Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All wrapped up . . .

We went down to the boat after work to put the tarp on.  It actually went better than usual, maybe because I had some help (Deborah) getting everything organized.  Still, it was dark by the time we were done. 

Just need to take the dessicant down and decide if I'm going to do something to close the stern down to keep the leaves out better.

C'mon Spring!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Done sailing for the year . . .

September 29, 2010

Finished pulling everything out of the boat Tuesday night and pulled her down to the lockup for the winter.  Still need to pull the outboard off, cover the boat with the tarp and set up the solar panel to keep the battery charged, then I'm about done until spring  Well, except that the living room is full of gear which I'll have to put up by the weekend and I should probably cover the trailer tires to protect them from the weather/sun.

Project list to be completed before spring launch:
  • Critical:
    • Remove, fill & redrill screw holes, and rebed the Tabernacle (leak)
    • Remove, fill & redrill screw holes, and rebed the stanchions (leak, port side)
    • Repair damaged gel coat on battery compartment
    • Repair damaged gel coat on starboard cockpit seats
    • Varnish, drill, and add hardware to new tiller
    • Adjust mast gates
    • Replace traveller control line
    • Put cleat back on mast for forward reefing line
    • New velcro for boarding ladder
    • Test bilge pump
    • New dolly wheel tires
    • Replace upper telltale on Ullman main
  • Supplies needed
    • West System 602 thickened epoxy
    • New caulking gun
    • Cordless dremel & appropriate bits
    • New tiller mounting plates(?) & screws
    • Gel coat repair kit
  • Optional
    • Remove, fill, & redrill screw holes, and rebed winches
    • Remove, fill, & redrill screw holes, and rebed deck hardware
    • Replace Spinlock rope clutches with something more reliable
    • Apply new anti-skid to cockpit seats
    • Replace forward hatch gasket
    • Trim companionway screen frame to fit under main hatch
    • Remove and clean under main hatch
    • Check for delamination between cockpit and stern inside hull
    • Replace single gin pole with a-frame style setup.
    • Relocate spare tire
    • Relocate trailer jack
    • Replace trailer winch
    • Replace trailer tires
Lots to do, but most of the critical stuff should be relatively inexpensive.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sail for the Cure 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Almost exactly one year ago Deborah, and my sister, Gretchen, went through breast cancer surgeries.  We decided to close out this years sailing season by participating in the 11th annual Sail for the Cure in Portland. 

Saturday morning I washed down the boat, loaded things up, and just before noon we hit the road.  Stopped to get gas and realized I didn't know where the straps I use as baby stays for the gin pole and mast were.  Back to the house and . . . I still don't know where they are.  Drove to Portland, with a detour through Salem because I-5 was closed for a wreck

We got to the ramp around 3:30 and started setting things up.  Managed to raise the mast without baby stays on the gin pole but I had to cut away the ones I'd rigged for the mast.  Forgot that the padeyes on the cabin needed some stand off and I couldn't get the straps to release after the mast was up.  Oops!

The Gleason ramp is nice, but way longer than the one at Fern Ridge; it's also steeper.  A guy on a Harley who was watching asked if we needed some help, which I accepted.  He helped guide the trailer down the ramp after I got the straps set up and everything went smoothly.

Once the truck was parked we loaded up and headed down the Columbia.  There were a lot of boats out enjoying the sunshine and water and the river was pretty rough.  The view of Mt Hood was awesome - I should have grabbed the camera.  We motored down the river to Hayden Bay and parked Verboten in a private slip in front of some condos; very nice.

Karen (condo owner) drove us back to get the truck/trailer.  Parked on the street across from her condo, unhooked the trailer, and went to dinner.  After we got back I put the boom on and got everything rigged.  Went to bed fairly early.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Woke early to rain; looks like there is a leak around the tabernacle as the compression post was wet.  We got up around 9:00 and went for breakfast at BK.  Drove back to the condo, got the trailer and dropped it off back at the ramp, then went to Portland Yacht Club to sign in and get our crew & sailing orders.  

