Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, 11September2013: Butchart Cove to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Effortless departure at 0800.  Motored north out the Saanich and west out Satellite Channel.  Trying to maximize the current push, headed SE along the north shore of Sidney Spit/Sidney Island allowing us to check out the anchorage.

Crossed the Haro and had to yield to a large, northbound commercial vessel in vicinity of Stewart Island.  Said vessel had the right of way, but man, I don't understand why they want to come so close to the shore.

Taking advantage of the east bound current, motored along the south shore of Steward Island and through the channel north of the Cactus Islands.  Angled SE across San Juan Channel into North Pass, then Pole Pass, Harney Channel and out Thatcher Pass.  Arrived our marina around 1400.  Filled fuel and pumped the holding tank.

Lesson Learned:  RPM vs Speed vs Fuel Consumption.
2100 RPM  5kts     1/3 gal/hr
3000 RPM  6.5kts  1/2 gal/hr

10-11September: Butchart Gardens

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Butchart Gardens:  Fantastic!

Another point of view:  Feb 2013 issue of 48 Degrees North article starting page 28.

Boating to Butchart and using the back door via the Cove is definitely the way to see these gardens!  Time is yours.  The garden closes at 2200 with the last entry allowed at 2100 allowing for a lot of strolling after the day crowds have departed.

After a very short dinghy row from the boat to the dinghy dock, we checked in at the ticket booth, registering our arrival and purchasing our tickets in.  We visited the Gardens twice, once during the afternoon and once again after dinner aboard Strider.  The afternoon visit was nice, not too crowded at all.  During this afternoon visit, we saw most of displays.

We went back to the boat for dinner.  Since this was our new experience anniversary trip, I grilled steaks and we toasted with prosecco!

About sunset, we headed back into the garden, strolling through as night descended and the garden lighting magic revealed itself.  I really cannot describe it.  In the north, darkness descends slowly, enabling slow strolling and allowing the leisure to see everything under the varying light.  The Gardens were tastefully lit and getting around was easy.  Still, it was September and deep darkness doesn't arrive until late.  By about 2100, almost dark, we were ready to depart and slowly made our way through the Italian Garden into the Japanese Garden.  The descending path to the dinghy dock was familiar, but new in this light.  The trees were dimly lit from below.  The bamboo water feature kept us oriented with its THUNK, thunk, thunk as it filled with water, then tipped (THUNK), spilling the water and settling back (thunk thunk) to fill again.  The little bridges and stepping stones seemed more challenging...and romantic.

There is a small viewing area overlooking Butchart Cove and from there, was Strider, awaiting patiently.  Her anchor light provided a welcoming beacon as we rowed back.

T'was a great day and I want to return for the Butchart Garden's Christmas display.  Here is to hoping for a good weather window in early December....

Tuesday, 10September2013: Canoe Cove to Butchart Cove, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Departed CC around 0900 and motored west through Satellite Channel then south in Saanich Inlet to the east of Senanus Island into Tod Inlet and arriving around 1100 in Butchart Cove.  Of the 5 mooring buoys inside the cove, 4 were available and the boat on the 5th departed about an hour after our arrival.  All the buoys were occupied by 1700 that evening.

The cove was hot and calm, stern tying to the fixed bolts on the rocks was a breeze.  After lunch, we were checked in and off to the Garden by 1300!

Monday, 9September2013: Skyline to Canoe Cove, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Calm.

Heading to a new place!  Butchart Gardens, a famous garden north of Victoria, has a back door for boats.  I've avoided going to the Gardens as the entry fee is expensive and the Gardens are crowded during the day with bus loads of people daily.  The only way I could see going there is by spending the night somewhere nearby and thus be able to enjoy the place at our own pace vice a bus tour's pace.  More on this in a separate entry....

Got a late start due to fog, around 1200.  Motored the usual east-west route through Thatcher Pass, Harney Channel, Post Pass, Speiden Channel, across the Haro, then to the north side of Forest Island (what is the large dock on the north side for?) along the south shore of Coal Island then wove our way through the small islands into Canoe Cove.

