Captain's Log: Briskwater

01 August 2014 | Everett, Ballard Locks, Queen Queen City
30 July 2014 | Saratoga Passage, Everett
29 July 2014 | Swinomish Channel, La Conner, Skagit Bay, Oak Harbor
28 July 2014 | Rosario Strait, Harney Channel, Ship Harbor, Cap Sante Marina
27 July 2014 | Sucia Island, Deer Harbor, Orcas Island
25 July 2014 | Matia Island, North of Orcas Island
24 July 2014 | Blakely Island Marina
23 July 2014 | Rosario Resort, Orcas Island
21 July 2014 | Deer Harbor to Eastsound
20 July 2014 | Deer Harbor to Orcas Village
19 July 2014 | Anacortes, Guemes Island
18 July 2014 | San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Anacortes, Guemes Island
17 July 2014 | Roche Harbor
16 July 2014 | Friday Harbor, Turn Island
15 July 2014 | San Juan Channel
13 July 2014 | Fisherman Bay, Lopez Island
12 July 2014 | Skyline Marine Center - Do It Yourself Yard
07 July 2014 | Guemes Channel
06 July 2014 | Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

27. Safe at Home...Or is it???

01 August 2014 | Everett, Ballard Locks, Queen Queen City
Capt. Jon Z.
We arrived at home today at 7:30 pm. Yay!

26. Sailing Saratoga Southward to Everett

30 July 2014 | Saratoga Passage, Everett
Capt. Jon Z.

Briskwater travel distance to date (7/30/14): 273.6 nm (all figures are approximate) I am using the distance calculator on this website to estimate our travel distance: DaftLogic

25. Channeling La Conner and Sailing to Oak Harbor

29 July 2014 | Swinomish Channel, La Conner, Skagit Bay, Oak Harbor
Capt. Jon Z.
Swinomish Channel

24. The Return through Rosario Strait

28 July 2014 | Rosario Strait, Harney Channel, Ship Harbor, Cap Sante Marina
Capt. Jon Z.
Rosario Strait Return

23. Beginning the Journey Home

27 July 2014 | Sucia Island, Deer Harbor, Orcas Island
Capt. Jon Z.
Deer Harbor

22. Sucia Island with Van Winkle, Rainwater, Nickelson, Barklow, and Zabriskies

26 July 2014 | Sucia Island
Capt. Jon Z.
Briskwater rests for a couple of days...

Sarah and I planned on meeting with family coming via motorboat on Friday (7/25), so we motored from Matia Island to the north coast of Orcas Island to pick up foodstuffs in the town of Eastsound (see entries 18 & 19). Since there are no moorings for the public on the whole north coast of Orcas, we anchored near the coast north of the Orcas Island Airport, rowed the dinghy to the beach, and walked about a mile to downtown Eastsound and back.

From the Orcas coast, we sailed to Sucia, where we tied Briskwater to a state park mooring buoy in Fox Cove; we really lucked out there, as just about every other anchorable/moorable spot around the island looked jammed with boats big and small.

We met up with our family, who was setting up camp on a campsite between Fox Cove and Fossil Bay. For the next couple of days, we explored the island and ate lots of gourmet camp food, with the highlights being smoked salmon Asian salad and chocolate bananas Saturday night.

It was good coming to know future family members Drew and his mom Pam during the weekend camping trip. Also, our friend Stephanie showed up Sunday morning to check out the island and ride with Sarah and me for the first step to the south, back home.

21. Matia is the Place for Seals

25 July 2014 | Matia Island, North of Orcas Island
Capt. Jon Z.
A great day for sailing and spying the seals...

The day before, our short trip to Blakely Island Marina was rainy and cold, but the next morning in Blakely promised great weather for our trip to the north of Orcas Island, in the neighborhood of Sucia Island.

We left fairly early in the morning, and upon exiting east via Peavine Pass, we put up the sails and easily sailed north along the east coast of Orcas in the again-present sun. After passing the easternmost point of the island (Lawrence Point), we pointed the bow toward Clark and Barnes Islands, a few miles east of Matia and Sucia Islands.

In my opinion, this was island sailing at its finest; the wind was in our favor the whole time, there was a lot of blue sky and water around us, and we zipped between and around islands all day.

We skimmed by Clark and Barnes Islands on the north sides, and then sailed to Rolfe Cove, on the west side of Matia Island. We tied to the public dock and walked the mile loop trail around the island.

Matia Island (loosely translated as 'no protection') is largely a wildlife refuge for seals and seabirds. While walking the island trail, we planted ourselves on a point overlooking Matia's southeast cove, where we could see several mother seals herding their baby seals in the water, on some rocks, and on their seal backs for free rides. Sarah called it a 'seal nursery,' and I called it 'pretty darn cute.'

