05/15/2010, Shilshole Marina, Seattle
We headed Eagle out of our slip last night around 6:20, headed north to Shilshole under gorgeous blues skies and no wind. We had barely gotten past the green channel marker, less than ½ mile from the marina entrance when a north wind of 8-10 knots appeared. Of course it was out of the north - that was the direction we were headed. We had a slip waiting for us at our former marina, and as Tom said, "I've got all night to get there, I'm in no hurry. You?" Ahhh, those words!
The short story? It's usually a 3 hour run, give or take a few minutes depending on the direction of the tide, and 19 nautical miles. The long story? Our version was sailed in 7 hours with the tide ebbing in our favor, mostly 18-22knots of wind directly on our nose, for a total of 44.3- nautical miles!
Our marina is located in the south end of Puget Sound where the water takes a westward dogleg towards Tacoma. In this area and for most of our trip the sound is 3-5 miles wide, with the shipping channel running right up the middle. Just off of our marina, we spotted 2 northbound tugs and tows, and one southbound. Our radar and AIS confirmed what we could see as well as their speed. Quick tack away from the lanes allowed the closest tug to pass us. We tacked back on a close haul to cross the channel in front of the second tug, and behind the third going southbound. Out in the middle of the channel with nothing to slow it down, the winds picked up to a steady 22. As the sun was quickly disappearing behind the Olympic Mountains, we put one reef in the headsail. Within 30 minutes we took a reef in the main as well. The boat settled in nicely as did her crew.
The course to Shilshole takes us past 4 very distinct 'points : Three Tree Point, Fauntleroy, Alki Point and West Point. We always seemed to be just short of attaining the north side of the points. To avoid continually crossing the shipping channel we short tacked to clear them. The course also takes us across three ferry lanes and the entrance to Elliott Bay - think small San Francisco. We also were watchful of the tug and tow Island Trader doing 9 knots, three different ferries to and from Vashon Island, the Bremerton ferry - inbound and outbound, the Bainbridge ferry, the container ships, Kauai, and the Victoria, the tug Captain Cook and its tow, two other inbound tugs, the Spirit of 76,Argosy, and the Odyssey vessels out for private harbor cruises, and let's not forget the Victoria Clipper doing 31 knots into Elliott Bay.
We discovered a couple of things last night. First, the folks at the Vessel Traffic System, Seattle Traffic, VHF channel 14, are really nice to talk to! After bearing away from our course 3 separate times to avoid getting in the way of the Walla Walla and Wenatchee ferries, we decided it was prudent to check in with them.... After all, we're the little, unexpected, guy out there, sailing in the dark! The second thing was, that our radar system, and the other electronics worked awesome both 'sending' and receiving. Seattle traffic had been tracking us, but didn't know who we were or where we were going. We rather enjoyed hearing them give our updated positions to all the previous listed vessels and anyone else out there that was monitoring channel 14. We felt rather 'large' when we were asked to call in and check out after reaching West Point - just like the big boys! Thirdly, after spending several hours beating into 20+ knots, 6 or 8 feels liked you're parked!
05/10/2010, Des Moines Marina
We woke up Saturday morning energized and ready to get to the days projects!! Jeanne was going to work on sewing the sunbrella covers for the ten jerry jugs we will carry with us when we leave. We were not sure we were going to put them in place just yet, but after a bit of thought, decided it would be best to have them in place so we can get used to them while we were sailing around the sound.
I was going to tackle the nav station. I have a new Link lite battery monitor to install and then get started on the SSB.
The staff at Des Moines Marina have been just AWESOME to us the last few years we have been here, helping any way they can, from power tools, and an extra hand, to bar-b-ques and heaters for a quick dock party. This day, they were giving up the table in their lunch room so that Jeanne would have a nice area to do some sewing. She managed to get some very nice, form fitted covers for all ten of the jerry jugs ( 8 for diesel, 1 for water and 1 for gasoline) as well as a couple of garment repairs for the staff while she was set up.
I managed to get the link installed except for the twisted pair wire that I did not have, and got the Icom 802 SSB installed along with the mic holder and remote speaker. Now we will just need to get the back stay replaced with a set of insulators so that we can connect the AT140 tuner to the antenna. I also got the new breaker for the SSB installed in the DC panel, and mounted and wired the new chart light.
