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Now that I’m somewhat in the 21st century, enjoy the photos!

After about 5 months, I was finally ready, willing and able to get back on the water. Unfortunately, the water at Lake Roosevelt was too flat for any real sailing. I probably got in about 3 to 5 hours of actual sail-time. The rest consisted of drifting, motoring, anchoring and cleaning the boat.

Day 1-

I left Tucson very late in the morning, paid for four days of parking near the ramp, and got the boat set up and launched just as the sun was setting.

According to the local boaters, the lake’s down about 60 feet from its full elevation, and various ramps on the lake were “out of water”. I had wondered how much more concrete remained behind my trailer’s tires at this particular ramp, but apparently, there was enough for my little boat.
I imagine, if a different vessel’s trailer were submerged, say, one that had a non-retractable full keel, things might get dicey.

Anywho, I switched on the nav and steaming lights, then motored over to Salome creek. Well, where I thought Salome creek was. The already narrow entrance was even narrower now, and entering in the dark made it seem even moreso. I made sure that my swing keel was unlocked in case of a grounding. Looking Northward up the creek, it was hard to define the distances I was seeing, so I kept my speed very low.

After negotiating the entrance, the creek opened up to its familiar, broad expanse, but it wasn’t nearly as long as I’d remembered. Reaching what I thought was about halfway up, I cut the motor and drifted to a stop. Slowly dropping the Manson, it came to rest on the bottom, at about 30 feet of depth. Slowly paying out the rode, so as not to drop the chain onto the anchor, I ended with a fairly short scope of about 3 to 1.

Conditions were very calm, but if they deteriorated, I had more rode at the ready, and room to swing.
I was getting hungry, so I broke out the no-name propane stove, and hooked up the supply line. Turning on the gas, I heard the problem right away. The little O ring had reached the end of its useful life, hissing flammables. I knew it was on its way out, but I could not find the right size available at my local hardware.

the tool in question

Hmmm, I’d really like a hot meal tonight, so out comes the backup stove, an old MSR Whisperlight. It’s a little more dangerous in use, because you’ve got to deal with white gas, letting a small amount into the cup at its base. This you set afire, and it heats a small loop in the fuel line, providing pressure.
Don’t spill during this procedure, okay? Okay.

whisperlight open

The old Whisperlight proved its worth, and before long, I was enjoying bow-tie pasta with arrabiata sauce. I tossed in some diced summer sausage, too. Nummy.

After cleanup, I kicked back with the iPod until I nodded off.

Day 2-

I had brought some real coffee with me, some french roast, and a one-cup drip brewing device. Whisperlight had the water boiling in good time, and I had what the little coffee maker says it does, one cup at a time. If I tried to get more than one cup from a pour, it would turn out some pretty limp-wristed flavored hot water. I guess I’m still in the market for a real coffee press.
Breakfast consisted of eggs, scrambled with diced onions and some more of the summer sausage.

After that, I took to some boat-cleaning chores, washing the foredeck, cabintop and cockpit of 5 months of accumulated Sonoran desert dust.

Tucson is well known for its dust.

The morning katabatics were coming straight out of the North, so I grabbed the opportunity to fly my spinnaker, silently sailing past the few fishermen who’d joined me in the creek that morning. Little did I know, these gentle morning breezes were about all the wind I would get during this trip.

exiting salome spin

I dropped the stove off at my truck, but couldn’t leave my boat at the ramp’s dock, so I motored over to the marina, and asked the guy in charge there if Globe was the closest place with a decent hardware store. He was very helpful, suggesting a few places between here and faraway Globe that might be able to sell me an O ring or three.

It’s probably a little over 1/2 a mile from the marina’s docks to the ramp parking area, but it seems longer than that, with uphill and downhill taken into account.
The entire process was kind of convoluted.
Drop off the stove at the truck, hop back on the boat and motor over to the marina. Walk from the marina about halfway back to the truck, turn around ’cause you’ve forgotten your wallet. Fetch the darned wallet, head back towards the truck and then unhook the trailer.

As luck would have it, just 10 or so miles up the road was M&S Marine Repair, and the likeable gent who runs the place fixed me up in good time. The new O ring isn’t a perfect match, but it didn’t leak any that we could discern with our noses. A couple extra O rings for spares, a couple dollars spent, and I was headed back to the lake. Thank you, sir!

