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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea


To find us on our new boat, Sea Star 7, please go here: http://seastar7.com/

Index of Interesting Blog Posts

Most Amazing

 A Lone Humpback Whale    

 Panama Canal Crossing

 Isla Talon


 French pastries delivered?!

 El Salvadorian chicken boat

 America's Cup Races

 French Canal Boat


Emotional or Funny

 Reaching the Canal

 We can't catch a thing

 Flying the Dingy

 Snakes on a boat Part 1

 Snakes on a boat Part 2

 Melissa can't fly a Spinnaker

 Embarrassing laundromat trip


 Helping the Mexican bureaucracy

 Squid attack!


Best Land Side Trips

 Caiman Capture!

 Swimming in the Amazon River

 Arches National Park

 Machu Picchu

 Best Zip Line

 Paying our first bribe

 Seeing our first wild monkeys

 Evening in Tlaquepaque

 Melissa attacked by monkeys

 Most beautiful cities in the world

 Oaxaca market day

 Monte Alban ruins

 El Salvadorian wedding

 Copan ruins

Scary Stuff

 A bump in the night

 Remind me why Greece is fun?

 Tried to kill the boat owner

 Getting caught in a fishing line

 Apsaras tries to sink herself

 Dark and stormy night at sea

 Fire aboard the boat!

 A scary marina entrance

 Michoacan Mexico Unrest

 Engine trouble at sea at night

 Automatic weapons fire?

 Frogman Mike


The MacGyver Stories

 Debugging the starter problems

 Outwitting the Panama Canal

 Bringing back the icemaker

 Fixing Saltydog's autopilot

 Saltydog gets a new navigation system

 Towing a boat across the bay

 SSB Seminar

 Stabbed by a broken beer bottle in Mexico

 Autopilot failure in Alaska

 Removing the washer/dryer

 Where is that leak anyway?

 The day Dave wanted to sell the boat

Rescue Stories

 Paddleboard Rescue

 Rescue on the Amazon River

 Fuel transfer at sea

 Aground & Rescue of Joint Decision

 Day 1 and Day 2 of fixing the generator




Current Journey - RSS Feed at http://svapsaras.com/entries.atom

Apsaras Sold

Well, it took a year longer than it should have.  But Apsaras finally sold.  We were so unimpressed with the boat broker.  At the last minute, the buyer tried to back out of the deal.  The boat broker had not had him sign extensions or anything as the deal progressed and we agreed to fix things from the survey.  So it cost us $2500 more just because the broker didn't do his job.  So not impressed.  And the closing agent - a disaster.  When we bought Sea Star 7, she falsified our signature on documents to the USCG that we told her were incorrect.  Forcing Melissa to have to refile address change documents with the USCG herself.  And on the Apsaras deal, she sent a closing statement that was completely incorrect.  Most of the numbers on the page are wrong.  Incredible.

A last trip across the lake

With the new boat (http://seastar7.com/), the time has finally come to sell Apsaras.  Today was the day Dave and Jim took her from her home slip at Carillon Point over to the boat broker dock on Lake Union.  As one might hope, the trip was not all together uneventful.  Apsaras gave them some small challenges and a little adventure.  Not just the obvious navigating around wood fired floating hot tubs piloted by drunk novices, and keeping clear of landing float planes, but also a little last heroic action.

Their first job was to replace the radar unit.  Dave rigged the safety lines, while Jim assembled the tools and replacement radar unit.  Unfortunately, after searching the entire boat, the bosun chair was nowhere to be found. The guys concluded that Vic (boat broker) must have removed it though he later said he did not.  So its a mystery where the bosun chair ended up.  But in any case, the new radar is now his problem to arrange for a mechanic.

Next weekend is Opening Day of Boating Season. As Apsaras entered the Montlake Cut, Captain Dave sounded the one long – one short, and the bridge tender responded in kind. So as Dave idled ahead they were entertained by several groups of students scraping moss and old paint, and rolling on new paint for the 2022 crew graffiti. They had to hang from the railing on ropes steading themselves by their bare feet. Watching them bend to scrape and paint was fun. The one group on the south side waved and shouted to us, asking if we had an extra rope. Jim initially apologized and declined. But Captain Dave searched the rope locker and found one. Wow were they excited. Cheers and smiles. Captain Dave nudged the bow toward the wall (all the while the bridge was opening). Alas, Jim tried to throw it over their heads. Splash! Two of them had already climbed over the rail and one was able to hang and grab the rope by her foot. Yay!

