Thursday, June 22, 2017

Some History, and a Mushroom -- Monday, June 19, 2017

There are many trails on Susia Island, and this morning we want to visit the Mushroom Rock.  What we can’t quite figure out are the clicking sounds we hear first thing in the morning.  The Canadian geese swim near the ramp leading to shore, and we wonder if they are the culprits.  Someone on the dock says it sounds like chickens, but we don’t hear it any other time of the day.  The sounds come from the direction of a nearby privately owned island.  We may never know.

Children discover a cave (China cave?) and explore, possibly making a hideout from the ‘enemy.’  A close look finds someone in a red jacket across the expanse of the rocks by the ramp on a falling tide.

This trail is mostly level, with quite a bit of grassy meadow.  Herb enjoys watching the tide wash off the beach.

At the Interpretive Panel we read quite an indepth explanation of how the Mushroom Rock is formed, and I quote: 

“Overhanging walls develop on coastal cliffs as a result of ‘surface hardening.’  This unusual phenomenon occurs when weathering causes certain types of rocks to get harder rather than softer.  At some Sucia Island sites, weathering causes some of the minerals in the sandstone to dissolve, releasing iron, calcium, silica, and other elements.  If these elements precipitate near the rock surface, they have a cementing effect, strengthening the sandstone.  If this hardened exterior zone is breached, the weaker interior stone rapidly erodes, producing a mushroom shape.”

Another hiker catches up with us and is intrigued by my careful photography of 
the ‘flower of the day.’  He tells me it is a native wild rose. 

In order to get a better cellphone signal, we walk farther to the west, and can actually see the towers on Orcas Island.  Great reception, and we read and respond to eMails from family and friends.

The boat behind us at the front of the dock leaves, so Herb and I walk Willie’s Tug back to the vacated space, making room for boats of various sizes to best utilize the room at the dock.

Hearing a boat coming into the bay, we look up to see a small ‘fast-boat’ speeding really fast.  Oh, no!  We are holding our bow and stern lines to take our boat alongside the dock, and do not want a wake.  

We get a wake.

Two young men tie next to us in the space we made available, and once we are safely retied, Herb greets the men and gently tells them about our precarious position when they arrived.  They apologize and we visit a bit.  

They are so excited to be on a guy trip, having young children, they got a ‘pass’ from their wives for only one night away from home.  My thinking is that the young mothers got sitters for the children and went to dinner and a movie.

On our walk today I stop at the interpretive panel near the ramp to learn some of the history of Sucia Island. Washington State Parks acquired one-third of Sucia Island in 1952.  Concerned about plans to develop the island into vacation homes, Seattle yachtsman Everett Henry founded the Interclub Boaters Assn. of Washington, who raised $25,000 to purchase island land for public use.  In 1960, the property was donated as a state marine park. In 1972 State Parks purchased remaining parcels.  Members of local yacht clubs are active volunteers for park improvement projects.

A humorous fact was that Captain Hamden, one of the early settlers, built a stone cistern on a ridge.  It collected water pumped from a well in the valley, and he built the cistern after his wife threatened to leave him if she had to continue to haul water to their cabin.  Sounds reasonable to me.

The many geese feed on grass during the day and cause one to watch his step.  I call this area by the ramp from the dock, “No-Step Hill.”

When a C-Dory Venture 23 cruises up to the dock, Herb and I go to assist and visit.  They introduce themselves as Mark and Brock, and of course do know Pat and Patty, so we share stories of cruising with the Andersons, and also about when Pat loaned his 16 foot C-Dory, Crabby Lou, to Herb before we bought Willie’s Tug.

A mostly yellow sunset amidst the varying shades of gray clouds bids us Good Evening, after another day of exploring the island.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Monday, June 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Part 2 of the Adventure -- Sunday, June 18, 2017

After lunching on chicken salad and shrimp salad, it is soon time for a short nap.

For the afternoon walk, I prefer my clean light blue Nikes, rather than the ones mud stained on Blake Island, and hike a trail to the west.  Loving history and geology, I spend some time reading the Interpretive Panel found soon after beginning the trail.  What is so cool to me is how the shape of Sucia was formed.  When you look at a map, you see it is in the general shape of a horseshoe, with smaller elongated fingers or rocks within the U.  

I read “The island is composed of two very different rock formations that have been brought together by low-angle faulting.  Fifty million year old river sediments have been slid over 70-million year old marine sediments.”

The formations are known as the Chuckanut Formation (blue) and the Nanaimo Group (gold).

