Thursday, April 30, 2009

Year 2, Day 366 Post 1

We took off from Princess Bay in mid morning and headed out into Houston Passage on our way to Sibell Bay in Ladysmith Harbour.  As we rounded Southey Point  on the Northwest end of Saltspring Island, we started getting some wind.  7 to 9 knots so up went the sails!!  It had been calm up till that time.  We sailed due South towards Stuart Channel where we started making our way Northwest toward Ladysmith Harbour.  As you can see from the photo taken in Stuart Channel, the winds died.  We slowly drifted for a few hours trying to get what ever we could out of any kind of breeze we could meander into.  By 1530 hours, we gave up and started the engine.  Toodling along, we passed lots of other boats just sitting--both sail and motor.  Some fishing and some waiting for wind or whatever.

We made it safely into Sibell Bay(48 59.468N 123 47.147W) and dropped anchor.  There is an island that encloses much of the bay that belongs to the Seattle Yacht Club(insert big bucks here).  Off limits to everyone else.  After a few hours, we decided we didn't really like the little bay, so we upped the anchor and took off for Preedy Harbour(48 58.786N  123 40.946W) on Thetis Island.  With still no wind, it was motor all the way(about an hour).  Down went the hook and we were set for the night.  

A nice little place with the only draw back is that there is a ferry that comes in about once an hour making poor Zephyr rock a good bit.  Not a problem as we expect to be heading around the corner to the Thetis Island Marina for the night.  It's laundry time again.

The ferry docks are just to the left of the five white drums on the platform(not sure what they are for).

As you can see, it is still calm out there.  The forecast for the rest of the today and Friday is great.  Temps could hit the mid 60's!!  We haven't been that warm since last September.  Rain is on the schedule for Saturday and Sunday.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  It's only a 60% chance.

We have to dawdle a bit longer down here than we thought we would.  The part from Shakespeare that was supposed to have shipped out on Monday hadn't even been order through their "Customer Service"department till yesterday and it has to make its way up to Nanaimo and that could take some time.  It's a replacement piece of electronics to make our antenna work.  They want the old one back that doesn't work.  I've been emailing them for the past week and had been assured (last Friday)that it would be leaving ASAP.  Guess not.  I emailed yesterday and  got the response that they were just placing the order and it would go out.  While it's not that big a deal, if we don't pick it up now, we won't be back here for several months and I don't know if the Post Office will hold a "General Delivery" package that long plus I'm sure Shakespeare would like the old one back.  We'll take more of Bill & Susan's recommendations and find a few other places to drop the hook for a few days if we have to.

That's about it for now.  The furr people are wandering about the boat on deck getting some rays and working on their tans.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 365 The end of our first year on board!!

What a year this has been.  We moved on board Zephyr one year ago all set to set sail on our great adventure.  Now, a year later, we are much wiser and much poorer but much safer and far more knowledgeable than we certainly were a year ago.  

Oh the great plans we had.  We'd be off to Mexico by the end of August after our quick one month refit in Washington state little realizing that it's not safe to go there till mid to late November (hurricanes).  We'd be wiggling our toes in the sand and having margaritas.  We were so green!!!

Now, a year later, we are in touch with Zephyr and all her systems.  We know her inside and out.  Having replaced heads and fiber glassed sewage tanks.  Torn down and rebuilt all the winches for controlling the sails.   Added macerators to both heads as well as new plumbing.  Fixed the water systems so we have access to all 265 gallons of water in our tanks.  We had had only access to approximately the first 65 before we started sucking air into the system.  Heck, we even installed new pumps to pump the water.  We've installed new filters in both the diesel lines as well as the oil lines.  Replaced the transmission TWICE.  Impellers for pumping water through the engine.  Had Zephyr all rewired to make her safer.  Six new batteries and charger/inverter plus we replaced her computerized electrical monitor system so we can track exactly what is happening in her electrical systems.  

All her rigging--both standing(holds the mast up) as well as running (controls the sails) has been replaced.  Add on a carbon fiber spinnaker pole to make the sails work well in downwind sailing.   We had every sail inspected and fixed where needed.   We changed out many of the lights on board so that they will use less electricity.  We've added new lines for new equipment until we have line(rope) all over the place almost making it hard to remember what goes to what(sure glad I labeled them).  New reefing lines (makes the mainsail smaller) and a winch  to pull them in.  We rebuilt the roller furling system for the big Genoa sail at the bow and had the bow rollers for the anchor straightened.   We added on a wind and water electrical generator and will be adding on a wind powered auto steering system later this Summer.   We repacked the rudder post to keep the water out and overhauled the steering systems assembly while we were at it.  We had Zephyrs heating system rebuilt and rewired.   A new three burner propane stove and a new freezer/refrigerator system to make life easier.  Added on new navigation electronics and updated some of what was already on board.  A new out board motor for our dingy so we don't have to row so much.   Had the dodger canvas all resewed and new zippers put in.   The list goes on and on. I won't even go into the number of spare parts and pumps we've put down in the lockers for the future.   Each project was done to make Zephyr better and us safer.  Zephyr was in a midlife crisis and we had to make her right and that is just what we did.  Yes, it has slowed us down but we are far better prepared for what is to come and for that we are glad that we took the extra time, not that we had any real choice in the matter.

Add in the classes taken--electrical, as well as diesel mechanics and the manuals we've read and we are far more prepared for what is to come.  We can't thank Bill and Susan Gardner(Zephyr's previous owners) for all the help, information and understanding they have given us over this past year.  They've answered so many questions that I've lost count.  It would have been much harder through this with out their input.  If you're reading this Bill & Susan, Thanks!!! 

Now she's right and so are we.  We know what switches do what and what that noise that goes bump in the night is and whether or not it should go bump in the night.  We're no longer the green kids we were a year ago.  We still have lots to learn and that will come with time and experience.  Each day we get better at what we do and learn, learn, learn.  I've read more manuals than I can remember and each one makes me better at what we are and will be doing.  

We've met some wonderful and some not so wonderful people over this past year and will meet more of the same in the years to come.  That's what life and a cruisers life is all about.  It's a small community out there where you may see the same people over and over again as you sail into different harbors and there are some friends you will never see again as yours paths may never cross.  It's a big world out there and we  feel much better prepared for it.  Time will tell if we are. 

