Tibidabo, Spain

DSC07286What an interesting place!!! One of the oldest (opened in 1899), still functioning amusement parks in the world complete with 1928 Red Aeroplane ride, a single car carousel which looks like it rides over the city!  Sagrat Cor is a beautiful Gothic temple adorned with a bronze statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic below).  The summit is 512 meters (1680 feet) and provides a great panoramic view of Barcelona.  We rode the tram and then the funicular cable car to get to the top!  (the bus was faster getting down!)



DSC07279 This small chapel on the side of Sagrat Cor was first erected for worship.

DSC07291SHE is not that much taller than me, but moves faster on her toes!!  LOL!!

DSC07276You can see the airplane next to Christy’s shoulder as Barcelona is spread out behind us (yes, it was a hazy day!)







Replacing Motor Mounts

The latest project is to replace the mounts for our 100 hp Yanmar auxiliary engine.  They were old and very rusty.  Also, they were severely stressed when the yard lifted us by the propshaft and the whole engine was forced forward about half an inch.  Thus, time to replace them.

A little description here.  The motor mounts are built to take the entire weight of the engine, along with the stresses of the boat tossing about.  They also have a thick rubber insert to absorb vibration and isolate the engine from the hull.  The mounts bolt onto engine beds – strong steel structures that are built to take the weight of the engine without deforming.

Getting the old ones out is a pain.  The access is not that great, so you are lying on your stomach, reaching across a big hole and trying to get old, rusty bolts to turn.  I was able to replace the two back ones by levering the engine up with a two by four and then shoving some more wood under the engine to hold it up.  These two are done now, but this method would not work on the two forward mounts.  Access is just too restricted.

The biggest problem is coming up with a means to raise the engine so the mounts can be removed.  Here is a photo of a jig I made using some bits of wood lying around the boatyard and a piece of 16mm all-thread that I bought locally.  I had a piece of oak for the top piece of wood, and it is the one with the most stress on it.  You can see the all-thread and oak piece in the photo below.  The rest of the jig is hidden behind the white engine bed.  Sorry for the fuzzy picture.  It’s dark down there, and I’m lying on my stomach stretched out trying to get the right angle!


The old mount is at the bottom of the picture, and you can see the rusty imprint where it used to be mounted.  The new mounts are much prettier, and sport two new coats of Interprotect 2000 marine epoxy paint to keep them from rusting.

This job has taken quite a while.  First, you can only work on one motor mount at a time.  Also, after grinding away the rust, I apply three coats of Interprotect 2000 epoxy.  This product comes in gray and white, so the first coat is white, the second is gray, and the third is white.  By alternating colors you are positive to get good coverage with each coat.  Drying time is 24 hours between coats.IMG_1082Here is the same engine bed with the first coat of epoxy.  Two more coats and then I’ll be ready to install the new mount.

Removing the old engine mount was a bit of a milestone.  I had been trying to think of a way to do this for several days, and yesterday was the day that I finalized the design, bought the parts, and assembled the jig.  Today was the test, and (after a slight modification to the jig) it worked very well.  Laura baked me cookies to celebrate.  The recipe is called Giant Fudgies, which are every bit as good as they sound!  Yes, she loves me!


Repairs in the Azores

Just to recap, we have been hauled out since August 3 here in Terceira, Azores.  During the haulout, the yard bent our prop and propshaft, and deformed the cutless bearing.  Lifting our boat (30 tons) with the belt across the prop also transmitted a force through the propshaft and gearbox, which forced the engine forward about half an inch.  This ruined the motor mounts.

Most of the parts should arrive in the next week or two.  The prop is lost in limbo, somewhere between the Azores and England, and we continue to try to track it.  I will post when we have some success here.

In the meantime we have been very busy.  We found some rust underneath teak trim right at the companionway, which required cutting out some of the steel and welding in a new piece.  This is the main entrance into our boat.  In order to cut and weld, we had to remove all of the teak trim around the entrance.  This also means we no longer have any doors, so we cannot lock the boat up when we leave.

