Monday, July 25, 2011

Classic Sailboats- Gig Harbor

There were some classic sailboats crusing around the harbor: These 2 caught my attenion.

23-25 July 2011 The Wolfman From Alaska

With very favorable weather for the weekend, I am breaking my weekend cruising rule and venturing out of my slip to engage in weekend boater mania. I have several options in mind and I will see how they play out.
I'm heading for Gig Harbor, again, and if I get a spot on the free dock, then I'll stay. As luck will have it, there are several openings, so I will hang out here. I call my friends and get an invitation for dinner.

I'm currently looking for a used Porta Bote, 8 feet in length. I stop in at the local marine store and ask the owner. He knows of a lady who has one, so will contact her this next week. Too Tall has come up with several on Craig's List. There is a real deal in Wisconsin, and in Idaho. I call the local Gig Harbor Porta-Bote representative( I've held on to his nuber for 2 years) and he will give me a quote tomorrow, on a new one.

You always run into some interesting characters on docks, but this recent guy I meet really deserves a gold medal. Mel is a fisherman from Alaska, who just recently bought this old Uniflite 30ft along with a boat house for $2000.

He didn't need the boat house, so he sold it for the cost of a new battery. This 1966 boat looks brand new and has an enclosed helm station. His engine exhaust riser caught on fire coming up under the Narrows, so he has dismantled numerous parts. The sign on the dock says no engine repairs, but the police are letting him stay a few days extra to get things in order. He is already over his 48 hrs stay. This guy looks like he just stepped out of the Alaska Wilderness Ad. He has long blondish,white hair and beard and there is a whitish grey wolf skin hanging from the aft doorway, which he just threw over his shoulder while walking down the dock, to see if he could catch a ride to the nearest grocery store. Needless to say, he returned without groceries.

While he continues to bang on his riser with a hammer, he says that I can go aboard for a lookie-loo. There is a rabbit skin on the starboard helm station and underneath it a photo of his old fishng troller, Leif. Next, he directs me to a portfolio of beautiful watercolor paintings he has done of salmon and the Alaska wilds. They are soft, gentle, like his spirit. He continues to tell me stories of his 13 years of fishing the waters of South Eastern Alaska. He encourages me to come north, he says, confidently, that I would like it.

I drift back into my previous years of this lifetime, where upon my retirement, I rented a small cabin on Orcas Island,Wa., I put up several saw horses, a 4x8 piece of plywood and placed out all the charts for getting to Alaska. After months of studying, plotting courses, I remember saying to myself, "there it is all done--you don't have to go". Wow, what was that all about?

I'm interested in how he is planning to get this new vessel, The Dutch Lady, to Alaska. Does he short hop it up or does he long haul it? He replies that he often uses a Seattle based Barge Company that has carried his fishing  boat, Lief, up and back to Ketchikan . Well, this certainly catchs my attention. How long does it take?, I ask. He replies," 3.5 days". And the cost? For my boat, about $2000.00. This morning, I hear his engine running at 0600hrs.  He is off to get a diesel in Seattle and get rid of the old gas engine. "Never had a gas engine and don't plan on keeping this one", he scoffs.  " I hope to see you in Alaska", he says.  "You have certainly gotten my attention with barging her up", I reply. He says, " I thought if I threw out some chum, you might bite on it." Perhaps, I have been caught, hook, line and sinker, I say to myself. Is this an omen from some strange wolf man from Alaska, or did I just have an interesting dream after attending another visitation of the Gig Harbor Museum on Basket Weaving of the Salish Indians? Time Will Tell.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Too Tall Visits the Pacific Northwest

Too Tall has traveled up from California in a small RV to visit and to rendezvous with Corey, the new owner of Skol, Albin 25. Several months ago I was able to find Skol's new owner, Corey, who is a shipwright at a Lake Union Boatyard. Too Tall wanted to meet him and bring him several items of interest of Skol's past history and all the work that Too Tall had done.

Too Tall, also, wanted to get a ride on Shatoosh. For 2 days, we ambled over about 35 nm over to Gig Harbor and went through the History Museum where there is an amazing basket collection woven by native Salish Indians. It is breath-taking. I particularly liked the small, intricate baskets woven out of whale baleen. This is something that one rarely sees in one's life.

We cruised out of Gig and ventured across the Narrows to see Salmon Beach houses and to show Too Tall
the new Narrow's Bridge. The people who live at Salmon Beach have a hug staircase to climb to get to their homes. I'm not even going to think about the sewer systems.

Salmon Beach Homes

A rare find at Dockton dock
 We tie up at the Dockton dock to have lunch and to see this old vessel. Someone tells us it was once the Admiral's launch off the Nimitz. I'm sure the Admiral would be disappointed.