Just off Frost Island, west of Thatcher Pass, we encountered Richard, Jude and Katya of S/V Sarita. Having departed in April, they were completing a trip to Alaska and had just cleared customs/immigration in Friday Harbor.  We knew they were in the area and half expected to encounter them somewhere along the route.  Mid-channel we stopped all engines and drifted together for a bit, welcoming them back, exchanging news and knowing how they love them, tossing them asian pears grown in our orchard.

We separated too soon, but we had a long way to go yet.  I'd hoped to get all the way to Butchart Cove (locally known name for a small inlet off of Tod Inlet).  Cleared entry into Canada via CANPASS off of Roche Harbor (by the way, cell coverage in San Juan Channel sucks) and named Canoe Cove as our port of entry, estimated TOA of 1900.  Since Butchart Cove is a couple hours beyond Canoe Cove, we decided to stay there for the night.

Weaving through the small islands off of Canoe Cove was interesting, like exploring an unknown swamp with tight canals and shallow water.  Around this island and between the next two and suddenly Canoe Cove was in front of us.  Their customs dock is on the fuel dock which is way inside the marina, down the narrow fairway between C & D docks.  As has been the norm, customs and immigration officials did not show and we made our way back down the fairway to our assigned slip on E dock.

Canoe Cove is a working marina, none of the flash of other marinas.  Still, transient moorage was expensive.  Location, location, location.  Though we did not try any, they were closed upon arrival, the two restaurants have a good reputation.  A quiet and restful night!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

22-24August, 2013: Humpies!

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Calm.  Seas:  Flat.

Warning:  This is a fishing story, not a catching story.

Odd number year means a humpback salmon or pinks run in the Puget Sound.  Word is they are voracious, opportunistic and will hit anything pink.  Word also was they would stack up along West Beach on Whidbey Island during an ebb tide, waiting for the tide to shift, giving them an opportunity to swim through Deception Pass to head up the Skagit River.  Over these 3 days, Strider was motored to Deception Pass, anchored off West Beach and a fishing line was wet.

The first couple days I went solo, that is, by myself.

The first day, I extended the port ama at the slip, motored to the fuel dock, tied off and then expended the starboard ama while waiting for the fuel dock to open.  After motoring to West Beach, I took my cues from boats already in place and anchored in similar water.  Stayed for a few hours, casting in the same directions as the rest.  Got around 6 hits, getting 3 near the boat only to see them toss the hook in a roll over maneuver.  Two were clearly steelhead, but one was a humpy.

At quitting time, motored back, folding the amas outside the marina in Burrows Bay.  Normally, Strider is folded inside the harbor to avoid bashing the ama against the aka when boat wakes are encountered.  Unless Strider was secured to an immovable object, such as the fuel dock, folding inside the marina would be problematical and potentially dangerous as Strider could drift into other boats.  The fuel dock might not be available.  So, to mitigate potential bashing, a small fender was placed between the ama and the aka, hopefully providing a cushion.  No wakes were encountered this day.

I met another fisherman on the dock and told him of my day.  He suggested I played the fish too long.  "Reel them in and don't let the seals have a chance at them."

Second day was much as the first.  Probably 10 hits, 5 got to the boat, 4 to slip off and the 5th I could not get into the net and then the knot on the lure untied and bye bye.  Motor home was the same but did encounter some boat wake folded.  The little ama/aka fenders worked OK, but not sufficient.

Third day Kelly and the dogs came along.  Landed a humpy with Kelly handling the net!  4 guys on the boat next to us were constantly hauling in fish.  I asked them if they were using cheese....  Still, we had about 10 hits, got a couple to the boat and landed one.  Improvement!  Cleaned/filleted the fish on the way home, reserving the head for crab bait and the spine for fish stock.  Had the fish the next day and it was tasty.  Not as good as coho or king, but rewarding.

