Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hong Kong - The Final Leg

On Wednesday, we traveled from the boat yard to Hong Kong, taking a fast ferry across the mouth of the Pearl River from Zhuhai to Hong Kong Island. We took a taxi from the ferry terminal to our hotel, the Ramada Hotel. They upgraded our room to a mini-suite on the 28th floor with a lovely harbor view.

2007-China-289xThursday was a tourist day spent visiting the parks and seeing the main sights.


In Queen Victoria Park, Kurt tried out the foot massage pebble trail. It hurt while on the stones but afterwards the feet did feel better.


2007-China-308xThe parks in Hong Kong city are surrounded by 2007-China-307xmodern skyscrapers. Water features, both still and running, are common in the parks.






2007-China-317x We closed the day by taking the tram that ascends one of the hills (a big, steep one) behind the city. Stunning views from here.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Construction Photos

As we leave the boat yard, here are a collection of photos showing the current state of our boat. [NOTE: Some photos are of the hull #2 not our hull #4 but we are all about the same stage of construction.]


Four sedans are being built simultaneously. They are in two rows of two. SD462-02 is on the right and SD462-04 (our boat) is on the left. Hulls #3 & #5 are behind (bow to stern) of hulls #2 & #4.




This is the port side view. The salon is a "wide body" (i.e., it goes all the way across the hull) on this side. Access to the boat deck above the salon is via the external steps. The metal "box" in front and below the pilot house provides head room for the steps leading to the below deck accommodations.


A starboard side view of the boat. This side has a side deck that goes from the aft cockpit to the fore deck. In the space in front and below the pilot house window will be a fiberglass storage locker.



2007-China-026 A starboard side view of the hind section of the boat. The side deck is sheltered from the rain by the boat deck. A door in the bulwark provides access to docks when tied up on this side.




Looking down into the salon from the steps to the boat deck. The hatches in the deck provide access to the engine room. The door to the cockpit from the salon is at the end of the salon.




Looking down into the pilot house from the steps to the boat deck. The steps leading below are on the left in this photo and descend under the metal box at the forward center of the pilot house. The lower helm station will be to the right of the metal box.

2007-China-061 Looking down and forward into the master stateroom. It is located directly underneath the pilot house. A water tight bulkhead separates it from the compartment containing the heads and the shower. A 340 gallon fuel tank is just visible at the bottom of the photo. A total of four tanks tucked around the boat contain over 1400 gallons of diesel fuel.

2007-China-277 A view looking towards the bow and the anchor station. The electric windlass will be mounted on the platform attached to the deck. The anchor area is dropped about four inches so that a barrier prevents the mud and goo brought up with the anchor from draining down the entire deck.

2007-China-278   The foredeck is quite large, nearly 11 feet from the boxes at the front of the pilot house to the anchor station. Width is nearly 14 feet at the pilot house. The cutout on the deck is for a hatch into the forward stateroom.


2007-China-281 Looking toward the port side of the cockpit. The propane locker will be tucked in the corner of this side just below the salon window. The cockpit is about 4 feet deep. To the left is the transom and the 8 inch drop down to the swim step. The hull extends underneath the swim step.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Night at the Opera

Stella Kimley arranged a group outing to attend the opera, "A Wedding on the Execution Ground." There must have been nearly a dozen and a half of us in the group.

The story in the opera is based on the account of two young Communists executed by the Kuomintang (KMT) during a 1927 purge of Communists. The opera was the combination of a love story and political education done in the style of classic Chinese opera.

We enjoyed the show but it was 2 hours long with no intermission (a long time between potty breaks).

Opera Ticket

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Take on Chinese Traffic

We watch with wonder the traffic here in Doumen. The boat yard is about 20 minutes from the hotel by foot and we get to observe driving both to and from the yard. 

Similar to the "pirate code" in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, traffic laws here are "guidelines" and not really rules. People do a good job of avoiding collisions, but you see lots of behavior that will make you shake your head in disbelief.

While there are lots of cars and trucks there are far more scooters and small motorcycles than in the USA. The scooter drivers view any paved surface as fair game so you'll see them driving on the sidewalk, shoulders, between lanes of cars and even in the lane of oncoming traffic. Car drivers would do likewise but aren't as small and maneuverable.

Because everybody is hyper aware of traffic and wants to avoid collisions, it all seems to work.