It has been a great year!!  Would we want to repeat it?  Not on your life!!!  There were times we just had to leave Zephyr while the workmen were on board doing what ever it was they were doing.  Some times  it just got too frustrating being there through all the upheaval.  We're both glad that stage of our journey is over and we can now look forward to what is to come.  We stay as long as we want and then decide where we want to stay and see next.  Tomorrow we will be off again.  Perhaps not a long trip but who knows.  It all has to start with the first step or at least with untying the dock lines and starting the motor and just getting out.  As Captain Ron (if you haven't seen the movie Captain Ron, your should) says "If it is going to happen, it's going to happen out there" and that is where we want to be--out there!!!

Now for today's activities.  Today started out cloudy with the weather people saying it might or might not rain.  Nope, not here.  By the afternoon, it was lovely.   Early in the morning, as we went on deck to the sound of big engines, along came a Canadian Coast Guard ship and a LARGE  hover craft with it.  Apparently, someone had reported a dingy floating in the strait just
outside our bay and they had been dispatched to look into it.  It was there just floating along.  I'd seen something earlier but dismissed it as it was so far away.  The poor little wooden dingy had floated away from someplace and was missing its bow section.  Being wood, it still floated but out they both came to investigate it.  The hover craft loaded it up and off they went with a roar.  I'm sure hearing plugs are mandatory on that baby.

After seeing the house of drift wood yesterday, we had to make our own so we walked the shoreline till we found a piece of drift wood and took it over to the house this afternoon.  With there being no wind, we just hopped into Puff and started Dragon and off we went around the point and down the coast to Conover Cove and took it up and hung it among all the others.  It's an amazing collection of peoples memories.

Tomorrow we are off to another inlet or harbor.  We've been here for several days and enjoyed it but it's time to move on.  Two to three days is our max before we get antsy and are ready to move on.  At least so far.  We'll see what happens as time goes on.  Tonight, a great barbecued steak dinner in celebration of our anniversary.  YUM!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 364 Tides can make a difference.

When we first bought Zephyr and wanted to take her for a "test sail", Bill told us we couldn't leave Birch Bay till the afternoon.  Being inlanders, we had no clue as to why.  His answer--the tides.  You can only come and go at certain times in Birch Bay if you have a deep draft vessel.  Here in Princess Bay, I can show you how much difference it can make.  Not knowing the tides can get you trapped or damage your boat real fast.  Here are some differences in the tides::  Princess Bay has a tidal range of about 12 feet.  The pictures on the left are of low tide taken today at 1315 hours--low tide.  The pictures on the right are at high tide, taken last evening about 2000.  Some places you could go at 2000 hours you sure can't go at 1315 hours.  It would really hurt!!  These are some of the things we have had to learn while out sailing.  Always watch the tide and currents.  The tides as they decide many times when you can enter and leave some harbours.  You watch the currents in a given area since there are times that you can transit a passage and times you don't go near a passage.  Typically, of a pass has a lot of current passing through it, you want to time your entrance to "Slack Tide"--when there is none.  You are either at high or low tide but nothing in between will do as you are either facing  an incoming tide(going against it is not fun) or an out going tide( can carry you into rocks or places you don't want to go).  As the water runs through the passes, you can get "eddies"(swirling water) that can throw your boat all over the place but normally not where you want to go or "overfalls" which is strong currents caused by water swirling over submerged ridges under the water.  In Colorado and New Mexico where we have done much of our sailing, you either have water in your lakes or you don't.  You either can sail or you can't.  There have been years in Colorado where there just isn't enough water in the lakes to allow you to even launch a boat let alone sail one.   Tides were new to us but we have learned how to watch and watch out for them.  It's safer that way.

Today we took Puff to shore and hiked around the South end of Wallace Island.  We made it down to Conover Cove.

A nice place for smaller boats as there is not enough depth to handle Zephyr.  It has a nice dock to spending time.  It's also costs $2.00 per meter.  An anchor is just fine.

While on our hike, we ran into a small house filled with small pieces(and some large) of drift wood.  People for years when they stop here hang a piece of drift wood from the rafters of on the walls.  Inside and out.

There are boards going back years all over the place.  We picked up some drift wood later in the afternoon and will try and make our own plaque for the walls.  We'll see what type of crafts person we are.  There are literally hundreds of big and small pieces in the house.  I have no clue how long it has been going on but they sure were interesting to read.  People from all over left their mark.  Some were quite elaborate and some were just a small piece with their names and dates on it.

On our hike, we took the "path less traveled" and ended up way off track as to where we were supposed to be.  We ended up hugging the West shoreline all the way done to Conover Cove instead of taking the path that goes right down the center of the island.  It took some time and some foraging but we finally got back on the main path to Conover.  It was a whole lot shorter walk back than it was getting there.

After lunch and while the generator was running to charge the batteries and heat the water tank(showers!!)  we dingied ashore and over to some sandy flats to watch the muscles shoot water into the air.  I got a video but will try for a better one tomorrow.  It didn't show up well on the screen.

And that was about the way the day went.  Most boats left and only one new one came in late this afternoon so we are down to just four of us in the Bay.  We expect to spend at least one more day here before we set out for farther North. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 363 Princess Bay

Yes, I know, a second post in the same day.  The first during dead calm and now safely at anchor just after sundown.  As you can see from the above photo, we were just zipping along.
Here's our path in a nut shell.  As you can see, we came out from the North end of Montague Harbour into Trincomali Channel by threading the way between some islands tiny though they might have been.  You can see the first jog to the right just after the islands.  That was when we put up the sails.  We then turned to port(left) and headed out into the channel.  The wind then died and we were left to the mercy of the out going current as the tide changed.  That little circle with star in it is a rock(try to avoid them!).  We tacked--changed the heading of the boat till we got down to the line that connects the 12 and 46.  Tack again into just about no wind.  We were almost back to where we had started from almost two hours before! 

Suddenly, we make a nice turn to the left--we cheated and  started the engine and took down the sails.  There was just no wind to allow us to get anywhere.  For once it wasn't against us, there just wasn't any.  With the sails down, we took off for Retreat Cove a few miles up the coast.  Once we got there, there were houses all around the shore.  We'd didn't want to feel that closed in by civilization so off to the next cove--Princess Bay(smallest bay I've ever seen).  It had come recommended by Bill and Susan during our visit a week ago. 


During our short sail, we had even put the DuoGen down into the water to try and get some amps from it but we were going so slow under sail that the small prop on it wouldn't go around.  We pulled it back up and stowed her before we started the engine.  While the engine puts out a good bit of amps for our batteries, we know we would still have to run the Honda generator once we go on the hook at Princess Bay.

