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Posts Tagged ‘Anacortes’

Experiencing summer in the San Juan Islands has been delightful! The past two summer seasons we’ve been up north in British Columbia and I didn’t get out of my fleece and wool clothing till we made trips back to Colorado. I was not a fan. But here in Anacortes, we’ve been enjoying temperate weather—60s to low 80s—which feels just right for the adventures we’ve also been enjoying.

I finished stripping, sanding and oiling the cap rails, bulwarks, bowsprit and eyebrow trim. Clay applied a couple more coats of varnish to the handrails. They all look great! Next up is either stripping/oiling or revarnishing some trim in the cockpit. In the end, Sundown will have a beautiful combination of weathered teak, shiny varnish and enriching oil finishes.

We’re out sailing as often as possible, either in Sundown or in Lil’ John, our new sailing dinghy, Lil’ John. I also inflated my kayak so can often be seen paddling to keep up with Lil’ John and Clay.

We had fun “land camping” east of Anacortes up in the Cascades. One day we hiked up to the glaciers, which were amazing. To protect our camp from torrential rain, Clay constructed the Taj Mahal of tarp structures. The camp host said we won first prize! During construction, we thought fondly of our friend Susan Lamb. While camping as families when our boys were young, she would get such a kick out of Clay’s tarp hanging skills. We’re sure she was smiling down from heaven on his recent creation.

We’ve also been biking, hiking around the woods on Fidalgo Island and even went to the local golf course to hit range balls.

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Dancer Pose in rain boots and a skirt on James Island, San Juans.

Oh, and while we’ve been sticking closer to our home base, I took a yoga instructor course and am studying to test for my American Council on Exercise (ACE) Group Fitness Instructor certification. I’m already teaching yoga at the Anacortes Pool & Fitness Center and will be teaching Strength & Conditioning soon. This is all in addition to my regular writing/editing gigs, and so much fun! Definitely bucket list activities.F

So, life aboard doesn’t feel as confining to me this year. I like this summer’s variety of activities versus exclusively sailing from place to place with Sundown’s 33 feet on deck as my primary space for movement. That said, I do miss the freedom and experiences cruising provides, but I’m sure there’s more of that in our future.

By the way, our son, Chad, quickly designed the featured image for this blog post. SO cool! He’ll be helping me update the look of our blog site, too. Wait for it…

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I’ve been drawing a lot of attention on the dock in Anacortes, Wash., lately. Who wouldn’t while they’re stripping down to bareness in preparation for a healthy dousing of oil? Whoa! What?

You heard me right. Sundown’s varnish, especially on the cap rails, bulwarks and bowsprit, needs some serious attention to keep her close to bristol. We began sanding those areas readying to add more layers of shiny finish, but have changed our minds. We don’t want to be brightwork slaves, constantly taking time away from sailing and other adventures to keep up with varnishing, nor can we afford to hire anyone to do it for us. So, we’ve decided to strip off all the varnish and go with an oil finish”—Penofin Marine Exterior Oil Wood Finish, to be exact. It will need to be applied often for the first few months and then annually after that, but there’s no sanding between coats and the application process isn’t picky like varnish. Also, if we change our minds again and just can’t live without gleaming teak, we can always reapply layers upon layers of glossy glaze.

 

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Protecting the ocean

However, I must admit, after stripping Sundown bare while in the Colorado prairie dog field, I was lulled into believing that it was a one-and-done job. Never did I imagine I’d be stripping on the dock. But after trying to keep up with varnish for almost three years, an oil finish seems to make sense. We hope this switch pays off in more sailing time in the long run.

Stripping the underside of the rail

Fall 2011 – Stripping Sundown in the prairie dog field

How does all this fit into our summer cruising plans? Well, I’ll be cruising the streets of town on two wheels more than sailing. (By the way, I have a new-to-me Specialized Dolce named Sug—short for Sugar. My Diamond Back Ascent, Alice, was functional, but Sug allows me to travel farther faster and more efficiently.) Clay will be sailing or rowing Lil’ John, the new 9′ nesting punt he built. When we do go out on Sundown for short jaunts, we’ll be sticking to the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and maybe up to Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia (B.C.). Our scaled-back cruising plans for this summer aren’t all due to Sundown needing attention, however.

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When the wind dies, stroke…stroke.

My job duties are changing a bit (expanding) which will require me to travel back and forth to Fort Collins, Colo., once a month. I can’t be deep in the remote B.C. wilderness during this transition phase. And the company Clay works for, Anacortes Marine Group, just landed a huge (really huge, like the biggest!) job all reliant on his expert woodworking skills. He’ll be transforming a 65-foot Nordland to look and feel like a classic wooden yacht. He’s really excited about this project and feels it will be a signature piece of work.

So, while we won’t be traveling thousands of miles this summer, we’ll still be enjoying life afloat.

