Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thumbs up and let the fun begin! -- 5/28/2015

We wake at Friday Harbor to socked in fog, which slowly clears by 10:30A. Winds behave at less than 10 knots with a light chop.  After a leisurely morning, we cast off at 12:15P with Ganges on Salt Spring Island our destination and Patrick and Gail on our minds.

The colorful blue, red and white Victoria Clipper zips past us taking her fares south.

It is a pleasant trip as we enjoy the scenery on Stuart Island so familiar from last Summer.

Gentle hills of mostly rock hide the valley filled with dark evergreen trees. The lighthouse at Turn Point comes into our view.  We are now entering Boundary Pass, an area of heavy shipping traffic and cruise ships.  We keep a sharp eye.

My, my, on our starboard I see a large vessel, who is stand on for more than one reason.  I wonder who is predicted to cross the other's path first.  Herb sees on AIS that in five minutes at .2 miles apart we would safely cross her bow. That's too close -- we don't like close, so Skipper chooses to go astern of the BC Ferry, Coastal Celebration.  In case of the unexpected, we prefer to be behind her path.

The fluffy white clouds over Salt Spring Island entertain me, and we arrive in the Ganges harbor area at 4:15P to look for a safe place to anchor in the crowded bay.  The best spot looks to be where Janeane hooked Zuma last Summer.  Now to enjoy the planes coming and going and boats coming and going.  

Plans for the evening include picking up Gail from the dinghy dock -- who forgot to plug in the Torqeedo battery ? -- so row, Herb, row!

Patrick joins us later for good times with good friends!

Oh, I almost forgot -- earlier when we found a spot to anchor we put on our life jackets and started to put the hook down, when I scan behind me to see a small boat moving fast.  I alert Herb and we hold up to let her pass.  Oh, we have company, as evidenced by a flashing blue light.  The RCMP is here and we invite them aboard for a safety check.

Yea, all is in order, and they wish us luck in holding fast in mud!

Thumbs Up!
 Willie of Willie's Tug
   and Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Trip Begins -- 5/27/2015

Our wonderful week at Cap Sante ends and we begin our start of the Alaska cruise with a trip to a favorite destination, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Anne comes to our slip to see us off and brings fresh baked cranberry cookies.  Oh, Anne, you know the way to our hearts!


As we leave at 12:46P under sunny skies, we turn west into Guemes Channel to see fog ahead in Rosario Strait.  Traveling 6.6 knots with the current, we see a Washington ferry that had left the Anacortes ferry dock and is heading to Thatcher Pass between Blakely and Decatur Islands.  The good news is the fog is thinner there and we laugh about the 'parting of the fog!'  

Fog Thins

We pass port to port with Dublin Sea, a tanker we think may be going to the refinery in Anacortes.   Washington State Ferry, Stealth overtakes us.

Happy sounds come from a 70 ft. pleasure craft, Glacier Spirit, with lots of people on board.  I wonder if she is a whale watch boat.

We round the north end of Lopez Island on the east side of Shaw toward Friday Harbor and see San Juan Enterprise, an older ferry hauling a propane truck.  We also see and miss a log and deadhead, as a boat that looks a lot like a Ranger Tug approaches.    We hope she doesn’t kick the log toward us.

We later learn it is Jurgen taking Current Obsession out fishing.

Arriving at Friday Harbor, we call for space on the inside of Breakwater B, if possible, and are lucky to be directed to a side tie there.  We are delighted to see Bob and Nita there and get help with our lines from ‘the original Mayor of the Dock.’

Current Obsession

We love this spot because you see all the boats coming and going.  Jim comes to visit and catch up on the news.  He and Joan have agreed to help with the whale watch operation again this year.  He points out one of the specially designed float planes that looks like an Orca whale.

Breakwater B View

Bob, the Mayor of the Dock is also the Host of the Dock and invites all on BWB to gather for cocktails.  We meet Mary Ellen and Chuck Wood, who will take their North Star to Alaska.  We exchange cards and hope to see them and their sweet Golden Retriever along the way.

A lovely evening gives way to dusk with the peaceful scene of sleepy boats and masts reflected in the fading sunset.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Wonderful Week, All Good! -- 5/20/2015

This is "The week that Was" -- 

Willie's Tug's week at Cap Sante in Anacortes is one of her best experiences. We call it 'home' and enjoy seeing friends we have known over the years, and meeting new friends.