Let me digress a bit here.  I consider the Azores to be very safe, and I would have to say theft is pretty rare here.  While eating dinner at a fairly busy restaurant in Horta, I was very surprised when the two young ladies at the table next to us got up to go to the restroom, leaving their purses on their chairs.  First, I didn’t think it was possible to go to the restroom without a purse.  I thought there was some law somewhere that prohibited this.  But these ladies left their purses completely unattended, with no thought about it.  Quite different from the States!  But, this is an example of the trust and honesty you typically see here in the Azores.  Leaving our boat open doesn’t bother me overmuch.  Besides, you can’t tell the boat is open until you climb the ladder to get into the boat, so we don’t get any visitors.

Back to our rust repair… Below is a picture of the partially completed repair.  The piece of metal that was cut out is leaning against the newly welded and painted piece.  Zooming in on the picture may help.  For scale, the piece of metal that was cut out is 28″ long by 2″ high.  The steel is 1/8″ thick at this point.  To complete the repair, I still need to do some finishing with fairing compound (sort of a marine-grade bondo), then prime it and paint.  By then, our local carpenter will have the new piece of teak ready, and we can reassemble everything.  A word of explanation – when steel rusts, it expands.  The rust caused the teak trim to split, exposing a large crack.  We were fixing the crack in the teak when we exposed the root cause, the rusted steel.  So the cracked teak was what started us on this job.

Rust at companionway

Rust at companionway

I expect this to all be completed early next week.  Then, on to the next project!

Placa Espanya, Barcelona

DSC07099 Steve and I in front of Museum of Art overlooking Barcelona.

DSC07071 Plaza Espanya was redesigned for the World Exhibition in 1929 with representations of numerous architectural styles found throughout Spain.  The twin Venetian towers, huge fountains, 4 Doric columns, National Museum of Art, and former bullring, now a multilevel shopping mall kept us busy for hours.

DSC07081 National Museum of Art on top.  We toured the Medieval, Gothic and Nouveau Art areas.

DSC07086 Christy in front of Venetian Towers.DSC070904 Doric Columns in middle of fountains.

DSC07067Huge roundabout in front of Plaza Espanya and central Monument.

Sagrada Familia Basilica, Barcelona, Spain






DSC07041Sagrada Familia Passion Facade

DSC07060Sagrada Nativity Facade

What can you say about an awesome, inspiring and unique piece of art!?   WOW!!  We were awestruck at the variety, craftsmanship, uniqueness, and time involved in this most different style of church.  Gaudi was way ahead of his time in some concepts, very whimsical in others, but definitely a free thinker!!  This church was started in 1882 and plans are to  finish it in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death.  It was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Each facade (side) of the church represents a different theme.

DSC07196The altar with hanging crucifix over it.

DSC07206 The main ceiling, with the supports representing trees to emphasize life in all aspects of this church.

DSC07209 Beautiful stainglass windows, with colors of nature (blue is water of course!)

DSC07228Light is integral to Gaudi’s theme, so this was a phenomenal catch as the sun came in the glass on one side of the church.

DSC07239Christy in front of HUGE metal door, with beautiful plant design and intricate insects and amphibians scattered throughout the leaves.

DSC07192The Nativity Scene


DSC07243 Close up of Mary, Joseph and Jesus’ flight into Egypt.

DSC07190The presentation of Jesus at the temple after his birth.

DSC07231  The crucifixion

We spent hours here in awe and trying to see all the intricacies, but every time we went we would find something new.  Truly God has let His creative minds across the ages influence this work of art!

Pocket Picked in Barcelona

It all happened so fast.  And I thought I was ready, and immune.

Before leaving the USA, we had arranged to meet our daughter, Christy, in Europe for a visit.  This was to be her present for graduating from college.  (One semester EARLY and WITH HONORS, but who’s bragging?)  We had hoped to be in Lisbon with the boat by now, so she was to fly to Lisbon, and then we would tour Europe for two weeks.