As we rounded the tip of Princess Bay(48 56.638N  123 33.457W), we were greeted by six boats that had beaten us there.  The sailboats at anchor and the power boats at anchor but also tied up to shore with line.  During the evening, several more showed up and dropped anchor for the night.  When we got there, there were two sailboats tied together at the entrance to the bay.  A third joined their group later in the afternoon.  All held in place by one anchor.  Now that is trust in your anchor.  More than I would have.

A lovely place to anchor.  We launched Puff and plan to row to Wallace Island tomorrow for some exploring.  We still have to take our time getting to Nanaimo for the part that is getting mailed in.  It will be a nice place to spend some time. 

Here's a picture of the two sailboats on one anchor.  It's nice to be back on the hook and off a mooring buoy--cheaper too.

As the Sun set, Tracy made chili for dinner and after checking the anchor and the line holding Puff to Zephyr, we retired to our cabin for a quiet evening of reading.  Both of us are almost done with our books and are really chomping at the bit to finish them.

Day 362 Montague Harbour

We made the short hop to Montague Harbour about mid day.  A whole 3.5 miles tying up to a buoy at the Montague Harbour Marine Park.  We launched Puff and took off for shore tying up at the dingy dock.

Montague Harbour  Marine Park was the first marine park  created in 1959 according to our books and a favorite of cruisers since it is so well protected.  Since the winds were out of the Northeast, we simply motored across.  As I said, a short hop.  Montague is one of the busiest parks we have been to.  It even has parking places for cars!

Once ashore, we hiked the trails over toward a sea shell beach.  It's made up of entirely sea shells.  The views Northwest were incredible.  We've been lucky enough to have great weather for quite some time.  Sunny and about 58 and expected to get warmer each day.   Click on the picture to see all the shells.  

On the dock, was a sign that said that the park was now accepting trash from boaters at a cost of $2.00 for a small bag and $3.00 for a larger bag.  While on our hike, we saw the trash bins at the top of the stairs up from the water along with a cash box for the fees.  As we hiked farther inland, we saw other trash bins with no fee box meant for campers.  Well, we pay the same amount that the campers do so what the heck, we simply hike to the campers trash bins and put our trash in theirs.  I guess the parks folk think that boaters are rich and will cough up the extra fees to get rid of their trash.  Now the books we have say that there is no fee to stay here till after May 1 but the Park Range come by our boat some time and dropped an envelope  in Puff telling us we had to pay even though it is still April.  OK, We paid so I don't feel so bad about not paying for the trash drop off.

The internet connection there was just about zero so I waited till now to do the blog.  We have set off for Retreat Cove about 5 miles farther up the coast.  The winds are nil at this point so we are just sitting and waiting.  As we started out, they were from the Northeast so the sail would have been great.  Once we got out here, it just about died.  Now we just sit and wait.  What's the hurry after all.  I'll let you know how Retreat Cove is once we get settle.  It's going to be a long afternoon there being no wind.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 361 A day of rest?

We decided to take a day off from sailing and get a few odd jobs done that had cropped up.

I've talked a lot about Mother Nature scheming against us in this post.  Within an hour of us pulling in here, the winds shifted from the Northwest--the direction we had been heading-- to coming out of the South--a perfect wind that would have taken us where we had been heading.  She just waited till we got where we needed to go before she shifted directions.  It's been blowing out of the South ever since.  That is until today when it shifted back to the Northwest--the direction we will be going today.   Oh well.  The forecast is for winds in the 10 to 20 knot range so that will make it interesting once we leave.

As to yesterday, I started with the problem with the bilge pump.  As you may recall, on our trip to Selby Cove, I had turned on the bilge pump to get rid of a bit too much water down there.  Well, it ended up being a syphon and just pulled more water back in instead of getting rid of it once I turned the switch off.  We had the winds off the starboard(right) side and that made the outlet under water.  I finally used the manual pump and that took out enough water to stop the syphon effect.  I figured that the anti syphon valve was clogged.  I opened the cabinets to get to the valve.  I found the hose but there was no valve.  It just went up above the water line to a clamp and then down to the through hull.  This would explain the syphoning of the water.  I did find a shut off valve that I didn't know was there so in the future if the same thing happens, I can shut off the through hull.  I also now know to not run the bilge pump when on a starboard tack as that places the through hull under water plus to close the through hull fitting when on long passages.

Next, on the the "automatic" switch that is the safety switch that is supposed to activate the bilge pump if too much water gets down there.  It had failed to turn on the bilge pump as the water rose in the bilge.  Down into the bilge with with a volt meter to see if any contact was being made or if it was simply broken.  The bilge pump worked fine when turned on manually but when the switch was engaged it never switched on--a bad thing.  You need to know that even if you aren't looking at the bilge, any excess water that might get in there is being pumped out.  It's a simple switch.  As the water goes up, it swings the float up and the pump is turned on.
Now I will be in search if a new one in Nanaimo.  I'm sure I can find a replacement there.

Next project--the seats on Zephyrs stern.  Zephyr has two seats on the stern rails for nice 
 seating when we are under way and you don't want to sit in the cockpit.  They were covered in blue canvas when we bought Zephyr and we thought that the fabric covered two pieces of plywood.  Not so!  When we stopped in to see Bill and Susan in Birch Bay, Susan told us there was beautiful teak under the covers.  I pulled off the covers to see yesterday.  Wow, they're beautiful!  The covers looked horrible after the Winter (lots of green mold)so I started cleaning them in a bucket with soap and some bleach.  I let them soak while I went on to other projects.

I'd installed a new bronze through deck fitting for the forward waste tank last May and it was beginning to look a bit tarnished so out with the polish and she cleaned up great.  I went on and shined up the other fitting at the stern head and treated both with "Penetrol".  It keeps the bronze looking great by stopping the tarnishing that comes with nature.  I'd done the bronze bow rollers back in August and they still look great.  Since I'd removed the cowl vents on the stern, the fittings for those is also in bronze so I shined them as well.  The oldest one is still a bit discolored so I used some ketchup on it.  The acids in it are supposed to eat away the tarnish "naturally".  The first application cleaned the hole cover that had been in storage but not so much the ring that attaches to the deck so I put a second coat on it and it has been "soaking" all night.  We'll see how she looks this morning.  Meanwhile the other fittings look brand new.

