Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31 – Gorge Harbor

The relentless grind north proceeds. We departed shortly after 5 AM to start our 80 mile day north up the Strait of Georgia.  This body of water is the northern section of the newly designated Salish Sea (the southern portion includes Puget Sound). It trends from NW to SE separating Vancouver Island from the mainland.

When the weather is poor this long section of relatively unobstructed water develops big seas. Today, it was pretty benign. The winds started out about 10 to 15 from the west then clocked around by the end of the day to 10 to 15 from the southeast. The timing of the wind change was about in line with the current change so there was never a case of wind opposing current to stack up waves. In fact, we had filtered sun most of the afternoon and the pilothouse warmed up to the upper 70’s. We had to open windows let some cooler air in.

It is a simple route. The entire 80 miles had only five way points. Two legs, 24 and 38 miles respectively constituted the lion’s share of the day. All in all, a pretty uneventful day.  It was a blessing to drop the anchor and turn off the engine.

Gorge Harbor has a dramatic narrow entrance into a large oval shaped harbor. Unfortunately, the surrounding hills aren’t so large to keep out the forecasted winds of SE 15-25 this evening. A heavy anchor and lots of chain draped out will let us sleep easy despite the wind.

Today’s mileage – 80.2

Cumulative mileage – 199.3

Current Position

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30 – Silva Bay

By comparison to yesterday’s bash up Puget Sound, today was leisurely. We elected to use Silva Bay on Gabriola Island as our jumping off point for running north up the Strait of Georgia. In the past we’ve used Nanaimo but moorage is pricey and it can be hectic and crowded.  Silva Bay itself is clogged with lots of boats but most of them are locals storing their boats on mooring balls or at anchor.  The boat traffic is only modest.

From Garrison to Bedwell Harbor where we cleared Canadian customs and immigration was only about 13 miles.  A security team was manning and checking boats at Bedwell so after providing all of our information, the team performed a 10-15 minute onboard search of our boat verifying our “truthiness” (as Stephen Colbert would say).  Still, it only took about 40 minutes from the time we tied up until the time we departed.

We ended up lollygagging up Trincomali Channel in the Canadian Gulf Islands so that we reached Gabriola Pass near Silva Bay close to slack current. We were about an hour early so there were swirlies and some standing waves but the passage is pretty straight and not too bad. We were anchored with the engine off shortly after 4PM. 

Today’s Mileage– 48.7 miles

Cumulative Mileage – 119.1 miles

Current Position

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29 - We are off

I think we set a personal record for getting from Lake Union to outside the locks.  We left our dock at 6:58 and were motoring from the locks by 7:57.  That included opening two bridges and locking through the small locks.  We didn’t have to slow down but a little at any point.  The tide was low so we even fit under the Burlington Northern Railway bridge at Shilshole without it having to open.

The seas and winds were calm all the way to Port Townsend and it wasn’t until there that we started to pickup onshore winds in the Strait and the start of the ebb current into Admiralty Inlet.  A few hours more of slogging got us through that and we were travelling up Haro Strait with the current and following seas.  We had the anchor down and engine off in Garrison Bay on San Juan Island at 6:30 PM.

Today’s distance - 70.4 miles.

 Current Position

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ready to Leave (almost)

We moved onto the boat yesterday and will use today for settling back in and doing a final shutdown of the house. It is amazing how much we’ve forgotten in the nearly nine months from not having lived on the boat.

We also like to do a couple of nights on the boat prior to departure to acclimatize the cats to the changed environment. They sensed something afoot yesterday as more and more boxes and bags scattered around the house disappeared. As Marcia gathered each of them up to put into their crates, they first run away, then hissed and finally resigned to their fate. Pitiful meows and moans serenaded us during the half-hour drive from house to boat.

Once on the boat, Maggie did pretty well and is busy rubbing against everything in sight to scent mark them.  Annie is far more timid and has spent most of her time on the master stateroom berth burrowed under covers. Hopefully in a few days she’ll feel comfortable enough to spend daylight hours in the pilot house or salon.

For the 2011 cruise, we are trying out the changes we made based on last year’s experience. Marcia has packed the freezer efficiently with more meat and fewer prepared toppings. With respect to clothing, we’ve pretty much left cotton behind and gone with all synthetics. Our combo washer/dryer simply couldn’t dry heavy cotton t-shirts or jeans effectively.

The plan is for an early departure tomorrow (5/29) with a destination of the Port Townsend area. On Memorial Day, we’ll cross the border and try to get into position for a Strait of Georgia passage on Tuesday.

We are going to push north steadily and not take any side-trips or voluntary rest days along the way. It is about 700 miles from Seattle to Ketchikan via the Inside Passage. At an average of 50 miles, that works out to two weeks. Schedules seldom work so smoothly so extra days while waiting for weather a crux points won’t bother us.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sad News

2007-02-034-captionThis is certainly off-topic from a cruising blog but this is my blog so I get to decide what to write about.

Last Saturday, May 14, my mother, Vida Hanson, passed away. She was 94 years old. Her death was sudden in that she had no major chronic ailments and the cause of her death was not a sudden acute event (e.g., stroke, heart attack, etc.). My best description is that her body wore out. 

In a period of barely three weeks she went from good health, to bronchitis resulting in two ER visits, a nine day hospitalization, a week of 24 hour home health care, 2-1/2 days at a rehabilitation center, a readmission to a hospital and finally two very short days at a hospice care.  During all that time, her family stayed on top of her care and continually planned and acted on where she needed to be next. Her mind remained active during this time and if anything, she knew her body better than anybody else and the ultimate outcome. Her continual refrain was she was “weary.”

In the end, it was her time.  She died with all of her children present and we all miss her very much.