Dream Away Update 09-Jul-2006
Our last update was on June 10th just after arriving back into Watergate Yachting Center in Clear Lake Shores, Texas. Quite a lot has happened since then.
First of all we have a new snail mail address: PO Box 327, Kemah, Texas 77565.
We also have a new phone number. It is a cell phone, so as you know it does not always work. In my opinion it is still a developing technology. Any way the number is 281-650-7609.
We are also in possession of a new (for us) vehicle. I will not go into all of the effort that it took to get this vehicle, but we now own a 1995 Nissan Altima. It is in really great condition. It has new tires, great air conditioner and gets 32 mpg on the highway. We checked the mileage on the trip to Atlanta and that is the mileage that we got. When we arrived at Watergate we were loaned two vehicles so that we would be able to get around until we could get our own vehicle. That was really nice and really helped us to be able to get settled. We did not want another Suburban as it uses way to much gas. If we need to move or haul something big for a boat project we have friends that have pick up trucks that we can use.
Our first week was spent getting all of the above done, plus getting items off of the boat that are not necessary for just living aboard. I removed all of the sails, and other loose items on deck in case of a storm in the next few weeks. We knew that we were not going sailing for a few weeks at least. The only time that we will be going out will be to check the overheating problem on the main engine. We also spent time visiting old friends and getting friendships back on track. It was a great but wonderfully full week.
I also spent some time tracking down the person who used to do all of the work on my starters, alternators and motors. He was very good at his job, honest and a nice person to be around. When we went by his shop we discovered that he had passed away about eight months ago. We were concerned about him because he had a liver transplant about three years ago and was having a very hard time with it. We were sorry for the loss on several levels. We were sad on a person to person level, but I also had to find another person to work on the starters, alternators and motors. I got a recommendation of a person in Pasadena, and it turned out to be a good find. I had them take a look at my alternator from the main engine as I was suspecting a problem in the charging system. When the batteries were down the alternator would only put out about 70 amps. It is a 190 amp alternator, so I expected more out of it. Sure enough, the rotor was bad and had to be replaced. When they tested the alternator, and they showed me the test, the unit only put out 145 amps max. I also had them change the front pulley on the spare alternator. It now has the proper pulley to just drop in place of the original. When I got the alternator back from the shop, I installed the unit and cranked up the engine. Immediately the alternator was putting out 140 amps. When I get some spare time I will install the spare alternator and make sure that it works as designed. I am pleased with the new shop. They are also working on the motor for the windlass.
The second week that we were back was spent working on the boat some more and getting prepared for our trip to Atlanta. We planned to leave on Thursday and drive all day to get to Atlanta. Kitty had an interview scheduled the next Monday to see about working as a technical writer for a company in Atlanta. I was spending a lot of time on the Internet sending in resumes and searching for jobs. So far no one had sent me an offer letter so I just kept looking. The Wednesday before we left to go to Atlanta was a very busy day. I had to take all of the awnings down and put them away. We had to get arrangements for Puss settled with the person that was going to cat sit him. We also had to move the boat to a new slip and get it settled. During all of this activity some friends dropped by and we had a very nice visit. Mike said that he taught at a school in Clear Lake that taught folks to get their captain's license. I mentioned that I was looking for a job to utilize my 100 ton license. He said that a friend of his told him that there was a company on Galveston Bay looking for a captain. Mike called this friend, I talked to him and got the name and number of the hiring manager. I gave the hiring manager a call and had to leave a message. By Wednesday night we had not heard back so we thought that it was another black hole that all of resumes seem to go into. We were up to midnight packing and getting ready for the trek to Atlanta that was scheduled to start the next day at 0430!
The trip to Atlanta was uneventful except for two things. During the trip Kitty was trying to coordinate the timing of her interview and the document that they wanted her to modify for the interview. This took a few calls as we were on the road and the cell service would drop in and out. I also received a call from the hiring manager of the company that was looking for a captain. He explained the job to me, the hours and such and the company benefits. He asked me to think it over and call him back. I said that I would call him back the next day at the latest. Kitty and I talked it over and it seemed like a good opportunity at a career change. I first had to call a hot lead for an IT job. That lead is a good one but will not be available until the August - September time frame, if then. I called the hiring manager back and said that I would take the job. He wanted me to turn around and head back to Houston to start work. I told him that we were going to Atlanta and that I would stop into Lafayette, Louisiana, on my way back from Atlanta.
We had a great time in Atlanta. We were able to visit with some friends and see our kids both individually and together. We were able to go to Judy's job and see where she works and the babies that she takes care of. We also spent some time with Stacy and his girlfriend Tina. Kitty got the time needed to work on the document for her interview. Kitty went to the interview on Monday and felt that it went very well. Tuesday we spent getting last minute items taken care of, and the four of us, Judy, Stacy, Kitty and I went out to dinner. We had to get up at 0400 on Wednesday to get on the road.
We had decided to get an early start so that I could get to Lafayette, Louisiana, by 1500 on Wednesday. My new boss at Baker Energy wanted me to stop by the office and get the employment process started so that I could finish up early Thursday and get back to Houston Thursday night to be able to get started on the job Friday morning. In the end it took another day. The HR folks had a different idea about what had to be done before I could start my job. On Thursday while I was at the Baker Energy office getting my safety testing and drug testing done, Kitty got an email from the company that she interviewed with. They offered her a job as a technical writer. She will be on a consultant basis for about three months, and if they like her work they will take her on as a full time employee. She will be starting her new job on the 17th of July. So things are looking up. By the 17th of July we will both be employed and working to get the cruising kitty back up where we need it and go cruising again. I was officially employed on the 30th of June.
I am working as a captain of a crew boat that works just in Galveston Bay. I work a 12 hour on 12 hour off schedule for two weeks and then get a week off. There are three captains and when we are all back on the job, I will typically work one week of days (seven days), shift to one week of nights and then a week off. Then start the rotation all over again. Right now one of the captains is out on sick leave. As soon as he is released for work the shift schedule will be as described. Until then I may have to work three weeks in a row. The boat is a 42' aluminum boat with twin screws. It was interesting the first day or two getting used to backing up the boat with twin screws, but once I started gett ing the hang of it, it is really a nice way to back the boat up. Basically the job is one of a taxi driver on the Bay. I take people out to platforms in the bay for their shift changes and bring the relieved shift back to the dock. I also haul repair folks and construction crews where they need to go. The day shift is pretty busy as there is a lot going on, the night shift is much more laid back. Over the July fourth weekend I was working and the weather was horrible. I also quickly learned how to drive a boat at 20 knots using just radar and GPS, because of the extremely heavy rains. What a learning curve! It is a job and I am out on the water learning new skills and so far not a bad time of it. I am hopeful that an IT type job will work but you never know.
So now Kitty and I will be settling into being wage slaves again. Work and updates on Dream Away will be slowing down, but I will get them out every so often. I have not done an update to the WEB page since December of 2005, so I have a lot of work to do there. When I get a WEB page update done, I will be letting you know.
Please stay in touch, and we will be getting out cruising again soon.
WEB page http://www.dreamaway.net