Seems like we don't have very good luck with crew - aside from Mary, who we knew couldn't make it, none of the others showed up either!  Funny thing is, as we were waiting to talk to someone at the registration area about how to get our crew to the boat, I overheard Edie (the lady in charge of it all) telling someone she'd be on Verboten.  "Did you say Verboten?" I asked, "I'm the skipper of Verboten . . . "  Introductions were done and we picked a time to meet, then got Karen's address, I called our last prospective crew member, who said she wasn't coming, so we headed back to the boat.

After we got back I put on my foulies and tighted up the rig, then wrapped the lifelines with pink flagging.  I put up the burgees (one for Mom, one for Deborah) and hung a couple of the "Make Breast Cancer Walk the Plank" banners the grandkids made off the lifelines.

Raynette (Ray) got there as I was finishing up the flagging.

Deborah and Ray
We pushed off and headed up the river toward Buoy 14 . . .

We weren't alone . . .

We didn't quite make it to the buoy for the start, but that's ok, because a whole bunch of boats did and they were all headed our way, so we turned around and joined them.

It was pretty crowded with lots of close passes . . .

With boats going in all directions . . .

Trying to beat back up the river against the current. 

At 3:00 we headed back to Hayden Bay where I dropped off Deborah and Ray.  Deborah drove the truck back to the Gleason ramp while I motored back up the river. 

Joe Washburn, from the Trailer Sailor Forum met us there and helped get the boat out of the water.  We tried a new approach with Deborah staying on the boat to hook up the winch strap.  That worked out ok but things got interesting when I started pulling the trailer out of the water with her in the cockpit - the front of the trailer came right up out of the water!  Once she moved to the bow things settled down and I was able to pull the trailer out of the water.  *whew*

We got the boat up in the lot, winched it the rest of the way on the trailer (only 1/2 the keel was on the trailer!) and started breaking things down.  Joe was really helpful and able to take care of a bunch of stuff, like loosening the stays while I got the boom ready to come off.   Once the boom was put away we started on the mast.  Things went really well until the mast was about a foot from the mast crutch - I forgot about the tendency of the gin pole to fall off to one side if it's not stayed . . . and it did.  I swore a bit but Joe remained calm.  Once he let the tension off the line I was able to remove the gin pole and we lifted the mast off the stern rail and onto the crutch roller.  I still haven't found those @#$@ straps I bought specifically for raising/lowering the mast!

The rest was cake - tied off the lines and got everything ready to go.  We talked to Joe a bit, thanked hiim, and then stopped by the Portland Yacht Club for a bite to eat and to see if we'd won anything on the raffle tickets I'd bought.  We hadn't but Deborah got 3 bottles of wine from the Wall of Wine and bought a couple of t-shirts for the girls.  We then headed for I-5 and got home around 8:30, tired, sore, but glad we went.

Would I do it all again?  Probably not, but it was a special way to close out the season this first year after Deborah and Gretchen's surgeries.  Next year we'll rent a boat or go as crew, or maybe we can find a marina where we can leave Verboten for a week and pull her out the weekend after Sail for the Cure.

Photo by Dena Kent

Photo by Dena Kent

Photo by Dena Kent

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The end is near!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The end of the sailing season is near, that is!  Zach and I drove down to pull the boat on Saturday.  As usual, it took several hours.  The part that really sucked was the constant rain.  By the time we were done the boat and I were both pretty much soaked through. 

Pulling the boat out went pretty well, got it on the trailer on the first try.  I did have to leave Zach and the boat at the transient dock while I ran to Jerry's to buy a new come-a-long.  Forgot to grab the one in the shed and there's no way to pull the boat all the way forward on the trailer without it.

Dropping the mast went really well, for a change.  Nothing hung up and nothing broke.  I did almost slip and fall twice though; the deck was really wet!

