.

The Red Turtle (La Tortue Rouge)

My sister gave me a gift that I am giving to you. This is a bulk regifting.


La Tortue Rouge is a delightful piece of art disguised as a movie. It’s uniquely evocative. Stunning, really, and if you’re reading this blog you’ll like it. I’m not going to give a lot of background because the movie deserves a fresh view. A blank slate.

However, I will give you a little tiny bit of context, to make sure you can appreciate the beauty and attention to detail of the film.

This is a Ghost Crab.


And sometimes the horizon does disappear:


The DVD adds a “Making Of” feature that is one of the best made. Michaël Dudok De Wit is extremely generous and humble as he goes through the process of making the movie, and telling the story, and creating the art. All are separate processes, and he does a great job.

Teachers would do well to go through the “Making Of” video with their students. It captures the nuts and bolts of creation. Another valuable exercise for anyone is to watch the movie, then write a paragraph on what it’s about, then watch the “Making Of” video. I’m pretty certain that everyone who watches “La Tortue Rouge” will see a different movie.


As always, please read and review Jimi & Isaac Books!

Origo Stove Repair


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TIDEPOOL came with an Origo 4300 stove. This is a great, simple stove that can run on alcohol or electricity. We’ve only used the alcohol part. There are two cans full of fiber that you fill with alcohol, and then you light them like candles. We can cook for three or four days on one filling. Also, alcohol is safe to have around, you can put fires out with water, and nothing wants to blow up.

Almost nothing.


We woke up one morning in Canada to find that the hinged, tempered glass lid had returned to dust overnight. We never heard a thing, which is amazing since we were sleeping four feet away.

A new replacement part required stupid money, if it was really available, so we decided to make our own. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use art glass like we did on the refrigerator top in Bright Water, but we couldn’t find a place to get the art glass tempered.

Finally, we found a piece of 1/8 inch thick 6061-T6 aluminum, cut it to size, hit it with the belt sander and then a disk sander, sprayed it with clear matte finish, and glued it onto the old hinges. We like it better than the glass. Winner winner chicken dinner.



The United States Navy has had some difficult times this year in the Pacific, with three collisions and a grounding. They just released an astonishingly candid account of the incidents that is worth reading.


Both fatal collisions were due to issues directly related to recreational boating.

The USS John McCain ran into a freighter because (among other things) there was a confused hand-off between different control stations. Several years ago, a boat screamed into the anchorage at Sucia island at high speed, then ran over and got stuck on an anchored set of mooring lines.

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The new captain had driven his new boat from Bellingham using the flybridge controls, then came below to attempt to moor. He was unable to switch control authority in time to avoid driving right over two very large, very tight ropes that ended up between his props and his rudders.

I was about to use a hacksaw to cut the lines and free him when the park service finally showed up.

In the USS Fitzgerald collision, the watchstanders failed to correctly identify and avoid other vessels in a complex environment. Our sort-of-modern commercial radar and AIS system does that all automatically for us, but the Navy bridge upgrades have been spotty and non-organized due to funding and other issues. A mess.



Please read and review Jimi & Isaac Books!


Performance Chart


Since we got the new prop mounted, we decided to run some data. The chart shows the performance of the boat. The clear place to run is at 3600 rpm and 26 kts. The weird thing is that you’d pick this speed anyway. You can feel the boat lighten up and quiet down. Running faster is just more agitated. Running slower is boring and sluggish.

For best economy, we can run at 1200 rpm (very slow) or 3600 rpm (on a clean plane). We prefer faster.

When the boat is happy, everyone is happy.

Tidepool Cruising Data

Please read and review Jimi & Isaac Books!

Great Day for Mermaids



The weather guy said we’d have two more warm days before winter, so we loaded up the mermaids and headed out.

Everett has an amazing sandy beach just outside of town. It’s actually dredge spoils, but we can live with that.

First the Gurlz reviewed the instruction manual. If you don’t have this book yet, or all the other books illustrated by Sheena Lott, go buy them now. We’ll wait. Jessie’s Island and A Morning to Polish and Keep are the most important ones.


Next the gurlz made a dry run, to inspect the beach equipment and develop a plan.


Then they hit the beach.




Even the gulls were impressed.


Please read and review Jimi & Isaac Books!



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We took a truckload of Bright Water stuff and other boat stuff to the marine garage sale at Fisheries Supply in Seattle. We got there at about five am and set up a table with a Coleman lantern in the center. The bright light helps attract buyers.


Nancy sold everything in the first five minutes. Or so. Anyway, we were out of there at about nine with significantly less stuff and a little bit more money.


We tried to spend the money as quickly as possible before it spoiled. We removed the ancient macerator pump from Tidepool’s poop management system and converted to a gravity drain.


A bronze valve is more reliable than an electric pump.


If we’re moving, at least a little bit, the boat tilts enough so that all the “water” will drain aft and out of the boat. Of course, we only drain the holding tank when our legal team has reviewed all pertinent law and cleared us for a voiding operation. It’s generally a four-day review process.


Desolation Sound oysters cut another hole in our twenty-year-old dingy, so we decided to get a fresh one. It’s a little heavier, but the tubes are bigger and it stores in the same place. It’s still only 53 pounds, so it’s easy for Nancy and I to carry ashore, even if the 2 hp Honda outboard (30 pounds) is mounted.


We installed a new house battery to replace the failed one and decided to upgrade the solar panel as well. We sold the 50W panel and on/off controller and bought a 100W panel and a MPPT controller. Because the controller is better, the swap should actually get us about three times the power.


The panel install is cleaner, too, although we will see some shading from the radar dome. I didn’t want the big panel up in the air when we’re driving down the highway. I even pop-riveted a NASCAR air dam onto the front of the panel so it doesn’t get ripped off the roof. Probably overkill, but spiffy none-the-less.


I built a navigation computer and media center out of a TV and a RaspberryPi micro-computer. It runs OpenCPN for navigation and KODI to watch videos. It’s supposed to receive AIS, too, using a cheap add-on, but I can’t get that to work. We’ll see.


Please read and review Jimi & Isaac Books!