Thursday, July 31, 2003

Powell River

To exit Princess Louisa Inlet is a bit easier to time then entering it, since it only takes an hour to get from the head of the inlet to Malibu rapids. We got a nice early 6 am start so that we could take our time leaving the inlet. The other nice thing about hitting an early tide is that you really don't have to worry about other boats entering the pass. The outbound folks had the pass all to themselves. Also we were at high tide, the pass is quite a bit wider and gives you tons more room to move around. The views on the trip out were fantastic. Of course there was zero wind in the moring, so the first couple of hours involved motoring.

Later that afternoon the wind picked up and we beat into the wind (making a healthy 6.5kts)

Monday, July 28, 2003

Princess Louisa Inlet

Princess Louisa Inlet is one of the most popular and premier cruising destinations in the Pacific Northwest. And we were soon going to see why. In order to enter the inlet we had to pass through Malibu rapids, a narrow tidal pass the we could only traverse at slack water. So in order to hit the rapids at slack, we got up at 5:30 am to sail down the inlet. Really we motored though, since there was not a bit of wind. The trip was kind of a schlep, I used Wanda, our Autopilot, for most of the trip. As we got down to the head of Jervis, the views really started getting impressive.

Heading towards Malibu Rapids

At noon, people started moving through the rapids. Everyone uses the radio to commmunicate between the inbound and outbound boats since only one boat at a time can get through. The whole process is really quite a zoo, with dozens of boats trying to navigate the rapids around slack. My favorite was the motor vessel Big Dog. It was about a half-hour before slack and Big Dog gets on the radio and announces that he is coming through. Damn it, he is in a hurry and he is going to get through those rapids come hell or high water (really low water in this case!). Well a half hour later (during slack), Big Dog, announces that he is coming back through the rapids (apparently after a pickup at Princess Louisa). Well it turns out, Big Dog, is just a small 24 foot run about. Doggey maybe. Big, no. After the rapids, we had another four miles to go before we got to the head of the inlet. We really lucked out since there was dock space available. This was the view from our cockpit.
The Dock at Princess Louisa Inlet

As an added bonus, the water was 70 degress, so swimming was in order. I even managed to replace a lost zinc on my prop. We spent three days here exploring the inlet. I even did the 1800' hike up to the trappers canyon. It was more of a climb than a hike.
You call this a trail?
Princess Louisa - Kalliope is one of the tiny dots on the lower right.
Chatterbox Falls w/Kalliope on the dock.
Even Belini managed to get some rest at Princess Louisa.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Agememnon Bay

When sailing up Jervis inlet (Jervis inlet is the long inlet on the NE corner of the map), people usually dock at Egmont and then get an early start to head up the inlet. Since the weather was pretty settled, I decided to Anchor in Agmemnon bay. Nothing exciting, just a pretty little bay to drop the hook for a night.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Pender Harbour

Well we finally managed to cross the straits on Saturday. Ho hum. The wind was about 10 kts from the south. We had a lazy sail for most of the morning and then the wind just up and died. When we finally made it across to Welcome Pass we had to resort to full blown motoring. A couple of hours we pulled into lovely Pender Harbor. We pulled into the Government docks at Hospital bay so that we could get a shower and do some Laundry. According to our "Dreamspeaker" guidebooks, nearby there is a pub with a Laundromat nearby. So we loaded up all of Laundry and headed off for clean clothes and a beer. It turns out that these facilities are close together as the crow flies (or boat rows), but if you are walking, they are almost a mile apart. As an added bonus, the Laundromat consists of one washer and one dryer in a questionable state of repair. The guide speaks with a forked tounge. Since we didn't want to schlep the Laundry all the way back to the boat, I headed back to the boat to re inflate the dinghy and to provide a much needed shuttle service. During the dry cycle we headed to the pub and listened to a First Nation's country western singer that did impressions while he sang. My favorite was the ballad between Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Damn goofy entertainment.

