My Father’s Son

I am my father’s son.

Dauntless in the Vieux Basin Honfleur, France
Dauntless in the Vieux Basin Honfleur, France

I do like the finer things in life. Too bad we see these things so late in life.  When the Buddha referred to enlightenment, he probably meant just that, old enough  to be over youthful  self-centeredness to now have the vision to see those things around us as they truly are and to appreciate and be grateful for what we received from others. To recognize the things we may have distained in youth: duty, honor and respect are in actuality, the core of our being.

I suppose my thoughts have been directed this way because we are docked in the old basin in Honfleur, a day before the 6th of June,  D-day.  Even though it was 71 years ago, there are more American flags flying here then I have ever seen in all my travels in Europe over the past 40 years.  I think because along the Normandy coast, these people, or their parents, great grandparents, actually witnessed Americans dying to liberate them.

It’s more personal, not an afterthought like in the rest of Europe where they take such things for granted.

OK so let’s talk about the last few days before my editor cuts me off.

But indulge me and let be start at the end.

All’s Well that Ends Well.

I‘m wearing my blue pinstripe suit for the first time since leaving New York.  It feels good to be dressed.  Oh, I’m wearing it with a sweater and tee shirt, so it is casual, but still, I feel good. Being alone, I have fewer occasions to dress well.  I like dressing for Julie, as she does for me.  And just like clothes, she would appreciate this restaurant as much as I do.

I have just had one of the best dinners I have had in a long time, certainly since Spain and Italy, at La Gambetta in Honfleur, France.  As I sat there, watching the meticulous setting of the tables, the level of service, savored the marvelously prepared dishes, I thought of my father.

A Perfectly Set table
A Perfectly Set table

My father first came to France sometime in the mid-1960’s.  I think.  At least that’s when I was first aware of it.  My parents were from the generation that kids didn’t have a need to know everything.  But mom always talked about how much father loved France, clearly the food,  and the wine, as he did bring home a case of wine from the Chateau du Bost, and women.??

Maybe it is as simple as the sense of well being and caring one gets form being in a restaurant that only has a single seating all evening.  The focus is on the diners at hand, not what the future may hold.  This is the norm in most of europe and everywhere in France, Spain and Italy.  I understand more Dutch then French, yet the French always treat me well.

30 hours earlier, we had just finished docking.  Adjusting the lines took another hour.  Being on too short a finger pier is always challenging, as is the fact that our beam of 16’ is really wide for Europe. We may be the fattest boat in the harbor.  But we had come through one lock, one bridge and a night on anchor unscathed, so I was ready to celebrate.

It wasn’t till we were firmly docked, as I took my celebratory shower, I luxuriated in the sense of another job well done.  The first phase of the summer cruise was over.  Dauntless and I were on the continent.  We had dealt with the boat yard, we had dealt with the bottom paint, we had started the installation of the Wallas heater, and the bus heater.  The lazerette was clean and organized. The Electroscan had been replaced by the Purasan and the Maretron system was not only giving me the correct data, it was even talking to Coastal Explorer. I had gotten the water maker up and running with the new auxiliary pump and new switch system.  Life was good.

Larry and Karla were enounced in their cozy hotel room in Honfleur. They deserved it, as  I had worked those two like a rented mule these last three weeks.  Dauntless was never cleaner, nor brighter than the day we bought her.  It was wonderful to have old friends, Larry I met on T-3 in 1973, and I was grateful to have another 4 hands to help with all the jobs to be done.  All our visitors for the rest of the summer will benefit.

Yesterday, I had also finally gotten the tides and currents right.  We hauled anchor at 05:00, currents were changing at 06:00 and we needed that full 6  hours of favorable current to get to Honfleur (just south of Le Harve) at a reasonable time.

We made such good time, 7 to 9 knots, that an hour out of the mouth of the Seine, I could reduce the rpms to 1200 and still made 6 knots to arrive at the lock for Honfleur with time to spare.

Dauntless In Honfleur
Dauntless In Honfleur

We had had 7 to 10 knots winds on our nose all day, but less than 10 knots, even with a current that is against the wind, meant the waves were only 1 to 2 feet.  Best seas we have had for the previous three weeks.  Our 10 hour trip took 8.

And quite different than the debacle of the day before, where we did 48 miles in the first 6 hours, then took 3 hours to go the final 6 miles, and then it got worse.



A Far Better Day

I can see why satire is so effective; no, I did not sleep well, but I woke up in a far better mood and the simple fact is I am tied to the dock, so any problem is fixable.  Getting across an ocean helps the perspective.

Larry, my Alaskan friend, along with his wife, Karla, is also here to help.

I had decided that I still needed to finish installing the controller and tablet dispenser for the Purasan, leak or no leak.

Another thing that happened yesterday was the forward bilge pump, while running, was not pumping any water out.  So Bucket Head came to the rescue again and we could at least get the inch of water in the bilge out.

Having a leaking sanitation system into the bilge without the bilge pump working was a very unpleasant prospect, so I awoke this morning with a plan the first, I would deal with the bilge pump.

By 9:00 a.m. I had gotten the courage to take up the floor hatch covers and drive into the depths to do battle again.  The bilge pump ran, but no pumping.  I disconnected it from its bracket and then took off the short hose.

I put the pump into the shower sump and as I lifted the float sensor, the pump sprayed water all over the place.  Well. At least one problem was partially solved.  I took off the one way valve, water poured out of the hose, but blowing thru the valve showed it worked as it was supposed to (I was days past caring about where my lips were).

Putting it all back together, I once again used the hose to see if it was working and wonder of wonders, it was.  I’m guessing that the day before, we may have been spraying down the bilge and I have has instances where when I do that to the shower pump, it can lose its prime.  At that point, if it is running, it runs, but does not pump.  Only turning it off and letting it rest, while presumably, the water for the out flow flows back into the pump, thus priming it.  So when powered up again it works fine.

The bilge pump could not do that, since the one way valve is on the outtake side.

Knowing we had a working bilge pump made tackling the treatment tank far easier, as least now we could keep the forward bilge relatively clean.

So now we carefully dried the top of the processing unit and over the course of an hour, watched carefully as we flushed toilets.  No leaks that I could find.

Then, within minutes I get a call from the States, it’s Raritan.  I had called yesterday and left a message with the Senior Engineer, who I had talked with previously.  So Brian was returning the call and I told him exactly what had happened yesterday and then today.

I was sorry I had cried “wolf”, but it was clearly not leaking now, while yesterday, I watched the fast drip of water with every flush.

Brian also helped me with a few other issues, including the solution to the one push pad issue.  I had also woken this morning with a plan if only using one push pad.  Brian confirmed my idea and also explained how I could set it up as before with one touch on either toilet.

This conversation led me to understand that the instructions for the second toilet which called for the two toilet option were written for people who did not have Raritan toilets already.  So, now Raritan’s only crime is a poorly written installation manual, and nowadays everyone is guilty of that.

I still must calibrate the system, but at least I will be able to enjoy my dinner tonight.

And Monday, the Wallas heater install will commence.  I wonder how their instructions, which I have already read many times, will work in actual execution?