Corey and the Dunato Team restore this beauty

Corey and Too Tall review Skol's details

My left over pieces of Starboard made nice swim steps for Skol

I'm interested in the stern pushpit

A Derelect Albin 25 in Tacoma

Too Much Neglect for Too Long a Time

We return to my condo and finish the trip with dinner and Too Tall gets to see my booklet on Sailing Sabra from Hawaii to Washington in 1982. It was a fun trip/visit with Too Tall and he certainly enjoyed meeting Corey, who is the perfect keeper of Skol. He can rest assured, that Skol is in the best of hands. It will be fun to follow the remake of Skol. She will be the beauty of the Salish Sea, for certain.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recent Cruises: Chart Time

Vashon and Maury Island:
First place was Dockton on Maury Island in Quartermaster Harbor.
Then Anchored at northern section of Quartermaster.
Then on to Gig Harbor

1.  Gig Harbor
2. Fox Island and bridge
3. Mayo Cove and Penrose State Park
4,5. Raft Isl, Cutt's Isl
6. Horsehead Bay

Pitt Passage, Filucy Bay and Longbranch
Eagle Island and Steilacoom

Pitt Passage

Care's Trip
 Steilacoom around Ketron Isl to Eagle Isl and back to Steilacoom.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

11- 12 July 2011 Penrose and Cutts Island State Parks

After a frustrating week of getting Shatoosh registered with the state of Washington, and borderline weather reports, I decide to make a break and high tail it out of town. I want to explore some new and revisit some old favorite spots. The South Sound is considered to be the forgotten stepchild, as everyone heads north to the San Juan Islands. However, there is plenty to see and do in the South Sound which is all waters south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Before I depart, I go to the dumpster and get some cardboard to fabricate a template for a sun screen for my computer. Will see how it does on this trip.

As I make another run through Hale Passage and under Fox Island Bridge it begins to rain which makes me change my plan. I proceed to Penrose again to be tied up to a dock in case the weather gets nasty. By the time I cross the inlet the rain has stopped. There are 2 boats tied to the dock on the inside so I try to dock on the outside, but with the wind and current throwing me everywhere, I make a mess out of it all. I looked like a beginner boater on my first docking attempt. I finally got tied up, after eating a big piece of humble pie.

This morning I got up early and noticed that the ebbing tide had nearly sucked our little cove empty.
I had 3 feet showing on the depth sounder which meant I had 1.5 feet under me. The tide chart said it would be -2.1 ft. I clambered out of the cockpit and untied Shatoosh and walked her down to the very end of the dock with her bow extending out past the dock. That should do it, I say confidently. Later, the other 2 boats sat grounded, as Shatoosh and I departed on the early flood tide. I didn't arrive so smartly yesterday, but this morning we leaped out with flashing colors. PS--it helps to have a shoal draft cruiser.

Cutts Island
 I  pass Cutts Island to starboard and circle down and around Raft Island to visit this place for the first time. It is a small island with lots of homes on it. Big homes/docks. On the back side there is a bridge that connects the island to the mainland. This is supposed to be a good anchorage area and many boats are on buoys. There is a beautiful aft cabin ketch for sale. and a large sloop tied to a dock, bare-ing her large keel. Another looked as if it had been rolled, all the stanchions, pulpits and stern railings were bent and torqued.
This would certainly work to anchor in here, if caught in a storm.

For Sale


This One took a Tumble

I return to Cutts island and pick up a buoy and tie off to my stern. The sun comes out and I have lunch. This is so lovely. I used to come often here. It is a magical island similar to the ones near La Push. It has on the east end a high barren bluff covered at the top with lots of madrona trees while the other end slopes down to a beach that seems to slide into the waters. It is a haven for crows and they were very busy talking back and forth to each other. I had to wait out the tide change here which was most pleasant.

The sun came out and I listened to the Coast Guard reports of numerous incidents. A canoe was adrift without a person on board, only a paddle and a backpack with lunch in it were onboard. Then, a report of someone in the water off the Narrows Bridge in the middle span. They were recovered by the fireboat. Makes me wonder if someone had jumped. Then the Big Grand Banks, that was aground this morning, came crusing by. We all waved, as we have to be the happiest people in the whole wide world. The sun is out.

Diva Swan 36

I depart Cutts at 1530 hrs and pass Kopachuck St Park which has one mooring buoy and I had heard it was closed for some reason. I enter Horsehead bay with its huge gorgeous homes. I want to see this bay as it is also reported to have good anchorage near the dead end. I see a boat on a mooring and my heart almost stops. I get the binocs out, it is a Swan 36, could it be Sabra? I get closer and see it is Diva out of Gig Harbor. I remember her, she has a gold mast which many years back she was kept in beautiful condition. Now, she is in really bad condition, all her brightwork is peeling off, her hull and topsides are dirty and graying with age. How could anyone let one of these Swans go to waste? I'm sickened-- Gosh, I hope Sabra is not looking like this. This would be a great fixer upper. How could this boat be left to rot amongst these million dollar homes?

I wave to Virginia as I pass Fox Island Bridge and when I pass Ann's house in Tacoma, I call her and she can see me. It s nice to have friends who live in high places, but I very happy to live low down on the water.
I arrive back in my slip at 1850 hrs. As I am driving home the rains pour down. What a lucky 2 days I had.
Too Tall Tom called this morning and has been cruising around the northwest in a land yacht, avoiding the heat in Texas, so he is arriving for a visit which will be fun and funny.

