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                                                                     Go to Part Two, Summer 2007 Cruising


Julie and Aaron’s Summer Cruising 2007
Part I  Log & Photos

    This year, Aaron and I were able to take two separate trips north, each lasting nearly 3 weeks. The first cruise was June 7-24 and included my sister, Janine and her husband Jim, from Colorado. They had reserved a boat to charter (a Mainship 34) out of Anacortes for the week of June 9, so we went along in Anthem as a buddy boat. They live in Colorado Springs and have wanted to get into boating, but my sister has very little boating experience. The only boat she has been on is a day sail with us 3 years ago and it was a calm 3 knot downwind run to Kingston. Jim would like to retire back here in a few years and wants to have a trawler for cruising. This charter was going to be a great experience for both of them to get their feet wet (really wet at Spencer Spit), and give them a chance to handle a boat by themselves. Jim took a charter course out of Anacortes last fall and passed with flying colors so they were good to go with reserving a boat. We gave them a gunkholing book and chart book for Christmas and let them do some research for places they wanted to visit. The charter company had a suggested course but we threw that out right away and came up with our own. They had them going from dock to dock and we came up with a plan that would let them get the feel of gunkholing from a sailor’s view.
    The plan was for Aaron and I to leave Port Orchard on Thursday night, June 7 and arrive in Anacortes Friday night, since the weather was going to make a turn for the worse on Saturday (the day they were picking up their boat). We had a very slow trip to Kingston and arrived after dark but were able to find an available slip at the dock. The next morning, we left at 8:00 for Anacortes and had another slow trip. We were not with the current and only averaged 4.5 knots for the day. About an hour out of Kingston, we shut down the engine to check a few things out. It’s always nice to start a long day and find that things may not be working as you had planned. Our oil pressure alarm kept sounding, but the oil level seemed to be fine. Upon inspection, Aaron noticed that the alternator wire was beginning to fray and shooting a few sparks. A quick fix and we were good to go. By the time we entered the Swinomish Channel, the pressure gauge was sitting at 40 psi (perfect) and doing fine. Eleven hours after leaving Kingston, we arrived in Anacortes. What a long day! We docked at our assigned slip and relaxed with some dinner.
    The next morning seemed a bit breezy, but nothing too major. Janine and Jim were picking up their boat today but had to go through an inspection, etc., so after our showers, we decided to head to Spencer Spit first and grab a buoy then have them come and join us later in the afternoon. The wind kept picking up and made out attempt to dock at the fuel dock rather challenging. About the 3rd try, we finally made it and had a tough time tying the boat with the wind pushing her off hard. Of course, I suggested the night before that we should fill up then, but Aaron wanted to wait until we left today. After that experience, we got fuel when the getting was good. Outside of the marina it wasn’t looking that great. The waves were steep and it was a rough trip to Guemmes Channel. But, once in the channel, the wind was behind us and it was rather smooth. Crossing Rosario was a bit rolly but definitely not the worst we’ve ever seen. The first half wasn’t so bad and then the rollers were pretty wallowy, especially since we were sideways to them. Poor Mac wasn’t too happy and spent the trip in bed. We talked to Janine and Jim via cell phone a few times and they were being advised to stay put for the night by the owner of the boat. Of course, the charter company wasn’t going to refund them for that day but the owner seemed to be pretty nervous. At first we thought that maybe they should stay put but after arriving at Spencer, we anticipated that the wind was dying and encouraged them to come out that night. We found a buoy available (on the north side since the wind was out of the south), and had a tough time tying up to it. We’ve never had any issues in the past, but we haven’t tied up before in 25 knots of wind. I made the mistake of not keeping the boat in gear after Aaron hooked the buoy and he had to let go and accidentally dropped the boat hook. We came back around and I was at the helm while Aaron hung over the side of the boat (me hanging on to his leg so he didn’t fall overboard) and grabbed the hook then we successfully grabbed the buoy. Just as we tied up, a nice guy from another Cat 30 came over in his dinghy (he had just finishing tying up a few minutes ago) and offered to help us. It was pouring and nasty out and we couldn’t believe how nice he was to offer assistance in those conditions. He pointed out that all of the buoys were filled with Catalinas (most of them 30’s and a couple of 27’s). I wonder if that qualifies as a rendezvous!
    Once we were settled, we told my sister and brother-in-law to toughen up and just come over. We didn’t realize that the wind had actually picked up a bit and that Rosario was a little worse. But, they took our advice and left the marina. Unfortunately, just out of the marina, they lost their dinghy. It hadn’t been secured properly and went flying back into Cap Sante Marina. They managed to get tied up at the fuel dock and retrieve the dinghy, secure it and were off again. One thing that Aaron and I didn’t consider was that they were in a Mainship with a whole lot of windage and that made for a pretty uncomfortable trip. My sister, with no boating experience, was sure that the boat was going to roll over crossing Rosario. Jim handled it beautifully and said they had no problems. Due to the conditions, we had them raft to us (yes, a Mainship 34 to a Cat 30). It was actually pretty calm that night since the wind was blowing and no boats were moving. We got them secured and fixed my sister a hot cocoa with baileys to calm her down. At this point, I don’t think they were very excited to have spent so much money to charter a boat when they weren’t having the best time.