You’ve never seen such cheering and constant thank-yous.  They boys felt great as they sailed west (no proverbial sunset – it was noon) with a dozen young, fit, attractive women cheering us. Our pleasure mam. Who were those un-masked men?  Judging from the number of cell phones pointed our way, you might find pictures after all on social media. Unfortunately it will undoubtedly be a movie of the rope throw.

Upon reaching Lake Union, Vic had arranged a back-in starboard tie at his moorage. His associate met us at the dock to assist and “direct”.  They were next to a large boat and docking with a wind blowing away from the dock. Apparently Captain Dave has already gotten all too used to Sea Star 7's bow thrusters as it took him three tries to back into the slip because he kept blowing off.  Jim swears if Melissa had been present to man the ropes it would have taken one try, or two at the very most. 

I believe the question of whether the first mate is being demoted to swab is still under consideration.

The guys Ubered back to Carillon Point for the cars.  Then a celebratory lunch at Le Grand Bistro Américain.  Oysters on the half shell and a croque monsieur sandwich. A well fed crew is a happy crew!

New Kitchen Floor

As part of getting her ready for sale, we had Kirk come and replace the kitchen floor.  It never looked so good!



Walla Walla Vet Vet Weekend

Dave's best friend, David, (confusing yes I know) has been egging him on the past several years to buy a corvette.  David had a deposit down on a brand new 2020 C8.  He convinced Dave to do the same.  Something about a rear engine, bla, bla, bla.  Ultimately, Dave decided on a 2019 C7.  Because its the last of the front engine models its already a classic.  Cheaper too since its used.  Which the accountant likes.

In any case, they are both fast and loud.  And the boys wanted to take them for a spin to Walla Walla.

Lisa and David arrived at the condo Thursday night so we could get an early start in the morning.  Was a gorgeous weekend for a drive.

The boys look pretty smug don't they?

But they are best pals after all.

Upon arriving at our airbnb, we discovered an incredible veggie garden.  Score!  Food and wine!  What could be better!  Saturday after a long day of wine tasting, Melissa whipped up a 5 course meal.  Crostini with lox dip, roasted beet salad with chive cream cheese, sauteed scallops with marinated cucumbers, shrimp with fried sage and charred lemon, steak and baked potato with all the fixin’s.  Yum!  It poured rain on us during dinner, but with the umbrella we could care less.

Sunday we headed home and it poured rain coming over the pass.  Was a bit white knuckle there for a while.  But the vets did fine despite their fat tires.


Pancake Fail

So Dave told us a few days ago he wants pancakes for breakfast.  Hmmm.  Melissa has pancake mix aboard but its got almond flour in it and that won’t work with Dave’s allergies.  She also has gluten free flour but no baking soda or powder.  And whipped egg whites are out due to Dave's allergy.  There are other egg substitutes aboard but they won't add the fluff we need to make nice light pancakes.  She does have yeast.  So we find a recipe for yeast based pancakes.  Melissa whips this up early in the morning and sets it to rising. So we read about a recipe for yeast based pancakes.  Ok, that sounds doable.  So Melissa got up before 7am (on a Saturday mind you - she must really love Dave) to start a batch and let it rise.  Sure enough the batter got nice and fluffy. 

Alas when Melissa went to fry them up, they wouldn't really cook in the middle.  Might be that the batter was too thick.  They stayed gooey.  So she decides to try to bake a batch in the oven on parchment paper.  These were edible but not great.  But anything covered in maple syrup can't be all bad.

Today in Des Moines there was a farmer's market on the dock.  We picked up some ripe plums for a tart for tonight's dinner.  After the market, we headed out of Des Moines marina bound for the locks.  We wanted to come back through Saturday because Sunday’s inbound to the lake usually involve big delays.  Today it was going to be a big delay anyway.  When we got there, commercial traffic was inbound to the lake.  They get priority.  So we waited two lock cycles before they took us.  While we were waiting, Jim whipped up lunch.  Shrimp with fresh rolls.

Upon arriving back at the dock, Jim whipped up dinner - shrimp with pasta!  And that amazing plum tart!

Front row seats to marina wedding

We awoke to a cooler day.  Time for some rib sticking oatmeal and braised greens with sausage!  The oatmeal had cinnamon apples mixed that were originally destined for a pie, with port wine reduction drizzled over the top.  Perfect fall breakfast!

