Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturday 092715– in Hammond Indiana

Weather/Sea   Cloudy, wind 5to6, temp 60to 70

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy

Dutchess and I have been in Hammond Indiana in the Hammond Marina for 17 days waiting for crew. Yesterday Chuck Stewart arrived and today Greg Murphy will join us.  I advertised in the AGLCA website for crew wanted and both of these gentlemen responded and decided to join me. This is a member only service so they are members of AGLCA. This gives me some comfort because it means they are dues paying members and dedicated and active boaters. They both are sailors with considerable experience and I expect them to add to the fun of the trip. I had 2 others contact me but turned them down since three is enough to run the boat and still be comfortable. On Monday Sept. 28th we will be leaving Hammond and proceeding down the rivers to Alabama.

During my stay here next to the Casino I still have not gambled!  Gambling is a fool’s errand; it is amazing to see how many seemingly poor people are gambling away their meager incomes. There is good food to be had in the Casino so I went to the Buffet restaurant 3 times and ate too much.

Hammond Marina has a weekly rate which over the 17 days cost me $705.00 which is only $41.47 per day not bad. Walmart is about 3 miles away but you have to cross over a railroad yard and highway on an elevated road which takes some work to pedal the bike over. But it is good exercise and I made 7 trips to Walmart. It is the only store nearby and besides the Casino the only diversion. I took many long bike rides around Wolf Lake and to Whiting a small City. Chuck and I rode to Whiting last night for Pizza. We came back in the dark without lights on the bikes using mostly unlit bike paths quite an experience.

I finally replaced the fuel filter on the engine. This is the secondary filter after the Racor Primary filters. The plastic part on the bottom of the filter that senses water in the fuel and has a valve to drain water out was on very tight so I decided that I needed a new one in case I broke the old. I found an auto parts store on the bike and after a few explanations they brought out the part and it fitted perfectly on the filter that I had brought along. Six days later I went back to get a buzzer to be activated by the sensor but they had nothing so I bought a backup alarm beeper to install in the engine room. That should get my attention that there is Water in the fuel. The old sensor was never connected to anything.

I spent my time here reading and one book is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain which takes place on the Mississippi River a portion of which we will also travel on. I also bought DVDs for evening and one is the many lives of Sherlock Holmes which contains 9 films, 39 TV shows and 20 radio shows about Mr. Holmes. I also worked on the boat; installing new LED lights in the Vee Berth, mounted an LED Spotlight on deck in case we have to run after dark, installed a new LED chart light over the chart table the old one had been damaged by the lightening.

I had dropped my binoculars so now you have to close one eye to use them. I had decided to buy a new pair and went to Defenders web site and checked them out. I always wanted a stabilized pair but hey are very expensive. Defender had a pair of remanufactured Nikon StabillEyes VR binoculars for $450.00 which I bought and had delivered here. These are 12x32 and new they cost $1299.95. A good saving for the remanufactured, the only negative is the shortened warranty period of only 90days.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday 091215– in Hammond Indiana

Weather/Sea   RAIN RAIN, Cloudy, wind 10to20, temp 50to 65

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew NONE

Dutchess and I are in Hammond Indiana in the Hammond Marina and next to the Horseshoe Casino. No I have not gambled yet!!! This is a very large Marina with hundreds of slips. I am about a mile from the office. There is a yacht club on the property and they are having a dinner tonight which I plan to attend. First I have to go to the shower house which is a 1000 feet from the boat and it is raining buckets and it is cold therefore waiting for the weather to clear and now I have time to write this blog. I am still looking for crew to go down the Rivers from Chicago, please spread the word. I plan to wait in Hammond Marina until a crew shows up. I placed an ad in the AGLCA web site which is where I got my previous crew mates.

I got the mast and boom removed at Crowley Yacht Yard and it is packaged and waiting for transport to Alabama. I had to remove all the stays and shrouds; these are coiled in 3’ circles and stored on deck. Also the wind transducer, the VHF antenna, the Steaming/Deck light, the Lightening Rod, and the spreaders were removed and stored on the boat. The sails are stored in the stern cabin on the other bunk, that really fills my quarters.

