Distance traveled: 19.2 miles Friday, 16.7 miles Saturday
Travel time: 3 hrs 17 mins Friday; 2 hrs 45 mins Saturday
In the Pacific Northwest the boating season is generally thought of as May through September. Puget Sound and adjacent waters only vary from about 48 degrees in winter to 55 degrees in summer, and never freeze, but the days are short and the weather is cold and rainy outside that season.
One goal in buying the new “Next To Me” was to attempt to expand the cruising season by getting a boat large and warm enough to be comfortable on the water even in “off “ season. We learned on this trip, accompanied by friends Jim and Phebe, that we succeeded.
After a good night’s sleep at the Kingston Marina and a leisurely start to the day, we headed south with Bob at the helm. We drove from the fully enclosed flybridge with a “Mr. Buddy Propane Heater” keeping things comfortable despite the 15 - 20 mph wind, whitecaps at times , and temps in the high 40s. Jim again shared helm duty.
After tying up in Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island, we wandered the streets of Winslow, the attractive adjacent town, peeking into nautical shops, checking out local real estate, and enjoying the prolific public art. On return to the boat, Phebe made dinner in celebration of Cathryn’s birthday: beef curry on couscous, salad and apple crisp with almond flour crust and lots of candles on top, accompanied by singing and wine. Yum, and what fun! We’ve lost track of the dozens of birthdays the 4 of us have celebrated together by sharing dinners, attending concerts and lots more.
Saturday morning brought blinding sun and blue skies. After a leisurely start (apple crisp for breakfast anyone? You bet!) we continued south, traveling at slower speed (7 mph) and driving from inside the salon at the lower helm for the first time ever, sitting comfortably and warmly inside.
Overall a great trip: time with good friends, a chance to try out winter cruising and more time honing our single screw boat handling skills.
One of the things we’ve always said we liked about boating is that it offers a chance to continue to learn new skills in our retirement. Well, we can report that by buying a single screw boat we’ve guaranteed the continuation of the learning curve.
We each absolutely nailed a docking using our new back-and-fill technique. We can also report that we each completely muffed another one. We like to remember that batting .500 in baseball is almost unheard of and considered terrific!