Reading further: “Sucia’s horseshoe shape is the result of folding of the two bedrock layers into a U-shaped trough.  The beds have also been tilted at a steep angle, a feature known to geologists as a plunging syncline."

Now I imagine these plates turned up vertically, to resemble the map.

Somewhat satiated with this lesson, I continue with Herb on the hike on a wide enough trail which narrows in places as it gets near a cliff or up a steep hill.  At least four times I tell him I should turn back, as what’s ahead is too challenging for me.  However, he encourages me and I take some more steps, several more feet, several more yards.

Hey, it does get easier in places, and the Parks and Recreation employees have placed wooden steps into one very steep area, to make my life easier.

Along the way we come to some of the beautiful rock that makes up this island's foundation.

Willie: Yikes!

Herb:  What, Willie?

Willie:  You pushed pass a limb of an bush overgrown into the path, and its catch of raindrops smacked me in the face.  My glasses are specked with water droplets!

Herb:  Oh, sorry.

We laugh and drying my glasses, I can now see the flower of the day.

Along here we come to a muddy area and are able to step to the side onto some sparse grass, but uh oh, the next mud is not so easy to go around and I wish I had worn my shoes still mud stained from a trail on Blake Island.

Herb, ahead of me, tells me he has found my flower of the day.  Oh, this Chocolate lily is too beautiful to pass up, so I now have two flower photos of the day.  I suppose that is legal….

We ‘Find Willie’s Tug’ from several spots during the walk, and I especially like the one where we peek through the tree limbs.

Sitting at the dock in Fossil Bay, Sucia Island.

Tents dot several camping areas, which have their own restrooms, potable water faucets, and fire pits.  Meeting two young couples with backpacks and toddlers, we admire them for also hauling a dock cart full of firewood to their campsite.

We humans are not alone on the trail.  I see a cute shell with something moving, and am careful not to step on him.

Find escargot….

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, June 18, 2017

State Park Adventures Begin -- Sunday, June 18, 2017

We are off F Dock of Cap Santé at 8A and make one necessary stop to lighten our load.   A gentle rain peppers us, but the wind is only 4 knots.  Fog is seen all around us as we exit the marina, but the advantage of radar allows us to make a decision as to the safety of going among the San Juan Islands today.  We can always turn back.

As stand on, we see a pleasure craft on our port side that appears not to give way, so Herb adjusts his course to go astern of her.  From Cap Santé we continue north between Guemes and Huckleberry Islands.  Visibility is 3 miles, so we will be able to check our surroundings.  It is safe to go.

We hear Atlantic Dawn (239 meters in length) call the Traffic channel that she will go to Lummi Island, which is ahead of us near Bellingham WA.

Then we hear KWK Excelcius at 250 meters call her intentions.

A strong cell phone signal (Yay! The towers have been repaired) allows Herb and daughter Patrice to have a conversation about Marine Traffic.  We always send the SPOT locater to our family when we arrive to a new destination, but he tells her she can create a fleet of one to include Willie’s Tug so she can see when we depart a port.  She does this as they are talking and sees that Marine Traffic picked us up as underway at 8:34A.  She also sees us now cruising by the small Jack Island just east of Guemes.

Vessel traffic is unusually light this morning.

Cruising through a light chop, we note there is no fog on Sinclair Island on our port side.  Things are looking up WX-wise.  

Soon we will come to the Precautionary Area of Rosario Strait by Lummi Island and must cross the traffic lanes to head for one of the Washington State Parks, Sucia Island.   Skipper chooses to cross the narrow portion of the lanes before the Precautionary Area.

Athlon, pleasure craft, calls Traffic that she left Sucia, so we hail her to see what the population is there.  She says we should be fine, as many boats are leaving to go south.  This is good news.  I hope to get a spot at the dock.

Seas are pretty much flat calm as we go north by the east side of Orcas Island, and with Clark and Barnes Islands on the starboard.  Oh, no, it appears more foggy ahead toward Sucia.  Maybe it will clear by the time we get there.

While we continue the cruise we recall a time years ago when we came to Sucia with Bob and Nita.  Their Ranger-29, Nellie Too, arrived ahead of us and got a spot at the dock.  It looked to us like there was no more room, so we decided to hook a mooring buoy that was available back near the entrance to the bay.

All other buoys were taken, so we were lucky to be near this one.  I miss my try at looping the bow line into the buoy’s ring, and my boat hook comes apart!  Oh, no; the hook part stays in the buoy ring.  So we cruise around it again to try to retrieve it, and hear my phone ring.  Nita is trying to tell me there is room at the dock.  I don’t answer the phone because I am trying to get my boat hook.

