There comes a time when all the planning, preparation, repairs and jaw jacking come to the point where you either pull the trigger or move to another country. We have been humbled by the outpouring of love and generosity felt over the last few weeks from my family, customers, co-workers (also family) and friends. It was hard to say “see ya later” but we had to draw a line in the sand if we were ever going to get off the dock.
The first shakedown cruise will be up to Roche Harbor. Leaving on Tuesday around slack water and head for our favorite stop over at Hope Island (1). From there we will exit through deception Pass at slack water, run across to Cattle Pass and up to Parks Bay on Shaw Island (2) and anchor there for the night. Thursday we will head up to Roche Harbor (3) and meet the kids coming over on the ferry Friday.
Sunday and Monday were prep days working toward a Tuesday departure for Hope Island. The true navigator was smiling on us. We typically will wrestle the dingy and kayak down the dock ramps but this year we decided wisdom was the better part of valor and used the launch ramp at the marina. We loaded the kayak on top of the explorer and put the dingy on a little utility trailer we had at the farm.
I notice the dingy was bouncing more than what I would consider normal. I kept an eye on it but was not overly concerned. We got to the bottom of the hill and on a whim I pulled over to check the tie straps. Good thing I did. The boat had shifted and every tie strap was hanging loose! The dingy was just sitting on the trailer. Had we gotten on Highway 2 that could have been a very bad start to the morning!
The launch went well and soon we were tooling down the river with the kayak in tow.
It was a bright, clear morning with a little bit of fog between Hat Island and Jetty Island. The ships at the Navy base looked ominous.
Day 1 of official retirement was our typical day of late, continuing to put the boat back together. The only difference being it was Monday! It is finally starting to look like a boat again. The real win for us was those window leaks. Before we left the boat on Sunday we had soaked both starboard windows down with a hose. We were beyond excited to come back the next morning to find no leaks! This has been an ongoing battle for 2 years. Thanks to Sammy at Associated Glass in Everett for getting this done!
We will provision in the morning and head for Hope Island as the tide turns from ebb to flood. This should give us a little push up Saratoga Pass and then hopefully it will turn again as we enter Skagit Bay and catch the ebb to our anchorage for the night.
Tuesday, April 2
After provisioning we un tied the lines about 11:30. We have two new crew members aboard. “Groot” from Guardians of the Galaxy fame was gifted to us by one of my coworkers.
And Geoffrey. He came aboard to keep Owen company. He is pulling his weight but once he meets Owen we will see if he sticks around…..
We ended up motoring all day. Partly due to wind on the nose but also because not everything in the boat was in “sailing” condition. We had two whale sitings. One at the South end of Hat Island and the other just North of Camano Head. We also saw two different groups of dolphins as we entered Skagit Bay. We arrived at the anchorage and were tied to a bouy by 1700. Linda snagged it on the first try. BBQ’s some pork chops and new potatoes than sat and watched the quiet for the cockpit. Awesome first day.
Wednesday, April 3
We exit out of Deception Pass on the back side of a ebb tide. Thar be wind in the strait! We rolled out the canvas and had a “brisk” sail in 15 to 18 knots on a beam reach. We were flying! Linda had the boat dialed in and topped out at about 9 1/2 knots. Once we crossed the shipping lanes the winds settled down and finally went to nothing. We entered Cattle Pass on smooth waters and continued up San Juan channel via motor. We arrived in Parks Bay about 12:30pm and just as Linda was putting down the anchor the sky opened up. Wind and rain mixed with a little hail. It stayed stormy for a few hours so I took the opportunity to take my first nap in retirement! I found out I’m pretty darn good at! Weather calmed down and we are sitting in the cockpit enjoying the wildlife.
Thursday morning arrived with the sun sneaking up over Shaw Island casting a golden glow on the entire bay
There is a gentleman who posts quite often in the Salish Sea group on Facebook. In one of his posts last night he made a comment about Parks Bay. I replied back that we were anchored there this evening. Long story short, he replied he was the other boat in the anchorage. How cool is that? My first cruising buddy!
Lazy morning as we only had about 10 miles to travel today. Made breakfast and as Linda was finishing dressing, my new cruising buddy rowed over for a visit. We took a quick tour of the Bay via dingy but we were not allowed on shore so that limited our interest. Wind had piped up a little and we had a small outflow in the bay so we readied the boat to sail off anchor. I set the main a little early and the boat sailed over the anchor but Linda was able to work her magic and get the anchor onboard. We did ok till we hit the opposing current and wind was not enough to push us past 2 knots. We fired up the iron Genny and motored the rest of the way to Roche.
As you enter Roche from the East spotting Battle Ship Island is a highlight for me. I finally got a good shot of it today coming into the harbor.
Pellucidar dropped her anchor in the bay. You can just see her above the line of power boats. We have reservations at the dock tomorrow to make it easier on Gammy and Grampy! We are excited to see the kids and have a few days together with them.
That is it for this episode. It has been a full four days of retirement. I’ve met my very first cruising buddy and had my first official nap. No regrets from this captain or the Admiral. Here are few shots of Roche. Whether by boat or car, you should plan a visit if you’ve never been. It is amazing. and on the weekend don’t forget the San Juan Distillary!
Here are few extra shots of Roche before we sign off. I’m sure there will be more from this weekend.
Walt & Linda