We also saw a baby seal sleeping on the beach near where we docked Briskwater, and Sarah named it Murphy. While eating dinner on the dock, we saw the mama seal swimming in to pick up baby seal Murphy, so Sarah and I ducked into the boat's cabin to watch the mama swim up to the beach to collect her kin.

During nighttime, the seas were calm and Sarah tells me that the bioluminescence was the coolest she had seen so far. I was too tired to check it out. Zzzz...

20. Blakely Saves

24 July 2014 | Blakely Island Marina
Capt. Jon Z.
Into and out of the storm...

Remember when it was really rainy last Tuesday (7/23)? Well it was very cold and rainy for our short trip on Tuesday around Orcas Island.

We left Rosario in the afternoon with plans to go Doe Bay Resort (for more free anchoring and the cool community we've read about), but the rain was coldly beating down that day. That convinced us to make for the nearest moorage, which was first at a mooring buoy in Obstruction Pass.

With the motor pushing us along, Sarah contacted the Obstruction Pass Marina (I think that's what it's called, and I have no idea how she found them), who told us to tie up to a buoy near their docks. However, after doing so and having Briskwater blown around for not 10 minutes, we raised nearby Blakely Island Marina on the other side of Obstruction Island; thankfully, Blakely had slips available, and we quickly untied from the buoy to blaze a trail to the marina.

Yay for protected harbors! Blakely Island Marina is behind a small hook of land on the north side of the medium sized Blakely Island. Since the rest of the island is private, and the marina offers only a small store and cafe, the marina is a very quiet setting, even in a storm. We gladly plugged in the electricity and dried the boat out from the inside before planning our next move: to the north of Orcas Island.

19. Rosario

23 July 2014 | Rosario Resort, Orcas Island
Capt. Jon Z.
From the cold water to the hot...

On Tuesday morning (7/22), we walked to downtown Eastsound for coffee and breakfast, and then took off in Briskwater to travel just 3 miles south to Rosario, home to a nearly 100-year old historical mansion, spa, resort, and tiny tiny marina. There is only room for about 40 boats to dock at Rosario Marina, and all spots had been taken by earlier reservations, so we settled for paying for a mooring buoy.

The big bonus to staying at Rosario is that the mansion on the grounds (old Mayor Bob Moran's home) has been converted to a large spa. Sarah and I enjoyed the hot tub, sauna, two swimming pools, and the weight room, as well as the upstairs of the mansion, which gives a walkthrough of Robert Moran's life and times as a shipbuilder, mayor, and state park activist.

The night spent in the East Sound tied to the buoy was placid and uneventful.

Our next stop will be Doe Bay/Doe Island, some 7 miles of sailing away from Rosario Resort and facing the Rosario Strait.

18. Eastsound Sailing

21 July 2014 | Deer Harbor to Eastsound
Capt. Jon Z.
Eastsound is in East Sound. What's confusing about that?

After our last night in Deer Harbor, we planned a route to Eastsound, which is in the middle of Orcas Island, at the northern tip of the fjord-like waterway called East Sound (coincidence?).

We left Deer Harbor through the narrow Pole Pass, motoring so as to fight the strong incoming current. Once we passed the northeast tip of Shaw Island, we unfurled the sails and sailed 8 nm to Eastsound. There were no incidents to report, and we sailed the majority of the time at a comfortable speed of 3.5 kt. We were even able to sail a lot of the way by wing to winging it, as the wind was blowing from directly behind us.

We passed by one of our potential next anchorages, Rosario Resort, about halfway up the sound, though we have to see the anchoring possibilities to find out more.

We lucked out again with public docking near the town of Eastsound. The dock lies on the west side of Madrona Point, and walks up to a road just outside town.

Eastsound is deceptively big and busy. From the water, you can only see a handful of buildings, and none give any indication for how bustling the streets are or how many little shops and cafes reside in the town. This is all due to the topography of the town; Eastsound's land inclines very gradually from the water, such that you only see the town's waterside development from the water, and little else. From our boat, there is no way the town looks like the second biggest in the San Juans (Friday Harbor being the biggest), but in town, it feels like an Issaquah-sized community, and that's saying something.

We looked around the town, bought some supplies at the hardware store, bought our groceries, and made our way back to the boat.

I say we lucked out at the dock because like our last public dock stay, at Port Hadlock, there was very little boat traffic, we barbecued some for our dinner, and we stayed the night tied up to the dock. We did some light strength training using 1-gallon water jugs, because sitting in a boat all day is not exercise. It's fishing.