Got the boat home in the afternoon and left it parked overnight.  Did some clean up on Sunday.  Next up is Sail for the Cure in Portland next weekend, then the season really is over.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Tuesday night sail of 2010

Well, the season is definitely winding down.  Zach, Gabe from work, and I drove down after work with the idea that we'd try out the gennaker again.  ha!

Got to the lake and there was barely any wind.  We decided to go out anyway and I'm glad we did.  We ever so slowly oozed out of the harbor and paralleled the dam.  Gabe's an experienced sailor and managed the genoa & leads with no direction from me.  He and Zach have had classes together and seem to share interests so there was conversation about a lot of different things while we waited for a breeze.

Eventually, around 7 or so, the wind finally started to come up.  By then we were on the other side of the lake.  The Beer Can crew apparently decided to start racing late as we crossed their bows just after they started.

Put back in to the slip around 8:00 and packed things up.  Zach and I will go down on Saturday to pull the boat for the season.  Bummer.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Last Saturday on Fern Ridge for this year

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Deborah and I drove down to the lake for what's probably our last sail on the lake this year.  The forecast called for wind building from 6 to 9 kts throughout the afternoon so just about perfect for a leisurely cruise.

We got there around 1:00 to some pretty gusty winds at the dock so we went with the trusty blade instead of the 140 genoa.  I did take the reef out of the main that had been in for the last couple of weeks.  Dean got there to take Stairway out as we were getting ready to leave.

I backed us out of the slip and got us headed out into the harbor.  Deborah took the tiller, I raised the sails, and she skippered for about the first hour.  Called Zach in Florida to see if he needed us to pick them up at the airport tomorrow; nope, Krista's Dad will get them.

The wind went light for a while then picked up after Deborah turned the helm over to me.  Great sailing and an opportunity to get more practice using the traveller to deal with gusts instead of dumping the main sheet.

We stayed out until about 6:30, and returned to the dock.  Had a bit of an issue with the vang block on the boom and the boomkicker.  Ended up pulling the ends of the boomkicker out of the lower mount, so i got to fix that before we left.  Closed the boat up and we headed home around 7:00.

Only a few sails left until the boat goes to the RV storage for the winter; Tuesday night is the beer can, pull the boat on the 18th or 19th, then Sail for the Cure in Portland on the 25th/26th.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A great Sunday sail

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

This afternoon Deborah and I drove down to the lake for an afternoon sail.  Things turned interesting right from the start, as the wind, which was from the east when we got there, came around to the northeast as I was backing out of the slip.  We got forced in close to the other boats and ended up scraping the bbq on Stairway's solar panel.  Luckily no damage to either.

The wind was blowing pretty hard and forecast to be up around 14 by 5:00 PM, so I left the reef in.  The initial run out of the bay was the usual shifty pain but we eventually found clear air and had a great sail.  Even with the reef in we were maintaining high 5's and sometimes mid-6's on the GPS.  The wind was strong and gusty but with the reef in the boat handles it well.  Deborah said afterwards that she had fun too, unusual given the wind strength.

I tried taking a page from Don Guillette's sail trim lessons and used the traveller to bring the main as close to mid-line as possible.  I also played the traveller more instead of the main sheet with the gusts.  Seemed to work pretty well but I think I'll have to replace the traveller line in the spring as it's showing its age.

Saw Dean when we were almost ready to head in so we chased him down and told him about the solar panel.  He took some pictures of us before we got close enough to holler, then followed us across the lake.  I threw in an extra tack so he caught up and beat us in to the slip.

Photo by Dean Grabski
We chatted with Dean for a while, then closed up the boat after he went back out.  The folks on the other side of Stairway came in as I was finishing up the boom tent so I ran over to lend a hand.  Good thing as the wind caught them and they mostly missed their slip.  I ended up on the 4th boat down trying to fend them off.  Not sure, but I think maybe the woman was Darcy from the ASBC at work.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Gaby's day on the boat

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today was finally Gaby's turn to spend the night on the boat.  She asked if she could bring a couple of her friends for the day instead so Carla and Maria joined us.  Maria had been on a boat, even a sailboat, before, but Carla hadn't.

