Shelter in Place…on a boat

Everyone will have the story to tell about where they “sheltered in place” during the novel coronavirus outbreak in the spring of 2020. For us shelter was aboard our Passport 40 sailboat, Endless Song, at our dock in Anacortes, WA.

First day back on the boat. Tuesday March 24th, 2020

The first step, of course, is getting the boat systems back on line. When we leave for an extended time we have to store all the equipment, empty out the refrigerator and freezer compartment, remove any stores that could go bad, set dehumidifiers, open all storage cabinets so mold doesn’t develop, etc. When you come back you need to reverse all that and hope no strange leaks and smells have developed. Lucky us; when we opened up all the hatches and entered the boat it was clean, dry, and there were no bad smells or mold. All we had to do was close all the lockers, turn off and stow dehumidifiers , turn on the heaters for the cabin, turn on the refer system, and wait for it to get warm or cold. We brought all the perishables from the trailer, popped them in their normal storage areas, and within minutes the boat was toasty warm and we were home.

All was well. Well, maybe not “all.” The one thing that had happened while we were away, and only just in the last few weeks, was that the local river otters decided, “Hey, here’s a boat we haven’t pooped on yet.” That’s correct. Two weeks before we came home our mechanic friend that we pay to come over every month to check the boat and run the engines called to say, “Um, Dan…problem. The otters got into your enclosure and pooped all over.” Arrrrgh. Otters. They’re cute, right up until they come aboard to poop on you.

Damned otters!

Shaun is the best of mechanics, but he’s also the best of friends. And he cleaned up the otter attack for us and tightly sealed the full enclosure again….making sure there were no gaps the otters could work on to get in again. When we got there, they had not been back….and there was only a slight lingering odour de Otter. A washdown with soap and water…and then bleach took care of that. We did however toss out all the cockpit cushions and order nice new ones. It was time anyway.

I bought Shaun a bottle of old Scotch, Karin’s favorite brand from Islay. He earned it.

Those otter creeps don’t give up easily. The first few weeks they came back on three different nights. When I heard their little feet skittering on deck I bounded out of bed, flipped on the super bright decklights, and made all kind of yelling noises as I burst out of the hatch. The goal is to scare them half to death as they dive over the rails into the water. Karin, of course, just looks at me through groggy eyes at 2am….and laughs.

So now that we’re home, have checked in with parents and our son Christian, we’re doing what everyone else is doing…hunkering down to wait. We, like everyone, have been learning the ins and outs of ZOOM, Facetime, and other types of online conferencing software. It has actually been fun to have reunions with old co-workers and family, online birthday parties for kiddos, and, of course, extended drinking binges with the Fencing Team. Nothing like a pirate family reunion to make a Saturday.

With Endless Song’s galley once again operational, what can we make? Karin and I didn’t want to give up the Florida sunshine too fast, so we pulled out the Key Lime Pie supplies one more time. Mmmm. Worked again.

Karin has also been working on Sourdough bread, like everyone in America it seems. Flour is very hard to come by on the store shelves.

Thanks to Lang, a fellow resident of the “D” dock Karin has her own “starter”….what a baker calls “The Bitch”. You have to feed it and care for “The Bitch” or she’ll die on you….and then no more warm bread. Karin has been feeding hers, and is being rewarded.

The other thing we’re doing is riding our bikes. While we’re all supposed to stay home as much as possible, one still needs to take walks and rides close by your home. Lucky for us the Tommy Thompson Bicycle trail runs from downtown Anacortes, right by our marina, and out south along Fidalgo Bay to the trestle across to the March Point oil refinery. Once you get across that trestle, you can turn right or left and do the loop road around March Point. It’s great to get to the tip of the point and turn your back on the refinery and see all the waters, islands and mountains stretching away to Bellingham, Lummi Island and beyond. It’s also the only view around where you don’t have to see the refinery. We have been lucky through April as there have been some lovely days to ride.

The real question for us is “When can we go sailing?” We really don’t know yet. As we get into early May, the state is finally starting to ease back to some activity. May 5th most State Parks and boat ramps open for day use. Ok, we figure that means local day sails are ok…so we’ll do a few of those. The larger re-opening of overnight camping, both at land state parks, and at the marine state parks, is what we’re waiting to see. If all goes well we may see that sometime in mid to late May. Once that’s ok, then we can begin to think about sailing down into Puget Sound.

Endless Song on a bouy at Jones Island State Park in 2017

This photo is more aspirational than anything. It’s from Jones Island State Park in the San Juan Islands. There is no visiting the Islands at the moment…but we can’t wait until we can go back.

2 thoughts on “Shelter in Place…on a boat

  1. Hi Dan and Karin–Thanks for your blog. It sounds like you are surviving as you shelter in place in your boat. But, being the travelers you are, I’m sure you are getting antsy to get to sail once again! Karin–have you made English muffins with your sourdough? I don’t have a starter, but sometime I’d like to try. John eats a lot of English muffins for his breakfast sandwiches. If you have a recipe, could you send it to me? Thanks!

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