Then we hear everyone on the dock yelling to us to come on up for the available space.  We yell back about the boat hook.  By this time everyone on the dock, everyone on a mooring buoy, and everyone anchored out is watching this circus.

Good news is that I finally get the hook, finally get to the dock, and wonder how many people took photos of the circus!!  I’m sure we were the entertainment for the day.

Today we arrive to find space at the dock, and send the  SPOT at 12 noon.

Find Willie’s Tug….

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, June 18, 2017

Africa in Anacortes??? -- Saturday, June 17, 2017

Where am I?  If I didn't know better, I would say I am in Africa, seeing the giraffes as I walk from our slip in Cap Sante to the Farmers' Market.  But these giraffes have lost their spots. 

There are many things I like about Anacortes, the murals, the paper doll signs around town and marina, but these animals are a new creation since I was here two years ago.  I'm sure the sculptors have given them names, but I will say they are Mom and Baby.  Upon close examination, well even taking a look from a distance, I see they are made of driftwood, so they won't be eating many of the leaves on these evergreen trees, which line the path to the Saturday Market.

Tym had reminded us of the awesome Croatian food being served for lunch at their building on Commercial Avenue, and recommends #2 on the menu.  We agree it looks the best -- sausage covered with a grilled onion sauce, served on a bun.  Yum!  No food photos.

On our way back to Cap Sante, we visit all the vendors, looking to see if there is anything we really need.  Well, yes; I find some pearl earrings and I am sure I will find a use for them.   Herb finds chipotle flavored goat cheese; it is very tasty but too much fire for me.  He's probably glad to have it all for himself.

Fresh produce, fresh cut flowers just waiting to become a bouquet made to order, and a food court.

Back to the marina office, we visit with harbormaster Kate and staff to thank them for finding us space on F Dock, after our maximum stay on the reciprocal dock.  We plan to head north tomorrow, but look forward to our return here, one of our 'homes.'

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Storm -- Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dark Sky app says we will sustain winds of 21 knots at the Reciprocal dock at Cap Sante Marina at 3P, and with a little bit of fetch, we may rock and roll, bouncing against the dock.  

With my car here, we go early in the morning to Mt. Vernon and Burlington for provisions, grab a bite of lunch at Costco -- turkey provolone sandwich at the deli is awesome --  then try to get back to Willie's Tug before 3.

Apparently we shopped too long, as it is blowing like stink, to quote a good friend, and we walk very carefully along the dock as we return with our purchases.  Once we are safely inside the boat, I look out the port side window at the angry water.   It is quite choppy and we are quite bouncy.  Lines are secure, so we don't worry.

However, I do keep looking outside to see if the waves are any calmer.  Not yet.  We have a lot of company coming down the dock.  Maybe they are coming to see if we are OK, or more likely just wanting to see what the seas look like.

These photos are taken of water right by the boat.

This photo is also from the port side window, looking toward the breakwater, which offers the marina some protection.

Ray texts to invite us to dinner, and says Brenna can join us.  She chooses El Jinete Mexican Restaurant downtown, and we are delighted.  Tym is able to come, as well.

Who cares that it is storming outside!  Find a happy group....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Thursday, June 15, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Calm Before the Storm -- Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Marine WX forecast checked, engine oil checked, strainer checked, coolant checked, and we cast off the lines tying Willie's Tug to Shilshole Bay Marina dock at 6:47A, then Herb cruises at 4 knots to exit the marina.

It is partly sunny, with low lying clouds along the shore, and winds light, so there is no need for me to wear my usual warm hat, vest, and sweater.  Have I acclimated to the PNW temperatures?

The lovely Olympic Mountain range on our port side presents a beautiful picture with the snow drifts not yet melted this Spring.  Adding to the pleasant feeling of the morning is learning that the Strait of Juan de Fuca will be quite calm as we cruise through, and at the speed we will travel, our ETA at Cap Sante in Anacortes will be 5P.  Just in time for Happy Hour!

Skipper calls Traffic and gives our intention to stay east of the traffic lanes, and we get a report of the log tow, Swinomish, coming south.  Washington State Ferry Walla Walla is eastbound to Edmunds, and the Puyallup is westbound to Kingston.  

Seas are one foot or less, and a very nice day for a cruise.   Herb sees on AIS a cargo ship, Brighton, which is 392 meters long, and a draft of 32.5 feet -- big enough to give us a big wake -- and she does.  I am glad nothing in Willie's Tug falls out of place, nothing breaks.  We do adjust course a bit to cross the large vessel's wake.

Just south of Point No Point I get a photo of the Victoria Clipper.