For pedestrians, you have to take an aggressive approach. Don't be foolish and step in front of a moving vehicle or scooter that has insufficient time to stop but also assert yourself when crossing a street even though there is oncoming traffic.

It is similar to riding a bicycle in traffic in Seattle. You have a right to be in the road so don't be intimidated into giving up your right.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Working Through Designs

We are back in the Seahorse boat yard. Having decided to not play tourist on this trip, we've got the ability to spend more time with the Seahorse personnel refining the sedan design.

Hulls number 2 through 5 of the sedan are being built as a batch and are significantly different than hull number 1. Consequently, there are quite a number of things to work through.

In addition, we are trying to decide on some the options that we want installed on our boat that are above and beyond the standard items (e.g., trash compactor, microwave/convection oven, etc.). It is important to get these down now so that sufficient power cabling is run as the boat is built.

Also, this is a way to get such baseline things as cabinetry designed (e.g., height, location, etc.) where we'd like them.

We have hotel reservations in Hong Kong for our last two nights (11/14 & 11/15) before heading home. Other than that, we are able to spend as much time as necessary at the boat yard.



Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cruise Photos

I offloaded photos from yesterday's cruise. Since we were on the DavidEllis, the photos are of the DoraMac.


Looking back at the DoraMac.



At anchor




Marcia taking a swim

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Day on the Water

We spent the day cruising on the DavidEllis and buddy boating with DoraMac to a small bay about 3 hours from here. The weather was lovely and the bay scenic. This was our first opportunity to actually cruise on a Seahorse Marine boat.

Tonight the surveyor we've hired to check on our boat as it is being built, Ray Wolfe, will take us to see the local fruit bats (3 foot wing span) as they leave their roosts in the trees. After that we'll talk shop with him about the boat.

I'll try to post photos tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Subic Bay

We're currently at the Subic Bay Yacht Club staying on Dave & Dorothy Nagle's Diesel Duck (DD 462-02), the "DavidEllis". Dave met us at Clark Field last night when we flew in from Macau. It is 1-1/2 to 2 hour drive from Clark to Subic.

Andrew Chan (DD 462-08) and his friend T. Y. were also on the flight. Andrew and T. Y. are staying on Ruth & Randall's boat the "DoraMac" (DD 462-05).

The weather here is pleasant, mid 80's, and the sky is generally clear. The sky is even blue (!) and not as polluted as in China.

It looks like we'll do a day cruise tomorrow, 11/3, to a bay about 3 hours from here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Touristing in Macau

Yesterday was the first day we've really spent as tourists. We blundered about quite a bit but had a good day visiting a couple of museums and a temple.

Macau was developed by the Portuguese as its base for China trade. Its status is now similar to Hong Kong as being part of China but fairly autonomous ("One Country - Two Systems").

We found it a confusing town to navigate through and became confused often as to where we were and what direction in which to travel to get to our desired destination. Most streets are narrow and winding. There are several steep hills and bodies of water surrounding the city. These prevent the streets from having a grid like structure. The sky didn't give us any clues either as it was a uniform gray from a combination of clouds, mist and pollution.

The streets are well signed but the languages used are Chinese and Portuguese. At least we could recognize the names in Portuguese.

We weren't able to have dinner last night in the teaching restaurant because they were hosting a special event (a sold out $160/person wine tasting dinner). We ended up going to a restaurant that probably doesn't get a lot of non-locals. We ordered what I will call the foreigner special ("I'll have what they are having") by using the phrase book that Marcia bought before we left.

We hope to do a little more touristing before catching our 6:30 PM flight to Clark Field in the Philippines but unfortunately it is raining right now. To save on weight on this jaunt, we stashed our rain jackets in the bag we left back in Doumen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Miscellaneous Musings

Currently, we are in Macau staying at the Pousada de Mong-Ha, a hotel run by the tourism ministry as a teaching establishment for students training in the hospitality industry. It is small (20+ rooms) and quite lovely. It books up quickly and I understand why. Totally charming.

I thought I'd post some of my musings on miscellaneous topics so far.

Weather - The weather has been generally warm, low to mid 80's. The humidity is probably 50% to 70% so it isn't unbearable. A cool front has moved in and it is in the 70's. However, it has showered as well so the humidity is higher. Fortunately, all of our hotels have been air conditioned so no problem sleeping at night.

