Saturday, October 31, 2009


Went down last night and started the boat. It started right up within 5 seconds. I let it run for almost 30 min at idle in gear.

The wind was really blowing down at the marina. I retied the dingy lines securing it to the dock and keeping it off of the piling. I also re-checked the mooring lines. I put on an extra spring line to keep the boat from moving forward in the slip. When it does this the bow gets the detritus from the moorage roof and it makes a mess.

I've got to replace the no. 3 battery and give her an oil change. I checked the bilge and it looked dry. I've got to spend some time just cleaning some things up.

I spent some time sipping a glass of whiskey and watching the wind on the water blow through the slips and causeway. It was a very long week and this is my "man cave" and refuge to reflect and renew.

Back home - Olympia

Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Day 24.
Left Kingston very early to make sure we hit the right currents at the Tacoma Narrows. We left at 0530. We watched a beautiful sunrise over North Seattle - the sun was so big and red. Waters are calm, skies are clear, it's easy cruising. We went down the central Puget Sound, down Colvos Passage, and into the Tacoma Narrows. We passed Pt. Defiance at 1015. Up to this point our speed was averaging about 6.3 knots. We made it through the Tacoma Narrows at 1100.

Just after the Tacoma Narrows I noticed the water temperature getting high again. This time it would get high and only slightly drop. When we reached McNeil Island and Balch Passage the water temperature guage needle just kept on going up. Something had to be done. So I turned to use a mooring buoy on the W side of Eagle Island. I stopped the boat and investigated the problem. I cleaned the raw water strainer, but also removed the hose that goes to the engine oil cooler. When I did that a golf ball sized lump of seaweed and junk popped out. I peered in and made sure that I got all the junk. I reconnected everything and the water temperature was much lower. So I got rid of this stress on me. However, as we were trying to tie up to the mooring buoy we got caught in the current and lost the boat hook. This didn't make me too happy. The problem was the current caught the boat and Josef didn't want to let go of the mooring buoy. There is no way you are strong enough to fight these forces - the current won. Minus one boat hook.

We then continued on our way. The day was looking to be hot. I looked at the sea water temperature on the depth sounder and was amazed at how warm the water was. The farther we continued into South Sound the warmer the water got. I told Josef that if the sea water temperature got above 70F I was going to stop the boat and jump in. Finally as we were in Olympia Harbor, just between the #1 and #3 day markers I noticed the sea water temperature hit 75 F! True to my promise, I stopped the boat and jumped in. The water was very warm and it was refreshing to cool down a bit, but not as refreshing as I thought. I would have liked the sea water temperature to be a bit cooler. After our quick dip, we made our way into our slip at West Bay Marina at 1530. It is so hot out. Max came down to help us in.

Thanks be to God for a safe trip. We cruised about 728.8 total miles - both the Zipper and the Independence. Total miles for the trip, not including Zipper excursions and side trips, was 532.5 nautical miles. This took 90:25 hours. This calculates to an average speed of 5.89 knots. Total engine hours for the trip was 109.1.

Nm: 56.6 Avg. speed: 5.9 knots Time: 9:38 Hours: 10.1 Engine hours: 5949.5


Monday, July 27, 2009. Day 23.
Clear skies and calm seas. We left the Skagit Island mooring buoy at 0630 to continue our trip home. We had perfectly calm seas to about Francis Bay in Saratoga Passage. Not too many boats out either. I layed down at Francis Bay and got up again when we reached Sandy Point on Whidbey Island. There's a light N/NW breeze of about 5 knots. It's going to be a hot day. We're making good speed after rouding Rocky Point, we're averaging over 6.5 knots.

As we were going around Possession Point I noticed that the water temperature guage was fluctuating a bit. It would climb and then drop. I kept an eye on it but wasn't too bothered. What I did notice is that there was a lot of seaweed and junk in the water.

