Monday, October 20, 2014

Sailing season comes to an end....

Gosh!  It feels like a long time since we took these photos.  It feels like even longer since I've written here.  The last days of summer slipped by, and all of a sudden it's fall!  

Currently, Cody and I are in Chicago, working with Vertical Solutions to build a climbing gym.  It's going to be a fantastic gym when it's complete!  We spent some time working on the gym owned by the same group in Boston, and it's neat to be a part of their third location here in Chicago.  You can see more about the project here.  

We were interviewed by Wooden Boat Dan, who produces a podcast called Hooked on Wooden Boats while at the Boat Festival and he has aired our interview on his website.  If you follow the blog it's nothing new, but if you are interested you can listen here.  

Note the fine fit of this ultra second hand female wetsuit!

Upon returning to Washington, Cody had to dive 20+ ft. into the frigid Puget waters to free our tangled anchor line.  We stayed on a mooring ball a friend loaned us, but used our anchor to back up the ball of unknown origin and reliability.  Anyway, it's a long story.  But a special thanks to Cait Allen who also had a hand in retrieving our anchor and chain.  

We left Bainbridge and steadily sailed to Blake Island for the night.  The Island is not the most spectacular in the area, but it was worth a visit. 

After giving Her Majesty (our dinghy) a beach side scrubbing we walked along the beach and found what we think is an eagle eggshell! 

The north side of the island has a Native American interpretive center and a little store.  Sadly both were closed by the time we got there.  However the tame deer were all over the place and so were some friendly raccoons!

A nice morning walk across Blake

We "left" Blake island thinking that the flood tide would carry us out toward Tacoma.  That was not the case, after trying to sail for 3 hours, fighting an opposing a current that apparently wraps around the island we succumbed to towing Rabannah.............with Her Majesty.  We pulled with all our might and finally got out of the wind shadow and we were on our way.

The wind was a little shifty, but it kept building for a few hours, and we made up all the time we lost drifting around Blake.  Here we are sailing wing and wing dead downwind.  Cody lowered himself out in Her Majesty to get this shot.  We were going over 4kts. and the dinghy was pretty squirrely, but he managed to make it back to the boat dry.

We ended up getting becalmed, which was promptly followed by being benighted.  We ended up sailing in the dark to a ratty "anchorage" just outside the Hylbos Waterway.  We set two anchors for extra peace of mind, and slept soundly.  Our last day sailing this season was pretty uneventful, a little fog in the morning, but we made it to the marina on time.

Rabannah was lifted out, pressure washed and blocked up in a nice corner of the yard.  We covered her with tarps, and cleaned her thoroughly inside. We packed up and said our goodbyes.  We look forward to taking her out in April and spending another great season in the Northwest!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

We weren't the only ones in Port Townsend getting ready for the Festival.  We saw the Lady Washington at the fuel dock on Wednesday afternoon.  She was featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as the HMS Interceptor. She was quite a sight to see under way!  

We finally had the boat all ready to go, and woke up early on Thursday morning to fuss about with the interior while we waited until it was time to head to Point Hudson Marina.  We listened to channel 68 on the VHF to get a feel for how things were proceeding down there.  

"Festival Harbormaster, Festival Harbormaster, This is sailing vessel Aura."
"Aura, welcome to the festival!  This is Harbormaster."
"Yeah... I'm here and ready to come into the marina, whenever you're ready for me."
"Aura, we don't have control of the marina until 11:00, so we'll put you in the queue.  Please enjoy some sailing in this beautiful weather until we call you."  

It went on and on, and people got less and less patient as the afternoon went by.  We hauled up our anchor around 12, and sailed towards the marina.  Once we had informed the Harbormaster that we were nearby and would await his call, we sailed out of the fleet clustered around the marina entrance and practiced heaving to in the 10-15 knot breeze.  (Heaving to is a means of trimming your sails to slow your forward motion, and essentially "park" your boat so it points just off the wind.  It's an important storm tactic, and we had rarely had a good breeze and a warm day on which to practice.)  