Food - We only ate one meal, breakfast, in Hong Kong and that was at the hotel buffet so no comments on HK. In Doumen, we've been pretty tame in what we've done because english is not commonly spoken by the wait staff. We've been having a breakfast buffet at the hotel (a traditional style Chinese) and been eating noodles, vegetable greens and steamed bread items (e.g., hum bow's). Lunch we eat at the boat yard and it is quite good. For dinner, got KFC (yes, the Colonel is here) to go twice and ate in a westernized restaurant once.

The best meal so far was dinner at the teaching restaurant associated with the hotel. It was excellent and the service outstanding (assuming you aren't intimidated at 4 or 5 students watching another student refill your water glass). We'll have dinner here again tonight.

Pollution - Really bad. The sky is perpetually gray. When you rinse your clothing out at the end of the day, the water is dingy.

Hotel Accommodations - The one hotel night in HK was your typical big city business style hotel. Its price was Western as well at about $150/night and that was a good value. The Doumen hotel was perfectly acceptable and even had an Internet connection in the room. It was also inexpensive at about $20/night. As mentioned at the beginning, where we are now is extremely pleasant.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Change in Plans

After spending the last few days at the boat yard, we decided that rather than going on a tour to Yunnan province after returning from the Philippines, that we will instead come back to the boat yard. We want to make sure we are able to get everything accomplished on this trip related to the boat construction that we can.

Today (10/30) we go to Macau. Two nights here with some touristing of local sites.

On Thursday we will head to the Philippines to meet the folks who have their boats moored in Subic Bay. At the boat yard, we met Andrew Chan whose boat is being finished at Seahorse. He is also going to the Philippines on the same flight as we are to visit the other folks. It sounds like we may do a short cruise.

We return to Macau on November 5 and will head back here to spend the necessary time working boat issues. We may try to squeeze a short trip (2-4 days) in while we are based here if we get our "work" done.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Few Photos


This is a morning view of the cityscape of Hong Kong from our hotel room on the Kowloon Peninsula.



Next year's Olympics in Beijing are big everywhere.




Here is Marcia entering the salon on our boat. The interior is still a little "rough."



This is another of the sedans being built and in the jig next to ours. We are pretty much at the same state as this boat.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Day at the Yard

We arrived yesterday (10/26) afternoon in Doumen. That involves taking a 1-1/4 hour ferry ride across the nearly 40 mile mouth of the Pearl River to Zhuhai followed by an hour long taxi ride from to Doumen.

Marcia visited Seahorse Marine last year prior to our ordering the boat. She did the trip under the wings of Ruth and Randall, a retired couple from Virginia, who were there to monitor the final stages of their new boat. This year, Marcia retraced those steps flawlessly.

We visited the yard after we settled in at the hotel, then went out to dinner with Bill & Stella Kimley, Seahorse owners, several others of the key Seahorse people we'll be working with and Don McIntyre, another Seahorse customer (Diesel Duck - "Ice").

Today, we did a tour of the different shops at the boatyard (new to Kurt since he wasn't here last year), visited our boat (pictures to follow), toured Don's boat and spent a couple hours working with the Seahorse designers over the current layout for the Duck sedans (Our boat).

After walking back to our hotel (about 15-20 minutes), we got takeout from the local KFC. It was packed, mostly with families.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hong Kong, a L-O-O-O-N-N-N-G Flight

We made it to Hong Kong find but it sure is a long flight from San Franciso. Time in the air was 14 hours. It may be better to split it up more evenly like transferring in Narita. There are no non-stops from Seattle to HK so its a matter of picking your transfer point.

Today is running around HK running errands (cell phone, tour arrangements), then we catch a ferry to Zhuhai this afternoon. Hopefully dinner with Bill & Stella Kimley who own Seahorse Marine.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

China Visit - Schedule

We leave on Wednesday, October 24 for 3-1/2 weeks in Asia. The primary purpose is to visit Seahorse Marine, the boatyard where our new boat is being built. Below is the current schedule for the trip.