I joined JoJo up on the flying bridge crossing from Saratoga Passage across Puget Sound to Kingston. We made it into Kingston at 1330 and headed to the fuel dock. I got 210 gallons at $2.39/gal or $504.01. Since we last filled up, 117.3 engine hours have elapsed, which figures to be about 1.79 gallons/hour. We then went over to our slip and tied up for the day.

It's very hot here in Kingston. It's clear, cloudless, and windless. We all took cold showers to cool off. Later we went to Luna Bella for our traditional dinner and our traditional pizza - "Morgan's Special." As usual it was very good. We topped it off with ice cream - we were all stuffed.

Nm: 43.8 Avg. speed: 6.4 knots Time: 6:52 Hours: 7.2 Engine hours: 5939.4


Sunday, July 26, 2009. Day 22.
Woke to partly cloudy skies and light winds. We met our good friends from Olympia - Dave & Mary Delong - who were up meeting with Mary's Mom & Dad who live in Friday Harbor. We decided to have breakfast at the Friday Harbor Donut Shop. This place serves great breakfasts, has great doughnuts, is very popular, and as a result very crowded. We had a great time eating and chatting. It is always so good to see the Delongs and Mary's parents the Leche's.

As the morning progressed the fog rolled in. It got quite soupy. We left Friday Harbor with a full send off from the Delongs and Leche's. The fog was very thick all the way to Leo Reef. As we were leaving Friday Harbor we had a couple of boats follow us although they had radar too. We went up Upright Channel past Flat Point and to Upright Head on Lopez Island. Just past Upgright Head where the ferry docks for Lopez Island I had to to do an emergency turn around because the ferry was wanting to dock at Lopez. You couldn't see the ferry until he was less than 1/8 mile away. This was very stressful. I wonder what the boats following me thought when all of a sudden I'm turning around. All in all we made it through this challenge fine and shortly thereafter the fog cleared. We went through Thatcher Pass and into Rosario Strait where we rode a healthy ebb all the way down to Deception Pass. We made Deception Pass at about 1305.

There were lots of boats attempting to go through Deception Pass both E and W at the same time. We had one big yacht fly by us with a 6' or more wake just feet from our port side. To say the least I was not too happy. I let him know my displeasure. Of course his reply was "get out of the way."

As we rounded Hoypus Point we could see that the N shore of Hope Island was crowded with anchored boats and the mooring buoys were all taken. So we cruised over to the N side of Skagit Island and found an open mooring buoy. Initially I was a bit concerned since the mooring buoy is very close to shore, but we tied up and decided to give it a try. The wind blew right out of Deception Pass briskly and right into where we were tied up. It was not too peaceful. We went to shore and explored the Marine Trail Campsite. We also played another game of waterfetch with Hank. You couldn't throw the stick out too far into the water since the current was quite strong.

Nm: 23.6 Avg. speed: 6.1 knots Time: 3:51 Hours: 4.1 Engine hours: 5932.2

Back in the US

Saturday, July 25, 2009. Day 21.
We left Montague at 0610 to continue our trip S. Weather was calm with a few clouds. We went down Navy Channel & Plumper Sound and crossed over into the US at approximately 0825.

As we were cruising we heard a fellow Olympia boater the "Velocity" on the radio. I hailed them and we had a short chat. It was nice to connect to somebody from home when you are out.

We continued on down San Juan Channel and into Friday Harbor at 1030. We stopped at the Customs dock and got our clearance number: 3014200907251333334. I don't know why but clearing customs is always a bit nerve wracking for me. This time, while I was talking on the shore phone to Customs a boat tide up in front of us and let a bunch of people off. The Customs area is very visibly marked CUSTOMS ONLY. Next thing the Customs agent is asking me who these people are and what are they doing. He then became interested in them and not so interested in me. He quickly processed us and sent us on our way. We then proceeded to slip G50.

Friday Harbor is a time to get showers, and reconnect with friends and family in the US - we did both. The the marina showers were quite busy and we had to wait for quite some time. We then did our customary trip to the Front Street Ale House. As always I had the "Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak" for dinner. Josef had Prime Rib. I was a little "freaked" because of all the people coming and going. After being weeks out in the wilderness and now you see all these people it takes some getting used to.