Like elsewhere in the San Juans, the water gave off some bioluminescent light and the stars shined above; the town of Eastsound tends to turn off all their lights around 10 o'clock, making for little light pollution at night.

Our big day is Tuesday (7/22), when we plan to hike/bike Mount Constitution and swim/swim Mountain Lake.

Briskwater travel distance to date (7/21/14): 152.6 nm (all figures are approximate) I am using the distance calculator on this website to estimate our travel distance: DaftLogic
Highest speed to date (still): 10.5 kt
Gas used to date: 11.0 gal
Scariest moment to date (still): Trying to enter Thatcher Pass from the southeast while the northeast current (5-6 kt) pushed us dangerously close to the giant exposed Lawson Rock.
Best pizza eaten (still): Pizza at the Dock in Friday Harbor
Best spot to throw the Frisbee (still): Near Anderson's General Store on Guemes Island with the bros and Sarah.
Best biscuits and gravy (still): Dad's Diner A Go-Go in Anacortes.
Best fish and chips: Bucky's on Lopez (fish), Orcas Hotel Cafe (chips).
Best wifi: Cascade Bay Grill, Rosario Resort, Orcas Island.
Best espresso: Johnny Picasso's, Anacortes.

17. The Flight of the Dad

20 July 2014 | Deer Harbor to Orcas Village
Capt. Jon Z.
You go faster if you tack a lot, right?..

On a day when Sarah was visiting family for the day, my dad took on the role of First Mate aboard the Briskwater for a day of sailing. His dad, my grandpa, was an avid sailor for the last 40+ years of his life, so I feel like I am honoring him somewhat by voyaging around the San Juans via sailboat.

We started from Deer Harbor Marina, and our goal was the Orcas ferry landing, where I would drop dad off to take the ferry home and pick Sarah up from an incoming ferry later in the day.

Leaving Deer Harbor, we promptly put up the sails and decided to sail around the south side of Crane Island (see map). This was decided mainly because the narrow Pole Pass to the north of Crane has a few shallow edges, not ideal for maneuvering through under sail. Plus, the southern route would give us more sail time.

The wind was light in the harbor, but as is the case throughout the San Juans, it picked up when we were between islands (Crane and Wasp) at the harbor's entrance. Then, just as quickly, the wind died down between Crane and Shaw (the big land mass to the south of Orcas).

We were headed toward the wind from this point on, which meant much tacking and watching the land for wind tell-tales (flags or windsocks that indicate wind strength and direction). At one point, we sailed quite close to land, prompting me to point out how I'd never sailed that close; right then and there, the wind of course died down right away, so I pulled the motor to a start to push away from the nearby shore (southwest of Broken Point).

Once we cleared Broken Point, it was a straight shot to the ferry dock, but since we were still headed into the wind, there was a lot of tacking. The wind had picked up (just look at the size of the passage between Broken and the ferry!), which allowed us to sail at the day's top speed of 5.2 kt.

At about 4:45, we could see the ferry rounding the corner of Lopez and headed toward Shaw Island, which is right across the way and the stop before the Orcas ferry landing (only about 10 minutes before). This caused dad to make the choice between catching the 5:20 or the 8:45 ferry; he chose to take the 5:20 ferry, which meant motoring from about half a nm out and docking at the public dock near the ferry dock.

After tying up at the public dock, I dropped dad off to catch his ferry (with plenty of time to spare). I then waved bye as his newer, bigger boat sailed off, and 3 hours later, Sarah was landing in the 8:45 ferry from Anacortes. From there, we motored back to Deer Harbor for another discount night's stay, and planned our next trip, Eastsound.

16. Shipwreck Day

19 July 2014 | Anacortes, Guemes Island
Capt. Jon Z.
Sarah bought roller skates. Awesome.

15. SeaQuest

18 July 2014 | San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Anacortes, Guemes Island
Capt. Jon Z.
Traveling by sea, then by land, then by sea, then by land, then by sea, then by land...

Starting from Roche Harbor at about 1:30 pm, we took an east toward Orcas Island because we were making our slow, deliberate way to Guemes Island.

The sailing was great once we exited Spieden Channel (between Spieden Island and San Juan Island) and moved into San Juan Channel. While the winds were indecisive in Spieden, they were consistent and hardy south gusts in San Juan Channel.

We sailed along at 3.5 knots to cross the channel to the north side of Jones Island, after which we turned south into Spring Passage, between Orcas and Jones Island. Since the wind was still strongly south, Zak and I tacked southward through the passage until it was time to turn northeast into Deer Harbor. Zak is turning into quite the efficient sailor.

