Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Friday, 22July2016: Skyline to Coupeville

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  0 in places else 5-15kts.  Seas:  Flat

Summertime summertime sum sum summertime, and we are trapped by house chores...mostly.

Managed to get away for a bit.  We'd been invited to watch RT's and MM's daughter Em swim in her first Champs Swim Meet, a USA swimming event one must qualify to participate.  A big deal for Em.  So, we made time and went south.

Winds were cracking out of the west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, smashing into the west side of Whidbey Island making Point Partridge a nasty place to be.  So we decided to go the inland route, something we do not do very often.

Motored out of Skyline around 1130, about 45min late for the slack at Deception Pass.  Managed to sail some to the pass and then motored through with a 3 knot following current...we were doing 9kts under the bridge!  West winds started to pick up again as we passed Cornet Bay and we sailed most of the way to Coupeville, motoring through a few wind shadows.  Winds were such we were able to stay in the channel easily.

Winds were in our face when we rounded Strawberry Point and into Penn Cove.  Since the day had been good, but long, we motored the final 6nm to the Coupeville dock, making things ship shape while underway.  The available shower made the overnight moorage reasonable.  Shoreline walking path to right off the wharf lead to Town Park and made for an easy dog walk.  Toby's Tavern was a few blocks to the left off the wharf.

Monday, April 18, 2016

27-28Sep2015: Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  0-10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Kelly was off to Austin, Texas on an annual pilgrimage/spiritual renewal with a great friend.  The supermoon lunar eclipse hype had been going on for days.  I wanted to see it.  However, we live on the west side of a mountain with great views to the west...not so much to the east.

So, I loaded up the mutts, moved aboard Strider and shoved off, stopping by the fuel dock to extend the amas - our slip is too narrow to extend both.  Once extended and out in Burrows Channel, there was a nice breeze and out came the screacher and Strider was making 6kts.  Midway across Rosario, the wind died and we motored towards Thatcher Pass.  Inside the pass, the wind picked up and once again, we sailed all the way to the south side of Frost Island and Spencer Spit.  Only one mooring ball was available and I quickly snatched it.

From there, it was just a matter of waiting.  Took the dogs ashore a couple times and let them run on the beach, chasing seagulls, splashing in the water and covering themselves with sand.  Back aboard, I washed them off, getting the salt and sand out.  Dinner, a boat chore or two and simply relaxing with a book.

Around 1915, the sky clear above, a marine haze low and the sun still high to the west, my brother in Michigan calls.  He and his family have been outside with a campfire, watching the eclipse.  "Whatta you see?" he asked.  "Nothing, the sun is still up."  "But what does it look like?"  "NOTHING, the sun has not set yet!"  "Oh, I thought it would be neat to talk about what we were seeing together."  "Yep," I responded, "but I need another hour."  "Well, we've been watching it for a couple hours now and are going to bed."  "Roger."

About an hour later, I thought I saw something through the marine layer.  Got the binoculars out and sure enough, it was the moon, a lot higher in the sky than I thought it would be.  Damn marine layer.  30 minutes later, the moon was high enough above the layer to be clearly visible.

I think I was expecting more drama, a clear, definitive line like I'd seen in other eclipses.  There was no line per say, just a gradual shadow to light.  I watched for 15min and realized this was going to be slow.  So, I grabbed my book and read for 30min.  Looked up and not much had changed...really slow.  Around 2045, still not much change and with cruiser's midnight approaching, I went to bed.

The next morning, took the dogs to the beach and let them run again.  Back aboard, breakfast and coffee.  Sun was up.  Bored.  Life aboard Strider without Kelly is boring.  No wind, didn't want to wait.  Motored back to Skyline, stopping at the fuel dock to fold.

Unbeknownst to me, this would be the last outing of a most excellent year:  San Juans, Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, clams, fireworks, orca, Roscoe Bay and Black Lake!  Shore life caught up with us and we found it tough to even get out for a boat visit.  October would be our best grape harvest ever and grapes needed crushing, soaking and pressing - into November.  Just as the apples were ripening, a black bear decided to visit and eat most of them...had some beautiful honeycrisp...sniff sniff.  The worst part of bear event was it appeared the apples just passed right through it, leaving piles of applesauce in the orchard, along with claw marks on the trees.  Thanksgiving saw us in Maui.  December and the entire winter was the rainiest on record, with storm after storm coming through.  Then, late December, while stopped at a light, Kelly was rear ended totaling the Honda.  Cannot divulge specifics, lets just say she was hurt badly.

As I write this in April, spring has sprung, Kelly is on the mend and this man's eye is being teased by thoughts on the water.  The mast, needing work, is next to the garage.  New solar panels have been ordered and the hull needs a little fiberglass work at the mast base.  Soon.  Soon!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Thursday, 27August2015: Roche to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  <1ft.