Wednesday, 10/24 Depart on Alaska Airlines 236 to San Francisco. Connect on Cathay Pacific CX879 to Hong Kong
Thursday, 10/25 Arrive Hong Kong
Friday, 10/26 Travel to boatyard in Doumen, Zhuhai
10/26-29 Visit Seahorse Marine
Tuesday, 10/30 Travel from Doumen to Macau
10/30-11/1 Touristing in Macau
Thursday, 11/1 Fly on Tiger Airways from Macau to Clark Field in the Philippines
11/1-5 Visit with friends at Subic Bay who have boats built by Seahorse Marine
Monday, 11/5 Return to Macau
11/6-13 Tour in Yunnan Province
11/14-15 Visit Seahorse Marine
Friday, 11/16 Depart from Hong Kong on CX872 to San Francisco. Connect on AS333 to Seattle. Scheduled arrival of 8:43 PM

We hope to be able to make periodic postings to this blog site when Internet connectivity is available.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Catching Up

In anticipation of doing some posts when we visit China next week, I finally got around to catching up on our trip to Europe in July.

Rather than really confusing things by posting 3 month old events with today's date, I back-dated them with appropriate dates. The bad thing about doing it that way is that the entries are buried a little deeper in this reverse chronological style that blogging forces you into.

I did categorize them as "Europe 2007" so selecting that category (Europe 2007) should show only those entries.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

You Decide

This Spring/Summer we were fortunate to have trips which allowed us to compare scenic areas that were dramatically similar but separated by about 5,000 miles. In the photos below, see if you can tell which photo, left or right, was taken on which continent, North America or Europe.

Water cascading down cliffs into a fjord.


A foggy/cloudy morning while cruising in a fjord.

Snow capped mountains above the fjords.


And now, for something completely different, vineyards in France and Oregon. Which is which?

Answer - Europe is right, right, left, right. North America is the reverse.

Friday, July 27, 2007

France – Bikes & Wine

When initially planning the PHC cruise, we decided to hang a few days at the end of the trip. After fussing around with various options, we decided to do a short trip to the Burgundy region of France and to do our local travel via bicycle. Marcia arranged our Burgundy trip through Detours in France

The schedule was:

Monday, July 23 Travel from Copenhagen through Amsterdam to Lyon and spend the night
Tuesday, July 24 Travel via train from Lyon to Beaune, pick up bicycles and pedal to Nuit St George for the night
Wednesday, July 25 Do a ride around Nuit St George, returning to spend the night in the same B&B
Thursday, July 26 Bike from Nuit St George back to Beaune
Friday, July 27 Take the train back to Lyon and fly to Amsterdam for the night
Saturday, July 28 Fly from Amsterdam back to Seattle

We had a wonderful time on our short trip and would love to go back. Below are some photos we took along the way.

2007-Europe-475The Hospices de Beaune (aka Hotel Dieu) a hospital built in the fifteenth century.


2007-Europe-489A few bottles of wine (vintage 2000) aging in the wine cellar of a winery we visited.


2007-Europe-501It was sunny and the traffic on the roads we traveled was generally light.



2007-Europe-528The roads are usually well marked





2007-Europe-496Lots of grapes are grown here




2007-Europe-504and they do very well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scenery - The Cities

The Scandinavian communities we visited all had a strong maritime heritage and feel (I suppose our arriving via a 800 foot vessel biased things).  They were also pretty touristy but you can hardly blame them for that since you had several thousand cruise ship passengers walking through town each day looking for that perfect souvenir.

Nevertheless, there were lovely sights in each town. Sometimes it was your expected tourist attraction other times it was something simpler (a manhole cover?).

2007-Europe-255The top of the funicular in Bergen



2007-Europe-127Manhole cover in Trondheim




2007-Europe-279Stained glass inside a Bergen church


2007-Europe-353Community area in Kristiansand






2007-Europe-392Viking ship in Oslo museum


2007-Europe-412Bow shot of Fram, the vessel built by Nansen for his successful transiting of the Arctic Ocean then used by Roald Amundsen to transport his expedition to Antarctica.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Scenery -Fjords

Cruising the Norwegian fjords was truly stunning. We had cruised the inside passage of British Columbia on our own boat earlier in the spring but the BC fjords don't seem as deep or dramatic as here in Norway.

One thing that was similar was the weather, lots of clouds and rain. Here are some photos from the fjords.

2007-Europe-035 Norway fjords have neat and tasteful farms rather than clearcuts as in BC.

2007-Europe-155 The weather was similar in Norway and BC, lots of rain! 




2007-Europe-063 The towns in the fjords are too small to dock a cruise ship so they anchor out and passengers tender to shore


2007-Europe-146Lots of water coming from the mountains above the fjords and plunging straight down