Saturday, June 30, 2007

Art critic

We've slowed the pace in the last few days, hanging at some favorite spots in the San Juans: Shaw Island, Roche Harbor, and now Garrison Bay. Actually, slowing down was enforced on us by a slight mishap... after a long, lovely walk on Shaw and a visit with the new owners of the store, we dinghied back to the boat in time to get out of the rain. A couple of hours later, 2 boys in a sailing dinghy yelled out to us that our dinghy had flipped! Apparently, a valve cap had worked loose and one of the tubes slowly deflated, until the weight of the outboard caused the entire dinghy to roll over and play dead. The two guys helped us attach a halyard to the engine and pull it up out of the water, then right the dinghy. I telephoned my boating mentor Bruce for advice on treating the immersed motor, and we made arrangements to get it serviced the next day at Roche Harbor. While waiting at Roche, we walked around the sculpture garden (photo).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Canoe Island and Anacortes

Yesterday we crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles to the San Juan Islands. Despite a small craft advisory, winds were fairly light and we had to motor most of the way. We spent last night at Canoe Island, where friends Joseph and Connie Jones run a French language summer camp. Today we managed to sail at least half of the way from Canoe Island to Anacortes, where we are enjoying a visit with one of Mark's high school buddies. A pod of orcas was cruising along Guemes Channel as we approached Anacortes.
The boat is performing well after all, except that the masthead wind transducer isn't sending any data, and the mast partners leak like a sieve. Both of these items were worked on at the boatyard, so we have asked them to rectify the situation (once we get back to PDX). Tomorrow we may head into Canada, or if the forecast is correct, we may just hunker down and watch it rain!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Passage to Port Angeles

We felt lucky to get a "weather window" for our 24-hour passage north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, although we wouldn't have minded a couple of days to enjoy Astoria. The infamous Columbia River Bar was on pretty good behavior this time around, the penalty being that there was not enough wind to fill our sails. Oh well, better too little wind than too much. We did get to sail for about 5 hours in the afternoon. As a line of squalls blew over us the wind gradually increased, and we put in 1 reef, then another. Then, the wind backed and diminished and it was back to the engine. Our new crew Mike did a great job of watchkeeping between dinner and midnight, letting Vicki and I catch some sleep. The seas were pretty lumpy even with so little wind, and we rolled pretty heavily in the 5' swells coming in from our port beam. We were glad to see the light on Cape Flattery as dawn approached. We passed through the "Hole in the Wall" between Tatoosh Island and Cape Flattery, and were snugly moored in the Makah Marina in Neah Bay by 8 AM. We decided a day of rest was in order. It was fun to walk the docks, watch the dozens of eagles on the beach, and take in the Makah Museum. We met the crew of Castaway, a Tayana 37 out of Coos Bay.
Today, we looked forward to the predicted 10-20 knot westerlies to blow us down the Strait, but they never materialized. Instead, we motored all but one hour of the 50-mile passage to Port Angeles. We said goodbye to Mike and caught up on a few minor repairs. Thanks to Mike for the photo of "Showgirl" in Neah Bay.

Friday, June 22, 2007

boring blog, eh?

You're probably wondering why there aren't any pictures in this blog. Well, first off, we have been so busy getting everything shipshape that we only took one picture the first day, and none at all today! Then, I realized that the USB cable for the camera had been left at home. We were able to find one in Astoria today (by the way, we had a nice ride downriver, 5 hrs 45 min from St. Helens). However, after I transferred the picture (it was a nice one of the beer can regatta at St. Helens) to
the hard disk, it disappeared. Sigh~. Oh well, we have the cable now, we'll have some pictures to upload after we get to Neah Bay. Our friend and neighbor Michael has joined us here for the overnight coastal passage. We're planning to cross the Columbia River Bar tomorrow about 8AM, and we hope to arrive in Neah Bay about the same time on Sunday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Goin' with the flow...

Ahh, this is more like it! We are tied up to a little public dock on Sand Island, near St. Helens, OR. We are only about 20 miles downriver from Portland, but our sailing adventure has begun! Chica is along, and she is having an interesting time adapting to the little rubber non-skid booties Vicki got her. She can't quite believe that she won't slide on the deck like usual. The weather is nice, and we have a good forecast (in terms of our ocean passage) for the next few days. Tomorrow on to Astoria.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Getting ready

Seems like a whirlwind since school was out last Friday. Mark's mom has been visiting from Ca., and we've been running doing errands to get everything ready for our voyage on Southern Cross starting tomorrow, Thurs., 6/21. So nice to be heading out and back on the water, but couldn't have done this departure without good friends/neighbors like Debi, Michale & Linda, 'The Craft Family' and many other dear ones. We're driving to Portland tonight to sleep aboard, wash 'her' down, stow the chow and then try out the new rigging on Thurs. on our way down the river to Astoria. Can't wait.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Get out of town!

We hope to head downriver in a few days. The boat is pretty much ready, the standing rigging has been static-tuned and all the running rigging is back in place. Once we get to Astoria, we may have to wait awhile for a weather window before we cross the bar, as our friends Cory and Nancy on Balancing Act have been doing.
"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." - John Steinbeck

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Some History...

Vicki and I have owned our Ericson 38 , Southern Cross, since 2002. Our boat is moored in Portland, OR, each winter, and each summer we take her north to British Columbia. You can read about some of our earlier adventures here.

This is our second sailboat. We owned a Nor'sea 27 called Mischief in the early 80's. Living aboard a vessel that size for close to 3 years was a good test of our relationship. I guess we passed the test, as we are now in our 26th year of marriage.

They say that owning a sailboat is like standing in the shower and tearing up $100 bills, and that seems true enough this year. We have had the rudder bearings replaced, swapped out our 2-blade MaxProp for a slightly larger (17") 3-blade MaxProp, replaced a cracked thru-hull, and had the bottom painted. Once the boat was back in the water, the mast was pulled for installation of new standing and running rigging, a masthead LED tricolor/anchor light, and a set of folding steps just below the masthead. All this in preparation for a longer cruise, starting in the summer of 2008, to Mexico and perhaps beyond.