6 July 2011: Eagle Isl to Steilacoom and Back

Shatoosh at Steilacoom Dock
I meet my long time friend, Care at the Steilacoom Ferry Dock. She crewed for me when we did the Willamette River trip up through the oldest locks in the USA. She is now 80 years old, but keeps fit with lots of sports, scuba diving, biking and Pickel ball. She is a Senior Olympian with lots of medals to her name.

We  take the long way back to Eagle Island, by heading south around Ketron Island which is privately owned. The south end has a high bluff and I spot an eagle. It comes soaring down to try to catch a fish, but misses. We slow down and he attempts about 10 dives and comes up empty claws each time.

Our east side buoy is open and we pick it up easily. I fix lunch and then Care and I launch Pashmina for her first spin in the Salish Sea. She balks at the swift current around the east edge so we leave her on the shore and walk around. We  return and see how Pashmina fits along the swim platform. It is easy to slide onto and to board from the stern.

South Bluff Ketron Island

Care Admiring the View

Pashmina Gets Her  Bottom Wet with Salt Water

We have fun taking lots of photos of me in the dinghy and of Shatoosh with Rainier in the background. So beautiful.
Shatoosh Moored At Eagle Island
How Beautiful Is This Photo?

Classic Cruiser Visiting Tacoma

I take Care back to the dock and return for the night. The next day I return back to my slip and see this beauty still docked on the Foss Waterway. The Westward.

Total Run: 86.3 nm.

Monday, July 11, 2011

5 July 2011 Penrose State Park to Eagle Island State Park

Across from Penrose is the Lakebay Marina. It has a few slips and has always been run down. I cruise over to it and tie up but the place is closed down and for sale. A guy tells me that the old man died and his children don't want to mess with the place. Too bad, as this place could be a jewel all fixed up.

Its 1130 so I slip my lines from the rusty cleats and point Shatoosh's bow to my next destination; Pitt Passage. I have been through this passage a few years ago and it is rocky and windy, but beautiful. First off though, as I depart Mayo Cove, I swing by and practice picking up a mooring buoy. Its been a while and might as well try one when it is calm. Well, that was easy with no wind and current, just leaning over the cockpit side and slipping the line through the ring. I had set the boat hook out just in case, but didn't need it. I had set some waypoints on the chartplotter for Pitt Passage and that made navigating easier, as I zigged and zagged from side to side. There was quite alot of water splashing at one channel marker and at first I thought it could be orcas, but it turned out to be seals. Pitt Island is a sweet one out in the middle of the passage, but no going on this one as it is part of the McNeil Island Penitentiary System.

Pitt Island

 I cruise into Filucy bay and check out Longbranch Marina. There are 2 boats and couples sitting in the sun and they yell to me wanting to know what kind of boat this is. I pull over and tie up. We have friends in common in Olympia. It is a small world. They are cruising in a C-Dory 25 and an older Owens. I depart after they share some of their ice with me. The view of Mt  Rainier is breath taking from Longbranch.

I'm off to my final stop: Eagle Island. On the west side there is a large seal colony sunning themselves on an outcroppping of rocks. This is still a minus tide day. I am busy watching them with my binos and soon realize I ahve drifted down onto the reef. My depth sounder is reading 6,5,4 ft and look over and see the bottom. Yikes, I'm out of there in a jiffy and in deep water again. That was close. I pick up the mooring buoy easily and settle into a sunny relaxed afternoon. The seals are making alot of noise and tail slapping and spy hopping. They have been watching too much whale activity. This is a large colony that hangs here all the time, so they must have lots of fish to eat. They seem like a happy bunch to me.

The sunset with the Olympics in the background is beautiful. Hum, I like Eagle island and of course they had ongoing eagle activity.

4 July 2011 Gig Harbor to Penrose State Park

Yesterday's Sunset

My old marina
I have a leisurely morning to await the tide change, but before I leave Gig, I take some time to cruise throughout the harbor and see my old marina. I have many fond memories of being here. I was one of the first berthers at the marina after it was built in 1983. It was a cold December morning when we brought her over from Commencement Bay. The winds were gusting to 50 knots on our beam, but Sabra, loves this kind of wind and with just the main up we arrived in quick order. I had one day to move her, as the following day I was departing on a trip to be with my dying sister.

Departing on a minus tide and catching the flood tide to go south

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

                                                                  Virginia is getting her 104 yr old aunt Mimmie gathered up and driving her to the Fox Island Bridge so they can take Shatoosh's photo as we go under the bridge with Mt Rainier in the background. The old girl is up for it and we barrel through at 7.7 k as Virginia takes our picture. There is a cruiser high and dry on top of a rock shoal just to my port, which gets my attention, lots of speeding boats zip by us and to top the busy soup 2 paddle boarders about to collide with me.

I take the time to stop and look back and call Virginia to thank her.

By 1630 I have found my way to Penrose State park. The tide is still very low and the dock is hidden from view with the tall shoreline. I make my turn in shallow water and tie up easily with 7 feet of water under the keel.

Entrance to Mayo Cove and Penrose St Park.
Days run:15nm
Total: 36.4 nm