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Posts Tagged ‘San Juan Islands’

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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On Matia Island with Mt. Baker in the background

What a weekend! On Friday, we sailed almost the whole way from Anacortes, Wash., to Matia Island on the northeast side of the San Juan Islands. Today we retuned back under sail most of the way. Friday’s sail dealt us a little excitement when the wind did a 180-degree shift when we hit a little squall, but we managed (or I should say Clay did, as I was below decks indisposed…I managed to keep my balance!). Today’s return “home” was perfect. The sun was out. The wind was blowing on our nose steadily between 13 and 17 knots, Sundown’s sweet spot for sure.

While moored in Rolf Cove, we enjoyed the antics of a seal, some river otters and many birds. Hiking around the island proved to be a fungus fanatic’s mecca. We couldn’t identify the mushrooms we found as fast as we saw them. Therefore, we didn’t eat any of the shrooms, either. Better safe than off on some wild trip of the psychedelic kind.

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But the best part about the weekend was it gave us time away from the dock. Last year this time, we were exclusively sailing or motoring, and anchoring in hidey holes protected from the forecasted winds. We were constantly on the move, unsettled. It felt…well, unsettled and scary and perhaps a little too disconnected. This year, we have a home base in Anacortes Marina. We’re really liking this community and becoming known in small ways, but I think we also need to leave as often as the weather permits, to enjoy the serenity of island time and nature, as well as to keep up our skills. So we’re hitting a balance now I felt we lacked till now. Either way, we’re living aboard and feel blessed.

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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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The past week has been filled with more adventures, lessons, friends and fun.

Halloween proved to be a trick and a treat. Despite a less than favorable forecast, we left our safe anchorage in Blind Bay off Shaw Island to head for Anacortes. (more…)

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Sundown in Echo Bay

Yep. Kim’s writing this. I admit there have been times during our first few days of sailing that I’ve felt shaky. Land sickness has struck (meaning when I get to land, it’s moving all over the place), and I’ve felt less than competent and scared too much of the time. (more…)

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