This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A New Jazz Venue is Born!

With the end of a jazz epoch here in Bellingham, drummer Julian McDonough moving on and leaving long-time partner saxophonist Mike Allen without his sideman, jazz as I have come to know and love it seemed to have come to a sudden and sad end. I honestly didn't know what I was going to do to hear exceptionally well played jazz in our community.

Then I went out to The Temple Bar Saturday night from 6-8 and fell in love all over again. This time with the Blake Angelos Trio. I've heard Blake play with Julian and other musicians in the past and loved his style of piano jazz, but Saturday night something clicked. It was certainly the combination of musicians, but it was also the crowd and the space.

Blake had pulled together two other members of his trio that just made a superb combination. Mark Hunter, a young bassist in the jazz studies program at th
e University of Washington, makes regular trips home on the weekends to play with Blake and others. Mark is a stunning talent, assertive and with impeccable intonation, his playing made him a strong and sophisticated partner in this ensemble.

Cary Stevens has played with Blake regularly and while he doesn't have the range of creativity and talent of Julian McDonough he was easily able to maintain a strong command of the beat in a variety of styles, adding riffs in just the right places to keep the music varied and interesting.

As if the trio's playing wasn't enough, the venue added to the effect. The Temple Bar is a very popular area establishment with a varied wine, beer and cocktail menu as well as a long list of delicious, distinctive small plates from which to

The funky decor attracts a varied crowd of young and old alike. It is warm a
nd intimate reminding me of some of the small jazz clubs found in much bigger cities. A crowd of about 25-30, many familiar faces, crowded into the side room and enthusiastically approved of the varied jazz standards the trio played.

So, I awoke this Sunday morning confident that jazz is still alive and well in little Bellingham and that, at least for a little while, the Blake Angelos Trio will keep my jazz habit very satisfied. Thanks Blake!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Great Day on the Boat!

Well, I've used that title before, and meant it. But today, after a couple of weeks of rain and foul weather on days that I might otherwise have been at the boat, a day off and a beautiful day coincided.

So we packed up the car with cleaning stuff--towels, cleaners, buckets and so on. Arriving at the harbor and walking down the gangway pushing our cart in front of us to the dock, we were greeted by scattered pieces of driftwood stacked along the dock and more drifting about the muddy water along with bits of trash and debris, a far cry from the more placid green water reflecting a sunny summer sky only a few short weeks ago.

We strolled on down the dock and turning down our dock The Key of Sea came into view. She looked beautiful sitting there just as we had left her. How I had missed her.

We passed our things on board and got to work. Leslie headed for the galley and head to started doing some deep cleaning with disinfectants. I opened up the engine room compartments and began scrubbing the engines and the entire compartment from top to bottom.

I started with the port side engine for no particular reason. After covering the air filter with a plastic bag, I began spraying Simple Green in full concentrated form all over the engine, then applied a little elbow grease with the help of a brush to help scrub down the metal surfaces. I scrubbed down the gas tank, hoses, battery cases and finally the deck itself. With low water pressure, lest I get water into places it shouldn't be, I rinsed everything down until places once covered in diesel oil, grease and the dust from last summer's fiberglass work began to sparkle.

I placed one foot on the case of the engine starter batteries and another on the muffler and stepped up and out of the engine room. I cranked the port-side engine to life and let the warming motor dry the water off. The bilge pump continued emptying the lowest regions around the keel.

Taking a look around the much cleaner deck in the engine room I noticed some holes I hadn't seen before. Small holes, probably from former screws that had been removed. I just groaned at the thought that here were more places where water could easily enter the wooden interior of the fiberglass outer coating. Here I was spraying fresh water around in a place I thought had been sealed up tight after last summer's work in this compartment. Apparently the shop had missed these spots. I walked over to LFS and inquired about the best product to seal up these holes and purchased the goop. Returning to the boat I found two jars of goo were in the box I had purchased. They needed to be blended in equal amounts for 2 1/2 minutes, then dabbed into the offending holes. After about 20 minutes the job was done--mission accomplished!

After shutting down the engine I descended back into the engine room, this time on the starboard side and began the cleaning process on that side. Finally, the compartment was beginning to look like my goal which is to be able to eat off of the floor. Well, maybe a few more layers to remove yet but I'll get there or as close as is possible. Take a look at the before and after photos above to get some idea of what things look like.

After everything was dry on the port side, I crawled back down into the compartment with a can of primer paint and some cardboard. Carefully positioning the cardboard here and there I was able to put a first coat of the blue primer on spots of corrosion and rust, leaving the engine looking nearly new. The effect is remarkable and looking down on the finished job at the end of the day left me feeling like I had really accomplished something. When my mechanic, Travis, comes back next year, he should be able to gaze down into a very different engine room from the one he met last August.

Another big accomplishment, one I can't take responsibility for other than setting it in motion, was finding our new inflatable dinghy connected to the swim step, on a new davit system and ready to go.

As always seems to be the case, there is routinely something new to deal with. I found a small leak in the "pass me a beer" hatch. This small hatch from the flybridge to the salon is pretty useful but right now it is a real pain. Sitting in the salon looking at the owner's manual for the new dinghy a single drop of water hit me in the head. Oh, crap! Now what?

I removed the molding from around the hatch and what do you suppose I found?-- moisture. So someday very soon, on another day at the boat, I will be taking this hatch apart and resealing it with some 5200 caulking. Ah, just another day on board The Key of Sea. And I loved every minute of it!