Monthly Archives: June 2011


Wed June 30th

I slept in this morning and Jim made bacon and eggs for breakfast! So good not to feel nauseated! Then we spent the morning doing boat chores and recovering from our big trip the night before.

After lunch we took the dinghy to the main marina, getting sprayed by a passing shower on the way. It wasn’t far, kinda like driving your car to get milk from the store a few blocks away!! It had a nicer set up with electricity and wifi access. The Canadian Princess is moored here permanently and is used as a restaurant plus they run whale watching and fishing tours off these smaller boats with various names ending with princess!

We walked up to the ice cream shop as the sun had come out and warmed the place up. Had some gelatos watching the traffic go by in this small town. It caters mainly to fishing both commercial and recreational and there were a lot of fishing boats around, some just little tinnies (aluminum dinghies) and some luxurious big boats. A Canadian told us he just bought a new Bayliner in Bellingham, they were practically giving them away! I decided to stock up on seasickness drugs – for Jacintha and us just in case the trip back is just as bad!

We then moved our boat to the main marina where we connected to mains power and had fresh water to fill up the tanks. It’s a luxury to have mains power! We can run the electric water heater, our little fan heater, watch a movie on the big television (yes we have a 36″ TV with surround sound on board), make microwave popcorn and I can run the bread machine to make fresh bread.

Since we bought new batteries for the boat last year, we don’t have to connect to mains power too often as our batteries last us more than a couple of days off the grid, especially since we also seem to motoring a lot more, due the the larger distances we’re traveling, hence charging the batteries with the alternator. Motoring also heats up our water so after a long day of motoring we can all have hot water showers on our boat.

Jim bought a 5 day fishing license while Jacintha had a nap and I had some quiet time to finish my book, “The Healer”. We had BBQ steaks with roast potatoes for dinner that night. Jim washed his boat after dinner.


The Pacific Ocean

Tuesday June 29th

Happy Anniversary!! It was 3 years ago on a hot sunny day that Jim and I tied the knot at our favorite sailing destination, Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington (not to be confused with the other San Juan!)

What a contrast to the wet rainy morning we woke up to. We were both tired as Jacintha had crept into our bed at 2am and coughed and wiggled and kicked all night long. The weather report said winds northeast 15-20 knots increasing to 20-25 in the afternoon, seas 5-10 feet increasing to 10-15 feet. Gale warning in effect for the Straits of Juan the Fuca – where it was all glassy 2 days ago! It meant a very bumpy ride as we had strong wind coming from the front of our boat and a long distance to cover – 65 miles. If we put up the sails we would have had to sail perpendicular to the wind increasing the distance we had to travel by tacking (zig-zagging) all the way up the coast.

We up-anchored in trepidation of the unknown and motored out of the sheltered harbour. Outside the wind was blowing 15-20 knots from straight ahead and the swell was 10 feet. We hoisted the sails, with the main sail reefed in (shortened to reduce the sail area for a windy day). It’s a good thing Jim placed the jack line on the boat yesterday, as it made me feel safer knowing that we would be tethered to the boat, when we left the relative safety of the cockpit to go to forward to the main mast! We had trouble with our reefing line which had to get retied which took some time. Then I let Jim steer the boat and went down below.

In the cabin, it was bucking around like a wild horse and the boat was also heeled over around 15-20 degrees. It made preparing our hot oatmeal for breakfast tricky! Jacintha’s eyes were glued to the DVD player which kept her quiet and safe. But it was miserable down below as there is no horizon to see and help with your vestibular system (your balance center) and the boat would move up then pound down on each wave. The waves were not very regular as well and they would come from in front then to the sounds making the boat wallow in the troughs a little. I started to feel nauseated and so did Jacintha and soon we were both heaving up our breakfasts! Jacintha than lay down and fell asleep.

I went up above to see the horizon and started to feel better. The wind had died down so we were going a lot slower (3 kts) but still tacking up the coast and we’d calculated that we needed to be traveling around 6 kts to make it to Ucluelet before sunset. The last thing we wanted to be doing was entering that unfamiliar, rocky inlet after dark as there were a lot of submerged rocks around the harbor entrance. So we turned on the iron sail (motor) and took the sails down and started to motor up the coast of Vancouver Island. That made the trip faster but made it even more miserable as now we were pounding onto the 10 foot waves with speed. Not having any sails up also created more rolling motion with the swells which were about 9 seconds apart.

I took a turn at the wheel which made me feel better while Jim went below to warm up. He soon started heaving up his dinner. He scooted back up the ladder into the cockpit and didnt want to go down below again! I went below and had a refreshing nap. Then I made cup noodles for us to eat as we needed to eat to keep our warmth and energy up. I couldn’t persuade Jacintha to eat the noodles even though they’re her favorite, a sign that she was not well at all!