I pulled the wall boards off in front of stern holding tank for the head for one last check to make sure the plumbing wasn't leaking after the repairs I did a month ago.  I'd added chalk and extra hose clamps to make sure they were all sealed.  A month later and they are still fine.  No leakage!

I rinsed out the canvas covers for the stern seats and let them dry.  After that, I sprayed on fabric waterproofing to make sure they will resist the elements and I'll be putting them back on today.  No reason to have that beautiful teak exposed to the elements.

Two other boats came into the anchorage during the evening so we watched as they anchored.  One big power boat anchored much farther out into the our little harbor.  Not sure why but we're glad he's away from us.  The other headed way into the inlet and anchored just off shore.  We all must be anchored well as the winds are now up to the 20 knot range and so far, no one appears to have dragged their anchor.  Let's hope it stays that way.  

The DuoGen is eating up this wind making lots of amps for our battery system.  With the Webasto heater and the frig running, we typically use about 80 to 90 amps every day.  Thank goodness we have the Honda generator.  It's much better at recharging than using the engine.  It would take much longer using it than it does the generator and it costs less to run.

We'll be off later this morning once the winds calm down a bit.  Of course we hope the winds change to a different direction but not much chance of that so we will see where we end up.

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 360 Up with the sails AGAIN!

Above are pictures of Selby Cove, Prevost Island.

We took off from Bedwell Harbour late this morning and set off for James Bay on the North side of Prevost Island.  It had the makings of a nice place to stay for a day or so as long as the winds weren't from the Northwest.   As expected, the winds were from the Northwest as soon as we left Bedwell.  OK fine, what the heck, we put up the sails and tacked back and forth up through the islands.  Out from South Pender Island and over toward Saltspring Island , then back toward North Pender Island, then back toward Saltspring Island.  Back and forth fighting our way up in  winds from 8 knots to 18 knots.  Up with the Main Sail.  Out came the Genoa on its roller furling.  This baby is so big that it rolls up at the bow when you're done with it.  You don't pull it down, just pull a line and zip, it wraps around the forestay and its nicely put away.  Zephyr is the first boat we've had that has had this equipment.  

Once the winds got to over 15 knots, we decided to put up the Forestaysail and roll up the Genoa for a while to see how she would perform with a smaller sail.  This required us to finally set up the "Running Backstays".  These are lines (rope) that replaced some of the rigging when we had it replaced.  They run from about 3/4 of the way up the mast toward just beside the cockpit and stabilizes the mast when the Forestaysail is up.  We had lines running all over the boat.   First, Zephyr stopped healing over and ran flat(good).  She also lost about 3 knots of speed (bad) with the smaller sail.  With the Genoa out, we were making about 6+ knots through the water.  Only 3 with the Forestaysail.  Plus, while most boats will only go at 45 degrees into the wind(we talked about that yesterday), with the Genoa out, Zephyr would point clear up to an amazing 30 degrees before the sails stopped drawing wind.  That allows us to go much farther up wind than any boat I've ever been in.   With  the forestaysail out, she will only point to about 50 degrees since the sail is farther back from the bow of the boat.

Since we were in no real hurry, we pulled the Genoa out about half way so it slightly overlapped the Forestaysail.  We had all the canvas up that Zephyr carries.  With the Genoa only half way out, the speed went back up to the 6+ knots it had been.  Only this time with a bit more control.

As the afternoon progressed, the wind got lighter and lighter until we finally had to start the motor.  We started into James Bay.  OOPs, already two boats anchored in there so we moved over to Selby Cove right around the corner.  No reason to crowd a harbour.   It was deserted so we dropped our anchor and we were set.  There were some houses along the shore but the closest is deserted so we have the place all to ourselves.

It was beautifully sunny all day.  Still a bit chilly so a coat was the wardrobe of the day and a hat to keep the ears warm.  I'll take that over cloudy and rainy anytime.  It is only supposed to get better over the next week.

As we sailed up Captain Passage just West of Prevost Island, I checked the bilge and found some water down there.  On with the pump and out it went.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  After I turned off the pump, water just started coming back into the bilge from the through hull where the water is supposed to go out.  We were healed over just enough to have the fitting under water.  There is supposed to be an anti-syphon valve in the line to stop this from happening.  I'll be exploring to see what went wrong.  I watched as the water came in and the automatic float switch that is supposed to turn on the bilge pump if too much water is down there didn't work either.  It floats but doesn't turn on the pump.  I'll be checking out that little problem also.  Down into the bilge again.  Boy what fun!?!

There are definitely more sailboats out on the water today than any day so far.  We had to have seen at least 15 throughout the day.   Add in several ferries and tugs and it gets busy out there.  We are always on watch.  Today's voyage, while only a distance of 8 miles as the crow flies ended up at over 16 by the time we got here with all the switches back and forth through the channels.  Even having to go farther under sail, it is still much cheaper than using the motor as many of the sailboats we say today were.  It's great to be under sail again!

Hey, I got this done and it's only 1920 hours.  I may get to bed at a decent hour tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 359 Sailing away!!!

Yes, that's right, I said SAILING!!!  We finally got to raise our sails and use it to move Zephyr forward for a change!  The forecast when we left Sidney Harbor was for 10 to 20 knot winds from the West swinging around to the South.  Perfect!!  The only winds we found were from the EAST!!!  And which way did we need to go--EAST of course.  So we hoisted the sails and tacked back and forth through the islands.

We left about 1230 hours and headed into the harbor from the marina.  Up went the sails and we headed to the Northeast as close to the wind as we could.  A sail boat can only sail--at least normally, up to 45 degrees into the wind.  After that, the sails won't fill with air and the boat will stall.  Something about aerodynamic or some such thing.  Any how, that's what they told us when we started sailing 27 years ago.  We pushed Northeast just to the South of Moresby Island trying to skirt the Southeast shore point.  Nope, Mother Nature would have none of that.  We had winds in the 9 to 10 knot range for most of the afternoon with an occasional gust to 14 always from the East.  As we got closer, the wind just kept shifting more and more to the North cutting us off from making the point.  We tacked(turned the bow of the boat) to the Southeast and headed out into the Haro Straits.  This is where we had so much fun playing chicken with big freighters a few days ago.  I went below and fired up the computer we use for navigation that is equipped with a GPS and AIS(automatic identification system).  Yep, up the strait were coming two nice big freighters.  We weren't going to fast so we figured if we played our cards right and tacked at the right time, we would miss both.  As we approached Turn Point on the West end of Stuart Island, we tacked and headed back across the strait and got our butts as far from them as we could.
That's Tracy at the wheel.  As you can see, it's still not quite Summer temperatures.  She's bundled up with a Winter coat, gloves and a wool cap.  I was dressed the same.  In the wind(you need to make the boat move) it can get chilly but we were not about to complain.

