Monday, March 16, 2015

We have a new website!

"Bye, come visit us at Ocean Vagabonds!" is now up and running and we will no longer be maintaining this blog. So if you're interested in continuing to follow our story please check in there. For those with Facebook you can like our Ocean Vagabonds page to receive our latest updates. We look forward to seeing you at the new site!

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Few Unfortunate Events

Where it all began...  

    We went on a trip to visit an island where a Tlingit tribe used to live, after a couple of days there, we traveled to a Ryus bay a few hours away; which is where a series of accidents decided to pay us a visit. It all started with us exploring an old homestead...

 Ryus Bay is known to have an old homestead, we were excited to search for it.With a light rain and a slight breeze we headed out in our porta-bote to see what we could find. As we motored along watching the shoreline for anything that might have once been something we headed into a little sheltered area and the bottom started coming up really fast, As Dad turned the outboard hard over to avoid going aground, we heard a small splash and then all was quiet. We all looked at Dad and he was staring into the water, our skiff had a smooth plastic transom for the outboard, so when he turned real hard the engine had slipped of the mount and gone into the water. The water was fairly shallow, maybe four feet deep, so we grabbed a line and made a big loop in it and then dropped it down right above where the outboard was and hooked it on the engine and pulled it out of the water. With the outboard secure, we started the long row back to the boat, the wind and rain had picked up and the skiff was not really a good boat to be rowing in. Half way back to the boat one of the locks for the the oar broke, we rowed as far as we could and then Dad and I each took  a oar and we rowed canoe style the rest of the way home.

Jack asleep on the bench.

  The morning after that adventure, we were raising the anchor to go home, when the puppy decided to chase the anchor chain and got his paw caught in the windlass and tore his foot up real bad. Once we had released his foot he ran inside, I followed after him to calm him down while Mom and Dad finished raising the anchor. We put a mat on the floor inside so he would not spread blood all over the boat. After he calmed down we poured Iodine on his foot, wrapped it in gauze and slipped a sock over it. A movie was put on so no one would bother Jack on the ride home. When we  reached the fuel dock in Ketchikan to fill up Mom and I ran up to the vet with the puppy and dropped him off; we returned later to find Jack with sixteen stitches in his left front paw. We brought him home and I think he is enjoying all the extra attention and treats!


 A few days after all this excitement, we went on another trip to the Misty Fjords. We stopped to do some fishing off Rudyard Island with some frozen Herring that we had caught off the dock the day before in Ketchikan, and the fish sure like them! We caught a few Rock Fish, Kelp Greenlings, and a Yellow Eye. We were going to try one more time before we went to Shoal Water Pass, when the engine died and Dad walked outside, we asked what was wrong, he just walked to the back of the boat, we followed to find our inflatable dingy sticking straight up out of the water! In our excitement to catch fish we had forgotten to pull the dingy in! Dad walked back inside and put the engine in reverse, it let the line go enough to  let the dingy float by it self again. I hopped into the inflatable and found we had ripped a hole in the dingy, we tried to pull the rope back up to no avail, so Dad walked inside and put on his scuba gear and  jumped into the water, Mom handed me some knives which I held for Dad, when he came to the stern. I handed him one and  he disappeared below the surface in a flood of bubbles. We waited a few minutes and when he resurfaced I followed him in the dingy around to the side of the boat. Mom had made a big loop in a line and had let it into the water (on purpose this time) and hooked it to the winch. Dad put his foot into the loop and Mom and the others worked the winch and pulled him up onto the deck.  While he climbed out of his suit he told us that there would have been no way to get the line out from above, if he had not had his scuba gear with us we would not gotten away so lightly!  ~Adelaide

Catching Herring off the dock!  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Don't Toss the Peels!

Citrus peels make not only a sweet treat but can also be used as a great addition
 in a homemade cleaner!

Truthfully I have a hard time tossing things in the garbage that are possible to reuse in making something else. I've had to curb the desire though as boat life doesn't lend itself to the storage of miscellaneous materials. The ones I couldn't give up I thought I'd share both here and in some future posts. I hope you enjoy and find them helpful!

Watching my kids peel oranges from a 25# box of oranges we had once it seemed to me that there must be something you could do with all those peels. At first I grated off the zest, drying it for later use in recipes, when I remembered that Grandma would candy her own orange peels for her holiday fruitcake. I tried out a small batch to find that it was easy and my kids loved them. I admit with the numerous “extra” ingredients put in candy these days it was nice to know what went into these. I've even tried grapefruit, lemons & limes which all came out equally good. 

