Thursday, October 27, 2011


Shatoosh's hardtop was made while she was berthed in Sausalito, California by her previous owner. The company was Dolfin Details, and is still in business. If interested in inquiring, Shatoosh's previous owner, now deceased, was Ray Sarlin and the previous name was Rayanna. Many people have commented on how they like the design and some have actually made copies of it with modifications. Harmony's previous owner copied/modified  Shatoosh's hardtop and built it in his side yard in CA. I got to witness some of the construction. Harmony is now berthed on Orcas Island, WA.

I recently got a request from another Albin 25 owner who is interested in making a hardtop for his Ms. Bettencourt. We have emailed numerous times about boat projects and I mailed him a copy of my swim platform template when he was converting a used teak platform. While he is one of those FBR(faceless blog readers), I feel that we are kindred spirits and I seem to know him on some level. Aren't all Albin owners connected by some etheric web?

Several emails have passed between us this month and I have been taking measurements and photos of detailed aspects. I have detailed invoices of materials used, and sequences of fabrication. My friends, Conrad and Juanita and I fiberglassed the hardtop in 2001 and I have all the receipts and materials used to accomplish that project. Yesterday and today I have spent lots of time making a packet of all the photos and measurements and adding comments to them. It has turned out to be  27 pages with answered emails from to him.

The newly created packet will go in the mail to Georgia today with best wishes to John on his winter project.

Let us know when it is finished, and send photos and I will be happy to post them on the blog. I know you will love having this enclosure. Here in the northwest, it is a real treat to have a hardtop, which helps extend our cruising window. However, in the south, you might need opening side windows and an opening hatch at the helm station.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

McMicken Island and Ann

25 October 2011 Tuesday
Ann joins me and the clouds, fog are lazy burning off but by the time we get to McMicken  Island, it is lovely and sunny. The tide has reached its ebb and more of the sandpit is showing itself. Ann rows us to shore and likes how P2 is performing. I bring some extra line with us but we don't have anything to tie to. I tried to move one of the smaller rocks, but it was way too heavy.
Ann gathers shells for her grand kids
 Today I want to walk the trail out to the point and see if we can see the eagle. From Shatoosh we heard them conversing and there are 2 of them, which we could see. We didn't see them while in the forest, but saw one return to the island once we had returned to Shatoosh.

Ann with bolders

I can always find trees to hug me.

We are welcomed by the cedar and the Douglas Fir.

The inner island trail is dark.
See orb on the right, it is blue.

All those tree rings

A wet mossy path.

A lush succulent meadow

We arrive back in time, but I will need to get an
anchoring stake.

Upon returning to P2, we row over to Harstene Island to see if we can find a County Park, but rather find a nice little babbling brook running into where the spit attaches to Harstene.
Babbling Brook

Nice fall colors

Hira rows Ann
We both agree P2 is a big improvement.
What a lovely day it has been. I have known Ann since the mid 60's and while we don't see much of each other on land, I do try to get her on board as much as I can. She is always fun and up for any challenge. Come again.
P2 riding well  tied to swim platform,
McMicken in the distance.

PS.. In an article by Jo Bailey in 48 Degrees North, she describes the McMicken Island sandspit as a "Tombolo".  see Wikipedia: She also speaks about the presence of great shell deposits, which she believes is an Indian Midden, or garbage pit. This is evident along the south shore. 
In the book, South Puget Sound: Afoot and Afloat, by Marge and Ted Mueller, they refer to the boulder
(noted on the chart) on the north east side as, a large, rock erratic from the Pleistocene Glacier. An erratic is defined as, a rock fragment carried by glacial ice, or floating ice, deposited at some distance from the outcrop from which it was derived. Size ranges from pebble- to house-sized block. So this answers many of my questions about the South Sound's beautiful gem of an island. I shall think of her as my Treasure Island, as she offers us so many gifts, all on such a small island (11acres).

More On McMicken Island

23 October 2011 Monday
I slept on board again after doing some chores yesterday. The marina guys got my cleats on the docks and even re-tied my new dock lines for me. They are all great guys and most helpful. Yesterday I met up with the fella who straps his portabote on the swim platform. He has never named his porta bote, but said his grandaughters love the boat and he should have them name her. They have owned her 11 years. He gave me a name of a vinyl graphic person who has always made his boat names. His look really good, so I will call this guy to see what he can do for me and Pashmina's new logo.

The thick fog burnt off fast with the rapidly appearing sunshine. Sunshine is my ticket to ride, so it was no time before we threw off the new dock lines and snaked our way out the winter exit through the re-established breakwaters. This time I timed my turns without having to back up some to make the turn.  Once out of the maize, it is a straight 6nm shot to McMicken Island.