We were lucky and only waited 45 minutes before the Harbormaster called us into the marina.  We sailed as far into the marina as we thought prudent, and then the little inflatable dinghies hipped up to us to assist us in backing into our designated slip.  We made it in fairly easily, but breathed a sigh of relief once our lines were secured.  

My mom and our family friend Colleen had come up to visit and see the boat.  We had a wonderful lunch in the sunny cockpit, and watched as the rest of the boats were squeezed into the marina.  I don't think there was an extra two feet of dock space in the whole place!  

Point Hudson Marina- full to capacity!  So many beautiful vessels in one place.  

It was surreal and exhilarating to walk down the dock, past all these beautiful, classic, wooden boats, their varnish gleaming, and see our little Rabannah, tucked in the row, looking right at home, among her own kind.   It was odd to think of all the hours spent in Shop 61, when Rabannah was just a skeleton, an empty hull.  They don't feel that long ago.     

We made a slideshow of the building process to show to people who were interested.  If you've been following the blog, this won't be anything new!  But if you're new here, and interested in boat building, this will give you an idea of how we went about it.  

Once I had hugged my mom goodbye, we settled in to enjoy a whirlwind weekend. We took turns staying aboard the boat to give tours and answer questions, ("Salt Lake City, Huh?  Musta been a long sail to get here!"), while the other would sneak off  to attend a few of the many seminars offered during the show.  It was a fun and bustling pace, and the weekend seemed to fly by.  We met many interesting people, saw many beautiful boats, and learned as much as we could.  

Packed in like sardines! 

When Sunday arrived, we had time enough for a few more seminars, a brief chat with our role models, Lin and Larry Pardey, and a surprise visit from Cody's Aunt and Uncle.  Then, it was time to untie our dock lines and head out for the Sail-by, which is the grand finale of the festival.  There must have been a hundred or so boats of all sizes and sail plans under way in the bay.  It was some wild sailing!  

At the helm! 

 Our friend, David, who we met in Parks Bay on Shaw Island.  He was attending the festival, and we invited him along for the sail-by.  It was great to have an extra set of hands on board so we could all take in the sights and keep a lookout.  He took several of these photos for us. 

We had a wonderful time at the Festival, and want to extend our thanks to the festival directors, the harbormaster, the push-boat drivers, the presenters, and especially all the volunteers, who make it happen.  

Now, it's time to go sailing again!  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Island Living

When we left off, we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our friends, PJ and Sarah Mannion.  We had a whirlwind of a visit with them, that included a sail to Chuckanut Bay, a four-man dinghy ride, an ascent of the Stawamus Chief, blackberries, and ginger ale.  It was so great to spend time with them, and to be able to host them for once!  They were our first overnight guests aboard Rabannah!  It was such a treat to spend time with them.  
Dinner in the Cockpit while underway.  
We even had great weather the whole time they were here! 

After the Mannions departed, we returned our car to Bainbridge, and Cody and my Dad built a carport.  They made quick work of it, and I think it turned out nicely! 

Once we were back to Rabannah, we set sail from Fairhaven.  Our next port was Reil Harbor, on Lummi Island.  We had hoped to stay in Inati Bay, which is more protected, but owned by the Bellingham Yacht Club.  There must have been over 20 boats in the small harbor when we arrived!  So we anchored and stern tied in little Reil Harbor, just to the South of Inati.  We went on a hike that evening, and could hear live music coming from Inati!  Sounded like a real party! 

Pasta Carbonara for dinner in Reil Harbor. 

 The next day, we headed to Eagle Harbor, on Cypress Island.  We had good wind, and arrived in plenty of time to snag one of the free Department of Natural Resources mooring buoys.  What a peaceful place!  

Eagle Harbor on Cypress. 

We hiked to Eagle Cliff, where we had a great view of Orcas Island and Rosario Strait.  We hiked to Reed Lake, hoping to swim, but it turned out to be too reedy, so we hiked a bit farther to Bradbury Lake.  

Bradbury Lake

Bradbury Lake was just right for swimming.  The day was hot, and so were we from the steep hike.  We hadn't seen a soul on any of the trails, so we decided to forgo swim suits.  Things take forever to dry on a boat, anyway.  The water was cool, and the color of strong tea, but it was fresh, and the dip felt great. 