Inside Deer Harbor, we traveled to the marina, where the Queen City Yacht Club (Sarah's and my marina club in Seattle) rents space enough for 3-4 boats. At first, the two yachts tied up to the QCYC docks did not leave enough room for Briskwater, but upon seeing our club burgee being flown, the captains of the yachts moved their boats to make room for our little boat. The advantage of having our home marina rent space at another marina is that club members stay at the away marina for nearly free (compared to all the other marina prices).

As our goal was to make it to Guemes to see family and the annual citywide yardsale in Anacortes, we had to keep moving after mooring the boat. We hopped on our bikes and rode along the Orcas roads 7.5 miles (not nautical miles) to the Orcas ferry. The 8:45 pm ferry was our next mode of transportation, and by the time it landed in Anacortes (at 10:10 pm, 30 minutes after they had it scheduled), it was dark. We hopped onto our bikes once more, and with Zak lighting the way with the one headlamp (he brought his, we forgot ours, whoops), we rode 3.5 miles to the Anacortes-Guemes ferry, penultimately riding the 11:00 pm ferry to Guemes. From there, we loaded our bikes into Gary's truck, and finally settled into Sarah's parents' house on Guemes Island (around midnight).

So to recap, we traveled by one sailboat, two ferries, two bike trips, and one short truck ride for a total of about 31 total miles traveled, with only the last 2 miles spent riding in a car. What a day! I'm tired just thinking about it.

Briskwater travel distance to date (7/18/14): 130.7 nm (all figures are approximate) I am using the distance calculator on this website to estimate our travel distance: DaftLogic
Highest speed to date (still): 10.5 kt
Gas used to date: 10.0 gal
Scariest moment to date (still): Trying to enter Thatcher Pass from the southeast while the northeast current (5-6 kt) pushed us dangerously close to the giant exposed Lawson Rock.
Best pizza eaten: Pizza at the Dock in Friday Harbor
Best spot to throw the Frisbee: Near Anderson's General Store on Guemes Island with the bros and Sarah.
Best biscuits and gravy (still): Dad's Diner A Go-Go in Anacortes.

14. One Night Only: Roche Harbor

17 July 2014 | Roche Harbor
Capt. Jon Z.
Watch out for the big boats...

After spending the night near Turn Island, we rowed to said island and hiked around the outside of the isle; Sarah spotted some baby raccoons and their mom. We then refueled at nearby Friday Harbor Marina and headed northwest to Roche Harbor.

We planned to sail as much as possible to Roche Harbor, but the winds were fairly calm, and the sun was pretty burning, so we chose to motor most of the distance (about 12 nm from Turn Island).

Roche Harbor is home to the most rich transients this side of the Golden State; as far as the eye can see, gleaming 50-80 foot yachts abound. In our little Briskwater, we felt like a little abode in the middle of the Central Business District. Not necessarily our scene, but the people were nice.

We hopped on our bikes, and Sarah showed us around the small town of Roche Harbor, which is quite a bit smaller than the space taken up by its marina; Sarah used to work in one of the Roche Harbor restaurants and the nearby airfield.

We biked up to the British Camp on the northwest side of San Juan Island, and from there hiked up the local lookout, Young Hill. From there, we could see the surrounding islands and waterways. You can see all the way to Canada from there!

At the end of the day (and the end of every day) in Roche Harbor, the workers lower the flags (US, British, Canadian) while the respective anthems of each country play over loudspeakers; it felt a little Disneyland-ish, which is all right if that's your thing.

Needless to say, Roche coast the most out of all the places we had stayed thus far.

13. TGI Friday Harbor

16 July 2014 | Friday Harbor, Turn Island
Capt. Jon Z.
Arr! A second mate to tie to the mast...

After being anchored in Fisherman Bay for a few nights, we decided to stay at a marina, namely Port of Friday Harbor Marina. The marina is right in downtown Friday Harbor; in fact, Friday Harbor looks like the town most constructed toward seafarers that we've seen on our trip.

We explored downtown a little bit, eating some local steamed clams, looking through the lavender wares, and biking the town at night.

On Wednesday (7/16) morning, we took on a new crew member. My brother Zak took an adventure just on finding his way to us from Seattle to Anacortes to Friday Harbor. Maybe he will write a side blog describing his trip one day.With Zak's arrival, Sarah and I were able to alternate taking time off from the helm, which is important for the stamina and the sanity.

We took to the water Wed. afternoon to find some sweet, sweet, free moorage (aka anchoring water close enough to land that we could row the dinghy ashore). We looked up and down the shores of Friday Harbor for such a spot, but everything except the public marina is private, so no luck.

