Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grandpa Sailing

I've saved the best for last. Jason's dad, Sam, came out to join us. Bringing the sunshine and a huge smile, he arrived in style, flying in on a seaplane (being a pilot himself he was graciously invited into the co-pilot's seat) into Rosario, docking just hundreds of feet from Marinero. The boys thought it was incredibly cool watching his plane coming in for a landing on the water and watching him step out onto the dock.  After getting him settled into his spot on the boat, we hopped into a rental car and sped up to the top of Mount Constitution to share the views with him before setting out for Spencer Spit. Sporting shorts for the first time in three weeks, we enjoyed a nice leisurely sail under sunny skies with Isaac riding behind in Rosebud while Aaron and I sat on the swim step and drug our feet through the water.

The following morning Isaac rowed us into the spit where we caught tiny crabs, dug for clams, skipped rocks, and got lost on the 80+ miles of trails within the park before heading out to Watmough where, after we anchored, Schooner Martha pulled up, with her all-teenage crew, and anchored alongside of us. The boys were very insistent that Grandpa should see the swing of doom, so up the steep trail we hiked to where Grandpa could see them fly over the tops of the trees. When we reached the top of the bluff we were treated a spectacular show as orcas spouted and breeched in the distance.

With calm winds in the forecast, we headed out from Watmough to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As it turns out the forecast was wrong. Really wrong. Instead of the  10 knot winds we were expecting, we were sailing in a steady 30-35 knots with gusts to 40. With much squawking emanating from me about dropping the jib, we pounded along at 7-9 knots under a double-reefed mainsail and a reefed jib. Grandpa's big smile widened even more as the spray reached over the bow and drained from the cockpit. Arriving in Port Townsend a little jittery, we headed to the marina for the evening. The fairways in this marina are very tight and the numbers marking the slips are very small. With the wind still howling, we inevitably glided past our slip as we squinted to try to tell which one was ours. We had many nightmarish moments as the wind pushed us through the narrow pathways sideways, drifting without the rudder responding, as we tried to turn around in the labyrinth of dead-ends we encountered. I thought I was going to have a heart attack and thanked the sailing gods everywhere that I wasn't the one driving the boat. Eventually, Jason safely manuevered us into our slip. As I shakily stepped off the boat, I joked to Grandpa that I needed a stiff drink so we headed to our favorite coffee shop for caffeinated beverages (and the yummiest salad ever) to chase away our jitters, before showing Grandpa around Port Townsend and meeting an old friend of his for dinner.

The following day, we hit the farmers' market where we ate yummy food before heading for Port Ludlow. Along the way we found ourselves in the middle of a huge pack of porpoises and dolphins in a feeding frenzy. We turned off our engine and watched as they surfaced again and again around us. On shore at Port Ludlow, we slopped around in gloppy seaweed at low tide, dodging goeduck sprays that erupted around us.

Back in our slip in Seattle, Grandpa graciously helped us get Marinero bedded down, helping Jason scrub down the outside of the boat as I cleaned the inside. It was such a pleasure to have him on board with us for the week and we were so happy to share the sailboat experience with him. Thanks for joining us! We can't wait for you to come aboard again.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

From Roche Harbor to Poet's Cove and back to Rosario

More sailing highlights....

Roche Harbor - We can't help but to love the cute cheeziness of Roche with its cannon-fire and musical accompaniment to the sunset where we had some very memorable rounds of bocce ball under the old lime kilns that sustained the island back in its day. Mental note to myself...splurge and pay the $2.50 for a warm, three-minute shower at Roche...maybe it won't smell like sewer at the end....

Prevost Harbor - Prevost was long-awaited as it is the home of the car of doom where little boys can chuck rock after rock at this rusty old car. Just up the hill from the car of doom, poor Jason slipped on wet rocks and went down on his hip, taking him out of action for almost the rest of the trip. While anchored here, I was restless and inspired by Isaac's rowing prowess so I set out to practice rowing in hopes that maybe I could some day row like him....I wasn't anywhere close. It took me about eight tries before I could land the dinghy at Marinero's stern.

Poet's Cove, British Columbia - Here we learned that Canada still does not want Jason Taylor entering their country. It's a bummer that the opening-for-Metallica, also-born-in-Georgia, birthday-sharing, trouble-maker, Jason Taylor has tarnished the name.....I guess a search of our boat will always be mandatory whenever we cross into Canadian waters. While waiting on the customs dock we met two guys from Montana who were heading to Skagway, AK in a very tiny was a little reminiscent of the camper van trip.

Rosario - We celebrated Jason's birthday here. Due to hip injury, we abandoned our previous plan to hike up Mount Constitution and opted to rent a car to drive to the top for panoramic views over the islands followed by a quick jaunt to the village of Eastsound.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spencer to Rosario to Indian Cove

After much delay, I finally have some highlights from the second half of our sailing trip.   

Spencer Spit to Rosario - We sailed off of our anchor for the first time followed by a great diesel-free day of sailing.  We only needed our engine for docking. Woohoo!

Indian Cove - Beach Physics 101. The boys used smaller logs to make levers to lift a much, much bigger log off the ground. 

Parks Bay - We discovered this sweet, secluded little bay right across from bustling Friday Harbor. While anchored here we watched a young seal swirl around the cove as fast as he could, occasionally coming up out of breath and gasping for air. 

Jones Island - This was our first visit to this quiet, unpopulated island.  We loved the gorgeous views as we followed the trails around the perimeter of the island.   

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