Motored out of Roche around 0745, using the northeastern entrance for the first time.  Lots of sea grass and we coasted over a couple spots to avoid entanglement.  Slow going in the Speiden Channel with opposing currents.  Once in the San Juan Channel, speed picked up.  Once across, chose to go to the south side of Crane Island, avoiding the currents on the north side.  Pretty much the standard route to and through Thatcher Pass, across the Rosario to the fuel dock at Skyline.

Strider was folded for the first time in a month while on the fuel dock.  Took precautions since we did not know how the new backstays were going to handle it.  No problems!  Refueled and cracked a beer at noon in our home slip.

Wednesday, 26August2015: Montague to Roche Harbor

Weather:  Hazy sunshine and warm.  Winds:  Zero.  Seas:  Flat.

Boring motor the entire way.  Departed to the south around 0900.  Our route was pretty straight forward, east side of Prevost Island, west side of North Pender Island, southeast side of Mayne Island.  We cut south past Rum Island to Mandarte Island, avoiding the northbound currents in the Haro.  Then a straight shot across the Haro and into Roche.

A busy day in Roche, boats and crab pots everywhere.  Had some difficulty finding an anchorage, but one was found on the east side and we were anchored by 1340.

Entry back into the US was painless via the I68 phone call.  Prior to arrival, the remaining fresh veggies were grilled making them legal for entry in the States...'twas a boring motor after all.

Spent the rest of the day aboard Freestyle, on a dock.  Easy access to the company store and ice cream!

Tuesday, 25August2015: False Creek to Montague Harbour, Galiano Island, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  NE 5-10kts.  Seas:  <2ft.

Motored out of False Creek around 0600 and picked our way through the anchored freighters.  Once out of Burrard Inlet and into the Strait, winds picked up and we sailed at 7kts under screacher and main SW directly to Porlier Pass between the north end of Galliano Island and the south end of Valdes Island.

Since Strider made good time across the Strait, our arrival at Porlier was too early and the currents were against us...and they are strong and rough.  A couple exiting power boats probably thought we were nuts, particularly since there was an extensive period when we were making 1kt and crabbing big time.  But we made it and Kelly was at the helm!  She enjoyed the challenge and needed only a little coaching since she doesn't read the water as well!

Once through the pass, the currents relaxed, as did we and it was motoring or sailing into Montague, sometimes there was wind...else the iron genny.  We almost sailed into Montague, but the winds died at the north entrance at Parker Island.

Inside and a hard left brought us to the Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park mooring field.  We found one and moored without incident at 1415.  Though we did not spend a lot of time in the park, it appeared to be very nice and we will definitely go back.  We did however, dinghy to Harbour Marine and do a shelf check of the market.  Ice cream was had...of course!

Towards evening and back aboard, we had dinner and relaxed.  A nice park ranger came by and we chatted for about 20min.  Since we were crossing into the US the next day and had already taken care of most of the fresh veggies.  However, our faithful basil plant would not be welcome.  The nice ranger was kind enough to give it a good home!

23-25August2015: False Creek, Vancouver, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm!

After a peaceful sleep, we woke to a sunny day, had breakfast and went on an excursion.  MM was kind enough to dinghy use over to Stamp's Landing.  Kelly and I then walked along the south shore, Charleston Park, taking in the sights, seeing a kid's SUP and kayak class in tidal basin in Island Park.

We made our way through Sutcliffe Park, through the community center and then to the Grandville Island Market where strolled, shopped, downloaded a couple books for the Nook and IPad.  We then lunched on fish and chips and gelato, while watching a couple of street shows.  We then walked off island to a bike shop for a lock to secure the dinghy to the park docks.  While Bug is engine-less, she rows easily and could easily have been a temptation without a good lock.  We did not worry about this while in the relative wilderness.  But back in civilization...well, best be secure, especially since we were going to spend a couple days here.

Back on the island, we were kinda pooped so we slow strolled through the market, picking up dinner and making our way to the water taxi.  Took the taxi from Grandville Market to Stamp's Landing, signalling Freestyle on the way by for a pick up.

Back aboard with evening cocktails, caprese salad and fresh, hot, chunky, buttery cinnamon apple sauce for desert, we decided this one day in Vancouver was enough.  Though we would have liked to get to Gastown and Robson Strasse (and the Indian food), it was time to head towards home.

Sunday, 23August2015: Secret Cove to False Creek

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  NW@8kts and dropping.  Seas:  Flat

Motored out of Secret Cove around 0900.  Once out, attempted to sail using screacher and main.  Initially made 5.2-6kts but once south of Trial Bay, approaching White Islets, winds and speed dropped below 4.2kts.  Since we needed to get to False Creek, dropped the sails and motored.  3000rpm gave us 6.5kts.

Winds picked up a bit in Burrard Inlet and we did a little sailing, maneuvering between the freighters and those out for a Sunday sail.  Watched a race and was impressed by a couple F18 cats zooming across the water.

Motored into False Creek and found Freestyle anchored fairly deep inside, vicinity of Stamp's Landing.  Rafting was uneventful and we were secured at 1630.