Wed, August 10, 2022
We are finally away from the dock. We hauled the boat out of the water in early May for some fresh bottom paint but problems were found with the propeller shaft and then one problem followed another until we managed to get the boat back in the water a couple of weeks ago. We took a short shakedown cruise and added some time for final provisioning and now we are on our way.
Today started with a bus ride, actually a ride on three busses, and a nice walk to the marina with claps of thunder accompanying us all the way. Luckily we had only a few drops of rain. We quickly untied from the dock, said our final goodbyes to our boat neighbors who are shortly leaving for Mexico and the South Pacific and turned into the sound heading North. The current was against us almost all the way but we still made decent time. At some points it was pretty choppy and the boat was rolling but we managed to hold on to our lunch.
We dropped anchor at Kala Point, near Port Townsend and activated our Garmin InReach satellite communicator to send a message to everyone with our current position but for some reason nothing actually happened. Ah, electronic gadgets. It turns out it wasn’t user error for once – there was an actual system outage at Garmin. By the time we had finished our Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Shrimp everyone had gotten their email.
Tomorrow we will cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s 20 miles of open water that can be ROUGH but the forecast is for winds less than 10 knots. Should be fine.
Thursday, August 11
We woke up early, even though we didn’t set an alarm, got the anchor and were underway by 0700.
It was perfectly calm and would have been an ideal crossing but for the pea soup fog which we entered about 10 minutes into the trip. That and the large number of deep draft commercial vessels, like contain ships and tugs, that we saw only as blips on the Radar screen. The current pouring out of Puget Sound reached 5 knots at times and before we knew it we were in the middle of the strait. But what you gain on one end you often lose on the other and such was the case as we neared the San Juan islands and now facing the current our speed slowed. But by this time the fog had cleared and there was little boat traffic so we just sat back and relaxed. All together we went 45 miles in 6 1/2 hours and ended up in Reid Harbor in plenty of time to go for a hike.
Reid is one of our favorite destinations in the San Juans. It’s got easy access and plenty of room for lots of boats to anchor. But the best part is the hiking with many trails going to different parts of the island. Our favorite is a climb to the top of the island’s highest point, called Tip Top. The last quarter mile is along a grassy slope with 180 degree views of the water and many islands with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. It’s truly spectacular and we repeat the hike every time we are here.
After a hot shower we are relaxing in the cockpit, listening to music and sipping our favorite beverage. Soon it will be dinner followed perhaps by a Podcast before bed. Then more of the same tomorrow. Life is tough.
Friday, August 12
Today was a transition day – we crossed the border into Canada and replenished our larder with all the meat, fruits and vegetables and wine that we couldn’t bring across the border. We again made an early start, this time to avoid the worst of the current – currents are always strong around the full moon. We pulled into the Canadian Customs dock at Port of Sidney Marina and checked in by phone as we usually do. It all went very smoothly. We then got a slip assignment and tied up before going the grocery store. We like Sidney because the store is a regular large grocery only a block away from the marina. And they don’t mind if you take their cart back to the marina, which saves a lot of lugging of bags.
Another of Sidney’s attractions is their waterfront walk which runs between the water and houses for almost a mile and a half. It’s one of the nicest public waterfronts we’ve seen and well worth the excursion. The downtown shopping area is only about a dozen blocks or so but has plenty of interesting shops – Karen went off alone to tour them and I stayed at the boat to write the blog. Being at a marina is a treat for us because we can plug into the marina power so we aren’t dependent on the limited power of the boat’s batteries. That means we can watch a CD tonight and eat waffles in the morning. It’s almost like home. It also means we have WiFI available so I can send this blog our to all of you even though it’s only been three days.