We consulted the ever-helpful cruising guide (as well as the guide to Gunkholing in the San Juan Islands), and found nearby Turn Island, just under 2 miles east of Friday Harbor, to use as effective anchorage.

Zak and I set the anchor about 200 feet off the west coast of Turn Island, and the San Juans really showed how cool they are when the sea is calm at sunset.

We made some barbecue chicken wraps, played some cards, and when the sun went down, we were able to see bio-luminescence in the water. Also, the stars were out, and the calmness of the water made for a very peaceful environment.

The one snag in the night is that the slow southern current shoved a piece of driftwood into our bow at around midnight; Sarah and I at first thought we had run aground, but it turned out to just be the log. The cool part is that the bio-luminescence lit the log up underwater, so it was easily visible and therefore movable.

12. Calling the Marina on the Radio

15 July 2014 | San Juan Channel
Capt. Jon Z.
I called in to the Port of Friday Harbor Marina to reserve a dock slip, but I forgot to give them all the necessary details.

11. The Lopez Wave

13 July 2014 | Fisherman Bay, Lopez Island
Capt. Jon Z.
Abiding by the currents and tides is crucial to arriving where you want to be...

After putting the boat in the water at Skyline Marina once we were finished working on her, we made our way to Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island.

Our first leg was to take us through Thatcher Pass, which provides passage from Rosario Strait (the north-south waters east of the San Juan Islands) to Lopez Sound and the waters between the four main San Juan Islands (San Juan, Orcas, Shaw, and Lopez). However, as the people at Skyline only put boats in the water at low tide, any journey into the waters directly following the put-in will be met with the flood, aka incoming high tide, which in this region means swiftly north-flowing currents.

As we approached Thatcher Pass from the southeast, our GPS consistently indicated our direction to be due north, which perplexed for a bit before we realized that the current was easily overpowering our little motor and sails to push us toward northlying Blakely Island. The biggest clue to our vector, and the ultimate motivator for us to change course, was the ever-incoming Lawson Rock, which marks the north side of the pass. At one point before redirection, I asked Sarah if she had seen what I had seen, namely, that the large rock to the north now looked a lot closer and a lot rocker, even though we had the bow pointed firmly to the west, our goal. Thinking quickly, we pointed the bow to the right (east of the rock), and in one fell swoop we were able to ride the current away from the hazard yet also away from our waypoint.

With the current now providing a swift push, we slingshotted north past the east coast of Blakely Island, with the GPS indicating a cumulative speed of 10.5 knots. 10.5! We'd always heard stories of sailors riding the tides for an extra gain in speed, but this was unheard of for little Briskwater; we must have made the nearly 5-nm bypass north around the island in 20-25 minutes (it felt shorter than that).

Our detour north around Blakely allowed us to push to the islands via Peavine Pass, between Obstruction Island and the north end of Blakely. While the current in the pass was strong, it was only pushing in our opposite direction, because now we were traveling southward as well as westward, negating much of the northward push under our beam. From Peavine, we made our way to Upright Head, on the northwest corner of Lopez, where the ferry lands; we then put up the sails to move south toward our destination of Fisherman Bay, in the middle of the west side of Lopez.

The Upright Channel provided some steady south winds and very few wind waves, perfect for tacking practice on our way south. We passed Flat Point while still tacking, and then power sailed to the entrance to Fisherman Bay.

Fisherman Bay is an ideal, idyllic location for anchoring or mooring a boat; apparently, the real trick is navigating into the bay from San Juan Channel, especially in a sailboat with any depth of draft. With the sails down, we consulted our San Juan Cruising Guide for directions on entering the bay, which is not visible from the north, as all we could see were sandy spits, which overlap to block any view of the bay. However, following the markers and our guide, we were able to make it into the bay, where we met my mom and Bill for dinner.

We anchored in the middle of the bay that night, and so far, over two nights, the bay has provided ample protection from the elements, making for peaceful nights aboard Briskwater. We are spending some days on Lopez exploring, snorkeling, and biking, and from here we plan on traveling the 4-5 nautical miles west to nearby Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, probably on Tuesday 7/15/14. We still want to see some of the southern bays on Lopez, mainly Watmough, Mud, and Davis.

Captain's note: Lots of people on Lopez Island wave when traveling, which gives off a hospitable and welcoming vibe. It's called the Lopez Wave. Info on the Lopez Wave.

