Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maiden Voyages

This past week we took two trips on the new Next To Me. Last Thursday was sunny and warm, so Lynn and David (Bob’s sister and her husband) met us at the marina for a leisurely afternoon cruise.

Distance traveled:  17 miles

Travel time: 2.5 hours

From our home near the red marker in the top center of the photo below, we look east to Vashon Island. The boat is kept in Gig Harbor, as shown on the left-center side of the photo. We meandered out of Gig Harbor into Puget Sound, then north into Quartermaster Harbor where we cut the engine and drifted for a couple hours of beautiful scenery and lively conversation accompanied by a beer.


Conditions couldn’t have been nicer.


Lynn enjoyed a relaxed turn at the helm before we returned to the marina late in the afternoon.


A week later we took Journey #2.

Distance traveled:  35.6 miles round trip

Travel Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Saturday morning our daughter and son-in-law Mackenzie and Matt who live in Seattle met us at the boat in Gig Harbor.  The weather was better than forecast, and we traveled 17 miles north to Blake Island.

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Mackenzie and Matt are dedicated sun-seekers, so spent a lot of the trip on deck soaking it up.


We docked at the State Park Marina on Blake Island, which was practically empty as boating season winds down once Labor Day is past.


Tillicum Village is a small Native American facility housed on the island and served by a tour boat from downtown Seattle. Visitors are served a traditional meal of salmon accompanied by music and a show that portrays Native life in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve attended previously, but didn’t go this time.


The island, about 5 miles long, is cross-crossed with trails through dense evergreen forest, so we went for a hike.


After emerging from the woods onto the shore at the northwest corner of the island, we walked back to the marina via the beach.


Several enormous jellyfish were awaiting the incoming tide to return to the water. Anyone know what kind this is?


Matt enjoyed taking a long turn at the helm.


We had planned to spend the night on Blake Island, but the Sunday forecast called for gale force winds on Puget Sound, so we headed home late in the afternoon, had dinner on board, and spent the night at the Gig Harbor marina. We enjoyed having our first overnight guests on the boat!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The New “Next To Me”

September 10, 2013 we closed on the purchase of our new boat, named “Next To Me”, the same as our Great Loop boat. She’s a 40-foot Ocean Alexander, and our first trip was a 3-hour cruise from her former home at Bremerton Yacht Club to the marina in Gig Harbor where we will moor her, Peninsula Yacht Basin.


Here she sits at the dock at the State Park on Blake Island.


Her dinghy is an 11.5 foot RIB (rigid inflatable bottom) with an 18 hp Tohatsu motor, and we’re told at our combined weight, this dinghy will get up on a plane!


Another shot at the dock at the Bremerton Yacht Club.


Our apologies for the darkness of the interior shots, but they were taken inside the boathouse where she lived previously. This is the lower helm, which has good enough visibility to be used, on the starboard side of the boat with a helm door.

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To port is the salon settee and dining table.

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The galley is aft of the lower helm on the starboard side, equipped with a propane stove/oven which will be great when we’re anchored out. The refrigerator/freezer runs on 110 volt with an inverter.

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The galley is on the salon level, so has big windows with lots of natural light, and is well equipped.

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Like our Loop boat, this one has an aft master stateroom with queen-size walk-around bed, and plenty of drawers, shelves and hanging locker space (closet).

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The flybridge is huge, fully enclosed with canvas and strata-glass, and lots of seating for comfortable outdoor relaxing when underway or entertaining.

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The boat is powered by a Ford Lehman 120 hp diesel engine. The upside of this is that fuel consumption is only 2 gallons per hour and there’s lots of room to move around in the engine room for maintenance. The down side is this boat only travels at 8 knots (about 9 mph) unless the wind or currents give her a boost!

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Other than our first trip to take delivery of the boat, we’ve made two fun excursions, and those will be described in the next blog post. We’re excited to be Cruisers again, having missed many aspects of that lifestyle since we returned from our Great Loop trip 5 months ago.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Very belatedly, we’re catching up with blog posts on important (to us) life events.

We have 3 adult children, and six weeks ago the youngest who lives in Denver got married at our home. She and our new son-in-law, Justin (from Ohio) met in Paraguay in 2010 when he was in the Peace Corps and she was doing a summer micro-finance  internship there.

