As the Jimmy Buffett song says, we both have had another birthday. We took a little weekend run with Oliver to "Dockton". Dockton is on Vashon island. At one time(1908) it was a booming shipbuilding area. We traveled back across Commencement bay with 30+ mph winds, thru the Narrows, on to Penrose park. We anchored with 25 mph winds, testing our45 Lbs Manson supreme. I have an App on my phone called Anchor watch, works pretty good. No dragging all night. Next day to Boston harbor for fuel, first time in two years. Couple more weeks of work, then prepare to leave for Alaska at the end of May.
Time continues to march on. We have been gathering guide books and charts for our planned journey north. Our plan is to leave Oly around the end of May and head towards Juneau. We have had our sails restiched by "Schattauer Sails", great guys and a resonable price. We located a full set of Canadian and Alaskan charts at "Second Wave", everyone's favorite second hand marine store. We purchased guidebooks for British Columbia and Alaska. We are going to install "lifeline netting" to keep the dog on board. Some last boat projects include mounting our radar reflector and a hailing-fog horn that will work off of our vhf radio. We have attended some seminars at our local "West Marine" about heading to Alaska. We plan on taking our time up and back, not returning until the end of September. Our plan is to give up our slip in Olympia, so we won't have to pay moorage all summer, then move to Blaine.
We have explored most of the marinas headed north. They included Brownsville, Bremerton, Eagle Harbor, Kingston, Shilshole, Des Moines, Everett, Bellingham, Anacortes and finally Blaine. Blaine is a quaint little town at the north end if I-5. We felt that the reception at the marina and the town suited us. It will allow a different area to explore. We found a place to park one of the cars and they feel they will have room in the marina. You can see the "Peace Arch" border crossing from the marina.
I'm back to work for a few weeks before we take off, Suzie and I are watching the grandkids one day a week, attending dog agility one day a week and waiting for good weather to arrive.
Well, we are full into northwest winter. A little bit of snow in January, some awesome days in February, and now back to rain. We have got the boat out a couple of times during streches of good weather. Our first run out was to "Jerrells' Cove". We tied up to the dock, which made the "dog" process easier. Oliver doesn't like the sound of the engine, but he is getting more and more comfortable. We hiked around the park and enjoyed the weekend. Last weekend we, along with another couple from the marina, went to Penrose park. Weather was in the mid 50's, strange for early Feb. We anchored out the first night. We have only anchored once before, so this was a learning experience. We had added a new 45 lb. Manson Supreme which didn't budge during the night. I tried out an app for my phone "My Anchor Watch". Seemed to work fairly well, using gps to measure swing. We got almost a full day of sailing in Carr inlet with 15 mph winds in the morning. Back on Sunday in time for the Superbowl. This week back to regular schedule, babysitting on Tues, dog training on Wed. and going to the "Y" to work out alost every day. We ordered a collection of "cruising" guides to Alaska. If all goes as planned, we will leave for Alaska at the end of May. We are exploring moving farther north when we get back. Anacortes, Bellingham maybe Kingston, but somewhere further "up". Well that's all for now.
Wow, 2011 is almost over. Quite a year it has been for us, work, retiring, getting a dog, learning to live with no schedule-what fun. Fall progresses into winter with unseasonably mild weather. No snow or rain, is this the Northwest? We continue to do small projects on the boat in anticipation of heading to Alaska late May-early June. We have built a collection of spare parts, added cockpit doors and have done minor maintenance and improvements. Future projects include installation of a hailing/fog horn, a radar reflector and plumbling for our additional propane tank. As winter turns and spring approaches it is time for some local voyaging. Our dog is still fearful of both the engine and the moving over the water. We need to do some local trips to refresh our skills and get Oliver used to life on the sea. We continue to babysit our grandaughter on Tuesdays, Oliver's agility training on Wednesdays and work Thurs thru Sat. The picture above is Oliver at his agility Christmas party. He is becomimg very skilled at his jumps, his teeter totter, his tunnels and A-frame. We hope that all our friends are in good health and all look forward to a great 2012. Rory, Suzie and Oliver
Our annual Halloween cruise has come and gone. Each year our boating friends gather to decorate boats, carve pumpkins, have a potluck and trick-or-treat. We had our gathering at our marina's visitor dock, so we only had to move the boat about 500 yards.