I am headed there again, this time to circumnavigate the island in Pashmina 2 and to walk the beaches. There are some interesting things about the island. I have questions, but so far no one has answers for me. The first thing that strikes my eye is the unusual numbers of granite boulders that are scattered all over the beaches and even under water. How did they get there? It would have to be from an eruption of Mt Rainier or from the ice age. The strange thing is no other of the islands in the immediate area have these boulders. The next item of interest to me is that on south west side there are an unusual amount of barnacles, everything is heavily encrusted, while on the north beaches there are huge oyster shells and wind blown bluffs. The third item of interest is the abundance of sand dollars along the land spit that extends to Harstene Island. The fourth item is there is a small boarded up cabin/house with several out buildings. This is all fenced off from the State Park area. No one can tell me who owns this place. For such a small island it seems jam packed with lots to see and Pashmina 2 and I are champing at the bit to get going.

The tide is low when we arrive and and before you can blink your eye, Shatoosh is secured on the buoy, and Hira is on the aft cabin letting P2 slide off the swim platform. On my previous trips to McMicken I have had some tasty morsels to nibble on, but today I want to eat the whole enchilada, as they say in Texican.We are not going to waste any time today, as exploration is the main objective. The island has 2 composting toilets at the head of the pasture. I flush about 10 Canada Geese who are grazing in the pasture. I catch 2 taking flight, but the picture is blurred. There are so many things on the shoreline to look at. The textures, the colors, the barnacles, the configurations of branches, trees, the gravel and the looming boulders cast their shadow of uncertain origin over the beaches. I even find a geodetic survey stamp in a boulder on the northwestern point of land. It has been eroded with time and weather, however the patina is lovely. At times the clouds move in and hide the sun, but not for long. Today the sun claims control and it is a beautiful day.

In a modified Hindu tradition, I choose to honor the island by performing pradakshina or walking around the deity in a clockwise manner. Normally you walk 3 times around, but today I will walk/row, explore and pay thanks to this beautiful gem in the Salish Sea. At first I leave P2 on shore and begin my walk, I realize that I have tarried much too long and find P2's bitter end of her bow line about a foot from the water's edge and the flooding tide has her surrounded.


Sand Dollars, my favorite shell

Encrusted Rock on Granite Boulder

Underside of Encrusted Rock

I see you, little harbor seal.

Reaching out



Geodetic Stamp

Another boulder

Just in time

After I have retrieved her and advanced to the other side I have found huge oyster shells and see one with God's imprint of his hand and fingers. I pick up a piece of lava tubing with rocks solidified within its grasp. More evidence of a tumultuous beginning. The island continues to reveal itself to me and I am held captive by its quiet charisma..

Oyster Shell with Hand Print
Lava with encased stones.

I have completed my pradakshina, am most grateful for this island and its gifts. It is a peaceful and fascinating place. I row back to Shatoosh and the long sloping beaches have been gobbled up by the incoming sea. I lift my bucket of treasures onto the aft cabin and pull P2 onto the swim platform. I sit in the sun and remove my life jacket and fleece jacket. I am at peace, warmed by sun's solar energy and drift into meditation for a while. The screaming cries of an eagle brings me back into attention mode; I look for him but can not see him. He is there, hiding, but later, on departure I can see him guarding the island from his elusive outpost high in the fir trees.I think I see another one as well, which would account for all the conversations I was hearing.

Tomorrow the sun will shine again and I am bringing Ann along, since she has never been here before. I can't wait to show it to her and see what the island will reveal to us.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A New Graphic For Pashmina 2

Now that I am loving Pashmina 2, I have been thinking she needs a personal logo to express her mission and contribution to Hira and Shatoosh's Adventures in the Salish Sea. She will be playing a big part in where and how we will be able to explore. I wanted a rough and tough, go any where kind of boat, one that I could drag along the rugged coastlines, and not have to worry about getting her hurt. Well, she is already filling my desires and has convinced me she is tough as nails. She is ready to take me anywhere I want to go.

The Salish Sea has nourished the Northwest Tribal communities for hundreds of years and like-wise the tribal Indians have honored the great cycle of life that it offers. I have been intrigued with native Indian artwork and their beautiful graphic designs, totems and sculptures for years, but now that my focus is to venture north next summer I have come up with my own design, after contemplating my feelings of Pashmina 2.

First, she represents freedom and what better symbol so we have but the eagle.
Second, she will take me into small inlets and tidal creeks and rivers, so we have water-waves going from large to small.
Third, we will witness the great cycle of the salmon runs, so we have salmon running from the ocean to the rivers.
Fourth, we honor the great trees, the fir and the cedar, so we have have rings to reflect their majestic lives.
Fifth, we will always be aware of the beautiful qualities of the waxing moon; a new beginning in the Salish Sea, the light increases so that we might see better, have new insight as we travel to new places-- meet new faces and create greater wisdom within. We will carry our waxing inner light to share, motivate, inspire and impact other's lives.

