For someone that has been a serious photographer since the early 2000's, it took me a long time to finally get a drone. Over the years I did a little flying with friend's drones. I was waiting for one with big enough sensor that I wouldn't constantly be complaining about the image quality.
Last year the DJI Mavic Pro 2 arrived, and I got the one with the Hassleblad branded camera. Amazing piece of technology. I flew it once at home, then packed it up on the boat. Jumping into the deep end!
The two above are from the same spot, just different lighting and orientation.
The range on the drone is just incredible. This was from about 1,200 feet high. That's the Toba Wilderness resort in the foreground. Just a beautiful place. I bought the dedicated controller that has a super bright screen for use in sun. I have very good spatial awareness so the flying is straight forward for me.
Same location from maybe 150 feet up. That's Sequel in the foreground, Nordhavn 52, and Mary Pearl further back, Nordhavn 43.
The challenging part is the landing. I alluded to this in the previous Bookend Part III post. The spot I'm using is the foredeck, ahead of where you see that orange patch. Even though I think I have the "safeties" turned off, the drone still senses the various areas of the boat and thinks it is too dangerous to land. I have to "force land" it. Hopefully I'll get more experience this Spring and this becomes easier.
This is the same spot but from a distant perspective. Just a beautiful location that I named Paradise Cove.
I also did some video but wasn't pleased with very many of them. I really need to wrap my head around perspectives and movements which will result in video that is fun to view. The drone has a "follow me" mode and we did this while running through Princess Louisa in the tender. But alas the tender just wasn't in focus. Argh!
Speaking of Princess Louisa, we had to wait outside the rapids for slack tide for a few hours, so I took the drone up. This is the sound, outside the rapids.
We were about a mile away at the point where I was flying, so I thought "what the heck, I'll fly over the rapids to take a look." Yeah, the current was running pretty strong.
The best images came out of our two nights in Von Donop Inlet. I took off early in the morning, with no idea that the clouds were reflecting in the water like this. That's Mary Pearl, one of our boating buddies.
And Mahalo all pretty in the morning sunlight.
Finishing up with my favorite. I was pretty blown away viewing on the controller, even more so once I got it onto my computer. Mahalo, queen of the clouds!
Doing this post reminds me that I should spend some time sharpening my skills over the Winter and Spring. Hope you enjoyed.
On the way over to McMicken we enjoyed some of the fun PNW currents. Always interesting to feel the boat pivoting so quickly.
Went by this beauty - Rip Tide. I find the maintenance on Mahalo pretty intimidating. Can you imagine the workload on this boat?
I also tried drone shooting with the boat moving for the first time. This definitely adds a notch of complexity. I had my brother driving, but I was still telling him where to head, how fast and so on. I got some nice shots, like this one.
When it was time to bring the drone in I had my brother stop the boat. But with current and wind, the boat was moving around a lot. I only have a few square feet on the foredeck in which to land. With landing, you push a button, then confirm. I do this with the drone flying about head height. Then it takes several seconds to lower itself and then shut off.
I just couldn't get it done, the boat was moving too much. So I decided to hand catch, which I had not done before. My son (who has a different DJI drone) had told me a couple things about this procedure. The first is that you press land, hold your hand under it, it sees your hand and shuts off. So I pressed the land button and got my hand under the drone (boat moving around, argh). I looked at the screen and saw that "oh sh!t I need to press the confirm button!" But now that I had my hand on the drone, I needed a third hand to hold the controller and press the little button on screen.
That's when I tried the other procedure my son had told me. If you flip the drone over on its back, it will shut off automatically. So grabbing it forcefully I did that. Well, that just made it angry. Now I had the upside down drone spinning all four props and fighting me. I couldn't let go at this point not knowing what the heck it was going to do. I carefully walked back to where I could sit the controller on a piece of the boat so I could get to the stop button. I was very thankful and covered with sweat when the props stopped.
Also along the way we saw this sad sight. The strobe on the mast was blinking so we thought this might have happened pretty recently. No sight of any people. As I type this I guess I should have called the CG? Didn't think of it at the time.
We pretty much had the anchorage to ourselves. I recovered enough to get some more drone shots in the afternoon.
Beautiful Fall day with Mahalo. Life is good.
Nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread! One of my first memories, 3-4 years old, is the smell of my Dad's bread proofing on the fireplace mantel. All three of us enjoy cooking. So it was a treat to make this for him.
My brother and I have birthdays in November. We don't always exchange gifts. But independently we both decided to. I had seen this cool down mummy bag beer cooler in Portland and picked it up for him. And I got a Star Trek lunch box. Nerd city!
The next morning we began our trek back to Bainbridge Island. We would overnight on the dock and they would fly out the next day. Always a kick to go under the Tacoma Narrows bridge. The weather was still great!
We just couldn't have hit the weather any better. It was raining before they showed up, sunny the whole time aboard. Tied back up at home base, the overcast came back in.
A very successful cruise. Lots of good food, scenery and brother / Dad bonding. Now they have to head back to reality and I'll keep living the dream!
As the title suggests, this is part II of the "book end cruise" with brother and our Dad. I'll be a bit more complete than the previous post. With the time Reid and Dad arrived into Seattle, it worked out best to spend our first night at Mahalo's home dock.
The next day we motored down to always beautiful Gig Harbor. There is a long end tie at The Tides restaurant, but it was taken up by a 50 footer and then a 26 foot or so fishing boat. So I put Mahalo into this inside finger pier.
About the time we get everything situated and make our way up the ramp there are two couples coming down the ramp. They say "whoa, nice job getting that big boat in there, we realized now we shouldn't have taken the end tie!" No biggie.
I have to say from inside the restaurant Mahalo looked huge! Sorry for the crappy picture, my phone couldn't handle the dynamic range. We walked around town. I really like the distillery there but it was closed for remodeling.
One of the fun things about Gig is that there's always so much going on. Watercraft of every type. Various rowing/SUP teams practicing. You'll see someone pedaling by in a "water bike" contraption.
That Selene in the background is owned by a friend of mine. Met him when we were in the process of figuring out what kind of boat to buy. We like Gig Harbor a lot. When we begun the building process with Mahalo, we had an idea of buying a house there with a dock, so we could have the boat right at home. In hindsight, I'm glad that didn't work out. But nestled in there is a house we LOVED, that went off the market before we could decide if we wanted to make an offer or not.
In last year's trips with "the Steves," one of them had bought a beautiful pizza cutter at a co-op gallery. This guy makes these beauties. Later I was kind of mad that I didn't pick one up for the boat. So this year I got my own.
Also shown, salami, sausage, mushroom, olive, potato pizza, made with my own sourdough starter and cooked on the BBQ. Dad was in heaven.
The next morning we set off for Olympia. I had never boated there before, thought it would be fun and something different. There are always a lot of great views of Mt. Rainier when cruising the south sound.
I would set a course with the Garmin and then have Dad "follow the pink track" until he got tired of hand steering. Which took a LONG time, LOL.
Tied up at the dock at Swantown Marina, the city marina. Very well run and maintained, and super reasonable. It was like a buck a foot or something.
It's a nice and short walk into the town. They have some interesting sculptures.
The real attraction though is the Farmer's Market. As you can see it is a gorgeous permanent structure. If your average Farmer's Market is a B-/C+, this one is an A+! We bought some excellent pastries and fruit.
Lots of great produce from nearby farms and orchards. Also several restaurants in this area.
The next day we were off to our final anchorage, McMicken Island. That will be part III.
I have been pretty slack getting posts up here on the blog. There are WAY more images and stories to tell of our seven week cruise, Summer 2019. But after the cruise, catching up with life, and planning some big future trips, has taken up my time.
One of the important ones was getting ready for a 5 night cruise with my brother and Dad. As you know from our "Who We Are" page, I started boating with Dad when I was about 10 years old. And that's on a nice boat. Before that we did rowboats and outboards for fishing.
I am leaving the house in a half an hour to fly to So Cal, but thought I'd get in a few pictures from this trip. I'll do a follow up post next week.
Spent our first night in Gig Harbor, always great.
All alone in the South sound. Flew the drone with the boat underway for the first time. Landing was NOT FUN.
Cooking and eating well is always a part of our trips. Here I made shrimp and scallop grits. Can still taste them, they were so good.
Amazing double rainbow at McMicken Island. OK, gotta fly, see you next week.