Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lucky Us at Friday Harbor -- 8/29/2014

This morning in Anacortes Herb checks the WX report to learn the winds will be 5 to 15, so we plan to go spend some time on anchor.  It rains early, but begins to clear as we make our last minute plans.  We cruise out of Cap Sante amidst many boats, both coming in for the Labor Day weekend and also going to other destinations for the holiday.  The fuel docks must be happy.

We phone Friday Harbor to check the likelihood of getting a slip there and are told while they can't guarantee a slip assignment right now, they will definitely be able to get a spot for us.  Inside Breakwater "B" is first come, first served.  We like it there to watch all the ships cruise by.

There is a slight chop as we go near the Anacortes ferry landing and we make sure we are outside the ferry routes.  We constantly ride the wakes of all the boats and still manage to make lunch while underway.  

When we approach the ferry dock at Lopez Island, I look carefully to see if the Hyak is moving.  Oh, good!  I see the foot traffic still walking off and cars not unloading yet.  She will be docked long enough for us to pass.

We bear to the right at the northern most point of Lopez Island to go down Upright channel.  Although the water is quite rough, the sky looks brighter ahead, so maybe the front has passed on through.

Around 2P I call on 66A when we get close to Friday Harbor and am told there is nothing available for a boat of my size at this time, but Margaret (I later learn her name) will be happy to put us on her wait list.  We will be Boat #6.  When a space opens up, she will call us three times.  If we do not respond, she will move on to the next boat in line.  For now, she says we are more than welcome to tie up to the inside of Breakwater B or raft there to a vessel of similar size, up to three deep. That dock is mandatory rafting.

We agree to wait, but there is no space on BWB, so we cruise the harbor a bit.  As we come back to the entrance, someone calls on 66 to tell us of a space on the outside of BW "A."  He says he will be there to catch our lines.  We accept. 

He helps us tie up and says put every available fender we have on the dock side because it will be rough. We do.

I am here to tell you it is rough outside BWA, but we stay.  The harbor master says it will be two hours before anything opens up for us.  We continue to bounce, toss and bounce.  I don't dare try to go out to take any photos, and we learn that the person who called us for BWA is a guest himself.  

The harbormaster broadcasts that they will take an inventory around 4P and should know if anything is available for us.  Otherwise we will spend the night on the outside of BWA.  Herb goes to walk Jake just after 4P and my hopes fall, as I have to assume all who plan to leave have already left at or near check out time. 

Herb is gone a long time and calls me to see if we are still on the list.  Yes we are. If I hear one boat call in and get told about the wait list, I hear a gazillion.  I dare not turn the VHF off, for fear of missing her call to us.

And then it happens!  AT 5:30, not 4P -- "Willie's Tug, Willie's Tug, Willie's Tug, this is Port of Friday Harbor!"  I respond so fast my head spins!  She asks if we still plan to stay only one night and when she hears my answer to the affirmative, she says she has a slip for us: Golf zero eight!  

Yea!  I quickly call Herb to tell him.  We are soon settled in, not believing how lucky we are on a holiday weekend.  When I go up to the office to pay for moorage, I tell Margaret we may have to change the name of Willie's Tug to Perseverance

Our one reason for the stop over at Friday Harbor is to see Jim and Joan.  Jim finishes his whale watch for the day and Joan completes her ten hour day of booking whale watch guests and they come over to visit.  It is great to catch up.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Monday, August 29, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Halibut -- 8/28/2014

Today is a day of provisioning for hanging out until the Ranger Rendezvous next week, so Herb and I walk across the street from Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes to fill a couple of grocery carts.

Day is done and we enjoy Herb's Alaska recipe for halibut.

A view from Willie's Tug at Cap Sante Marina


Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Laundry Room Story -- 8/27/2014

Now that we are back from 'The North,' we stop for a while to provision and reorganize for the remaining time we will be on Willie's Tug this Summer.   Herb and I unload all the clothes and other items we no longer need for this season and he takes them to the motor home, which is stored in a marine yard in here Anacortes.

Then it is laundry time.  

I take my laundry bag, which will fill two washers, dump it into a dock cart and go to the nearest laundry room by the marina office.  Uh, oh, a lady is using them both and says to me, "You are out of luck, and a man just came by and left."

I thank her for the information and head to the laundry at the far side of the marina.  I am so tired from pulling and pushing the awkward cart down the dock, up the ramp and over to the next building.  The wheels of the cart catch some of the shrubbery, but I get it free and arrive to do my wash.

