Friday, September 30, 2011

McMicken Island and Another Storm

30 September 2011 Friday

The sunrise was gorgeous and several orbs were present in the photos.

It is 1015 hrs when I depart and I slowly travel around the edge of the island, looking at flocks of birds. I see the weather is changing and fast, so throttle up and with the ebbing tide I am a Surf Scooter myself, moving along at 7.4 kts.

My timing is perfect. I tie Shatoosh up in her slip and the rains come with numerous thunder claps. The weather clears, I meet more new neighbors and finally I get to my list of chores; check engine/batteries, connections to espar heater--I tried to start it at Skagit Island and I had no power to it. I remembered that connector wire I had to re-swag, well it seems I re attached it to the wrong terminal. She runs like a charm when hooked up correctly. Then I got to cleaning the stove, vacuuming the carpets, washing the boat, and re stowing dock lines and fenders.

The good news is that during the rain storm I had cell coverage  in the slip.

Day's run: 7.1nm
Total 25.8

The Day Is Too Beautiful To Do Chores

29 September 2011 Thursday

I have a list of things to do that is in my pocket, but I arrive back at Zittel's Marina about 1100 hrs. I run into that man who has his portaboat strapped to his Sundowner Tug. We talk for a while and he visits Shatoosh to see her swim platform and he thinks I can do what he is doing. "Just Strap Her On." OK, that is where we will begin our journey.

I decide that  the weather is just too beautiful to do chores, so within minutes of coming on board, Shatoosh is heading out of her slip, the marina and on her way west; to visit some old favorites, Jarrel's Cove and McMickin Island. I am out about 30 minutes and I come across another partially submerged dinghy. The transom has eyebolts so I attach my buoy line and stern line to them and lift her up on the platform. We slowly cruise back to the marina and I hoist her up on the fuel dock. While I am there, I go ahead and top off my tank and the friendly marina help will take care of the dinghy.  I'm just happy to be a tug boat again.

I'm off again and cruise west along the Harstine Island shore and pass McMickin Island. I cruise into Jarrel's cove and check her out. There are lots of buoys and dock space. I slide up to the pumpout station and get rid of my waste. It is about 1700 hrs by the time I pick up a buoy at McMickin. Another small trawler comes in behind me and takes a buoy at the west end. There are lots of birds in the area and many I do not recognize.
I do see some Loons, Red Necked Grebs and Surf Scooters.

I have a very peaceful night.
Day's run: 19.7nm

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Upgrades and Downgrades

Yesterday before I returned to Shatoosh I stopped by the Verizon store and upgraded my netbook to G4 status. This morning I am uploading photos with lightening speeds never before seen by this blogger. Hurray, hurray. I drive down to Zittel's Marina and unload all the clean linens, clothes and paper products. I happily set up my netbook to update my blog.

No cell phone or broadband coverage in the slip. I move throughout the marina after talking with staff and live aboards. Coverage is spotty to say the least and I am told internet is possible at high tide. I move over towards the haulout lift area and a phone call comes in and disappears just as a sea gull poops all over me. My newly introduced friends ask did you get it( meaning the call) and I reply, Yes, I got it, but it was a message from a sea gull and not the phone. I stand there covered in bird shit. This is not how I thought my day would go. Instead of spending the night, I return home and undress in front of the washing machine.

A Long Night and Head Winds to Zittel's Marina

25 September 2011 Sunday
The winds abated and I got 3 hours sleep, then they started back up with rain. I could see that the dock was awash with phosphorescent waves.  It was a long night, but morning brought some peace and quiet. After breakfast the south wind started to blow so I moved Shatoosh out to a buoy as I wanted to try my new shackle that I had purchased in Gig Harbor. It worked perfect.

I called the marina and told them I was arriving and I was instructed to tie up to the fuel dock and come in. By the time I started to cross the wind had whipped up a sloppy mess. I throttled back and took an easy 4nm  ride across the inlet to Johnson Point.

Harbor Seals on the Breakwater

After looking at my slip I headed for the fuel dock and by then the wind gusts were picking up. I had to struggle a bit with the dock lines to hold Shatoosh steady on the dock, then took a fast jump in and made my way weaving down through some of the larger side tied vessels. Even with the wind on my stern, Shatoosh slide easily into her slip. As I was tying up the lines the winds blasted through with pouring down rain. Just in time, and after several squalls I glance up to see a welcoming rainbow near the point.
day's run 4nm
Total for entire trip: 431nm
Pouring Rain

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Last Night On My San Juan Island Journey 2011