Thursday, 15August2013: Bedwell Harbour to Skyline

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  S 5-10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Motored out of Bedwell, raised the main and set the genoa to work S winds.   Sailed at 6kts across Boundary Pass, along the north side of John Island towards Presidents Pass and Orcas Island.  At Orcas, tacked south into Spring Passage between Jones and Orcas Islands.

Winds died at North Passage and we motored through Pole Pass into Harney Channel.  Continued towards Thatcher Pass, picking up momentary winds at Upright Channel.  At Thatcher Pass, we were met with a wall of fog.  With no radar, we were not going to charge in so I killed the engine and we drifted for a moment, studying the situation.

I tried to get the attention of an eastbound trawler, intending to ask if he would slow down and allow us to follow him through.  There was no response, just a gentleman aboard who stepped out and shut the door between us.  So, I got the radio out and on 16 called, "Any vessel, any vessel in vicinity of Thatcher Pass, sailing vessel Strider."  Got and immediate response from M/V Maria Teresa (thank you!), a resident on our dock in Skyline.  Switching to 72, we discussed the situation.  They were westbound from Skyline and let us know visibility in Rosario was 1/4 to 1/2 mile and should have no problem crossing.  We let them know it was clear on our side of the pass.  At this point, about a dozen boats started coming out of the fog, including Maria Teresa.

We fired up the engine and to avoid traffic, we crossed to the south side of the pass while in the clear and hugged the north side of Decatur Island.  True to Maria Teresa's word, once through the fog wall at the west end of the pass, visibility improved to 1/2 mile.  Once well out in Rosario, south winds pushed us to 6kts and the engine was killed.  Nice sail across!  Approaching Burrows Pass, winds slacked and died, the engine was fired up, sails secured and we motored into our slip.

13-15August, 2013: Poet's Cove, Bedwell Harbour

Weather:  Sunny and warm!

Spent a couple days lounging by the pool, having water fights in the pool and strolling around the grounds walking the dogs and avoiding the pet deer.  Tide was out a lot and was able to run the dogs on the beach.

In my opinion, Bedwell Harbour is not a destination, but a good place to stop over and clear customs if required.  Else, it is expensive to moor on the dock (the Provincial Park mooring buoys on the other hand, are inexpensive) and there is limited activities.  Once again, the Provincial Park provides hiking trails.  Poet's Cove Resort though is more boutique.

Mooring in the marina does allow access to the pool!  The pool, though small, is nice.

Clearing Customs Stew

Canada and the US allow few fresh food items to cross the border.  Canada allows more, but the list can change.  At this time, we could not bring fruits like plums and peaches.  The US is more stringent and most fresh fruit, veggies and meats are not allowed in.  The solution is to cook it and I thought what better way then create a stew?

I started with stock saved from cooking the clams and crabs.  Added all the shallots, garlic, carrots, potatoes, some of the herbs along with 4 chicken legs.  In other words, everything we knew we could not bring back.  Used the new crab cooker and simmered all on the back patio.  Since we had moored stern in, got a lot of attention as people walked by and smelled it!  "He's cooking something there...."

Departure day was cool and overcast.  Finished the stew in route home.  Kelly was kind enough to bone the chicken and season the stew and it was wonderful as we motored home!  A good portion is in the freezer for winter consumption...memories of a summer adventure!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tuesday, 13August2013: Hunter Bay to Bedwell Harbour, Poet's Cove

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

After a day with the ladies in Hunter Bay, made our way to Poet's Cove.  Woke, cast off from Captain's Mast before anyone was up.  Motored Strider to the public dock, tied off and walked the dogs.

Got a phone call from MM, apparently there was some confusion when Strider wasn't there.  RT figured we were getting a head start since we motor more slowly than C-Mast.  MM wasn't satisfied with that and called.  Walking back to the dock, MM was there with the dinghy and dog for their morning walk.

