Dreamer's Progress

Preparation Notes for Grand Adventure Cruise

Monday, August 23, 2004

Update on Dreamer's progress:

Many people have commented before about the elusive qualities of time.  We have been and are presently experiencing that quality in the preparations of Dreamer to depart heading down the coast for southern waters.  

When we first made the "final" decision last October to take Dreamer south instead of the many other options we considered, we developed our To Do List and allowed six to seven months to complete it and that included the normal fudge factors.  Well, it's been 10 months of seven days a week efforts with additional help from a couple of very good guys also working full-time and we still aren't "ready".

We had planned to have a shakedown cruise for a few weeks then some time to ready Dreamer for the trip south.  Well, except for a few hours commissioning the active fin stabilizers, there has been no shakedown cruise.   We had planned on departing here about August 15.  Now, we are planning on about September 1.  Except for weather (it hasn't been that nice the last few days) we won't delay beyond that date.  There is nothing "mission critical" that won't be ready by then, so we will go and take some work with us to play with on the way and after arriving in Southern California.  Dreamer will be there a couple months before we depart for Mexico and other points south.

Having been in the business for so long, I should have known that even with the fudge factors, we would not be ready on time nor on budget, which is the case.  I really think that "being in the business for so many years" with the attitude that "we can do that" has worked against us.  The To Do List has grown over the months and items that should have been resolved earlier are just now getting done.  We WILL depart on or about September 1 (I hope).


Friday, October 29, 2004

Update on Dreamer's progress:

Kath and I had a big discussion towards the end of August regarding all the things still left to deal with aside from Dreamer.  Dreamer was ready to leave, although we would have taken some work with us, but that is normal.  We realized that we had concentrated so much on getting Dreamer ready that we had neglected to take care of other responsibilities in preparation to leave for an indefinite period of time.   I think we were just too optimistic about what level of effort and time it would take for these other things.

We had expected to come back up here after getting Dreamer down to Southern California to deal with some of these things before heading down into Mexico, but we came to realize that we would have to make repeated trips back here, each of durations that we didn't like as it would entail leaving Dreamer in foreign ports for periods of time without us onboard, unless one of us stayed there on her.  This wasn't acceptable to us.

Twas a bitter pill to swallow, but we agreed that the best course of action would be to stay here, deal with these things and leave next summer to head south.  

So, work continues on Dreamer and we will end up leaving taking less work with us.  We will also get in some winter cruising here as well as a good shakedown cruise around Vancouver Island early next summer starting early May.  

We intend to leave here heading south around the end of July first of August next summer with loose ends either taken care of or minimized.  We will also treat ourselves to a few weeks in Panama this winter and maybe even a few weeks in Mexico, two of our favorite places.

We are also exploring the option of having Dreamer transported via ship to Costa Rica in March 2005.  However, that would be quite costly and we would miss the areas between here and there, including Mexico, which we both want to spend some time in.

I have put off writing this update because of our disappointment with the delay, but wanted to update everyone.  That's my story and I'm stickin to it. 

Tuesday March 8, 2005

Update on Dreamer's progress:

We are making very good progress on getting our affairs in order in preparation to leave on Dreamer heading south the end of July/early August 2005 with initial destination Southern California or perhaps Ensenada Mexico to wait out hurricane season.  We would head south into Mexico around November 1, 2005 and plan to spend some time in the Sea of Cortez exploring and fishing a bit.

We have put our Waterside Waterfront Condo here in Oak Harbor on the market, our home for 18 years.  We will be sad to leave it but we must go on to the next phase of life which is extensive cruising on Dreamer in southern waters.

The delay in our planned departure last year has been a good thing, once we got over the disappointment.  We have been able to virtually complete the To Do List for Dreamer as well as get our complex personal affairs in order.  Amazing how complex life can become over the years!  We still have to go through our personal possessions, give away, sell, throw away etc.  Where did all this stuff come from???

We still aren't sure how good our internet connections will be as we cruise.  We have cell phones on two carriers, Cell phone wireless amplifier with external antenna, SSB radio, satellite phone, satellite WxWorx weather, and WiFi with external antenna and amplifier.  We hope to have plentiful and good WiFi connections frequently and are counting on that for the most part.  We evaluated some of the satellite systems like the Fleet system, but decided that it was way to expensive to use as well as to buy and install.  I really think something better is a year or two away so will wait and see.  Our present forms of communication should be adequate.

We plan to take a shakedown cruise around Vancouver Island departing mid May or so and returning around July 1.  Upon return to Oak Harbor, we will take care of any repairs that may be needed, perform preventive maintenance, provision and get ready to head south around end of July.

The weather here has been great the past few weeks and is supposed to be nice this week as well.  Starting to wonder about that saying about March coming in like a lamb and going out like a lion.  We shall see.  More later.


Tuesday June 13, 2005

Update on Dreamer's progress:

Our world has shrunk!  We sold our condo, closed on May 9 and were out of there completely a few days later, so our world has shrunk by about 2250 sq ft, a double garage and a 400 sq ft heated shop.  We now live in about 400 sq ft onboard Dreamer with stuff in several marina storage garages.

