Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Winter fun with the Viking Yacht Club


One of the winter Viking Yacht Club events was a glassblowing experience in Tacoma.  Several of us attended the workshop, learning firsthand how difficult it is to blow glass!  You can see Alice turning her piece in the fiercely hot kiln. We had a LOT of help in making our pieces...  Several options were on display and we could choose both the item and the color combination.  Alice chose to make a heart shaped bowl with red and white accents.

After the items had cooled, Bob picked up all the items and we got together at his home for pizza and a glass viewing!  From left, Robert, Bob, Alice and Carla display their works of art.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Babies are growing!

   We were at our Indio home for Easter 2013.  Five of Alice's six children with their families were there!  A September entry showed Jack, left, and Oliver on Grandma Johnson's lap. just a few weeks old.  Now they are 5 1/2 months old and growing like weeds...
Grandpa Johnson enjoyed playing with Oliver for a while.  He is a very happy baby and warms up to everyone quickly.
Jack had open heart surgery on April 5.  He is still in the PICU at the hospital in Long Beach, but will be home soon.  He has been quite the trooper through it all.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Haulout Time in Tacoma...

One dirty rudder and propellor on Grey Wolf

Bill and Alice arrived in Tacoma on January 24 and  checked in with Citadel Marine Service the next week, wanting information on hauling out Grey Wolf and getting a fresh paint job done.  They were not very busy and we soon found ourselves staying on our friends' boat, with Grey Wolf in dry dock!
More damage done to the keel than we thought....
Bill knew he had run up on a rock formation the very last morning we were in Alaska, but with no leakage we trusted that the fiberglass hull had withstood the assault quite well!  Well, she did, but
he was shocked to see the extent of the damage upon inspection.  Repairs of this little incident    
added to our bill, but it was a lesson well-learned.  Brown shadows on the water of our anchorage
looked like seaweed, but indeed were not! 
A newly balanced prop all painted and pretty~
Between the workmen putting on the first coat of paint and Bill putting on the second and third
coats, the job was done in about one week.  Bill also installed some new thruhulls and a new transducer, so we should be in good shape for a while.  A survey was also done for insurance.
This was a cozy place to work on cold winter days!
The weather had been in the twenties, but while Grey Wolf was out it was in the thirties and forties: still too cold to work outside.  Citadel set her up inside and this made for a much better work space.
Boat paint has to be at a certain temperature and so do the workers!
Ahoy, Captain~  time to go back in the water...
Most times we have been pulled out by a huge sling apparatus called a Travel Lift.  This facility
uses a Sea Lift instead, and it works by remote control!  A worker with a control panel walked along beside it and remotely turned the wheels to guide it back into the water~ very cool!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Alice asked me to write a Christmas message for the blog, so "Merry Christmas"! Oh my, I forgot that this may be read in a school or a public building and that is now against the law to say something that brings Christ into the conversation. As you may have guessed, I am just trying to get your attention. I am starting to realize that I am getting old, because I can remember back, and not that long ago, when you would find Christmas celebrations in schools and city halls across this nation, and the White House had a Christmas tree, not a "Holiday tree". It seems that our government has set a direction for this country that will take God out of any thought and has sided with minorities, be they atheists, gays, or you name it, to turn some people and some churches away from the truth that God did send Christ into the world to provide the way of salvation. When I was young, our country was not the great debtor nation of the world, but we were the great lender nation because we were the greatest nation in the world. We did not hate people who had more than we had, but used their example as a guide to lift ourselves up. Today the government has promoted this class war as a fact that we should hate the rich. The truth is we so need the rich because they are the ones who create jobs for those who want to work! I can't think of one poor person who has created one job until he or she took a big chance and was able to get a loan to start a small business. With hard work it would grow and perhaps become a bigger business. The Bible says the "The fool says in his heart 'There is no God'". The way the laws of our country are going they have changed that quote to say "The fool says in his heart that there is a God'". When I was pastoring I had a saying on the wall which said, "All it takes for evil to win the world is for enough good men to do nothing". I do not want to be one of those, even though I know that not many will read this and fewer will believe what I am saying. I want you to know that I love this country, but am saddened by the direction it is going. Since my retirement I have had the joy of being in Mexico and Central America. What stands out to a Christian there is the fact that you still see the nativity scene in schools and city halls at this time of year. It was so good to see, but at the same time it hurts tp see what we have allowed by not standing up for what we believe here at home. I am afraid for our country because it may be true when our president proclaimed "The USA is no longer a Christian nation". If we, as a nation, have turned our backs on God, then He will turn away from us. The Bible tells us that Christ, being in the form of God, humbled himself and took on the form of man. That is what we celebrate and rejoice about during this holiday season. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We are also told in the Bible that if we turn from the way that will destroy us and turn back to God, He will have mercy on us and restore us to that place with Him. When you look at Christmas you see people showing LOVE to those they know and love~ family and friends, by giving gifts and cards, and that is the spirit of Christmas. God has shown His love to us and Christians rejoice in that blessing all year long, but especially at this time. Let us, as God's people, keep Christ in Christmas and take time to thank God for his greatest gift of all and show our love in worshipping Him in everything we do. I am sorry I could not say this in a shorter message, but I felt that God wanted these things to be said. In closing, I want to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS. Let us meditate on the rich meaning of that statement. Have a wonderful New Year and let us hope that love will overshadow the hate that is being promoted so strongly today. Your friend, captain and jack of all trades on Grey Wolf. Bill Johnson

