Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue Heron Rehabilitation

As you may know, last summer we got our hands on a little fix up boat we're calling The Blue Heron. We've only just begun to get some major work done on her this summer.
And though the progress has been slow, we're just as excited about the possibilities as when she first arrived in my parents backyard. An all too familiar theme, it seems.
Anyway, most of the work time has been spent cleaning her out. We've probably already cleaned the girl about a million times so far.
Other than the usual surface damage you'd expect to find on a 26+ year old boat, Blue was hiding a little something on her beak.
What is it girl? Oh I see, there's a fist sized hole in your beak! Well good thing us girls like to play with power tools and adhesives.
Let's get to work. Always dressed for the occasion - masks, earplugs, and flannels.

NERD ALERT: Here was our plan for fixing this part of the boat.
We removed all previous patch work and loose edging and sanded the area with 50grit.
Then we took a piece of fiberglass from the removed patch and set it as our back wall. The creepy picture below shows Amy holding the piece. We punched a small hole in it, ran a string through it, and wrapped the other end of the string to a small stick. We don't have a picture of the next step, but we then applied quick set epoxy to the edges of the plate,put it through the boat hole, and pulled it towards the outside walls using the stick.
After we had a back wall to build from, we applied multiple layers of circularly cut fiberglass cloth, building up thickness to try to match the boat's natural outside wall. After the resin set, we sanded away the edges to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Then, it was Bondo time. We liberally applied the putty to fill in the uneven areas.
And then sanded again. And again. We love sanding...
 While things were dryng throughout this process, we wanted to be productive by attempting to fill in some missing/rotting foam in the centerboard trunk. (The big pocket thing in the middle of the boat that holds the giant middle board thing in and out of the water. Let's not act like we know the terminlogy for everything either.)
 We couldn't flip the boat at the time, so Amy set about her messy work from below.
 Rotting, foamy mess.
 But she makes it look so natural.
 We were tipped off about using a product called Great Stuff, Window and Door Insulating Foam Sealant. Give it a good shake there, Ames.
 Okay, calm down. (Doesn't that glare on the glasses give her that perfectly crazed look?)
 Here's goes nothing.
 From what we could tell, it will be a great product for us to use, but not great for applying from below.
Just about all of it ended up dripping off the boat and onto Amy and the ground. We plan to try again when we have the boat flipped on her belly again. 
 And so begins one of my favorite sequences of Amy. Her crawling for freedom from underneath the trailer. The thing from beneath the boat.

 So. Awkard.

 Sweet, sweet freedom!

 Only a little dirty.
What a sport. Take a load off good buddy.
 The first photographic evidence (in this post) that I was present for any kind of work. (Even though this is a pic of us wasting time goofing off while waiting for resin to dry.)
I thought this picture might also be a nice segway into our trip to the hardware store. We left for paint and got distracted by these fantastic sun hats. We'd buy them, but we'd like something with a little more brim if possible... Seriously though, we want more brim.

After shopping for a while, we decided to go with 9 different colors... Our bird will be the most beautiful bird in all the land! This is a sample of the pallet we'll be working with, but you will have to wait to see the full design until later.
So here's one last look before the main color's first coat.
 Here we go!
 Goodbye, weird patches.
 Hello, less weird patches.
 Like our canopy set up? We do too.
 Giving her a rubdown after a light sanding. This is one of her favorite things.
 mmm That's nice.
What fist-sized hole? She looks brand new!
So much progress made, so much more work we can't wait to do!
Mary approves. Cheers to boats.

ISEA, Great Lakes Coastal Trails Conference, and Dutch Makeba

Let's play catch up since we haven't updated the blog in ages! Back in May, we were invited back up to Traverse City, MI, to present for the Inland Seas Education Association Seminar Series. We had stopped by this wonderful place a few months back and loved that we were able to visit again to share our Lake Michigan adventure! ISEA is a non profit devoted to educating students about the Great Lakes through a variety of hand's on and on-water programming. We had a fun time presenting to a group that is so passionate about our Great Lakes.

While we were up north, we of course had to climb Sleeping Bear Dunes again!
What a view! I could sit up here forever.

Later on in May we attended the Great Lakes Coastal Trail 2014 Conference in Saugatuck, MI. The purpose of the conference was to further the progress of the creation of a Lake Michigan Water Trail. We were honored and excited to be part of the "Circumnavigators" panel alongside Tom Heineman and Stephen Brede.

Tom and Stephen, presenting their Lake Michigan circumnavigation experiences.

The whole gang! We were sad that Jenn Gibbons wasn't able to join our panel on this day.
After that we went WWOOF-ing in The Netherlands. We had an amazing experience wandering in Friesland, traveling all around the country, and getting our feet wet working at a unique bed and breakfast called Het Kleine Paradijs (a tiny piece of paradise in Dutch; it truly was). Here we are with our great hosts, Willem and Jaqueline.
And guess what? The Netherlands also has giant cottonwood trees.
They must have used one to carve this "Dutch Makeba!" I think a trip in this vessel would be even crazier than the one we took in normal Makeba.