Since we do motor more slowly (5kts vs 6.5kts), we took off!  C-Mast followed about 45min behind.  Taking route and sail cues from us, they followed and we led them a merry chase.  Main up, motored out of the Bay, north through Lopez Sound, counter-clockwise around Frost Island.  Rounding Upright Head, picked up some wind from Upright Channel.  Kept switching between the genoa and the screacher as the wind strength changed.  Once past Upright Channel, back to motoring...the rest of the way.

Went the Harney Channel route north of Shaw Island.  Then the north side of Bell Island and through Pole Pass, a narrow, but deep pass between Orcas and Crane Island.  Reputed to have strong currents, caution is demanded.  RT had never been on this route so it was good for him!  Then, north side of Reef Island through North Pass and into San Juan Channel.  Cleared Canadian Customs here using our CanPass!

At this point, the currents were against us.  C-Mast continued north out of San Juan Channel while we broke west into Spieden Channel.  Clinging to the south shore of Spieden Island, we managed a bit of a back eddy.  Went between Sentinel and Spieden Islands.  Rounding Spieden Bluff, headed north through John's Pass between Stewart and Johns Island.  Current through Johns Pass was 3kts against us, but it only lasted 15min.  Once into Boundary Pass, clung to the north shore of Stewart Island avoiding the NE bound current and picking up another back eddy.

At this point, C-Mast was directly parallel to us, but because they were further north, were actually ahead of us.  At Satellite Island, turned north towards Bedwell Harbor arriving about 15min behind C-Mast.  They went to the Customs Dock, we went to our slip!

More crab had been caught prior to departing Hunter Bay.  This night, cooked the crab in fresh water, I needed the stock for what became known as "Clearing Customs Stew."  While the crab was not a tasty as cooking in sea water, the stock was great!

Saturday, 10August2013: Hunter Bay to Skyline and Back

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Took Strider on a simple motor/sail to Skyline and back for hotel servicing and grocery pick up.  Had a great, no engine departure from the anchorage in Hunter Bay.  Winds were light and from the head of the bay.  Directly aft, about 300ft, lay an anchored power boat.

After casting off Captain's Mast, Strider drifted aft, helm was set to starboard and 6ft of the screacher was deployed to port.  The combo pivoted Strider to port and downwind.  As we gybed, the screacher was furled and then completely unfurled, now to starboard.  Speed picked up quickly and we were making a silent, 4kts as we passed within 20ft of the power boat, port to port.  We waved at the gaping faces of the family staring at us from inside.  Don't know if we startled them, scared them or just amazed them.  No one came out to yell at us so I'll assume the later.

Wind died as we exited the bay and a boring motor ensued.  At Skyline, hotel services and groceries were completed and another boring motor back to Hunter Bay.

7-12August, 2013: The Boy's Vacation - Hunter Bay,

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Not important.  Seas:  Calm.

I've often thought of Strider, or any boat, as a cottage that moves.  Like a cottage, one can play on the water.  Unlike a cottage, if one gets tired of the view or the neighbors, one can move!  With cottage in mind, we played and relaxed and fished and crabbed and clammed and finished a bottle or two.

Wednesday:  Arrived and had a pleasant evening to include limpet pasta dish...fruiti di mare?  Not really, not enough sea variety.  Perhaps fruito di mare would be more appropriate.

Thursday:  Woke and deployed two crab traps with turkey legs as bait.  One where everyone else had placed theirs and the other in a previously successful spot.  After relaxing a bit, took the dinghy to the south shore of Mud Bay and clammed.  Found a sweet spot and dug a couple dozen, including a few large ones.  Kept them in the bucket with corn meal.

Returning to Strider, relaxed.  Towards evening, checked the crab traps and had our Dungeness limit!  Crab for dinner that night, reserving the two Red Rock for later.  Left the traps overnight.

Friday:  Crabs once again in the traps!  Cleaned the 4 big clams and had clam fritters for lunch.  More crabs in the afternoon!  Stocking up for later.  Made spaghetti al vongole for dinner, using the remaining small clams.