After the bash we took the boat on a cruise around Squaxin island. Our friends, Dan and Donna joined us. This was Olivers' first cruise and the boats' first voyage in a year. We have been doing an upgrade in anticipation of heading to Alaska in May or June of next year. The things we have upgraded include from the bow back
New 44lb Manson anchor
Saltwater washdown pump and fitting at anchor locker
110 volt outlet in v-berth forepeak
12 volt fan in forepeak that ventilates under our "Froli" innerspring in v-berth
Additional 110 volt outlets in v-berth
110 volt and 12 volt outlets in main salon
LED rope lighting under cabinets in salon and galley
Upgrade main panel to code
12 volt outlets in galley and nav station
12 volt fan in main panel cabinet
140 amp "Eledtramaxx" alternator with serpentine belt
Three stage external regulator
Automatic remote controlled charge relay and new battery switch
New "Starboard" battery shelving
New stainless steel tank water heater
Added another 4D AGM house battery
Rewired all starting and charging system with 2/0 wiring
Installed isolation transformer
Added a second dedicated 20 amp shorepower inlet for heater and dehumidifier
Changed shore power cords and inlets to "Smart Cords"
installed cable tv connection
Added additional lighting in galley
Installed Garmin radar on a gimbaled backstay mount
Installed Garmin 4212 chartplotter in new pod on binnacle
Installed Garmin VHF radio with handheld remote in cockpit
Installed Garmin AIS transmit and receive
Wow, I'm sure there is more, but that is enough. All systems seemed to work as planned on our short cruise.
Today was Olivers' return to "Fido Farms". They teach agility course and herding of sheep and ducks. He has been before, but we needed training. He did great and we look forward to returning next week.
Work continues to go well, we are hoping for snow. Suzie continues to work on craft projects and keeping Oliver entetained with plenty of exercise. We have entered that time of year that we are sitting in the salon listening to the rain patter down on the roof. Oh well, we live in the Northwest. Our planning for Alaska will be quickly upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas the winter will fly by.
Time for a quick update. The weather has started to turn. Wet, cool and shorter days signal the beginning of another northwest fall. We have gotten down to the final punch list on the boat upgrades. The upgrade list included-another 4D house battery, stainless steel water heater, reinstallation of the refrigeration unit, rebuilding and making a new battery shelf out of Starboard, installation of a ElectraMaxx 140 amp alternator with serpentine belt and external regulator, recabling with 2/0 guage wiring. A few final wiring touches and we will be finished. We have discovered that one of our fuel tanks was contaminated with water. We don't know if the filler cap wasn't tight, te pressure washing or the o-ring seal on the cap. We have the use of a friends' fuel polisher, so with half a dozen filters, a 55 gallon barrel and some time, we will clean our tank.
I started a part-time job! I had plans on working at the Les Schwab downtown Olympia when I retired. I have known Irl, the manager, since I became manager in 1989 in Tacoma. Thursday, Friday and Saturday is enough to keep me in shape, keep me busy thru the winter, and add a few pennies to the cruising kitty. I had to shave off the beard and cut the long grey locks that I had worked so hard on since May. I have really enjoyed joining their crew, adding my knowledge and skills when appropriate. It sure was nice, when last week a customer complaint call came in, and I didn't have to answer it.
Suzie is beginning to work on our annual "Halloween Cruise". In the years past she has been involved with the local sailing club's Halloween, but this year it will be with our local liveaboards, at our guest dock. We move our boat about 500 yards, along with a few of our liveaboard friends. The theme is "Ravens and Crows", and we are going are going to take on the persona of "Morrigan", who was an ancient Celtic raven goddess.
We still watch the granddaughters every Tuesday. Oliver, the dog, has been adjusting to marina life. We have yet to take him out sailing, so that is yet to come. He has been doing some kayaking with Suzie, which he seems to enjoy. He has been troublefree for living on a sailboat.
Winter is right around the corner. Weather man says that " La Nina" will bring a colder, wetter winter. I have heard that one before, so we will wait to see what takes place. The picture is "Oliver" in his new "Ruff-Wear" rain jacket and his "Kong" frisbee, ready to play.