The forecast called for the temperature to be around 72 and wind building throughout the afternoon so we left around 10:00 AM.  We got to the lake around 11:00; I forgot the permit was in the truck so we had to pay to park.  Ooops!

We sailed for a while, with reefted main and blade until the wind died.  So, we had a bit of lunch, then the girls wanted to swim.  I hove to and Deborah, Gaby and Maria took turns swimming off the ladder.  Eventually the wind seemed to come back up so we sailed a bit more . . . until it died again.  I fired up the iron genny and the girls took turns steering the boat.

Since they wanted to swim some more, but not in the middle of the lake, we worked our way back to Richardson.  My idea was to pull up at the day use pier, but not knowing how deep the water is, I decided to anchor off the swimming area instead. 

The girls spent over an hour swimming and jumping off the boat while Deborah played lifeguard and in-the-water photographer.

We finally coaxed them out of the water at 3:30 and were on the road home by 4:30.  Seems like they all had fun, and Gaby's happy, so a good day on the water.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beer Can Guests

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Since Zach is back on the East Coast I sent an email to everyone at work asking for crew.  Caitlin said she'd never sailed and thought it might be fun but she wasn't sure.  With a little convincing and an offer to bring a friend she said she'd come along.

We left a little after 5, got a bite to eat, filled the truck, and got to the lake around 6:15.  Caitlin's friend Stacy met us there; she had never sailed either. 

We got the boat ready, lifejackets on, and motored out of the slip around 6:35.  The wind was a strong westerly so once we were out past the docks I turned the boat around, gave Stacy the tiller and had Caitlin raise the main; I left the reef in from the weekend.  We sailed around for a few minutes until I thought they were comfortable, then Caitlin went up on the bow and undid the bungies so Stacy could raise the 98% jib.  The sheets were run back to the cockpit winches instead of the cabin tops so I could handle them if necessary.

It was approaching 7:00 and the rest of the boats were milling around the start.  We made a couple of tacks, Stacy working the port winch and Caitlin the starboard one.  At the horn we were near the back of the pack, getting pushed up by the green ketch (yawl?) from B dock. 

We started out on a broad reach then switched to wing & wing as the wind came around a bit.  Pretty quickly (the wind was blowing pretty good) we turned down toward Leakin' Lena and picked up speed.  A close pass and we headed toward the first buoy on a close reach and the second close hauled.  Boat speed was up over 6 kts with the blade and reefed main (the boat really is faster on a starboard tack)!  Caitlin and Stacy took it all in stride and Stacy only came up from the lee (downhill) side when I asked her to as the puffs were getting strong. 

SCBOP on Big Dog apparently blew a 1 minute warning, which I thought was the signal for the turn, so we had a bit of a head start going back, as did the Ketch.  We were chasing the ketch and just about everyone else was chasing us.  After the turn toward Richardson the reefed main, and me trying to pinch too much, really cut into our speed and the pack started to to really close the distance.  A couple tacks (Caitlin & Stacy have the drill down!) put us across the line in good shape and ahead of the ketch.  The only issue was when I lost my balance during the first tack and sort of sat on the tiller - CRUNCH! - twice!!!  -  CRUnch!!

Once we were in the harbor Caitlin pulled the jib down, then Stacy steered again while I pulled down the main.  We motored in, Caitlin jumped on the dock to help stop the boat, we packed things up (including the split tiller) and were on the road home at 9:00.  I think (hope) they both had a good time, though I think Stacy was happy to be back to the "warm" land as she'd worn shorts and it was pretty cool out there.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Naomi went for a sail!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The day started out with the annual Back Pack Giveaway at church.  We gave away about 320 backpacks; 8 or 10 of the Discovery Club kids had to give up theirs and we still had to take names of several others.  Lots of needy folks with the economy like it is

After the Back Pack Giveaway Pastor and Naomi joined us for lunch at Rodeo Steak House and Grill in Junction City, then we headed down to the boat.  Naomi was nervous so I tried to take it easy. 

