San Juan Islands

Opening Day of Boating 2014

TraileringWell, it finally arrived! Opening day of boating season for 2014! We’re up at Anacortes, at the Cap Sante Boat Haven Marina, putting Southern Star into her new slip. We towed her up yesterday (Friday) morning, taking about an hour and a half to get there. It’s always interesting looking into the rear view mirror to see a large boat tailgating us!  Once in Anacortes, we dropped her off at a marine service center and got her outboard serviced for the season, with an oil change, new spark plugs, etc.

We explored the town for a while until the boat was ready. There’s a Safeway right next to the marina, so plenty of food options.  Around 2:30PM we got the call that Southern Star was ready, so we picked her up, then took her over to the sling hoist at Cap Sante Marina to be splashed into Puget Sound.On the sling
The first real adventure of the weekend came as I was motoring her over to her slip while Stella drove the truck and trailer over to the parking lot near our dock.  All went well at first, but then halfway down the C dock her engine just up and quit. Fortunately, the wind was behind me, and no one else was in the lane, so I had room to drift and try to get her restarted. No joy. So I put her into the last slip, and called Stella. While she walked over to join me, I called the service center that had jut worked on the motor. They sent a guy over who thought (at first) that it was the ignition switch.  Then he suspected the new fuel filter.  He went back to his shop to get my original one, since it at least worked. But while he was gone, I kept thinking that it didn’t appear that fuel was even getting TO the filter.Motor finally running again So I stepped on the squeeze bulb on the fuel line and something gave.  There must have been a clog in the fuel line itself that gave way, because all of a sudden the fuel filter filled up with gas!  I quickly reconnected everything and tried starting her again, and she roared to life! Once the tech got back, he help button everything up again, and we finished the brief trip over to our slip.  We spent a while getting the ‘permanent’ lines in place. We like to leave a set of dock lines at the slip all tied to the correct lengths so that all we have to do to come and go is to hook them over the boat’s cleats. We have another set of lines that we take with us for “foreign” marinas.

Once tied down, we got to work stepping the mast and rerigging all the lines.  We haven’t done that often, and it showed, because we had to partway raise and re-lower and re-raise the mast at least three times until we had all the lines run correctly. Of course, a shackle fell in the water that we had to run to West Marine to replace.  Thank goodness one of those is very close by!  We were exhausted by the time the evening wound to a close, and we settled down to an evening of watching the Hobbit on our new (slightly bigger) TV with much improved speakers.

The PiratesOn Saturday, we attended the Opening Day ceremonies at the marina.  What a blast.  Some pirates fired off a cannon, some local dignitaries talked about how important the marina was to the community, and the editor of Waggoner’s Cruising Guide talked a bit.  Turn’s out that this is his home port. Some “wandering minstrels” sang some sea shanties, and we enjoyed some bowls of really good clam chowder.

So now the mast is up, the canvas cockpit enclosure is all set and zippered and snapped in place, and the cabin is all organized and ready to be or weekend getaway home.  Next time we’re here we might actually get to go out into the Sound in Southern Star!The Marina


Categories: Anacortes, Cap Sante Marina, San Juan Islands | 2 Comments

Getting ready for the first trip of 2013

Well, a new boating season is upon us!  Stella and I are heading out tomorrow for a 4 day long weekend to Whidbey Island. We’ll be staying in Everett, Oak Harbor, and Edmonds over the three nights.

We’ve put a lot of work into the boat over the winter. I rewired the main electric panel – there wasn’t one, which was a problem.  All wires went directly to the batteries.  Now I have two power bus bars installed behind a door I installed on the battery compartment. All the wires from the boat’s electronics and lights go to the bus bars, and then big cables connect them to the two battery terminals.  As part of that I also added a battery meter and power cables to power the 12v TV and WDTV media player powered by a 500GB USB hard drive that we’ll bring on board. I also finished up the pressurized water system with a Plastimo flexible tank and a Shurflo 12v on-demand pump. We now have reliable running water (20+ gallons worth) that doesn’t have to be pumped! Bit by bit we’re turning Southern Start into a real home away from home.

This first trip of the season will be our chance to get sea legs back under us and help us to remember how to maneuver the boat around docks. As one of my favorite quotes puts it “there is nothing quite like the demented will of a sailboat in reverse.”  Every spring, we’re all rookies again, getting the feel of how the boat handles.  Add wind and current, and you’ve got quite the challenge.

It’s all worth it though – for evenings like this.

DSC_1317 for 24 x 16

Categories: Itinerary, Modifications, San Juan Islands | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

And the trip sadly comes to an end…

Sorry for the delay, I’m finally catching up on the last bit of our trip and posting a last few of the pictures.

We left Friday Harbor on Thursday at noon after the fog lifted. We sailed through the Upright Channel south of Shaw Island and into the East Sound of Orcas Island on our way to Rosario. The fog was still present to our south, making a very striking background against which we saw other sailboats and the Washington Ferry.

