What? Cameras don't float?!

So, the boat’s in the water and there haven’t been any new pictures. What’s up with that? Well, it’s tough to shoot pictures when your camera is on the bottom of the marina.

Yes, I was helping rig the boat, and as I was tightening up one of the turnbuckles, I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye and heard a plop. For a second I couldn’t figure out what happened, and then it dawned on me that my camera had squeezed out of my vest pocket and taken a leap into the water. Crap. Aside from losing the camera, I was pissed off because I had pictures from the morning’s launching of Aurora on it. I could even see the damned thing lying on the bottom! If I’d had my wits about me, I would have said something that moment to the head guy and get a diver down there to get it so I could retrieve the memory card, but I only said something about it later, when they happened to be up north. I did go back the next day with a net I fashioned on the end o three poles I duct taped together, but only succeeded in rolling it around and finally burying it (try handling a thirty+ foot-long pole that is buoyant like crazy). I’ve got my scuba gear loaded in the car for when I can get someone to spot me, although now I’m dubious that the card is any good anymore. Damn. The only thing good that came out of the incident is my new camera, a Canon SX110 IS. Slightly larger than the old one, but a killer camera, with 9MP and a 10x optical zoom.

I do have a few pix I’ll put up taken from my phone, but new, good quality ones are to follow.

Fisheries Supply vs. Defender.com

Why brave pretentious salespeople, disorganized order tracking, and retail prices to shop at Fisheries Supply? Instant gratification from their huge inventory and the urge to spend money locally....those are the only reasons I can muster.

While I did once manage to stumble into a pre-inventory sale (which brought the price down to within the competition’s range) and they did happen to have my color of bottom paint in stock, my recent experience with a special order has soured me on Seattle’s “premier” chandlery.

I recently ordered an $18 part from Fisheries as it would have taken just as long to get it from Defender.com (or so I thought) and the price, considering shipping, would have been about the same. Dumb move.

Ordering the part was easy. I had the part number from a conversation with the manufacturer, and the guy at Fisheries’ order desk was helpful. My first mistake was not getting an order number for my records. The order was supposed to arrive on Monday. Come Monday, I call to check on the order. What’s my account number? I don’t have one. The voice on the other end of the phone chills and I realize my status has plummeted. What’s my order number? No one gave me one. I drop another notch. No one can locate can find the order. Finally, they connect me with the one guy who knows me and my order, who tells me it’s not in yet. It should arrive in the morning, and he’ll expedite finding it and will call me. Swell.

Tuesday, I hear nothing. I call again and get put on infinite hold. I can drive across town faster than waiting for someone to pick up the phone, and I won’t waste my cell phone minutes, so I drop in to the store and they tell me to go back go to Will Call, and they can’t find it, again. They finally relent and call downstairs and get me an order number for later. I call back in the afternoon and get the guy who knows all, and he says it’s not yet unpacked. Crap. I guess I wait until I’m back in town on Thursday. On the way out the door I ask for info about getting an account, and they’re out of forms.

Thursday, I wing back into the store and head to Will Call again to claim my part. Again, they can’t find it, and I”ve stupidly left the order number in the car. They probe the computer, and I plead to just call the magician at the other end of the phone who always knows my part’s status. They finally find the order number again, and send me to Will Call DOWNSTAIRS. Why didn’t the guy at the Customer Service desk originally tell me there was a Will Call downstairs, and that this was where I needed to go in the first place? Was that too much to ask for? Apparently....

I rush down to the downstairs Will Call as I’m now late for an appointment, give the guy there the order number, and he can’t find my order. What is it with this place? The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, and there’s no brain in between. What an operation! He disappears to find the guy who knows all, sees all, and now I”m abandoned, as time ticks away and I’m later and later. Finally, the guy reemerges from another direction, holding a plastic bag with my part. I’m amazed it really is there. I ask what the problem was, and he says that sometimes the salesmen say something’s in before it’s actually been completely checked through. I’m floored when I realize that it takes Fisheries more than three days to process a special order once it’s shown up in the building. I jam across town to my appointment, and catch my client as she’s packing up to leave.

Unless it’s in stock and the price is competitive, Fisheries Supply loses my business to the competition. I was in Defender.com’s warehouse store in CT a bunch when I was outfitting Aurora, as it was about 25 minutes away. Their salespeople were all right, and the prices were hard to beat anywhere. For electronics, I’ve only found AnchorExpress.com to be cheaper. In my dealings with Defender, I’ve ordered over the phone, made returns, and quizzed them endlessly about products, and they’ve been fine, AND I’ve saved money. If I’d ordered my part from Defender, I would have had it days earlier, and I would have had an infinitely less annoying experience. A friend of mine swears by Fisheries, but everyone there knows him by name and he gets the deep discount. Why go elsewhere? If I could get the discount, I’d probably patronize them more often, but after my latest experience with how they treated me, I have no inclination to spend my money there again.

From now on, I’m checking the competition.

A quick price comparison (Seattle tax is nearly 9%):

Samson LS 1/2” line w/tracer — I need about 2 x 80’ for spinnaker sheets:
Fisheries $1.59/ft x 160 = $254.40 + tax
Defender $.89/ft x 160 = $142.40 + $17.73 UPS

Polyform HTM Fender 10x26” white — I needed three
Fisheries $88.79 each + tax
Defender $54.99 each + $25.15 UPS for 3

Delta 55# Galvanized Anchor
Fisheries $460.46 + tax
Defender $377.99 + $57.93 UPS

Garmin GPSMap 5208 Chartplotter
Fisheries $2999.99 + tax
Defender $2637.99 + 36.97 UPS
AnchorExpress $2519.95 + free shipping

It’s a no-brainer.

BOAT = Bring On Another Thousand

I got home last night, and with the paint on the keel barely dry, my bill from the boatyard arrived in the mail. Let’s just say that the repair was a little pricier than I expected. So what are you gonna do? Before I commit to them doing the rig-tune once the boat’s in the water, I’ll ask how much they figure it’ll be. Ugh.