Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK weekend away to Prevost

Honoring Dr. King with a get away to wilderness may seem like an odd choice, but among the many things he championed, one could argue that the liberty to pursue happiness unimpaired by the dictates of a disapproving populace was high among them. He didn't argue we needed to approve of each other. He argued all people deserved the liberty, freedom and respect, to live a life of their own choosing so long as it brought no harm to others.
From a lofty perch, a place above it all. 

Among our highest choice of preferred liberties is time away from the very civilization that continues to institutionalize hatred, discrimination and prejudice. The owls don't do that, nor the trees. We commune with otters, and listen to the wind. The voices of oystercatchers are our companions and the  whisper of leaves our friends.
The Grandmother Tree-the center of the universe

This weekend we journeyed north to Prevost Harbor as the forecasted winds kept us away from Tumbo. Prevost is a bit less sheltered than Reid as it can receive vessel wakes and NE swells, but it is plenty sheltered enough that no real harm would ever come to you. Our trip there was uneventful, and it is 13 miles from Friday Harbor to Prevost. We encountered some chop in the vortex between Spieden, San Juan, Flat Top and Orcas, as that is a mixing zone for all currents and winds. Otherwise, we were on flat seas.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blizzard and sun, peace and joy at Portland Island, BC.

Just back from a wonderful four day trip. Since we had time, we took the chance to pop up into Canada and return to one of our old favorites just below Salt Spring, and that is Portland Island.

Owen at Arbutus Point, north side
The voyage to Portland on Monday was calm and easy. Gorgeous country rolling by and not a wisp of wind. There are two anchorages on Portland, like Jones. One south, and one north. The forecast was for stormy weather with SE winds, so we headed to the north cove called Royal Cove. For those that don't know, this island was given to Princes Margaret back during her visit to the province in the 1950's, and she gave it back in the 1960's to become a park. It is the largest island park in the Gulf Islands National Park system. A true gem.

So we tucked into Royal Cove, which is only open to the NE. You stern tie and make sure you have your bow pointed NE so the ferry waves cause you less trouble. After doing this, we were ashore for some exploration.

That night, a storm came up that blew strongly from the NE. Not the SE! We started getting 2-3 foot waves into he cove, and I was once again grateful for my Mantus Anchor and anchoring skills. We didn't budge, though our bow was doing the hobby horse all through the dark hours of the morning. It was blowing 25 or so. In the morning, I saw that the barometer had plummeted from 1019 to 1000.3 in just 6 hours. No wonder the wind was strong. We saw that it was also snowing, and during the downpours the snow was so thick it was a blizzard!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Winter Dads get away to Stuart

This past weekend I realized I had the chance to get away from home and do a trip with my younger son. Since my wife and other son couldn't come, I decided to invite another Dad and his son along for the fun. Given how busy and over scheduled people are these days, I was surprised when he said "Yes" so enthusiastically.

Such is the appeal of a sailboat trip in the San Juans. Even in winter.
Happy father and son in paradise

All who read this blog know how much I love our winter trips. To have the islands to yourself, to yourself, and so dramatically beautiful, is just incredible. I continue to be amazed how people stay away by the millions.

Winter trips anyone?
We went to Reid Harbor as there were some strong winds forecast. It was as snug as always. We dropped our trusty Mantus anchor off the public dock and enjoyed a couple days of hiking, reading, playing and eating. Oh, and the deep sleep that always comes from being on the boat.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Four 7th graders for two days, Oh My!

We are back from a wonderful weekend get away to the islands for my son's birthday party. He chose to go to Jones with some of his best friends and we were delighted it was not another trip to the skating rink or bowling. So off we went with a truck full of 7th grade boys.

Want to know what modern American 7th grade boys talked about for 2 hours of driving and 90 minutes of ferry riding? Magic cards. That's it. Magic cards. It was both endearing and mind numbing.  The future of America is secure if it involves people knowing how to draw cards from a deck in mock supernatural fights.
A boy and the Salish Sea. 