Hospital Bay - Pender Harbor

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Nanaimo - The day trip from hell

The title of this chapter was supposed to be Pender Harbor, but that doesn't seem likely to happen. The title should be more like, "Why the fuck would anyone own a boat?"
The day started innocently enough. We got up at 4am to start Crossing the Georgia straights before the wind kicked up and also to hit Portier pass just after slack. The water at 4am was still as glass as we pulled up anchor.

An hour later, their was still no wind as we headed east through Portier pass into the Georgia Straights. Then things got interesting. Even though we were only a half hour past slack, the entrance waves kicked up to 4-5 feet. It was just like running a rapid on the grand canyon, except that we had a 13 ton sailboat instead of a raft. Just as we rounded the corner a big tug towing an apartment building bucket of woodchips started entering the channel towards us. The barge was swinging all over the place. I had the charts in one hand, the wheel in another as I tried to figure out which way the barge was going to go. I ended sneaking just pass him and a big pile rocks. A damn fine way to start the day. As an added bonus, the wind had already kicked up and was blowing right on our nose. The current was running north against the wind, so the waves stacked up nice and steep, just the right size to crash over the deck. Our speed was only about 4 kts. At this rate we would be crashing through this crap for 8 hours. This did not actually seem like a lot of fun, so we decided to duck back into the Gulf Islands and try to cross further North so that we could actually sail instead of motor into the waves. So we headed west back into the Gulf Islands looking for a tiny little pass to sneak our boat through. This pass was really a bitch to find, so I slowed the motor down to cruise up on it slowly. After I spotted the pass I increased the throttle and I heard a really discouraging thunk from the transmission and then a complete loss of power. "Oh Shit," I thought. I had visions of a dead transmission, Lost Prop. God knows what. THe first order of business was to get some sail up so that we could get away from the reefs that ringed the pass. This took a couple of minutes while we drifted rapidly to shore. Finally I got the jib unfurled and started tacking out of the channel. After we were well clear of the channel we heaved the boat to and I started looking around for the problem. By this time I had cut the power to the engine, so I headed down to the engine compartment for some investigation. I checked the tranny oil and the engine oil for levels, water, etc. Nuthin' wrong there. So we started the motor up and I had Kathy put her back in gear while I looked at the prop shaft. All looked okay there. All the while it is still blowing like stink and the waves are a nice 5-6 ft high. Next, I hung off the stern of the boat and looked down at the prop to make sure that it was there. Still there. We put her in gear, the prop turned. At that point I realized that the transmission had probably just jumped out of gear and that everything was probably just fine. So we went ahead and put her in gear and applied more throttle ... ye hah everything is happy and working! We managed to kill a good hour, but at least the boat seemed okay. After that we headed back into the pass, into the relative safety of the gulf islands. Here the wind was only blowing about 8 kits (vs 20+ in the Georgia Straights).
We then had a leisurely sail to Dodd narrows and managed to make it right at slack. From there is was only about another hour to Newcastle harbor, just outside of Nanamio. Of course the adventure didn't start there. As we started dropping the anchor, the chain jammed in the chain locker. I had to go below a couple of times and unbind it. It seems that pounding the bow into the waves, turned all of my Anchor rode into a giant tangled wad. Fun! Meanwhile, as I was clearing the chain, a power boat drops her anchor right off my stern. So we can't anchor here anyway. Assholes! Finally we pick a spot on the outside of the anchorage in about 40 feet of water. I then go to hit the kill switch ... the motor doesn't stop! So I ended up pulling the engine cover off and put a large plastic lid over the air intake. Jeez what a day.

