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.
Most Endurances have a microwave above the cooktop. Those micro units have tiny vents and fans, and Hampton does a good job venting this air outside the boat.
However, those small vents don't really do the job when one uses the cooktop. So I wanted a real vent/fan setup, called a "power pack" in the home building industry. It's a nice Broan unit with an infinitely variable fan control as well as dimmable lights.
The factory did a nice job finishing out this space around the fan, and we selected plastic bins to keep everything in place. I have my cooking oils, vinegars and other non-refrig condiments. In the beginning I had these spice bottles in a bin, but that meant to get at any of them I had to bring down the entire bin.
At some point I realized the bottles could sit on this "shelf" area, I just needed a way to contain them. I first looked into a plastic rod, but it got kind of complicated and was going to cost several times to ship what the plastic cost.
My good friend Don had been doing some projects and had some extra metal rod. He cut it to length for me, and I painted the rod. It sits right on the hinge, I just used a dab of silicone seal to secure it. Now I can easily access any of them.
Did a lot of cooking on the trip, of course, and this area makes everything so handy. Only problem was that when I got home I had to relearn where everything is in the home kitchen!
We departed Roche Harbor, crossing Boundary Straight and into Canadian waters. Off Bedwell we cleared customs over the phone. We both have Nexus cards so this is really straightforward. Once we got connected to an agent it was about five questions over 90 seconds and we had our clearance.
We proceeded to Madrona Bay, which is the bay right next to the very popular Ganges area, that has numerous marinas. This is one of our favorite spots, very pretty, and a short kayak or tender over to Ganges for any provisions or a meal out.
We should have known that we were in for more challenges. The boat you see afloat here had been on those rocks. It had drifted over the night before, in the wind, and smashed into the rocks, taking on water. When we arrived large plumes of water were pumping into the air. At the point I took this shot they had her righted and towable.
Well isn't that a lovely forecast? Winds to 25 kts! Although Madrona looks fairly protected except from the South, in reality the wind in this area just builds through all the small valleys and kicks everyone's butts. We had picked a good spot, really setting the hook. But that was while the wind was from the South, and it was supposed to turn around.
And turn around it did. I spent a miserable night, mostly awake, watching the boats around us. I do envy boaters that can just drop the hook and drop off. I'm not one of them. A short distance from us an old boat with no one on board (common there) began drifting and another large yacht in its path had to move. The drifter is the blob in the light blue shoal waters at bottom right.
This is the radar overlay on the chart plotter screen (BTW we have one digital radar that takes very little energy, something like 80 watts). Those blobs are other boats. We have dragged our anchor a bit, otherwise we would be within the green circle. We are very close to shoal depth waters behind us now, and we were often as close as 150 feet from one of the other boats. I had my horn, hailer, and boat hook ready to go. We recorded a gust to 33 kts during the night.
I was very happy to see daylight. You can see how windy it is. Those are two of the boats in the radar presentation, off to our port is a 60 foot sailboat.
With no letup in sight we called the Marina, but there was no room for us. It was way too windy in the Strait of Georgia to consider crossing over. By now friends had convinced me to get the PredictWind app and purchase a subscription. I want to get the app "NoWind" and I'll pay good money for it.
Most of the anchorages nearby either were open to the South or North, and the wind shifted between these and so there isn't a "correct" choice. We motored over to James Bay, which looked good, but it was just ridiculously exposed to Northerlies.
Last year we had cruised up Long Harbor, which has a ferry that goes up about half way. We weren't too impressed last year, but said let's give it another go. Going further back toward the head of the bay it was actually quite nice. We tried to anchor on the North side in a little bight, but there was no (anchor) bite in sight. Looking at the land meeting the beach in that area I saw it was mostly rock, no vegetation. I have learned to pay attention to this, often the bottom is similarly rocky.
So we went to the South side, found a good spot all by ourselves and got a good bite. We hunkered down, not realizing we would be here for 3 nights. But it was great to have no boats anchored anywhere near us. This is where I did the kayak project that I blogged about while we were still in the trip.
The next morning with the generator running, I had this unpleasant sight. I went into the engine room and looked the gen over, it seemed fine, temps were good. Back up top I noticed there were a lot of small jellyfish. It could really only mean one thing, our generator was Cuisinarting jellyfish. Ugh.
With a break in the wind and slack tide the water offered up a veritable garden. Let's wait on that generator run, eh? Unfortunately, when on the hook, we do need two runs per day of about 4+ hours to charge our AGM house bank.
We were treated to a beautiful sunset our last night. I had studied the weather and also conferred with a couple of friends. That next day was THE day to cross over, with virtually no wind/waves predicted. That sucker blew itself out.
And we woke up to this. Glass, baby. This is going to be good. Surely our issues are all behind us. Or are they? Stay tuned...