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Home Port of Seward, Alaska



Here we are in Oakland, California, with two days before we head south to Los Angeles and then on to Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. We'll arrive, as everyone must, at 0520, traverse through customs and then on to the in-country component of Air Tahiti that will take us and our gear to Raiatea and Wings.

The trip is planned and the decision has been made: no arduous activities! We have two sets of guests and other than enjoying them, we have no long trips planned. It's a first and long overdue, we both think.

As we complete our final preparations, I've selected a few photos of our gear.

Anchorage endured a Winter from our past: cold and snowy. Skiing was fantastic and we enjoyed a beautiful winter landscape. It was not, however, good preparation for the South Pacific weather that we'll have, although it was great motivation for doing so.

The two items that we had shipped to Oakland: a new kill switch solenoid and a 500-ft spool of parachute cord. We use the parachute cord (paracord, in the lingo) for many purposes, including for messengers for our halyards. Since the mast is 62-feet long, we need a minimum of 124-feet: the 500-ft spool will disappear quickly. UV from sunlight is so quickly damaging on the nylon rope that we use aboard that we remove the long pieces of rope while we're away. To make replacing the halyards easier, we tie a length of smaller rope (the paracord) to the end of the halyard and when removing it, string through the small rope. To replace the halyard, simply run the process in reverse. The smaller pieces are "messengers".

The new Racor mount that I designed and fabricated. The lower section will bolt to a partition and the upper section's two middle bolts will attach the Racor filter assembly. To remove the filter assebly using the mount, I just release the two wing nuts and the assembly and upper section comes loose. What an improvement...I hope.

I bought the parts (line and connectors) and spliced this self-equalizing dinghy tow strap system. It's based on a 3-anchor equalizer from my mountaineering days with a short splice to re-attach the two ends into an endless loop.

This is the new anchor chain hook and line. The hook attaches to a link in the anchor chain and the line attaches to a cleat on the foredeck. Slack is allowed into the anchor chain so that the load of the anchor comes on the chain hook, line, and cleat. The stretch in the nylon line removes shock load from the foredeck hardware and stops anchor chain and hook noises from being transmitted by a tight chain. If the nylon line breaks, the chain hook will take the slack and we'll be reminded to do something! Shock load on the foredeck is undesirable.

The old and non-functioning solenoid is at left and the new, expensive solenoid is at right. The solenoid allows us to stop the diesel engine from the cockpit rather than running below, removing a side cover from the engine compartment, and reaching in a hand to pull the lever. The only way to kill a diesel engine is by shutting off fuel since they don't use electricity as a gas engine does. After years of searching, I finally found the replacement in Italy, ordered it from Italy, and had it shipped to Oakland. While it's expensive, and we do hope that it works, it'll be much more convenient for us.

One of our boxes, uncovered and partially unpacked to find the old solenoid, shows how much stuff one can carefully pack. TSA, as always, inspected all of our stuff, but contrary to all of our other experiences, they did a respectful job of replacing the contents and re-sealed the boxes with cable ties. Thanks, TSA.

A new dinghy sun cover in a net bag, shelf-liner anti-skid, and two inflatable fenders show in this box. We lose equipment quickly in the sun and harsh conditions of the Pacific and can rarely find replacements locally.

All three boxes and my Bill Bag are on display. These go in the cargo hold, and at great cost, across the Pacific. Each of us has a small day pack and I have my ukulele to cart around.



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