Jim and I took frequent turns at the wheel and we spotted a lot of whale spouts and whales, some of them were traveling in the same direction as us! They were having a much better trip than we were and I wished that I were a whale so many times that day. After we’d left the traffic zone of the Straits we didn’t see anymore boats out there on the water. Were the smart ones staying in because if the weather? Jacintha joined us up in the cockpit at one stage, with life jacket on and harnessed to the boat. She laughed at the “giant waves” and tried looking for Moby Dick. Then she went down below and was miserable again.

We reached the southern end of Barkley Sound around 5 pm and we felt elated as we were nearly there. The lighthouse at Cape Beale appeared enticingly on the horizon and that last 17 miles we travelled were the longest and ever. I was having fun steering the boat up and down the waves but poor Jacintha was absolutely miserable down below. Jim wasn’t feeling any better. At one point, Jim went down below to take a nap and lay on the settee with his life jacket, coat and boots still on, something he would have griped about if he saw anyone doing it when he was well! He heaved again and then refused to go below anymore, so was more tired than I. I would take cat naps when I wasn’t steering the boat, something I got good at by taking night call! We inched our way slowly up the coast and it took us 2 more hours, with the seas (10-15 ft) and wind (15kts) building up.

We finally turned for Felice Channel which was sheltered by reefs and small islets so the wind and waves were much more bearable. Winding our way through the rocks and islets in the fading light was stressful, so we were relieved to see the public dock, where we had to report into customs.

Jim gathered all the paperwork and made the phone call to the customs but when they asked him how much alcohol and what fruits we were carrying he was a little vague and must have sounded drunk to the border patrol, so they sent out a customs officer to inspect our boat! He was nice about it but I think we looked a little worn out. He rummaged through our boat and pulled out all the almost empty bottles of alcohol that we’d forgotten about. We’re such alcoholics, I’d forgotten about the open bottle of baileys we had stashed away from our trip last year! And the half bottle of gin that’s been sitting in a cupboard for two years! Anyway, after a reminder to take an inventory before making the phone call he left. We didn’t have the energy to move the boat to anchor so we just stayed moored to that dock that night. Jacintha didn’t want to eat anything that night as she was afraid she would throw up again so I had to explain to her that she wasn’t I’ll just had seasickness. After that she ate a whole bag of popcorn that night for dinner, her other favorite food!!

Photo of Jim post crossing!


Strait of Juan the Fuca

Mon June 27th

Up-anchored early and went to the fuel dock to fill up on diesel. Had to wait for them to open up the store at 8am so we had oatmeal for brekkie. Then we headed out into Admiralty Inlet, turned to port (left for all you landlubbers) and headed up the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is the body of water between Vancouver Island, Canada and the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, USA and leads from the Puget Sound out to the Pacific Ocean. When the winds blow hard down the Straits, it can be pretty nasty to be on a little boat out there, plus there is a lot of traffic with freighters, tankers and cruise ships headed into and away from Seattle and Vancouver.

On that Sunday there was no wind and no waves so we motored. The Strait was glassy and reflective, we’ve never seen it so calm before. The sky was cloudy but it didn’t rain. We spotted dolphins fishing in the water, the beautiful and majestic Olympic mountains in the background and we looked out for traffic. We passed Victoria on our starboard (right) and Port Angeles to port then we kept motoring and motoring. Our intention was to anchor at a place called Pillar Point which was 2/3 along the northern Washington coast but by the time we got there at 7pm we had a good current taking us out so we continued onto Neah Bay.

Glassy Strait

The most interesting thing along the way was a huge fire we spotted on land. At first we thought that it was a bonfire. When we looked through our binoculars, a building was being consumed by the flames which went up a couple of stories high. There was a larger structure next to it but the flames were starting to die down. I baked a raisin and pecan loaf in my bread machine and the recipe I downloaded off the Internet made the most perfect whole wheat raisin bread I’ve ever made! Definitely a keeper! We had a lovely spaghetti dinner and it occurred to me that cruising around is like traveling in a big ole RV except we don’t get to do the road stops and stretch our legs out or stop to eat greasy truck stop food! We arrived at Neah Bay in the setting sun, after 13 hours of motoring, dropped our anchor and went to sleep exhausted! I was woken occasionally to the locals lighting up their fireworks on the beach!