24 September 2011  Saturday

Well, my journey is coming to a close at the same time a new beginning starts. I am docked at Joemma State Park in the South Sound. I have never been here before and it is just a few miles from my new marina out on Johnson Point. It is a large cove with a long wooden causeway out to the dock which has several finger piers. There are 5 buoys, but I decided to dock as I would be the Lone Ranger for the night. The cove is open to the Southerlies which wouldn't be good with the winds I had a few days ago. Tonight is calm and quiet and I can see a few fires on shore. We are on the Key peninsula which is south of Gig Harbor. As I cruised the shoreline it is high bluffed, heavily wooded and few homes. The cove has fairly large sized cobblestones at the beach. There are huge trees awash on shore, which is a reflection of the storms that come through here, especially in winter. All the south sound weather comes from the south west as it comes from the ocean and wraps around the lower end of the Olympic mountains and then storms in and up the sound to the north east.
Joemma State Park Key Pennisula

I had a lovely morning which was sunny and used the last of my fresh water from my solar shower to rinse off the boat and windows from all the salt. I had washed Shatoosh the day before in Kingston. I had lunch with Virgina, my old buddy and past Chief. Then I was on my way to catch the flood tide through the Narrows. Just in time to hit 11.1k. This has been my fastest speed on this trip. All the buoys were filled at Eagle Isl. so I decided to swing over here which puts me closer to my new marina in the morning.

This has been an incredible journey for me. I have gotten to meet so many of my faceless blog readers which has been a real treat. I have spent the majority of my travels singlehanding which has been really sweet to have all that time alone with Shatoosh and Pashmina. We really can get into a wonderful rhythm and the recent storms have challenged us all to stay balanced with the wind and waves and to continue forward finding new safe havens. I have gotten to meet so many cruising ladies on both sail and power boats which is really wonderful. Joining in on the Albineers gathering at Roche was really special and fun to meet all the owners and see how special their boats are to them. I got to see many old islands with new eyes and see many new islands and locations. It has been a marvelous summer for me, which started with my down river cruise on the Columbia River, crossing the bar and cruising up the pacific coast with Joyce as crew, then for 2 months exploring the middle sound and finalizing the summer with the San Juan trip. A grand total of  900nm

PS Just as I was signing off the west wind started to blow which put it on my beam. I went out and let Shatoosh swing around 90degrees in the docking area and readjusted her lines. Later at about 2130hrs
I was out again to put on 2 more round fenders, which now makes 7 fenders on the port side. I readjust the bow lines and move the spring lines a bit. I had checked the wind on the water site and it said Carr inlet was blowing 14 mph. That is the inlet next to us. However, this time when I went out there is little wind, just those bouncy, confused waves. Lets hope things settle down, so I can get some sleep.

Days run 20nm
Total 427nm

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kingston to Gig Harbor

23 September 2011 Friday

The wind is howling through the rigging this morning. Then calms itself and then pipes back up. I go on line and visit my favorite site: I can see the winds are calm in Tacoma, but the winds are gusting to 30mph on some of the ferry runs. I put on another line to lash Pashmina better and notice my stuffing box is dripping too much so tighten that up. Shatoosh is shipshape and ready to rock and roll. I decide to depart at 1015 hrs and will swing in behind Bainbridge Island and hopefully that will pay off with a lift from the flood currents through Agate Pass. This decision is a mother load, as I run Agate Pass at 9.7k with 1 foot waves and minimal wind out of the south west. I arrive at Blake at 1340 and am tired. I pick up a buoy on the north side and rest for 45 minutes, which rejuvenates me. I'm loving my new buoy line and can't wait to make my final version.

I'm ready to make Gig Harbor and miss my ETA 1700 hrs by 15 minutes. My favorite dock space is open so I grab it fast. I can see Mt Rainier from this spot and sunset is always nice. I fix my salmon, potatoes and squash. One more leg to my new slip. This will be a new adventure for us.
Day's run 37 nm
Total 407nm.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finding Another Safe Haven- Kingston

22 September 2011 Thursday

I hear the wind whipping in the sailboat rigging and the rain begins to pelt the cabin top. It must be about 0400hrs. This does not sound good but later the weather seems better, There is still light wind. I see my anchor hawespipe has a broken chain to the top from the pounding yesterday. Not wanting to lose the lid, I make an emergency repair with dental floss. It is durable, flexible, strong and small enough to tighten down in between the small links.

I'm not missing breakfast today as this could be another rough one. I fry up a couple of eggs in my new little skillet and my new baby-sized spatula,

The weather worsens as I reach the Clinton Ferry on Whidbey. I see a small dock at the ferry landing which I did not see on my up island leg. I could always return to it. But I choose to continue on and at 1100 hrs take a beating off the southern tip of the island. I start looking for the next place I can get into, which is Kingston Harbor and 9 miles away. The seas settle some and unlike yesterday the trough is better spaced and I can actually ride the swells. I arrive right on my ETA of 1300 hrs. After 4 hrs of standing and steering I will consider this my safe haven for the day.