 We had a relatively easy sail across the lake, then headed back toward the cove south of the marinas and things started to get interesting.  Real gusty wind with pretty severe shifts.  We had the blade up, and the full main, so I worked us up into the cove, where there was a little less wind, and we quickly reefed the main.  That helped with the heeling but didn't address the shifts.  I've never seen anything like it.  If the wind was blowing the shift would be on the order of 30 degrees.  If we were in a lull, and there were a few up behind the hill, then the wind would shift nearly 180 degrees.  We finally headed in around 4:00 or 4:30 and headed home, with a stop at the DQ in Junction City for Banana Splits.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Slow going and S20 Towing!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Beer Can Tuesday with Zach.  We stopped by his house for a quick bite of dinner and said Hi to Krista, then down to the lake.  The wind was fairly light so up with the genoa tonight.  No pictures though - I forgot the camera.   

Lots of boats out tonight.  As usual the race started a few minutes late.  That worked out good for us though, as we got a great start and got to make a laser on port tack give way right at the buoy!  We crossed the line 2nd behind a speedy little thistle and managed to hold off the competition most of the way to Leakin' Lena.  The S20 (Spy) behind us eventually became the S20 in front of us.  We made the turn downwind on a broad reach then winged out the jib - at which point the wind totally died.  At the 30 minute horn we were only about 2/3 to the first bouy after Lena!

After a bit folks started motoring in - so we did too.  One of the S20's near us mooched a tow and as we caught up with Spy, he wanted a tow too.  He threw a line to the other boat and we pulled them both across the lake to EYC.  

Followed Dean in Stairway back to the dock and visited a bit.  He headed back out for a night on the anchor, we splattered bugs all over the car on the way home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Men's Ministries Day Out

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I invited the Men's Ministries group at our church, Family Worship Center, to join me for a day of sailing.  Pastor Overpeck, Brother Lawson and  Brother Guy drove down and Deborah and Jessy went home.

We left the dock around 10:00 with light to moderate winds; sailed down the lake with a good breeze, then back up as the wind went light.

Guy at the helm
Around 12:30 we docked at the transient slip and got a picnic table for lunch.  Pastor got out his metal detector and went hunting for buried treasure.
After lunch we went out for a light air drift, finally returning to the dock around 4:30, and on the road for home around 5:15. 

Guy checking the water temperature

Jessy's night on the boat

Friday, August 20, 2010

It was Jessy's turn to spend the night on the boat.  We picked her up around 3:00 and headed down to the lake.  We were on the water around 4:30 and sailed down to the south end under just the reefed main.  Jessy wanted to go swimming so we were looking for a spot out of the wind.  We finally got in behind the trees at the north end of the west finger.  Dropped the main, put the motor in, and drifted until we got out in the wind again.  Had them get in the boat, then went around and did it again.  The wind really started to pick up so we beat our way back to the marina.  Jessy was a bit chilly so she borrowed my jacket.

  After we got back to the dock it was up to the ampitheater for Toy Story, then back to the boat for bed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zach takes the helm

It's Beer Can Tuesday so Zach and I headed down to the lake after work.  He made dinner (darn good sandwich) and we ate on the way down.  We got to the lake just after 6:00; not bad.

It was pretty windy on the way down so we were prepared to reef the main and use the blade.  We weren't prepared for the thunder though . . . luckily it stayed away after a few rumbles over toward the foothills, so after about 20 minutes of watching which way the storm was headed, we went ahead and motored out on the lake.  Falcor and Wyde Lode were out, Nauti Nymph too, so we decided to raise the sail and see how things went.. I'm really glad I reinstalled the jiffy reefing before we went to the San Juans - reefing is just a matter of pulling 2 lines now. 

