Monday, March 20, 2017

Trawler! And fishing.

 My mom and her husband just bought a new Trawler, or to be more specific, half of one. It is easier to purchase and insure and pay for the moorage on only half a boat, so when a whole one came on the market, they found a partner and sawed it in half.
Or rather, they bought it together, and sawed the time they can use it in half.  Still, how often do you use a boat?  All the time?  Of course not.  Not even half the time, so this will work out great, I am sure.
It is a Fu Hwa 34.  I don't know much about them, but I am learning, and impressed by the build and design.
I got to go out on it for a test run yesterday, and it looks, feels, and smells great.  You can tell a lot from a boat by the smell, believe me.  In a boat with a fair amount of wood in it (and this one has that) your nose is one of the best instruments of investigation.  I sniffed around all over, through the engine room (which is quite commodious for a 34 ft boat) and was very pleased with the results.  We left the dock gently, for this boat has both bow and stern thrusters, and we headed out into the Straight of Georgia (we were leaving from Blaine, WA).  The main engine is a 6 cylinder Perkins Diesel, generating about 120 hp at max throttle, but when set to a humming easy pace it pushes the boat along at about 6.5 knots and everything is quiet and smooth.  Hardly any wake comes out from behind the boat at this speed, and from the flybridge it is almost like you are floating along on a magic carpet.  It also helps that the windows in the enclosed flybridge are huge and when it is sunny you feel quite tropical.
 I'm impressed with this boat because of how large it is, and how much usable space there is.  Many boats, I find, are built to have lots of sundeck space.  Places where in the ads you can put bikinis and young people ready to jump into the water.  In the Northwest, that design is troubled, because it is seldom or never that you have those amenities to grace your bow with.  Instead you have fog and rain, and the trouble with both of those, they are cold.  And wet.  So it is best to have a very big heater inboard (or three) and to have lots of covered areas (and enclosed) to heat.  This boat is exactly of that mindset.  There is a bow, which is large enough to lounge on if you have to take some promotional photography, but most of the boat is cabin. And there is a covered area near the stern for being outside but not dripped on.
 Another feature I like is a place to store your toys.  On the Uncruise boats we have a deck with a crane to store the dinghies and kayaks, and I believe that is the best way.  This boat also has a crane and the dinghy sits up on the top deck in a designated spot.  All that is wanting is a few kayaks on an easy-to-launch-and-retrieve system.  That is to come.
 As you can see the flybridge is comfortable and steering is easy.  There is Radar and a nice chartplotter, as well as a very capable autopilot.
 Here is a look at the inside, and there is a V-berth in the front with enough room for 4 if you squeezed or 2 if you wanted, and the bed on the right side (which is starboard) pulls out to be a double and the left side table also becomes a double.  So you could cram a bunch of people in if you needed.  I think 5 would be comfortable and 10 is possible aboard.  Well, 20 is possible if you really tried, but 10 could be fun on a sunny day with little wind.  In the event of not sunny and the possibility of cold, this cabin is heated by a Red Dot engine heater (which is the same idea as what you run in a car, it takes heat from the engine) that pumps out the Joules, and also a Webasto Diesel forced air heater (which is like a furnace in a house) and also by a few electric heaters that take electricity from the batteries (if you are under way) or from shore power if you are plugged in.  I am stunned that the electric heaters will work while at sea, but they do.  In addition, there is a Propane stove that would also heat the cabin if someone were cooking.  This leads to a very warm inside space, if you want it.  You can also turn the heaters off and open the doors and windows and freeze.
 The final thing I like is the outdoor covered area, on the back.  It is a place to stand outside and freeze if everyone else wants the heaters to be run and you are a masochist.  But not enough of a masochist to want to stand in the rain.  Everyone has their limits, right?  It has an outdoor shower out there, so if you don't have any limits and it is sunny, you can pour water over your head to make yourself more miserable.  Walkways around the sides and front and back allow you to walk laps around the perimeter to get exercise.  The ladder goes up to the top deck and the flybridge.
  In terms of square footage, this boat has about 5 times the area of Altair, but is only about 7 ft longer, or about the same length if you count the bowsprit and Lafawnda.
More info about the boat can be had here:

That is a link to the broker, and for this exact boat, not just the model.  Hopefully it will stay live for a while.
As we motored along, I noticed there were some Long Tailed Ducks here and there on the water.  I took a few pictures but they were shy.

Another thing I've been up to was going over to eastern Washington to go fishing with my dad.  We went to a small lake in Moses Coulee, where the gigantic floods from Lake Mazama (a glacial lake at the end of the last ice age) carved out alternate pathways for the Columbia River.  This one is now empty, but the high walls and flat bottom is awesome terrain.  
 Its a fly fishing only lake and you can't have a motor boat, so my dad is very much at home there in his little cedar strip boat.
 I didn't fish very much.  In fact, I spent most of my time walking around looking for birds and animals.  I found a Virgina Rail, but didn't get a good picture of it, and got this shot of a Red-wing Blackbird in the evening with low light using my long lens.  In fact, it was handheld, at an effective 900 mm, and with a shutter speed of 1/40 of a second.  I am really impressed with my image stabilization on that lens.  Also the bird held still for me.
 There were also Marmots about.  I tried to sneak up on them to get a closer look, but they had their beady eyes ready and watched me carefully.  I might not look like a red-tailed hawk, but I was behaving like a predator, and they slipped deftly into little caves under the rocks and vanished.  I never heard these ones whistle, so maybe I am mistaken in their species.  If all else fails, I guess I can call them Varmits and then I don't have to be right.

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