I sold most of the heavy shop tools, keeping the basic tools with which our son Brian will set up a little shop in the garage of his new-to-him house here in the Oak Harbor area which will close on June 23.  It's his first time as a homeowner and he's pretty excited about it.  It's a nice house in a nice area just a few minutes south of town with good views and a large yard to mow (better him than me) with the two mowers he gets with the house.

We have moved several times but this time is unlike any of the others!  Each and every item we have/had requires a decision.  On Dreamer, into permanent storage for use later if we have another land-based home, sell, give away, to whom, or throw away.  We did a lot of give away - throw away. 

We stored the remaining shop tools, wood and shelving in another garage here to await their new home with Brian.  We have two other garages here full of stuff to sort through plus we are using another garage here to stage stuff for sorting....more decisions like to Dreamer, to permanent storage, give away or throw away.  Selling stuff just ain't worth the effort or time!  We hope to be done sorting through stuff soon then it's off for a couple weeks, more or less, on a shakedown cruise on Dreamer.  We have to be here to warm Brian's new home around the end of June.  Then off for another short cruise before coming back to provision, take care of anything that needs some attention and then heading south, finally.....with a lot fewer keys on my key ring. 

The number of keys on my key ring has always been an indicator of the degree of personal freedom I had or didn't have.  Fewer keys equals more freedom!  When we sell Kathy's Acura, another key gone and then a couple more gone when we give Brian my Jeep just before we leave to head south taking most of our world with us.  Brian will visit as often as he can for some quality fishing and family time and to see some new places with us.  Like his parents, he likes to fish and travel.  More later.

Tuesday August 9, 2005

Update on Dreamer's progress:

We are now in what we call the "Stow & Go" phase.  We are stowing & storing in preparation for our planned departure date of Friday, August 12, 2005.

According to Roget's thesaurus, To Store is to stockpile, to accumulate, to save, to salt away and to stack.  To Stow is to pack, to wedge, to cram, to stuff, to jam and to squeeze.  We are doing a lot of all the above.

We received our new three blade props today, 24 X 20, which is an inch over theoretical size to attain maximum WOT (wide open throttle) RPM on the engines.  We will put these props on in California after we get down the coast.  They will be secured in the lazaret until installed and then the old four blade props will take their places as spares.

Still lots to do but there is a point in time and place where one has to say "Enough!" and just go.  We will depart on Friday.

Weather forecasts are good for the next week or so and the coastal weather off Washington and Oregon seems to be settling down so we expect to have pretty good weather for the trip down the coast although it has been a bit foggy in the mornings the past few days.

It is odd that Kath has no car for the first time in her adult life and I will soon join her when we give my Jeep to Brian, our son.  Our world is truly shrinking!  On Friday, the only keys I will need are for Dreamer.  True freedom!

I will post updates on our progress and itinerary as frequently as internet connections permit.

Saturday August 13, 2005

Departure Day!

Sometimes when one works so long and so hard to reach an objective, when it finally arrives, it can be sort of anti-climatic.  So it was with our departure today. 

We were tired from all the stowing and other last minute details that we had to deal with before we could finally leave.  It was 1830 before we left the fuel dock at the Oak Harbor Marina and after a two hour run, we spent the night at anchor by Hope Island several miles before Deception Pass.  We enjoyed a restful nights sleep, though we are still tired.

Slack at DP was about 1144 and we went through about 1130.  As soon as we got to DP, the fog was present and continued to plague us in the Strait of Juan de Fuca for about an hour before it started to thin out a bit.  Thanks to our trusty radar, two pairs of eyes and navigation system, it was not too much of a problem once we got clear of the traffic transiting DP near slack water.

ur destination today is Port Angeles, about a 40 mile run.  Tomorrow, we will go to Neah Bay, just before Cape Flattery where we will turn left and head south down the coast.  We intend to harbor hop our way as much as possible.  We are in no hurry and prefer to make day time runs where possible.  There is a low pressure system making its way towards us that may cause us lay over for a day or two while it passes.  We can use the rest and there are still chores to be done, things to organize and square away.

I think we are gonna have to raise Dreamer's boot stripe again along with all that it entails.  We are loaded and I don't see us getting rid of too  much, especially for the type of cruising and areas we intend to be in.  Boat maintenance goes on and we need the tools and supplies to get the job done when we need to do so, plus all the spares and supplies.  There is much we left behind that we wanted to bring, but. alas, Dreamer is only so big and she is filled up!  Much organizing and consolidating to do yet, but we will tackle that bit by bit as time permits.

Friday night, we had dinner with Brian and his future wife, Tonya (a lovely gal) on Dreamer.  Brian brought fresh Mai Mai/ Dorado and we made some wild rice and broccoli to go with it.  It was delicious!  He also brought a very expensive bottle of 15 year old single malt Highland scotch whiskey which we made a respectable dent in.  All in all, a very nice send-off evening.