Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

June 7, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Homemade Hatch Cover Screens

When we moved the boat to Fiddlers Cove Marina we had an instant fly problem. They came from nowhere. We’d been talking about gettting or making hatch covers before we moved and found them to be very expensive from West Marine so Natalie decided to make them herself.

We bought fiberglass screen material from Home Depot and had some leftover Sunbrella from when the sail covers were made. The pattern was pretty basic, just two triangles for the sides of the hatches and then a rectangle to cover the front and back. The bottom was made from Sunbrella and filled with rocks. We could have used lead shot, but decided against that because of toxicity.

Front view of Natalie's homemade hatch cover

Front view of Natalie’s homemade hatch cover

Rear view of Natalie's homemade hatch cover

Rear view of Natalie’s homemade hatch cover

After Natalie made 3 hatch cover screens a friend asked for a price for Natalie to make some for him so we searched online and found the old WestMarine hatch covers still cost almost $90, and that there’s a new competitor that only costs only $30-$40 for their largest size. Had we known that there was a lower priced offering we’d have just bought the $30 hatch covers.

cropped-DSCN11181

June 2, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Cruise to Mission Bay

Last week  we took off on a 4 day cruise with our friends Jill and Barret from S/V Lady Eileen, a Baba 30. They were down in California from Puget Sound visiting family and we invited them to go on a cruise with us to Mission Bay. We loaded up the boat and set sail on Wednesday around noon. Out in San Diego Bay we hauled up the sails and slowly sailed out the bay past buoy 3.

Hanging out in the cockpit

Hanging out in the cockpit

There are kelp beds to the west of Point Loma so we stayed well offshore to avoid them, but still managed to get a big piece stuck on the rudder skeg and it slowed us down by about a knot.

Mission Bay cruise planning overview

Mission Bay cruise planning overview

We anchored in the northern part of Mariners Basin called Bonita Cove. The bottom was mud and had good holding. We put out 65 feet of anchor rode in 20 feet of water.

The approach to Mariners Basin

The approach to Mariners Basin

Wednesday we launched the dinghy and went ashore to the beach. Barret was the only one adventurous enough to swim in the ocean.

Natalie, Sully, Jill and Barret (still dripping from a cold swim in the ocean)

Natalie, Sully, Jill and Barret (still dripping from a cold swim in the ocean)

Natalie and I enjoying the sun

Natalie and I enjoying the sun

We went out for lunch at a nearby restaurant and went back to the boat. Barret wanted to swim back to the boat and I decided to swim too because the water in the bay was much warmer than the ocean. Barret and I were 3/4 of the way back to the boat before Natalie and Jill got the outboard running. We put Sully down for his afternoon nap and enjoyed jumping off the boat and swimming around exploring the shore nearby.

Swim call! The girls

We found live sand dollars

We found live sand dollars

The whole gang

The whole gang

Jill and Barret

Jill and Barret

Astraea at anchor

Astraea at anchor

After swimming the girls took showers and we got ready for a bonfire and BBQ on the beach with my buddy Erick. He brought the wood and we brought hot dogs and sausages to grill. Sully played in the water and hung out on the beach blanket while we made dinner.

Sully's ready to go ashore and explore

Sully’s ready to go ashore and explore

Sully and the dinghy

Sully and the dinghy, our ride from the boat to shore

Sully exploring the shallow water

Sully exploring the shallow water

Bonfire!

Bonfire!

Jill and Sully hanging out on the blanket

Jill and Sully hanging out on the blanket

Before long the fire was dying down and we decided to head back to the boat for the night. The next day we hauled the anchor up and sailed back to San Diego Bay.

Sully spotted a passing boat

Sully spotted a passing boat

Jill and Barret were excellent crew

Jill and Barret were excellent crew

Before we knew it we were back in San Diego Bay, anchored at the La Playa anchorage near Shelter Island. Eric and Jaime from S/V Coconutz came to join us for dinner and we hung out until late in the evening.

The next morning we stowed the dinghy on deck and motored back to Fiddlers Cove so Barret and Jill could start the 1,300 mile drive back to Washington. Jill and Barret, it was great having you aboard and we look forward to cruising with you again!

Below is our trip on http://thekeel.com/. The site is done by fellow cruiser Eric Kaufman, formerly of S/V Rebel Heart, and is designed to share where you’re going and explore where you’ll go.

May 16, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Playing in the Cockpit

It’s HOT in San Diego today so Sully took a break from playing down below and ashore to splish splash in the cockpit! When we go cruising we can fill up a cooler in the cockpit with seawater for him to have a safe place to play in the water if we aren’t going to the beach that day.

