Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back to Anacortes

On the last day of the trip we awoke with a noon check-in time on our brains. After enjoying morning tea and misty views bundled in our warmest gear up on deck, we prepared to depart our slip. We were at low tide and, unfortunately, did not have time for it to rise if we were going to make it back to Anacortes by noon so we formulated a plan for backing out of the slip. At this point we only had two feet of water under our keel and rock wall 60 feet behind us. Montana Sapphire is 43 feet long so it was feeling a little tight. Fortunately, the dock worker was out and offered his assistance. As he pulled on the stern line and pushed on our bow, Jason carefully backed us out of the slip and into the narrow channel and we were on our way. When we were clear of all obstacles in Rosario, we raised the sails and slowly started beating our way into the wind making, very, slow, progress. Luckily, I enjoy the workout from tacking, because we tacked, and tacked, and tacked and Isaac is an amazing deckhand when it comes to tailing rope for me. 

After sailing, and sailing, and sailing, through Obstruction Pass to Rosario Straight, the tide turned on us and the angle of our tacks decreased dramatically until we were just sailing back and forth, back and forth on the same line. Though were still having fun, after five solid hours of sailing, we decided to drop sail and turn on the engine before we started progressing backwards, allowing Isaac and I to finally rest. At this point we were already two hours late in returning the boat. Oh well. At least we called and warned them that we would be late. Now are sights were set on what we call the Channel of Doom. (It seems only appropriate that perhaps I should say DUN, DUN, DUNnnnn, here, but I am unsure if that is how you spell it.) The Channel of Doom can only be described at this stage of tide as a river, complete with rapids and whirlpools at the edges, that we were trying to motor against. The water swirled and boiled under us as we pushed through at half a knot and it was Jason's turn for a workout. As the currents pushed us around, Jason had to heave back and forth on the helm to keep us in a straight line while carefully watching the GPS to make sure that the line we were on was not going to park us on any rocks. It was fairly nerve-racking. At the same time it was really awe-inspiring to watch and feel the forces of the water. We watched as the tide literally climbed on top of the water in it's path. It was really wild. After an hour and a half we finally made it through to the other side, triumphant. 

We were greeted by a beaming smile when we arrived safely back at the slip as Mark directed us in. As we climbed off the boat, he said, "Wow, I have to tell you I'm impressed." To which Jason replied, "impressed by what? That we made it back in one piece?" With Mark laughing, "Glad you were the one who said it." 

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