This week’s cruise aboard the MV Catalyst was from Petersburg to Craig, stopping at Labouchere Bay, Devilfish Bay, Spanberg Island, Anguilla Island, Port Real Marina, and Trocadero Bay.
On Sunday I hung onto the cell phone reception until the very last minute while leaving Petersburg. I have a much harder time leaving Seattle these days: I try to get a lot of projects going simultaneously, but shipping out mean that I more or less drop everything except what I manage by phone.
We headed south through the Wrangell Narrows and then toward the Pacific. This is a Craig trip, heading down the outside of Prince of Wales Island we should see lots of coastal animals and forests that have been tortured by the relentless wind and rain.
We stopped in Labouchere Bay, then on the way to Devilfish Bay we took the skiff in to Hole in the Wall. It’s a narrow entrance from Clarence Strait that goes to a small round bay on the chart. It really looks odd and like a hole in the wall. Kinda like Mats Mats Bay in Washington.
Then, we pulled into El Capitan Pass and visited what the captain called the “Hole in The Ground.” It’s a cave with an opening about 300 feet above the water – we had to climb 366 steps almost straight up to get there from the beach. The Forest Service maintains the trail, and they also installed a gate about 200 feet in. You can only go further back with a guide from the Forest Service. We’ll make a reservation for a guide next week on our way back. The cave was really neat; I can’t wait to take the tour.
We continued on to Spanberg Island, and then on the way to Anguilla Island, we stopped at Eagle Island for some great tide-pooling. Millions of tiny critters were running around in the tide pools:
Then we stayed a night at Port Real Marina and then at Trocadero Bay, and finally on to Craig.
The Catalyst, like any boat that is actually required to perform regularly, has many little work-arounds to fix common problems. Here’s a few accessories we’ve picked up. First, the tennis ball.
The engine causes the boat to vibrate in different places and at varying rates, all depending on the number of revolutions per minute the engine is running. Even though heavy-duties vibrate much less than modern high-speed diesels, they still have areas that rattle around. At 365 rpm, the wheelhouse doors become the position of the boat vibration wave anti-node; when the door is latched a few inches in the open position, it rattles on the hook. This calls for what we call Catalyst ingenuity: a tennis ball on a lanyard. The ball gets wedged between the door and the jam to stop the rattle. Also, when the door is opened from inside the wheelhouse by an unsuspecting visitor the ball bonks them on the head, an endless source of entertainment.
Another accessory is the playing cards in the fuel system. The engine has many parts that make up the fuel delivery system: the cam on the cam shaft, the cam follower roller, the adjusting screw, the bell-crank, the adjustable push-rod, the rocker, the button, the fuel valve rocking lever, the stem and seat, the injector holes, and four pins. Washington Iron Works had a difficult time making all the parts the same and it’s even more difficult to make them all wear exactly the same, so there’s a lot of little tiny differences to each part. We’re still able to set all the fuel adjustments to get very even exhaust temperatures between the cylinders, but any time the engine is sped up or slowed down, the temperatures are uneven again.
To compensate for this, we set the adjusting screws to full speed, and then when the engine is slowed the engineer inserts playing cards under the adjusting screw temporally to even out the cylinder’s load on each. The Catalyst‘s engine at low idle (190 RPM) with the air-compressor unloaded gets cards as follows: #1 cylinder takes three cards , #2 doesn’t need any, #3 takes two, #4 takes three cards, #5 takes four cards, and #6 takes five cards.
There’s a ton of other accessories on the Catalyst that I’ll try to mention as the summer wears on.
Anyway, here’s the numbers for the 12th trip of the 2009 season:
hours underway: 41:05
hours on main: 43
hours on the generator: 44:35
hours on the water maker: 10:20
miles traveled: 231
gallons of fuel used: 169
gallons of water made: 620
gallons of gas used: 8.8
gallons of propane: 4.5
gallons of lube oil: 5
And finally, here’s a tasty recipe from the Catalyst‘s galley:
Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Soufflés
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups hot milk
pinch cayenne pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper
3 ½ oz semi-hard goat cheese crumbles
2 eggs, separated
melted butter for brushing
3 table spoons dried bread crumbs
3 table spoons ground hazelnuts
2 egg whites
halved cherry tomatoes
1. Melt two tablespoons of butter and stir in three tablespoons of flour. Cook to a roux for a minute then gradually whisk in one and a quarter cups hot milk to make a thick white sauce.
2. Simmer for a minute, then season with a pinch of cayenne pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in three and a half ounces of semi-hard crumbled goat cheese until it melts. Cool slightly, then beat in two egg yolks.
3. Brush the inside of six ramekins with melted butter and coat them with bread crumbs and minced hazelnuts. Shake out any excess.
4. Heat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a bain marie (roasting pan half-filled with boiling water.
5. Whisk four egg whites to the soft peak stage and carefully fold them into the main mixture.
6. Fill each ramekin and place in the bain marie and bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Serve
7. to serve twice baked, allow to cool, then chill. Run a knife round the inside of each ramekin and turn out each soufflé onto a baking tray.
8. Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes
9. serve on a dressed salad.