We're now at South Pender Island in Bedwell Harbor(48 45.007N  123 13.920W) with the hook down and firmly anchored in what ever is down there.  We're well protected from most breezes and we've had them ever since we got in here.  North, East, South and West they have come in here.  The East winds changed to a West wind with showers a few hours after we arrived.   We had looked back at Sidney a few hours after we left and could see they were getting poured on.  We got just enough to rinse the deck and spot the windows.  Gusts to 20 and then gone.  Mother Nature is playing games again.

A nice dinner of leftover quiche and a salad and a relaxing evening at home.  Tracy was researching the Canadian parks for what is to come and then promptly fell asleep.  All the "furr people" were doing the same so I was the only one awake in the boat.  I just sat back and read another sailing magazine.  Tracy finally gave up and actually went to bed about 2230 hours.  I figure I'll be following her shortly.

After we dropped the anchor, I spent a while checking charts and books to see where we will go next.  Not sure yet.  We will have to see what the wind is tomorrow.  Oh, by the way, all the time we were out there with the winds from the East, the National Weather Service kept broadcasting that the winds were from the West so either my compass and GPS are way off or they are.  I think I'll trust what I have in front of me and not what they are saying.  As I have said many times "Trust not lest ye be screwed"!!  We'll see what tomorrow brings and go from there.

We're finally out here "living the dream"!!  It's about time!!

Day 358 Off to Victoria, BC

After getting ourselves presentable--showers--we took off by bus for Victoria to tour and meet up with some of our friends from back home that happened to be in town for a stitching "camp".  More on that later.

Here are some pictures of the Port Of Sidney Marina.  A nice place to stay with some incredible boats.  Lots and I mean lots of money in these toys.  Really BIG boy toys float in this marina.  We were on one of the smaller boats and probably one of the oldest yet we had several people stop by to inquire about Zephyr and say how much they liked her looks.

Once we got to Victoria, we walked around getting our bearings by stopping by the local tourist bureau.  They got us set up with maps and recommendations for a restaurant for lunch.  Off to the "China Town" section.  Tasty, but I'll still take the Shanghai Restaurant in Point Hudson.  We wandered about watching the small sea planes coming in and out ferrying tourist over the harbor.

Heck you can see one of the planes in this photograph(click on it to make it larger).  Another beautiful day.  A good bit of wind of course since we weren't out sailing but hey, what the heck.
We passed by trees in bloom.  With beautiful white blossoms all over the place.
We wandered around not even bothering to go in any of the shops we passed as we have so little room left on Zephyr, it has become the rule that if some thing comes on board, something has to come off.

We passed by Government House.  Apparently, the steps up to the front door can only be used by the Queen so the biggest gates to get inside are blocked closed to the public.

You can see the steps off to the left.  There is another much smaller door there for the general public to enter.  There are guards and a blockade beside the steps to make sure everyone stays off them.  Now there is a lady with clout!!!

We passed by the Empress Hotel.  Another huge building right on the waterfront.  We could 

have docked our boat right below it as there is dock space available for several boats.  There was a mega yacht tied up the the pier just off to the side.  One of the biggest we have ever seen.

We met up with Claudia and Brenda about 1700 and went off for a nice dinner.  It's the first time we have seen them since we left almost a year ago.

We caught up on everything happening back home.  It was great to see them again.  The "camp" they are attending is given by a local cross stitch designer with people flying in from all over the place to get together and stitch and learn new things.  When we had our store back in Littleton, we had "camps" similar to this one just not in quite so fancy a place.  We were up in the mountains in a large home we rented with a private chef taking care of the food needs and a masseuse to get rid of any kinks that might have developed.  Add in a hot tub and a good time was always had by all.  Our friends will be here till Sunday but we will be setting out tomorrow.

The weather forecast is for good winds out of the Southwest or West so it's perfect for us to start heading up North into the Gulf Islands.  Out big journey is about to begin!!  Now that we have internet service in Canada, I can continue keeping all of you up to date as to what we are doing and where we are doing it.  We'll see how good the Canadian wifi is up here in the islands.

Wish us luck tomorrow.  It would be nice to finally have some decent wind to help push us along.  It's cheaper than diesel!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 356 Let's play chicken!!

Sorry, I missed this post since it was on another program so here it is only one day late.  Thanks Marty!

We fired up the engine and left Birch Bay about 0900 after saying goodbye to Bill & Susan. A great couple of people.

We're back at Ried Harbor getting ready to make the jump to Canada tomorrow. As was expected, there was no wind, though the forecasters had predicted 10 knot winds. Someday, we will actually get to sail poor Zephyr instead of turning her into motor boat.

On our trip through the San Juans to Reid Harbor from Birch Bay, we got to play chicken with several freighters. As we neared the Northwest end of Stuart Island, around Turn Point came two freighters. We'd already had one sneak up from behind us as we made our way across through the islands. These two were in line with each other with the one astern quickly catching up on the forward one as they reached the point where they make their turns to head up the Haro Straits. They were headed North as we were headed South in their lane. It's like a freeway through the islands. The right lane is for boats headed North and the left lane is for those headed South. We were headed South in the right hand land. Not a good place to be. As they made the turn around Turn Point on Stuart Island, they split apart with the faster freighter--and much bigger keeping in the lane and the slower and a bit smaller veering off to the right even farther. I turned Zephyr toward shore as fast as I could away from these bohemouths, but we were only making 6 knots to their 20+ knots. Guess who looses!!! I called them on channel 16 on my VHF radio to make sure they saw us on their radar. Not only did they see us, but so did the traffic controllers that manage these waters. We were instructed to change channels to 11 and stay there. The ship traffic controllers advised us who was coming and then the ships called us and told us what to do--and quickly at that!! Turn to starboard and go between these two freighters. Take a ten to twelve story building and put in on its side and move it through the water and you have these freighters!!

Now Tracy had already told me to turn and go between them, but I thought(wrongly so) that the smaller freighters would alter his course and stay more in the shipping channel and let us past on his shore side. Nope, he wanted us to pass between the two ships, each about a 1/4 mile max to either side of us. I spun the wheel and we went right between the two of them. Boy, we sure rocked a lot in their wakes as they hit us. The fur people were not impressed.