I have never been in here before and it is a quaint village. The rock breakwater makes it very calm inside. There is plenty of guest moorage with easy access. The harbormaster tells me if I need to go to the grocery store which is about 3 blocks away I can take the electric car. This is the cheapest, yet the most pleasant place I have stayed. It is less that $1.00/per foot.

How Cute Is This?

I've Got My Shopping List and
Ready to Go

Day's run 19nm
Total 370nm

Hira Gets the Surprise of Her Life

21 September 2011 Wednesday

I depart early at 0700 hrs from Deception Pass State Park and don't eat breakfast as I want to get under way as soon as I can. I am meeting my friend, Pene, this afternoon at Langley Marina on Whidbey Island to give her some special things I found on the beaches. I, also want to stop at Coupeville on the northern part of Whidbey to say hi to Jeff, my ex brother in law. He has purchased a home here this spring. It would be fun to see the place and he might like to see Shatoosh. I start to get hungry and see a nice cove I could anchor in and fix me some eggs, but my intuition tells me to continue on to Coupeville. I can eat there.

After docking I call my niece who lives in Denver, to get her father's number. She sounds surprised when I say I am in Coupeville. I had mentioned to her that I might stop by on my way home. I get hold of Jeff and he picks me up at the marina. I tell him that I am starving, but he seems to be set in showing me his house first. When we pull up front, my big surprise is waiting on the front porch. My 2 great nieces, Georgia and Flora are waiting to see me. Then Erin and her husband, Matt appear. So, the whole time I was talking with Erin, she was in Coupeville and not Denver. The surprise is on me. Matt hurries into the kitchen and fixes me some eggs and toast, while I get lots of hugs from the girls. They show me their new special play room which is a secret hiding place.

Later, we go down to Shatoosh and Flora falls asleep in the car, but Georgia hangs in to come aboard and see where they will sleep one day in the aft cabin. She takes her place at the helm and says the boat is bouncy. I have been waiting for the day when these girls can come aboard and never in a million years would I have dreamed that it would be today. Thank heavens, I listened to my intuition, as I would have been really disappointed to miss them.

Its 1310 when I get off and the waters are calm. Soon everything changes as I enter Saratoga Passage the wind whips up a nasty bowl of waves. They continue all afternoon and this leg is similiar to Wallula Gap on the Columbia. Pashmina sounds like a drum beating out some foreign tune on the cabin top and Shatoosh is simultaneously going up and down and rolling from port to starboard, while the ship's bell is ringing constantly. For the next 3 hours I stand and steer and recall William Least Heat Moon's commentary of "riding a bucking brahma bull", while he is unable to read his chart to find a safe haven on the river. I sigh a deep breath as I pull Shatoosh around the fortress of a breakwater and dock in my previous A-5 slip at Langley Marina.

Pene picks me up and we have a scrumptious Thai dinner that saves my life. I give her my beach gifts that I have found and she seems pleased with them. It is so special to get to be with her again.

What a wonderful day!
Day's run 35nm
Total 351 nm

Launching of Hummingbird Chris Craft

20 September 2011 Tuesday

I am heading back to Cornet Bay by Deception Pass and will tie up at the Deception Pass State Park Docks. Patty, one of the blog readers with a face now, called and said her friends, Judy and husband Jip, who are also blog readers are launching Hummingbird today and they would like to meet me. Judy has an Albin 25 which is for sale at a bargin price of $14000.00. Hummingbird is a Chris Craft that has been restored over the last 3 years by Jip. After many delays, the trucker arrived with Hummingbird. He would launch her, however her engines weren't up to par, so to make a long story short, Jip wanted me to haul her over to their slip. Judy and Patty wanted the Vessel Assist to do it. We are all in a stand off when the assist boat arrives. Jip being the Captain of his ship chooses Shatoosh and me to do the job, and sends Vessel Assist back to the marina.

Jip has total confidence in my ability to handle Shatoosh. I mean, he is a blog reader, he should know, after all. I reply, yes I can handle my boat, but I have never towed a boat and put her in a covered slip before, but, "I have stayed at a Holiday Inn"( remember that commericial). So I am qualified. I say, "lets get on with it", as the day is ending soon. Judy and I go get Shatoosh and the 4 of us tie the boats together. Patty and Jip walk us back out of the boat ramp and I throw Shatoosh in reverse, turn her around and head for their marina. The boats ride well together and we are blessed with calm waters, currents, tides and zero wind.