Saturday:  After checking the traps in the morning (a couple), made a crab frittata with hollandais sauce for breakfast using the reds.  Since the ladies were to arrive on Sunday, decided to take Strider into Skyline for hotel servicing.  Upon return, had crab for dinner!

Sunday:  Took Captain's Mast to Skyline, hotel servicing and picking up the ladies.  Deployed both crab traps in Burrows Bay on the way in.  Departing, picked up the traps, one was at the limit!  Crab for dinner and all, but for a bit of red, was consumed!  Apparently the ladies were ravenous....

Fishing:  Tried.  This is why it is called fishing and not catching....

Wednesday, 7August, 2013: Watmough to Hunter Bay

Weather:  Foggy outside in the morning, sunny and warm inside!  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  Flat.

I had a couple reasons to go to Watmough.  First was RT had never been there and it is a pleasant place to be.  With the park at the head of the bay, it is an easy place to walk a dog or take a hike.  Another is there is a large, sandy beach at the head, an opportunity for clamming!

We went ashore, RT to walk his dog, me with a shovel.  No clams.  Nice sandy beach, but only 3-6 inches deep!  No clams.  Did find limpets though and we collected a couple dozen and kept them in a bucket with seawater and corn meal.

Watmough had run its course though.  Though we had planned to stay one more night, the fog cleared outside and we decide to dash around the corner to Hunter Bay.  We wanted to be in Hunter Bay by Thursday, a legal crabbing day.

Anchored in the SW corner and once again, needed two approached to moor on Captain's Mast.  Damn!

Spent a few minutes cleaning the limpets and dropping them into white wine.  Then made some pasta while sauteing some shallots and garlic, dropped the limpets in at the last minute and yum!

A quiet night on the hook.  Did learn about the zephyrs in Hunter Bay.  Previous stays did not include these.  But, during the night the winds picked up and whipped down the mountain at the head of the bay, seemingly to crash right down upon us.  Got up and looked around, but we were holding steady!

Tuesday, 6August, 2013: Solo - Skyline to Watmough Bay

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  N5-10 to zero.  Seas:  <1ft.

Most of the day was foggy in and around the Salish Sea.  RT got a week and a half to come north from Gig Harbor and made the trip in total fog, running on radar, finally breaking out on approach to Watmough.

I waited in Skyline for the fog to clear.  Around 1530, it cleared enough to depart.  Kelly was aboard long enough to assist with the ama extension and I dropped her off at the fuel dock.  With a 3kt current, I deployed the new screacher and was making 9kts out Burrows Pass!  Once out into Rosario Strait, initially made 7kts towards Watmough in steadily decreasing winds.  Slowly motored the last mile in while observing RT's entry and anchoring.

I've made comment about how skills deteriorate without use.  Mooring to Captain's Mast is no exception.  Required two approaches to accomplish.  First approach was gooned when I left the engine in reverse after stopping forward momentum.  Second approach was perfect!

This was a solo vacation for RT and me - no itinerary, just relax and play.  Beers were deployed and RT and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun reflecting off the cliffs around Watmough.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tuesday, 30July, 2013: Hope Island to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and cool.  Winds:  Nil.  Waves:  Flat.

We departed Hope Island just a tad too early to hit the 1042 slack at Deception Pass.  Motoring to the pass was uneventful and rounding the west end of Hope Island, we could see the north side buoys were occupied.  Glad we chose to anchor on the south side!  The day went splendidly, motoring through the islands and peaking into the bays, checking out the available anchorages and marinas.  Until the approach to Deception Pass.

Let me state up front:  All was in accordance with the rules of the road, it was the lack of courtesy which disturbed me.  Victoria Clipper, a Seattle to Victoria or Seattle to Friday Harbor jet-driven ferry approached quickly from astern, initially visible about a mile back.  It gave a long blast indicating it intended to pass to our port and it did:  Right under the bridge, the narrowest part of the pass.  Further, the skipper kicked up the speed along side us, slamming us with his wake, which is substantial from a jet drive.  I got really angry, flipped the skipper off and yelled that "The skipper was a dick."  VC's pax got a bit of a show.