Newcastlle Bay - A Innocent Looking Anchorage

Now one of the reasons that we picked this anchorage was because there is a really cool pub, The Dinghy Dock Pub, that will pick you up from you boat if you ask them. Now that sounded to good to pass up, so after an hour of watching the anchor and making sure that everything was secure from our trip, we headed over to the Pub for dinner andseveralrum and cokes

Update - 5/12/2010
As I was porting these old logs over I realized that I never finished this post. In a nutshell, that night the wind piped up hard and we ended up dragging. So we had to dork around and reset the anchor after being completely blottoed. Of course this was made even more difficult because of all of the boats in the harbor. We ended up anchoring near the pub and actually had great holding, but where too freaked out to sleep. Looking back, we did all kinds of things wrong that day, one of them being anchoring in this harbor. It is even more crowded today. Avoid it during windy conditions.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Montaque Harbor

We finally made it out of Sydney. The original plan was to cruise up to Nainama, but we decided to take it easy and go for a short trip to Montague Harbor. Montaque Harbor is a well protected harbor with a marine park on the north end. We managed to get in pretty early so we had plenty of time to dingy to shore get some ice cream and check out the shoreline and the shell beaches. The shells are the discarded remains of millions of oysters and clams that Native American Indians harvested thousands of years ago.
That night we had an awesome sunset.

Thursday, July 17, 2003


Dave and Lisa had to hit the road and we decided to let them off in Sydney. It was a convenient point of entry and had really nice facilities. The only problem was that they stuffed us at the very end of the dock. We weren't completely sure if we were ever going to leave. The docks are also really nice, they have a stack of girl friendly features. Flowers on the dock,nice architecture, Private showers, Laundry, studly dock boys.
Thursday is a pretty good time to show up in Sydney. In the evening they close down the main drag and have a street market. There you can find all kinds of goodies. Canadian Girl Scout cookies (called something else, someone tell me what they are called), salmon, samosas, popcorn, fruits, vegies ... hey, we haven't had dinner yet and I am completely starving!

Sydney Fish Market

The next day boomed clear and bright (again!). What trip to Sydney would be complete without a trip to the Butt Dart Gardens. Well Butt Darts it ain't, it is really Buchart Gardens. Like Bush Gardens, right? No, all it has in it is flowers. No rides. No beer garden. Nothin' but millions and billions of flowers. Now what sane person would spend twenty loonies to go look at flowers for an afternoon? I guess four people that have been cooped up on a boat together for three days. Luckily, Dave and I managed to entertain ourselves by being obnoxious and almost playing a rousing game of butt darts.
It does have an entertaining fountains though. Hopefully this little movie can show you one of the high points. Okay, I decided not to upload the movie because it was huge. Instead here is a nice relaxing flower photo. Sit back and enjoy:

That afternoon, Dave and Lisa headed back to Colorado to do the work thang. Kathy and I hung around for a couple of more days for a little more outfitting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


On the sail from Garrison to Sucia we had a nice southwesterly wind of about 18-20 kts. We managed to get Kalliope cruising to 7.5 kts. What a rush. Sucia is a small island two miles North of Orcas. It is horseshoe shaped with numerous protected anchorages. As an added bonus almost the entire archipelago is a state park. The islands mooring buoys, nice trails and killer sunset views. We ended up anchoring in about 30 feet of water with tons of room to our next neighbor. Nice ....

Cool Formations along the beach

Monday, July 14, 2003

Garrison Bay

The Captain decided that we needed to get the heck out of dodge before the next low tide since we were in the mud on the previous low tide. So we got up bright and early and headed out of the snakey channel and turned south to the San Juan channel. The current was flowing fast and furious by the time we hit cattle point and we were picking up about 3 kts of southbound current. The plan was to turn west around the bottom of San Juan Island, but the rips were a little strong so we cruised out into the Straits of San Juan de Fucca (Puka!). My theory was that the ebb was going to last another hour or so and we would ride the flood back North into Haro straight. So we motored around until we were completely encased in a thick wall of fog ... good thing I got the radar working a couple of weeks before. So we flicked on the radar and about and hour later the fog lifted up and the sun came out. Then the wind picked up and we hoisted the sales. We managed to get some pretty good speed out of Kalliope, but still drifted back a mile while we were sailing. What the heck it was a nice day and we were having fun. As we were drifting around we managed to come upon a large school of boats floating around checking out the water ... they were not actually looking at the water, but at the Orcas (killer whales) that were playing in the water. We had about 20 or 30 of them jumping out of the water. Performance on demand, almost like we were at sea world. This was by far the best whale watching experience that we have ever had. After that we headed north and fired up the Iron Pig and headed North up to Garrison Bay.
Garrison Bay is on the west side of San Juan Island and the sight of the British camp during the joint British and American occupation of the San Juan Islands. Everything came to a head when one of the Americans shot a British pig that was rooting up his potatoes crop. The whole episode became known as the Pig War. Currently Garrison Bay is home of a small National Park that has managed to preserve some of the original buildings.