We made our way to the Des Moines marina.  We've never stayed there before and tomorrow there is a farmers market where we can grab a few more things - like plums to replace our plans for a pie tonight.  While at the marina we saw a wedding procession walk down the dock and head for a big boat where family and friends awaited them.


Dinner was Jim's smoked pork and a big Greek salad.  And wine.  There is always plenty of wine!

We eat like kings

We awoke to another lovely morning in Filucy Bay.  When we pulled up the anchor, Dave got to test out the washdown pump for the first time.

We quickly discovered a flaw in the design – the intake hose you drop in the water tends to float.  A quick modification solved the issue:

We headed to Harbormaster Bay.  We were here a year ago but couldn’t enjoy it as the smoke from the wildfires was so thick we couldn’t sit outside.

Breakfast underway was lox and cream cheese.  Yum!


For lunch, Jim cooked fish tacos with a mango avocado salsa.  With all the food allergies aboard, Margaret had found an unusual recipe for Jicama shells.  You slice the Jicama thin and soak it in water.  We liked the taste but the shells were thick and tended to split when you bent them.  Maybe with a meat slicer we could get them thin enough.


Dinner was halibut baked in paper with a herbed mayo sauce.

After a gorgeous sunset it was time for pears poached in port with ricotta cheese with a port reduction sauce over the top.


Fourth time is a charm

20 years ago Dave and Melissa found a small bay filled with sand dollars and named it “Sand Dollar Bay”.  We’ve wanted to revisit for years.  Today we hoped would be the day.  Alas.

The real name of that bay is “Fish Trap”.  When we got to Fish Trap with the hope of anchoring and hopping in the skiff to see the sand dollars, the current was raging and the wind blowing.  Tight quarters and deep anchorage.  Not a good combo.  Dave instructed Melissa to put down 200 feet of chain (all the chain we have – only thing left is 100 foot of rope).  But when we backed down, we were too close to another boat.  None of us liked the optics.  We decide to bail.

Next stop, Boston Harbor, a small marina with a grocery store and great locals.  Dave calls ahead and they assign us a tie up spot.  Alas.  When we arrived, we approached the dock to find the depth was only 4 feet below the keel when we were 200 feet from the dock.  With the warnings in the guidebook that this marina dries at low tide, he didn’t like the optics.  Dave decides to bail and we are all with him.

We then head to Hope Island in hope of catching a mooring buoy.  Alas none were open and two were missing.  We bail on that plan.

We land on heading for somewhere that we have been before – Filucy Bay.  Lovely quiet bay.  Slow internet but we can live with that.  It was a gorgeous day to be on the water.

Underway, Jim fixes the screws in his cabin door which had worked themselves out.

Later this morning we started another Hunt-A-Killer game Camp Calamity.  When we do this – it takes over the main cabin.

Jim and Melissa are intent on solving these puzzles.  Margaret says, “no wonder you two were known for finishing projects in time and under budget – you guys are intense!”.  Well, more or less that is what she said.

But despite the game, we can still take a break to cook!  Dinner was turkey bacon with chicken with a creamy pasta sauce with fried sage leaves on top.  Jim and Melissa can fit in the kitchen together despite the tight quarters.

Hardest mooring buoy ever

This morning Dave had to hook up the wash down pump and give it a try.  Success!!!

We headed to Eagle Island.  We had a heck of a time picking up the mooring buoy.  Melissa realized that we needed to bridle the hook up when we first hooked up because with the current roaring through there, if we put both ends of the mooring rope on the same side of the boat we would have no hope of moving the rope to the other side pulling against the current.  Alas she failed to communicate this to Dave who was at the helm.  That plus struggling with the rope and the boat hook, she failed to point at the buoy when it dropped below Dave’s view under the boat horizon.  Two failed tried and Dave was frustrated.  But third try and we made it.  But when the guide book says the current roars through here – they are not kidding.  The other side of this is that at stack tide we will be bumping against the buoy while adrift.  We put out the front bumper intended to prevent this from being an issue overnight – alas between the thumping and the slapping against the stern it was a short night sleep for us all.  But the view is gorgeous!

Meanwhile, Jim made lamb burgers and butternut squash fries for lunch.  Tons of different kinds of herbs.  So yummy.  Alas we managed to mistake the English muffins for hamburger buns in the freezer so the buns seemed weird.  Well, yeah, because the hamburger buns were still tucked away in the cupboard.

