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  • September 2020
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Another Vacation on the Boat

Well we just finished our second annual boating vacation (I presume it will be an annual event), and we had a great time. We went further from home in her than we have ever gone before. During most of the Spring we performed annual maintenance, changing oil and filters in both engines and the generator, checking fuel filters, belts, hoses, repaired a raw water impeller, checking the diesel furnace, replacing all the zincs, and even installed a new electric fresh water toilet. Work was also done to our dinghy. Due to the fact we have no davits and can’t hoist it up onto our larger boat, it sits in the water tied up to the rear of the big boat. It sat in the water through the winter until we finally found a trailer to haul it out on. By then the barnacles had created a crusty coating on the whole bottom. Nothing we could do on our own would bring it back to near new, so we had to take it to a boat detailer and had it scraped and bottom painted with anti fouling paint and it wasn’t cheap. Now we were ready for anything.

Our first stop of our cruising adventure was at Snug Harbor Resort on the west side of San Juan Island. It is a very quaint kind of rustic setting and very beautiful. Our good friends Larry & Lynette met us there on their boat. For some reason, even after all my docking experience thus so far, I looked like a rookie boater when I attempted to dock the boat! I had to end the first attempt and turn her around and I backed her in on the second. It was ugly and an embarrassment for me and even Debbie was appalled at the misadventure! I never repeated the travesty again! We settled in for some cocktails and then cruised our dinghys over to Roche Harbor for dinner. Another couple, the Hillstrom’s, met us there and we had a very enjoyable dinner together. They once lived near us in Snoqualmie and now live on San Juan Island enjoying the good life the island has to offer.

We then headed for our next destination which took us into Canada! We have never taken the boat to Canada before and it was an interesting venture going through customs. Larry & Lynette also went up with us. We were in Bedwell Harbor at the Poets Cove Resort and it was a beautiful place. We had to check in at the customs dock before we could get to our assigned slip. Only one person from each boat could go up to the customs office to check in and Debbie did that while I stayed with the boat. It was very windy there and many other boats were pulling in to check in also. Twice I had to catch the lines on boats pulling in next to Larry’s boat as the wind was shoving them right at it! Once we had cleared customs, then it was time to pull out and go to our slips! This was another docking adventure as I had to pull in right next to another boat and the wind was carrying me toward it as I came in. I had to try twice and it took six people on the dock and Larry on the guys boat to get me in without banging into him. I guess I did a pretty good job considering a boat tried seven times before me to get into the same slip and finally gave up. It was a white knuckle experience! We spent two nights there and had a great time. Larry & Lynette went home the morning of the second day and we were on own from there.

Next stop took us to the Ganges Harbor and the town of Ganges. It is the largest town in the Gulf Islands and was a fun place and a little crowded in the harbor when you come in. Not only do have the contingent of boaters going in and out, but multitudes of crab pots everywhere and sea planes landing and taking off all around you. As we pulled into the marina, Debbie heard someone calling her name from another boat. Just so happens, Debbie had worked with her in the past. Small world huh! Ganges is located on Salt Spring Island and we discovered a golf course near by, hmmmmmmmm……..imagine that! Although the weather turned gray and wet, we got on our bikes which we had brought along, and rode up to Salt Springs Country Club and played nine holes of golf. I always enjoy playing golf courses in different out of the way places. It was a pretty good course. Being that Ganges was an actual town unlike Poets Cove, we could shop and eat out and get stuff we needed for the boat and even managed to do a load of laundry. I think Debbie liked it the most!

Off we went to Sidney BC and got a slip in the Port of Sidney Marina. Now this was a nice marina! It was huge and much newer than the previous marinas. They had a nice shop, and laundry where you could watch TV or surf the net while you washed your clothes, and even showed movies at certain times. As a marina, this was my favorite. Sidney itself, seemed like any other town you’d find here in the States, but it was still nice. We didn’t have allot of time to do much here, dinner in a nice restaurant, took a night dinghy ride into the channel, a little shopping, etc. Then we headed back to the US.

Back to San Juan Island we went, this time heading into Friday Harbor. We have been to Friday Harbor before, but never in our own boat. It is a nice place and would be a great area to move to down the road. Tori again met us and we had a great visit. I listen to quite a few podcasts and one of them is called the Gastrocast hosted by Chef Neal Foley (the Podchef) He lives on Shaw Island which is right next to Friday Harbor. I had always wanted to visit the Podchef so I figured this would be a good time. I had contacted him ahead of time and we set up a meet on his farm. We took the dinghy over, including Tori to Shaw Island. He lives right by the water and has a dock we tied up to.  The Podchef and his family really live a different life than most. He raises most of the food they eat which includes vegetables, pigs, chickens, rabbits, milking cow, etc. He is also a trained chef and has worked in restaurants and privately and does catering today, blogs, does his podcast, and works the farm! He has a great family, a wife and four beautiful daughters (two sets of twins)! I find it funny that all that hard work he has to do and has no other male to help out, but I’m sure the girls do what they can. We toured his farm and he treated us to a wonderful lunch prepared from foods he raised on the farm. We had a great time and it was awesome to finally get to meet him!