I am still amazed at how well the seas are behaving.  It is almost flat calm as we approach Bush Point, and Herb does some calculations to determine the best speed relative to the flow of the current.   Taking advantage of the push we are getting gives us a speed of 17.5 knots now, and means we will have less current on the nose farther up north.

Continuously listening to Channel 16, we hear of gale warnings at the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but today we are only concerned about the east entrance where we cross it.

Rounding the corner into Guemes Channel, we see no ferries at the Anacortes Ferry Dock, and traffic is very light in the channel.  We arrive at 11:50A to a side tie at the reciprocal dock of Anacortes Yacht Club.  The rules allow us to stay a maximum of two nights, moorage is free to members of other yacht clubs, and the only cost is a charge for electricity at the dock.

Flower photo of the day.

A picnic area on the north side of the marina, showing the motor home dry camping area in the background.


Next to do is Find Willie's BMW....

Tym joins us for Happy Hour and reminds me that the big storm here a few years ago caused a boat in this slip to capsize.  WX will blow in tomorrow, and the storm clouds are already gathering.

Find Willie's Tug in a precarious position....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, June 14, 2017

West Marine Gets us Again -- Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I always worry when Herb heads toward West Marine or a hardware store, because I know he will find a gazillion things he needs.  Or wants.  But to his credit, he engineers things in his mind, then finds the parts he needs.  Being at Shilshole Bay Marina puts us within walking distance of West Marine, and we both search every aisle to fill our shopping list,  or just to see if there is something we need that we forgot to put on the list.  Plus the store is just plain fun!

With the purchases rung up on the cash register, the clerk tells us how much we owe.  Herb reaches for his wallet, which is not in his pocket. 

"Willie, I need to use your credit card.  I don't have my wallet."  

"I'm so sorry, I didn't bring mine either -- I'm traveling light on this walk."

How embarrassing to tell the clerk to hold our purchases aside until we walk back to the boat to get Herb's wallet.  I look at my watch to see that it took us 15 minutes to get here.  The store closes at 6P, it is now 5:38, so we hurry a little faster this time.  

With paid for purchases in hand, we can stroll back to the marina and enjoy the flowers.  Here are lovely lavender with bees enjoying the nectar.   I see them buzzing in and out of the bush and aim my camera, hoping to capture at least one of them.   I don't get too close to their work.  Yay!  I do think I see something yellow/gold near the top of the photo, just to the right of center, and choose to believe it is a bee.  

Earlier today this picnic area was filled with vendors, children playing, families picnicking and cameras flashing.  It is National Marina Day, and Shilshole Bay Marina put on a festival in honor of the occasion.   Several of the booths had information about boating, hoping to attract more people to the sport.

All is quiet now and I visit Leifur Eriksson (Leif Erikson), Son of Iceland, Grandson of Norway, and ancestor of all who emigrated from Nordic lands.  There are many statues of Leif in America, the first one being erected in Boston, and several more as the Norsemen traveled westward.  

Happy National Marina Day....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Tuesday, June 12, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Willie's Tug Passes the Test -- Saturday, June 10, 2017

Scanning first to the starboard, and then to the port side, Herb and I watch for vessel traffic as we leave Poulsbo to cross Puget Sound for our destination at Shilshole Bay Marina.  We had been reluctant to leave that fun town, but know there are more places we want to go.  "Herb, I see a small boat off in the distance; it is red, and I think it may be the Coast Guard."

Sure enough, it is the Coast Guard, who cruises up to our port side, asking if we have been boarded recently. 

Since it had been a while, they ask permission to come aboard for an inspection.  

We are told to idle the engine, while their boat drops off two officers who climb into Willie's Tug's cockpit.  Questions are asked, and one officer writes notes on his checklist.

The two boats drift slightly apart.

All finished with the work, we enjoy conversation, sharing stories of when we have been boarded in the past.   But now, for the life of me, I can't remember how we got onto the subject of tattoos.  Imagine my surprise when one of the officials rolls up his sleeve to show me his tattoo!

We could have talked for hours, I suppose, but their boat comes to fetch them.  We get a thumbs up, passing inspection, and a copy of the report for our log.

The Coast Guard boat backs away, and all wave as they speed past us.

Our excitement for the day continues with the sighting of the Mayan Queen that we had seen in Lake Union a few days ago.  Channel 14 Traffic broadcasts that she is has left Shilshole Bay Marina, and a cruise ship, American Spirit, will leave soon.

Watching American Spirit carefully, we ease between her and the breakwater to cruise to our assigned slip.

What a day! 

Find Willie's Tug at Shilshole Bay Marina....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Saturday, June 10, 2017