Monday, June 25, 2012

Port Townsend to Watmough Bay to Spencer Spit

With winds calm in the Strait of Juan de Fuca we headed out at 9am with the tide towards Watmough Bay. Even though the winds had calmed, there were still three foot waves rolling through the strait making our windless passage under motor a little green-inducing until we were able to raise sails later in the day. Once we were safely anchored, for reals this time, our last anchoring experience at Watmough was a little more action-packed than we wanted,  we hopped into Rosebud, with dinghy captain Isaac rowing, and headed for shore where it is tradition to hike up to the swing of doom, all taking turns swinging over what feels like the end of the world. Not being pressed for time this trip, we stayed anchored here two nights and were able to hike up to Watmough head the next day for gorgeous views over the water of Mount Baker and the North Cascades to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the south. The following day was fairly downpour-y as we made our soggy way over to Spencer Spit on Lopez Island. Once there, it was hard to muster any enthusiasm from anyone to go to shore in the rain. Isaac, however, had an excess amount of energy and jumped at the chance to take his first solo rowboat expedition rowing around the bay. We watched with pride as he cruised at speeds we never thought possible for Rosebud to reach through the calm, rain-dappled water. First he rowed to shore where he drug Rosebud up and emptied out the accumulation of rain water that had gathered. As he was heading back to Marinero, he stopped for a long time and watched three seals that were only 25 feet away from him. Around and around he paddled, offering to give us a ride as he rowed by. I hopped in and he paddled us through pouring rain over to a nearby island and wildlife sanctuary. He paddled us back and traded his dripping mother for a little less wet father who was armed with a compass, cell phone, and dry chihuahua with a large bladder, and they headed to shore as the fog moved in. After they left, the fog swallowed them and sight of land. Using their sailorly skills they safely made it back with a shivery, empty chihuahua.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Insurance 101

Docking at a marina has always made us nervous. The tight quarters and potential for expensive damage are nerve wracking. But so far on this trip, it hasn't been that bad. While in Port Townsend, we opted to stay an extra night since the wind and waves in the Strait of Juan de Fuca were high, and dangerous passages are not high on our list of things we want to do. Instead we went out for a little sail in the Port Townsend harbor where the conditions were not quite so bad. Winds were high when we got back to the marina and docking was a little trickier than usual, but after a few tries we were safely back in our slip. During our stay in Port Townsend Jason spent most of his time working with the rest spent feverishly trying to locate and fix a small leak that was making deposits into our bilge so he was anxious to get out and enjoy some time relaxing in this little, sleepy Victorian town. Just as we were about to head out, I looked out back to see a big trawler hurtling towards the stern of our boat. As I muttered, "oh my gosh, are they going to hit us?", I hopped out to try to fend the boat away from us. I was a little shocked at how fast they were hauling towards us, with expletives streaming from the woman behind the wheel as  her husband desperately tried to slow the impact. But....they hit us, and our poor little dinghy Rosebud, and....another boat. I watched as they continued, backwards, at an astonishing speed towards, Martha. Ack! Not Martha! Poor Jason. Hanging out Victorian style would have to wait until after he contacted the insurance company to report the new trawler shaped scrapes we were sporting. Oh well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Seattle to Port Ludlow to Port Townsend

We've sailed in the San Juans a couple of times but always from Anacortes which lies due east of the islands, so sailing from Seattle and crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which can be a bit temperamental, seemed like a much bigger adventure for us. Generally, people can sail to Port Towsend in a long day and then it is an easy jump from there to the islands, but we opted to break it up into three days instead of two. Our goal was to leave with the tide at 10am Sunday morning, but upon waking, Jason realized that the oars to our dinghy never actually made it into the boat so he emailed Pete, who hopped onto his bike to dig the oars out of storage for us. After retrieving our oars and topping off the water in our tanks we set out roughly on schedule (shocking, I'm sure, to anyone who knows us and our timeliness issues). We enjoyed a VERY leisurely sail up the sound. With very light winds, we decided to put up the spinnaker, with success, while it was fresh in our minds. Progress was very slow so we opted to anchor at Port Ludlow for the night. The following morning, in a zig-zag-a-ful pattern, I rowed the boys, the chihuahua, and myself to shore in our dinghy, Rosebud, where we played on the beach, dug up clams and watched them rebury themselves while poor Jason worked. Unimpressed with my rowing skills, Isaac decided to take matters into his own hands and rowed Rosebud back to Marinero in a very similar, but determined, pattern. After lunch, with the tide changing in our favor, we pulled up anchor and enjoyed an amazing sail up to Port Townsend. This boat can really move, we averaged 8 knots with a top speed of 8.9 knots. After safely tucking her into a slip in the same marina as the schooner Martha, our first wooden sailboat love, we headed out to say hi to Captain Robert and daughter Mary before walking to dinner. As we talked with Captain Robert, Aaron and Mary picked up where they left off three years ago when we sailed with them. The two peas in a pod quickly devised a game where they were trying to throw popply-dopples to the moon. It was so nice to see them again and we hope our paths cross up in the San Juans. As we walked to dinner it was a very strange feeling to know that we had sailed to Port Townsend, something that we had always daydreamed about doing. 

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marinero move-in

After a whirlwind two and a half weeks of dandelion-pulling, garden-planting, and general lawn-catch-up stupor, my weed-weary shoulders and I packed up the car with boat related items, my three boys, and the chihuahua, as we headed back out to Seattle to move into Marinero and make her our home for the next four weeks. After spending the first day extensively cleaning her, we moved her from Seattle's Lake Union to Shilshole Marina on Puget Sound. With the help of Pete and his nine-year-old son Alden, who demonstrated the art of penguin-sliding on the hull of our up-side-down dinghy, we successfully maneuvered Marinero under three drawbridges, through the Locks, out into the sound, and safely into her slip, where we have views out over the water to the Olympic Mountains. The following couple of days our frenzy continued as we got to know  Marinero, both inside and out, and prepped her to sail up to the San Juans. Pete was super helpful, walking us through different systems and teaching us how to do things like set up the spinnaker. After a couple of test sails in the sound and four exhausting days we were ready to start our adventure into the San Juans.

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