I have a separate VHF antenna on the radar arch which is now connected to the Standard Horizon VHF Radio so we have radio for communicating with all the dock masters and Towboat Captains. Incidentally this radio also receives AIS signals from all commercial vessels which allow you to call the vessel by name which usually means that they will answer you. The radio is connected to a small Garmin Chart Plotter that shows my boat and the target vessels on a chart and when you push the right buttons it will give you the info on the target. The info consists of name of vessel, location coordinates, speed, direction of travel etc. all important to avoid collisions. This is more important on the rivers because there is less room to maneuver.

Crowley also repaired the windlass with a new motor and solenoid. They first assembled the new motor and transmission upside down and had to redo that. They then hooked up the wires wrong which I pointed out to them. Then it still would not run, I checked the electrical wiring in the anchor locker and found that they had disconnected the main wires to the unit. Then the unit would only pull the chain and not let it out. Again I pointed out that they had it wired wrong so after a few trails it finally was working properly.

Un-stepping the mast cost $10.00 per boat foot or $440. for Dutchess, packaging the mast and boom took 2 hrs. at $110.00 per hr. so $220.00 plus shop supplies $1.00 a bargain, plus tax the total was $676.10. Loading the mast on the truck in the future was charged at $88.00. Repairing the Windlass including parts totaled $1,748.35. The total spend at Crowley YY is $2,512.45 isn’t boating fun!!! The trucking will cost $450.00 to get the mast to Alabama.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saturday 090515– in Michigan City, Illinois

Weather/Sea   Thunderstorms, Cloudy, wind 20to50, temp 70to 80

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Livingston

We are presently in Michigan City Port Authority Harbor, Illinois, this city is south of the state line between the states of  Michigan and Illinois. A nice harbor with lots to see and do but today we are locked in due to heavy thunderstorms transiting the area.  We had up to 50 knot gusts in the marina. We are next to a very tall power plant smoke stack which is the lightening catcher for the area. They only charge $1.00/ft so $44/day for Dutchess and we are staying here 3 days. On Monday Labor Day we will go to Growley Yacht Yard in Chicago on the Calumet River. On Tuesday Growley will unstep the mast and get it ready to ship by truck to Mobile Bay Alabama at a charge of $440 plus $88 to load it on the truck. The trucking costs $450, they bundle a number of masts on one flatbed truck. I have to take all the stays and shrouds off the mast and other parts that might get damaged on the truck trip. I will also repair the windlass at Growley’s, it will be needed on the rivers where you anchor out frequently.

Dutchess came here by way of Holland MI and South Haven MI.  The trip from Muskegon to Holland took 6hrs 23minutes. The trip from Holland to South Haven took 4hrs 43 minutes  .

 I expected a lot more from Holland, I thought it was more Dutch than what I found, and of course most of the immigrants arrived in late 1800. Except for a “Dutch Village” tourist area which we only saw from the car almost nothing was recognizable as Dutch. I went to the Library to find out if there were any Dutch speakers but they did not know of any. I asked for Dutch books and they directed me to the foreign books isle which had 50’ of Spanish books and 2’ of Dutch books times do change!

 In the Dutch books there was a book on the Province of Utrecht where my home town SOEST (where I was born in 1941) is located and it contained a small description and some pictures, which I showed to Chuck. I had gotten the slip for 3 days but decided to leave after 2. During our stay there Chuck’s 2 brothers and family came down and visited the boat and we all went out to dinner in Holland at a Brew Pub. I had planned to go into Crescent Marina but found out it was closed and being converted to condominiums. We wound up in Eldean Shipyard at a cost of $66 per day for 2 days. There is no Municipal harbor in the Holland area they are all private.

In South Haven we were in South Haven Marina run by DNR, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, at a cost of $67 per day and we stayed 3 days. On the first day Ross Pollard ,who had stayed on the boat for a week,  showed up. He and Crick Haltom share a McGregor sailboat which is kept here and we went out for an evening sail on the McGregor from 6pm to 10pm very nice. On the third day Ross came again with his three children 5yr Asa, 7yr Margaret, and 13 yr Anika, a nice family. They  went to the beach and swam in Lake Michigan. Then Chuck made dinner for all of us in the boat. The kids liked the boat. Then there was a concert in the small park next to the marina and we all sat there until 8pm.  

I am still looking for crew to go down the Rivers from Chicago, please spread the word. I plan to wait in Hammond Marina Chicago until a crew shows up.