Two days before the wedding they arrived from Denver by car at our home with their Indiana friends Isaac and Erin, and we hosted a Crab Feast for 15 people (we caught the crab in Puget Sound during the two weeks prior) the night before the wedding. Dungeness Crab are so big that each one provides an entire meal per person. With salad and bread on the side, it’s a Feast! Justin’s parents and a gaggle of Adrienne and Justin’s friends from around the country spent an evening cracking crabs, laughing and telling stories.


Below, Moms of the bride and groom.


The morning of the wedding, Adrienne and Justin went fly fishing with our long-time friends Jim and Phebe (who are sort of like adopted aunt and uncle as they’ve spent so much time with our kids and gave them a fly fishing rod for a wedding present).



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Friday afternoon was cloudy and rainy (complete anomaly for the dry, sunny, warm summer we’ve had) but the rain quit 5 minutes before the outdoor wedding began. Here’s Adrienne with her college friend C May (left) and middle/high school/college friend Maggie (right) on the beach. Lovely ladies!


Steve, a Peace Corps friend of Justin’s, was the Wedding Officiant, and they got married on the dinghy davit next to our house, with 20 guests looking on from the adjacent deck.


When Adrienne was 6 years old she announced she intended to get married someday, barefoot on a beach, and she came pretty close to that, with Justin’s concurrence.


Steve’s booming voice and their personally written ceremony and vows were beautiful and very moving.


The new Mr. and Mrs. Domingus were beaming!


The beach here is rocky, but it’s still a beach!


We had champagne toasts on the deck, followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant. The Reception was the next day at the home of Bob’s sister and brother-in-law, two miles up the beach from us. That day dawned sunny and warm.


Relaxed bride and groom.


Bride hates being “the focus” so gives the “Really?” face anytime she knows a camera is pointed at her.


We found this sign in a shop in Florida toward the end of our Loop boat trip and thought it was a perfect reflection of Justin and Adrienne’s mindset, so couldn’t resist buying it and setting it on the wine table at the reception.

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Lynn and David’s yard where the reception was held is exquisite, and the setting and weather were perfect.


Since Justin and Adrienne don’t love dancing, we played games on the lawn instead: croquet, corn hole and bocce ball!


The happy Mr. and Mrs. Domingus.


Adrienne with her Best Buddies, Maggie and C May.


The younger crowd sprawled on the lawn at the Reception.


Justin and Adrienne with his parents and sibs.


Adrienne and Justin with her family. Swear, we did NOT all agree to wear blue: just a weird coincidence!


Bride and groom with his parents, Denise and Jeff.


Groom with 3 friends from college.


Adrienne with brother Ryan and sister Mackenzie.


Our son Ryan with his fiancĂ©e Jaime (yes, we have another wedding on this New Year’s Eve).


Cathryn’s l’il sister Susan and her husband (also) Bob who flew up from Texas.


Cathryn’s older sister Anne (who was mistaken for Cathryn’s daughter by one wedding guest) and her husband Eric, who also flew up from Texas.


Bob’s sister Lynn and her husband David who hosted the wedding reception at their lovely home on Saturday.


Bride and groom enjoying friend Phil.


Mom and Dad of the Bride, Cathryn and Bob.


Long-time friends Jim and Phebe who took Adrienne and Justin fly fishing the morning of the wedding.


Long-time friends Beth and Phil who live nearby.


Dear friend and neighbor Hobie.


Cathryn and her sisters Anne and Susan (no, not triplets)


Son-in-law Matt and daughter Mackenzie, married 5 years ago.


Cousins of the bride, Stephanie and Andy, also newlyweds as of April, who flew in from Denver for the wedding.


Fathers of the Groom and Bride, Jeff and Bob.


Bride and Groom making their Getaway from the Reception.


Departing for Moab, Utah to spend time mountain biking and hiking for their honeymoon, before returning to Denver to work and day-to-day life.


The setting at Lynn and David’s home, the Reception.


Bob planted dozens of sunflowers (Adrienne’s favorite flower) last spring, but only one was fully in bloom for the wedding.


It was a lovely, intimate, heartwarming event.