Zach wanted to steer and manage the main so we decided to skip the Beer Can race (they were about 20 minutes late starting anyway).  He hasn't sailed a boat that much and not by himself since I had the laser, so we left the jib below and headed down the lake.

As expected, the further south we got, the stronger the wind got.  Once we were in the center the wind was howling and whitecaps were building.  Verboten and Zach handled it well with the reefed main.  Next week maybe we'll add the jib to the mix.

We made several runs up & down the lake, eventually ending over by Leakin' Lena.  The wind was really whipping there, and instead of tacking south of Lena we ended up running back on the north side because I was concerned we'd get pushed up against a lee potty!  At some point we maxed out at 6.14 knots on a broad reach - pretty good with a reefed main and no jib!

The Beer Can crowd looked to be having a good run too once they finally got started.

The run back to the dock was pretty uneventful, Zach steered while I dropped and flaked the main, then he brought us in to the dock.  There was a cool red rainbow over the lake and the sunset wasn't bad either.

After docking we walked around to the day use park so we could rescue someone's windsock that we'd seen floating on the way out.  We hung it on the gate to D dock and then headed home around 9:00.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our first cruise - a week in the San Juan Islands!

For our first cruise we chose the quintessential Pacific Northwest cruising grounds - the San Juan Islands in Washington. I spent nearly a year planning routes, poring over charts, and trying to determine the best dates to go. Finally the day to pull Verboten out of the lake came. Boxes were packed, coolers filled with ice, both wet and dry, and we were ready to go!

We left Albany on Thursday morning, July 29th (Day 0), for the 300+ mile drive to Anacortes, Washington. Traffic wasn't bad and we got there in plenty of time to launch at Cap Sante Boat Haven.

This sure is easier than strap launching at the ramp!

Rigging the boat on the water seemed to take a lot longer than in the driveway or at the lake. We spent a quiet night at the marina, ogled Jim Lee's Left Coast Dart, and headed out just before 11 AM on July 30th - about 3 hours later than I'd planned.

Ready to go . . .

This ain't no lake!

There was some fog ahead . . .

But it burned off and pretty soon we were making waves . . .

and avoiding the ferries . . .

We eventually got the last mooring at Spencer Spit . . .

where we had a picture perfect view . . .

and a great sunset

The evening's entertainment was provided by this interesting method of moving kayaks . . .

The close of Day 1 found us on a mooring at Spencer Spit State Park where we spent a pleasant night on a $10 state mooring.

Day 2, July 31st, started out foggy but not so bad we couldn't head toward Friday Harbor. We were originally going to go back out and around Frost Island but I decided to follow a bigger boat through between Spencer Spit and the island instead.

On the other side we found the schooner Zodiac

We motored around Upright Head, down through Upright Channel

and in a few hours we were calling the Port of Friday Harbor on channel 66a for a slip.

We were invited to find a spot on the inside of the customs dock and wait to see if something opened up . . .

We spent a couple of hours rafted up with a larger powerboat who talked us into giving him the inside spot - right after we nearly knocked the solar panel off on the dock (it was a step up dock!). We finally got the call and took the last slip in the marina, they stayed at the customs dock (the boat with the enclosed fly bridge)

After dinner and getting settled in I walked the docks to see what was interesting . . .

The evening culminated in a great sunset

Day 3 (August 1st) started out with us motoring out of Friday Harbor and raising the sails - briefly.

Someone, and I'm not saying who, didn't look at the chart closely enough, and didn't pay attention when his wife said for about the 3rd time, "I see kelp" while he was setting the whisker pole. That was soon followed by "I can't steer!" as we stopped and turned broadside to the wind/current, heeling somewhat to port. I quickly unhooked the whisker pole which promptly fell overboard, grabbed it as it popped back to the surface, and threw it into the cabin. I furled the jib, dragged the main down, got the motor back in the water and motored back the way we came, glad I didn't have to call Sea Tow for assistance.

Personally I blame this guy - he was next to us through the whole thing and didn't wave or holler or anything!

That was taken after our little pirouette, btw, as we were motoring away as fast as possible.