Jones island was as magical as always, yet there were other humans present! We are so accustomed to having Jones to our self from Fall through Spring that it was rather shocking. The winds were calm so the boys didn't get to experience sailing, but the trip was still a novelty to them.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

17 days and 372 miles in British Columbia

A few days ago we returned from our voyage north into British Columbia. It has taken a few days to get my bearings on land, and to adjust back into syphilization. It is not an adjustment I ever experience easily, or without anguish. This particular journey was longer in time than some we've had recently, as our schedules allowed the sort of expansive time any real and safe boat journey requires. And this extended time allowed for the transition into those other versions of ourselves that we love so much. For some reason, we find the lifestyle of sailing, hiking, reading great books, playing cards, swimming in the ocean and in lakes, jumping off rocks and hanging out in dramatic wilderness conducive to us being 100% alive and happy:

This is Elliott jumping maybe 25-30 feet at Smugglers Cove. A beautiful setting. He later jumped a couple spots much higher in Teakerne Arm and Walsh Cove. 

This is the Teakerne Arm jump. You can see the lovely Cassel Lake falls in the background. It doesn't look too high on video, but he is nearly 6' tall, and you can count how many of him it would take to reach the ocean below! 

Due to the length of this trip, and my appetite for narrative right now, I will render some stories as highlights and bullets. It was an incredible, unforgettable three weeks. A reminder of all that is innately good and happy and free in each of us, and of the majesty of the Salish Sea.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Back to Friday Harbor, Ready for 3 weeks in Canada!

The sea! The sea! The peaks around. Olympics, Mt. Baker, glaciers and rock. Islands here, and over there, low and rounded. With a pivot of your head you take in three National Parks, and the sweep of ocean out to Japan.

There is no more singularly dramatic wild place for a boat to be placed in the lower 48 than just off Smith Island in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. For all you can see, it is essentially now as it was 2,000 years ago. Like Pre-Contact.

Time passed without notice. It felt timeless. here and now. Here. Now.

Ebb out Admiraly Inlet. 10 knots for hours. Flood into Cattle Pass, 10 knots again. 30 miles in less than 5 hours. Rippled seas and bright sun.

There is no greater thing. There is no greater being.

New cockpit scuppers on Aeolus

I'll do a post specifically on my cockpit scuppers for those interested. Gulf 32's come with drains glassed into the cockpit, which is an alright idea, except they reduce in size as they descend and the conical shape makes it difficult to get a hose to securely clamp around them.

On Aeolus this lead down through a 1 1/2" drain hose to the through hull, which exits the boat above the waterline. I used to have a Marelon ball valve on the through hull, but this reduced the size of the drain hole even further and would frequently jam up with any hair and plastic crap that might have made it down the hose.

My first step in improving my drain was to remove those Marelon valves and install a simple Marelon hose bar that maintains the maximum diameter of the hose. Because the through hull drains just above the waterline, this is an ABYC acceptable practice. Also, having been out in very large violent seas from the stern, I have never had any issue with water backing up through the cockpit drains into the cockpit.

Anyway, that done, I wanted to install more normal cockpit scuppers that would accept the hose better and have a built in screen. I found and used these Perko plastic scuppers:

On Aeolus I had to Dremel out the old glass drains, which was fairly easy. Then I had to shape the hole to the size and bevel angle of this Perko scupper. With the sandpaper barrel on the Dremel this was pretty easy. I then used Gflex to epoxy the scupper into the new hole, having roughed up the plastic with 60 grip sandpaper.

The hose fits on perfectly with a little dishwashing soap to lube it up, and they look good. I put some white paint over the epoxy exposed to protect from UV.

I now have a worry free cockpit drain system and won't have to unplug them anymore. These are not super high capacity, and will not drain the cockpit of being full in one minute, as you read for offshore boats, but it's better than we had and we are unlikely to be in cockpit filling seas anytime in the future.