April 27, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Raw Water Impeller Replacement

IMG_20140427_223346_005

 

The raw water impeller gave up today because I ran the engine for too long with the raw water seacock closed. It ate itself and jammed the tiny pieces down the plumbing toward the heat exchanger. I spent an hour laying on my belly on the floor pulling the pieces out. Not a fun chore but completely necessary because there was no cooling water for the engine and it could have seriously overheated. If I’d have replaced the impeller annually as is recommended in many maintenance schedules it probably wouldn’t have thrashed itself. Live and learn.

April 20, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Sea Scouts Safety at Sea day with the U. S. Coast Guard

We attended the Sea Scouts Safety at Sea day with the U. S. Coast Guard at Coast Guard Sector San Diego last weekend with our Sea Scout Ship, 2013. The event was jam packed with fun activities including entering a life raft in a survival suit, starting and using dewatering pumps, Vessel Safety Checks, distress calls and Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) tour, Jayhawk helicopter tour, pipe patching, lighting off flares and knot tying.

Scouts donned the gumby survival suit

Scouts donned the gumby survival suits

Jumped in to the bay

Jumped in to the bay

And entered a liferaft as a team

And entered a liferaft as a team

I lit off a flare

I lit off a flare

And convinced Natalie to do it too

And convinced Natalie to do it too

After our scouts lit off bright orange smoke

After our scouts lit off bright orange smoke

March 30, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Cruise to Glorietta Bay

Last weekend we cruising to Glorietta Bay with our buddy boats s/v Coconutz and s/v Sequoya. We rafted up and had an enjoyable weekend hanging out on the hook.

Sully's enjoying dinghy rides more now. He even reached down to play in the water as we cruised the bay.

Sully’s enjoying dinghy rides more now. He even reached down to play in the water as we cruised the bay.

We went to the beach to play in the sand and watch Jaime surf

We went to the beach to play in the sand and watch Jaime surf

Mike made it safely back aboard s/v Sequoya

Mike made it safely back aboard s/v Sequoya

Mike sail tested his dinghy sail kit and the daggerboard broke and he decided to swim it back instead of get a tow

Mike sail tested his dinghy sail kit and the daggerboard broke and he decided to swim it back instead of get a tow

We made a stop at the ice cream shop

We made a stop at the ice cream shop

A jet ski with jet boots was taking people out from the public launch

A jet ski with jet boots was taking people out from the public launch

Sully enjoyed the slide

Sully enjoyed the slide

Ashore on Saturday we visited the park

Ashore on Saturday we visited the park

Jaime surfing on the beach in Coronado

They played together the whole time

January 11, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Christmas Trip 2013

After we left Jacksonville, FL in a rental car we headed to Natalie’s Grandma and Grandpa Ferring’s in Colombus, GA.

We went to the park

We went to the park

We got to meet Sully's cousin Jacob for the first time

We got to meet Sully’s cousin Jacob for the first time

We also went to Callaway Gardens to see the parade of lights and sit in gigantic chairs

We also went to Callaway Gardens to see the parade of lights and sit in gigantic chairs

Sully Oohed at  the lights as we drove past them in the night

Sully Oohed at the lights as we drove past them in the night

Uncle Todd came by to visit in his Army uniform

Uncle Todd came by to visit in his Army uniform

After a 3 day visit we hit the road towards Natalie’s Mom’s in Tampa, FL.

We stopped at the visitor's center at the Florida state line and Sully enjoyed a cup of Florida orange juice

We stopped at the visitor’s center at the Florida state line and Sully enjoyed a cup of Florida orange juice

Soon the whole family met up at Great Grandma Klement's house and we took a walk through the neighborhood

A few days before Christmas the whole family met up at Great Grandma Klement’s house and we took a walk through the neighborhood

Sully and Grammy Vicky watched some Baby Einstein

Sully and Grammy Vicky watched some Baby Einstein

 

Sully played with his dumptruck

Sully played with his dumptruck

We did some porch sitting and tasty beverage drinking

We did some porch sitting and tasty beverage drinking

Sully got bored waiting for Santa to come and deliver all the presents

Sully got bored waiting for Santa to come and deliver all the presents

Cousin Elena came to visit too

Cousin Elena came to visit too

They played together the whole time

They played together the whole time

And shared snacks

And shared snacks

Sully did lots of lap sitting with family like Uncle Derald

Sully did lots of lap sitting with family like Uncle Derald

More sitting with Great Grammy Eunice

More sitting with Great Grammy Eunice

Sully visited Santa with Elena and Grammy outside Grammy's house

Sully visited Santa with Elena and Grammy outside Grammy’s house

He also got to visit Santa with Natalie

He also got to visit Santa with Natalie

Finally it was Christmas and he could open his presents from under the Christmas tree

Finally it was Christmas and he could open his presents from under the Christmas tree

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

No, seriously, Merry Christmas!

No, seriously, Merry Christmas!

The day after Christmas we packed up Vicky’s car with a big box full of Sully’s new toys, and made our way to the airport for our flight to San Diego. We made it back safely and it felt good to be aboard Astraea again because it’s the place we call home.