Once our pulses settled down a bit we continued on our way past the Wasp Islands

with an occasional glance back at the scene of the crime . . .

Jones Island seems popular and is on my list of places to visit on another trip

We headed up President Channel between Orcas Island (on the right) and Waldron Island.

After a while we could see Sucia Island in the distance

But there was no sign of Orcas off Orcas Island.

We bucked a pretty strong current but eventually we were off Echo Bay where we got, you guessed it, the last mooring!

The view was nice . . .

and the company wasn't bad either . . .

(m/v Olympus, $35,000/7 days!)

There was quite a bit of company . . .

and a few people with more (gas) money than sense I guess . . .

August 2nd (Day 4) found us moored in Echo Bay on Sucia Island.

After a somewhat rough night rocking on the mooring, which I blamed on a freighter wake, we eventually woke to a nice day and a great view.

We spent the morning relaxing in the sun (actually I mostly stayed under the boom tent) until the quiet was shattered by a loud yelp. Someone's dog had fallen off a 20 foot cliff on shore.

I expected the worst but the dog was up, limping a bit, but tail wagging within a few minutes. The hiker's wife showed up with their dinghy, our neighbors assured her that No, he didn't push the dog off the cliff (they saw him fall), and shortly they were on their way out of the harbor, off to find a vet I suppose.

After a while we took the dinghy ashore to go for a hike.

Everyone else was already there . . .

Shallow Bay is just about 100 yards from the beach in Echo Bay, so that was our first stop.

Next we headed down, or maybe I should say up, the service road to check out Fossil Bay. We peeked in there on our way to Echo Bay but it looked to be full so we didn't stay. There's a dock and about a dozen mooring buoys along with the Ranger's house.

The closer bay (aptly named Mud Bay) is deceiving - at low tide it apparently goes dry.

This piece of driftwood is the closest thing to an Orca that we saw on this trip . . .

There weren't too many bugs, either, just a few bees and a butterfly or two

These islands were apparently logged a long time ago. There's not much trace of the old growth but you can tell there used to be some giants here - this was at least 6 feet across.

This nurse log shows the notches the loggers cut for their spring boards. It'll be a while before the new tree is that big!

Having climbed over the top of the island to get to Fossil Bay we decided to take the low road back to Shallow Bay. The road ends at a nice beach with a campsite and great view of the bay.

The "moderate" trail that goes back to Echo Bay was a challenge, narrow, steep, and right on the edge of the cliff in some places. I don't like heights, especially after the dog incident earlier in the day, and my wife is not very agile and doesn't have a good sense of balance - not a good combination for this trail. The Admiral was a trooper though, and we made it with no injuries or tears.

There were some nice views along the way that made it worth the climb.

After our walk we headed back to the boat to watch a professional fisherman at work

and the evening eventually culminated in a beautiful sunset.

One thing I didn't capture on film was the spectacular phosphorescence in the water. I grew up mostly in Maine and Massachusetts and I've seen it before, but nothing like what I saw in Echo Bay. When I swung up the ladder, which was hanging in the water, it lit up like the Millenium Falcon entering hyperspace. Incredible, fascinating, and beautiful.

When we got woken up at 2 AM on Day 5 (August 3rd), about an hour later than the night before, I started to figure out that something was going on. With the help of a tide change and opposing wind I finally figured out that our "freighter" the night before was the normal swell - we were just broadside to it!

Despite our interrupted sleep, the Admiral said "I like it here and I'm just starting to relax, can we stay another day?"

Of course! But let's see if we can find a mooring that might be out of the current. So, as soon as a couple of boats closer to the beach left, we scooted over and took one of their moorings. What a difference!

The rest of the day was spent doing a whole lot of . . . NOTHING!

The day's excitement included the arrival of a somewhat unusual boat.

He stuck around for about an hour, then left

The rest of the day was pretty quiet, just a few visitors . . .