We laid out to dry in the sun, then dressed and hiked back home, refreshed.  We met a neat couple from Oklahoma, cruising on their  Lyle Hess designed Montgomery 23.  We admired their boat, which lives pretty large for being only 23 feet!  They came over the next morning to see Rabannah, too.  It's just like Lin Pardey always says- the best part about cruising is meeting new and interesting people!    

Hiking on Cypress. 

Rock Crabs for Dinner!  Yum!  

After we had collected some red rock crabs for dinner, a nice gentleman, who was sailing solo, rowed over and offered us a dungeness crab as well.  He had caught more than he could eat- so generous!  We decided to have a taste test between the two. 

I took the photo on the left first, and said, "Oh, no, you look a bit stoned.  Let me get another one."
The second shot turned out much better, don't you think?

Anyway, it turns out that I prefer the more mild Dungeness, while Cody likes the stronger flavor of the Red Rock.   Both are delicious, though!  

Sunset on Blind Island. 

We set sail from Eagle Harbor somewhat reluctantly, and headed for Thatcher Pass. We had nice, light air sailing across Rosario Strait, and were able to run through the pass.  We stayed a night at Spencer Spit State Park, and left the next morning for Shaw Island.  We dropped anchor in Blind Bay, and spent the afternoon aboard, Cody doing some varnish work, while I played around with silversmithing. It was nice to have an afternoon "in."

We did row over to tiny Blind Island, located in the mouth of Blind Bay, to watch the sunset.  

The next morning, we rowed over to the ferry landing on Shaw.   It's not much, really.  Just a post office, a community bulletin board, and a general store.  We saw a flyer on the bulletin board for cheese, made by the nuns who live in the Monastery on the island, and were excited to try and get some.  We asked for directions at the little store, and studied the map posted on the bulletin board for a few more minutes to make sure we knew where we were headed.  

As we were studying the map, a guy walked over and asked if we needed directions somewhere.  We started chatting, and as it happened, Steve was the owner of the general store, and a boat builder himself.  He showed us his beautiful little sloop, and after a while, he offered us the use of his car to explore the island, complete with directions to his favorite spots.  


What a guy!  We took off in his little car, and headed for Cedar Rock, as Steve had recommended. 

Shaw Locals...

The entrance to Cedar Rock- a biological preserve owned by the University of Washington, and open to the public.  

What a neat way to memorialize someone!  Thanks so much, Ellis Family. 

It was a beautiful day, and a picturesque place.  There were little coves between rocky points, pebbled beaches and lots of driftwood.  

We also visited the beautiful historic library, and marveled at all the gardens.  It seemed like every house had apple trees laden with apples, rows of vegetables, and lots of flowers.  

We had called the Monastery, hoping to buy some cheese from the nuns, but the Sister told me they were all sold out.  We were bummed, but Shaw had been great, so no harm done.  When we returned the car to Steve at the general store, we did one more lap in the shop to see if we needed anything else, and what did we discover?  A wedge of monastery cheese, lurking in the cold case!  

A late lunch-  complete with the delicious cheese.  
It was a semi-soft cheese, with a pungent, creamy flavor.  If you're ever on Shaw Island, call ahead and ask the nuns if they have any for sale!  And check Steve's shelves too...  

We left Shaw for Deer Harbor on Orcas Island.  My good friend Genni Brooks lives there, on a boat, with her boyfriend Cameron.  We had a great visit with them- lots of hiking and shared meals.  I hope to sail with them sometime soon!  

From Deer Harbor, we headed back to Shaw, just for a night, to Parks Bay.  We had thought of returning to Deer Harbor for the Wood Boat Rendesvous, which is a precursor to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, but the timing didn't really work out.  We did meet a wonderful man named David, cruising on a Cape Dory 25 in Parks Bay.  He was interested in our boat, and came over to chat soon after we dropped anchor.  We spent the evening in his company, and he snapped some great photos of Rabannah under sail as we left the next day.  We hope to see him in Port Townsend.  