Atlas, a gorgeous motor yacht adorns the end of our "E" Dock, and I frequently hear the security guard directing incoming boats after hours to turn down the fairway immediately after they pass the green hull boat.

We are delighted to meet a couple with a loaded dock cart as they pass our slip.  They are Fred and Vic of M/Y Atlas.  "Passengers?" I ask; "No," they tell me, "We are the Captain and Crew getting ready to take a group to Alaska."  

Atlas is 95 feet long, and she will depart Anacortes June 8, traveling at 10 knots for ten hours a day to arrive at her destination of Sitka AK.  We laughingly ask if they would tow us, as that is where we are going, also.  Too late -- they will tow a 26 foot fishing boat for their guests.

We do hope to see Atlas somewhere along the way.

Atlas as seen from our slip on E Dock

M/Y Atlas

How many times over the years when we walked Dr. Jake, would someone come up to us and ask to pet him, because they had just lost their Golden or had to leave him home while they travel!

So, I can't miss the opportunity to teasingly speak to the couple with the sweet Golden on the dock today.  Hmmm....they look familiar -- the dog definitely looks familiar, and when we learn his name is Boatswain or Bosun, we remember that we met them at Reid Harbor on Stuart Island a few years ago. Dick and Donna recall Jake going by their boat on his way up the ramp for his walk every day.   Small world, good times.


Ray suggests a Captains' meeting at his home on Guemes Island for a relaxed Happy Hour and dinner.  He and Herb discuss plans for cruising together on the Alaska trip in June.   Brenna makes a raspberry-blueberry flan. Yum!

Lemon Zest for the Flan

Well, the week isn't all fun, some work is always lurking around.  The hum you hear is telling you the shower sump needs attention.  It doesn't matter that I have just made the bed this morning -- it gets unmade for access to the pump.

Herb the skipper/mechanic/plumber determines the major problem is that the float switch has gone bad, so he replaces it.

There goes a whole day in our lives, but we are good for another year!

Final preparations for the cruise to Alaska include getting spare parts from the Ranger Tug warehouse in Kent WA.  With a twinkle in Kenny's eye, he asks many questions on our departure date, ETA and destination.  Then he tells me he, too, is going to Sitka -- his grandparents will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with a family trip on a cruise ship, and points on the calendar to their time to be in Sitka.  Our paths won't cross, but I ask him to leave me a note, "Kenny was here!"

It must be 'old home week' when Ivan of the Monroe plant (where Willie's Tug was built) arrives and Herb describes to him what he had encountered in the shower sump maintenance.  Ivan adds a new float switch to our parts package.

Andrew knows immediately what the hum is -- it had taken Herb an hour at 3A to 4A to diagnose the source, by pulling each fuse in succession.

Glancing around the office, I see my photo -- a sales flyer including a picture of Vicki and myself taken on our cruise down Hood Canal last summer.  Nice memories of pleasant times.

And a special memory of previous years, as we drive back through Seattle.

Find the Ferris wheel on the waterfront in downtown Seattle....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday - Tuesday, May 20 - 26, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Friends and Boats -- 5/15-16/2015

Besides our love for boating, a giant plus of being in the PNW is visiting with all our boater friends here, and it continues with a visit in Anacortes from Bruce and Vicki on Thursday.  They and Ray join us for Happy Hour aboard Sweet Caroline and we make plans to walk into town for dinner. 

                                                                 Photo Courtesy of Bruce C Moore

                                                         Photo Courtesy of Bruce C Moore

On Friday we visit the Trawler Fest at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes.  One of the boats that catches my eye is Ranger Tug's R29S with the flybridge.  All Ranger Tugs are beautiful in my opinion (and in the opinion of hundreds of others) and this one, although different, has its own style of beauty.

If I were to get one, I might opt for the sedan with the optional hard top in the cockpit, but who knows....  This boat is just plain pretty!

                                                          Photo Courtesy of Bruce C Moore

We visit with many friends along the docks and see several other spacious boats.

In late afternoon the Rooftop Lounge of the Majestic Inn and Spa beckons us for Happy Hour atop the second tallest building in Anacortes.  We have a view of Guemes Island and the waterfront, as well as downtown.  

With our chef hard at work -- let's make that 'enjoyment,' -- we begin our meal with an appetizer of BBQ oysters and sour dough bread.  Yum!

We soak up the warming sun until it begins to dip behind the horizon, then the staff brings Vicki and me snuggly blankets because we are not near the fire pit.

Herb says the air is not chilly, just nice.
Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Thursday and Friday, May 15 and 16, 2015