Ah, young love. That special time in a relationship when anything and everything seems possible. Pull the old transmission from your engine room? No problem! Repair your propane system? How hard can it be? Open a seacock? Don’t mind if I do!
Most of my weekend was spent staring at the ass end of a Hurth 360 transmission wondering how four simple bolts could cause such woe. So far I have used PB Blaster, Transmission fluid and acetone and every socket and wrench combination in my arsenal to no avail. Even with chemical help, I can’t seem to muster enough mechanical advantage in the small area available to break these bolts free. I even started, and then aborted an attempt to cut the shaft just forward of the PSS Shaft seal. So, with tail firmly tucked between my legs, I turned to removing much of the old wiring and some of the old plumbing in the engine room. This gave me some sense of accomplishment and a feeling of mastery over some small part of our very long project list.
Meanwhile, Melissa was going mano-a-mano with the propane system. The regulators and fittings were pretty grungy looking and didn’t inspire great confidence that we would not blow ourselves up. She disassembled all of the fittings, cleaned them up and reassembled with new Teflon tape. Unfortunately, a leak test revealed a failed swaged hose fitting but that is an easy fix. We also need to place a drain at the bottom of the locker and make some other modifications to bring the system up to standards.
Finally, we have a seacock issue that we are unsure of. I turned the discharge seacock to the forward head so that we could test the toilet there. That toilet pumps directly overboard so we can’t use it until we are offshore but I still want to check things out. When I turned the valve, a dribble of water came from the valve flange. I have deduced that these are Blakes Seacocks and are very well made and easily serviceable. Two bolts are used to tighten the flange down on top of the valve cone and provide a seal but I haven’t quite gotten it to stop the leak. The newer Blake seacocks have a grease nipple but these do not and so I am unsure of whether I need to wait to haul out before I start working on this or if I can somehow attempt to grease and seal these up while still in the water.
One small victory was in reclaiming the workbench. Andromeda has a proper little shop just off from the entrance to the engine room. Like all proper little shops, it becomes a bit of a dumping ground for the various boat bits that don’t have a home or we are too lazy to put away. With so many wires, hoses and engine parts flying off the boat, the work bench was really filling up. But a few hours each day gained more and more usable space and allowed me to de-clutter and organize the shop. The previous owners left plenty of tools and parts which are quite welcome. Of course, I bring many more tools onto the boat and it is easy to fill every empty space with more stuff than we actually need. We are really going to enjoy having a proper work space for all of the projects.
Lest you think all we do is work, on Sunday morning Melissa and I found just about the the greatest coffee house ever at the Three Cups Cafe. Maybe we just needed time to lick our wounds, but both of us fell into a plush couch and felt the stress melt away with some of the best coffee we have ever tasted. We are still talking about their Thundermuck coffee two days after our first visit and the only thing we are confused about is why we didn’t buy a few pounds for the house. The Columbia River Coffee Roaster is in the same building so the whole joint smells like some kind of awesome. Andromeda’s former owner was a regular here as well and now we know why.
Likewise we always need dinner, since the propane system is not up and running, nor do we have a refrigeration system yet. Our forays into the wilds of Astoria have turned up gem after gem in terms of eateries. This time we went the way of our friend Steve Yoder who always seems to find the perfect small cafe down in Mexico. We stopped in at Blue Ocean, a small and discreet Thai restaurant off the main drag. What a gem! Tall ceilings, quiet atmosphere, service with a smile, moderate prices, and the best Thai food we’ve had since Silk Thai in Tacoma. It’s going on our list of regular haunts.
While we would both love to claim unconditional victory over every project we tackle on Andromeda, we know that just isn’t going to happen. So, we re-calibrate our expectations, enjoy our small wins and keep working towards the day when we slip her from the dock and onto the sea. And we drown our sorrows in excellent Thai food and coffee.