Which is a very good thing…
Lots has happened since the emergence post. Right after that post Aquavit and I hit the road north (boat not drink) and smoothly made it to Port Townsend. I handed Aquavit over to the good folks at Haven Boatworks for the replacement of 3 keel bolts. The other two will require the removal of floors, so may be a project for a next year.
While Aquavit hung out in Port Townsend, I managed to wrap up my job (staying with the same outfit, just a new job), finished the tree house with much help from my parents, cleaned up Timber, and managed to get married! We lucked out with the weather at Timber, and after accidentally walking out of the tent when the recessional was played about 10 minutes early, we came back and successfully got hitched.
Two days later with the truck packed to the gills we headed to Port Townsend. About 24 hours of frantic last minute boat projects, including some major slick seam application (wax) to two planks that had checked in the sun, she was hoisted by the travel lift and gently deposited back into her natural environment. Unsurprisingly, she promptly tried to sink. After about 30 minutes in the slings with 2 DC bilge pumps running we were able to back her up to a dock and get a 110 volt sump pump running. It took two days for her to take up enough that we could leave the dock for any extended period of time, which was lucky since we had to rig the entire boat and figure out various systems.
We launched on Thursday and on Sunday headed off for a short sail over to Mystery Bay on Marrowstone Island. Monday we planned to sail back to Port Townsend and pick up some last minute supplies (stove alcohol, human alcohol), but the sailing looked good and so off we headed around Point Wilson. A flying reach brought us through the Admiralty Inlet shipping lanes and up to Whidbey Island. The south-westerly died about half way up Whidbey and left us with large, short, steep swells pushing into the current- but we managed to roll our way up to Lopez. We anchored for a few hours in a favorite hidey hole near Lopez Pass then had a beautiful evening broad reach up to Spencer Spit under the full main and nylon drifter. She sailed beautifully and only leaked a little bit.
At anchor in Mystery Bay
Evening reach up Lopez Sound to Spencer Spit- what a nice drifter!
We spent the next couple of weeks exploring the San Juans and southern Gulf Islands. Sophie celebrated her birthday with Oysters at Westcott Bay, and we walked bumped from anchorage to anchorage, crossing into Canada with a beautiful sail.
Anchored at Fisherman Bay on Lopez
Sunset on Yellow Island from Jones Island State Park with San Juan and Shaw in the background.
On the hook at Garrison Bay- English Camp. You might be picking up on a photography theme here!
Rainy day eating.
13 oysters at Westcott Bay for the birthday girl.
Followed by pressure cooker birthday brownies at Stuart Island
Great hiking on Stuart Island, and an early morning switch to a mooring buoy.
From Selby Bay on the north end of Prevost Island we headed north again, this time with a screaming reach up Trincomali Channel. We had only rigged the first reef point, which wasn’t quite enough when we hit the wind coming through the gap just north of Saltspring. On the GPS we were doing about 10 knots, about 2-3 of which was probably current. We spent the middle of the day anchored in Clam Bay between Thetis and Kuper Islands, where a nice guy paddled out and sold us a beautiful carving. About mid-afternoon we looked at weather and slack tide at Dodd Narrows (a narrow passage with strong currents just south of Nanaimo), so headed north again, this time with that second reef rigged and ready. The sail up to Dodd Narrows was beautiful, blowing about 20 directly on the beam. With both reefs in and the jib up we passed a massive log boom- glad that we were meeting it here and not in Dodd Narrows. The narrows themselves were relatively calm, with very little wind or current. We motored through and took down the jib. Good thing, since when we came out the other side it was blowing hard right off the pulp mill (terrible smell). We aren’t sure how hard it was, but hard enough that with just the main up and 2 reefs in we had the rail fully under and couldn’t look to windward- holding a bearing from the marker off Protection Island to keep ourselves in the channel. Beating into Nanaimo proved a challenge, but believe it or not, the anchorage at Newcastle Island was dead calm. We looked a bit goofy in our soaking foul weather gear with hoods up and the boat covered in salt.
We had Selby Bay all to ourselves
Rainy and windy days anchored at Nanaimo
MVPs for the trip- Harriett the inflatable dinghy (named after my grandmother) and Salty Dan, the borrowed outboard.
A few days in Newcastle and we headed back south. Crossing back into the US a massive black border patrol RIB pulled up to us. When they asked how we knew each other, we answered that we were married. “How long have you been married,” “well, about 3 weeks.” They clearly hadn’t trained on how to be both celebratory and intimidating.
A beautiful old wood ketch motoring through Lopez Pass at sunset. We later found her in Watmough Bay
We had relatively mellow sailing back through the San Juans, followed by a thumping beat out of Lopez Pass. We decided that Rosario might be a bit much for us so pulled into Watmough Bay. A few hours later the thought of Sophie missing her first day back at clinical rotations for medical school was crossing both of our minds and the Smith Island buoy had dropped by about 5 knots and swung around to the west. We still had the current with us, so pulled out. Directly off of Watmough Head was a breaking tide rip with overhead sized surfable waves. That didn’t look friendly so we motor-reached across the shipping lanes, pinching to avoid a massive Foss tug, then thumped and beat our way up Whidbey with the wind directly on our nose the whole way. The wind went dead calm as soon as we got to Admiralty Inlet, and again we felt a bit foolish in full foul weather gear and 2 reefs in. We drifted into Port Townsend surrounded by everything from high performance trimarans to tiny rowboats, all there for the Race to Alaska (R2AK), which started the next day.
At least is was pretty before we got to the tide rip.
Waiting in Watmough Bay with a fish boat.
Click play to see the big breaking waves off Watmough Head. They were bigger than they look here.
That’s probably enough writing for now. We were lucky enough to snag a slip for Aquavit at the Point Hudson marina, where she’ll be living for the foreseeable future. We had nice visits with friends in Port Townsend, including a Canadian friend who pushed off the next day headed for Ketchikan in his Farrier F-27 trimaran (he made it in good form and was the fastest F-27). Sophie made it back in time for an Internal Medicine rotation, and I have a bit of time left before returning to my new job, which has thus far been occupied with sailing Aquavit and boat projects. More on both of those topics soon.
Our friend Steve and crew on Fly won the “smoothest exit from the marina” award- unrolling the jib and rolling away!
In her new slip at Point Hudson, surrounded by the mayhem of R2AK. It’s amazing how many people thought we were doing it. Maybe next year, especially if I can sail someone else’s Folkboat (hint, NW School of Wooden Boat Building)
Look ma, no hands! She’ll sail a long ways trimmed well with working jib and 1 reef in. Day before yesterday in Kilisut Harbor
And the tree house hasn’t fallen out of the trees yet.