Yes, there is a man there, so he must be the one who left the other laundry room.

Historically, when I return to the boat from doing laundry, I have a 'Laundry Room Story' to tell Herb.  Something funny, something weird, or some very interesting persons.  Today is no exception, as the man tells me there has been a cell phone left charging for some time and asks if it is mine.  

That will be my laundry room story today:  who would go off and leave their cell phone???

Well, not really....

I am so tired I do not remember how the subject of Alaska comes up, but I learn he has just returned from a cruise to there.  Now, I get really excited to hear all about it, since Herb and I had to cancel our trip earlier in the Spring.  I learn his name is Jay and he and his wife Kay have a 37 foot Pacific Trawler -- Hull #3 -- from 1974, Westerly.  She must be a beautiful boat.

I ask many questions and can't wait to get back to the boat to tell Herb about our conversation and that he also knows Sam Landsman and Mark Bunzel of Waggoner Cruising Guide.  

However, with many chores yet to be done, I don't remember until we are preparing dinner.  He is excited, also, and we plan to walk over to Westerly after dinner to leave our boat card.  But we are delighted when he comes by and we visit in the cockpit for quite a while.  He and Herb have so much to talk about.

I forget to take a photo, but have the picture of his boat card.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Home? -- 8/26/2014

Home.  Where is home?  What is home?  --   
"...where the heart is?"   "...where you park it?"  
Herb likes to say "Home is where you dock it" and  "Happiness is where your friends are."

Salt Springs Island can qualify on all.  Today I feel like I am leaving home (temporarily.)  We are ready to cast off at 9A when friends come to release our lines.  This frees me to grab my camera and see Gail and Vicki assisting us.

Now everyone is photographing everyone, while Patrick gets the bow line.

Leaving the Sailing Club behind, we cruise on rippled seas under sunny skies toward Captain Passage and ultimately Anacortes.  Seas change to swells near the south end of Salt Spring Island, where Prevost Island is on our port side.

A three mast sailboat crosses our bow and Herb alters course to cross its wake, which turns out not to be rough at all.  He notices Stella on our port and calls to Jim to see if he is going our way, but Jim says he is looking for fishing grounds. 

We expect to see several ferries on this trip and the first one is a BC ferry, Spirit of Vancouver Island.  Herb checks AIS to learn she will come within a half mile, and notices the sailing vessel traveling near us point at our stern to give way to the ferry.  We move ahead increasing our speed to put more distance between us and the ferry, which is headed for Sidney BC.

Breaking the silence now is a "Pan-pan" call on VHF 16.  We hear Victoria Coast Guard talking to a sailing vessel who has caught a crab trap in his prop.  A few minutes later we hear a "Mayday" call regarding an aircraft down and overturned in a bay.  We are not able to hear the persons calling for help, which tells us they are too far away for us to aid, but shortly we hear other boats respond, and all situations are taken care of -- no injuries!!!

As we approach the United States, we see the all too familiar Turn Point on Stuart Island, where a light station was constructed to guide ships in Boundary Pass.  All too familiar is the memory of the long, long hike we took a few years ago from Reed Harbor to the Point.  There was water along the way -- even a water bowl for Jake and other pets.

From Swanson Channel we go into Boundary Pass with current pushing us toward Stuart Island on our starboard, so skipper changes course to take advantage of the push.

As we pass Crane Island, I see two chairs that must be a fabulous place to watch the sunset.

Continuing, we go through Wasp Passage which is south of Orcas and Crane Islands and north of Shaw.  Our next excitement is near Bird Rock where a sailing vessel drifts toward us, forcing us toward the rock, but Herb is able to correct and keep us safe.

When I see Mount Baker, I know I am home.  Home?  Did I say home?  

Yes, Anacortes is one of my 'homes.'  I know where everything is in Anacortes.

Our first guest is Tym, who comes at what he calls Beer-Thirty.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Never a Dull Moment -- 8/25/2014

Our excitement for the day begins with our seeing Lyman off at the float plane dock.  He will make a short trip, then will be back to continue the cruise north with friends.

It is amazing to me how they can pull a heavy plane from the end around to the side of the dock with only the dock lines.

Off he goes!

Janeane and guest Vicki graciously invite all of us back to Zuma for the last evening before Bruce, Vicki, Herb and I leave to go south.  An added treat is gathering on the upper deck where Bruce will grill fresh Sockeye salmon.  