It would not have killed VC to throttle back after the horn blast and let us get through the pass.  We had been fighting a 3kt current and were only making a couple knots.  A 1kt decrease in VC's speed would have allowed Strider to get about  400ft further, well beyond the bridge and in a much wider area of the pass.  Once again, courtesy and commercial vessels are not synonymous.

The rest of the trip home was an uneventful motor, back in the sunshine.

Monday, 29July, 2013: Blake Island to Hope Island

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Nil until late afternoon in Saratoga Passage W20.  Seas:  Flat to 1-2ft.

Departed Blake Island around 0900 and motored north.  Pretty boring and decided to to another route in an attempt to find wind.  I've found wind in Burrows Bay, land to the east and west.  Thought to try the east side of Whidbey Island with land to the east and west.  Also, had never been this way so what the hell?

OK, it was worth a try.  No wind entering Possession Sound.  No wind passing Camano Island State Park (looked like an interesting place though).  Wind picked up really well nearing Crescent Harbor and suddently we were making 8kts.  To this point, we were going to spend the night at the NAS Whidbey Island Marina.  Making 8kts though and only 1900, lets continue on!

Smoked along entering Skagit Bay and the winds died rounding Strawberry Point, the eastern point of Whidbey.  Channel is narrow there and we ended up in a wind shadow.  We motored and stowed the sails.

At this point, we were committed and continued, intending to spend the night at Hope Island.  Approaching Dugualla Bay, the winds picked up again and the genoa was unfurled.  We were making 8kts once again and did so until the winds died approaching Hope Island!

Hope Island mooring buoys are on the north side.  Good anchorage is available on the south side.  3 other boats were there pointing the way!  Motored in and dropped anchor in 10ft and a mud bottom.  Chose to do this since the sun was going down, getting late and could not know if the buoys were open.  Took the sure thing especially since a dog walking beach was visible.

After a long day, a beautiful, quiet anchorage.  Easy walking the dogs.  Probably would be more difficult with the dogs on a king tide as the beach cliffs definitely showed water wear.

Sunday, 28July, 2013: Olympia to Blake Island

Weather:  Broken and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Motored out of Olympia around 0800 headed towards home.  North out of Budd Inlet to Dana Passage and out Nisqually Reach.  Timing at Tacoma Narrows was good hitting the slack.  Around Point Defiance and north into Colvos Passage to Blake Island.

The marina at Blake Island State Park is...not really tight, more like awkward.  Just not an efficient dock layout.  Found dock space available.

Walking the dogs on the island was interesting...lots of deer and racoons.  Fortunately the racoons were not aggressive, but would occupy your boat if food (read:  trash) was left out.  Dogs got really curious when a raccoon walked down the dock and disappeared over the side and disappeared under!

Showers were nice.  Island had a lot of space and the campground was not crowded.  Nice views of Seattle!

Saturday, 27July2013: Boston Harbor to Olympia

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  Flat.

Motored to Olympia.  Interesting coming into a major port after small marinas.  Some vessels are huge!  I knew this intellectually, especially after 28yrs in the Navy and sailing around the sound.  It just was weird motoring past ships in the port.

Moored at the Port Plaza Dock for $15!  Nice, new facility.  Location was great as it is a couple blocks from the Farmer's Market were we restocked fruit, veggies and a couple thick pork chops.  Lots of plums, peaches and apricots available.

Nice to tour Olympia without worrying about getting home or traffic.  Concurrent with our visit was a Hempfest in Capital Lake Park.  Why do most of the hemp proponents look like 1970's counterculture...OK, hippies?  Visited a couple used book stores and had dinner at an Indian restaurant.

Friday, 26July, 2013: Cutts Island to Boston Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Sailed out of the anchorage under the main and genoa, with a light north wind.  Wind died after about 45min and we motored through Pitt Passage, noting with interest the "Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers" signs because of the state prison on McNeil Island....