From Parks Bay, we sailed south through Cattle Pass, and into Aleck Bay.  Our friends Derek and Becca, who we met last time we stayed in Aleck Bay, had invited us to use their mooring ball, so we picked it up as we sailed into the bay.  Derek and his aunt, uncle and cousin pulled up in a boat an hour or so later, and Becca came out of the house, and we helped them unload a boatload of firewood.  We spent part of the afternoon with them, and came back for a campfire that evening.  They were fascinating people- the aunt and uncle, John and Biatta, lived in Panama for years, where they raised their daughters.  Biatta is German, and John is a marine biologist with the Smithsonian.  Their daughter Allison is my age, and a citizen of Germany, Panama, and the US.  We helped Biatta make her first S'more that evening.  What fun!  

The next day, we were under way by 9am, heading South across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It's amazing how far we've come since the last time we crossed!  I was so nervous the first time, and this time, it didn't really feel like a big deal at all.  We had checked our currents, and the weather reports, and all looked good.  We had a steady SE breeze for nearly the entire day, and Rabannah sailed like a dream.  We saw a small pod of orcas just off Point Wilson, and as we entered Port Townsend, the wind really kicked up, and we roared into our anchorage.  THere were a number of boats sailing in the harbor, the schooner Adventuress among them.  It was neat to see everyone really heeled over, sailing hard.  

Now, preparations for the Wooden Boat Festival are in full swing.  We're varnishing and cleaning the boat, and updating the blog.  We're so excited to be part of the festivities!  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beyond Bellingham and back again..

When we left off, we were anchored in Fairhaven, Bellingham, looking for a new motor.  After lots of research, we ended up ordering an electric trolling motor, a 55lb thrust Haswing brand motor.  It's a pretty neat little thing!  Cody wired it up in an afternoon, and now, all you need to do is plug it in, lower it into the water, and twist the handle- and off you go!  Much easier than the pull cord on the seagull, which I couldn't pull hard enough to start on my own.  It pushes Rabbanah along at about 2.5 kts in calm conditions, and even has reverse!   It's also completely silent when running, which we like.  It runs off our existing battery bank, which we charge with a solar panel. 

Anyway,  we had a few days to kill while waiting for the motor to arrive.  As it happened, my parents had planned to stop and visit some friends of theirs in Bellingham, on their way up to Whistler for a week.  Not only that, but they were throwing a birthday party for my Grandma the day before they left.  Some quick research showed that I could take public transit all the way from Bellingham to Seattle for about $7.50.   So I headed down on Friday morning, attended the party on Friday evening, and rode back up to Bellingham with my folks on Saturday.   We took them out for an afternoon sail around Bellingham Bay, (I think they had fun!), and were invited to join them and their friends for a wonderful dinner on the shore of Lake Whatcom.  What fun!  A big thanks to Craig and Lorrie Mullarky for hosting us!  

Dad at the Helm! 
 (And my mom the Model sunning herself on the afterdeck...)  

We met up with some new/old friends in Bellingham-  Garrett and Katheryn were out Stand-up Paddleboarding in Fairhaven, and recognized Rabannah from the blog.   I went to high school with them, and had a class with Katheryn at WWU.  Katheryn got in touch with me over facebook and invited us to dinner.  We had a great time- (crab tacos, too!)  and invited them to join us for dinner aboard Rabannah the next night.  We had another fun night with them- Garrett grew up cruising the San Juans and beyond, and had owned a wooden sailboat for a while as well, so we had lots to talk about.  He had also had a record crab catch day-  and generously left us with bags of cooked crab, as well as 5 live monster Dungeness crab.  We feasted for days!  Let's go sail sometime soon, guys!  

'Bannah charging through the chop in Bellingham Bay. 