To Candy Orange Peels:

Slice the orange peels into 1/4” strips and place in a pan. Add enough water to cover, they will float but that's okay and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled pour off the water. Repeat the process twice more adding fresh water each time (directions I found on-line said that this process removed the bitterness of the white pithy part). After the third time and the peels are drained, make the sugar syrup in a separate pan. There are a variety of recipes for making the syrup to candy peels. I use the following recipe because it's a 2:1 ratio that's easy to remember.
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan then add the sugar stirring until dissolved, then pour over the orange peels to just covered. Depending on how many peels you are processing, you may need to make a double batch of the sugar syrup. Simmer for 1-2 hours until the peels become translucent stirring occasionally. Strain the peels with a slotted spoon and lay to drain on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet beneath to catch any drips. I let them air dry for a couple days until they are no longer sticky and some have even sugared before I store in an airtight jar. I've had them keep anywhere from a month to years depending on their moisture content before mold will develop. If you are adventurous, for a special touch you could even dip them in dark chocolate!

Candied orange peels being air dried.

Leftover sugar syrup can be used over
pancakes & scones!

General Orange Cleaner:

Using a peeler, peel the orange zest off 4 oranges. Drop the zest into a quart jar, then fill the jar the rest of the way with white vinegar. Store in a cool dark place for 3 weeks. Strain out the zest leaving the tinctured orange vinegar. Make a 1:1 all purpose cleaner with your orange vinegar and water. Cleaning never smelled so good!

► For all you out there with marine heads... I did discover that spraying the bowl with a few squirts from the spray bottle after pumping out each use will keep the bowl from accumulating the nasty so quickly. While I wipe down the outside once a week, the bowl will go a month before I need to clean it.

~ M

Friday, February 6, 2015

Shelokum Hot Springs

One of the highlights of our Misty Fjord trip was our time spent a the hot springs. Here is a short video of our stop there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Ocean Vagabonds"

Our boat is keeping her name Nadejda, while we are giving ourselves a new one:

 "Ocean Vagabonds"

Nadejda with Ketchikan ahead.
I can't change the name of our boat because I have an impractical vintage heart. I love and try to surround myself with things from a bygone era. (Well, at least as much as I can pack into the boat without Peter noticing.) Old houses & boats have history, a story written by someone else who may be long gone. Someone whom experienced sorrows and joys in it's making & within it's surroundings. That someone gave the inanimate a heart and made it come alive. How can you not walk down a dock seeing neglected wood boats, an old district lined with aged houses or through an antique store brimming with household goods and not wonder at the stories behind each? It's how heirlooms come into being and are passed on.

Her original name adorns the forward hatch trim.
Nadejda was named after the original owner's wife when he built the boat in France back in the late 1960's, but it's unpronounceable for most of us. In fact while working our way north soon after buying our boat we called the Coast Guard for a bar report. Not understanding her name they called back, “sailboat headed north”. Even locally I'm pretty sure that since the name is hard to say most refer to us as "the sailboat with 7 kids". There have been a couple blog posts written (by Bumfuzzle & Papillion) that have discussed why a boat name should be pronounceable. Our compromise is Ocean Vagabonds for everything but the boat. I'll just have to get good at calling “November-Alpha-Delta-Echo-Juliet-Delta-Alpha” after saying Nadejda on the radio.

It's going to take awhile to work over to the new web page, but you might have noticed we've started changing the name in a few places (here on Blogger, YouTube, Google+). On Facebook we are keeping SV Nadejda for our personal use and have started a new separate page for Ocean Vagabonds. All so complicated I know.

~ M
Little vagabonds catching their dinner.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year's Resolutions

Lists are good; they can inspire, prompt, enhance and/or refine one's direction in life.

Take for example last year's resolutions, it showed us that by saying we will or won't be somewhere it can jinx the possibility, that we were able to cross off accomplishments and that we did absolutely nothing toward a desired goal.
Want to see? here's resolutions from 2014:

-we won't be in Ketchikan for our next new year (Peter)
yep, still here... guess we'll try again next year ☺ third time's the charm!

-have a puppy (Adelaide)
meet Jack, newest crew member of Nadejda

-keep a daily schedule (Molly)
yeah, about that...

-work on our sailing skills
HOORRAY!! The girls & Peter went on Sweet Charlotte with the KYC Wednesday night racers!

-produce 6 videos, the last being at least 15 minutes (Peter)
I think we actually did put up six videos but not the kind we were thinking when we wrote this.

-learn to read well (Elaine)

-learn wood carving (Caleb)
pretty sure this one was never even attempted

-work hard on practicing instruments (Adelaide, Annika and Peter)
Good Job Peter & Adelaide! Anna...