All in all it was a great day, that was very productive!!
05/04/2010, Des Moines Marina
As many of you know, and if you dont, you will now learn, I have worn contacts or glasses for over thirty years. With our concerns about wearing them while we are off shore, as well as a couple recent "incidents" the decision was made to have corrective Lasik surgery done. To make a long story short, after a bunch of reaserach, I decided on Bellevue Cornea and Lasik to have the work done. I have never had a problem reading with out my glasses, so I opted for what is referd to as Mono Vision, where one eye is corrected for distance, and the other for up close or reading. Since my left eye is the dominate eye, that was the eye chosen for the distance. My right eye was already very good at the reading distance, so no correction was required. The surgery went incredibly easy,and I have better than 20/20 vision in both eyes now!! all I can really say, is wow!! why did I wait so long to have this done?
Now you see the glasses!!!
Now you dont!!!
04/27/2010, Astoria Oregon
We've just spent a wonderful weekend in Astoria Oregon. The time was shared with our good friends Jim and Faith, Kevin and Barbara, Bob and Leslie, and new friends, Collin and Laura. The reason was the Astoria Wine and Seafood festival. It's an annual event that draws quite a crowd. Each of the other couples arrived by boat to the West Basin Marina. We arrived by our land yacht on Friday afternoon just in time to stow our gear onto Third Degree and catch the shuttle to the festival. Several wine tastes and food nibbles later, we jumped back on the shuttle to continue the party on the boats.
Saturday morning brought sunshine to the coastal town and some internal fog to several of us, but we persevered nonetheless! Walking the waterfront Tom and I found some great photo opportunities. Most of the afternoon was spent filling up the SD cards with birds, textures, old buildings and other fun marine stuff. Another gathering Saturday night, way too much food, a yummy shrimp salad by Leslie, a chowder cook-off - way to go Laura, an awesome rum cake - thanks Barbara and great music combos - thanks Faith, and too soon the fun ended! Sunday morning we were off the boat by 8:45 am so Jim could get started on his 12 hour trip back to his own dock. We loaded up the car and headed out of town.
Tom and I both enjoy taking little road trip adventures when we're out for the weekend. It's become a habit whenever we leave Oregon and this time was no exception. I pulled out our gazetteer to check out what 'little black line' adventures or routes we could find on our way back to Seattle. Boy, did we find a fun one!
About 25 miles east of Astoria, is the little town of Westport, right on the Columbia River. A small sign advertises a 'toll ferry' one quarter mile ahead. Down the road we go about 500 yards, into the gravel for about 50 yards and end up 3rd car in line at a boat ramp. The listed price for car and driver is $5.00 with a passenger as free! Within a few minutes the ferry shows up. Nine vehicles load up, the ramp is raised, and off we go down a small tributary, make one 90 degree turn and are in the Columbia River. In a matter of minutes we're on the other side. After witnessing a pretty impressive docking maneuver, we roll onto Puget Island that only shows little black lines on the map.
A quick turn off of the main drag and we're on a two lane road that's basically been built on the top of the dike. At times we practically expected to see horse drawn buggies come around the corner then we'd see a fairly modern structure right next to a historical building. What a great time warp! The birds on the island were colorful and plentiful. We were able to capture on film many Osprey, some with mates, Golden Eagles, Red Winged Black Birds, a large Ring Neck Pheasant, Red Tailed Hawk, a lovely blue Scrub Jay, and many others. Tom, with his degree in migratory patterns of birds was in 'feathered' heaven! Around many turns we'd find a slough occupied by small and some not so small house boats, a few derelict boats and even a few sailboats, which obviously was a 'local knowledge' depth thing.
We were enjoying ourselves so much, we circled the island twice. A right turn took us across the Cathlamet Bridge into the towns Lewis & Clark historic community. A few minutes later at County Line Park we enjoyed a riverside picnic dinner before running out of little black roads to wander down.
04/18/2010, Guest Dock, gig Harbor Wash
I have worn glasses or contacts for close to 30 years now, and with the anticipation of our taking off cruising, I wanted to be rid of them. So on Thursday afternoon I had Lasik surgery to correct my vision problems. As a result, I took Friday off from work to recover. Jeanne and I could not think of a better way to do just that than a long weekend out sailing to some where. We had not been back to one of our favorite harbors in quite a while so we headed to Gig Harbor for the weekend. We left the dock at Des Moines with a 6-7 knot wind, put up the new Asymetrical spinnaker. We had a great sail until we reached Tacoma/Commencement Bay. The wind died, so we dropped the sail and motored into Gig Harbor.