Dinner was grilled lamb medallions with green beans and crispy shallots.  Go chef Jim!

After dinner we set up the big monitor in the cockpit to watch Dirty Dancing with popcorn – made the old-fashioned way!

Melissa has wished for this for 8 long years

Breakfast was pork sausage with roasted veggies and a herb sauce.  Most of us loved it, but Dave said it was “mushy”.  Oh well.

Ever since seeing Joint Decision (52 foot Nordhaven) wash their anchor down with a pump that could have powered a fire hose (after rescuing them), Melissa has dreamed of a washdown pump.  That was 8 years ago.  4 years ago Dave ordered a wash down pump.  Been thinking about how to install it ever since.  Two years ago, Jim and Dave got serious.  Just not serious enough apparently.  Some nonsense about not knowing how to run the intake water pump hose down through the boat to the through hull in the bottom of the forward compartment.  And that’s where this project stalled out.  This year they decided to give up on routing to the thru hull and just toss a hose overboard (did Melissa say this was a solution some years ago?  Who can be sure?).  Anyway, this year the pump came back out while we were on the dock at Gig Harbor.  Great option as there is a West Marine and a hardware store nearby.  Plan is to mount the pump to the divider in the anchor locker, toss the intake hose overboard, and mount the output hose to a quick disconnect coupler on the deck in the anchor winch compartment.  Despite years of planning we needed a male spade clip, stainless steel wood screws, and a hole saw in the right size.  Dave and Jim headed out to Ship to Shore – a local marine store.  They had the screws and connector, but not the hole saw.  Next stop was the grocery store for a few supplies.  One grocery store was closed for Labor Day and had a “no ice”sign”.  They headed to Natural Market next only to find they had no groceries.  But they did have Dave’s calcium/magnesium supplement.  They then headed to West Marine but there was no hole saw but they did have wire. 

When they returned without the groceries we needed, they got in the dingy to head to another grocery store for onions, ice, and more olive oil.  You can never have enough olive oil!

Along the way they saw a really cool looking electric boat that they then helped to navigate into an open slip in the marina.  The whole top was covered with solar cells – likely 20 x the energy production of Apsaras.  She was underway and still putting power in the batteries.  It was their maiden voyage.  The owners helped design it and modeled the interior after their airstream.  The builder who built it to their specifications probably built his last boat before retiring.  Dave loved the drum winch for the anchor – very efficient, and was combined with a washdown pump!  Apparently everyone but us has one!

Lunch was a big platter of goodies.

Upon returning to the boat, Dave began installation of the circuit breaker for the washdown pump in the forward head.

See how nice and neat it is?

Meanwhile, Jim walked the 6 miles round trip to the hard ware store for the hole saw.  When he returned, they installed the pump itself.

When the guys sat down to relax after a hard day of work, Dave began to shake and shiver.  He got worse and worse as the minutes went by.  He reported feeling anxious and cold.  We covered him with a blanket but he continued to shiver.  Of course, we were all freaking out thinking COVID.  But that made no sense because Jim brough his daugher’s home test unit over the night before we left and we all tested negative.  Still… We started to wonder if he had absorbed some marine grade sealant doing the installation and wondered if that was causing a reaction.  Eventually we decided to just put him to bed in hopes some rest would make him well.  Meanwhile, Melissa put in a call to her brother, Kelly, the paramedic to ask whether we should be freaking out.  By the time Kelly called back, Dave had gotten up and was looking a little better.  A quick conversation with Kelly revealed a working theory – dehydration.  The shaking and shivvering is the result of his body having dumped a ton of adrenalin and other stress hormones into his blood stream when it detected the low blood pressure.  And his body could not course correct itself because of Dave’s low blood pressure medications – essentially preventing his muscles from tensing up and correcting for the lack of pressure in his system.  So when he quit working – the blood pressure dropped fast.  And his brain s said “something is wrong here” and set off the alarm bells – leading to the stress reaction.  All he needed was water.  Fortunately, Melissa had gotten him to drink a glass of water before we sent him to bed – and likely that is why he recovered and was better.  We fed him another couple of glasses of water before the night was over.  Next morning he was fine.  Final word of warning from Kelly – Watch it in Mexico.  This is gonna hit him hard if he isn’t careful.

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