We were then advised to stay on channel 11 and stay in touch. Another freighter was headed our way. Again up the channel. This time, he was far enough off that I could make it much closer to shore and stay out of his way. He passed us on our right side with out so much as a radio call.

We decided to head over to Roche Harbor on Lopez Island for a quick refill of gas for the generators and some diesel to top off the tanks. They were still charging the same prices they charged last Summer as they still had some of the really expensive fuel from last year. It wasn't a cheap refill but we expect it is still cheaper than over on Vancouver Island. Once topped off, we motored again--no wind over to Reid Harbor and tied up exactly where we were a week ago so no Google Earth update as to our longitude and latitude.

A great quiche for dinner with a bottle of wine and quiet though there are two power boats tied up to the main dock on shore that are having a fire and having fun. We're out in the middle of the harbor all to ourselves and that is just fine.

Tomorrow, off for Sidney Harbor on Vancouver Island. We'll be checking in with customs there and getting settled in for a day or two. Then, off into the Gulf Islands. Having spent the evening with BIll and Susan yesterday, they clued us into the best places to stay in the islands that only a person that has spent time in the islands knows. A great advantage for us.

Early in the motor to Reid, I spent a while talking with Verizon severing our ties to our telephones. We will be discontinuing our service as of Tuesday. No more phones till we get back to the US some time in late July. As far as internet goes, we are switching to a Canadian plan so we can continue at least getting messages and doing our blog. I'd tried to find a map of what their coverage was but it's not available on their website. After going through four people, one said she would email a map to us since it didn't appear to be on their site. Go figure!?! So far, no email. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not. I'm having the Canadian service activated on Tuesday. Not sure what the coverage is yet but will eventually find out. I figure we will find a free connection some where tomorrow so I can get this post out.

We are now being entertained by a bunch of "kids" on one of the two power boats that has decided to water ski in the harbor as they are leaving for the night. So far, the poor skier had gotten trashed several times. He's now up and out they go. Not sure how far they intend to drag him but hey, you are only young once so they say. Now there is just one other sailboater from Canada in the harbor. He's tied up to the main dock on shore and didn't even come out of his boat till the power boaters left. Smart man!.

Tomorrow is another day. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Day 357 Now we're foreigners!

We made it to Sidney, BC!! Now we are the foreigners!

We left Reid Harbor this morning after doing another pump out. Got to keep those tanks clean you know. Since we had so much fun with the freighters the day before, we decided to fire up our navigation computer and use the AIS feature we use to locate and identify the really big ships that use these waters. Each ship that meets a specific criteria must send out a radio signal that identifies who, what and where they are going. If you have the proper equipment, you can receive that signal and find out who is out there and exactly where they are on my computer screen. It can read signals from boats as far away as 50 mile in good conditions. With this on, we know who was out there and where they were before we could even see them.

As we crossed the Haro Straits, we detected a freighter coming up the channel. We were doing 6+ knots while they were doing 17+ knots. They were just over 5 miles away so we made it across before they finally showed up and crossed behind us. If I had been smarter the day before, we would have known who was coming and how to better avoid them. Lesson learned. When you go out to play with the big boys, take the right equipment.

We got into Sidney, BC (48 39.205N 123 23.592 W) about 1230 hours. A quick 2+ hour trip. There were several other boats crossing into Sidney at the same time--fishing and sailboats so we tried to keep up while still staying out of their way. We pulled into the harbor and up to the "Customs" dock to get checked in. A dock was all it was. No Customs personnel were there to greet us. All there was was a phone. I picked up the receiver and on came the Custom's agent. After a few questions(documentation number), he asked if this was William. Boy I was impressed with their knowledge of who owned Zephyr. He then asked who was with me--my answer was of course my wife Diana. His response was--"Not Susan? OOPS, he had the wrong William. He thought I was Bill Gardner, Zephyrs previous owner. We then started all over again getting the new information into their computers as to who we were, how long we would be staying, what we had on board, liquor, tobacco, food, guns, etc. All in all, it took about ten minutes to get checked in. He gave me a number and we raised the Canadian courtesy flag that we are supposed to fly from the starboard side of the boat as long as we are here. We finally made it out of the country!!!

Once we got through with that, I walked up to the marina office to get a slip for two days. That took a while as they weren't sure they had any available. The marina manager made a call and found that one man who had reserved a slip wasn't going to make it as his new boat was delayed in being delivered to him. Now he still has to pay for his slip since he had signed up for a monthly rental but we got to use it. We also had to pay so they doubled their money for one slip. Not a bad racket. One question they asked me as I checked us in with the marina was for a phone number. We don't have one anymore. I cut off our phones on Sunday since we will be sailing where Verizon can't reach and there is no reason to pay for a service we won't be receiving. It was strange to tell someone we don't have a phone number. Everyone has a phone of some sort. I walked back to Zephyr--we were about as far away from the marina office as you can get only to find that another boat(one that had just followed us into the marina) had taken the slip. A big 65 foot, two masted schooner. I walked back to the office to get a different slip or find out what to do now. As it turns out, they(big schooner) claimed that they had a four night reservation (nothing in the files at the marina) so they stayed exactly where they were. Luckily, the boat behind them(big schooner) had moved out a few minutes after they (the schooner)had pulled in so we got assigned the slip right behind where we were originally supposed to be. It was at the very next pier. A quick easy move. Untie the lines, start the motor and bingo we were in for the night.

We walked up the pier and found a nice place for lunch and then toured the town of Sidney. Nice place with lots of shops. Boating stores, Safeway, drug stores and liquor stores. We can see why they restrict the amount of booze you can bring into Canada. They want you to buy it here. It's not cheap to be an alcoholic in Canada. It's a good 40% or more, more expensive!! Many were double what we had found in Newport a year ago. We bought a few things and scoped out the bus stop for a trip to Victoria tomorrow. We're glad we came in a day earlier than we had originally planned. We get some rest and know how to get around tomorrow.

Today was one of the prettiest and warmest days we've had in the last 6 months. Seattle hit a record temperature of 74 today. I was out in a short sleeve shirt and felt quite comfortable in it. Tomorrow it is supposed to be a bit cooler but still beautifully sunny.