-learn to play the dulcimer stick (Katie)
Oh when the saints go marching in...

-to be published
while I was thinking of a sailing magazine here which didn't happen (nor did I even try), I've since realized that's not the direction I want to go if I was to be published, afraid of jinxing it I'll let you know if & when it happens

So with a half hour to spare in 2014 we quickly wrote down new resolutions for 2015,

  • We can play 5 songs together well (family)
  • Spend the summer working on boat projects (family)
  • Have a website up & running (Peter)
  • Write a poem, design 3 sewing patterns & learn to play an instrument (Molly)
  • Learn watercolor painting (Adelaide)
  • Learn to play the banjo to get her cello back (Annika)
  • Learn pencil drawing (Katie)
  • Finish book 1 of Suzuki violin (Elaine)

and now we will see what this year holds!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014


The old tank muffler
Old exhaust seen in back ground

The new exhaust attached to the engine.
When we bought Nadejda we knew she was a project boat. We have made list upon list of project that need done sometimes categorized from urgent to want, always a victory when we can check one off. There were other times when something that I either was unaware of or had chosen to ignore could no longer be overlooked and must be dealt with; this summer the exhaust system was that project. 

I had been uneasy about the exhaust since we bought the boat but never looked too deep into it, scared of what I might find. With my suspicion all was not well I took the precaution to protect the engine; leaving the exhaust drain open to drain condensation before it could enter the engine. When I rebuilt the head I  noticed a couple cylinders had evidence of water intrusion but hoped by taking the said precaution I could protect the engine and postpone the inevitable.

The new flex joint installed.
This summer it was time to cut into the exhaust for a closer inspection; if it came down to it I would rather find out problems while safely tied to the dock then while crossing some bar when a failure could be life threatening. What I found confirmed my fears and pushed the exhaust project up the list from "probably need attention" to "urgent" status. Knowing I wanted to do away with the double wall construction in the engine room and the tank/muffler in the pilot house I designed  a system utilizing 4" schedule 40 pipe. The parts were ordered online, the fitting from Amazon Prime and  the 6' section of pipe from a steel yard in Seattle. I set to work measuring and cutting then fitting and welding. The last piece was a 4" Vernatone muffler which was placed in the horizontal section of exhaust after the water injection.
The Vernatone muffler installed.

With all the work done it was time to fire up the engine and see what happened. As the engine came to life I could not believe the difference; it sounded like a new engine. The noise level in the pilot house was reduced by 25% and the exhaust note was so quiet you could not tell we were running a Detroit, and that is saying a lot!

For those interested in more details please keep reading,

The new exhaust as seen under the pilot house bench.
I feel I should give a brief description of the original exhaust as it was very atypical and deserves some explanation. The boat originally had a dry stack and was modified at the time the pilot house was added. From the engine the exhaust flowed through double wall tubing cooled by the raw water to a large steel tank in which the exhaust was mixed with the raw water and then travelled horizontally out the side of the boat  This tank was a mystery until earlier this summer when I cut it open to inspect it. Inside the exhaust from engine travelled vertically to within a couple of inches from the top (causing a tremendous amount of noise as it created a great deal of vibration in the end of the tank). Half way down the tank the raw water was injected and the exhaust outlet exited the side of the tank with a downward facing elbow inside the tank so that the exhaust gases were forced through the water before exiting.

The capped end on the tee.
The new exhaust is constructed entirely out of 316L stainless steel, it is all single wall and insulated with exhaust wrap where dry. The exhaust follows the same path as the original but the "muffler" tank is gone and in its place the exhaust makes a u bend and then tees into a horizontal pipe that extends both directions. One end is the outlet while the other is capped and acts as both a expansion chamber and a anti-backflow device. The raw water is injected just above this tee and cools the remainder of the exhaust that flows through the Vernatone wet muffler and out the side of the boat. The new exhaust is much quieter and the exhaust no longer condensates, draining water back into the engine this is due to the exhaust allowing air flow after the engine is shut down. The engine also starts and runs better than it did with the old exhaust

One more small victory!

Following are some pictures of the fabrication process:

Hole plasma cut in tube for tee.
Test fitting parts prior to welding.
Grinding a bevel on pipe.
Bevel Complete
Grinding the TIG torch tungsten.
Tungsten ready for welding.
Installing the tungsten in the torch.
Cap ready to be welded.
Tack welding the cap in place before welding.
Welding on the cap.
Cap weld completed.
Welding on one of the elbows.
Some of the miscellaneous pieces.