Earlier in the day, I had made a run over there to top off my fuel tank and buy a few things. I see Judy's Albin and notice where the covered slips are. It turns out to get to their slip we will have to make 3 left turns and their slip is the last on the left. This is the best approach for Shatoosh and her engine, so I am most familiar with this maneuvering. Everyone works well together and in no time Hummingbird is her her new berth and we are all glad to have everything go well. Judy takes me aboard, her boat and she is a good buy with an upgraded Yanmar engine. It has a good dinghy to boot.

Jip stays aboard Hummingbird to keep on top of the ingress of water, while Judy, Patty and I go for Mexican food on Fidalgo Island. We get to drive over Deception Pass to look down at the waters, Shatoosh and I have traversed yesterday. Judy is about to retire from being Staff Chief Engineer on the Yakima Ferry and Jip is a retired Chief Engineer for the Ferry System. Patty and her husband have a beautiful sailboat on Orcas. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of their launching of this beautiful boat, the Hummingbird and to have met such talented and wonderful people. In the morning we will depart, but Deception Pass and these blog readers have made an impression on Shatoosh, Pashmina and Hira. Shatoosh and Hira get to be tug boaters for a change and Pashmina says, " the adventures always amaze me."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Deception Pass: Whidbey Island to Fildalgo Island

19 September 2011 Monday

Yesterday evening I began to ponder where I would go today after leaving Spencer Spit.Trying to stay in the mode of going and seeing new places I decide that Deception Pass must be on the list. 30 years ago, it was on my Scary List, so I never went through it. I always crossed the Straits of Juan de Fuca. With all the Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina under my belt, I should take it on. So, I checked out the slack tides and the 1434 time looked good to me.

It was very still all night and I awoke early and quite rested. The first ferry got us rolling a bit. Some boats left early, as well. I have been thinking more about my buoy line and am going to tweak it a bit for finer use. Rather than go forward to the v-berth to take up the slack, I decided that I could extend the line back to the aft cleat, leaving the main line in the forward chock. Then I could adjust the line  from the cockpit.  I had some extra line so set up my new line and gave it a try. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Now, this is exactly what I needed and wanted.

At 1000 hrs I depart and hug Frost Island, as Spencer Spit really extends a far piece into the water. Several people were walking the Spit and getting their feet wet at the bitter end. I swing around and see only one buoy on the southern side. They must have taken many of them up.

Spencer Spit

Since this is so calm in here, it would be the perfect place to drop that anchor with the extension of chain and get her up again. I did it with ease, so now that is solved. I'm on an early roll as I meander south and east between Lopez, Decatur, Trump and Center islands. At 1100hrs I pass through Lopez Pass and fish a little in the small cove before heading across Rosario Straits, which are calm and no wind.


Spencer Spit to Lopez Pass

Lopez Pass to Bowman Bay

Bowman to Skagit Island

Buoyed up at Bowman Bay

I'm crossing diagonally to Bowman State Park which is just outside Deception Pass. This will be a good place to wait for slack tide. A Trawler comes in just ahead of me and then a Canadian sailboat with a single hander. Both dock at the unattached float, while I buoy up with my latest version:2.0. After lunch and a bit early there are boats gathering outside Bowman Bay and the other 2 boats start to move. I had planned on leaving at 1430 as it would only take 5 minutes to get over there. Boats are not only gathering they are moving through, so I move out as well. There are about 5 boats ahead of me. I plan to hold back and watch and about half way through the big boats are having to pick up their rpms to move through. I hang back some more and see all go through so at 1430, I move up to my cruising rpm of 2700 and drive through at 5.3k. There is still some turbulence but not much. I move down and check out the State Park in Cornet Bay, but want to see what the buoy situation is at Skagit and Hope Islands. There are 2 buoys at Skagit and in spite of them looking very close to shore I take the one in the middle of the island. If I get too close I have lots of other options.

I jig and get 2 soles one I keep and one I throw back. This will be good for dinner. There were many small fishing boats at the bridge area and lots of people fishing on shore, so the pinks must be running. Once inside I troll for a spell but nothing.

I am happy with my buoy and  the slight wind has calmed itself and the sunset is gorgeous. This has been a fun and challenging day. Deception Pass is certainly beautiful and the Bowman Bay park is nice and big. I'm really happy I added this to my 2011 list as it has added an unique corner.of boating to my world. For all the people who are afraid of Deception Pass, don't be. At slack tide, it is a wonderful opportunity and gives you another option of getting the San Juan Islands; Deception Pass, The Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Swinomish Channel. Some people say,  as you age you become more frightened. NOT ME, I'm  braver now than when I was born. Everyone should throw away their scary lists and live a fun filled, free life.

Deception Pass

Day's Run:18nm
Total 312nm