The next day we took a bus to Friday Harbor so that I could pick up some parts that I had ordered from my buddies at West Marine. Friday Harbor is an pretty touristy place. Not nearly as cool as Orcas.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Fisherman Harbor, Lopez Island

In order to make it into Fisherman harbor just before slack we got up a bit early and took off towards the San Juan channel. It was a little bit rainy and cold - the first time since we've been out on the water. Wasp pass was a bit tricky to negotiate since we had to dodge a ferry on the way through. As we turned south towards Fisherman Harbor we hit a bit of current outside of Friday Harbor. We had bonified standing waves, rips, the whole nine yards. The rain did slow down and the sun started peaking out again. Life is not too bad. We entered Fisherman Harbor just after slack on a rising tide and managed to sneak through the narrow channel. We called the dock and they gave us a moorage spot in a finger pier on the end. As I came into the dock I noticed that my slot was might narrow, and the current was cruising through the docks at about 1 kt. Hey! I didn't expect that. I realized that if I tried to make the moorage I would hit the other boat so I hit reverse and starts drifting sideways down the docks. With the current flowing, I could not bring the nose around to get out. The dock hands kept on yelling, "Turn her around, Come up here!" Duh. Well, I noticed a nice double wide free space and I decided that docking there looked like a find idea. So I pulled in the spot and all of the helpful dock hands managed to cross me up a bit. But we made it and didn't scratch the boat or anyone else's boat. I think I prefer anchoring.
The marina is really nice with a pool, restaurant, and bar. I met the owner, Bob, on the dock and he was very helpful. Down the dock we met the Captain and crew of Fun on Water. They had a huge powerboat that was docked in front of us in Olympia about a month ago. They invited us over for drinks later that evening.
I don't think that I really need to get a crab pot and go fishing for crab. The dock hand gave us 4. We bought some the other day for 3 or 4 bucks for two. Cheaper than a license and trap. So that night we munched on crab. Yum.We then went over to visit the fine folks at F.O.W. The guys is a walking liquor store. He had a well going on board with Gin, Vodka, Bourbon and about three or four others that I can't remember. After a couple Martini's we stumbled to the bar for a couple more beers and dancing to some fine music. After the band quite, the locals broke out the instruments on the deck and had an impromptu blues jam session. Cool and fun.
Ugh, my brain hurts. Who was that fool on the dance floor? We stumbled down the street for a little breakfast action and then rented some bikes for a trip around the island to Shark Reef. Lopes is nice and flat compared to some of the other San Juan Islands, so it makes a nice place to ride bikes.
We ended up on the south side of the island (Not far from Aleck Bay) at shark reef. This overlooked the San Juan channel. Between tides, the current just rips through here, creating standing waves and all kinds of whirlpools. On the rocks below the bluff, quite a few seals hung out in the sun. Hmm, shark reef. A good lunch spot, no?

