Shake Down or Shake Up?
03 August 2013 | Port Townsend, Washington
We tossed off the dock lines on Friday, July 12th at 0330 and left Astoria with a destination of Port Angeles, Washington arriving sometime Saturday evening. Now, I know before anyone of our sailing buddies reminds me that you are not supposed to leave on a passage on a Friday. . .
I had planned on taking a picture en route with the bridge in the background, but being that early, it defeated the purpose. The goal was to cross the bar on the slack flood, turn right, and head north. The weather report was for wind on the nose, pretty much as it had been forecasted for the previous two weeks. The usual, since it doesn’t matter if we are heading north or south, it always seems to be on the nose. It was to be a motor fest heading north for this trip.
As we headed out, I asked mighty great Neptune for his blessing and asked him to watch over our girl.
All was going well. It felt great to be offshore. It was a bit chilly—the norm—and we were bundled up. Somewhere, between the 12th and 13th hour, off Pt. Elizabeth – Washington, I came out of my cat nap as I heard the engine powering down and Ron was at the throttle. I though, perhaps, he was slowing for my favorite navigation hazard, the crab pot, but alas, for some reason, Mystic was ailing.
Not sure what was going on, we slowed the RPM’s down and kept a watchful eye throughout the night. Heck, we got sails; we figured we could head west, tact, and take the long way back into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
We nursed our way into Neah Bay and dropped anchor. Neah Bay, for those that are not familiar with it, is part of the Makah Indian reservation and has no cell phone signal or internet, nada. After motoring for a long 32 hours (a new record for both of us) – as the early morning hours were windless and the water was glass -- the stillness was a wonderful welcome along with the warm sunshine. We enjoyed our first cup of coffee laying on the deck soaking up the sun.
Ron isolated our engine issue to air in fuel lines, filters, someplace. We elected not to attempt any repairs, which turned out to be the right decision. Sunday was calling for winds out of the west up to 25 so that would get us to Port Angeles, where there would be more available service and we could be tied to the dock while working on the fuel system.
The wind came up on Sunday afternoon just shortly after our little engine hiccup paid us another visit. We raised the sails, shut down the engine, and enjoyed a wonderful sail into Port Angeles. The very reminder of why we truly enjoy sailing. Monday brought a visit from a local diesel mechanic who checked everything out. Ron changed the fuel filters and the mechanic came back with a fuel lift pump on Tuesday – it appeared to be the original and gummy on the inside. Umm, the problem?
We stayed a week in Port Angeles enjoyed the town with very friendly, helpful local folks, farmer’s market, and good eats. We ran into a couple of boats we had crossed paths with in Astoria as they were working their way north.
We left Port Angeles with the destination of Sequim Bay for a couple of days before heading to Port Townsend. Sequim is only about 20 nautical miles away and the marina is named after John Wayne, who loved the area, had a wooden boat, and donated the land. The bay is very pleasant and situated out of the wind. It was a bit interesting getting in there dodging crab pots and working our way through the channel. Oh, and then there was the hiccup with the engine. It was back. I guess the lift pump wasn’t the problem.
Fast forward. . .we got out of Sequim Bay and are now in Port Townsend. Not a bad place to be when you are still trying to find where the heck the air is in the fuel system. We’ve been here by land many times before, but it is the first time for us with a boat. Our favorite Thai restaurant is nearby. They have a great co-op grocery store which honors members of other co-ops, a local farmer’s market two days a week, and the Port Townsend Brewery is an even shorter walk. I’m hooked on their Scotch Ale.
Things haven’t exactly gone as planned, and as in anything in life, you figure these things out. As far as our hiccups with the fuel system, we prepared ourselves for various scenarios at all times. It seemed like there were so many vessels around and even offshore, that if we needed assistance, it was there. I was grateful that our girl got us to Port Townsend safely so we can take care of her, and she, in turn can take care of us.
We have settled in and our enjoying ourselves and figuring out the nuances of being retired and full time on the boat. It feels great; it feels right; it’s where we want to be.