January 11, 2014
by Nate

Move to Chula Vista

We’ve finally moved to Chula Vista! We’ve been saying we’re going to move down to Chula Vista Marina since last summer and we’ve done it. Our storage lockers at Pier 32 are cleaned out, the dock box is empty. It’s amazing how much boat project stuff I’ve accumulated here over the past year and a half. Our neighbor Steve helped us run our car down to Chula Vista and shuttle me back to the boat to get underway. He said since we’re keeping our mail at Pier 32 and going to be living at different marinas for our next 10 months we should consider January first the first day we’ve been cruising.

Sully and I are cruisers now!

Sully and I are cruisers now! Here we are heading down Sweetwater Channel towards the Bay

Natalie and Sully are happy to be on the way

Natalie and Sully are happy to be on the way

We had a great stay at Pier 32. We met lots of awesome people, had lots of fun with our neighbors and hope to make more friends as we continue cruising.

December 16, 2013
by Nate Kraft

Space A Flight

We took two military Space Available (Space A) flights to the east coast to visit family for the holidays. We found the flight information posted 72 hours before time on the Facebook pages for the North Island and Naval Station Norfolk air terminals. It’s a great way for military personnel, active and retired, to travel when there are empty seats on military flights. We didn’t plan on Space A as our primary means of transportation but as a way to save money. We bought tickets on Southwest for a week after my leave started to give us a good chance to get on a free flight because of their cancelation policy. You can cancel your ticket with Southwest and keep the credit for a year, so we’ll use Southwest later for a return flight from somewhere.

It was a cool experience flying this way. We piled our bags onto a cart and walked down the flight line to the plane.

It was a cool experience flying this way. We piled our bags onto a cart and walked down the flight line to the plane.

Our flights were on U. S. NAVY C-40's. The first was  all personnel from San Diego to NAS Oceana. The second flight was half cargo and half personnel from Norfolk Naval Station to Jacksonville NAS.

Our flights were on U. S. NAVY C-40′s. The first was all personnel from San Diego to NAS Oceana. The second flight was half cargo and half personnel from Norfolk Naval Station to Jacksonville NAS.

Our first stop was at Tim and Martha's house in Norfolk. We haven't visited them there since we lived in their furnished attic in 2006 when I was in school at Dam Neck. Tim took Sully on a trip up the stairs on their lift.

Our first stop was at Tim and Martha’s house in Norfolk. We haven’t visited them there since we lived in their furnished attic in 2006 when I was in school at Dam Neck. Tim took Sully on a trip up the stairs on their lift.

 

Sully got to ride the lift by himself too.

Sully got to ride the lift by himself too.

 

Flying Space A can be exhausting. We spent a few hours waiting to find out if we got a seat on the plane and had to make lots of higher stress last minute accommodations for transportation and lodging. It also messed out Sully's normal sleep schedule.

Flying Space A can be exhausting. We spent a few hours waiting to find out if we got a seat on the plane and had to make lots of higher stress last minute accommodations for transportation and lodging. It also messed out Sully’s normal sleep schedule, but he’s back to normal after two days.

We hopped our second flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville late at night and arrived after midnight and got a late checkout from the hotel. I was out getting a rental car while Natalie and Sully got the luggage out of our room.

We hopped our second flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville late at night and arrived after midnight and got a late checkout from the hotel. I was out getting a rental car while Natalie and Sully got the luggage out of our room.

We went to visit my buddy Josh's boat. His beard is epic and Sully is very jealous of it's glory.

We went to visit my buddy Josh’s boat. His beard is epic and Sully is very jealous of it’s glory.

 

Josh and his girlfriend Shea are prepping their boat to cruise the Caribbean again.

Josh and his girlfriend Shea are prepping their boat to cruise the Caribbean again. We stopped by for a visit before heading to Georgia to see Natalie’s Grandparents on our way to Florida for Christmas.

It took a lot of planning and preparation, but we found some things out. It ended up being cheaper to rent a car one way from Jacksonville to Tampa than taking the train for both of us. It was also cheaper to rent a car by the day for the first few days and then return that car and rent again for the trip to Tampa instead of renting the car one way for 5 days.

All in all, Space A is a good way to travel if you have a loose travel plans and you’re willing to make lots of last minute arrangements.

November 27, 2013
by Nate Kraft

Astraea Sails Again!

At the helm and sailing close hauled

At the helm and sailing close hauled

Sailing with JAYGAR

Sailing with JAYGAR

Sunday Natalie and I took Astraea out for a shakedown sail around the south bay. We anchored outside Sweetwater Channel and rafted up with our neighbor boat, JAYGAR. The winds were light, but with Natalie at the helm, Sully sleeping below and me trimming the sails we made a max speed of 6.5 knots over ground. It was great to be underway again.