Travel distance to date: 106.5 nm (all figures are approximate) I am using the distance calculator on this website to estimate our travel distance: DaftLogic
Highest speed to date: 10.5 kt
Gas used to date: 7.0 gal
Scariest moment to date: Trying to enter Thatcher Pass from the southeast while the northeast current (5-6 kt) pushed us dangerously close to the giant exposed Lawson Rock.
Best pizza eaten: Papa Murphy's take and bake at someone's house on Guemes Island. Much better than any pizzeria pizza so far.
Best spot to throw the Frisbee: The parade grounds at Fort Worden.
Best biscuits and gravy: Dad's Diner A Go-Go in Anacortes.

10. Watching Paint Dry

12 July 2014 | Skyline Marine Center - Do It Yourself Yard
Capt. Jon Z.
A new coat of paint does wonders...

Since Briskwater had not been out of the water for cleaning and painting since 2012, she was in great need of a haulout. We took her to Skyline Marine Center on Wednesday 7/9/14 to be taken out of the water and taken to a dry dock for us to work on her. The folks at Skyline were efficient and very helpful, both on the hauling out and the purchase of cleaning/painting materials.

It was cool to see Briskwater lifted out of the water by the travelift, which looks like a giant upside down letter U on wheels. They pressure washed her keel and sides, and then wheeled her over to the DIY yard. At first, we feared we would have to sand the boat, but the previous owners had done a great job in painting her the last time (in 2012). On her keel, she just needed a new coat of antifouling paint.

Before we could paint, we had to let her dry for a day. We used the interim to begin the waxing process, which was applied to the fiberglass hull. It turns out that was the longer process of the two (painting vs. waxing). After washing the whole boat, it took a good day's work to clean the hull using a restoring/cleaning compound, applied using the same process of waxing: apply compound to a small surface area of the hull, rub the compound into the hull using an orbital buffer, then wipe excess material using terry or microfiber cloth. Sounds easy, but I must have gone through a couple gallons of elbow grease. Briskwater's hull looked whiter and softer after the initial restorative compound.

The next day, we painted the bottom of the boat using some anti-fouling paint. Gary helped a lot with the touch-up painting and the correct method for rolling it on. In the meantime, Sarah polished all the metal on the deck. The paint gave Briskwater a nice deep shade of blue down below.

For our final full day in the yard, I waxed the hull using a marine grade (read: expensive) wax. We had borrowed a large orbital buffer for the job, and that helped a great deal. Briskwater became quite shiny/reflective with the new wax coat. Sarah varnished our door, and it is more protected as a result.

We hauled Briskwater back into the water on Sat. 7/12/14. On our way to Lopez, the new waxing really seemed to make a difference.

Captain's note: Working on the boat was very peaceful, and probably the happiest physical labor I've performed. It reminded me of mission trips I'd taken to Arizona and Mexico, where we'd be painting the side of a house in the sun, being a bit sun burned at times, but very much at peace. I feel closer to Briskwater as a result. Selling her down the road, saying goodbye, will now be that much harder.

9. Dog Day Dash through Guemes Channel

07 July 2014 | Guemes Channel
Capt. Jon Z.
A blue sky day, perfect for sailing...

We left Bowman Bay in the late morning, and while the wind during the first half of the day was stagnant, the motion of the currents helped. We made a short jump via motor to Skyline Marina on the southern coast of Fidalgo Island, and from there sailed the Guemes Channel to today's destination: Long Bay on the southeast coast of Guemes Island, where Sarah's parents and grandparents reside.

The Guemes Channel sailing was exhilarating! We put up the sails at the western entrance to the channel, between the Anacortes-San Juan ferry and the southern coast of Cypress Island. We saw many fellow sailboats cruising our way, westward, so even though we at first did not feel much wind, we were patient and slowly cruised to the southwest tip of Guemes Island, where it was clear the north wind was howling.

Briskwater picked up the pace at the behest of the northerly, pushing us equatorially at a steady 6-6.5 knots. We zipped past the Guemes Island ferry dock, coming just a few hundred feet of the eponymous traveling ferry M/V Guemes. Sarah snapped a few pictures of the craft, and I'm sure the ferry crew was waving the whole time. The length of the channel is only 4 nautical miles, and our speed made the passage feel shorter than it actually was.

Soon after crossing over the ferry crossing, we phoned Gary (Sarah's dad) to meet us at Long Bay, just north of the southeast tip of Guemes Island; our friends John and Janet have a mooring buoy that we used for stabilizing Briskwater in the bay. She is bobbing contentedly in the bay as I type this. Happily, Sarah's grandparents' house overlooks this bay, so family is still close during our travels.

