Saturday, October 24, 2015

STCW95 course

What a fun week (well at least the last three days!).  We recently completed our STCW Certification course.  What is STCW?  Well, for us, it's the basic level of sea safety training we would need should we ever want to professionally crew.  STCW would meet the minimum insurance requirements on most larger vessels with hired crew.  But STCW is also required for professional mariners, and must be renewed every 5 years.

STCW - Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping.

Q: What does STCW code affect?
A:  There are 133 IMO (International Maritime Organization) signatory countries in the world.  Every country will issue a document showing the level of mariner certification and the capacity and limitations of each.  All professional mariner certifications must be STCW Compliant.

We took our class locally here in San Diego at the Maritime Institute.  We were even more fortunate to get to take the course with friends of ours, Lewis and Alyssa from sv Eleutheria, fresh from the South Pacific, Fiji to be exact.

The first two days are primarily classroom lectures and videos, covering Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (think common sense and harassment).  Day 3 was fire training day and having the class in San Diego we got to benefit from the plethora of military facilities in the area and thus went to the local Navy base to use their firefighting training center.

Firefighting day was pretty intense.  It was warm out, 80ish by the time we left, and those turnouts aren't very airflow efficient.  After learning how to don all our equipment we had to put on our full turnouts, air tank and breathing apparatus and couldn't take them off until we were done, about 3 hours in total.  It gets a bit claustrophobic wearing all that, hearing your breathing and feeling sweat run down your face inside your mask without the ability to wipe it off as it sits at the tip of your nose wanting to be wiped away.  The actual fire rooms we went in were mock up rooms of galleys, staterooms, engine room and boiler room.  We used everything from CO2 extinguishers to a 1 1/2 inch hose.  The hose was the smaller of hoses used by professionals but holy crap does that thing put out some power.  We had two support people and one nozzle handler to hold the hose still and it was a struggle for the short 10-15 minutes at a time we did it.  Enough power that I saw the hose team beside me going flying back 3-4 feet when the support personnel let off their hold slightly.  Dangerous.  Kudos and new respect to the professionals who do this for hours at a time.

Team SeaGlub

Team Eleutheria

Day 4 was safety at sea day, water survival, which entailed donning life vests, survival (gumby) suits, and entering / exiting a liferaft, all in a (heated) community pool.  The survival suits you have to be able to get on in under 60 seconds, manageable but a good test.  We learned a cool trick, when you store your survival suit wrap 2 plastic shopping bags in the hood, when you unravel it put the baggies on your feet and they slide right in, definitely a time saver!

Made a short video about our day at the pool:

Day 5 was first aid and CPR certification.  Spent the day practicing basic bandage and splint techniques before tackling the CPR dummy.

We're now STCW95 certified and able to apply for several jobs including crewing on mega yachts!  But we're also quite a bit more knowledgeable on fire prevention and the different techniques for different fire types, got some first hand experience of what it might be like to have to use a liferaft and certified for CPR.  All in all it was useful, if not long at times, week and we're glad to have completed the course.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Never lose the leader!

So for all of you asking what do we do to occupy our time now that we're not working..... well first of all we incessantly bug all of our friends to quit their jobs and just hang out!!  Amazingly this tactic has garnered some success.  Since leaving our jobs our friends have starting calling in sick more often, pulled their child out of school to be home-schooled thus making their schedule more flexible, and one couple actually did leave their jobs!!  Did we have much or anything to do this?  Likely not.

However, when not being a bad influence we do find more 'productive' things to do, but you'll see in this post productivity is subjective.

Earlier this summer our steaming light stopped working (this is the light half way up the mast which needs to be on at night while we are motoring, so kind of important).  After going up the mast I figured out the problem was the wires.  They were corroded.  I figured this out after testing voltage and we were getting 13.2v but light wasn't working, so we weren't getting enough amps.

So simple, the wires need to come out.  Tie off some new wires to the old ones, pull the old ones out dragging the new wires down and reconnect. Simple..... HAHAHAHAHA!

What happens when you start pulling the old wires out and the new wires get disconnected??? Well, inside a mast you lose your leader.  Uh-oh.

Now what?  Well, I'll fast forward two weeks and leave out the 296 "Fu@$s!!!"  I did this to myself and here's how I solved it.

We had four dime sized holes, big enough to maneuver a steel snake into and then try to hook with a clipped off and bent hanger.  Yes a clothes hanger.  Somehow, someway we finally managed.


See the hole the yellow wire is exiting?  This where we were fishing with the hanger, less than the size of a dime

This is the access point we found in the mast at the deck level after about 10 days.  Don't ask why it took us so long, ignorance is the only answer, but this access port was key to getting the new wires to run through the flange at the deck.

Corrosion (look closely) ran all the way down from the steaming light down to the bus bar

New bus bar

That's a working steaming light.....phew

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Settling In To San Diego by The Hesitant Half

Bliss seems like the best way to describe how I am feeling after being in San Diego for a few months.  I wasn’t quite sure if that was the exact word I can use to describe how I feel about being here, but upon consulting my thesaurus, they all seem to fit:  ecstasy, heaven, paradise, enjoyment, happiness, delight, pleasure, harmony…I mean they are all pretty accurate!  I LOVE IT HERE!!!!!!!

