Monday, May 30, 2016

Fisherman's Bay

When we visited with Chris at Cypress Island he told us about another sailboat family he is friends with and how we should meet, so Jason had an email exchange with Adam from s/v Tuwamish and a meeting was on. We knew good things were in store when Adam's email reply was, "Right on! New friends!"

This is how we found ourselves in Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island. Drawing seven and a half feet, we've always avoided the shallows of Fish Bay but Adam assured us we'd have no problem. We went in on a rising tide to make sure that if we grounded we wouldn't have to sit there in embarrassment and shame as the tide painfully went out and then ever-so-slowly came back in. I wasn't so sure we would come out with our pride intact as the numbers on our depth meter sank lower and lower.....2.1....1.8....0.8...0.2....0.1.....0.0! I almost had a heart attack but Jason looked confident and I bit my tongue as I silently and desperately wished he would put the boat in reverse so we wouldn't get stuck in the mud. I know it's something that every sailor experiences but I am not quite mentally prepared to run aground. Happily, we we didn't hit anything and arrived at Adam's dock unscathed and drama-free.

Adam met us on the dock. Within five minutes of our meeting, he had generously offered us the use of either one of his cars and we had a plan to meet up in the evening. We parted ways and walked the road into town. We were happy to find that the Lopez Islanders lived up to their friendly reputation. We got a wave from every single person who drove past with only the exception of a few who we decided must be mainlanders. We walked through the quiet main strip, checked out the outdoor portion of the closed history museum and stopped by Blossom Natural Grocers which was awesome. They had a great selection of local and organic stuff and we walked away with lots of yummy goodies.

After dinner Isaac took a swing from Tuwamish's mast and then Adam and his son came over to hang out. While we talked with Adam, Aaron taught his son a card game below. Unfortunately Adam's partner was recovering from surgery and we didn't get to meet her. We're wishing her a speedy recovery. They are two families blended together as one happy family of five and have an amazingly romantic story of how they met and merged. Seriously, think Sleepless in Seattle type story. Cruising families are few and far between in this part of the world so they were happy to meet another cruising family. They have big dreams and plans in their cruising future and it was so fun to hear about it. This summer they are planning to sail around Vancouver Island so Adam was excited to hear about last year's trip. We talked late into the night, marking up his map with our favorite stops.

The next day was Dump Day. We knew this because Adam and his son had told us several times as they showed off their acquired-from-the-dump-holy sweaters that they had been wearing over the winter. Sounds like Dump Day is the highlight of the week for a lot of Islanders and Adam says he always finds what he needs there. If you bring something to donate, you are free to take anything you want. When Aaron asked him a question about Dump Day, Adam's response was, "We never leave the island, man. The dump provides." This is now one of our favorite sayings and we've put it to good use.

Adam had told us about a hike out to Iceberg Point, so we took him up on his offer to borrow a car and the drove out to the trailhead. We had to be vigilant about our waving. Every time we slacked off we would drive by cars of waving islanders without noticing or returning a wave and would feel like big time slackers. It was a treat to see what the island looks like on the inside. Normally we just see the edges near the water and as far inland as our legs can take us. Lopez is really a very picturesque island. It's so pastoral and farm-focused, it's hard not to love it. After the drive, we parked at the "trailhead" as described by Adam as, "you'll come to the end of the road and there will be a 'no parking' sign. Go ahead and park there." I love it. Spoken like a true Lopez Islander. Along the trail we munched on salmon berries as we passed under arching berry brambles out to sweeping views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Cattle Pass. The views were beautiful and I am a sucker for that gorgeous golden grass blowing in the breeze so I took way too many photos.

After the hike, we made a quick stop at Blossom Grocers for just a few more goodies, including chocolate beer and chocolate cookies as a thank you to Adam and family for all of their hospitality. Mid-afternoon we pushed off the dock on another rising tide with our fingers crossed. Thank you Adam for your warm welcome and generosity. I hope our paths cross again soon.

Click here for photos.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


We love Rosario. We just can't help it. Built in the same era as Rockefeller's Acadia days, it has a similar feel to the Jordan Pond House. The walls of the old Rosario Mansion are covered with photos from its heyday in the early-1900's and my imagination is alive with vivid images of the folks who spent time here. We especially love the old swimming pool in the basement. After a week on the water, and with cooler weather settling in, we couldn't help but daydream of a swim in the salt water pool, a warm-up in the hot tub and a free, as-long-as-we-want, hot shower. Being travelers where showers are few and far between, we really cherish any time we can take a longer-than-four minute shower with no interruptions. A normal shower goes like this: insert coin, lather hair as fast as possible and rinse, at which point the first two minutes are up and the shower turns off. Stand in shower shivering, applying conditioner and lathering everything else. Once everything is sufficiently lathered, drop second coin in and rinse clean during the last two minutes of the shower. Very efficient but not super satisfying. We're not saying we need super long showers, just maybe eight to ten warm minutes, uninterrupted.

We arrived at Rosario with enough time to fulfill our hearts' desires. We spent enough time in the pools to wither my feet into super-uncomfy prunes and we emerged from the experience delightfully clean and hungry. Jason and I haven't had a date since we left home six weeks ago so we took this opportunity snuggle up on one of the velvet couches in the dark, swanky lounge while the boys played games in the boat. When we were done we sent the boys a text and they joined us for a delicious dinner in the dining room. It's pretty awesome having teenagers.

