Friday, November 15, 2013

Gig Harbor to Kingston

Distance traveled:  35.3 statute miles

Travel time:  4 hours, 21 minutes


Thursday morning we pulled out of the slip at our home marina with long-time friends Jim and Phebe aboard. Some of our Looper friends will recall meeting them when they joined us for a week in the Florida Keys in February 2013. November is not considered prime “cruising season” in the Pacific Northwest for good reason, but we were cheerful and excited about the 3-day cruise, despite the temperature around 50 and gray skies with rain in the forecast.


The journey north was uneventful despite some rain for an hour, and particularly relaxing for Bob and Cathryn because Jim took the helm for almost 3 hours and Phebe for 1 hour, so we got to relax and enjoy the scenery.


We spotted seals and sea lions, a few Dall’s porpoises, a container ship or two, and several freighters, paralleling the shipping lanes for most of the journey.


Cathryn was at the helm when we left the marina and when we docked in Kingston, and both went completely smoothly, aided psychologically by there being THREE crew on deck holding “walk-around fenders” ready to save us from disaster in the event of errant maneuvers. No fenders needed. Boy, those “back-and-fill” lessons were a great investment of time. Thank you again Jim and Robin of M/V Adventures!


The Kingston Marina is an interesting stop. While the town is small without much selection of great restaurants, we thoroughly enjoyed the arrival of a Purse Seiner at the slip next to ours shortly after we tied up. They reported having a “bad day” on the water, having only caught 100 or so Chums (a type of salmon, which they also referred to as “Dogs or dog fish”).


They allowed us to come aboard to peek into the hold while a “Buy Boat” (who buys fish directly from commercial fisherman the day of the catch) tied up alongside to unload the fish from the Purse Seiner to the Buy Boat. Fascinating, as we’d never observed the process before. Both women fish handlers have worked fishing boats in Alaska for the past six years and were reported, by the men, to be outstanding “fish throwers”, and Tabitha admitted she’s also really good at catching fish with a rod.'


Three slips down from ours was a 40’ Beneteau sailboat with a woman in the canvas-enclosed cockpit playing beautifully on her 88-key electronic piano, not something we’ve seen aboard a boat before.


At 5pm Jim and Phebe’s friends Stan and Linda (who we’ve met many times, and we’re sorry we failed to take photos while they were aboard) arrived from their home to join us for dinner. A nearby Mexican restaurant over-fed us, and lively conversation ensued. We returned to the boat for wine and more conversation afterwards, then off to bed, groaning from over-full stomachs.


I, Jim, (first-ever Guest Blogger) am inserting a brief note to both thank our ever-gracious hosts and to highlight their outstanding docking abilities. Both of our co-captains have docked and undocked with remarkable precision. Neither Phebe nor I ever needed to actually deploy our ‘walk-around fenders’-----we were entirely superfluous! Since “Next to Me” is a single screw boat and one of the available slips afforded us only a foot or so on each side we were very impressed! We would enthusiastically ship out with these sailors to anywhere----say Tahiti????

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