Bright Water at Sea

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We were spotted and videoed motor-sailing to weather (like a boss).

It’s cool and uncommon to see video from outside the boat.

That’s us at 2:44 or so: https://youtu.be/2KJySPsBNBQ

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Port Light Gaskets Dos

It was just one short year ago that I tried to mold port light gaskets for the aft cabin port lights and failed. Finally, we delivered our mold to Innovative Technologies in Everett, WA and they cast some gaskets for us. They were just peachy. I encouraged Innovative to only sell full shipsets of eight on further orders, so if you want fewer please find a friend to split with. You’ll want to replace them all, anyway.

Now we’re finally installing the new gaskets.

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There are two worst things that can happen: drop and break the glass, or drop and lose a screw (especially out the window). We used Harbor Freight clamps to try and catch the pieces.

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The old gaskets were hard as old rubber. Hockey pucks, maybe. I used a stick to pry them over and get access to the screw heads. If you can get to a hardware store, replacing these screws with Phillips Heads would be totally worth it.

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Once you get the old seal and glass and trim ring out, break the clamp screws loose and loosen them many turns – five or ten or more. Don’t lose anything.

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The frame is held to the coach roof with sex bolts. Yep. That’s a thing.

If you need more, you can get them from McMaster Carr, and if you can get them in Phillips Heads do so. Our frames were inadequately countersunk for the sex bolt heads, so we had to remove the inner piece and deepen the countersink so the heads were flush or below. It makes a mess. Try and hold the outer fastener still so you don’t create a leak around that fastener head.

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Clean everything up, stack the glass above the seal ring above the trim ring, and hold it all back up while you reclamp. It’s harder than it looks. We installed the seal rings with the less angled side down, which I think is probably backwards than intended. However, it looks like the seal likes it better this way. There’s less movement as you clamp the window closed.

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Reinstall the fasteners but leave them loose. This is a horrible job, but Philllips Head screws would help a lot.

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Slide the seal ring out as far as possible and make sure the glass is centered.

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Then tighten every fastener.

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Close the clamps and adjust the clamp screws. You only need one or two turns after full contact to get a good seal. Too tight and too loose are both bad.

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Fill the window with water and check for leaks. If it leaks, tighten and/or loosen the clamp screws slightly. You may need to open and reclose the port if it was too tight, to let the gasket find a new happy place. Remember to empty the window before you open it again.

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When you see water in the window and you see water through the window you have reached optimal window.

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14 February, 2017

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Not too long ago, we visited a Frigate Bird mating colony. They were putting a considerable amount of time and energy into selecting their mates and establishing their personal identity.

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For the last few days, small fish have been spawning en masse and dying, spent, in huge piles on the beach.

The Frigate Birds have lost their mating fluffery and are feeding on the dead fish before they wash ashore. The birds hover over the water and reach down, plucking the floating nutrition from the sea without getting anything wet but the ends of their beaks.

So, to recap, those that chose their mates carefully are leading lives of leisure and beauty, while those that spawned anonymously and recklessly are washing up on the beach dead.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Notes from Nancy (Tres)

Hi everybody. I thought of a couple subjects to write about, but the clear winner is “Why do I like cruising so much?” Here is my list (not in any particular order):

What I like about living on BRIGHT WATER:

The active lifestyle, everyday is an adventure!

  • Fishing; this year has not been as good as previous years, but we still catch enough for food. I like the time we spend fishing out of the dinghy. It is a purposeful way to explore new places. We caught a Yellow-tail this year, our first one! My new favorite fish. I never get tired of fresh fish!

  • Walking the beaches; hunting for treasures, shells and rocks and other things that were lost overboard by someone else. We found a screw driver on the beach yesterday. I found a 5 peso coin on a rugged remote beach this year.

  • Hiking; the arroyos are my favorite to explore. They tend to be flatter and not as many cacti to avoid. The plants and animals are interesting to see up close. We saw our first snake. It was a racer, sorry no picture.

  • Snorkeling; I could do that everyday when the water is over 72 degrees. I saw my first HUGE live coral reef this year. I am never bored by the life in the Sea.

  • Kayaking; The wet butt kayaks are way more fun than I thought. I like to explore and use them to go to remote snorkeling locations. It is also good conditioning for my back.

