Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Journey on the Sea....

by Shane Norman

What's wrong with me that I break the chains

That are binding to the land

Is it a dream or is it real

They will never understand

I want no house, No picket fence

Nor shed by the tree

I dream a life of wanderer's lust

A journey on the sea

I curse the days when Im stuck ashore

Will this trial ever end

I have a need for something more

The seas my lonely friend

I have no need of riches true

For I live upon the waves

From seas of green and brightest blue

No more bonds of Urban slaves

The Fish they dart,the Birds soar high

And still I want to roam

Although I never really know

What lies beyond the foam

I see the sun to greet the day

A molten glow to love

And then in turn to say goodnight

With a blanket of stars above

I sleep in mother seas embrace

A guiding hand she'll be

To send my sleep a drifting

Towards my journey on the sea...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stuart Island

We left Tuesday night after work and made our way to James Island for the night.  As we rounded the corner to pick up our mooring buoy, I looked back and caught a glimpse of the super moon behind us.  It was pretty amazing.  Of course, once we were tied up, the island blocked our view of the moon.  Bummer, no pictures. 

We woke up in the morning to a blanket of fog.  We took the dinghy to the beach for a hike and couldn't even see our boat less than 100 yards away.  Did we wait for the fog to clear to continue our journey to Stuart Island?  Of course not!  We thought this would be a great opportunity to test our radar and navigating with a blindfold on skills.  It was quite eerie as we pulled into Thatcher's Pass.  I should say, Jake pulled into Thatcher's Pass.  I was so turned around, I probably would have motored back to Skyline.  We had to dodge fishing boats as we passed through the area.  Then we saw the ferry coming on our AIS.  We waited and waited.  It was coming from behind.  We could hear their fog horn for quite some time before we actually saw the massive ferry bearing down on us.  Luckily, we had plenty of sea room and he passed us without incident.  As we approached the Spencer Spit area on the north side of Lopez Island, the veil of fog magically disappeared.  What a relief.  That would have been a nail biting trip had the fog continued all the way to Stuart Island.

We arrived Stuart around 3 pm and dropped the anchor in the middle of Reid Harbor.  We were impressed by the calm, beauty that surrounded us.  There is nothing like pulling into an anchorage, shutting off the engine and hearing nothing but birds singing.  There were about 20 boats in the bay, but plenty of room for everyone.  Somehow we have always managed to bypass Stuart Island as we traveled through the San Juan and Gulf Islands.  I'm glad we finally stopped.

I had read in a guidebook that there was a trail that took you to the island schoolhouse and continued to Turn Point Lighthouse.  Luckily we set aside an entire day for this 6 MILE journey.  FYI, Sperry water shoes are not appropriate hiking apparel.  I have the blisters to prove it.  The hike was great though.  The school grounds had a small museum, library, and main school building.  They also had soccer fields and a basketball court for the kids to run around on.  Last year they actually had 2 students that attended the school.  One would have to be pretty adventurous to live on the island full time with no grocery store or ferry service.  Next to the school there was a "market" set up with t-shirts, bags, and post cards for purchase on the honor system. 

We continued another mile up and down the county road to the Turn Point Lighthouse.  We stopped for a light picnic.  It was apparent that someone (me) probably should have packed more food.  We had worked up quite the appetite at that point and had another 3 mile journey back to the boat.  What an amazing view from the lighthouse area!  It is a great whale watching spot.  Unfortunately, we did not spot any...

We stayed at Stuart for 2 nights then decided we were ready for civilization again.  On Friday, we headed to Friday Harbor for the night.  We figured this would probably be our last visit to our favorite island and town.  We headed home on Saturday and it was back to work for me on Sunday.  Three more days of work, then FREEDOM! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

15 days and counting!!!

Time is flying by, only 15 days until we untie from the dock.  We are in full project mode and completing final touches on last minute items.  We are also getting all of our "home items" ready for the move (clean out storage, organize, and ship out items to be stored).

It seems time moves faster during busy times like these, before we know it we will be on the Pacific Ocean heading south. As for this week, working on the boat and some sailing to test systems like the newly installed autopilot.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4th of July

It is rare that Jake and I are able to spend holidays together as a family.  One of us is usually working.  This year we actually had the 4th off together.  We typically don't like to follow the herd of boaters leaving the marina for a holiday weekend, but this year was different.  We were all pretty excited to be out in the beautiful weather and watch fireworks from the boat. 

We left around 8pm on Tuesday the 2nd and headed for James Island.  It was awesome sailing (motoring) into the sunset.  We had the island to ourselves.  We tied up to a mooring buoy, ate a late dinner while listening to the birds on the island, and crashed for the night.  In the morning, we enjoyed a nice hike and took off for Friday Harbor.

We arrived in Friday Harbor around 1pm on the 3rd and had plenty of room to anchor.  We set the hook using our windlass and new Rocna anchor for the first time. Yay!  We had lunch on the boat and headed for town for ice cream and some shop exploring.  The kids had money burning a hole in their pockets.  Later that night we sat on the boat enjoying a tasty beverage and watched the charter boats attempt to anchor.  It was quite a show.  We also had a front row seat to watch the Coast Guard pull over anything moving coming in and out of the harbor for safety inspections.  This instigated a stop at West Marine the next day for flares.  We had expired ones on board and our new flares in my car at the marina... I guess if the Deception Pass bridge ever collapsed and my car took the plunge into the ever so friendly waters below, I could set off flares for my rescue.  If I were still alive of course.

On the 4th we celebrated by using the word "Merica" whenever we could.  Only in Merica.  This is Merica.  Made in Merica.  You get the point.  I'm not sure why, but it was pretty fun.  Our friends from Skyline Marina joined us in the anchorage.  We all went to the parade together.  It was all fun and games until a small child was run over by a parade vehicle.  After a brief delay the parade resumed and the girl was transported to the medical center with non-life threatening injuries, thank goodness.  The rest of the afternoon and evening was great.  We had a lazy nap on the boat, BBQ on our friend's boat, then watched the fireworks.  They launched the fireworks right in front of us from a barge.  The girls had a great time.  Hannah told me that she wants to live in Friday Harbor.  I asked her why and she said that they have the best, ice cream, candy, toy stores, and parades.  What more could a 5 year old ask for?

We headed home on the 5th.  We made our best effort to sail the whole way and then cursed the San Juans because it was impossible.  We would have great wind for maybe 30 minutes, then turn and it would be blocked by Lopez Island, then pick it up again, then it would die, over and over.  We were excited to get to Rosario Straight because we can always find wind there.  The only problem is that 99.9% of the time it is blowing from the SSE, exactly were we need to go to get back to Skyline.  It was dinner time.  We gave up and motored home.