September 30, 2005

Back to Sidney and Water Heater Woes

Hi Everyone,

Since our last note we've made a few stops and had a
variety of weather. Also, the numbers of boats out
and about have decreased significantly since the labor
day weekend.

We only stayed one night at Telegraph Harbor, Thetis
Island before continuing on to Chemainus, Vancouver
Island. The marina is small but Harmen, the
wharfinger (harbor master), is great, very friendly
and helpful. We could walk through the entire town
right from the dock. In fact, we did a lot of walking,
finding many interesting places. We followed the
footprints on the roads past the many many murals on
the town buildings. We also found a tiny but excellent
Chinese Restaurant, Ding Ho, right up from the marina,
and a good Japanese place too.

We had to stop in the Grapefully Yours store to see
what is was. We recognized the familiar aroma as soon
as we entered. It turned out to be a gift shop plus a
U-brew place. After a bit of tasting of Raspberry
Port, we decided to have a batch of Old Vine Zinfandel
prepared for next April. We'll let you know how this
turns it was a weak moment or a good

A few days later we moved on to Maple Bay. This is a
good marina for locals but not so good if you don't
have a car because it's too far from town. The reason
we went there was to hook up with friends we made in
Mexico, Roger (Mona had just gone back to the states)
of Cherokee Eagle and Rob and Shannon, of Sea Bull,
who live nearby in Crofton. We all enjoyed an
excellent meal at the Grapevine which is near the
municipal pier.

We were on a roll. After two nights we moved to
Ganges, Salt Spring Island, with Roger to hook up with
Craig and Barbara of Capella fame.

We enjoyed our time here in June and were glad to
return for the Saturday Market, good restaurants and
friends. Barbara and Craig were happy on arriving here
to just put the anchor down for a long term stay.

Needless to say, there was more good food involved.
House Picollo was our favorite restaurant. Another
evening we all had steaks and all the trimmings on
Capella, Pork Marsala on Raptor Dance and Bill's
excellent (weather inspired) onion soup. See below for
the recipe.

Rob and Shannon came by ferry and gave us all a tour
of Salt Spring Island...and a home grown frozen
chicken (would you believe?).

Our timing was good, so we were able to visit with Ken
and Wendy on Poppy II too. They had just returned from

We also met briefly with Marilyn Ming who, with her
husband Jim, own the Valiant 40, Coyote Moon. She's
head librarian at the Salt Springs Library in Ganges
and commutes over from Sidney. We missed them on our
earlier pass through the area as they were doing a
circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

We did manage to see some sun during this time but
it's getting pretty cold now. We've been regularly
using our heater. The dominoes came out for Mexican
Train and we learned how to play team Skip Bow (also
known as Spite and Malice).

We had already made plans to return to Canoe Cove to
have our water heater checked. Bill determined that
the tiny leak, which we've had since we were in the
Sea of Cortez, was coming from a corner of the water
heater. We thought it was better to do the work there,
where a replacement was available if needed. Funny
thing, all doubt was lifted when suddenly water was
pouring out of the water heater. Yep, a new one was in
our immediate future. But it was Friday and we were
not due at Canoe Cove until Monday. Now I know many
boaters routinely use the marina showers but we never
had. We missed being able to use our on board shower
but it was actually not too inconvenient using the
marina's. So for one Looney (a $1 CAN coin with a Loon
on the back - approximately $0.83) we got four minutes
of hot water.

Monday we arrived in Canoe Cove and got settled in at
the service dock. Monday night we had dinner with Jim
and Marilyn and had a lovely dinner at the house that
they're building a short distance away from the
marina. We also did the usual tour of each others
boats. Coyote Moon is back in their slip, also at
Canoe Cove. Interestingly while they were off on the
circumnavigation, the marina put us in their slip for
a few days when we were here before.

Stan from Canoe Cove worked with us on the water
heater problem. He's the fellow who did our new
through hull and raw water manifolds back in June - so
we know he does good work.

First we had to get out the old heater, A Seaward 11
Gal. model. This is quite a bit more complex than in
a home as the unit is in a tight corner under the rear
state room bed. We had to drain the unit, detach the
115V electricity, fresh water hoses and the hoses
going to the engine (we can heat water either by using
115V power or by an engine coolant heat exchanger in
the water heater). Stan's nimble plugging of the
engine coolant circuit prevented us from losing very
much liquid. Then we removed the mounting brackets
for the heater and tried to lift it out. Oops! One
of our Group 31 house batteries is in the way - so we
disconnected and removed it and then lifted out the
water heater.

