Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

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October 22, 2014
by Nate Kraft

DeLorme inREACH SE Review

Aboard Astraea we don’t have a single sideband radio or satellite phone for long distance communication. I decided to get a satellite messenger to keep in touch with friends and family back home while we’re away from a Wi-Fi connection. Our options were the DeLorme inREACH SE and the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. I wanted the inREACH because it doesn’t require a smart phone to send and receive text messages and it uses the worldwide coverage of the Iridium satellite network so it’ll work wherever our travels take us. One of the best additional safety features is the SOS button. If we get in trouble we can use the inReach to start a two way text conversation with rescue personnel.

DeLORME inREACH SE and my Driod4 paired running the Earthmate app

DeLORME inREACH SE and my Droid 4 paired running the Earthmate app

Unboxing and activation was easy. Just power on the device, log in to the DeLorme web site at https://explore.delorme.com/ and enter the device’s ID and a passcode displayed on the screen. We chose the annual contract expedition plan so we can have unlimited tracking and messaging. It took about 10 minutes to set up our account, add family contact information if we needed rescue. After the online setup and payment it took a few minutes for the device to acquire a GPS position and confirmation from the satellites that it was activated.

A quick google search made it easy to add a position map to our blog. We also integrated Twitter, and Facebook accounts.

I did have some problems with the device. The right arrow key doesn’t respond when pushed so entering text using the inReach is time consuming. A quick call to DeLorme support got us connected to a service representative who immediately shipped us a replacement unit. We can call them to have the units swapped in our online account, or do it on our own.

The other problem we had was with the sync function. Once you update preset messages or information online for the device it needs to sync with the device. During the sync and software update the device the firware update failed because of a loose USB cable or loss of internet connection and our inReach gave the error message “inReach SE Firmware Not Working Properly.” We use a Mac for our daily computing and were unable to recover from this problem without help from my friend Jeff because the initial firmware installation only works with a Windows computer. Once the firmware was reinstalled the device synced with the Mac without a problem.

We’ve only been using the device for a few days now and it’s been working well. You can follow our cross country trip on our new page “Where is Astraea?

September 16, 2014
by Nate Kraft

1000 Miles Under the Keel

Last weekend we took a cruise to the La Playa Anchorage in San Diego Bay with our friends Matt and Anna. After we anchored our friends Mike and Molly from S/V Sequoia rafted up with us. We’ve been trying to go on cruises once a month to help us prepare for full time cruising starting in November.

This cruise, our goal was to test out the new batteries that I installed a week ago and go sail in the ocean. We used our Monitor wind vane and Natalie used a Scopolamine patch and didn’t get seasick!

Mike and I on the starboard side

Mike and I on the starboard side

Prepare to tack!

Prepare to tack!

We made it 3 miles out past Point Loma and the chart plotter hit 1000 Nautical Miles. We hooted and hollered to celebrate 1000 miles under Astraea’s keel under our care, then tacked back towards La Playa Anchorage.

Sunday we said goodbye to Mike and Molly and headed back to Fiddlers Cove sailing slowly under the drifter, our giant light air headsail.

Sailing back to Fiddlers Cove

Sailing back to Fiddlers Cove

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Hanging out on the bow with the family

Hanging out on the bow with the family

As we cruised down the bay we let the autopilot do the steering and we kept a good watch from up  on the foredeck. It was a great weekend cruise with great friends, great food and great sailing.

July 30, 2014
by Nate Kraft

June Visit to Loganville and Knoxville

Sully's 2nd birthday! My mom made Sully an angelfood cake

Sully’s 2nd birthday! My mom made Sully an angelfood cake

Playing tractors with Lizze

Playing tractors with Lizze

Playing tractors with Sully's Great Grandpa

Playing tractors with Sully’s Great Grandpa

Playing with big tractors in the basement. Sully calls tractors "gowa"

Playing with big tractors in the basement. Sully calls tractors “gowa”

Playing at the Loganville park

Playing at the Loganville park

Playing with Nana Kraft at the park

Playing with Nana Kraft at the park

Nana, Sully and Me

Running up the to cross the street to the ball field

Running up the to cross the street to the ball field

Sully's safe at home base

Sully’s safe at home base

 

 

Playing with my old farm toys

Playing with my old farm toys

Taking a car ride with Pappy

Taking a pedal car ride with Pappy

IMG_2705 Fresh strawberries from Pappy's garden

Tractor riding with Pappy

Tractor riding with Pappy

Sully wants to drive

Sully wants to drive

Yummy

Yummy

Smoked hot dogs

Smoked hot dogs

Daddy Sully tractor time

Daddy Sully tractor time

Visiting Steam in to History's new train in New Freedom, PA

Visiting Steam in to History’s new train in New Freedom, PA

Sully rode with Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ness

Sully rode with Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ness

Riding the train with Natalie, Sully, Great Grandma Ness, Nana and Pappy

Riding the train with Natalie, Sully, Great Grandma Ness, Nana and Pappy

Train riding with Great Grandpa and Grandma Ness

Train riding with Great Grandpa and Grandma Ness

Riding the train with my Grandpa, Rodger Ness

Riding the train with my Grandpa, Rodger Ness

Sully took a trip to Perrydell with Nana and Pappy

Sully took a trip to Perrydell with Nana and Pappy

Looking in where they milk the cows

Looking in where they milk the cows

Visiting while the cows feed

Visiting while the cows feed

Swimming at Uncle Barry and Scott's pool

Swimming at Uncle Barry and Scott’s pool

Playing Noah's Ark at Great Grandma and Grandpa Kraft's

Playing Noah’s Ark at Great Grandma and Grandpa Kraft’s

Visiting Aunt Lisa's pond

Visiting Aunt Lisa’s pond

Searching for frogs

Searching for frogs

Koku and Pappy hanging out under the new truck topper

Koku and Pappy hanging out under the new truck topper

Visiting my cousin Amy and her baby girl Abby

Visiting my cousin Amy and her baby girl Abby

... and Olivia

… and Olivia

We had lots of fun playing together

We had lots of fun playing together

Sully took naps in the story corner

Sully took naps in the story corner

Then we rode Karl's new old tractor at the Vineyard at Frogeye

Then we rode Karl’s new old tractor at the Vineyard at Frogeye

We fed pigs

We fed pigs

and towed Uncle Karl and the wagon around

and towed Uncle Karl and the wagon around

We visited the park

Walking down to the pond at Nicole and Karl's with Lizze, Sully, me and Pappy

Walking down to the pond at Nicole and Karl’s with Lizze, Sully, me and Pappy

Sitting on the dock fishing with Pappy

Sitting on the dock fishing with Pappy

Natalie and I dropping Lizze off at the airport

Natalie and I dropping Lizze off at the airport

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.

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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.

April 27, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Raw Water Impeller Replacement

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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