Distance traveled: 33 miles
Travel time: 4 hours
Since completing our Loop in April, selling “Next To Me” in Florida (our Loop boat) and returning home to live on land, we’ve been on a roller coaster about what role Boating will play in our life. We’ve made several “firm” decisions about keeping or selling our 26-foot boat Always Ahead who sat on her trailer for 18 months while we Looped. We’ve decided to buy another bigger trawler, NOT to buy another bigger trawler, and to wait until next Spring after we return from our winter travels. The decision-making process has been . . . . interesting, at least to us. And come to find out, numerous relatives and friends were making bets in the background about what we would end up doing! And almost ALL of them were right: we bought another boat this week!
Meet the next “Next To Me”. She’s a 40-foot Ocean Alexander, another “good old girl” like the last Next To Me, vintage 1981. Her layout is similar but does have differences. The sea trial, engine survey and hull survey were all completed last week, and her Sellers, Steve and Deanna, were kind and generous with their time in showing us many details about how to operate her.
We took possession Wednesday morning, and because she was moored in a yacht club of which we weren’t a member, we had to move her immediately. As soon as we got word our insurance was in place, we pulled out of Bremerton Yacht Club and headed south for Gig Harbor where we’d arranged moorage. She’s too big to leave on the mooring in front of our house.
This boat has a single engine, in contrast to our Loop boat which had twins, and she’s powered by a Ford Lehman 120 hp diesel engine, so she travels at 8 knots, about our usual cruising speed while on the Loop, but not capable of going much faster. She gets 4 miles to the gallon (in contrast to the previous Next To Me which got almost 2 miles per gallon).
Conditions were darn near perfect: 78 degrees, sunny, and flat water with only a very light breeze. Even the tide cooperated and ran the preferred direction for half the trip.
As usual, Colvos Passage, the body of water on which we live and passed through for this trip, was busy with tows pushing barges, sail and motor boats, and two ferries that caused us to slow to stay out of their path (they travel 20 mph, so we can’t get out of their way fast enough in this boat!)
Here’s the mouth of Gig Harbor, the beautiful place we’ll moor Next To Me. The mouth is narrow and shallow at low tide, as it was when we entered, but no opposing traffic made it easy.
Our dear friend and neighbor Hobie was there to catch our lines on arrival, and Bob’s sister and brother-in-law Lynn and David showed up a few minutes later.
Hobie used to be a sailor but enjoys any kind of boating.
Long-time friend Jim (also a sailor) arrived too, and the six of us had a party, with the guests bringing the beer and taking boat tours.
What a nice way to begin our new time with our new-to-us boat!
Now it’s Friday, and we spent the whole day hauling bins of boat gear aboard, cleaning and finding places to store everything. We’re not finished, but got a good start. So we enjoyed an outstanding bottle of wine (bought in June in the Walla Walla wine country on a trip with Lynn and David for wine-tasting) and cooked portobello mushroom burgers on the grill for dinner. We’ll spend the night on board for the first time and are happily back on the water!