Friday, July 11, 2003

Orcas Island

Dave and Lisa are supposed to arrive this afternoon. Still gotta get a stash of groceries. I unload the groceries and haul off to the ferry terminal while Kathy stows the groceries. Dave and Lisa arrive about 3pm and I bring them over to the boat. They are up for a little first class Orcas touring. So we drive up to Mount Constitution and check out the view.
After that we head down to Rosario Resort to listen to a band. Every Friday night they have a band out on the lawn next to the marina. We then cruise up to the hotel for a drink and appetizer. Damn good crab cakes! Next stop the north shore to check out the sunset. Not a bad place to have a house Diane!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Deer Harbor - Almost

We had a nice late start so that we could get in sink with the tide at Lopez pass. We hit the pass just after slack and had no problem negiotiating the maze like entrance. Inside the pass, the channel opens up and you have a beutiful view of Lopez island with Orcas in the background. The wind was again blowing close to zero so we had the motor running. About miday is started "hunting." Sometimes it would speed up and then slow down. Hmm, looks like it is time to do some work this afternoon. Of course after an hour of hunting the motor just dies. We are sitting in the middle of not just one, but two ferry channels. We pull out the jib and let Mike try to use the little wind to keep us from hitting an Island and/or a ferry. I dive below and start looking. The first thing I check is the Air filter. Man is it dirty. Man, I thought it was cleaned in Olympia. I guess not. So I set out to clean it up. Clean, clean, clean. Put it back on. Try starting it. Nothing. Okay, I don't want to try and crank it too much and crap out the battery, so it is time to think. I check the injectors for fuel and make sure there is no air in the line ... looks okay to me. How 'bout a little starter fluid? Turns out my buddy Nigel says that I can use WD-40 and spray it directly into the air filter intake. I try it. The engine sputters and springs to life. Yeah. We head off. After about an hour the motor starts sputtering again. I decide to detour to West Sound marina instead of Dear Harbor (since there is a boat yard there, the only boat yard in the San Juans). It turns out that Diane, my brother's wife knows the owners. I must explain, one of the reason's that we are on Orcas is that Diane grew up here, and her mother, Judy, still lives here.
That evening Diane's mother picks us up and takes us to Christiana's for dinner. A very nice dinner. Probably one of the best meals that we've had up in the NW.
Mike and Dianne take a small plane out of Orcas for SeaTac and then off to NY for another wedding. Hopefully they had a good time, we didn't quite have our shit together yet.
As an added bonus, Judy lent us Diane's old college car to use for a couple of days. This is a good thing since we had a ton of Laundry and grocery shopping to do for our next set of guests. I spent the next couple of hours changing the primary fuel filter. Turns out my mechanics put a 2 micron filter in place for the primary which clogged up pretty quickly. The only spare that I have was also 2 microns, so I will try and pick up a spare later.
That night we have pizza in east sound. Nice view for a pizza joint.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Aleck Bay

Now we are really sailling! Mike and I rolled up the dingy for our expected wild ride across the Straits of San Juan de Fucca only to have about zero wind in the morning. But the wind did manage to pick up in the afternoon so I managed to get the wind vane up and working. It seemed to work pretty well. Steared a nice straight course. Pretty cool. Hopefully I will be able to use it again.

That night we anchored in Aleck bay on the south shore of Lopez Island. A really nice large bay with only one or two other boats in the harbour. We got to drop a whole mess of chain and had a really nice secure anchorage for the night. Near the entrance there are a couple of small islands that Mike and I dingied over to explore.

Bonus Note: 8/3/2003

We really lucked out in our crossing. A lot of people I've talked to that crossed in the last week or so have had near gale winds from the beam. They nicknamed it Straits of Juan de Pucca

