We are prepping for a 6 week sail! We are leaving Anacortes and heading south, as far as we can get, to Olympia, WA. We want to explore all of the fingers of water coming off south Puget Sound. We have a functioning water maker, new spinnaker rigging, lifeline rails for our stern pulpit instead of life lines, with all of our gear mounted. Time to test it all! We went to Costco for a big provisioning and we are set for 8 weeks allowing extra time out if we want. We are very careful with provisioning. I actually make meal plans for 4 weeks, list all ingredients, and multiply times 2 and that is what we buy. We will use it all and at the end of 8 weeks we will be completely empty of stores. We have sour dough starter to make bread. We both love farmers markets so fresh fruits and veggies are things we may buy as we go along but we have frozen and canned so that is optional. There is no knowing what will be happening during COVID.
August 12, we are off! Woohoo! We were really happy to have had all of the help to finish our boat but also so tired of waking up early for boat work and having contractors around all day. We are tired of trying to stay out of the way and we are looking forward to not wearing masks. Day one, we went all of 3 hours west, dropped the anchor in one of our favorite places, Spencer Spit on Lopez Island. Ahhhhh, quiet and alone, sun downer cocktails in the cockpit, talking and dreaming of our upcoming exploration.
August 13, good morning! Of course things started deciding to challenge us immediately! First, water tank one ran out of water on day 2 which usually lasts a week….hmmmmm. Switched to tank two, problem solved for now. We also wanted to run our Dometic heaters because it was 50 degrees this morning but they wouldn’t spit water. We quickly checked the strainer and that was clear……heck with it! We will figure it out later. I made coffee and we were plenty warm up in our enclosed cockpit with the morning sun streaming in, AKA “the solarium”. We decided to try out our new outboard and go for a hike-and-jog on Lopez. The new motor worked perfectly!!!! Yay! “We have to keep the RPMs below 50% for the first 10 hours.” I reminded Bill as he sped us along with a grin ear-to-ear.
August 14, we decided to make water and to fill up tank one. It only accepted 51 gal which is half of what it should take and we were topping off tank 2 when the low pressure lift pump suddenly shut off! Oh crap! Shut down the high pressure pump STAT! We weren’t sure what would happen but a sudden lack of supply to the high pressure pump can’t be good. OK, all seemed OK. Nothing exploded from excessive pressure and nothing crumpled in from excessive vacuum. We did a manual back flush. Still all seems OK. What happened? OMG! Let’s figure it out later. Why can’t new systems work for at least a couple of hours before becoming problematic? Ugh! We watched the video we made of Greg explaining the system and agreed we had done everything correctly. Heck with it! We will figure it out later.
August 15, we need to get off the boat before we have too many negative experiences and want to just give up. We are going for a shore excursion! I read about a bike ride online “good for kids” to Iceberg Point. Perfect! I packed a picnic, a couple of beers, and water. We loaded up the dinghy with us, the bikes, and our picnic (wow! the bikes fill up the dinghy fast!). The tide was out, way out, like 50 feet out. How do we pull the dinghy up the beach? Be like the Egyptians! There were so many nice round driftwood logs to use as skids. We slowly dragged the dinghy and moved the logs 5 feet at a time.
After quite the workout, we had the 250 pound dinghy up the 50 feet of 10% grade of rock and mud beach to the high tide mark. We tied off the dinghy to a tree which seemed ridiculous with 50 feet of dry land between us and the waterline. Bill is always super cautious. And we were off like a herd of turtles!
Fifteen miles later, up and down significant hills we made it. Barely survived it. Had to walk my bike up one hill. Sweaty and panting, “good for kids???” We got to the trail head and walked a nice level 1.5 miles to a really lovely overlook. Deep grooves in the otherwise smooth rock told a story of long-ago glaciers here. We had our picnic and well-earned beers. A highly recommended visit and the HIKE is definitely good for kids. Ooops!
Fifteen hilly miles back to the beach put our return about 2 hours later than planned. We arrived to the dinghy fully afloat and bashing against the rocks due the tide having come in and wind having picked up. Thank goodness we tied it up! Thank you Bill!
August 16 the forecast is for warm weather, light winds, and calm seas. A perfect day to try out the spinnaker! The spinnaker is a specialty sail made for downwind sailing in light breezes. These sails are made of lightweight material similar to a parachute. They are huge and colorful. We have never seen our spinnaker. I hope it doesn’t have holes in it! Many spinnaker sails, including ours, have a “sock”. A narrow bag that you can pull over the sail to allow it to be raised off the deck with control and quickly snuff it out when the journey is done or the wind changes. We set off and sailed up wind a few miles, how fun to just sail without a destination in mind! Then we turned down wind and worked to raise the spinnaker for the first time. Every time we do a new procedure on the boat, it takes at least triple the time it takes once we have done said procedure 3 or 4 times. So, no exception this time; stringing the lines, figuring out how it was packed in the sail bag, which line goes on the port which one on the starboard. Should it go around outside of the life line….. etc. 30 minutes later, up she went and poof! The wind filled our giant, bright pink, all pink, I mean 100% HOT PINK sail. WOW! What else could we say. WOW! No holes, and we were going 2.3 knots in only 5 knots of wind. Also, other boats were definitely giving us and our giant hot pink sail a wide berth. As we approached Spencer Spit again, I went forward to dowse the sail. It went well other than the lines trying to wrap around each other like a May Pole. We anchored in Swifts Bay for new scenery. It is several hundred yards away from Spencer Spit where we had been for the last several days. Another beautiful sunset! Fabulous day!
August 17 we headed to Watmough Bay. Bill navigated us through a narrow zig zag shortcut channel against a 4.5 knot current between Cayou Is and Decatur Is. We probably won’t go that way again unless the tide is at slack. Always learning! Once through, we put up the sails and continued down Lopez pass to Watmough Bay. While we sailed, we noted that our solar panels are working great. They keep the batteries topped off even while we run all of the navigation instruments and we can use the inverter to run the microwave with no problem. Once anchored, we tackled a few chores. We made more water and we are still trying to figure why we run out so soon and the tanks fill too fast? We have plenty of water but it is not right. We stayed an extra day and explored some of the many trails in the area, kayaked around the bay, and relaxed. Tomorrow we are planning to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and explore some uncharted territory for us!