It is for these reasons that I have drawn this new design for Pashmina 2, as she supports  Hira and Shatoosh in our mission of exploring the great Salish Sea.

Work Day and First Marina Overnighter

20 October 2011 Thursday

I'm back on Shatoosh taking care of loose ends. The marina doesn't have cleats on the docks, but I was told if you bought them, they would install them. I stopped by the office to get the details on the screw length and will go later to obtain them from Home Depot over on the interstate junction which is about 15 minutes.
After washing the boats, I go through all the previous dock lines from my marina in Oregon and get them attached to the uprights, while removing my cruising dock lines. The nightly visiting pack of otters did a number on my port line, so I soaked it in a bucket of Clorox and soapy water to kill the stench.Otter stench is enough to make you loose your appetite and it also left a horrible smell on my hands, even after rinsing the line off. I also put some Clorox water on the Sand Dollars to bleach them out. I affixed some hooks for the excess electrical cord and for stowage when Shatoosh is out of her slip. As soon as the cleats go in, I will be well established and situated in my new slip. I look forward to being settled in my new home port. I have met some other dock mates and I am amazed at the numbers of boaters who have cruised not once to Alaska, but 2 and 3 times, all in small boats.

I tidy up Shatoosh and head into the junction of Hawk's Prairie to get my screws, eat dinner and spot a Super Cuts, as I was turning back to the interstate.. I am about 3 weeks overdue on a haircut, so I take advantage of this opportunity. You know it is a bad hair day when you even wear your cap at night. This is the longest my hair has been since I had all my hair buzzed off for a charity event 3 years ago. Boy, does this feel good and I even look human. As I walk out of the salon. I see my reflection in the door. Well, maybe my nautical image of baggy jeans, hiking shoes and orange fleece pullover could use a little tweaking.

Tonight I am staying on board in the slip for the first time. When I return it is dark, so it is nice to see the dock light right at my slip. I wonder if the light attracts otters, like lights attracting insects? I would think they would prefer a dark, private dock. I'll see how my night reveals itself. I'm happy to see I have enough cell coverage to make some calls, but not enough to use the Internet. Booo!

P.S. No animals tonight, no noises, no people. It was calm, dead calm. Even all those sea anemones living on the sides of the dock were silent. I would have never known I was afloat in the Salish Sea.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bird Watching With Care

!7 October 2011 Monday
My dear friend, Care, of 46 years is joining me today for a bird watching session. She is a birding expert and I am looking forward to this trip I have planned for today. The next inlet over towards the south is Henderson Inlet and is known for a great bird and seal habitat. The morning skies are blue as can be, but as we approach the marina we are hanging out in some light fog, which will soon be gone.

We depart the marina at about high tide and we see several flocks of birds before we enter Henderson Inlet. On the northern side of the inlet we are spotting loons, cormorants, grebes, surf scooters and Care is quick to note that some are sporting their winter plumage. We reach the end of the charted waters but still have a depth of 20 feet of ebbing waters. I continue further up the inlet until we are in 9 feet of water and have come across hundreds of surf scooters, which I try to capture with my little camera as they take flight.

Birds seen with Care:
Thick Billed Murre
Black and Common Surf Scooters
Horned Grebe
Western Grebe
Pacific Loon
Double Crested Cormorant
Pigeon Guillemot
Imature Bald Eagle

We turn and now follow the southern shore back out where we come across the old log booms areas which has 2 large inlets. The signs on the pilings state that this is a protected habitat for seals and we need to stay 300 feet away. It would be a great place to anchor out of the way and take P2 into the inlets at some later time. I look forward to that adventure.

Next we cross over and set a course for McMicken Island. I know Care will enjoy this place as much as I do. We close up the windows and put on the heater to warm us up a bit. Care likes the buoy line set up and in no time we are munching on the chicken sandwiches I made early this morning. With lunch done, we put P2 in the water and head to shore to see what the low tide is offering us. Gifts From The Sea, as Ann Morough Lindberg wrote decades ago. My older sister always loved the chapter on the Beach. The tidal spit that connects Harstene Island to McMicken Island is revealing herself and Hira tries hard to balance herself on land's end.
Hira and Land's End

Care on Terra Firma

A Proud Porta-bote Owner

Team Players Make Many Adventures

Mt Rainier

The ebbing tide reveals lots of shells on the beach, but the best were several sand dollars that had departed this world, so I did not feel bad about picking some up for my great nieces. Take a look at Sand Dollars on Wikipedia

I certainly had a wonderful time having Care on board before she too, takes flight and becomes a snow bird, just like her fine feathered friends. Care, see you in the spring when you migrate north with all the birds.