Now that we are in Anacortes, the plan is to haul out Briskwater for her biennial bottom cleaning and painting. I am excited to clean and work our ship; in the coming days, many pictures will be posted of us taking care of her. That said, the only island hopping we are doing until Saturday (7/12/14) will be riding the ferry between Anacortes and Guemes. Shipwreck Day is only 11 days away! Ahoy!

Travel distance to date: 79.2 nm (all figures are approximate) I am using the distance calculator on this website to estimate our travel distance: DaftLogic
Highest speed to date (still): 7.5 kt
Gas used to date: 4.5 gal
Scariest moment to date (still): Entering Port Townsend Canal from the south with 15-25 S gusts and high tide pushing south against us in the canal.
Best pizza: It's currently a tie for last place between Port Ludlow and two places in Port Townsend.
Best spot to throw the Frisbee: The parade grounds at Fort Worden.
Best biscuits and gravy: Dad's Diner A Go-Go in Anacortes.

8. Family and Food in Bowman Bay

06 July 2014 | Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park
Capt. Jon Z.
After much power sailing, we settled into a calm bay for delicious food with family...

Leaving Port Townsend was tough at first because of the friendships we had formed, but we know we will stay connected to our new people in one form or another.

However, the time came to move on, so we powered up the motor and headed north-northwest on our way to the next stop, Bowman Bay.

We semi-feared the passage across the far eastern reach of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but those fears turned out to be unfounded. Happily, the water was smooth as glass for the majority of the trip. The only hairy part was when we moved past Point Partridge, the westernmost tip of Whidbey Island that signifies where the incoming/outgoing Strait currents split to become the tide for the north-lying Inside Passage and the tide for the south-lying Puget Sound.

The overall smoothness/calmness of the day's journey also meant that the winds were quite tame; the highest speed reached just on sails was about 2 knots, and the winds were simply not consistent enough. That meant giving our new Tohatsu (TM) four stroke 9.8 hp motor a workout of about 4.5 consecutive hours of usage. Ol' Henry (Sarah's name for the motor) kept up just perfectly, never giving a hiccup or a wheeze.

Upon passing Deception Pass (a lot smaller from the water, by the way), we arrived at our stopping point, Bowman Bay, which is in Deception Pass State Park. The bay is a popular camping spot, with lots of waterfront fields, barbecues, campsites, and beaches. We moored Briskwater to the detached float in the middle of the bay, and rowed our dinghy ashore to meet and dine with Drew and Katrina. They more or less hosted us by bringing all the food, the means for cooking, and some apple bananas that Sarah had had shipped from Hawai'i for our anniversary. How cool was that? I guess we did provide the frisbee...

After dining and frisbeeing with our fellow family, Sarah and I hiked over Reservation Head to catch a glimpse of the bridges over Deception Pass (did you know there are actually 2 bridges?).

The distance traveled this day, from Port Townsend to Bowman Bay, came out to about 20 nautical miles. Thanks Henry!

Captain's note: Traveling from Port Townsend along Whidbey's west coast, one sees very little human construction (aside from the naval air station and one or two rows of houses), so the trip has the feel of touring the Canadian wilderness. It definitely gave me the longing to explore; I can see why, looking across the endless horizon of the Strait, people want to set forth on adventure. There's just so much out there.

7. Port Townsend: First Major Destination Reached

28 June 2014 | Port Townsend
Capt. Jon
Utilizing a steady breeze, we reached our first major destination...

The good people at Ajax Cafe helped us twice last night. First, they served us the very best plate of clams and mussels along with bread and butter. Second, they assured us that we could moor overnight at the Port Hadlock public float. We whole-heartedly recommend Ajax Cafe in Port Hadlock.

This morning, we pointed Briskwater's bow toward Port Townsend, a mere 4.6 nm away. Today's sailing was much smoother than yesterday, with an easy but steady starboard wind we harnessed for a beam reach the entire leg (high speed today: 5.0 kt).

Upon reaching Port Townsend, we hooked up to shore power for the first time since Wed. 6/25. It really helped Briskwater to have the space heater on to dry out the inside. It is also nice to have our LEDs on for a night and to be able to charge our radio, phones, the battery pack for our phones, the speaker, and various other devices.

For tonight (and possibly tomorrow night), we are moored at Boat Haven Marina in southwest Port Townsend. It is a cute little marina with 95% sailboats and a breakwater that makes the marina look like it was dug out of the ground. Everyone in Port Townsend and its environs has been so nice, so we look forward to taking it easy and being on island time for the next few days.

Travel distance to date: 45.1 nm (all figures are approximate)
Highest speed to date: 7.5 kt
Gas used to date: 1.5 gal
Scariest moment to date: Entering Port Townsend Canal from the south with 15-25 S gusts and high tide pushing south against us in the canal.

