Sunday, June 25, 2017

People Helping People - And a 1894 Steamboat -- Friday, June 23, 2017

Parks Ranger for Jones Island today is Caroline.  She tells me the way she has people remember her name is that her maternal ancestors are from North Carolina, also Appalachia. She further volunteers that her paternal are mostly from New Orleans and Louisiana.   Hmmm…Herb has a mention of this also in his DNA report.

Caroline’s first season driving, she is working on her Captain’s license.  Today she makes a mistake (that is how we learn) in stepping off her boat without taking a line for tying up.   She thinks she can reach it from the dock; however the winds have other ideas, and quickly catch the vessel, moving it away from the dock.  

Neither Herb nor I had rushed out to catch her lines, as our experience has been that the Rangers single hand well and do not need assistance.

But sitting back watching her now, we are not quick enough getting our boat hook to grab her, and we watch helpless as she slowly drifts off.  At this point I grab our other boat hook, in case it is needed.  We hope the young lady will not jump into the water to catch the boat.  

Herb says to her, “Let it go!  Don’t get in the water, just give it a few minutes and it will drift onto the beach.  You will still be in deep enough water that your motor will be safe.”

She wisely heeds the advice and stays on the dock, quickly moving onto the beach when she sees the boat going that way.  Yay!  She is able to step aboard now, and gives a little push off the beach, as she tries again to dock at the Ranger’s designated spot behind us.

This is how we learn.

Herb uses boathook to assist.

Safe!  All Good!

While she was still afoot on the beach, I had noticed a man in a dinghy coming our way, but when he sees all is well, he does a U-turn and goes back to his sailboat, Lalique.  That is when I saw the two black dogs running here and there on his boat.  They seemed to be having a good time.

Herb now goes to assist another incoming boat, while I continue to visit with Caroline, and when he returns, I tell him about her ancestry.  They share known information, which is so much alike, and we laugh to think they may be distant cousins.

I tell her the man on Lalique was on the way to help while she was waiting for the boat to drift onto the beach.  She calls to him across the water, “Thank You!”

Many of the fellow boaters we meet and visit with are never known to us by name, and a man single handing a small sailboat is docked near Willie’s Tug.  Herb has a chance to get to know more about his boat, where he is from and where he is going.  Those are the usual icebreakers, and questions are also asked about what island or port he came here from.  This sailor has about a five-hour trip to his destination today, and Herb helps him cast off mid-morning.

An incoming vessel quickly fills the spot he vacated.  A few minutes later Herb peers out the windshield and says, “Gosh, it that him coming back?”  It is, so Herb goes to the rail to receive his lines at another site. The sailor tells us he walked upon his bow to tend something, got off balance and fell overboard.  Wisely wearing his inflatable PFD, he swam around to shut off his engine, pull the swim ladder down, and climb back aboard.  

He tells Herb he expected the 50-degree water to feel extremely cold, but surprisingly it did not.  Did his adrenaline warm him?  I suppose he came back to change into warm, dry clothes and think about the situation.  Where did I go wrong, what should I have done?  What should I do next time?  

Check my surroundings
Think about my options
Make a decision

This is how we learn.

We are at low tide and Herb calls to my attention the sea stars, sometimes called starfish, still attached to the metal pilings of the dock.  

As I sit in the cockpit, I notice the black dogs from Lalique frolicking on the beach.  One is about the size Dr. Jake was, and the other is a smaller puppy.  It is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen with the large one leading and the puppy following.  They run first one way, then turn and go the opposite direction.  Exercise and play!


What a busy morning it is, when I hear a sound off our port bow and look to see a boater trying to unhook from his mooring buoy, but is having a problem with his line.  Lalique to the rescue!  Ever his watchful eye and helpful nature sends him again in his dinghy to the vessel on the buoy.  People helping people.

Map of Jones Island shows the trails available to hike. The white elliptical shape at the lower center of the photo represents the dock, and the largest trail, shown on the left, is the 2-mile East Loop, according to the legend in the bottom left hand corner of the map.  Ouch!  That is the challenging one we took yesterday.  I am particularly interested in the zigzag along the coast toward the south, where we actually did some tiny switchbacks.  I call them ‘cute and fun,’ because they were inland enough not to be scary, they were not steep, and they were short.  It reminds us of riding the motorcycle in the Alps in Austria, where we encountered many switchbacks.

This afternoon's walk is quite short and we quickly get our Vitamin N.

Special entertainment of the day is Uno, a steamboat built in 1894 on Lopez Island, owned and piloted by Stephanie Hylton, current treasurer of the Northwest Steam Society.  She lives on Lopez in the San Juans and keeps the boat there.

Returning from our walk, we see the smoke from the stovepipe and come down for a closer look.  

Built in 1894 on Lopez Island

Stephanie draws a crowd, who come to the unique boat, and hear the clickety-clack of the engine.  We see the pistons working, and I am as awed by this as the children are.  She entices one of the young boys to step aboard and pull the cord for the whistle. His father takes a photo to send to relatives.   Stephanie explains how the engine works, with a firebox for burning wood or pinecones.  

When asked if she will stay here overnight and if she will camp or sleep aboard, she answers that she will stay and will sleep aboard.  Then she shows us the cushions she will place to make the pillow for her bed, and explains that her feet will extend into the narrow stern.  No roof over her head.

Stephanie tells us her goal today is to walk around Jones Island and have her lunch.  She grabs the lunch tote and inserts two water bottles.  We thank her for the ‘seminar’ and try not to delay her late lunch further.

To read more about the particulars of Uno, click here.

She tells us she and other steamboats will be in South Sound at Foss Waterway, where we plan to be August 11 – 13.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Friday, June 23, 2017

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