We had intended to leave Bellingham soon after we had the engine all wired up, but the weather, while sunny, was quite blustery, with large seas in Bellingham Bay.  We also needed to do a pump-out of our holding tank, and fill our fresh-water tanks, which meant we needed to get into a marina.  With our engine still rather new and un-tested, we would have liked to have somewhat calm weather to approach and motor into a new marina.  We tried it one morning, while the wind was relatively calm,  but it kicked up by the time we arrived at the mouth of the marina.  Back to our anchorage, to wait it out for another day.  While we were sailing in those heavy conditions, Cody noticed our mast pumping a bit- bending and flexing especially at the point where the inner-forestay connects.  It was flexing more than we liked to see, so while we waited for the weather, we deliberated and ended up installing a pair of running backstays, which support the mast at that connection point, but block the movement of the boom, so they are removable.  It's good to test out the boat in all conditions, so we can find the weaknesses and see the strengths of our systems.   

Stern tied in Toe Point Cove, Patos Island. 

The good weather finally arrived, and we left Fairhaven, bound for Sucia Island.  We had great sailing across Bellingham Bay, North along the Lummi Island, and West across Rosario Strait, but once we were in sight of little Matia Island with Sucia just beyond, the wind lightened and then died.  We were adrift- in no danger, but going nowhere.  The flood tide was creating a strong northerly current, and we were still moving North, slipping past Matia, then Sucia.  At one point, we found ourselves in a tide rip- a place where opposing currents meet and swirl.  The boat started spinning- and did a few slow pirouettes before really ramping up for a much faster turn.  We couldn't have turned her that fast ourselves!  We were becalmed- truly, fully, dead becalmed for 5 hours before the wind returned, just enough wind to sail by.  But that was enough!  We eagerly trimmed our light air drifter and made for little Patos Island, which is the Northern most island in the US Pacific Northwest.   We slowly sailed up to the small cove at Toe Point on Patos, surrounded by  dolphins surfacing.  The sun was setting, and it was so still and peaceful.  I immediately forgot the last 5 hours, and was enchanted by the beauty of this little spot.  

The cove was quite small, just room for a boat or two.  We set an anchor forward, then also tied a line to a large tree on the beach so we wouldn't swing.  The water was crystal clear, and the cove was sheltered from the tidal current still slipping by just beyond the mouth of the cove.  Cody said he felt like a real explorer when he landed the dinghy on the deserted gravel beach.  

We spent the next two days on Patos, hiking around the island.  We saw a baby seal sunning himself, and were able to sneak up pretty close to get a photo.  He was fat and adorable.  He didn't realize we were there for a while, but eventually heard the camera clicking, and turned to face us-  he looked a bit surprised, and then humped himself over to the water, where he plopped in, and suddenly became much more graceful.  

What are YOU looking at?

We also hiked around to the Western end of Patos to visit the lighthouse, but forgot the camera!  Oh well.  
"Pato" means "duck" in Spanish, and Patos Island was named by Spanish Explorers in 1792.  We didn't see many ducks there...  

But, can you find the duck in this photo? 

From Patos, we set sail for Sucia, a very popular island just South East of Patos.  We tied to a mooring bouy in little Snoring Bay.  We had just furled the sails when another boat came slowly into the shallow bay, a 42.5' Hallburg Rassy named "Miller Time."  The Captain smiled and waved, and tied up to the next mooring bouy.   A bit later, he paddled by in a kayak, and introduced himself as Bud.  (I wanted to ask him where Mr. Coors was...)  He was very friendly, and offered us the use of his kayaks, and said that he had a pan of brownies baking, and to come by later to help him eat them.  We took him up on his offer, and had an evening full of conversation, tea and too many brownies.  Bud is a partner on the Miller Time, and has cruised the Sound extensively.   He told us all kinds of stories- sea and otherwise, and ended up inviting us over for breakfast the next day.  We spent most of the next day with Bud- breakfast aboard Miller Time, a slideshow of our boat construction photos aboard Rabannah over lunch.  We broke off for a little hike in the afternoon, then joined Bud for dinner again aboard Miller Time.  He recited poems, read us passages from a book he was reading, asked all kinds of questions about us and our boat, and a good time was had by all.  We rowed away that night with an invitation to come visit him and his wife at their home- and to use his shop for any projects that might arise.  What a nice guy.  Thanks Bud!  See you again soon!  

Tied up in Snoring Bay, Sucia Island. 