Note: We will be in Port Townsend from 6/28/14-7/5/14, so our blog will be updated very infrequently in the interim. Once we make way for Anacortes beginning next Saturday 7/5/14, the updates will resume.

6. Winging it to Port Hadlock

27 June 2014 | Port Hadlock
Capt. Jon Z.
A short day defined by extreme maneuvers...

Leaving our recently discovered safe harbor of the islands "The Twins" in southern Port Ludlow, we set course for Port Hadlock, just 6.5 miles north (as the crow flies).

As was the case the day before, a south wind favored us, but unlike the day before, the winds were very strong and we left a little bit later than we had hoped. Both of these conditions meant we were being pushed around by strong wind waves (from the sides and from the rear) while pushing Briskwater through the incoming high tide, which began halfway through today's trip.

We took advantage of strong tail winds to run our sails wing and wing, which means the jib is open on one side while the main is open on the other. Our picture, or any picture for that matter, doesn't do justice to the moving and shaking going on on the boat and in the sails.

As extreme as the winging was, the up-and-down of today's trip was really evident when we hit the entrance to the Port Townsend Canal (the southern entrance, our entrance, is pictured above). Because we were fighting the incoming high tide, the canal produced a strong southern current, while the north-moving wind waves buoyed to and fro, making for slow going through the half mile-long canal.

After passing through the canal, we took a sharp left and docked at the public float, having traveled about 9.5 nm in an hour and a half (blazing speed aboard the Briskwater). We walked into the town of Port Hadlock to buy supplies and to blog, and we will be either anchored or moored in the water near the Inn at Port Hadlock Marina.

On to Port Townsend tomorrow!

5. Port Ludlow

26 June 2014 | Port Ludlow
Capt. Jon Z.
Lesson: We should always go with the current and winds...

Jon's careful study of the tides and winds led us to the conclusion that we needed to leave a few hours before 11 AM (the time for low tide), and boy did we reap the benefits. We were going about 7 knots at one point.

In a little less than 4 nautical hours, we had traversed from Edmonds Marina, past the entrance to Hood Canal, around dangerous Tala Point (and its foul rocks), and safely into harbor at Port Ludlow Marina for a total of 20 nautical miles. What a cute little port! We biked to "downtown," which consists of a gas station and a pizza place/coffee shop/post office/internet cafe. So fun!

We plan to anchor Briskwater between the two small islands (called the Twins) in the south of Ludlow Bay, barbecue some dinner, and maybe jump in a pool.

4. Cruising Without Gas

26 June 2014 | Puget Sound, East of Foulweather Bluff
Capt. Jon Z.
On our way to Port Ludlow...

We attained Briskwater's top speed with us to date at 7.5 knots. I took a screenshot of the GPS at 7.2 knots.

3. North to Edmonds

25 June 2014 | Edmonds Marina
Capt. Jon and First Mate Sarah
We wanted to put some distance under our belts...

For our first transit day, so we decided to sail up to Edmonds Marina, about 7.5 nm (nautical miles) north of Shilshole.

Lots of tacking against North wind and current. Edmonds was in the exact direction the wind was coming... ugh. However, we tacked a lot, which became pretty entertaining after a while, so when slack tide came we were kind of sad that everything just suddenly stopped. Had to motor the rest of the way (1/2 the distance). At about slack tide we saw a school of porpoises, which are like dolphins. (:

When we arrived in Edmonds, our good friends Rita and Dave invited us ot their house for a lovely garden walk and wonderful dinner. It was a boost to the morale, like, "Oh yeah, we can have a house like this one day." Rita and Dave started out just like us, with small living quarters at first and then additions as time went on. We won't always live in a boat, but we will sure enjoy our time aboard Briskwater.

Our lodgings for the night were at Edmonds Marina, and Sarah was able to walk to the local coffee shop the following morning.

Next stop: Port Ludlow!
Vessel Name: Briskwater
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 27 (Name: Briskwater)
Hailing Port: Queen City Yacht Club
Crew: Captain Jon and First Mate Sarah
Briskwater's Photos - Main
20 Photos
Created 14 July 2014
38 Photos
Created 14 July 2014
38 Photos
Created 8 July 2014
22 Photos
Created 8 July 2014
17 Photos
Created 8 July 2014
14 Photos
Created 28 June 2014
3 Photos
Created 27 June 2014
9 Photos
Created 27 June 2014
10 Photos
Created 27 June 2014

San Juan Islands

Who: Captain Jon and First Mate Sarah
Port: Queen City Yacht Club