Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

Always Improvising

We had to improvise in order to accomplish a few things when we left town after Thanksgiving. Mostly it had to do with food and memory. I forgot the hand mixer. I wasn’t planning to do any baking, but there was a pint of whipping cream to use up. Can’t let that go to waste! I found the wire whisk, but who can whip cream by hand? Not me. No problem. Down to the workbench! Yes, there is a workbench on the boat, and it gets a lot of use. My sweetie pried the handle off and then chucked it into the drill.

It's working! Oh, yes! Now am I going to show you a picture of some dreamy, pretty desert with a dollop of perfect whipped cream on it? Several of my friends probably just laughed hard enough that they almost choked on their bruschetta. Genetic testing would confirm that my 'domestic' and 'chef' genes are missing. There was desert. Just envision simple and yummy.

...and hot chocolate. Slurp.

We really rough it on our boat.

Isn't that a beautiful cup? Kirk Garbisch of Wrangell, Alaska made that cup. His work is amazing!

Back to cooking challenges this last trip. Thawing bread is more my speed. When we were underway with the generator off the microwave and cooktop did not have power. The bread was frozen. You all know how I thawed the bread.  I can tell you that a raw-water-cooled Cat 3208 diesel engine is not as hot on top as a Chevy 350 gas engine (or most car and truck engines). Yes, you still have to wrap the food in aluminum foil, but if you have been using “Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!” as an on-the-road cooking guide, then please note that marine times and mileage will need to be adjusted.

Oh, goody, perfectly thawed bread. After Thanksgiving there just has to be a turkey sandwich for lunch…or two, or three.

And in the evening, when the boat was securely tied, I was ready for a glass of the homemade salmonberry wine that friends gave to us. But there was no corkscrew. My knight in shining armor to the rescue again!

Yes, the handy-dandy drill, a wood screw, and a pair of locking pliers.

Surely most people have done this on occasion? Or once? Sigh. I bought a corkscrew when we got back to town. You don’t need to send one.

I was glad that these little shortages were minor and easily fixed. It was a great trip, with lots of exploring. I will write about beach totems and bonsai trees tomorrow in the Beachcombing blog.

 

 

 

 

Here are some more boaty posts: Boat Stuff 

 

Skiff Rebuild

The fifteen foot Western skiff is our run-around boat and workhorse. It is also great to kick back in and troll for salmon. It works so well that we didn't notice how much it was aging. One day I pushed the skiff out from shore, stepped in, and stepped right through the floorboard in the bow. Huh? Well...it was built in 1990, so that makes it...due for some major TLC.  My dad, The Old Salt, told us that it was time to rebuild the skiff. I had only an inkling as to what that entailed, but over the next weeks I helped and learned.

This fits with ‘keeping the dream within reality.’ A new skiff would be far more expensive than making the Western skiff sound again. I didn’t take step-by-step how-to pictures, but the following gives you a good idea of how things went.

We put the skiff in The Old Salt's shop and he happily went about his new project. First, all of the plywood was removed. The handles and kicker (small outboard motor) bracket were taken off of the transom (the vertical part on the very back). Yep, nekkid skiff.

Naked skiff.

Naked skiff.

To get the soggy plywood out of the transom, The Old Salt cut the seat supports back. Two pieces of plywood were cut to fit the transom, painted, and installed. Aluminum pieces were cut, welded and bolted in to replace the seat supports. The center support was fabricated. The new aluminum supports were attached through the transom with bolts, washers, and a sealant.

New plywood in transom and replacement seat supports bolted into place.

New plywood in transom and replacement seat supports bolted into place.

The Old Salt welded some new brackets for the fishing pole holder bases to replace wood brackets that had disintegrated. We drilled holes and bolted those on.

New angle brackets to hold fishing pole holder bases.

New angle brackets to hold fishing pole holder bases.

I cut plywood for the seats and the floor in the bow, rounded all of the edges with a sander, and painted them. Extra floatation was installed under the seats before the plywood was bolted on top.

The new plywood seats going on.

The new plywood seats going on.

For extra strength in the transom we cut a piece of aluminum plate and screwed it to the outside of the transom. The black walnut board that makes the kicker bracket had started to crack. The Old Salt drilled through it from side to side, drilled a larger diameter hole to countersink the bolt heads, and then through-bolted the board. He filled in around the bolt head with epoxy. That is the greenish spot near the top of the board. Again, the transom was drilled, and the kicker bracket through-bolted on. The handles were through-bolted onto the transom, also.

Reinforcing aluminum plate, handles, and kicker bracket on transom.

Reinforcing aluminum plate, handles, and kicker bracket on transom.

Two angles were welded, shaped, and bolted to attach the back of the seat to the transom.

A hole was drilled on each side of the transom and a lift eye was bolted through. Those eyes provide points of attachment if the skiff ever needs to be lifted, and good strong places to attach an outboard engine leash. The leash is a safety line in case the outboard comes loose.

Rear seat and inside of transom ready to go.

Rear seat and inside of transom ready to go.

The skiff is back in service, and ready for many more Southeast Alaskan adventures.

Better than new.

Better than new.

There's more boat related posts here: Boat Stuff