We left Sucia on a somewhat foggy morning, and it began to drizzle as we sailed south.  The wind, quite light in the morning, really kicked up as we got out of the lee of Orcas Island.  We stopped for lunch and a chance to warm up on Clark Island- we picked up a mooring ball on the west side of the island.   We hoped to make it through Obstruction Pass, and into East Sound on Orcas Island.  We wanted to visit Rosario Resort for some hot showers, and a dry place to wait out the rain.  Unfortunately, by the time we left Clark Island,  rounded Lawrence Point, and were making our way west toward the pass, the tide shifted, and we couldn't make any headway against the current.  So, it was back to Clark Island.  We picked up a mooring on the East side of the island this time.  We rowed ashore, as it had stopped raining, and built a fire on the beach, with the express purpose of drying out our soggy feet.  It felt wonderful to have warm, dry toes once again. 

Clark Island, like Patos was another place we didn't really plan to stay.  Also, like Patos, it turned out to be a real gem.  It was deserted, and really scenic.  The woods were a mixture of Madrone and Cedar trees, and the beaches were smooth gravel pebbles, with some sandy spots.  There was a small trail circling the South end of the Island, and the views of the tiny Sisters islands were lovely.  

Can you see Rabannah? 
 (This photo is not in Black and White, and has not been edited in any way!)

The next morning was a bit foggy.  We waited it out, and hiked a bit more around the island.  After lunch, the fog had lifted enough to sail again, so we raised our drifter, optimistically telling ourselves there was wind, "just right there!"  For once, we were right, and in not too long, we were making for Obstruction pass once again.  We saw a cluster of whale watching boats, slowly motoring around, just north of us.  We could see a few dorsal fins through the binoculars, so we did a quick tack, to head back and watch the whales for a bit.  They ended up heading South, right toward us!  We tacked back, to resume our course, and before long, there was a pod of Orcas swimming along right behind us!  They were truly majestic creatures- the big males have dorsal fins that must be over 6 feet tall- they rise slowly out of the water, and then take a long time to dip below the surface again.  There were babies, and smaller females too.  Be on the lookout for a video in this space soon!  

Hiking on Clark Island. 

Once again, the tidal currents got the best of us, and we switched course for Cypress Island.  We stayed a pleasant night at Pelican Beach, on a mooring once again.  We hiked up to Eagle Cliff, and stayed quite dry on the way up, but it started raining on the way down.  We were glad to make it back aboard, where it was warm and mostly dry.  

We left the next morning, and made way for Bellingham once again.  Our good friends PJ & Sarah Mannion are joining us for a trip this afternoon, and we wanted to be somewhere easy to reach by road!  We anchored once again in Fairhaven, and went ashore for a nice, long, hot shower, and a run to the store.  We left our poor dinghy a little too low on the beach, and  while we were gone, she took a bath as well!

Oops.  Should have taken a hint from the other dinghy...  

We flipped her over, and just filled her with water.  Poor Majesty!  We found the whole thing quite funny.

And now, we're eagerly awaiting the arrival of some of  our nearest and dearest friends.  
The dream is soooo good.    

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Off to the Islands...

We left off in Port Townsend, preparing to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and go gallivanting around the San Juan Islands.  We attempted to cross on Sunday, the 18th, but the winds were too light, and the current was opposing and quite strong, so we couldn't make any headway to exit Admiralty Inlet.  So, we headed back to Port Townsend, and did some studying and planning.    
Study Materials. 

Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse while we did our planning, so we had to amuse ourselves otherwise- crabbing..  (mostly unsuccessfully....)

Baking bread, cooking meals..  (Quite successfully!)  
We also met a new friend, Andy Freeman, who sailed with my sister on the Bainbridge High Sailing Team.  He's been following the blog, and recognized Rabannah while working on a tug boat in the Port Townsend boat yard.  He gave us a tour of the tug- and we gave him a tour of Rabannah.  Always fun to meet other sailors!  

Sunset in Mystery Bay

We were anchored in a spot that was fairly exposed to the Southeast- which wasn't a problem for a few days, but the weather called for strong SE winds one night, so we weighed anchor and headed across the bay to Marrowstone Island and Mystery Bay- much more protected.  And a nice change of scenery.  We had hoped to leave early the next morning to cross the Strait, to take advantage of the favorable tide and some wind that was forecast, but when the alarm went off at 5am, it was pouring outside.  The unanimous decision from the v-berth was that we would try again tomorrow.  