Monday, July 07, 2003

Port Townsend

So we got up early am to get the hell out of Edmonds before all of the power boats arrived. After hand spinning the boat around the fuel dock we were off. After we cleared the breakwater I turned around to let the dingy out and surprise, not dingy. I looked back to see it floating against the breakwater --- oops, looks like the dingy did not like being in captivity. We quickly turned around and nudge up to the breakwater and speared the dingy ending its short escape. That afternoon as we motored through the dead calm of northern Puget sound another wandering dingy caught my eye floating all by itself. I thought about capturing him, but she looked so happy bobbing around the bay that I decided to let her be free.
That afternoon the wind picked up and we brought out the sails. We managed to get her moving at about 6 kts. It is fun to be sailing.
That night we anchored outside of Port Townsend. The winds were from the NW so we were pretty well protected by the mainland. The ferry also goes pretty slowly by so we managed not to bounce too much. That evening we picked up a bunch of crab in town and had a crab feast on board the boat.
Port Townsed is a cool little town with all kinds of boat facilties and a cute little downtown area. We will have to check it out again when we come back through.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Crossing the Sound - Edmonds

Today my brother, Mike, and his wife, Dianne, arrive for a visit over the next couple of days. They were up in Seattle for a wedding and are Joining us for the trip up to the San Juans.Since they arrived after noon, I decided that I probably didn't want to schlep all the way up to Port Townsend and decided, instead, to do a short trip to Edmonds. Kathy had picked out a Restatement that she was interested in. They had dock space. Mike and Diane had arrive, so away we went. As is usual during the early afternoon, there was no wind on the sound.It was a beautiful day though and we turned on Wandering Wanda our shift auto-pilot and relaxed and chatted as we plodded towards Edmonds. Now this trip is only 15nm, so it didn't take us long to cruise up to the breakwater at Edmonds. I think it is a breakwater, it looks more like the entrance to the Bat cave. Narrow, with twin 90 bends at the end of it. I'm supposed to take my boat into that. The folks at the marina assure us that we have a space, "Just turn south after the breakwater and circle around to the back of the fuel dock". Well the back of the fuel dock is a very narrow space with no mooring signs painted all over it and a small travel lift at the end for all of the local Bayliner folks to drop their boat in the water for a day. But, there was a space for the boat and we squeezed it in. We really had no option since turning was completely out of the option. Turns out that was were they wanted us, so we choked exhaust for another hour or so until the lift closed and then headed in town for dinner. Maybe not the best introduction to boating life, but tomorrow we are off to Port Townsend. Hopefully it should be a bit better.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Back to Bainbridge

On the 4th we headed back to Winslow on Bainbridge to finish up some work. My brother Mike and his wife, Diane are showing up on the 6th and we still have a pile of stuff to do. However, the raft group decided to raft up in Eagle harbor to view Seattle's and Union Lake's firework show. We dingied over there and watched the fireworks with them.
A ton of small projects and a car reorganization took up the bulk of the morning. In the afternoon we went to Lake Union for the Wooden boat show (but not before stopping at West Marine to spend a couple more boat bucks.) to meet Beth and Eric. Eric was showing his boat and we managed to take it out of the water. The wind was a little weak, but we managed to get an assist from a passing plane.
That night, Eric and Beth joined us downtown for dinner at a little French restaurant and then dropped us off at the ferry terminal back to Bainbridge. They ended up driving our car home to keep for the summer. It felt a bit weird parting with the car. You really get used to having one and it really gives you a sense of mobility. Now we are dependent on the boat, dingy, and public transportation. Hopefully we have outfitted the boat so we can make it through the summer.
The ferry ride back was just gorgeous. A nice clear night with a slight breeze. Mike and Dianne arrive tomorrow. It must be time for vacation to start.

Thursday, July 03, 2003


BJ and Trish, on the Nelle Bly, invited us to raft up with them at Poulsbo. Poulsbo is actually pretty close to Winslow by car, but take several hours by boat, since you have to sail completely around Bainbridge Island. Poulsbo (home of Viking Days) has a pretty big fireworks celebration on the 3rd of July each year. About 500 boats anchor in the harbor to check out the festivities. Everyone on all of the boats was super nice and we met some fine boating folks. That night the fireworks were first rate and Belini didn't even get scared too much!
The next morning we hit downtown to get some bread and munchies at the Bakery. They make some awesome bread, so don't forget to check em out next time you are there.

Rafting up is fun

Downtown Poulsbo