About 1800, as Tracy was out on deck with the furr people, along comes a heron strutting down the dock at Zephyrs bow. Snowshoe was sitting on top of the dingy right up at the bow and he just stared and stared and stared. Not moving a muscle. I can't imagine what was going through his mind. He's never been that close to any bird, let alone one that looks like a heron. The bird was fishing off the end of the dock. He would stick his head down near the water and pluck small fish out and gulp them down and do it again. I think he(she?) finally saw Snowshoe as it finally let out a bunch of loud bird calls and flew over to the next dock. Snowshoe just sat there not knowing what to do. Tracy walked over and brought him back to the cockpit where he promptly took off for down below. His day of exploring was over as far as he was concerned.

I set us up so that we will be able to get back on the internet here in Canada as of Tuesday, which is actually now since it's 0100 hours. Boy I'm up late tonight. Oh well, there is no no rush to get up tomorrow or should I say today?

More to come along with some pictures now that I will have better internet connections. At least I hope better connections.

Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 355 Home again.

Zephyr is back home in Birch Bay(48 55.995N  122 47.228W).  We started out this morning from Bellingham to Birch Bay to take Zephyr back where we all started almost two years ago.  Of course, the winds were against us all over again.  Yesterday,  they blew from the South--right into us.  Today, they blew from the North--right into us.  We just can't get winds going the right direction so we can actually put up the sails and sail poor Zephyr.  She must be feeling more like a power boat than a sailboat.

We left early so that we could arrive while the tide--going out, was still high enough to allow us access to Birch Bays harbor.  It's relatively shallow in the pass to get in and if you don't time it right, you can get stuck.  We were here by 1500 hours and made it in fine though we did go over a place just outside the harbor where the depth sounder went to zero.

Susan came down and the fun began.  They'd made arrangements for us to stay at the visitors dock for the night.  We talked and gabbed and she took some pictures to show Bill later.  He showed up a short while later to look down on Zephyr floating in the harbor.  We talked as we looked over Zephyr showing them lots of what we have done.  Much of it you can not see as it's under or behind walls and cushions.  It's easy to see the wind generator and the carbon fiber spinnaker pole on deck though.

We then took off for their house with all our charts to discuss and map out prospective places for us to visit as they have been all over the Gulf Islands of Canada.  Tracy took copious notes while I circled and made notes on the charts.  It's great to get all their information on what to see and where they suggest we go.  They know the best places since they have been there.  The talk continued over a great dinner swapping stories about Zephyr and their trips and our up coming one.  A great way to spend an evening together!!  It was really great to see the two of them again.  Really nice people.

Tomorrow, off for Reid Harbor making our way over to Sidney in British Columbia to check in for our cruise of the islands North.  We figure to be there by Tuesday at the latest to get settled in.

As far as Bellingham goes, a great marina with cheap rates to stay there and really long showers for the money.  It was like being home they gave us so much water.  Wow!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 353 & 354 On the move.

Thursday, we took off from Matia Island back the Sucia for one last day.  We'd had to leave Sucia the previous day since we'd used up our three day limit the state parks puts on you.  Matia is a great little island to explore.  We had to motor back to Sucia since there was no wind again.  We tied up close to where we had left from the day before.  I motored ashore and signed us up for one last day.

This morning, we took off for Bellingham for a rushed re-provisioning.  We've been out for two weeks and a few of our mainstays were beginning to run low.  We left Sucia at 0800 hours and arrived in Bellingham at 1140 hours.  Winds were pretty much against us plus with all we had to get done, there was just no way to sail across.  We had planned to rent a car to hit the local big box stores.  We needed the car to be back by the time they closed and that limited how long and how much we could get done.  Enterprise car rental to the rescue.  The picked us up at the dock and got us all set up.  We were out of their office by 1300 hours.  

First, lunch at Red Robin.  We've been through Bellingham several times when we were buying Zephyr so we pretty much knew the area.  We also printed up maps with all the locations of the stores we needed to visit--Costco, Petsmart, Walmart, Haggens, West Marine and a few others.  Just about all of them are on Guide Meridian Avenue.  It made the trip a bunch easier.  Up and down one street and we were pretty much done.  We were back at Zephyr by 1700 and I was off for the rental office to be there by 1800--when they close.  I only made a few wrong turns--going the wrong way on only TWO one way streets!!! OOPS!!!  I stopped real quick as I saw lots of cars coming right at me.  The street the place is on becomes a two way street much farther up the road.  No harm, No foul.

When I got the the office, it was packed.  Must have been 20 people waiting for or dropping off cars.  Since I was going to need a ride back to the marina, I just sat down in the back and waited.  They finally finished up with everyone about 1845 hours.  Only 45 minutes after they were supposed to be closed.

By the way, our location here in Bellingham--at the Squalicum Marina is 48 45.431N  122 30.289W for all the Google Earth fans.  We're tucked in right below the restaurant that we had lunch at the day we left for Denver after buying Zephyr.  It's also the restaurant where I broke my glasses.  I was cleaning them and the frames just up and broke in my hands.  We were lucky enough to find a eyeglass store that could put the lens in an old set of frames to get me home.  Tracy was leaving the day before I was, so I really needed my eyes to get me around and I'm about as blind as they come with out my glasses.  I had Lasik surgery a week after I got back to Denver.

Once I arrived back at the marina, Tracy was up doing our laundry.  It's even cheaper here than down South.  A buck a load.   She'd had quite a time getting everything we'd bought into the freezer and the refrigerator.  Both are now packed solid.  

When we had checked in, the marina folks had given us the codes to get into showers and laundry rooms.  Unfortunately, they gave us the wrong numbers!!  We had to wait till someone else came along and get the right numbers from them.  They'd written the codes down so we don't really know what went wrong.  Oh well, we finally got the laundry done.  Two weeks is about as long as we can go if we use all our cold weather clothes.  After that, we have to start layering to keep the chill out.  This is the first marina we have been in (over night) since we left Port Townsend two weeks ago.  It was a bit strange being around all the people again.  We've gotten used to being alone or at least seeing maybe two other people in an average day out here.

While Tracy was in the laundry room, I was outside socializing with people from the Bellingham Yacht Club which have their "Club House" right above the marina.  They complimented us on our boat.  I then set out telling them about our last year on board and what we have done making Zephyr a better boat and where not to go to have any work on their boats done.  I was encouraged to write a story of the 48 North magazine.  It's one of the local sailing magazines that gets out to just about every boater in the Northwest USA.  Who knows, maybe I will.

