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

Thanks for looking!