Friday, July 30, 2010

Fisherman’s Bay to Fossil Bay


We woke to thick fog in Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island so opted for a slow start to the day. After lounging around on the boat drinking coffee until 9:30, we finally went for a run around the bay and out the spit, then got showers at the Island Marina. By noon the sun was shining brightly, and we headed toward our weekend destination: Sucia Island a couple of miles north of Orcas Island and the northernmost of the San Juan islands.


As we cruised up the east side of Orcas, we had a wonderful view of Mt. Baker to the east. Twenty-five miles and 90 minutes later we pulled into Fossil Bay on Sucia Island, one of our favorite destinations on our annual trip to the San Juans.


This year for the first time we’re on a mooring buoy rather than tied up at the dock, thanks to our new bathroom facilities. We’ve spent the whole afternoon gloating over our good fortune as we’ve watched boats fight for limited space on the dock, even rafting in one case. We’ve also observed a large volume of smoke spilling from the multiple BBQs spread across the dock. We’ve never been here on a weekend before and are amazed how busy it is. It’s 8PM and boats are still pulling in, though at this point they have to anchor, as the buoys and docks were full by 3PM.


Because we just bought the boat and outfitted it in a hurry for this trip, we’ve had a few “learnings”. One of them is that things lashed to the swim-step jiggle a lot. Our tender, an 8-foot rigid inflatable boat (RIB), is not yet connected by a davit, so it jiggled one of its’ oars off the boat which was then lost at sea! We bought a couple of cheap replacement oars on Lopez and spent time this afternoon modifying the oars to fit the tender. Here’s Cathryn hard at work. She did the planning, while Bob handled the execution (drilling).

Tomorrow we plan to hang out here on our buoy, reading or possibly going ashore for a walk; we ARE having lots of fun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Underway Northbound


Yesterday afternoon we left the Narrows Marina in Tacoma under warm, sunny skies and headed to Seattle, where 90 minutes later we tied up at Bell Harbor Marina downtown. Shortly our daughter Mackenzie arrived via her new commute vehicle, “Scoot” (see photo) quickly followed by her husband Matt. After a quick tour of the new boat, we headed offshore from Alki Beach, cut the engine and floated for a couple hours while we ate a picnic dinner. It was warm, calm and oh so pleasant!


We slept on the king-size bed in the salon, much better than last week as we’ve added a Tempur-Pedic pad to soften things a bit. This morning we left Bell Harbor at 8am and arrived at Lopez Island at 1pm following a fuel stop in Edmonds and a route through Deception Pass instead of our usual Strait of Juan de Fuca crossing. Though we might go via Juan de Fuca again in the future, we’ll likely only do so under completely calm, clear, balmy skies as we found Deception Pass much preferable, though it’s a few miles out of the way, and the Pass itself can be tricky depending on tides and currents. Today it was a little adrenaline producing only because we’d never done it before, and it’s narrow with a lot of traffic and fast water.


We met our good friends Mary and Agnes, who own a house at Swift’s Bay here on Lopez, at the always fabulous Bay CafĂ© for appetizers and drinks. They have FIFTY relatives here for the week to celebrate Agnes’s mother’s 90th birthday, so couldn’t stay for dinner, but we did, and enjoyed delicious Calamari Steak (a new variant for us), Golden Beets with Gorgonzola, Mussels and Pork Tenderloin.

Back at the boat Bob is figuring out how to tether Cathryn’s netbook to his Android so we can have wi-fi on the boat and deal with photos, blog writing, email and reading the newspaper anywhere we have a cell signal. The lengths we go to in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms – from our Internet Addictive Disorder, that is! It’s a sunny, mild evening, and we’re enjoying sitting in the cockpit reading and blogging. Ah, the Good Life!

We remain comfortable and happy with the new boat and are still working to finalize a Name, so anyone who wishes to participate in the Boat Naming Contest, feel free to post a comment . . .please!

Oh, and we just sent a SPOT satellite message which has astonishing detail in the photo (down to the exact marina slip at which we’re parked) so check it out in the top right hand corner on the Tab that reads “Spot US” to see our location.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Maiden Voyage


As part of our ongoing and ever-evolving quest for a near perfect existence since retirement 3 ½ years ago (“set no small goals”, we say!) we’ve sought to balance our various interests. During the winter we’ve adopted travel to Baja in our 21-foot 5th wheel trailer as the ideal way to spend time. During the late spring and summers here in the Northwest we’ve enjoyed road trips like the recent one to Alaska, and staying at home on Puget Sound. Here at home we’ve kept an older 23-foot power boat which we’ve used mostly for day cruises and to take the kids wakeboarding, with an occasional overnight trip, staying at state park docks or marinas with our camping gear.


One year ago we upgraded from our 72-square-foot Chalet A-frame Trailer for Baja travel to our “giant” 160-square-foot 5th wheel trailer. Last week we upgraded our boat from the23-foot cuddy cabin to a 27-foot pocket cruiser. This week we took the new boat out for her three-day maiden voyage. Our purpose, other than to just get out on the water, was to familiarize ourselves with the boat and figure out what we need to bring or buy to stock the boat for longer cruises.


So for our first trip, we cruised into the familiar territory of south Puget Sound. Leaving the marina near the Tacoma Narrows bridge where the boat is temporarily moored, we headed south around Fox Island, then past the south end of the Key Peninsula, and continued to the north end of Harstene Island to Jarrell Cove State Park. There we hooked on to a mooring buoy in the middle of the cove. This is the sort of thing we’ve always wanted to do, but the lack of “facilities” on the old boat always kept us tied up at a dock where we could access the park’s or marina’s facilities.


We were joined a few hours later by our friends and neighbors George and Josi, who moored just fifty yards away. We spent two nights at Jarrell Cove and took turns preparing dinner onboard our boats. During our stay we took our tender to shore so we could run on the roads, or walk in the forest, and took a day cruise on Case Inlet and Fair Harbor marina.

It was a great first trip, and the new boat lived up to all our hopes. Next week we leave for a 12-day trip to the San Juan Islands, and possibly further north into the Canadian Gulf Islands if the weather cooperates. We’re getting closer to our goal: a near perfect existence!