During the afternoon we become aware of a lone sailor near us using a lever to crank his anchor up. He works and works and works, and we are not sure what is going on.  

Anchored more toward Ganges Harbour is a Ranger Tug, so Janeane and Herb dinghy over to invite them to join us.    While cruising back they notice the sailboat has moved away from us and the sailor seems to be quite agitated.  They call out to ask if he is OK and are told he has his anchor up but cannot start his motor.  He has no control of the drifting vessel.  

The boat continues to drift toward another sailboat.

Janeane positions the dinghy at the stern and Herb grabs onto the sailing vessel to steady it as a small boat comes up to try to tow it to the dock to tie up until the owner can get repairs. 

Patrick returns from work to join us and when he is told about the boat in distress, he immediately turns around to go lend a hand.  He pushes the bow and and together they get the sailing vessel to the dock, where he waits for assistance.

While the small boat is trying to tow, they are yelling and hitting each other.  It becomes apparent the young men and out of control, so Patrick tells them to cut loose and "We will handle getting the boat to the dock."   


Bruce grills fresh Sockeye salmon for dinner, while others prepare salad and sides.


Dinner is delicious, as usual, and we marvel at the ever changing sunset views to keep us spellbound.

Here is one of them with many shades of pink lighting the undersides of the fluffy layers of clouds....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Monday, August 25, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gail and Herb -- 8/24/2014

More people we know are born mid to late August than any other time of the year -- or so it seems. Gail's day was yesterday, but she chose to have the celebration today when Bruce and Vicki could be here.  Herb's is today.  We also learn David, Jorge and Marcus recently celebrated and wish they could be here.

Other friends in town are Ray and Brenna, and Kim and Karen of Nest Egg.

Whose boat is big enough for the party?

Hmmm....what about the clubhouse of the Sailing Club?  Lucky us, it is available and the reservation is made for tonight with Patrick and Gail hosting.  The clubhouse is in a beautiful wooded setting with three parking lots, all on different levels of the hill.  A steep drive leads from the highway down to the clubhouse and beyond to a loading area closer to the marina gate.

Not seen in the photo are many, many stair steps on the right side leading up to the north entrance.

In the afternoon Brenna and Ray return from an outing into town -- Saturday Market is in full swing -- plus there are many shops and boutiques to explore.  We meet them on the steep drive down to the marina. She presents Herb with a birthday gift, and says, "Be careful not to spill it.  Keep it upright."  It is taped closed, so this is a difficult task as he attempts to open the box.

He does manage to get it open and I can only photograph a tiny part of the delicious looking dessert of cheesecake topped with fresh raspberries.  Yum, yum!  I hope Herb will share with me!  Brenna also bought herself a new blouse for a souvenir of Salt Spring Island.

Bruce and Vicki are expected any minute. Herb and I had planned to meet them at the float plane, but realize we don't have time to get there, so go to the breakwater dock to watch the flight come in. When it doesn't come at the scheduled time, we assume it was early and we missed it, so we hurry up to the clubhouse to catch them coming down the drive.

Yea!  They are here!

Bruce and Vicki are now 'at home' on Gail and Patrick's Last Call, for today renamed The Last Call B&B.  Gail has provided all the appropriate snacks and drinks you would expect in a fabulous B&B -- oh, I see chocolate!!!  And fresh cut flowers.

Gail also has become the Tour Director and takes us to Salt Springs Winery for a tasting.

If I remember correctly, we taste five and I actually like four, rating them according to my preference.  One is Millotage, which we had enjoyed earlier in the week at a restaurant.

Bruce buys as well as tastes!  Nice box with the Salt Spring Winery label.

The garden setting is so beautiful with grape vines about, a band stand for the musicians, complete with tables front and center for guests to enjoy the music while sipping wine.

The pleasant afternoon is followed by our car trip back to the Sailing Club where we find Patrick in the kitchen BBQing ribs and chicken, while potato logs roast in the oven.  Karen brings a wonderful green salad to complement the meal.

Patrick, you are amazing!  Happy Birthday to Gail and Herb!

Tonight's party, hosted by Patrick, is such a hit and enjoyed so much, that the 'Mini-Rendezvous' committee introduces a resolution, to wit: 

This party is declared the First Annual August Birthday Party, held on Salt Spring Island. The next party is planned for this time next year, with all August birthday friends invited and expected to attend.  Attendance is not limited to the honorees, but all friends are hereby invited!

Patrick with the Ribs
Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, August 24, 2014