One of the cool things about Rosario is that a trail leading to the top of the Mount Constitution starts there. Round-trip, I think it is about twelve steep miles. We cheated and called a taxi to deliver us up to the Little Summit trailhead, bypassing the steepest four miles. From there we hiked two miles to the top of Mount Constitution for spectacular views. After hanging at the top for a while we hiked six miles back down the mountain to our boat and Rosario. We got back just in time for Jason and I to go on one more date before the kids joined us again for another yummy dinner.

The following morning was sunny so we took advantage of the vacationy games on Rosario's grounds. We had some grueling rounds of tether ball followed by a riveting game of shuffle board. After lunch we contentedly set sail for our next destination.

Click here for photos.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cypress Island

From Watmough we had a lovely downwind sail to Cypress Island, Isaac executing a perfect jibe along the way. We had never been to Cypress before but were drawn there by the numerous trails that run all over the island. A double bonus was that Chris from San Juan Sufficiency would be there. We met up with Chris last year at Princess Louisa and were anxious to catch up with him again. We pulled into Eagle Harbor and snagged a mooring ball. A few hours later Chris rolled in. He bounded onto our boat in excitement and hugs were exchanged all around. Over tea we shared stories with each other about our adventures since last summer after we had parted ways. Then we all jumped into his dinghy and headed for shore. Cypress is Chris's favorite island so he showed us one of his favorite trails. Along the way he taught me plant names and which ones taste best. All the while he kept his eyes peeled for oyster mushrooms along the way. We eventually ended up in Smugglers Cove where a woman homesteaded alone for years on the island.

Back at the boat Chris joined us with a bottle of super delicious, homemade apple wine. We chatted away as I cooked a big batch of fried rice for us all. Over dinner Isaac and Chris talked web development and music. After dinner Isaac broke out the guitar and busted out some awesome tunes. Late in the night we said our goodbyes and Chris headed out in the darkness back to his boat. Thank you Chris for meeting up with us. It was so nice to connect with you again.

Click here for the photos.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Watmough Bay

It isn't until we arrive at Watmough Bay that we truly feel like we are out cruising. We were a bit frazzled and exhausted from our camper van adventure followed by the week of crazy trip prep in Seattle so we took our time in Watmough to let the islands start to sink in. We spent three lovely, roll-y nights there in celebration of being back on the boat.

We started our first day with a slow morning followed by some yoga on the foredeck. After lunch we hiked up Chadwick Hill to gorgeous views and the swing of doom. After the boys each took a turn, Aaron gave me a wild ride, making the swing of doom live up to its name. Late afternoon we returned to the boat where Jason and I toasted the day with a beer in triumphant celebration on the foredeck in the sunshine followed by our first test run of the new BBQ. Wowee! What a difference a new BBQ makes. No one stopped by the boat even once to see if we were on fire. I managed to perfectly cook salmon on the first try. No more blackened crisps for us! It was magical.

Day 2 was basically a repeat of Day 1 with a hike to Coleville Point instead, though there was some excitement on the beach before we got there. The beautiful old schooner, Adventuress, had anchored in the bay earlier in the day and was offloading all of its passengers. We noticed some smoke on the beach and thought they must be teaching the kids how to build a bonfire or put it out. We couldn't really tell. When we got to the beach we started a conversation with some of passengers at which point they told us that a couple from another boat had finished a hike, dropped a cigarette in the driftwood and dinghied back to their boat. Meanwhile their cigarette started a fire that the Adventuress crew had to put out via bucket brigade while the cigerette-dropping couple raised anchor and motored away. Yay for the Adventuress! Bad, bad, bad to the couple from the Hans Christian. We were lucky there were people on the beach ready to put out the fire.

When we got back from our hike we were hot and sticky. We couldn't resist a dip so we put on our swimming suits and hopped in. It felt soooo good. I still can't believe that we were able to comfortably swim at 4:30pm in mid-May at Watmough! I find that both totally crazy and sweetly blissful.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Port Townsend

After a week of preparation in Seattle we finally set sail to Port Townsend, our first stop when we head north. It was calm when we set off in the morning but we were lucky enough to have some wind pipe up in the afternoon. Our new main sail sailed beautifully. Our old sail was extremely worn out and baggy which caused us to heel excessively. The new sail pulled us along at 7.5 knots in just 12 knots of wind with just a bit of heel. We are super happy with its performance.

We anchored just off of downtown in Port Townsend and headed into town for a little exploration and dinner. After dinner we hung out in the cockpit and enjoyed the view of the picturesque Victorian town in the lovely light of the fading sun.

The next morning we hopped into kayaks and paddled two miles around the point to Fort Worden State Park. After walking the beach we headed to the 1902 gun batteries with our flashlights in hand. We spent the afternoon exploring dark nooks, crannies and passageways within the cement bunker. I have a hilarious video I took of the boys that had Jason and I laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. I'll try to get it up here so you can see.

We paddled the two miles back and got back to Marinero in time to pull up anchor to head out across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We had just a wee bit of wind so we ended up motor sailing across. We pulled into Watmough Bay just in time to snag the last mooring ball before diving below to make dinner.

Click here for photos.