Thursday, November 7, 2019

Attempting a post

We are currently anchored off of Isla Isabel, just below the mouth of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Calm and peaceful. Thousands of birds swirling around, Frigate birds, Pelicans and Blue footed Boobies. It is so pleasant to be out of the marina and to be able to jump into the clear blue water whenever we feel hit ( which is often!) Isla Isabel is much greener now than when we visited it in July. I wonder how many of the birds circling over head were the chicks we saw in their nests yelling at their parents to bring them food.
Tonight we head to the Bay outside of Mazatlan which we will use as a jumping off point to cross to La Paz. 15-16 hours to Mazatlan and then about 24 hours to La Paz.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Upgrades, Improvements and Add-ons

What a month this has been! We arrived back to Rhapsody at the end of September. We left her in the water in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico and she patiently awaited our return. We landed in Puerto Vallarta with five large suitcases of stuff to put on an already full boat. The first week was spent finding homes for all that we brought. The remainder of the time since then has been working on projects and getting Rhapsody ready to sail to the South Pacific this year.

Some of the projects were completed while we were gone, the largest was replacing our safety line with a higher stainless steel rail.
Photo from Isla Isabel in July. You can see our old safety lines here.

Our previous safety line was thigh high (for me- knee high for Bob) and would do a really good job of flipping us over the side if we were ever on deck and depending on the safety line to protect us.

Our  pretty new rail and the general inspector.

Our new rail is almost hip high for  me and  gives  lots of solid spots to grab onto if needed.

The first project that we worked on after we returned was a new fuel tank. Last year one of our three water tanks developed a leak. Since we now have a water maker the third tank is less important. 

The space for the new tank.
We had that tank removed last summer while we were in Grenada. Here in Mexico we had a new fuel tank welded together and it will double our fuel capacity giving us a greater motoring range as we head to the South Pacific.

Bringing the tank in
It fits so well in its new home!
The upside of this project is the extended  motoring range. The downside is that when we just bought fuel for both tanks it cost us over $500!

Working on projects on a boat is tricky. That empty space where the fuel tank went was previously filled with tools and other items to be stored. While the project is going on those items have to go somewhere. We don't have a garage to put stuff in, 

so it usually ends up in the middle of our living area!

The biggest project was having dinghy davits made.

plural noun: davits
  1. a small crane on board a ship, especially one of a pair for suspending or lowering a lifeboat

With davits we can easily raise our dinghy at night for security as well as reducing the growth on the bottom of the dinghy. It will also give us another option for traveling with the dinghy. Our two previous options were 

1) putting her up on deck - a very time consuming option- first the motor has to be removed and put on the back rail, then we use the halyards to raise the dinghy up to the foredeck


2) towing her behind. We only do this for short day trips in good weather.

Some of the work was done in the fabricating shop, some on site in the marina.
And there she hangs!

We were very impressed with the work that they did, good quality, on time, on budget. You can't ask for much more!

Other improvements include having chaps (covering) made for the dinghy. This will help protect her from the sun, and more importantly, from ugly concrete docks that eat dinghies. We have suffered from this and have seen others suffer as well. Besides, the chaps are just prettier than the plain dinghy!

And  we finally got a dive compressor! Freedom to dive wherever we are, and then not need a dive shop to fill our tanks. 
When you have a friend that is driving back to Mexico and asks "Do you need anything brought down?"

Our dive compressor is in there somewhere!

We were not the only ones he transported for. Thanks Chris, dinner is still on the table, so to speak!

Finally the big projects are done, for now. Notice I didn't say all the projects were done, we live on a boat, there is always something needing to be done!

But for now, we can see the table (it has been missing since July),  we are away from the dock and ready to tackle new adventures. Here's  to Season Four aboard Rhapsody.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Waterfalls and Critters.

Here is a video I put together of some of Nature's splendor in the Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Banff, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Sad

Don't just skip down to the ugly! There is quite a bit of good here!

Ten days in Canada's Banff and Jasper National Parks was a wonderful experience. Here is a quick summary:

The Good: The scenery is spectacular, the wildlife is marvelous and the water is an unbelievable color.

No filters on this picture, the water really was this color! The runoff from the glaciers causes this.

The color provides a great background for many photo ops.

The Bad

Unfortunately the lakes in Banff are Tourist Bus Accessible, leading to Crowds in many areas.

Fortunately it didn't take much hiking to escape the crowds and we were alone-ish in the wilderness again.

The Ugly

Both Banff and Jasper have a system for designating that a campsite is taken. You pay the fee and place a slip on the post. As an added assurance they recommend that if you are leaving for a while that you should leave something at the site to show that it is occupied. 
At this particular campground the sites along the river were not much more than a picnic table on a plot of ground between the river and a parking area. We paid our fee and went off for a nice afternoon of hiking and an evening at a restaurant. 

Upon returning we found a large camper in our spot, complete with their own outdoor rug. Not only that, there were several other cars, not directly at our site, but close enough to encroach on the space, and none of these cars had paid the fees for the night. We approached the camper, showed him our tag on the post and our belongings on the table. His response was " How can you show up at 8:00 at night and expect to have your site? What are you complaining about?"

Well, let's see- you are in our spot, you aren't moving, and you have not paid the fee. Unfortunately there was no Camp Host or ranger to mediate the situation. We chose to move on and sleep in the parking lot. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth!

The Sad:
The Sad part is the shrinking glaciers. As a first time visitor I wouldn't know the glaciers were shrinking as I had nothing to compare against.

The glaciers were there, but apparently not in their former glory. 

What will be left for future generations to enjoy?

Monday, August 12, 2019

Wow, Bow Lake

The views in Banff National Park are breathtaking. Every day, every hike is another gift to the senses. These pictures are from Bow Lake. It took me a while to think "Bo"  instead of "bough", as I have been more in a nautical frame of mind.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Wildflowers Galore!

Mt. Revelstoke National Park, British Columbia

Monday, August 5, 2019

Oh Canada

Conversation with the Canadian Border Guard: