Friday, July 25, 2014


Let me just start by saying that I like to eat crab as much as the next person. That being said, I am not so crazy about crab season. I'm sure that it has something to do with the fact that I don't own a crab pot, but mostly about the popularity of crabbing. We left an anchorage last week and headed for Anacortes for a grocery run. When we left there were maybe 5 or 6 other boats in the anchorage. When we returned that night we counted 40 boats! Furthermore, it was like picking my way through a mine field to get back into the anchorage. I guess it was opening day for crab season, oh boy.

This was a Thursday and we had planned to spend a down relaxing weekend on the hook. No such luck... it was a total zoo between the kids racing around in the little boats and the adults racing out to set or haul their crab pots. Furthermore, we knew that it was going to continue through Sunday, and sure enough, it did. But fortunately Sunday did come and just like we thought, they all left. Whew, quiet once again.

Most afternoon/evenings in the San Juan Islands come with a good stiff breeze. We have really enjoyed the weather this year in the islands. But one evening last week things got a bit more exciting. We were relaxing watching a little TV before bed and then decided to turn in. Then about midnight I woke to the wind blowing pretty good. As I laid in bed I noticed that it was really starting to pick up. When the rig shutters and the boat vibrates with a wind gust, you know it is well over 20. So I decided to get up and have a look around. Glad I did!! I would have totally missed the excitement if I had just laid in bed. There were 2 sailboats rafted together up the bay from us. When I got up they were down the bay from us. Fortunately they realized they had a problem and were working on splitting the boats and resetting separate anchors. Jan came out and we sat in the cockpit watching the excitement. They both got their anchors reset and headed back to bed.

On another evening we were sitting in the cockpit reading when we noticed a newer Beneteau come into the anchorage. We thought "we will launch the kayak in the morning and paddle over to say hi". As I watched I realized they could use some instruction on setting an anchor - not the best technique I have seen. And then sure enough, when the evening "breeze" picked up, off they went. Fortunately they realized they had a problem right away and got on it. But then they ended up clear on the opposite side of the bay from us. They stayed for 2 rainy days but then hauled their anchor and left just as the weather improved - and before we could get over and greet them. Bummer..

After watching these anchor dragging incidents I have to say that I am very happy that I chose to upgrade my anchor and chain before we headed out on our adventure. Furthermore, I am so grateful to my friend Scott for teaching me how to properly set an anchor. I feel very blessed!!!

This is going to come as a shock to a lot of people.. but Jan said she was going to stop smoking cigarettes when we moved onto the boat. But then we ended up in Kingston tied to a dock so she said she would stop smoking cigarettes when we left Kingston. Well, I guess she can say she no longer smokes cigarettes.

We have a huge cockpit so we spend the vast majority of our time there. First thing in the morning we brew a pot of coffee and then head outside. We spend the morning reading and doing our devotions while we have our coffee in the cockpit. The other day I was on the phone and happened to look down to see Jan with the camera (the little sneak).

We were blessed with a huge, bright full moon this month.

I was sitting outside one evening during a heavy rainstorm. The rain quit for a short time and a break developed in the clouds for the sun to shine down. If you look closely you can see exactly where the rainbow ends - right on that small rock island! We jumped in the kayak and paddled over there looking for the pot of gold, but there was none to be found (truthfully, as you can see in the second picture it was quite stormy so we just stayed on the boat). I thought the second picture really shows the wind ripping up the water. It was blowing good that day!!!

Check out the bird struggling in the wind

The next 2 pictures were 2 days ago. We had the first big rain storm for a week or so and everything was so green! The pictures just really don't do it justice. We were having our coffee in the cockpit that morning and were just taken by the beauty.

We are currently in Port Ludlow for the Signature Yachts All Fleet Rendezvous. We absolutely LOVE this rendezvous. What a great group of people!! We are so very blessed to be able to call them friends. The rendezvous this year coincides with the festival at Port Ludlow. They have a small street fair, live music, fireworks, and a demonstration from the Coast Guard. And to top all of that, Jason is bringing our grandchildren to enjoy the weekend with us! This is promising to be an absolute wonderful time! We came down 2 days ago and timed the currents just right. We made the trip from Lopez Island to Port Ludlow in 5 hours flat - awesome in my opinion!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back to the islands

We left Kingston on Saturday afternoon heading for Port Ludlow. The first half of the trip was dead calm and flat water. Then as we rounded Point Nopoint the wind came up quick. I was definitely tired of motoring along so this was a welcome sight. Unfortunately things didn't go quite as I had planned. The forecast was for calm wind. We had left late in the day so I knew we weren't going to be slogging along in a light breeze taking our time sailing. So I hadn't secured the boat as I normally would have for anticipated sailing. Now we had 20 knots almost on the nose. I told myself – aahh, it's good enough, and promptly set the sails. I would like to say that I won't ever do that again, but instead I will say “I hope I never do that again”.

Jan was downstairs when I got my wild hair. I set the main and then rolled off to catch the wind. We heeled a bit more than I wanted, but it was okay. Then I pulled out the genoa and started tightening sheet lines. Needless to say, we took off like a rocket. The boat immediately heeled quite a bit more than I had anticipated. By now I was dashing around the cockpit trying to get the sails adjusted to right the boat. When things finally calmed down I looked downstairs. Jan was looking up at me none too happy with a bunch of food spilled out across the floor. Oops. Oh well, no sense crying over spilled milk (or spilled anything else for that matter). It was a wonderful sail all the way into Port Ludlow harbor – great time!

As we pulled into the harbor I spotted a familiar boat. We were heading for the dock so we could walk up to the store but figured we would do a drive by to see who it was. As we came close we spotted 2 people in a tender coming up to the boat, and sure enough, it was Jon and Marcella climbing back aboard their boat Grand Allusion. We swung by, said hello, and told them our plan to run to the store. We let them know that we would be back out to anchor up shortly and invited them to come over.

We tied up and walked down to the store. Then back to the boat and out to anchor up. After we got the anchor set we started cleaning up the mess that I made downstairs. We were just getting into it when Jon and Marcella stopped over. It was really great to chat the evening away with them.

The next morning Grand Illusion left heading south for Seattle and Rapture left heading north for the San Juan Islands. We were so looking forward to getting away from “civilization”. Jan and I couldn't believe how much we have fallen in love with the remoteness of the islands.

Our next trip down south is scheduled for the end of July. We plan to attend the Signature Yachts All Fleet rendezvous in Port Ludlow over the weekend of July 25th. This has been a great time in the past and I am sure it will be a great time again. The rendezvous will be on the weekend of the Port Ludlow waterfront festival. It is a great time!! They have live music, a car show, coast guard helicopter simulated rescue, and lots more. The big bonus for us this year is Jason is bringing our grandchildren over to spend the weekend with us. Jan is just beside herself in anticipation.

Every morning we make a pot of coffee and take it out to the cockpit. We spend time reading and do a couple devotionals together while we have our morning coffee. It is really nice because everything else is waking up as well. We have a family of geese that often come by (2 adults and 5 babies) and a family of black ducks. The ducks put on quite the show. Apparently morning is bath time for them, and they are LOUD about it! They raise up, splash the water with their wings, and then clean each feather one at a time.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of July at Kingston

What a wonderful and busy day! First thing this morning Bob (from the port) stopped by to say hello. It is always great to see Bob. He is just a real quality human being in every sense of the word. Then Austin stopped by and took us over to see his boat. It is a project boat with a lot of potential. He keeps going back and forth trying to decide if he is going to put in the work or get rid of it. Time will tell what he choses...

We decided to get off the boat and check out the festivities around town. They have the normal craft fair / farmers market here at the port. We are always surprised and disappointed when it is 90% crafts and 10% food. We are looking for fresh produce direct from the farm. Oh well.

These are plates that the "artist" glues other things to. Seems to be the rage these days.

Jan looking at some headbands

We walked through the market and then headed uptown to the parade. We are not much for parades, but it was fun to take in all the different people.

Evel Knievel float

I was heading down to walk the guest dock and check out the boats (not an open slip - it is fully booked by 10:00AM on January 2 - you can only reserve slips in the current year so the phones are ringing off the hook for reservations for the 4th on January 2nd) and I spotted Austin in the port boat heading for the dock. So I started snapping pictures... no pressure now.

I spotted this next guy sitting on the back of his boat with his wife. I told him I liked his face. His wife said "what do you mean?". I said it looks like you had a long night last night. His wife replied "it's a disease".

They had live bands in the park throughout the day. We spent the evening listening and dancing in the park - great fun! Then the fireworks started at 10:00.

We were tied up at the end of E dock, right next to the gate. There was a square steel tube that went across the top of the gate that a pair of finches were using for a house. They were building their nest while we were there so they were constantly in and out. We were no more than 6 feet away from them and they never gave us a second look.

We are sadly leaving Kingston today. We will make a stop in Port Ludlow for the night, then head back to the San Juan Islands for some more cruising.

As expected, we have the most wonderful time in Kingston!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014


We have been having the time of our lives cruising in the San Juan Islands! The beauty is beyond description. We have been blessed with wonderful weather for the most part - sunny skies, mild temperatures, and wind between 10 and 20 knots almost every day. What more could a sailor ask for?

One day we were out sailing in Rosario straight heading for Anacortes on a grocery run. Jan has been working hard to get the hang of running the boat. She has taken to calling herself "sailor girl". I think she has come to the conclusion that steering the boat is not as easy as it looks. But she is picking it up quickly and doing well. I can see the confidence building in her every day. That being said, she still struggles with running with a quartering wind. Every 5 minutes or so she exclaims "I don't like this". To which I reply "it's good practice"... but that doesn't seem to help. Anyway, as we were sailing along I noticed a big black fin come up out of the water. Then a few others. Orca! I no sooner got the word out of my mouth and Jan drops the wheel and heads to the rail. Okay, I guess I am taking over here.

We first saw a group of 5 or 6 whales about a quarter mile away heading away from us. Jan ran to get the camera while I kept an eye on them. They were just pretty much swimming along heading south. Jan is snapping away on the camera when I spotted another group of 5 or 6, farther south and also swimming away. I am doing my normal scan for traffic and obstructions when I notice yet another group of 5 or 6, but this group was to the north of us and heading our way. So I stopped the boat and we waited. Sure enough, they came right up on us. And as luck would have it, they were doing more than just swimming along - they were coming up out of the water, splashing and having a great time! It was just a lot of fun... Jan ended up taking 418 pictures! I had the speed shutter set on the camera and she just held the button down. Here are a few shots...

We came back down south this past week heading for Kingston. They have a huge 4th of July bash so it was a great excuse to come "home" to visit with our Kingston family. We had a wonderful ride down from Lopez Island and anchored up in Port Ludlow. We aren't sure if Port Ludlow has gone downhill or our standards have gone up, but we were not so happy to be there. In any event, we stayed for a couple of nights to relax. We had a great breeze on the lay day so we went out for an afternoon sail - really nice - full sun and a good strong breeze to keep the boat moving and keep us cool. As we came back into the harbor we saw an eagle on top of the totem pole at the entrance to the harbor. He kept a close eye on us as we sailed by.

Eagles seem to have amazing eyesight! There are a lot of them in the San Juan Islands. I have sat and watched them quite a bit. They soar over the water at least 500 feet up. When they spot a fish (or whatever) near the surface of the water they come careening down (tumbling really) until they are 30 feet or so over the water. Then they level out, swoop down, and snatch their lunch right out of the water. It is really an amazing sight to watch. "Death from above" as they say on Avatar.

After 2 nights at Port Ludlow we headed for Kingston. Once again we had a nice breeze and sailed most of the way. The wind finally died out at Point Nopoint so we fired up the iron genoa and motored the rest of the way. We can not pass a lighthouse without Jan pulling the camera out. Here is a shot of the lighthouse at Point Nopoint (strange name, I know).

We got to Kingston 2 days ahead of our reservation for a slip at the dock. So we anchored out. Oh my gosh! Let it be known - Kingston is NOT a good anchorage! There is no problem with finding a place to drop the hook, and the holding is great, but the ship and ferry traffic make it by far the roughest anchorage we have ever stayed in. 5:00AM on the first morning we were woken to the boat rolling violently. We had the boat rigged for anchoring, not sailing, so we had stuff flying all over the place. We both jumped out of bed - I ran for the cockpit where I had a 5 gallon jug of water flying back and forth taking out everything in its path. Jan ran for the galley where we had dishes, bottles, and everything else flying around. It continued for what seemed like an eternity, but finally stopped. I guess we are up now.. no sense in trying to go back to sleep after that. So we set about securing the boat like we would for offshore passage. Then throughout the day, every hour or so, here comes another set. Once we had the boat secured it wasn't too big of a deal, but my gosh! Then to top it off, at 10:30AM Bob and Dave from the Port show up in the port boat. I think they were planning on giving us a wake up call as they did circles around out boat at a speed that ensured the biggest wake possible. What they didn't know is their wake was nothing compared to what we had been going through. Seriously, it was really GREAT to be back home and have them come out to welcome us!!! We road it out for 2 nights and then went ashore.

We have a lot to do while in Kingston. Dave brought our car down for us so we gathered our stuff and headed off to town. First stop was the bank. While we are standing in the teller line I realized that I had a really bad case of sea legs and was starting to feel seasick. It was by far the worst I have ever felt. All that rolling and pitching was like 2 days on the ocean and we weren't ready to be standing on solid ground just yet.

That's it for now - I will post some pictures from the festivities tomorrow before we leave.