New Adventure arriving at Spencer Spit

Adventuress at Spencer Spit

    After a good night’s sleep, the weather on Sunday was drastically better and good enough to take the dinghy’s to shore. We had a fun time wandering around on the spit and then when it was time to head back to the boats, we noticed that they came in over a sandbar and it made getting out a little difficult. They also don’t have any experience getting a dinghy off of the beach. We tried to help but no matter what we did, they still got wet. The waves were good sized from the now building ferry and pig (Bayliner) wake so it was quite entertaining for us to watch them struggle. They finally got out but with pretty wet legs and feet.
    We untied and left for Jones Island, having them follow us. They didn’t mind going slow seeing that they weren’t in a hurry and felt more comfortable at this point to have us lead. We went over the charts with them before leaving so they’d know where we were going but it was funny to watch them experience Pole Pass for the first time. I guess we were pretty nervous our first time through there but that seems like such a long time ago. We went to the North Bay on Jones and had them hang out for a bit so we could get settled and help them with either getting a buoy or anchoring. We anchored and stern tied to shore and then a buoy was newly free and had them come in and pick it up. This was entertaining. They got a hold of it but then accidentally backed over it, all while my sister was sure she was going to hang on to the line. We gave her some lessons later on about some basic boat knowledge like securing dock lines, tying knots and NOT hanging on to lines when you should let go. Aaron helped in the dinghy and when they were secured, I let him know that I had looked at the wrong date in the tide book and that we were not going to be ok the next morning where we were. So we untied the stern line, pulled anchor and moved to the center of the bay. No one else was anchored so we had lots of space. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our anchor to hold. We made 3 attempts to (each with Aaron having to haul up the anchor by hand since we don’t have a windlass) and then finally tied up to New Adventure (the Mainship). Good thing the conditions were calm and quiet. We walked around the island and with the improved weather, everyone had a great day!

    Next we were heading to Friday Harbor to spend a couple of days. We sent Janine and Jim ahead of us so we could sail and give them a chance to handle things on their own. It was a perfect sailing day with a light breeze but after raising our mainsail, we couldn’t get our headsail to unroll and had to motor into Friday Harbor. We had reserved slips at the dock for both boats but they put us close to the head of the dock, where it gets pretty shallow. I pointed out to Aaron that we weren’t going to have enough water under the keel at low tide and that we should call the office and get a new assignment. He didn’t want to bother with that since he was sure that we were going to be just fine. After tying up, I pointed at the depth sounder and reminded him of the fact of how much water we were going to lose. I think we were going to end up in about 2 feet of water. Needless to say, we moved further down the dock and then helped Janine and Jim do the same. After showers at the marina, we had dinner at The Backdoor Kitchen in Friday Harbor. If you haven’t eaten there, you’re really missing out. It’s a little expensive but amazingly good food. It’s also not easy to find, but the dock guy at the marina can point you in the right direction. We spent the next day wandering around town, had lunch and then ate dinner onboard.
    We left Friday Harbor after breakfast, showers and a few chores. It was mostly sunny and we sailed for a short while but the wind was not so constant. One minute we were at 5 knots then at a standstill. We gave up and motored the rest of the way to Reid Harbor. Janine and Jim arrived before us and picked up a buoy with no problems. After we tied up to our buoy, we relaxed the rest of the day and had salmon cakes onboard for dinner. We took the dinks over to Peter’s gallery and bought a few prints. It was a treat for Janine and Jim to see this and be able to experience something like this in the islands. The next day we hiked up to the lighthouse and had a great day, with lunch for the 4 of us on the grass. It was breezy but sunny and warm. They also enjoyed seeing the schoolhouse and the treasure chest, and weren’t able to leave until they acquired t-shirts and baseball caps.


