So another summer has come and gone. It was too short, too cool, and too soon over. But Karin and I did get the chance to spread the sails and stretch out for two weeks of sailing in August. It’s the longest we’ve been out together in one go in a long time. So I figured I should post something so that I would remember how much fun was when the winter rains are making me blue.
It was warm and sunny on the 14th when we dropped the dock lines and headed for Port Townsend. An early departure would give us time to motor North of Edmonds where we could catch the turn to Ebb, and ride over toward the peninsula.
No sooner had we cleared the breakwater than Karin said, I’ll make breakfast…..coffee first. It just reminds you that with the proper planning, systems, and supplies you can be very comfortable cruising.
After we made the turn to the West at Possession Point, the wind started picking up and clocking to the NW. I realized we might just get the perfect wind to make a long beat across to
Oak Bay…..the vacation was starting gloriously.
I’ve never been through the Townsend Canal, so we decided to go inside this trip. we had about three knots against us in the channel, so it was slow going….but eventually we came out near Port Hadlock, and made the run up to Port Townsend dodging the Submarine in the pen on the East side of the Bay and the sailboat race with 6 meter boats off the Marina. We ducked in for fuel, and then headed up to Point Hudson Marina, where I had a reservation. And just a reminder to other boaters coming into town on a weekend in Summertime. Point Hudson is where you want to be (short walk to town) but it gets busy. Make a reservation. I’m just saying.
Point Hudson is a lovely little marina, has great restaurants, clean showers, laundry, a short walk to town. In short, it’s the one you want to be in at Port Townsend. Anchoring out can be an adventure. The hold in the anchorage is only so-so, there is ferry wake, and no real protection in a blow. So do yourself a favor and get a slip…but, again, call early. In Port Townsend, there are many places to eat and drink, and many are very nice. I’d recommend climbing the stairs at ___ Water Street to Sirens. It has a view out over the water that is really about the best in town. And the beer’s pretty good too.
Sunday dawned bright, sunny, and dead calm. You know that slight catch we get in our stomachs when we think about “crossing the straight”? Well on this day….the only danger in the Straight of Juan de Fuca was boredom.
It was glassy. No wind, no wave, just a smooth ribbon to ride across to Victoria. With an Ebb underway from Admiralty Inlet, there was nothing to really think about. Just point the nose at Victoria and motor. But that can be ok too. It lets you plan what you’re going to do in town.
Now, who plans on Dragon Boat racing? But that’s what we faced as we pulled into the Inner Harbour. There were tight passages, lots of people rowing around, new temporary buoys and channels to follow. But there was also the excitement of 20 person racing canoes, with a Tako drum beating the time on the bow, and a standup steering station in the stern. Needless to say it felt like a big welcoming committee.
And since we were staying at the Port of Victoria dock in front of The Empress hotel, we had to pick our way in between Dragon Boat heats. The finish link was right off our dock. The organizers had put up a big grandstand, so every move we made seemed to be watched by a crowd. Needless to say, it was an exciting arrival. And as the raced ended, and the sun started setting, it was a perfect end to the day; grilling on the BBQ out in front of the Empress while evening strollers took in the street performers on the quay.
But enough with the downtown stuff. We came to rest, so Monday we sailed out of the Harbour and around to he Oak Bay Marina on the East side of Victoria. It’s much quieter. I suspect that it will become our “normal” place to arrive in Victoria. There’s a customs check in there, and if you ride out of the Marina and up the hill there’s a cool neighborhood shopping area with nice groceries, a liquor store, and on of the best pubs we found in our trip. The Penny Farthing. This is about as close to an English pub you’re going to find here in the new world. And if you lived near, it would be your neighborhood hang.
Enough with the marinas, Tuesday it was out into Haro straight and up/around the Sannich Peninsula. Winds were light on the starboard quarter, but I decided it was perfect for flying the spinnaker. Karin snoozed through the entire process.
Going down the backside of the Peninsula take you to Dye Inlet, near Buchart Gardens. You can anchor in Dye, and motor your dinghy around to Buchart Gardens. We didn’t bother, we just rested, read books, cooked and unlaxed. Very nice.
We finally decided we had to get moving. Christian was set to join us in Friday Harbor at the end of the week, and I didn’t want to do that in one day. So Thursday we pulled the anchor, and headed for Bedwell Harbor on South Pender Island. It’s always a great place to stop before crossing the border. There’s a good bar, a small store. If you have kids with you, the pool can be nice.
Friday we headed out to cross the border back to the US to pick up Christian and a little crabbing with the son. Nice to have him around for a while.
We eventually decided it would be easiest to drop him off in Anacortes. That allowed us to re-provision and get a little of that Anacortes Brewing company beer….mmmm. But then it was out into the islands for another week.
We tried the back side of San Juan island this time….and I can highly recommend Garrison Bay as a comfy gunkhole. It’s not far to Roche Harbor if you need anything….but it’s away from all those big power boats that tend to love Roche.
And a word about Roche. Karin and I had never tried it before, Gale force winds were forecast, so we decided it would be a good time to try it out while we waited for a break in the weather to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There are few places that are better to see the difference between sailors and big powerboat operators, and what the trend to bigger and bigger boats means on the dock. And I don’t mean this to sound like an anti-powerboat screed. But as boats have gotten larger, and the use of bow and stern thrusters, has increased it seems there is a marked decrease in the skill of boat operators. Karin and I watched over and over as guys in big boats came in, ignored the winds turning them, and hit docks or each other as they tried to get into dock. I love seeing a power boat guy who knows how to feather and back his twin engines and play the rudders to get in. We didn’t see much of that going on. We saw guys getting as close as they could, then grinding hard on the thrusters to fight the wind, and heaving lines to anyone on the dock or nearby boats who could pull him in. Not very pretty.
Now Roche Harbor itself….that’s very nice. The store there is a good provisioning site. The showers are great, and it’s always nice to be able to get off the boat and have someone in the bar cook this time. Plus there is ice cream! So I’m just saying it’s a nice stop to get fuel, ice and food….but I don’t think we’ll be hanging out there much.
Friday the 27th the winds finally dropped in the Strait, and we started for home. It was a little windy and cool, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Karin even decided she wasn’t going to let the heel of the boat get in the way of a good breakfast. Mmm, fresh French Toast. Just what you need on a cold crossing of the Strait to keep your spirits up.
We stopped in Port Townsend again, with Point Hudson again serving as home. It’s just so comfy. Finally, Saturday, we headed South through Townsend Canal, across the lower part of Admiralty Inlet, and back into Puget Sound again.
It was really a lovely sail home, but it is always great to get home after being out for so long. And here’s a first, we have no issues with the boat. There are no little parts broken that need fixing. The systems were all working great when we left and they were all working exactly the same way when we got home. That just never happens. So now I’m worried that the other shoe is going to drop on me any day now….and the boat will need a new bronze framis or electrical thing-a-ma-whatchis. I know I should just enjoy it while everything is working….but it’s just so hard. Something is going to go wrong and break. It always does, and I know it’s only a matter of time.