Park at the marina’s lot, walk on down to the boat, thank the young man for his suggestions, motor on back to the ramp dock, then walk on back over to the truck. Drive back to the trailer, and hook it back up again. Whew! Boredom is highly underrated.
And there’s my boat, patiently waiting.

long walk2

There’s no wind to speak of on the lake, so the outboard’s getting a lot of use. There’s still that same old issue with the fuel system, where she’ll just sputter to a halt. I still simply give the fuel bulb a squeeze every now and then, and she keeps on. I have since thought about taking it to M&S Marine Repair, but I’m such a cheap bastard. The next repair effort will probably involve new fuel lines throughout.
Think I should do that before the Sea of Cortez expedition?

Back up in Salome creek, I took the opportunity to explore a little bit of the shoreline. The lowering water levels created stairsteps in the steep shore. Phoenix is thirsty.

step waters

3 sisters

Some hybrid-type of Western grebe owns the waters here in Salome creek. Raucus kree-kree vocalizations filled the evening hours, until they finally go to sleep. They’re great divers, and would often pop up to the surface right alongside the boat, but I never got a decent photo of one. Large, black ravens inhabit the shoreline bluffs, and a few herons and egrets worked the shallows.

Dinner consisted of New England clam chowder and a Mexican tortilla. Hybrid foodstuffs!

Day 3-

More one-cup-at-a-time coffee. I think good coffee is worth the extra time.
After breakfast, I rode the spinnaker back out onto the lake proper, just like yesterday morning. There was another sailor out there to greet me, making what he could of the wind available at the time.

He was in a Catalina 22, and I noticed a small solar panel on his bow pulpit. He said it kept his battery charged well enough, and he mostly uses an iPod hooked to some type of amplifier and some small speakers mounted in the cabin.

He was very complimentary towards my spinnaker, which was outpacing his 110% jib. I still think it’s an ugly spinnaker, but it does do the job in light wind. After a bit more smalltalk, the light and variables kicked in, forcing me to either do a 180 every two minutes, or just douse sails and fire up the aluminum genny.

We both headed over to the marina, where a small contingent of trailer-sailors were just arriving. It’s Saturday at the lake, but without wind, not much beyond that. We all commiserated.

The largest of the boats, another Catalina, had some issues with the docks and a sticky centerboard. They were able to get into their slip just fine, but when they tried backing out, the centerboard hung up on the submerged superstructure and jammed. They had the remedy all figured out, though.
Attach a weight to a long line centered between both dock fingers, walk it back to the centerboard, and haul. The uphaul was given a good yank, and up she came.
They immediately relocated to a deeper slip.

I got to meet Skeet and his lovely wife Sherry aboard that Beneteau I’d mentioned a few posts back.

proud owners

Sherry and Skeet

They invited me aboard for a tour, and it is a fine boat. Standing room up the wazoo, a sizeable head, and a big ‘ol master stateroom aft were among the amenities.

Dennis showed up, and before we got too much beer in our systems, we were fixin’ to haul him up the mast to install some instrument, the likes of which escapes me at the moment.

It was decided that a second line would be much safer for Dennis’ work aloft, so we started to remove the foresail off its furling, but that was thwarted by a mis-alignment of the furler sections. We couldn’t drop the foresail more than halfway before the top of the furler caught and refused to go any lower. Still, we hauled Dennis up to try and jiggle the pieces into alignment, but that too was a no-go.

They can still sail her, and can furl and unfurl, but it appears the forestay will have to come down in order to fix the mis-aligned sections. Oh, well, back to the beer.

The rest of the trailer-sailors consisted of Jan with his Balboa, and Doug’s cool little Montgomery.

Jan and Balboa1

Doug and Montgomery1

I chose to stay the night at the marina, ’cause I knew where the party would be that night. We all cooked up our respective dinners at the “Pirates on A Dock” grill. My meager fare? Chili dogs, with onion and pickles.

Day 4-

The light morning breezes instilled some hope of actual sailing, and I got out just after breakfast. For awhile there, I was moving along at a reasonable pace, but soon, the doldrums set in. The other sailors had made their way out, and were exploring just North of Rock Island.
It’s not an island at the moment, however, with 60 feet of water loss. It’s now a big peninsula.

I drowsily drifted in circles, one eye open and the sheets uncleated, for most of the afternoon. Long about 1600 hours, the trailer-sailors had made their way closer to my position, and I figured they’d head on over to Salome to anchor, so I started the outboard and motored there.
Nope, they’re not going up the creek.

I hope they didn’t think I was being reclusive, but it was just me, the boat, and all the birds and fishes that night.

Day 5-

Monday morning, same-old same-old, except not even a morning breeze. I had warned Pam that if Monday proved to be any better for sailing than the previous days, I’d be staying on. Alas, it was not to be.

I tore down the rigging in record time, having her ready for the road in about 1.5 hours.

The drive back to Tucson was uneventful, and there were no fender bolts lost!

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