Friday, August 1, 2014

Maximum of One Each Day, Two Per Week


Last night’s anchorage in Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island was the first time we’ve anchored overnight since we bought this boat in September, despite anchoring out more than 100 nights while on our 7,000-mile Great Loop journey. There are a variety of reasons for this, too boring to list. There were dozens of boats, a gorgeous moon, and conditions were so calm we slept like logs without a single worry about storms or dragging anchor. Perfect!


This morning we dinghied to shore and met up with 30+-year friends Mary and Agnes, who live in Seattle but have a vacation home on Lopez. Mary was Cathryn’s boss at Metro for a few years, and Agnes was one of Bob’s department directors at one time. We see them on Lopez Island at least as often as we see them in Seattle. We had breakfast and 2 hours of catch-up conversation while they took a break from their week-long, 40-member annual family reunion. What a treat to have them fit us in to their busy schedule.


“Next To Me” is outfitted for this trip in two ways that are not usual. She’s hauling two kayaks because we’re told the wildlife in the Broughton Islands, our furthest north destination, will be frightened off by the noise of our 18hp dinghy motor, so if we want to observe and photograph wildlife, we need to travel by quiet kayak. Additionally, we’re carrying two crab pots and will buy a Canadian shellfish license when we reach Nanaimo.

So why is this blogpost titled as it is? Here’s the story. We have two heads (toilets, or bathrooms, depending on the context) on board. When we used the master stateroom’s head this morning, it struggled mightily to flush, though the motor was working properly. Not good, even though we have a second head in the bow of the boat. After more flushing attempts, and Bob’s foray into the engine room to check the sanitation hoses, Cathryn called our trusty all-around boat mechanic back home to discuss our theories on what was wrong. He confirmed our theory, and treatment later in the day seems to be producing the desired outcome of a “head” that flushes properly. Whew!  

However, shortly after this episode, we returned to the boat from breakfast with Agnes and Mary to pull the anchor and depart Lopez Island. Guess what? The windlass (electrical device that raises the heavy chain and anchor) didn’t work.  Argghhhh! We know everything on a boat will break, any chance it gets, but really? Two problems in one day??? So Bob pulled the heavy anchor chain by hand, not too awful since we were only in 15 feet of water (so 50+ feet of chain), and off we went. While Cathryn drove toward Canada, Bob sat on the bow of the deck for an hour to service the windlass. (Note: this is Cathryn writing this paragraph). Bob thinks he doesn’t know how to fix much on a boat. Cathryn thinks this is a crock, as he does ALL KINDS of things that need doing, and that she can’t do. Fixing electrical problems on an anchor windlass being a great example. So while “Next To Me’' rocked and rolled through moderately rough water, Bob sat on the deck at the bow and took apart the windlass, sanded off the corrosion on the electrical connections, put everything back together, and . . . . . lo and behold . . . . it worked again! So the title of this blogpost is because we had a stern talk with “Next To Me’' and informed her that never again is she allowed to have two crucial components break down in one day. From now on, the standard is:  “maximum one per day, two per week”, and NO MORE THAN THAT!


Mid-afternoon we crossed the international border into Canada, called ahead to Canada Border Services on our cell phone, and were not required to report to the Customs Dock in person because we’re NEXUS card holders and are in their computers as having made this crossing at least a dozen times without incident. That saved several hours, as the backlog of boats waiting to clear Customs on a busy Friday afternoon at Bedwell Harbor was long. So we pulled into a slip at Poet’s Cove and settled in for the night. The marina is crowded because we’re told it’s a “long weekend” in Canada. We don’t know why.


We have nice neighbors on both sides of us (an older couple from Seattle in a 63’ motor vessel, and 3 young couples on a 40’ Beneteau sailboat, chartering for their first trip). Grilled salmon on the BBQ for dinner, and live music ashore for Friday night. What’s not to like?


Jorgito's dad said...

Its a long weekend because we get one every month. That's a huge PITA if you are an employer and a major bonus if you are an employee. This particular one is "the nameless holiday" - I think it has a name in some provinces but for most of us its "the August long".

Cathryn said...

Jorgito's Dad, thanks so much for the informative and hilarious explanation! Wish you could join us onboard for happy hour to celebrate "the August long" as we think you'd be a fun addition. Cathryn and Bob

Jorgito's dad said...

Its confusing I know but I'm Bob, off Gray Hawk. Jorgito was our idiot cat who no longer travels with us. Actually he was George II because we planned to have 6 Georges and then name the next one Elizabeth but that's only funny if you're a Brit. We spent so much time in Mexico that eventually George became Jorgito which is Mexican slang for "little Jorge".

Cathryn said...

Hey Gray Hawk Bob!!! Nice to have that mystery solved. Are you back on the plains in your RV, having a different kind of fun? Love the story re the Georges, the Elizabeth that never happend (there's still time, right?) and Jorgito! Feel free to jump in here anytime you like with advice so we know you've covered the territory. Tomorrow we transit Dodd Narrows for our first time (actually we've been through there before as crew on someone else's boat, but not our own). We're aiming for slack of course, which if we're successful will mean it's completely uneventful. Rapids and single engine 7-knot boats make me a little nervous. Hugs to you both, Cathryn and Bob

Jorgito's dad said...

You are right Cathryn, the conventional wisdom is to run the tidal rapids at high slack. Its not essential IMHO. If you transit them sometime near slack - and by "near" I mean within a couple hours - I don't think they will ever be an issue for you. Dodd is a great example - its pretty well a straight shot, you can easily see all the way through from either end and it never gets very riled up. We time our arrivals at any rapids so the flow is with us and on the high end. When we get there we stand off a few hundred yards and look at them through the binoculars. If there's no standing waves we go through. Occasionally we'll run against the current but my Scotch ancestry hates buying the fuel for that. There's a big difference in flow rates depending on how extreme the tides are so take a look at that too. If you've got a 7-10 foot tidal exchange that's a whole different beast than a 15 foot exchange.