Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Stopover to Check on Shatoosh

The other day I drove down to Oregon to check on Shatoosh. She was fine, sitting elegant in her slip, probably wondering where the heck I had been. Well, you see, I was off helping a friend with surgery, tending to a friend with a broken heart, then a freak snow storm blanketed the northwest. Oh yes, I found time to compile over 700 pages of letters I had written about my life in an Indian Ashram. I named the compilation, "Letters From Heaven". Then I did all my Christmas shopping. I don't think I need to justify my schedule to Shatoosh, but I did feel bad because she was looking rather dusty.

After running through my list of things to do I headed home. I did take some time to stop at my favorite Mexican food restaurant and see how the murals were coming. Wow, they are all finished and really are quite beautiful.

Next, I am off to the land of real mexican food, cheese enchiladas and sopaipillas, here I come, El Paso.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This gorgeous illustration was done by Marsha Matta of Vancouver, Washington. If you don't remember, I took Marsha and her husband Russ out one morning on Shatoosh  to cruise Steamboat Slough, while they were spending some time on their boat in Cathlamet, WA. Russell, is the fabulous photographer whose photos of Shatoosh are dear to my heart and Marsha certainly excels in her drawing ability. They both work for the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver and this illustration was in print last Friday. How quaint is this?  Kudos to you, Marsha, I love everything about it. Thank you so much for letting me share its beauty with all my readers. The vessel is the Island Maid II, berthed in Welcome Slough, on Puget Island, WA and is owned by Michael Baccelieri. Michael owns the Welcome Slough Boatworks. see
After looking at photos of the Island Maid, I recognize her from one of my Cathlemet trips and she was at the docks, just returning from a haulout in Astoria. Beautiful boat.

As this year draws to a close, I can't help but reflect on my cruising grounds last summer and all the wonderful people I was able to interact with. From the Snake River to the mouth of the Columbia River, my heart is filled with gratitude for all the friendly people who helped me along my way. I met lots of new friends and rediscovered many old boating buddies docked in various nooks and crannies. Upon checking my log I totaled 853nm in 2010 and have now totaled 5790nm since buying Shatoosh in December 1999.

Storm Bay, the Tasmanian vessel, who I met, as she crossed the Columbia River bar, is now anchored in Ensanada, Mexico, after harbor hopping down the, not so friendly winter, Coast. Too Tall Tom has recovered from his Bumpy Snake and Columbia River cruise, but hasn't bought a bigger boat. Ann, my long time crew, has a name change. She is now Granny Annie, since her daughter and son in law adopted 3 children. Captain Dan of Whiskyjack, is relieved that I no longer bug him about the SeaClear Program, Captain Larry of the Starship, no longer has to email and answer my questions about crossing the bar, Captain Steve and First Mate, Carol of Knot Enuf were happy to hear that I finally hemmed my curtains. The Walla Walla Yacht Club and it's friendly and helpful members were a Godsend that windy morning in Wallula Gap. Jill, of Beamers Jet Boat Tours in Clarkston, WA really helped a great deal, giving us a great jet boat ride and allowing Too Tall to park his truck and trailer. Thanks to all the harbormasters who gave us wonderful berths for our wonderful boats. The fall cruise back up river gave me an opportunity to visit with Captain Zack of the Viola Helen, who was the first person to mark my charts of fun places to cruise. It was timely that I finish this year meeting him again. Thank all of you on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers and a special thanks to all my readers and supporters on the Albin Yahoo Cruising Group, the Albineers of BC, who have linked me to boaters and Albin lovers all over the World. It had been a grand year.

An email from John Stewart in the frigid North East: PLEASE KEEP THE BLOG COMING! It's important to maintaining the sanity of snowbound New Englanders during the endless winter...John is an avid winter reader and an active member of the Albin Yahoo group.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Blog Stats

Yesterday I added a mini stat gadget to the right sidebar. It only shows  pages viewed. On my internal dashboard the stats continue to amaze me. Three years ago when I started blogging it never occured to me that one day there would be readers from all over the world. I figured that some of my friends and family might look at it from time to time, but to have readers from South Korea, Turkey, Eukraine, Malasya, Shri Lanka or Slovenia would have been out of the question. As of now, readers are from 35 countries and the only continents not represented are Africa & Greenland.

I can picture people reading about Albins in countries where they were shipped, but countries where local Albins are not present is another story. While cruising the Columbia, Snake, and the Willamette river systems I have never seen, or heard of another Albin 25. Albin 25's are fascinating little cruisers. All sorts of people fall in love with them. I often find people coming up to Shatooosh wanting to check her out. They say, "wow, what kind of boat is she", "I have always wanted an Albin", or "a friend of mine owned one of these boats". "Can I come aboard"? "Yes, you can", as I begin my tour. It just never gets old. It only gets better with time.
I look forward to another great year of owning Shatoosh and Pashmina and cruising deep into the waters of the Salish Sea.

This beautiful map was created by Chartographer Stefan Freelan.
"Map of the Salish Sea & Surrounding Basin, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009"
Stefan has given my readers permission to download and print this Map.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Look

Recently I have been getting some emails from my faithful blog readers, wondering why I haven't been blogging. They are concerned, "are you alright", "we miss hearing about Shatoosh". Everyone is sweet to check in with me. I have been traveling, weathering out the Northwest storms and getting ready for my Christmas trip to Texas.

I showed my blog to some friends for the first time and they wanted to see big pictures of Shatoosh and Pashmina. So tonight I am reformatting my main page, deleting some old photos and adding some new ones. After 3 years, its time for some changes. I hope you like them. The beautiful photos of Shatoosh underway were taken by Russ Matta of Vancouver, Wa. They are my favorite photographs.

I continue to tweek my 2011 cruise plans of going up the Washington coast and bringing Shatoosh to the Puget Sound closer to my home. Today I emailed Warrenton Boatyard to schedule a haulout in June to install my swim platform, power wash & paint the bottom and check out my zincs. Emailed Joyce who is sunning herself on some fancy Maui beach and confirmed her committment to crew for me. I continue to study charts, map routes, make to-do lists and pray for wonderful weather in June.

I am wishing all my blog readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. When I see the stats on the blog and know that there is a growing number of readers from all over the world it makes me happy to continue exploring and blogging. This little Albin boat is touching the hearts and minds of many people and for this, I am most grateful.