 

 

 

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Life after Tofino…after we bid farewell to our Belgian clowns*…went by fast.

First we continued to the Broken Group where we enjoyed three anchorages in six days. Then we sailed our longest day yet; 75.4 miles in the infamous Juan de Fuca Strait. It took us 14 hours; 13 of those were in dense fog. The last hour before anchoring in Sooke Inlet we finally could see land and everything else only our radar detected beforehand. The next day we finished our final leg of the west coast of Vancouver Island: Sooke to Victoria.

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Many of our followers have been asking what we’re up to and why we haven’t posted anything new lately. Our recent weeks have been filled with work and more work, so there hasn’t much to write home about—except for one special event. Our son, Blake, is back in the U.S.A. from the Middle East where he was working as an EMT! HUGE answered prayer!!! (more…)

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Clay on Sundown. Compliments of our friend April.

Happy New Year! The past several weeks have flown by and now we find ourselves on the light side of the Solstice, anticipating spring and another sailing season. (more…)

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Getting settled in Anacortes. Working (yep, that “W” word). Sailing. Connecting with friends and wildlife. We’ve had a lot going on and it’s all good. (more…)

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A: I got to have both in one day!

 

Little did we know our trip to Anacortes to help friends work on and clean up their new-to-them boat would lead to so many exciting things! But first, let me backtrack.

When we returned from our July trip to Colorado, we didn’t know where we would head next or where we’d spend the coming winter, but we had faith our intended path would become clear just like it has throughout this whole adventure so far. Alas, we haven’t been disappointed.

That’s what friends are for

The first place we headed after working on Sundown in the Seaview North boatyard in Bellingham was Anacortes, Wash. We went there to help our friends Bob and Sandy work on their new-to-them Roughwater motor yacht.  It’s a 1983 and needed a lot of cleaning, painting, varnishing and repairs. We’ve been happy to help!

 

We also connected up with some friends from Fort Collins! Mary Carraher, Will Moore, Diane Westervelt and Jeff Pape. They were vacationing on Lopez Island and we sailed over there to meet them. Sunset beverages and tapas were enjoyed by all!

Gotta float the boat

When we returned to Anacortes from Lopez via Bellingham where we picked up our new solar panels which are now installed, Clay had the opportunity to interview for a job at a local boatyard, Marine Servicenter. They hired him on the spot (NO surprise given his amazing skills, work ethic and experience). So far, he’s built out their office with a new multi-desk area; laying a new teak deck on the owner’s boat may be next. It’s as much of a job as he’d like it to be—part time, full time, whatever. But we can’t anchor out in Fidalgo Bay when the weather turns bad, so we put ourselves on three waiting lists for a slip. Ancortes Marina, which is located right next to Clay’s job spot, came through in record time. Clay’s boss introducing him to the management didn’t hurt, but I believe prayer for the right spot trumped that connection. We’ll be moving into our slip by Friday, Sept. 9. Don’t think we’ll be tied to it permanently, though. We plan to cruise the San Juans and back up to Canada for fishing as much as possible.

You may be wondering why Clay got a job. Here’s why: while my income floats the boat, I don’t make enough for extras like trips back home and boat upgrades (e.g., solar panels). Having Clay contribute to our income will be nice. After all, he’s been goofing off for a year; it’s time to pay the piper! Also, it’s always been our plan to work a bit and then cruise a bit, at least till we’re old enough to draw from our pensions, so Anacortes is our first pit stop for the work part.

Bikes are back

Since we’re staying here at least through the winter, acquiring some ground transportation seemed reasonable and there’s NO better kind than bicycles! Clay found potential options on Craigslist and this morning those potentials became ours! Clay has a Norco (Canadian made) 2 X 6 (12 speed) and I have a circa 1980s Diamondback Ascent 3 X  6 (18 speed). They both needed a little lovin’ so we went to the Bikespot during today’s Open Streets event (Yes! This town just hosted its 3rd annual open streets event!) and got hooked up with fenders, bike racks to accommodate our panniers, and new tires and tubes. Thank you, Nick and Carolyn (Bikespot’s owners)! For $300.00 TOTAL, Clay and are are back on two wheels!

 

 

While cruising down the street, we also met the woman who coordinates Safe Routes to School programming for Skagit County, as well as the guy who chairs the area’s bike/ped commission. He and I are having coffee in a couple of weeks. (I’m trying to contain my excitement here!)

 

 

So, it seems we’re meant to be in Anacortes and we can’t wait to see what the next few months hold in store and how we get to help this wonderful town become an even more robust bike friendly place! I’m actually feeling rather giddy…like a little kid at Christmas!

 

The lesson here is that if you prayerfully leave yourself open to possibilities rather trying to script every move you make, wonderful opportunities show themselves. Thank you, God, for giving us this new twist in our adventure! Oh yea, and thanks for the chance to wash my hair today! It’s the little things…

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