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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

So before this season’s adventure began, a friend of mine said, “Why do you want to go cruising? You will get bored.” Ha! I am neither bored nor tired of living on a sailboat and cruising! What a life! We make day-to-day travel decisions based on the weather, which is always exciting. And given we travel on a sailboat, we strive to move with the wind to save on fuel and to reduce our carbon footprint. (more…)

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WorldMap

Where in the world is Sundown?
Look here!

Our sweet Sundown, a 1982 Hans Christian 33t sailboat, feels newer and more beautiful than ever. And she should as we’ve invested more time and several boat bucks (1 buck = $1,000!) into her over the winter. As we make final preparations to set sail for British Columbia this weekend, we thought you’d like to see some of what’s new.

barometer

A Weems & Plath barometer to help us better predict weather (a generous gift from our friend Chris Bowman who felt Sundown wasn’t complete without it).

Sundown’s original Kenyon stove gave up the ghost…well, the oven did. And you know what time it is when your oven quits? Time to get a new one! We now have a shiny three-burner Force 10 (kind of like a Wolf stove for boats). The oven holds an accurate temperature and the stove top has pot holders to keep what’s cookin’ from sliding off the stove when under way.

toilet

Because $@#! happens! Replacing the original hand-pump-to-flush head with a fancy electric one was the BEST improvement ever! Just tap the rocker switch and “swoosh!” Poo begone!

We installed a ProFurl roller furling for the genoa (the big sail out front). So rather than the genoa being attached to the head stay (the cable the runs from the top of the mast to the very front of the boat) with bronze hanks, which is very traditional, it’s now attached to a rod that runs the length of the head stay and rolls up around it. The photo on the left shows the hanked-on genoa in a down position and tied to the life lines. The photo on the right shows the genoa on its furling. Thank you Dave O’Connor of Bellingham Sails & Repair for modifying the genny for the new system!

We have Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks! Given our experience in BC last year, the farther north we traveled, the more limited off-boat physical activity became. There was nowhere to run, bike or even hike, and the water was too cold for swimming. Having a way to escape the confines of the boat, get exercise and feel independent will revolutionize this summer’s cruise and keep this sailor in a much happier head place!

A new-to-us cutaway Seagull guitar also has joined the fleet of boat toys. It sounds great and will help us stay in harmony as we sail on.

We’ve also done some varnishing, gel-coat repair, re-painted her boot strip on the last haul out and many other maintenance projects to keep Sundown as bristol as possible. If only we could all age so beautifully!

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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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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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The last five weeks or so have been non-stop action! First, we sailed (or motored when there wasn’t much wind) from northern British Columbia to Bellingham, Wash., in nine days—two of those days we sat out weather on the hook. So in seven travel days we did about 375 miles. When you go five to six knots an hour, that’s 50-60 miles a day, and 10- to 12-hour days. Whew!

After securing Sundown on Squalicum Harbor’s dock, we took a shuttle to Seattle, flew to Denver and then drove to Fort Collins with one of our sons. We’ll take the traffic in San Juan Channel in July over that on Interstate 25 any day!

The next three weeks was filled with lots of family, friends and fun. We cuddled with our dog; paddled, biked, ran and swam; cooked for dozens of people multiple times; celebrated birthdays; ate at our favorite restaurant, Los Tarascos; worked (yes, that “W” word); and more! While we went home rather emergently, everything/everyone ended up being fine.

Now we’re back in Washington. The first few days here I was on deadline and cranked out several magazine articles and columns. While being home afforded me time for face-to-face meetings and working at Unite for Literacy‘s office with my colleagues, all of which are very valuable, I didn’t get much time to write. So once we arrived in Bham, my keyboard almost ignited I was typing so fast!
On Monday, we had Sundown hauled out, pressure washed and blocked at Seaview North. She sat on the hard in the boatyard for a couple of days while we performed some routine maintenance, such as:
  • Replacing the cutlass bearing on the propellor
  • Making sure the engine was aligned properly (it was)
  • Replacing a couple zincs
  • Re-painting her hull and boot stripe
  • Buffing her topsides
  • Polishing all of her stainless steel rigging, and finally
  • Cleaning the deck and windows.
The pressure wash peeled up the “N” on one side of Sundown’s transom. Clay called  Graphic Partners in Loveland, the company who made our port of hail lettering, and they are shipping another set of letters to us ASAP and free of charge! Thank you, Shavon!
And while we were in Fort Collins, Dave from UK Sailmakers made small adjustments to our mainsail and genoa. He’s also serving as our postbox here in Bellingham. We appreciate him very much!
So, Sundown’s shiny, ready to sail and we’re off to Anacortes, Wash., to meet up with our friends Bob and Sandy. They just bought a new boat and want Clay to do some work on it. We like that town and love “Sob and Bandy,” so it will be a good time. We’re hoping Clay can get more work while there to help pay off the extra expense of our trip home and the boatyard bill. Time will tell.

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Sundown in Emily Bay.

I woke the morning we were going to make the next big leap north toward Alaska feeling confident and ready. But as we crossed the north entrance of Raymond  Passage out of Shearwater on Denny Island, I had an overwhelming gut feeling we needed to immediately change direction. I said as much to Clay and we did. Rather than continue out and around Price Island and up Hecate Strait, we went the opposite direction up Return Channel (the name was not lost on me) to Emily Bay in Briggs Inlet. It’s a beautiful spot surrounded by granite walls and high forested mountains with a small river at its head. Perhaps, for whatever reason, north British Columbia is meant to be our destination, not Alaska.

(more…)

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Clay scantily clad on the beach?

When we’re not sailing, you probably imagine we’re strolling on white sand beaches at sunset, dipping our toes in the surf. Actually, we’ve only walked on two sand beaches in our journey so far and we had our Bog boots on. One of the beaches was about 100 yards long by 50 feet wide until the flood tide when it shrunk to about 100 feet long and 10 feet wide, but there was sand, nonetheless. The other was during gale force winds (34-47 knots knots) with rain coming down in sheets. It was marvelous! We HAD to get off the boat that day after being cooped up for a couple previously, so we dressed in our foul weather gear and dinghied to the Hakai Institute landing in Pruth Bay to hike to the west side of Calvert Island where we could check out the Pacific Ocean. Then we hiked to the island’s northern shore—just because we could. (more…)

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