Janine & Jim dinghy in Reid Harbor

Anthem at Reid Harbor

    At this point, Janine and Jim were about done with their week and had only one night left before having to back to Anacortes. We were wanting to cross over to Canada and were confident that they would do just fine on their own, so we sent them South while we headed North. We cleared customs at Bedwell (not realizing that our Nexus now works for going into Canada and not just re-entering the US). We continued on to Ganges so we could make it to the Saturday market. Once in Ganges, we tied up to the dock so we could get showers, wash the boat, and fill water tanks. We had some fantastic rib eye steaks and it was warm enough for the first time this trip, to sit in the cockpit and eat. That night, we talked to Jim and Janine and they had a great trip back to Anacortes. First, they stopped at Blind Bay and grabbed a buoy so they could eat lunch. They had a relaxing afternoon, enjoying grilled steaks. Since their first crossing of Rosario wasn’t so pleasant, they were concerned about the trip back, seeing that the boat had to be at the dock, fueled and pumped out by 9 am. They elected to head over that late afternoon, when it was glass calm and had a leisurely trip. They said that it was nice to be tied up to the dock for that last night and be all set for the next morning’s departure. They also said that their trip was so nice (they had already forgotten about that first night) that they are sure they will buy a boat when they retire in a few years and move back to this area. I guess we did a good job of introducing them to what cruising can be.
    The next day in Ganges, we hit the market early and filled up with bread, veggies, fresh strawberries, sprouts and soaps. After showers and breakfast, we left the dock with the rain coming down. It rained all the way to Princess Cove on Wallace Island but it was pretty calm, so stern tying was easy and we knew we wouldn’t be dragging this time. The cove was pretty empty (around 6 boats in total). Before dinner, and after the rain stopped, we hiked to the cabin and found our sign still on the wall where we screwed it in securely.


Anthem in Princess Cove

Bald Eagle in Princess Cove

Sea Otter at Princess Cove

Anthem Sign at Princess Cove

A couple of sailboats enjoy an evening sail.

    After breakfast, we pulled anchor and headed for Cowichan. The water was extremely quiet today and we only saw a few boats. We tied up at the wharf dock where we could fill tanks and scrub the boat, as well as get real showers. We went to the Rock Cod Café for lunch and then had a late dinner. Monster kitty would much rather be at anchor since he’s not able to run around on the docks! The next morning, a blue heron was fishing from our dock (about 5 feet from our boat). Monster thought he was going to catch him for breakfast. He sat in the boat and with his tail twitching, and was poised to pounce, but the Heron paid no attention to him. Close to noon, we untied, filled the diesel tanks and headed to Tod Inlet. We’ve never seen it this empty (about 8 boats in the bay). The sun finally made an appearance and that made for a good nap in the cockpit! We stayed in Tod for 2 nights. We took a brief trail/creek hike but were lazy most of the day. The Canada geese were hanging out by our boat and Monster thought he was going to get one of them. He even had his front paws hanging off of the boat, ready to pounce if they would just get a little closer….

Blue Heron fishing from our dock.

Mac wishing the gees would get closer

    After breakfast, on June 20, we pulled anchor and left to cross back into the San Juan’s. We used our Nexus pass and called into customs, but still made a quick stop at Roche for groceries, garbage dump, showers and ice. We accomplished everything in about 1 ½ hours and were off to Reid Harbor. We arrived around 5:00 pm and it was very empty…even got a buoy. We like Reid so much that we stayed another day. We slept in and did a whole lot of nothing all that second day.

Mt. Baker and Turn Point from Haro Strait

    We left Reid and headed to Spencer Spit. We passed Spirit of Freedom near Upright Head but had to reach them by cell phone since their radio wasn’t on. Bad Spirit! LOL. We found a buoy on the south side and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the spit. The next day we untied from our buoy and headed to La Conner. It was a slow trip thru the ditch but we still had some time to wander through town. Aaron bought a pirate kite for us to use on our next trip. We had a fantastic dinner at a bistro in town. Not cheap but excellent food.

Mac relaxing underway

    June 24…our final day was a long one! The wind was fairly strong and out of the south (of course it was since that was the direction we were heading)…but it was a long and choppy trip home. Outside of Edmonds, the chop was so bad that we weren’t making any headway. At 0.0 knots, our ETA was NEVER! We cut diagonally across to Kingston, where we were planning on leaving the boat until next weekend and bumming a ride home, but once we reached the other side, the waves had really calmed down and made it a doable trip all the way to Port Orchard. It took us 14 hours to get from La Conner to Port Orchard. Poor Monster Kitty. As soon as we pulled into our slip, before we were even done tying up or shut off the engine, he was off the boat. I guess he had had enough of the rough trip!!


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