Managed a bit more sailing in Drayton Passage.  The motored.  Ebb currents in Dana Passage were strong and headway was reduced to 3kts.  Then I noticed the boats on the north shore were pointed in the opposite direction.  An eddy!  Moved over and headway jumped to 6kts!

Arrived Boston Harbor and folded as we were taking a slip - needed to refill the water.  Also took on fuel.  First slip assigned was tight.  Further, Strider did not fit, her bow was sticking way out.  Asked to move to the outside and, "Sure!"

Moved outside, unfolding in transit.  Hosed the boat down.  Also rigged a shower on the stern and both Kelly and I enjoyed getting the crud off!

Occasionally, Boston Harbor hosts a dinner on the dock and this was one of those nights!  For $10 and another $3 for wine tasting, we enjoyed grilled chicken-on-a-stick, clams, pasta, a salad and 4 wines.  Met some really nice people, one who live just down the street who invited us in whilst we were walking the dogs!

24-26July, 2013: Cutts Island Marine State Park

Weather:  Sunny and warm!  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  Flat.

The Cutts Island Marine State Park is a great place!  Water temp was 68F, warm enough to swim in.  Cutts Island is a no camping/day use only island with a few trails accessible up the steep cliffs from the beach to the trees.  Allegedly, it was a former indian burial ground and is locally called Dead Man's Island.  Dog walking was pretty easy, with a nice dinghy row to a sandy beach on the north end of the island.  The cliff on the south end is collapsing.

Of interest to me is a sand bar stretching from Raft Island to Cutts Island, more and more exposed as the tide ebbed.  Early on Thursday, took a chance as Kelly walked the dogs and was rewarded with clams!  Turned them into spaghetti al vongole for dinner!  First time Kelly had non-deep fried clams and she was impressed!

While busy in the afternoon with powerboats and skiers, they all departed around dinner time leaving us alone in the anchorage.  Kid in a canoe came by asking about Strider, never having seen a trimaran.

Quiet, warm evening and we launched a couple Chinese Sky Lanterns!

Wednesday, 24July, 2013: Gig Harbor to Carr Inlet/Cutts Island Marine State Park

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Awaited the tide and got a great push through the Tacoma Narrows.  First trip under the bridge!  Since Hale Passage has a low bridge, was forced around the south end of Fox Island.  There were a lot of crab traps in the area, surprising since it was a non-crabbing day.

Slow motor up Carr Inlet to Kopachuck State Park.  This area of Carr Inlet reminded me of a large lake, a lot of waterfront homes, along with many speed boats, that is, ski boats and 30ft-ish fast power boats.  In the afternoon, these boats were pulling skiers and tubes.  Many showed up to use the mooring buoys for the few hours after work and before sunset.

Arrived around 1400 and found a lot of buoys occupied, but several available.  Once moored, we found the water temp was around 68F!  Towards evening, all the boats departed, leaving us alone in the anchorage.

22-23July, 2013: Gig Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm!

Enjoyed the stay in Gig Harbor!  Hooked up with RT and MM.

Gig Harbor hosts "Summer Sounds," a concerts in the park summer series.  A perennial favorite is The Beatniks, a 60s/70s/80s rock band.  One of the reasons for returning to Gig was to see this concert and it lived up to the hype.  The park was jammed with place holding chairs and blankets by 8AM, which I did not care for as the park was where I'd walk the dogs.  That said, The Beatniks were worth the trip and we had a blast!

I tried to get local high schoolers to pull off the prank of the year by rearranging the chairs and blankets in the park.  I even spread the rumor.  Disappointingly, the kids chickened out.

Monday, 22July, 2013: Tacoma to Gig Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  None.  Seas:  Flat.

Departed around 1000 and motored to Gig Harbor.  Did not even deploy the main.  Anchored in usual spot, across from Arabella's Landing in about 20ft of water.  Deployed the crab trap on the way in.

Winds picked up in the harbor during the afternoon and I sailed the dinghy around, even sailed the dinghy to check the crab trap (small reds only)!