When we got the old heater up to the shop we removed
the cover and found the hole in the tank. It had
corroded through! Wait a minute, this tank is
Aluminum! We thought we had a stainless steel tank!
A quick check of the manual shows we misread the
specifications... This water heater only has a
stainless steel outer case, Duh!

Also, the only water heater we could get in a
reasonable time period is also aluminum, oh well.
It's a Force 10, 11 Gal. When this goes, we'll
replace it with a true Stainless Steel unit (It turns
out that there are very few on the market).

We are also looking into putting on a magnesium anode
to cut down on the corrosion. While these are
standard on home units, very few marine units come
with them.

The Force 10 is the same size as the Seaward, but the
attachments are in slightly different places. Also
the mounting brackets are on the sides instead of the
ends. So we had to work with Stan to make everything

At 1:00 Tuesday afternoon we were all done, so we
fired everything up... Works like a champ - Hooray!

We did have a slight drip that we discovered later.
So Stan came back over Wednesday morning to find it
and tighten one joint. The leak was about 6 feet from
where the water was pooling and it was, very slow...
So it took some detective work to find.

So at 11:00 Wednesday we left Canoe Cove for Port
Sidney Marina with the threat of a "Significant" Storm
for later in the day.

Port Sidney is only about 3 miles from Canoe Cove, so
we got there in no time at all - in spite of 25+ knot
head winds, fog with 3/4 mile visibility and 2 foot
choppy, sloppy seas.

We tied up and went to our favorite fish and chips
place in Canada: Fish on 5th. We like fish and
chips, we tried it lots of places up here. Haven't
found any nearly as good.

Later in the day, with the clouds gathering and the
wind gusting to 30+ we decided to stay on the boat and
cook one of Shannon's chickens... It was yummy.

Yesterday - Thursday - we spent a raining day onboard
doing boat chores. The video processor for out Runco
flat screen died, so Bill routed a S-Video cable from
the DVD player over to the screen. We had a jury rig
of two cables spliced together and duck taped overhead
in the cabin, but we wanted more shipshape
arrangement. So, we routed a cable of the proper
length alongside the wiring harness that traverses the
cabin up along the forward bulkhead and down the
starboard side. This required disassembling and
reassembling the Computer/AV equipment locker,
emptying lockers, taking the wine cabinet apart,
creative snaking under the cabin sole, replacing the
video processor with two books so the equipment still
stacked properly and a lot of head scratching. The job
took all afternoon.

This evening, with the rain pouring down, was a good
time to enjoy the last of the crab with a light sauce
(olive oil, sweet red pepper, sambal and garlic) over
pasta. We aren't starving, as you know, but our weight
is not increasing.

This morning, it's overcast, cold with showers
forecast for later today with another 1/4 of rain
likely. Today's chore is to replace the raw water
pump in the heat/air conditioner. It sounds like the
bearings are going out in the pump and we want to fix
it before it breaks! The thrum thrum thrum of the
pump also wakes us up sometimes when it runs at night.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we'll had back over to
Maple Bay for a Dinner party at Rob and Shannon's on
Sunday night.

That's the latest from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill (we both wrote major sections of this


Bill's Onion Soup (Best made in a pressure cooker -
ours is a 6 Quart)

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Pounds Onions, Sliced (more is OK - you want to
basically fill your pressure cooker pot with raw
sliced onions)
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1 Cup Beer, suggest a nice flavorful ALE, such as a
Pale Ale (more is OK, I've often used the whole
6 Cups Beef Stock (or water + lower salt, beef bullion
or use more beer!)

For serving:
1 slice of toast per person
shredded Gruyere cheese

Heat the oil in your pressure cooker and add the
sliced onions. Cook on high, stirring occasionally.
You want the onions to sweat out their moisture and
cook down. You want them to slowly turn light brown
as the liquid cooks out and their sugars caramelize.
You want to stir frequently enough so the color is
even, you don't want any medium or dark brown color.
This should take around 30-40 minutes (depending on
how many onions you're cooking).

Then reduce the heat to low, add the flour,
Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar - stir frequently
for 5 minutes.

Then add the beer and beef stock and turn up the heat
to high and close the pressure cooker. Cook under
high pressure for 20 minutes. If you don't have a
pressure cooker, you can simmer the soup in a regular
pot or dutch oven for 2 hours, but you may need more

Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release
naturally as the pressure cooker cools.

Spoon the soup into bowls, float the toast on top of
the soup and sprinkle shredded Gruyere cheese on top
to cover. You can then pop under the broiler to get
the cheese bubbly and brown. Then serve.

We don't have a broiler on the boat, so we use our
electric heat gun (hair dryer on steroids - normally
used to shrink, heat shrink tubing and remove paint)
to get the same effect.


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