Aside from being close to family, the most noticeable difference has been the weather.  It has been HOT!  I adore it!!!  
Hot inside SeaGlub
I am going to have to do some serious purging of clothing.  Our boat projects usually involve jumping off the boat to cool off.  On days where it has been 90+ inside the boat we spend the days lazily up at the pool taking advantage of what we call our ‘air conditioning.’  It has been so nice not to be secluded inside our boat from fear of freezing to death.  

Pool time at Silvergate YC
Outdoor activities have always been my choice of what to do during free time and now we can finally take advantage of the place we live.  I am lovin’ getting out and running around Harbor Island and going on evening walks.  The sunrise and sunsets have been absolutely amazing.  I can’t believe I get to call this place my home.  Beach cruisers have been a fun addition to our modes of transportation.  We love taking our bikes out to go grocery shopping, meeting friends for lunch, exploring, and going to a Chargers game.  

Chris and I got some new paddleboards that we take out and around the marina a few times a week and are having a blast with.  I was a bit skeptical because I had never used one before (insert Hesitant Half).  Keli, from Keli’s Outrigger Surf Shop was awesome and recommended some great new boards for us.  She was even nice enough to give me a little private lesson inside of her shop!  She assured me that she could tell that I would be good at it and sent us on our way with some sweet new SUP Boards. What a cool chic she is!  I still haven’t fallen off of mine yet!!

stood right up and has yet to fall off

Keli and her great surf shop!
We have seen Chris’s family with a nice weeklong visit from my favorite niece Alex.  Chris’s mom, dad and sister came down for a long weekend and we enjoyed checking out the tall ships that were in town. My parents have come down for the weekend.  

USS Neversail!  Where pops did his basic training

Alex becoming the next surfer in the family

My cousins, Kelly and Greg, and my uncle Ed have all stopped by for a visit.  Kim, my cousin who is terrified of boats, has visited us twice!  We had a random camping trip with my parents at Doheney. My brother Ben came for a long weekend that involved a trip to the Mira Mar Airshow for old time sake. I went up to Redondo Beach to visit Megan, who was down from San Fran, and Sarah for a girl’s day. Chris’s sister Sarah is going to visit us over Halloween weekend for some shenanigans.  I just love being so close to everyone!!!

Our first visitor!  Kippy

Doheny campout

Make-a-Wish volunteers

You visit SeaGlub 50/50 chance you'll get put to work

Awesome air show day!
We arrived in San Diego on August 1st, and after a week long trip back up to San Francisco to fetch Pedro (our truck), we were finally feeling settled in down here.  The majority of our family has stopped in for a visit at some point and we have seen a bunch of our friends during different weekend excursions.  Don’t get me wrong…I had found some lifelong friends up in San Francisco that I am missing more than you can imagine, but it feels so good to be among family and friends that we left behind 6 years ago.

Friendships are things that don’t come easily to me and I have been known to say that I think they can be a waste of time.  Now, now…be nice! I think I am a pretty friendly person, but I hate finding people that I get along with only to leave them behind one day.  You all should have learned by now how emotional I can be.  Wandering around the docks down here started out pretty lonely.  Sure, people would smile or say hello, but it wasn’t the same as when we lived in San Francisco.  A 5 minute walk down to our boat usually turned into 30 minutes or more and impromptu cocktails shared with friends was a norm.  I was longing for this desperately!  After all, Chris and I have nothing but time now and would love spending it sharing stories with fellow cruisers.  Day after day we would walk to our boat and smile and say hi.  Until it finally happened…….

“Hey! Are you guys the couple on SeaGlub?” asked a lovely woman around our age.  I thought this to be strange (we aren’t that cool…yet) and I usually don’t answer a question without asking one first. So I replied, “Is that your dog? And, is his name Rocket?” Low and behold our reputation had preceded us.  About a week previous to this exchange we had met a couple, Ann and Michael on a beautiful Tayana, in Newport Beach and again in Oceanside that had told us about some people (and their dog Rocket!) that would be in the same marina as us in San Diego. This was them!  Introducing Adam and Jessica…and Rocket.

Over the past few weeks we have hung out with Adam, Jessica, and Rocket.  Shared many adult beverages.  Gone to lunches and dinners. Talked about our cruising plans. Helped each other with projects. Exchanged tools…It sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship right!?!  And the best part is that with this new friendship many more can blossom.  Through meeting the Rocket Family we have also been introduced to some pretty awesome other friends that they know…Tony, Tyler, and Lola.  Our first endeavors with them lead to attempted sinking of a dinghy and Chris saving their dog, Lola, from drowning.  You know what they say; the best relationships usually begin unexpectedly and from surviving crazy shit…or something like that J Now that we have known these new friends for a few weeks I can’t imagine living at SunRoad without them!!!


New friends Adam, Jess, Tony, Ty on Badfish

Tony's not quite dry dinghy

Ty and Lola after our day anchored out on Badfish

Blondes at the whiskey bar

That's a lot of whiskeys, over 800.  Matt Kepner, we have a new bar for you!

Now, as we continue on with our lives here in San Diego we look to the future.  I’m sure we will have many more weekends with family and our new friends.  Boat projects will get started, take longer then we expect, and eventually get finished.  Many adult beverages will be consumed. We will continue to explore and I’m sure we will find many new places that we love in San Diego.  Plans will start to be made for moving on down south and toward our goal of a cruising lifestyle.  Life is good!!!!!

The Perfect Pour