And we had another nice sunset, which the neighbors enjoyed with martinis

We spent a peaceful night on the mooring with no rocking - until the Customs and Border Patrol chopper buzzed the harbor 3 times at 1:00 AM! I'm sure they found it amusing.

On August 4th, after 3 relaxing days and nights in Echo Bay on Sucia Island, it was time to start heading home. I checked the gas in the 3 gallon tank and was shocked to find the needle approaching empty! There was no leak, so I figured we'd used all that gas getting here - strange given that we've run an entire summer, including 3 days on motor only, without using 3 gallons. I poured the reserve gallon in the tank, giving us about 2 gallons, and we headed out for the long run to Friday Harbor, running the motor at economy settings.

We took the channel between North and South Finger Islands which gave us a nice look at the sandstone.

A final glance back at Echo Bay showed most of our neighbors still relaxing at anchor.

Once clear of the harbor we pointed the boat back down President Channel between Orcas and Waldron Islands. With light winds, the throttle set between 1/4 and 1/2 and bucking a current, our speeds were anywhere from 1.8 to almost 3 knots. It was a long, slow trip and several boats that were still in Echo Bay when we left passed us on the way.

By early afternoon we'd worked our way down to Spring Passage, between Jones Island and Orcas Island, and picked up a current that actually helped us move in the right direction. The Admiral suggested that we stop at Deer Harbor for gas and, btw, they have Ice Cream!

So, we got a couple of tasty sandwiches, some Ice Cream, and I topped off our gas - 2.5 gallons (including the 1 gal spare). Hmmm . . . that means we burned about 1/2 gallon fighting the currents for a few hours. Guess someone (and I'm not saying who) didn't check the state of the 3 gallon tank before we left Anacortes. Oops!

After our nice break we put Deer Harbor behind us and headed down for the San Juan Channel and Friday Harbor.

As we were heading out I spotted something unusual in the distance . . .

Which turned out to be Lady Washington

and her cohort, Hawaiian Chieftain

Having filled the SD card in the big camera, we headed on down the channel to Friday Harbor where we had a RESERVATION and NO WAITING. The Admiral wanted to do some shopping before the stores closed, (it was almost 5:00 PM) followed by much-needed showers and early to bed.

After a good night's sleep we got up on August 5th and headed for Anacortes. It was kind of chilly

but worth it as we finally got close enough to a seal to see him munching on breakfast.

The trip through Upright Channel was pretty uneventful except for the strong push we got from the current - 6kts with the throttle at 1/4 is good! Things did get interesting when we approached the Lopez Island ferry terminal and found 2 ferries jockeying for position. We avoided them both . . .

and headed east, leaving Shaw and Orcas Islands behind us.

We spent the next couple of hours motor sailing through Thatcher Pass and fighting the incoming current as we crossed Rosario Strait.

It had been a long week on a small boat, but we were still smiling . . .

as we headed to Anacortes.

We did have one minor issue as we returned - we got severely waked by a large powerboat while working our way through Guemes Channel and took water over the bow, at which point we realized we hadn't closed the bow hatch before we left Friday Harbor. I politely asked the @#$@$ moron if he thought maybe he could slow down a bit so maybe, just maybe, the sailboat behind us didn't get the ride we did.

The rest of the trip was uneventful - we dropped the mast, pulled the boat 10 minutes before the sling closed, packed it up and headed home. Friday morning (August 6th) we got up (we stayed at a motel somewhere around Everett), hit the road, and arrived home mid-afternoon.

Thought I'd share a last few pictures, composite panoramas made from multiple images, then combined with PTGui. Larger images (vertical height of 1024 pixels) are in the links below each picture.

Spencer Spit at Sunset

Shallow Bay, Sucia Island

Fossil Bay, Sucia Island

Echo Bay Sunset, Sucia Island

Echo Bay Sunset too, Sucia Island

Hope you all enjoyed the essay. You can see all the pictures that I've posted online at http://www.pbase.com/sinnettc/san_juans_2010

Thanks for looking!