THE MODOC ON ITS FIRST VOYAGE UNDER THE FLAG OF EARTHRACE
What an exciting couple of weeks!
The Modoc has been relaxing in Bremerton Marina for a couple of years, and we had the honour to get the former US Navy tug boat back into the oceans. After 9 months of hard work on the boat, the engines seemed ready, the bridge was in order and we were ready to navigate safely to Mexico.
It was a 1500 mile trip that had us on our toes for 20 days. Shortly after leaving Bremerton harbour we realized the engines were not as ready as we thought. On the first day, our engineers were already fixing the first major issues in the engine room…we were off to a bumpy start. But we’ve been through worse, right?!
The Puget Sound is a beautifully serene place with quiet water. So the fun started on the first night out in the pacific. We were welcomed bz three dazs of harsh weather as soon as we left the Puget Sound. The Modoc has been known to be a rather roley boat and, since it hasn´t been in use for quite a while, it was interesting to find the ins and outs of handling our 145-foot long beauty as we’re rolling to and fro.
Rule number one: Whatever isn’t welded down needs a strap on it. This is including the fridge, which emptied all its content onto the floor. 4 days’ worth of smoothie – rations were lost in this tragic accident. The crew kept in high spirits nonetheless. The occasional pod of dolphins, and massive amount of whales we saw all along the trip helped keep spirits up and across the ship you could hear: “WHALE ON STARBOARD”.
Half way down the coastline we noticed an apparent drop in water pressure. There are two things we did not want to run out on while on sea (besides the smoothies) … that was fuel and fresh water. As it happens our fresh water tank had been pumping a fair amount into the anchor chain lockers. A old boat has funny ways of working … Yay for us! We not only had to start pulling in buckets of sea water for flushing toilets, but showers and dish-washing became luxuries.
In a moment of over-enthusiastic genius, our head engineer decided to give up on the old piping system that went crossways through the hull, and worked late into the night to “quickly” rebuild a whole new pump-system. Incredible achievement!
These are just the things that happen on a boat and we were kind of expecting them when buying an old tug boat from the 40s, that hasn´t sailed the oceans for a while.
We almost forgot all our sorrows, but as soon as we went to leave Santa Catalina the ship reminded us of her age. The anchor winch didn’t have the power to pull up the chain that we – admittedly – dropped a bit deep. Link by link, our engineers managed to pull the chain up over the period of 3 hours, while other crew members had to sit in the flooded chain lockers to put the chains in the right position. The whole ordeal put replacing the anchor winch higher on the priority list for the refit in Ensenada.
Next stop: San Diego!! Vibrant stop for a refill of water… finally showers that last longer than a splash! All cleaned up, the crew set sail to Ensenada, Mexico! A few hours in the immigration office later, and now the hands-on job of giving Modoc the make-over that it deserves.
We are still looking for volunteers to give us a helping hand on the refit. If you feel like you could be part of our dynamic team, we are always happy to welcome new crew in Mexico. At the moment we are specifically looking for people with carpentry or welding skills. Just drop us an email with your details 🙂