Well, tomorrow, back to see Bill And Susan at Birch Bay.  It will be good to see them again.  A great couple.  Then, on to Canada and the North.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 352 Off to Matia

Our newly cleared stern deck.  The cowl vents are now stored till we get to warmer climates.
Looking Southeast in Echo Bay on Sucia.  The rocks are all covered with seaweed that goes "pop" as you walk over it.  Sort of creepy.  That's Zephyr in the distance.
The "beach" at Echo Bay.  Lots of small stones and BIG logs with lots of places to picnic and camp along the shore.  I can't imagine how busy this island is in the Summer time.
Looking Southeast toward the Finger Islands--North and South Finger Island--each privately owned!!  I can't imagine what these two are worth today.  That's Zephyr on the far right side of the picture.
Walking along Echo Bays shoreline.  Lots of sandstone carved by Mother Nature.
Rolfe Cove on Matia Islands Northwest coast.  The tide is just hitting low.  The ramp up from water level is really steep as you can see.
The islet to the right amazingly has no name.  How did some politician in Olympia miss naming that after some body important.  Lots more rocks all incredibly carved by Mother Nature.
A huge hollowed out tree in the midst of many other bigger trees deep in the forests of Matia Island.  Lots of ferns and smaller trees trying to gain a foothold in the forest.  Yeah that's me.
Matia Cove in the South side of the island.  A nice walk from Rolfe Cove on the opposite side of the island.  Deep rock cliffs surround this bay making it almost impossible to climb out of once you get ashore.
Another SMALL cove on the west side of Matia.  You might drop and anchor but I wouldn't count on it keeping you from hitting the shoreline.
Incredible rock formations in every cove made Matia a very beautiful island.
Wind swept on the western shore had made these trees and many others hold on for dear life.
Small coves abound but a just about worthless to anchor in.  Too shallow or too rocky to hold an anchor.
Looking East from Rolfe Cove past the docks.  The other boat is based out of Friday Harbor.  He's been out sailing for the past month up in Canada.  He bought the boat back in 1979 and has lived on her ever since.  He's powered by an outboard motor on the stern and I don't think he has a battery on board his boat.  Now there is a hard core purist.  Lots less to ever go wrong.

Now, here's my actual post!!  You've gotten past the pretty parts.

We started out this morning by doing lots of odd jobs on deck as the generator ran charging the batteries.  As this can take a couple of hours, we had some time.  I worked my way around the deck checking every screw, nut, bolt, pin or fastener.  All were checked to make sure they were attached right and had stayed as such.  Some needed tightening and some needed some lubricant to make sure when we want to loosen them, we can. 

Tracy spent the time washing down the deck with sea water.  It's better to use sea water than fresh water as the joints in the teak swell and seal better or at least that is what the "experts" say.  Lots of mold got killed today on deck.  

When we were sailing the other day, we noticed that the running rigging(main sheet that controls the boom) for the mainsail had a bad habit of hooking itself to the cowl vents on the stern.  One of these is the new one we just bought.  We made the decision that since we really don't need the air coming into Zephyr, we'd remove them and stow till we got much farther South--like Mexico where it's warm.  I've shown a picture of our new cleared deck above in the blog.

After everything was cleaned on deck, we piled into Puff and worked our way around the hull scrubbing the muck off Zephyrs sides.  Tracy had scrubbed them while we were in Port Townsend about 10 days ago but they were already growing green stuff along the water line.  If you don't get it off, it will get longer and longer and will really foul up the performance of  your boat.  I held Puff along the side as Tracy scrubbed with a brush attached to the boat hook. 

With that done, it was time for lunch.  We wanted to get ashore as soon as we could for a nice hike.  We took off in Puff and beached her.  As the tide was still going out, we were careful as to how far up the beach we pulled her as the water was still expected to go down another two feet (that's two vertical feet not horizontal feet)and that can be quite the distance to pull a dingy with a 90 pound motor on its stern to get it back to the water line.  We left her floating by a big outcropping of rocks and went for a hike.  We ran into a park ranger.  He was laying slate tile in one of the out houses that are scattered around the island.   Slate tile in an out house in a state park?  Come on people.  It's a state park, not someones house and we wonder why our states are in such financial difficulty?

We talked to one of the rangers about staying an extra day or two but his comment was that there was a three day limit but after that you have to leave for a day.  You can move to a different bay(same island) or move to a different island for a day and then come back for another three days.  Those are the rules.  OK, it's off season and we were the only boat in the entire harbor.  Just about the only boat at the island.  I really can't see that a day or two really mattered.  It's not like there was a line waiting to get my space on the buoy.  We hustled back to Zephyr as I'd written the wrong day on the park pass that you sign when you first come into the harbor.  Heck, I hardly ever know what day it is let alone what the number the day is in the month.  I haven't worn a watch in months and I used to be a watchaholic.  That meant our three day limit was up and we had to move on.  We decided to take off for Matia Island for a day for a quick stop and then come back to Sucia tomorrow.

We didn't bother to even lift Puff back on deck.  We left her in the water with Dragon still on her stern.  OK, that wasn't such a smart idea.  As we started to take off, the line on Puffs bow pulled her way up out of the water pushing the stern with Dragon attached much lower in the water.  OOPS!!!  We slowed down and it got better but if we went any faster than about 2.5 knots, she was really fighting to stay afloat at the stern.  Now this boat is an inflatable so there was no chance of her sinking but we didn't want any water getting inside Dragons engine.  So, we slowed it down and SLOWLY motored over to Matia.  We're now in Rolfe Cove(48 44.907N  122 50.548 W Google Earth fans) on the Northwest side of the island.  We came in just before low tide and ended up tied to the dock with about 2 feet below the keel and tide was still going out.  We got lucky and never hit bottom as we reached low tide.

Boy, what a difference a mile or two makes in the San Juan Islands.  Matia is covered with lots of old growth tall trees.  Sucia has lots of shorter brush and seems far more of an arid island.  Matia is like going back to "Jurassic Park" in it's feel.  Deep dark woods with trees that would take three people to get their arms around them.  Deep craggy coves and wind swept trees. Frogs croaking in the marshes and wetlands.   We'll spend tonight here and return to Sucia tomorrow--with Puff on deck or at least removing Dragon from her stern.

A quiet dinner in the covered patio(enclosed cockpit) as the sun set on the horizon with waves slowly lapping along the shore of the cove.  Finally--we're having the dream fulfilled.  Even the fur people behaved and stayed on the boat.