Well, that didn’t happen.  With our boat issues, we are still in the Azores awaiting parts.  So, the plan was changed for Christy to fly to Barcelona and we would meet her there.  It was planned as a two week holiday from boat work, with visits to Barcelona, Morocco, Gibraltar, and Lisbon.  Barcelona was our first stop.

Barcelona is a beautiful city with a lot of history and sightseeing.  It has some of the most fascinating architecture in the world, and more sights than you could see in a month.  There are major museums for Picasso and Gaudi, and the old downtown area is fascinating.  They also have a little futbol (soccer) stadium where we watched FC Barcelona defeat Malaga.

Barcelona is also known as a haven for pickpockets.  I knew this, and thought I was ready.  We went nowhere without taking precautions.  My wallet was always in my front pocket, and I kept my hands always close to it.  Every crowd we were in, I was aware of the presence of my wallet in my right front pocket, and my phone in my left.

My problem was I thought pickpockets operated like I had seen in the movies.  I had seen scenes where a lady bumps into a gentleman and walks away with his wallet or wristwatch while the gentleman walks away completely unaware.  Think of the scene in the movie “The Sting”.  Well, I was ready for that.  Not going to happen to me!  Every slight brush on a sidewalk and my hands went straight to my pocket to make sure I had everything.  After a few days, it was habit.

And that’s when they hit me.  I still don’t know how many were involved (there had to be at least four), or if they only picked my pocket, or if they hit several tourists at once.  Some of the details are still fuzzy in my mind, but this is what I remember of how they operated:

We were going back to the apartment we had rented via the Metro (subway).  It was around 11:00 at night and I was tired.  There was an older couple, maybe in their early 70’s in front of us with a piece of roll-on luggage and a hand-carried bag.  I think they were innocent bystanders, but they wound up playing a role.  We were at the station, ready for the train to arrive.  When the doors open, you only have a few seconds to board, and everyone moves quickly to get on the train before it departs.  This time when the doors opened, we stepped forward to board, and then everything happened at once.

The older couple got just inside the door, completely blocking it, and stopped.  I don’t know why, but I now think someone right in front of them got on the train and then stopped, obstructing their path.  People behind me started pushing and shoving.  It was sudden chaos.  There was either a hand or forearm in the small of my back, pushing really hard.  You see videos of people in Asia trying to cram as many on the subway as possible, that’s what it was like.  I looked down and the older man had got on the train but his bag was still outside.  I thought then (and still do) that he did not have the strength to pull it over the threshold and onto the train, so I reached down, picked it up, and put it on the train while he continued pulling on the handle and people continued to shove us from behind.

Suddenly, it was over.  The older couple got through, and the crowed melted away.  The pushing stopped abruptly and when I turned around there was nobody there.  I had no idea what caused it, but was really ticked off.  There had been no reason for people to shove like that, and I thought it had just been extreme rudeness.  I never thought that it could be a diversion.

It was not until I got off the subway at our stop that I felt my pocket.  They stole only the map I had folded up in my right pocket.  My wallet and phone were safe.  I had been carrying this map for days, and it was folded into a wallet-sized rectangle on top of my wallet in the right pocket.  When they grabbed it, they probably thought it was a wallet.  Serves them right to get only a dog-eared, well-used, and many-times-folded map.

So I learned a lot.  I am not immune to pickpockets, but am probably seen as a target.  Having my wallet in my front pocket is not foolproof insurance.  On the good side, putting something on top of the wallet, like a folded map, is a great idea.  If I had been wearing my jeans, with deep pockets that are a little tighter, that would probably be a good idea, also.

For me, this was a cheap lesson.  I lost only the free map that the apartment provided as part of the rental, and my ego took a huge hit.  I don’t need the map anymore, anyway, and I’ll get over the ego bruising.

And, I gained some humility.