After the visit we dinghy’d around to the north part of San Juan Island where Tori showed us their waterfront lot where they will build their future home. It is lovely and they will have great views. Hopefully they will have a mooring bouy that we could tie our boat up to. Next we did a drive around the island and visited Bert, their Corgi, and had dinner. It was a nice visit, but it was too bad Kevin was out of town and couldn’t be there. Our final leg of our trip took us back to Seattle for one last night before going back to our home dock in Tacoma. We went through beautiful Deception Pass where the tidal currents can get real strong and nasty. We went against a 6.6 knot current, but handled it just fine! The only hitch in our trip came just as we were about a half hour from Seattle when we looked back to check the dinghy and it was gone!!! The tow line had snapped! Using our binoculars, we located it about half a mile back just bobbing in the waves. We had to scramble back and get it somehow tied up to the boat because we were in the shipping lanes and two cargo ships were bearing down on us! They do not stop! We did manage to finally secure the dinghy so we could tow it to Seattle after many bumps, bangs, against the boat and Debbie’s arms (bruises to prove it). In Seattle we pulled into Bell Harbor Marina where Larry & Lynette were waiting. Just by chance, some friends that live near us in Snoqualmie, the Sheehans, were in Seattle so they came down also. We had a great time and went for dinner. Larry, Paul, and I had many Jaeger shots. I laughed so hard my sides ached. The next morning we went home and ended our cruising vacation. It was fun, exciting, adventurous, and full of happy times with my girl! You can find pictures and videos on the links to the right! Until next time!!

A Week On The Boat

That’s what we did on our recent vacation. It was a few weeks ago, during the end of June and through the 4th of July, but I have been busy and haven’t had a chance to post. We loaded up our bikes, food, plenty of beverages, and Simon the boat kitty and prepared for the voyage. Deb’s birthday was on the 6th, but she got her presents early so we could enjoy them while away. I got her a 22″ Samsung flat screen TV and a DVD/VCR player for the boat!!! The vacation didn’t start well as I discovered after arriving in Tacoma where we moor the boat that I had left my wallet on an ATM at the IGA Market back in Snoqualmiewhich was a 45 mile drive. So back we went to get it and back to Tacoma. I was furious at the waste of time and gas I had caused and Deb wasn’t happy either! She took it better than I did. Luck was with us though that one, someone found it and turned it in, and two, I discovered it gone before we had gone away on the boat!! 

The next day we took off in the boat towing our dinghy behind us and made our first stop at the Bremerton Marina. We took a video of the dinghy being towed and a little scenery as we cruised. The marina was nice as it has been recently been expanded and updated. We moored there for two days, rode our bikes, and dinghy ed over to Port Orchard. Now while Port Orchard is a nice little town, you feel like you are back in the 80’s. Everybody smokes and looks like they are stuck in an earlier time. They were having some kind of festival that day and we witnessed the longest parade in the world. I swear it lasted over two hours. We did have a terrible experience though. When coming into Bremerton, we had the VHF radio on monitoring channel 16 and heard a mayday come over the air. A man was calling for help saying he had just cut off his wife’s leg with the propeller of their boat. You could hear her screaming in the background. It was terrifying as we heard it unfold. Later he was saying she had lost consciousness and feared she would bleed to death. As we were docking, we heard the rescue boat come in and think we saw his boat jet in. We later did some internet search and found the story on the news and discovered she lived, but her leg could not be saved. Those moments are now etched in our minds. Maybe it might make us even more careful than we are. 

After Bremerton, we headed up to Brownsville Marina which is a little more rustic but still very nice. It almost feels like boat camping there. Again we took our bikes out for a very long ride that took us through Silverdale and up to Keyport where we stopped at Whiskey Creek Saloon for a couple of much needed beers. Of course that didn’t help the final leg of the ride. Just as we rode back on the dock and next to the boat, I heard a hissing sound and discovered a shell had pierced my rear tire. What timing for a flat, right by the boat at the end of the ride, thank the lucky stars!!! That ended the bike rides for the remainder of the vacation. We then cruised up to Poulsbo where we set anchor in the bay. We are getting pretty good at anchoring as we set all by ourselves. There we hooked up with our good friend Jane, Larry and Lynette, and Bob and Amy. we had three boats anchored and rafted together and had a big party on the 3rd. Poulsbo sets off their fireworks on the 3rd. It was a pretty good show and we had a damn good time!!! 

Larry and Lynette joined us in our final leg which was back to Bremerton. We had one bad hitch as we got ready to leave and tried to bring up our anchors. We were severely wrapped around Larry’s anchor and tried as we might, we couldn’t undo the tangled mess of chain. Bob had to cut Larry’s anchor to get us separated which was a real drag. Now he has to get a new one. We went back to Bremerton and watched the fireworks show there and that ended our vacation. It was much better than last year as we endured no mishaps and had no problems with our boat. Check out our pictures of our trip and we recorded a couple of podcasts on our Boatvirgins Podcast.

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