The burning garage

Tue June 28th

We got up early to check the weather and decided to spend a day checking out the town. Neah Bay is an Indian Reservation. There is limited cellphone access ie, AT&T don’t go out there and it’s a small town, mainly catering to fishing boats. We had pancakes for breakfast then we hopped into the dinghy and headed for town. It kinda reminded me of a small country town in Oz where its quiet and slow moving except for the lack of a pub! Its a dry town! We walked to the grocery store, which was well stocked and got some stuff that we inevitably had forgotten! Then we walked 10 mins down the street to the Makah tribal museum where we looked at the exhibits. The museum is a tribute to the Ozette indian community that was buried in a mudslide, preserved, and eventually discovered and excavated. I must admit that I didn’t get to read much of the placards as I found myself chasing Jacintha through the museum. She wanted to see everything and touch everything, including the big whaling canoes. She did enjoy the walk-in replica of the interior of a tribal longhouse, with fake fire pits and beds. When we finished the exhibit she decided she wanted to see everything again so around she went again! This time Jim chased her!

Picking daisies outside the tribal center

We walked back towards the marina and stopped at the Warm Cafe for lunch. It was run by a couple of ladies and when we walked it was busy so it took awhile to be served. The fish and chips were real good! Light crunchy batter and fresh cod that wasn’t overcooked. I asked our waitress if it was locally caught fish and chips. Nope! The fish get caught here but they all get flash frozen and sent to Seattle to get approved by the USDA. Then they get battered and shipped out to the restaurant! She would not be able to serve me fish caught off the boat and cooked there as it needs “approval” to be served in a restaurant. Kinda sad I thought. We only get to eat flash frozen days old fish! But it was good! Maybe I should have asked her what brand they used! She also told us that the fire the night before was a garage in the town before and it was probably a large one as they asked for help from the Neah Bay fire department! News travels fast in small towns.

After lunch we headed back for the boat and we did boat chores. Jim partially deflated the dinghy and hoisted it onto our foredeck where he lashed it down for our “ocean passage”. He also prepared the wind vane (a mechanical autopilot that steers the boat to the wind) to use in the forecasted 20 knot winds and tied on a jack line (a safety line that runs from the cockpit out to the front of the boat that you can harness onto).

I made chocolate chip cookies with Jacintha – ie I made them and she licked the bowl and spoon! Then I secured everything so that nothing could fall when the boat heels (when the boat is under sail the wind pushes it sideways so it can lean up to 20 degrees). That is a job in itself when traveling with a four year old. She gets things out and forgets to put them back – I think I have to train her a little bit more!

Saw lots of bald eagles!

Neah Bay

That night Jim and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary early! He gave me a pair of leather boat shoes, which coincidently is the gift for 3rd wedding anniversaries! Thanks for my new shoes!

20110711-085422.jpg My New Shoes!


PSCC Salmon Bake

After a few busy weeks provisioning and fixing up our boat for our 3 week journey to Barkley Sound, and Jim running the Rock and Roll half marathon on Saturday morning, the first leg of our trip that afternoon was to Blakely Harbor on Bainbridge Island, where we rafted up with 27 other boats at the Puget Sound Cruising Club (PSCC) for their annual salmon bake.

This was our first salmon bake and it was a beautiful sunny day with a calm motor sail there (that’s when Jim has both the engine running and the sail up hoping to catch some wind with it!). When we arrived, four other boats had left and there were two groups of boats rafted together with a largish gap between the two groups and some lines between them. We slotted nicely into the gap as did another boat after us and the two groups became a huge raft up of 27 boats.

All the boats in a row!

While the organizers were on shore getting the ovens ready for the salmon bake I was on the boat getting our dish, apple crumble, ready. Around 5pm we got the dinghy out and headed to the beach where everyone was. Everyone brought an appetizer or a dessert and there was salmon and halibut cooking on a mish mash of ovens that some people had brought over earlier in the day. We had a yummy meal. Jacintha ate some dinner but was mainly preoccupied with playing on the beach and although we did tell her not to get her pretty tutu dress wet she did so! She had a great time on the beach and entertained the onlookers with her songs and her cuteness. She was the only child there, as most of the other members of the PSCC are retirees.

Fishing on the beach

After dinner, we returned to our boat where we chatted with our neighbors before turning in early as we were all exhausted! We could hear footsteps on our boat as people would walk over our boat to visit another boat on the other side. It was all very social!

The next morning after breakfast of pancakes on the deck, people started visiting each other again and having sticky beaks at other boats!

We caught up with David on his brand new aluminum boat Barefoot. He’d commissioned her hull to be made then fitted out the interior himself. It was beautiful with all the gadgets and comforts you would need for a long ocean passage. It was useful picking his brain for some of the knowledge from the 50,000 sea miles he had accrued. We met his first mate, Ros from Darwin, Australia. She’d signed up as crew all the way from Oz to sail to the South Pacific with him. It was nice to talk to an Aussie again and we even flew our Aussie flag to celebrate! They’re leaving in September for Mexico and then the south pacific.


David and Ros

After the raft up broke up around 1pm we motored (no wind) all the way up to Port Townsend where we dropped anchor for the night.