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Posts Tagged ‘cruising’

When you begin your day deep in crap, it can only get better, right? That wasn’t exactly our recent experience, but things could have turned out worse.

doddnarrows

Dodd Narrows, a .2-mile-wide slot through which the current flows more than 8 knots. You must transit at slack tide unless you’re in a white-water raft or kayak!

But first, know we’ve made it through Dodd Narrows, spent a couple days anchored in Mark Bay near Nanaimo, sailed over to Jedediah Island and anchored in the beautiful little Deep Bay and explored that island, sailed to Garden Bay in Pender Harbour back over on the coast of British Columbia and then left there planning to travel the 24 miles  to Sturt Bay on the northeast end of Texada. That plan evaporated when the 10-15 knots of wind forecast for Malaspina Strait was more like 20-25 straight on our nose. The sea was big and not necessarily comfortable, even with one reef in the main and the staysail up for stabilization. So, we executed our Plan B and went into Blind Bay for a couple of nights till the strait settled down.

The first night we anchored in Ballet Bay. It’s beautiful, but surrounded by private property so you can’t go ashore to hike, which lowers it down several notches on our rating scale. It did offer reasonable cell connectivity, though, so I could work…or so I thought. The next morning, the good connectivity was gone and I had work to do. My patience wore thin and blood pressure rose as I fought to keep connected…I just wanted to finish my work! As I was cursing the magical cell coverage gods who seem to get enjoyment from being whimsical with their consistency, Clay went below for his morning constitutional. Next thing I know, he’s digging plumbing tools out of their storage spot. The head was clogged. I didn’t even go down to look. After a bit, everything came out alright, but I still needed better reception, so we decided to move to another spot within Blind Bay–Musket Island Provincial Park and its Dol Cove.

When we dropped anchor, it wouldn’t grab. I watched and heard it skip over rocks. Then, as we were moving slowly in reverse to try to get it to set, Clay killed the engine, which was weird. His reason? Lightfoot’s “floating” painter (the rope that secures the dinghy to the boat when we’re in transport) got fouled in Sundown’s propeller. NOT good. The outcomes could have been a bent prop or shaft, transmission failure, a hole in the boat and losing our dinghy as it got sucked under. None of those things happened, however, due to Clay’s quick responses and the D ring getting pulled off the front of Lightfoot. Clay detangled the line from the propeller using the boat hook and then we hauled the dingy onto the deck to reattached the D ring. Whew!

This mishap feels like a greenhorn mistake and is a bit embarrassing to admit. We really are very diligent to make sure we’re doing everything just right. Actually, we often overthink things, thanks to my Type A personality. This time, though, our trouble stemmed from  becoming a little complacent believing a floating line would never give us trouble of this kind. WRONG! Lesson learned: ALWAYS tie the dinghy up tight before you begin tight maneuvers or operate in reverse regardless of the type of line you use to secure it to the boat.

On the bright side, the cell coverage was awesome and I finished my work! There is that…

 

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DSC_8019

Arugula, spinach, mushroom pizza with garlic and olive oil on a homemade, GF crust.

What to eat? What to eat? We ask that of ourselves everyday. It’s not a question because it’s challenging to cook onboard Sundown, but because there are so many choices!

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alaskaorbust

What we hope to see in Alaska!

After returning from the Seattle area where we sold and shipped some unused sailing gear that came with Sundown but we decided not to use, we hung out in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island for over a week. While there, we accomplished a lot. (more…)

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liveonceWe often hear from friends and everyone seems to want to know the same things. What do we like most? What do we like least? What do we miss the most? What don’t we miss? So, because inquiring minds want to know… (more…)

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Editor’s Note: This blog is longer than we prefer, but so much has happened since our last post. If you don’t want to read every word, we hope you enjoy all the photos we’ve included and get the gist of what we’ve been up to.

turnpoint

Turn Point, Stuart Island

Winter in the San Juan Islands tends to be windy. We listen to the weather forecast everyday on the VHF and monitor the conditions on nifty apps like Wind Alert, because the weather is so critical to our travel plans. Should we stay or should we go?  Either way, it’s prudent to know what we’re getting ourselves into. (more…)

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It’s February. Since arriving back in the Pacific Northwest in mid-January after our holiday break, the weather seems a tad milder. I’m not freezing every day and there are longer breaks between strong wind storms. I’m knocking off significant work-related deadlines, too, so daily dockside WiFi doesn’t seem as necessary. That also means the perceived security of our Deer Harbor Marina community doesn’t seem as necessary either; perhaps it’s time to leave the dock. After all, we didn’t intend to live on a boat in a marina. (more…)

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We’ve been at this cruising life for about two months and have already met some very interesting and really nice people, which is so much of what makes this lifestyle wonderful. (more…)

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So, it has been awhile since I wrote a blog post. To say the least, Kim and I have been busy…still.

While Kim went to Colorado to take care of business and go to Molly and Matt’s wedding (which I am so sorry I missed, Molly and Matt!)cockpit I kept making forward progress on Sundown. The paint job on the mast and booms was finished and all the hardware needed to be put back on. We replaced all the wiring, lights and halyards. We also inspected and replaced all the standing rigging. New radar, anometer and antennae were installed.

The morning Kim came home from Colorado, the boatyard guys and I stepped the mast. It was a pretty emotional morning for me. I was so anxious! Not only was this the second time I was Sundown’s helm, but Kim wasn’t to help or witness this moment. The whole thing went smooth as silk, however. Seaview North Boatyard and its crew don’t step masts like Mark Grindle and I did in the mid 80s, but their process worked.

It was great to have Kim back after being gone for so long! She and I put the sails on and hoisted them one at a time to work out the bugs in attachment and sheeting. We then did a pre-sail check, pulled the dock lines and left.

It’s hard to describe how you feel after four years of working on a project like Sundown in a prairie dog field in Randy and Andrea’s storage yard in Fort Collins (A Unique Storage…it certainly was while Sundown was there), to motoring out of port with no schedule or exact place to be. We knew where we were going, however, because we had been there before–Sucia Island. Setting off to Sucia gave us confidence and we felt a little more secure because we had sailed there twice before. It was familiar and an easy first stop. We picked up a mooring and enjoyed our amazing boat. Rather than getting the outboard out and attached to Lightfoot (our dinghy), we chose to row it to go and pay our state park fee on the island.

There were two boats in the harbor near us, both from Utah! One of them was a Tayana 37, a very nice blue water boat like ours with very common roots (thanks Bob Perry!).

So the journey has begun. We are roughing it every day. Heater, propane stove, teak furniture, marble counter tops and beautiful ports of call.

The other night as we were anchored in Friday Harbor and snuggled up in bed watching a DVD–The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock–we determined that the wind and the way it was blowing Sundown required us to move our anchorage. Hmmm, never had to do this with the land house, but you gotta do what you gotta do. At 11pm we hoisted anchor and moved a tad farther from shore in the rain and wind. The task taught us some lessons and we are already using the information at our current anchorage in Deer Harbor where we’re still roughing it.

Kim is making chile rellanos and Spanish rice for dinner. We’re listening to Alison Krauss (thanks for the introduction to her, Daryl and Karen Lawyer). Tomorrow we go sailing!

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IMG_2636Well, almost a couple of weeks have flown by without a blog post from us. Part of the reason is that I (Kim) was in Fort Collins for work and to attend the wedding of Molly North and Matt Kowal. Working with colleagues face-to-face was great and the wedding was beautiful! It was good to be “home.” (more…)

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We made it to Bellingham and are beginning to get the lay of the land…and soon the sea. Exciting times! (more…)

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