Rosario itself is a resort that used to be a mansion for the Moran family that built its fortune by starting a Seattle waterfront ship repair business that served the miners of the Yukon Gold Rush and later a became a major ship yard at the turn of the 20th century. It was sold to the Rheem family (of water heater and heat pump fame) in 1938. Supposedly the ghost of his wife still haunts the place.  In 1960 it was sold to a Seattle individual who turned it into the resort it is today.

It was clear that fall was coming on – the leaves of some of the trees were getting quite brilliant in their reds, yellows, and oranges. Sad that summer was ending, but it was quite a gorgeous show that autumn made for her entrance.  It was the first time it really got cool enough for us to want to put up the complete cockpit enclosure, so we got to try that out for the first time.  It kept it quite cozy, even when we were motoring along.

In the evenings there we enjoyed some fine meals, played some Scrabble in their lounge, and Stella watched “Young Frankenstein” on her tablet.  For some reason she has to watch that movie every time we go on vacation.  I’m not sure what that says…  🙂

What a wonderfully relaxing vacation!  We cannot wait to get back out on the water for a trip like this again.  We’re torn about whether or not to put her back in the water right away so we can sail Lake Washington on the weekends, or leave her on the trailer so we can take long weekends trailering her back up to the islands again soon!  Decisions, decisions!

I’ll close the blog for now (until our next trip) with a final few pictures.  Thanks for reading!

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Getting Ready to Leave Friday Harbor for Rosario

We stayed two nights in Friday Harbor, and each day woke up to a heavy fog bank greying the skies and the Washington State Ferry boats blasting their fog horns as they came in and left their docks.
I cooked us a scrambled eggs with ham and cheese breakfast. We then spent most of the day hanging around the boat – Dave reading his book, and Stella doing some laundry and washing dishes.  She swears she was having fun. Honest.  You know you’re in a really good place if even those tasks are enjoyable!
Lunch was as expected – really good fish and chips at a small cafe that had seating on its roof up above the Ferry docks and gave a great view of all the ships coming and going. In the afternoon we walked all over town, window shopped, and enjoyed some ice cream cones. Dinner, on the other hand, was very unexpected.  We found a place called “Kung Fu Pizza” that served both pizza and Chinese food. Hmmm. Both were surprisingly good.  The day ended with reading and watching an old movie.  Fine, relaxing day.
I couldn’t believe it! Thursday morning we actually slept until 9:45!  I must finally be relaxing a bit! The body clock is finally getting switched over to island time. The morning started off very foggy again, but it’s beginning to burn off, which is good – because they have a 1pm checkout time. We’re disappinted that we didn’t see Popeye the harbor seal at all yesterday or today. He’s such a cute fellow, but you can tell he has only one good eye.  The little statue of him in the park area even has one eye painted kind of silver.

Well, we can see a ways now, so it’s time to get moving on. On to Rosario.

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Finally moved on … to Friday Harbor

I know we didn’t blog anything yesterday.  Sorry about that, but we were tied up with a bunch of new friends.  We ran into another MacGregor owning couple (from Canada, eh?) whom we met at Port Orchard at the Blue Water Yachts Rendezvous.  Talk about a small world.

Grace and Peter pulled into the slip directly across from us.  Grace had given Stella a lot of great ideas on how to outfit the cabin of the boat, so Stella was thrilled to show her how she had used all those ideas.  Grace had a few new things to show Stella as well.  A good time catching up.  The picture at right is Peter and Grace with their dog Drake.  The boat on the left edge of the picture is their OverTime – a MacGregor 26M that they run without the mast as a pure motor boat.  That’s what Peter says, anyway.  Personally, I think he just lost the mast somewhere between here and Canada.

We enjoyed dinner with them, at least until the flag lowering ceremony where Grace almost made us stand to salute the Canadian flag.  🙂  Dave and Peter had quite the discussion about Apple (they own an iPad, iPhone, iWhatever) versus Microsoft, and how much they think we need to catch up. We’re hoping they’ll see the light some day and come over from the dark side.

We also ran into a couple that stopped and asked us if we knew Ray from Blue Water Yachts and if Southern Star was one of the boats he sold.  We said yes, that he did our demo sail, so he was a big part of our buying Southern Star.  Tom and Carolyn had a gorgeous larger sailboat (a Panda 40 named Moon Shadow) and invited us on board to visit for a while where we chatted over a glass of fine wine.  They were just celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary!  Congrats!!!  They’ve been around the world ( by accident, they claim!)  What a sweet couple – we hope we run into them again sometime soon, but as far as they roam, it might be a while!

One of the neatest things about sailing is what a tight community it is and how easy it is to make new friends.

Later in the afternoon we finally said goodbye to Roche Harbor and made the hour and a half trip down the east coast of San Juan Island to Friday Harbor.  Not a “resort” like Roche, but a fine marina up against a really nice little town.  We were greeted by the resident harbor seal that we learned was named Popeye.

After pulling into our slip, we walked into town and had a great lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall barbeque place.  We spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the other shops around their little downtown area, and then enjoyed a drink at a little place on top of a building on the hillside where we had a spectacular view of the harbor and the ferries coming and going.

We’re back at the boat for the evening, where we’ll make our dinner, read a bit, and then hit the sack in preparation for another day.

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