Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Disk Not Property Ejected -- Saturday, July 15, 2017

“Good Morning, Herb and Willie,” the Norwegian Jewel seems to say as she silently slowly slides along the cruise ship dock above us at Bell Harbor in Puget Sound.  Herb looks up from sipping his coffee and reading to peer out the window at our surprise.

We watch as she slowly, inch at a time, makes her way to the offloading ramp. What a ship!

Oh, my goodness!  There is a big log floating behind us in the harbor, so we will need to watch where it goes -- hopefully onto a beach where no one runs into it.

As we prepare to leave the marina, we see two sailboats take their power cords in, so we know all are getting ready.  Herb calls to one who has his motor running that he should not wait for us, but go if ready.  He thanks us and exits his slip.  The log is nowhere to be seen.

Winds pick up this morning, and Herb uses that to his advantage backing out of our bow-in starboard-tie slip.  He explains to me that if it had been calm, he would have come out a different way.  As we exit the slip, my eye catches some ladies on the shore in front of Anthony’s Restaurant waving wildly and yelling Hello!  They say they are from Texas and I realize they have seen Port Isabel TX on the dinghy.  I respond that we are, too.  They say “From Houston.”  And I tell them we are, too!  Too bad we don’t have a chance to visit, as they could be a neighbor we haven’t met, or perhaps someone from The Pumpkin Church, fondly so nicknamed because of the humongous sale of pumpkins to the community every October, an outreach project.  

We are off the dock at 9:25A to begin what could be a very long day of cruising. Exiting the marina is non-eventful, with no other vessel coming around the blind corner of the breakwater.  We turn north to starboard into the Sound, and begin our constant scanning to watch for cruise ships and other vessels.  Ferries are not a concern today, as their dock is to the south of our location.  Cruising past Elliott Bay in Puget Sound, we see the two cruise ships still sleeping in port.

Sailboats traveling under sail are on either side of us and require very careful attention, as they may tack at any second and are ‘stand on.’  

Steady as she goes – we pass and all is good.

Maybe because it is Saturday, there is a lot of boating traffic about.  Not so much by the West Point Light House and I smile about the sea lion resting on the lighthouse’s green buoy.  Then traffic increases as we pass Shilshole Marina and many boats go astern, apparently heading for Chittenden Locks nearby.

The sun graces us again today, winds are fair with light chop and swells on the water.  Near Edmonds there are many small fishing boats – but we don’t see anyone catching!  Time to listen for the ferries.  Puyallup and Walla Walla leave their respective ports at about the same time, and according to the AIS reading, Puyallup is traveling at 17 knots and we should miss her ‘by a mile.’ We will go astern of Walla Walla.  All good.

A sailboat under power goes astern of Willie’s Tug to get across the ferry path.  Thank you, sailboat!   Another sailboat gets a little close to the ferry, and the ferry blows her horn. Rule of tonnage!

Mt. Baker looms off in the distance.  No photo; I just enjoy.

Our route takes us past Admiralty Inlet that leads toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and heads us toward Possession Sound.  Our intended destination is Oak Harbor on Widbey Island, if possible, or on to LaConner. I call Oak Harbor on the phone and get a message telling me they are having Race Days and no guest moorage will be available.  I immediately call LaConner and leave a message inquiring about moorage for the night.

Six hours into our trip the winds pick up and we have white caps on Saratoga Passage, wind waves 2-3 feet.  Marine WX announces small craft warnings for the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but the Strait of Georgia, south of Nanaimo has a much better forecast.  We are glad to hear Anacortes is included in the south of Nanaimo area.

Willie’s Tug gets a dose of salt-water spray on her bow and all the windshields. How in the world will I take a photo through all that?  I open the co-pilot window just partly before I immediately close it. Too much breeze whipping across.  Near the north end of Camano Island the spray is really bad and we run the wipers continuously.  We get tossed a bit due to all the wakes, and apparently we aren’t the only ones.  A small boat speeds past us, then abruptly stops right in front of our bow – Yikes, I hope we can miss it! 

I suppose she was trying to decide how to traverse the water due to the wave action.  Now she crosses our bow, gets near the shore where it is calmer.

In Skagit Bay if there was one crab buoy, there were a gazillion thousand!  It is tricky to thread our way through, but we manage not to snag any.  

We didn’t see this one coming!  A wave to end all waves!  We roll and I grab the Nikon and binoculars and hold on for dear life.  "Everything that was not on the floor is now on the floor," Herb laughingly comments later.  Yep, stuff that never falls.  I look down to see what moved and – oh, no!   Sitting on the floor is this shiny silver devise with a white apple logo. 

Herb says, “Willie, are you ok?”  

Willie says, “Yes, but my laptop isn’t.”

His was on a non-skid service.  Mine wasn’t.  I’m the ‘woman to blame.’  (Now a word to the wise….)

I am reminded that when we used to travel in the motor home, Sweet Caroline, all items that could move were stowed on top the bed.  Hmmm…that could also work for Willie’s Tug. 

One of the things that falls is the Eight Ball that I won in a football pool during last year’s Super Bowl party.  Once I decide that life would go on after the disaster today, I ask the Eight Ball if there would be any damage to my laptop, then look to see the answer, “Don’t count on it.”  I have to smile.

Calming down, I must admit that not ‘everything’ falls to the floor.  Only some books, my laptop and the Eight Ball.  And nothing breaks.

As we continue cruising, we soon come to the area where we look for red markers for the entrance to the Swinomish Channel leading to LaConner.  The blinding sun is somewhat of a hindrance, but I find the range markers and direct Herb in lining them up.  When they are perfectly lined up, he sets a course.  I continue to watch them, and Willie’s Tug stays straight.  Yay! We make it through the shallow ditch, and never see less than 7 ½ feet depth.

We pass an area where large boulders have been placed in a line to mark the edge of the channel at low tide.  Herb tells me at high tide these rocks are covered, and is it so important to follow the course and watch the depth on the chart plotter.

The rest of our trip is non-eventful, and we are so hoping there is space at the dock at LaConner.  If not, we will continue another hour and a half to Anacortes.

Peering ahead, we finally see the marina and it looks full.  Then we see a space for at least two boats our size at the north end of “F” Dock.  Herb drifts toward the dock and a man jumps out of a small fishing boat to hook our stern line on the wooden bull rail just as another big gust of wind blows us against the dock.

We are glad to be secure for the night, and set about getting our house in order. Remembering that my Eight Ball says there will be no lasting damage to my laptop, I open it, and as I start to enter my passcode, I see a window that says, “Disk not properly ejected.”

Well, yeah, I’ll say!  When the laptop fell, the backup disk unplugged itself, being held onto the table by its own rubber non-skid feet!

Okay, if my laptop is talking to me, it must be alright.

Thank you, Lord, for a safe – yet exciting – cruise today!  We sleep well tonight!

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Saturday, July 15, 2017

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