Monday, November 12, 2012

Boat Work at Dog River

Days on cruise:  234

photo (25)

We’re busy here at Dog River Marina (blue dot in upper center left, above) getting ready to fly home to Seattle for Thanksgiving, and making arrangements to get work done on the boat while we’re away.


Bob returned Saturday afternoon from his trip on our friends’ boat from Bobby’s Fish Camp to Mobile. Their leaking fuel pump held up, and they made it here without incident. He described it as a pleasant, relaxing two day journey, and the only real work he contributed was to help with anchoring Friday night, as they’ve only anchored out 4 times previously and aren’t yet confident; we remember being there!


There are a few other Loopers here, and that night we went out to dinner with Carolyn and Susan from Sojourner at the adjacent yacht club, where transient boaters at Dog River  are allowed to eat, and had a fun time visiting, as well as catching the last quarter of the football game between University of Alabama and Texas A&M. Cathryn’s Dad is a U of A graduate, all six of her nephews and nieces graduated from Texas A&M, and both of her sisters and brothers-in-law were actually at the game! Everyone was happy with the result except for Cathryn’s Dad, we assume.

Sunday morning we began the process of doing our own oil change for the first time ever, but couldn’t find the engine oil filters we KNOW Bob bought a couple months ago. So we were only able to change the oil on the generator, for which we had a filter. It’s a mystery to us how easy it is to lose things that are stored on a boat. There just aren’t that many places to look!


Sunday afternoon Henning and Joanne from Flying Free came by for a visit. Their son Erik is also on board with them for the Loop. They’re excited that after two months without their mast, they’ll get it stepped Monday. Sailing Loopers mostly remove their masts in Chicago, then have them shipped to Mobile, as they can’t sail on the rivers anyway, and it avoids low bridge problems.


Later in the afternoon our “Big Sister Ship” (a 52-foot Jefferson to our 42-foot Jefferson), The Zone with Ross and Laura from NYC came off the rivers and into port, and we were delighted to see them again. They came for cocktails on our boat later, and it was great to catch up.


Monday morning Cathryn was looking in the storage cabinet beneath the refrigerator, where we store plastic grocery bags for future use as garbage bags and stumbled upon . . . you guessed it, four oil filters for our main Caterpillar engines! Hooray! No idea which of us put them THERE, or why, but we’re happy to see them. Bob proceeded to pick up the filters he had ordered yesterday anyway, and this time we stored them in the same location we keep the rest of our spares.

So off we went to do the oil change! It’s pouring down rain, so a perfect day to stay inside and work in the engine room.


The oil change went smoothly and leaves Cathryn mystified as to WHY she was so intimidated by the prospect of doing it. Anyone who can run a washing machine and dryer to do a load of laundry can change engine oil on a motor vessel. It’s messier than doing laundry, but just as easy. Yes, we’re talking 13 gallons of oil, but still! Oil pressure is correct, oil dipsticks show at the right level, and no leaks. Woo hoo!  Just saved $400, so that paid for the new oil transfer pump we had installed in August in Benton Harbor, Michigan. (Note to Sara: if you want to learn to do this instead of docking, Cathryn can teach you how!)


The oil change project is something that Cathryn wanted to be “hers”; she’s been worrying about the degree to which she has kept up her part of the “deal” in being Co-Captain. So Bob stayed out of the way and only hung out nearby to offer moral support and lift the occasional 5 gallon bucket of used oil out of the engine room. We’re both pleased the oil change produced a sense of accomplishment for Cathryn (and an “I told you so” opportunity for Bob, who had all along assured her she was up to the task). Atta Person!

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