Phil & I work together on everything. We depend on each other. (The negative is that our kids have the added responsibilities to take care of our stuff at home.)

I like the people we meet. We seem to meet very interesting people from backgrounds that we would never cross paths with back home. Maybe it is the common decision to live on a boat in a remote part of North America or the independent people who choose this lifestyle. Most people we meet and form a bond with have been or are self employed. They are use to being self sufficient and independent and making their own decisions.

I like the simple, but important routine of each day.

I like being warm and tan.

I like feeling physically fit and my back does not hurt.

    • Maybe it is the hiking on uneven ground that we do for a couple hours, 4 or 5 times a week. Maybe it is the time in the water, although now it is pretty cold, 67 degrees, so not much time in the water lately.

    • Maybe it is that I am not sitting at a computer or riding in a car for hours a day.

    • Maybe it is because while I am sleeping and the boat is moving I am using my core muscles to steady myself all night, so they do not get tightened up?

    • Who knows, but I like it.

BRIGHT WATER is a great comfortable home with amazing views

  • She is well equipped and comfortable underway and at anchor. I do not wish for any comfort from home. We have everything we need here.
  • It is so nice to be in the Saloon or Galley and watch what is going on outside. (Sea life, the geology and colors of the desert and sea.)

  • I like watching the stars. It reminds me of camping with my mom and looking for satellites crossing the sky.

  • I like the ease of the quick cleaning of the boat. When everything has a place, it is easy to finds things and easy to clean up.

  • Cooking, trying new combinations of favors and ingredients. Since we do not waste food, there are many new discoveries of combining leftovers with fresh things make for great discoveries. We have our Provisioning List. It makes shopping quick and easy.

  • BRIGHT WATER has lots of space for provisions. A cruising friend asked what I do when we run out of something? I told her I haven’t noticed that ever happening, (not counting fresh produce, but even that isn’t a problem, we just adapt). We seem to always have lots of choices for meals.

 

 

One of the subjects that Phil & I talk about is how can we incorporate these things that make boat life so great into our life on Camano? . . . . . . . IMPORT the Sun and Blue sky!

The number ONE thing we miss while living on BRIGHT WATER is our kids!

I feel very fortunate to have been able to live my dream of refitting a boat into a “Cruising Machine” and be able to enjoy her for the many miles we have traveled on the West Coast and in Mexico. Our initial dream was to take her to the South Pacific after one season exploring the Sea of Cortez, but it is so amazing here that we found no need to go any further.

Random Pictures

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The grey rock was actually more organized before I stepped on it. Unbelievable.

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I don’t know how long you’d have to brainstorm to find a better name for a ship, but it would be a long, long time.

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A stunningly beautiful house built in a stunningly beautiful spot. The house makes the land better. You don’t see that often enough. At Caleta San Juanico.

How the soup is made. Cookstove upper left, ingredients lower right.

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Pictures of Manta Rays. Sorry they’re not better.

A very large sting ray laying on our anchor chain. They’re like cats.

Cultural Collision

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Lena gave us this great travelling Mancala game before we left, but it didn’t have any pieces to play with.

So we grabbed some glass fish eyes from the Rockfish Glass stock, and off we went. The glass pieces were fine, if a little slippery, and we play mancala whenever we don’t play gin, while killing time before bed.

Then, wandering around Caleta San Juanico, we found eight trillion bits of obsidian laying on the ground. Literally. Eight trillion. Laying on the ground.

So we substituted the obsidian for the glass fish eyes, and the game works better now.

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Oddly, the obsidian pieces are call Apache tears, even though Caleta San Juanico is a long, long way from southern New Mexico. So it’s mildly ironic to play an African board game with Mexico rocks appropriating a SW USA cultural reference. It’s how we roll.

In other developments, whoever goes first wins. Always. So we don’t play any more.

Book Report: Fritjof Capra

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“Uncommon Wisdom,” by Fritjof Capra, is a meta-book. It’s a book about the process of writing a book. Capra had previously written “The Tao of Physics,” a groundbreaking conflation of physical and metaphysical study and belief.

