Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mt Healy overlook trail

We took a Sunday hike on the Mt Healy overlook trail in Denali National Park.

We were already in the Denali Park area, and wanted to do something a little, but not too strenuous, with options to high tail it back to shelter if showers came up. The up and back Mt Healy overlook trail seemed about right. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Perfect Boat

The wrong time.
July 29, 2014
While slowly coming to the conclusion that a Freedom 38 was the not the perfect boat for our cruising plans, and because we just like looking at boats, while in the Pacific Northwest in July we looked at a couple of boats, some in Victoria, none of which really picqued our interest. We arranged to look at a Sceptre 41 at Elliott Bay Marina, we had purchased Cirrus through Paul at EB in 1997, and had a really good feeling about him as a person and a broker. When we sold Cirrus, we had cut him out of a brokerage fee -- an aggressive broker had brought a buyer to the dock in San Diego as we arrived from La Paz. I hadn't had time to rinse the Baja Bash salt crust off the deck or rigging before a "take-it-or-leave-it" attractive purchase aggreement was profered -- completely leaving Paul's brokerage out of the deal. We were desperate to sell Cirrus so what could I do? I when I contacted Elliott Bay to ask about seeing this Sceptre 41, Solar Wind, Paul remembered us, but without any mention of being cut-out of the brokerage fee, but he remembered the search for and discovery of Cirrus and the part that he played in enabling our three-year family ownership and adventure on her.
We arranged to view Solar Wind during a six hour layover In Seattle between arriving on the Victoria Clipper and flying back home out of SeaTac. What could go wrong with that plan? I had worked out the schedule just right with transit on light rail, and we had plenty of time...we didn't count on baggage taking so long to transfer off the Clipper, so instead of the bus and walk, we grabbed a cab to Elliott Bay Marina. We met with Paul and the new owners of the EB brokerage, a really nice retired couple that had been former customers of Paul. Paul had to attend a sale closure, so the husband took us down to Solar Wind, the boat showed well, despite the huge complex radar arch on the stern that supported radar, antenaes, multiple solar panels, wind generator, and a slick gantry style dinghy davit.
Inside the interior was very well maintained and outfitted with all the great electronics, watermaker, and heating system that one could want. The details even came down to an eye dropper, calibrated to the exact amount of bleach to add to each water tank, having a special storage place in the galley. The deck gear was perfect, all lines led to the cockpit, great furling gear, carbon-fiber retractable reaching pole, good ground tackle, life raft, etc. 
In short, Solar Wind was ready to go, and the owner had spared no expense or attention to detail. Unfortunately we couldn't spend much time on her because we had a train and plane to catch.
I was talked out of the transit system to get to the light rail, so we tried calling a cab. What we didn't count on was that it was Friday afternoon, and Fleet Week was just starting... Three were thousands of sailors disembarking for shore leave ona Friday night from all the ships that were moored and anchored in Elliott Bay; there was not a cab to be had, in fact we could not even get a cab company to answer the phone.
So the brokerage wife said that she would take us to the light rail station, she was not sure about where the light rail station is, so I put my trust in Google maps...long story short we spent an hour and a half lost in northern downtown Seattle traffic going less than four miles, eventually thanks to the broker wife's navigation, we got to the light rail station just in time to catch a rush hour train to SeaTac. Little did we know, but added to the Friday afternoon rush hour there was a Beyoncé (or someone like that) concert at the stadium that evening, so the train was as packed as I've ever seen a commuter train and it was running late. We rushed to the ticket counter and got checked I. With 90 seconds to spare before the flight was closed out. Phew.
Well, that's way too much information, but the point is, we started to like the Sceptre 41 with it's more modern hull, but still skeg-hung rudder, swim platform and walk through transom, pilot house/deck salon with the world in view from the galley, nav station, and salon, it began to seem like a good boat for our purposes. Unfortunately, the price for Solar Wind is 60 percent more than what I thought we should spend on a boat and more than three times our easily fungible and available assets, plus we still have a year of work ahead of us before we can consider leaving our jobs. We chose to wait, watch, and hope that the market was still stagnant.