Something went a miss on our tracking from Zittles Marina along the northern shore of Henderson Inlet.
Today's run: 21.1nm

Tolmie State Park and Pashmina 2

17 October 2011 Sunday

I'm excited about more exploring in Pashmina 2, so will depart the marina and follow the shoreline east towards the Nisqually Reach., which is the shallow delta region of the Nisqually River that flows from the Nisqually Glacier on Mt Rainier. The Nisqually Wildlife Area is being revamped by the native Nisqually Indians to bring the habit back to its original state so that salmon can return.

Tolmie State Park is on the way down to the reach and has been an area for oyster farming and has a small park and several buoys offshore as it is a shallow region. I pick up one of the buoys and quickly set P2 in the water. She has ridden well on the way down, is stable and secure.

The oars fit snugly under the seats

The fenders nestle under seats

A small inlet into Tolmie

P2 rows easily in 4 inches of water and with such clear water I can see where old oyster beds remain and also can see some Sand Dollars throughout the bottom. I understand that harvesting live dollars is illegal now. I return to Shatoosh and load P2 up again. She is very easy to pull up onto the  swim platform, making me wonder if having davits is really needed. I'm keeping my mind open to all possibilities.

I see on the chart that there is a deeper area farther down towards the reach and can see old pilings off in the distance. 
This area is new to me so I continue and watch my depth sounder and chart position carefully. As I approach the area I can see several buoys ahead that state they are private and part of a residential area. Also I can see masts behind a breakwater which indicates there is a small marina there. The entrance inlet to is high and dry right now as the tide is out, but apparently it is deep enough at high tide for sailboats to venture in and out. Near the shore there is the remains of an old wooden vessel of rather large size that has deteriorated over many years.

Each ring is one nm in length.

With each passing P2 adventure I am more and more impressed with this boat. I am loving her and  can see how she is already impacting me with her ease and versatility. Pashmina 2 has quickly resolved my doubts that I had about her since purchasing her.  She is without a doubt a winner.
Days Run 8.1nm

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pashmina Departs for Her New Home

Noon 15 October 2011
The deal is finalized as Brock comes to Puyallup, Wa to pick up Pashmina. I had given her a good cleaning the other day and placed her on a tarp in the garage to dry. Today she looks sparkling clean and good as new. He has lots of plans for using her in various lakes and rivers around Washington. Brock is just the perfect guy to own her and I am very happy, as I know that Pashmina will provide him with many adventures, as she has done for me. We have certainly had lots of fun.

Blogspot Reveals New Feature

I opened up my blog today and noticed when I clicked on a photo, it not only enlarged it as usual, but a new feature revealed itself. All the posted photos appeared in a series and you can scroll thru them with your wheeled mouse. How nice is this? Enjoy looking at all the enlargements with a single click.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pashmina 2 Getting To Know Her

I've returned again to Shatoosh to tend to Pashmina 2 and her lines. I take lots of time to see what will be the best attachment and how I might want the lines to anchor her on the swim platform. First I tie a fender onto the platform to balance the boat in the bow section. Then measure and cut 2 stern lines and a center lifting line. After getting those attached, I release P2 and place her in the water and go for a row throughout the marina looking at all the boats and then venturing to the back inlet where a small creek flows. There are several log booms and old docks. Several Kingfishers and ducks are in the inlet.

I am surprised at how easy P 2 is to row. She glides through the water effortless. I make a few adjustments on the oars in the oar locks. A feeling of a new found fondness is emerging from my heart for this little funny looking boat. I'm going to like her, I say to myself. This is the moment I have been waiting for; a nautical bonding has taken place. I mean, it is extremely important to love your boat and dinghy. The boat takes you places that you can't go in a car, but a dinghy takes you places the boat can't take you. A dinghy is the best, it will carry you into the deeper crevices of the nautical highway. It allows you to see nature in her rawest form; the smells are different, the noises are unique, or the lack of sounds stop you in your tracks, you might get to see animal tracks, explore animal scat to see what foods the animals are eating, see Heron rookeries, or Bald Eagle nests. The lists go on and on. Yes, the dinghy is most important and worthy of great love from the owner. I can't wait, P2, lets get going and have some great adventures together. I row back to my slip and with great enthusiasm, I attach new lines to the fenders and have found 2 special nooks to place them under the seats. I see how I can stow the oars snugly and hopefully, securely. This is all coming together.  I end my day with leaving 2 options open for me for lifting the dinghy onto the platform. I plan to practice some with both ways, before I decide on a final version.

I take some good shots of all the sea anemones that are in the slip areas. My slip has some beauties. Notice how clear the water is. They are growing perpendicular to the dock's edge. Let's hope they stay on the dock and don't migrate to the hull.

Yesterday I finalized my project of a sun screen for my netbook/chartplotter. I bought some vinyl black document cover sheets. It is flat black on the inside and shiny on the outside. Will see how this works.