Capra’s great insight, as explained by Capra, is that science is too hard. In science, you need to develop theories and models (which is fine), but then science requires you to test your ideas, and discard those which prove false or fail to allow prediction of future events. He appropriates something called the “Bootstrap Model” of physics, created by Geoffrey Chew in response to the insurmountable complexity of quantum theory. In Capra’s Bootstrap World, all you need to do is tell stories. If your stories seem true, and they don’t contradict other true-ish stories, then eventually we’ll have enough stories surrounding the truth that the truth will be unable to hide and will reveal itself.

“Uncommon Wisdom” is a collection of discussions and dialogs Capra had with great thinkers to collect their stories, winnow away the parts that disagree with Capra’s (evolving) great story, and then collect the great story into a new book (called “The Turning Point”). “Great Thinkers” are almost exclusively people who agree with Capra.

The book was published in the late 1980s, but most of the discussions happened in the early to mid 1970s. Many of the discussions occurred while drunk, high on pot, or high on LSD. It’s very apparent that the discussions have been reconstructed from … who knows what, and that their content is highly paraphrased and/or completely fabricated. There is also a strong smell of plagiarism, but it may very well be plagiarism with permission (appropriation, I suppose). A final dialog, reproduced from actual tape recordings made at the end of the process, reveals that many, if not most, of the “Great Thinkers” involved are uncomfortable with Capra’s overall thesis.

I am unable to adequately summarize Capra’s thesis, myself. It has to do with the one-ness of entirety. The indescribable complexity of the gestalt. The necessity to consider all possibilities before attempting to understand any process. Most importantly, Capra requires the suspension of belief. Evaluation of a concept is inappropriate unless you consider all interactions, and since there are infinite interactions, you must never evaluate concepts. Except as stories, except as metaphors, except as compared to Capra’s evolving narrative. It’s infuriating.

False and broken syllogisms fill the book:

  • Bad things were done, mostly by men, so men are bad.

  • Most of the bad things that have been done weren’t done by women, so women are good.

  • A concept is not universal, so the concept is untrue.

  • Sick people sometimes exploit their sickness to obtain sympathy (or money, or attention, or distraction), so sick people are sick because they want to be sick.

  • Businesses profit and survive by filling a need, so businesses (by definition) exploit the needy.

  • You think of new and weird stuff when you’re on LSD, so LSD is a good source of new ideas, even if the new ideas only make sense when you’re on LSD (write drunk, edit sober comes to mind, but Capra fails to make that point) (not Hemmingway, definitely not Hemmingway).

  • Old cultures had shamans instead of doctors and scientists, and old cultures didn’t have modern problems, so shamans must be better than doctors and scientists.

  • (The big one). If two stories don’t agree, then at least one of them is false, but if two stories agree, both are probably mostly true (Head explodes).

Capra is/was a great storyteller (edit: Capra is apparently still spouting from Berkeley, Cali. Shocker.). He’s glib. The stories have been well curated. The book is entertaining to read and contains hundreds of original ideas (for instance: Social Activism is often a form of self-treatment for an emotional disorder, and once the disorder has been worked through, the activism often stops. In other works, people act out when they feel ineffective and stop acting out once they learn more effective methods. Imagine where this leads) and probably mostly true insight into the thought process Capra and his minions follow to arrive at their dubious conclusions. But when I apply Capra’s own filter and analyze the book as a whole, Capra is evil. Science is viewed as false, dishonest, and/or (gasp) political, not as a search for testable truths through the ruthless search for and application of facts. Narrative is more important than results. Glibness is better than competence.

I’m a big, big fan of quackery – the application of theory (even wild or bird-brained theory) in the the absence of a scientifically-chosen plan of action. If you have a non-curable cancer, by all means eat handfuls of carrot seeds and spend four hours a day balancing on your head. But don’t pursue quackery to the exclusion of science. Capra doesn’t just advocate quackery, he seeks to discredit the scientific process. He promotes his viewpoint as a flawless method to search for truth, but that’s only because he rejects instead of solicits criticism. Being wrong is fundamentally disallowed from the start, in his approach, and he actively and openly rejects dissenting viewpoints, without taking the opportunity to use the dissent as a tool to find truth.

Unfortunately, Capra’s approach is all to common in our “modern” society. Wanting something to be true is enough. Expressing dissent, or even making declarative statements implying that there is truth, is considered rude.

I really hate this book and what it stands for, and I recommend you read it. It explains a lot, I fear.