The weekend turned out to be like old home week as through out the weekend we ran into old friends we had not seen in years!! Jon and Marcella off of SV Grand Illusion from Shilshole were on the public dock, so we stopped there and got a spot near their boat. We had called our very good friends Dave "The Musicman" and Marcia, who came down Friday night and had dinner and drinks with us. We ran into Nick 'The Barber" a long time friend of Jeannes. A small fishing boat was tieing up right next to us, so I jumped off the boat to catch a line for him. It turned out to be Dan Oztenburger, the 3M company rep who services the company I work for.
Sunday morning, Bill the owner of a set of brand new Barient 27 self tailing winches, that we had agreed to purchase, offered to come to Gig Harbor in order to deliver the winches right to the boat.
In addition, Sunday morning we woke up to some pretty dense fog, but since we were really in no hurry, we had some fresh cinnamon rolls, a cup of tea, and posted here...:-)
The Fisheries Boaters Swap Meet April 10th, 2010
What kind of event would cause fully grown men and women to rise not only at the crack of dawn, but many hours before that? For those in the know, it is the bi-annual marine/boaters swap meet held in and around the parking lot at Fisheries Supply near Gas Works Park on north Lake Union. My first personal experience with this phenomenon was when my wife Jeanne, then my girl friend, told me she was going to get up at three o'clock in the morning to go look at some used boat stuff. Well, I have to admit, I was having some doubts about her rational thinking process at that point in our relationship. This Bi-annual event is advertised to start at seven am and run through one pm. As I have come to learn, the real Swap Meet starts at about four am and is pretty much wrapped up by nine am. I am sure that by now you are thinking, "But it's still dark then" and you would be right! The well equipped shopper, looking to snag the best bargains will come with flash lights or better yet a head lamp to keep both hands free in order to dig through the goodies to find exactly what you are looking for. Many will be seen with a wheeled cart of some sort, and if they are truly savvy, with work in teams. One person will start on one end of the parking lot and one on the other, using the divide and conquer method. Cell phones will have been charged and ready for communicating between team members! Others will have member of the team doing the "shopping" while the other is making trips back and forth hauling newly found treasures back to the car or truck. Then of course there are those that are trying to actually sell their boating gems that have found themselves to be no longer needed and should go to a new home! While the cast of characters changes somewhat each year, many are cleaning out storage lockers, or getting out of boating. We have met a few long term cruisers that now live on land and are getting rid of a lifelong collection of the necessary things to be self sufficient on a boat. Then there are the "regulars", those who in some cases find themselves with a large assortment of things that needs to be sold, either through their occupation, or a nasty case of "Pack Rat-itis". The latter condition would be the closest to me. I see every little thing that comes off the boat as a valuable piece of equipment that will without doubt, be needed in the near future! Thank goodness my wife has better sense than me in this regard and helps keep these urges in check. So I suppose we fall some here in the middle. We usually sell a few things that we (I) have gathered over the course of the year, and of course there is always that amazing bargain that just has to be acquired! I will admit, that this event has been exceptional in the re-fitting of our boat over the last three or four years. We have purchased many things at prices we would never have been able to find, even with the most powerful search engines on the internet. We have purchased a Monitor wind vane, new Aluminum toe rail, a new spool of line to replace all of our halyards and a spinnaker just to name a few.
Well, the alarm just went off, and as it is now three thirty in the morning, I have to go wake Jeanne. The thermos is filled, the flash lights are ready... yeah I know, I am up before the alarm ready to go walk around in the cold and dark looking at a bunch of used boat stuff! I gotta see if I can find a deal on a couple of new winches...maybe a couple of snubbers...maybe a spare anchor.
Post script: this year's swap meet was extremely well attended by sells and buyers as well. The entire Fisheries facility was surrounded with every kind of boating and fishing equipment imaginable. Fisheries host this event twice a year, once in the fall and around April 15 each spring. As for our day at the swap meet, we had a great morning, actually selling more than we returned home with, A FIRST!!