The next day, we woke early again, and headed out.  The winds were light, but the currents were strong, and we drifted our way across, all the way to Aleck Bay on Lopez Island.  We sailed 28 miles in about 11 hours- no speed records here- but we did it almost entirely under sail.  Mystery bay has a long and narrow channel, surrounded by shoals, that we motored through.  

Aleck Bay was picturesque, with steep, rocky shorelines on one side, and a sandy, curving beach along the other.  The water was crystal clear, and stayed calm during our visit.  

We rowed over to a neat little cove, sandy and nearly hidden.  Some minor trespassing (we think.  There weren't any signs...) led us to an beautiful little beach.  

This beach faces the Strait- you can see how foggy it was this morning!  We could hear the big ships honking away out there all day.  


We also found these mushrooms!  They're called Chicken Mushrooms, and our little mushroom guide says they're a "choice edible."  We cross checked our guide with the internet, and they are edible, but I don't know about "choice."  Maybe these ones had grown too large, but they weren't very tender.  They did have a chicken-like flavor though!  

There was one small dock in Aleck Bay, which had been empty when we arrived.  But the next day, a float plane pulled up to the dock!  We met the owners of the plane and the neat little cabin on shore.  Derek and Becca were kayaking around the bay one morning, and came by to see the boat.  We chatted with them for a while- Derek was once the Captain of the Atalanta, a 73 foot ketch, and also a highly competetive laser sailor, so he had lots of sailing and regional wisdom to impart.  His wife Becca was great too- showing us all around their off-the-grid property and serving us lunch.  We waved to them as we left Aleck Bay, and they took some nice photos of us under sail.

  Photo: Leaving Aleck Bay Lopez
Leaving Aleck Bay. 

It was slow, light wind sailing as we rounded the southern point of Lopez.  We just barely made it through Lopez Pass, a narrow channel, before the tide shifted at 7pm.  The weather was beautiful, though, and the views of Mt. Baker were spectacular.  We also saw several Humpback whales surfacing and raising their flukes as they dove.  We stayed that night in Hunter bay, only a few miles from Aleck, as the crow flies, but about 8 miles away by sea.  

Cody spent the next morning at Hunter Bay working on the Seagull.  It had been growing less and less reliable, less willing to start, and with the currents as strong as they are, the passes as narrow, and the winds as light as they have been, and typically are in the San Juans, we feel that having an engine is the prudent thing to do.  When sailing through a narrow cut, with a strong current, in light air- if the wind were to die, you're at the mercy of the current, and often, you cannot steer.  Not a situation we'd like to find ourselves in.  
Cody had no luck with the Seagull- he couldn't find anything wrong!  And yet, it won't run.  So, we're now in the market for a new motor.  We're thinking electric?  We'll see.  

So. we left Hunter Bay, and sailed north through Lopez Sound toward Thatcher Pass.  Once again, the winds were extremely light, but this time we missed the window to have favorable current through the pass.  There was plenty of wind in the Pass, but the current was too strong for us to overcome.  So, we turned around, and stayed a night at Spencer Spit State Park- conveniently located just to the west of Thatcher Pass.     On our way there, we passed the Adventuress under sail.  She's a 100 foot gaff-rigged schooner, and is a real treat to watch sail.  It seems that most of the sailboats we've encountered out here have their sails furled away, sail covers on, and are cruising along at 8 kts under power.  Why bother own a sailboat?  Even when we sailed across Rosario Strait yesterday, just roaring along on a close reach (a fairly comfortable point of sail,) in plenty of wind, there were sailboats under motor. 

Anyway, now we're anchored in Fairhaven, Bellingham, looking for a motor!   (Oh.  oops.) The weather is fine, and I'm looking forward to replenishing our stores, eating a few meals out, doing laundry, and all the other shore-side stuff we've got to do before we can head back out to the Islands.  

Life is pretty good out here!