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bill Remodels our Stern~

Over the years Grey Wolf has had a grey canvas biminy cover over the back deck.  It was time to replace it again and Bill decided he would rather enclose the back!  You can see the beginning stages of this transformation, with a wooden framing in progress.  Later, the top was covered with plywood and then fiberglassed.
After painting all the wood, Bill began working on the plexiglass windows.  He made sure that the side panels were hinged so they could be raised for various reasons.  He also installed a hinged panel above the existing door to the swim step so the entire back deck could be secured.
Now that it is all finished, what an amazing addition it is! Bill moved some of the storage to the rear and extended the stainless railing so that it is a seamless addition to the roof.  He even installed heavy clear plastic doors over the side walkways and now we can sit on the back deck without a breeze or drop of rain! My magic man did it again!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Two New Babies!

September turned out to be a very eventful month for Alice's children! Baby Oliver arrived in San Diego on 9-11, weighing in at 5 lbs, 9 oz. He is the towhead on the right, above.  The very next day Jack made his debut in Long Beach, weighing in at 6 lbs, 9 oz!  Jack's dad is Alice's older son, Justin, while Oliver's mom is her youngest daughter Melinda~ Alice flew down to inspect these two beautiful babies and to help out, as well.  Needless to say, they have changed and grown since then.  Hmm- maybe we have a good Thanksgiving photo to add here soon...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cruising South in Beautiful British Columbia~

As we headed south we were impeded in our progress by FOG...  One time we were three hours late leaving our anchorage because of heavy ground level fog.  Another day, we left our anchorage on a bright, clear morning and wound up driving right into pea soup fog out in Queen Charlotte Strait!
Dorothy and Alice went to Bishop Bay Hot Springs, our third hot springs stop. This springs had a nice shelter built over it and many cruisers had hung memorabilia on the roof and walls to commemorate their visits.  When we were done soaking we conned Bill into taking us to the boat to decorate an old flag and then back to nail it to the wall!
As we traveled down the channel by Campbell River, Dorothy noticed some activity in the water near shore~ as we looked more carefully we saw several orcas playing around! This was such a treat, as the previous 3,000 miles we had seen NO orcas... unfortunately, the photos do not show pristine forests in the background- just houses near the beach~
Ocean Falls is at the end of a long inlet in an out-of-the-way spot in central British Columbia.  Once a thriving mill town of 8,000, there are 35 fulltime residents now.  The dam still operates, providing electric power to four small towns. Like the town, it has seen better days, with damage to the catwalk above the dam. We walked as far out as we could~ 
The last night before we crossed the border in the United States we stayed in  Chemainus, 30 miles north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.  It has a touch of  English influence, and a healthy art and theater atmosphere.  The weather was glorious as we left there to travel on to Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington!  We have traveled 3,156miles since May 15...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

HYDABURG: Home of the Haida Indians~

Hydaburg is the largest settlement of Haida Indians in Alaska- pop. 400. The weekend we visited was the annual totem pole raising and this year a woman carver directed the making of this pole AND the women carried it from the carving shed to the totem park!  Haida warrior women!!
Dorothy was so excited to be there that she ran down and grabbed the very top of the pole to help in getting the totem to its permanent resting place.  Alice was standing on the church steps taking photos when she saw her in the crowd- what?  Okay, another photo opp...

Once the pole got to the park, several big ropes were tied to it to assist in lifting it into place.  Both Dorothy and Alice took their place on a rope to steady and lift this beautiful new pole.  It is part of the restoration project that is ongoing, and someday all of the old, peeling poles will be replaced.  They are now made of red cedar, the only wood that can withstand the weather in Alaska.
Following the pole raisings Hydaburg celebrated with potlatches both Friday and Saturday nights.  The food was wonderful, plentiful, and heavily protein: venison, salmon, halibut, shrimp, crab, ham, turkey, wow!  We took our little offerings of food, as well.  Dancing and singing followed, with groups from Klawock, Ketchikan, and Hydaburg performing.  The auditorium was big and it was difficult to get good photos.  Note the woman in the foreground holding her baby who is also wearing a typical Haida hat woven of cedar strips!

Sitka- where Russian, Tlingit and American customs meet.

On our way to Sitka we spotted this Sitka deer, moseying along the bank of the channel we were traveling.  It was a cool, drizzly morning and she seemed oblivious to our presence.  The wildlife, in general, has been sparse this trip.  Oh, lots of humpbacks- NO orcas- and lots and lots of birds of every size and kind.
One of the highlights of walking about in downtown Sitka is St. Michael's Cathedral.  The current edifice replaced the original one which burned.  Although the locals told us this was only the fourth day of sun for their summer, we enjoyed two sunny days during our four day stay!

Hot Springs Heaven~

There are a number of natural hot springs in Alaska and Canada.  The quaint little town of Tenakee Springs, on Chichagof Island, has NO cars but lots of hot springs!  Some people have even tapped this water to heat their homes. In the center of town is a bath house, built over a hot springs of constant 105 degree water.  Dorothy and Alice took advantage of it during women's hours... no suits allowed!
Following our stay in Sitka, on Baranof Island, we went to Warm Springs Bay... where a raging waterfall runs right beside three hot pools: 120, 105, and 100 degrees...    We liked the nice 'cool' one right off of the waterfall- in our suits!  We hope to get to Bishop Bay Hot Springs in B.C., also~