As the day turned into evening we were presented with a spectacular show of lightening and thunder as a storm passed just overhead. I watched and counted the seconds after seeing the lightning and figured it struck not more than 2 miles away.

Nm: 27.9 Avg. speed: 6.1 kts. Time: 4:33 Hours: 4.8 Ending hours: 5928.1

Montague - Last Night in Canada

Friday, July 24, 2009. Day 20.
The SE winds that blew through the Newcastle anchorage died down late in the evening and we had a very peaceful night. Newcastle Harbor is a busy anchorage being right across from Nanaimo and being a popular marine park. Also, it was Friday night so you could hear people talking, arguing, and partying late into the night. That's one thing about Newcastle - welcome back to civilization after being in the wilderness.

We woke to partly cloudy skies and no wind. We weighed anchor very early at 0525 to get through Dodd Narrows. We made it to Dodd at 0624, about 15 min. past slack, and ebbing in our favor of pushing us S through the Narrows. Because it was so early, we only had to contend with 3 boats instead of the usual parade of boats when later in the day - this was nice. Trincomali Channel was perfectly calm with only an occasional ripple here and there all the way to Montague Harbor. We experienced very few boats from Dodd to Montague. We got to Montague at 0950 and got a mooring buoy. Kim took Hank immediately to the beach. Skies are overcast but no threat of rain. I enjoyed that we were not anchoring, we just had to tie up to a mooring buoy.

We spent the afternoon being lazy. We went to the park and a short walk to the beach facing W, or opposite of the harbor. It was a hot afternoon and there were quite a few people out. We found a secluded spot on down and made it our. I played water fetch with Hank and he enjoyed that a lot again. We whiled away the afternoon doing nothing. Finally we returned to the boat and made some grilled chicken for dinner. We used the recipe that I invented back at Beaver Inlet. It was very good - again.
Nm: 28 Avg. speed: 6.3 kts. Time: 4:25 Hours: 4.9 Ending hours: 5923.3

Picking Up Josef

Thursday, July 23, 2009. Day 19.
Just after we went to bed around 9:30-10:00 PM the wind started blowing and blew hard all night long. It was hard to sleep because you could hear the waves slapping against the hull and the boat pitching at anchor from the wind. I got up at 0230 to let out more rode to increase the anchor scope because I was concerned we would drag anchor.

I got up early and we weighed anchor at 0600 to go to Nanaimo. This early departure served several purposes. One, get the heck out of this "washing machine" anchorage; and two, cross the last part of Georgia Strait - area Whiskey Golf - before the range became active. Comox Coast Guard radio said the range was going to be active by 0800. I figured we would just be out of area WG by then, it would be close, but we would be out.

There was still a very brisk NW wind blowing. I was worried what the Strait would be like once we really got out into the Strait. That is, when we lost protection from Lasqueti Island and we would be hit from the full distance of the Strait. We got out of Bull Passage and almost immediately could feel the remnants of the NW waves and swell. Once we were E of Sangster Island we were in the thick of it - 15+ knot NW wind, and 3-4' moderate seas. These conditions continued until we were just N of Winchelsea Island when it seemed to abate some. As we neared Clark Rock the seas continued to abate to a 2' chop with an occasional 3 footer thrown in. We made Departure Bay by 0930. We got into Newcastle Harbor by 0945 and dropped the hook in 22' of water at 1/2 ebbing tide. It's good to be stopped and out of the wind and waves. Immediately Kim took Hank to the beach since he didn't get his usual morning beach break.

There were some very large tides occuring. As I was enjoying the late morning - early afternoon, I noticed that a rock was appearing about 10-15' from my stern. The depth sounder (mounted on the stern) showed that we were only in 5' of water. We still had another 2 hours until low tide. Being cautious I moved the boat about 50 yards to the N. We re-anchored in 15' of water at near low tide. The wind which was blowing from the NW changed direction and was now blowing from the SE and at times quite brisk, maybe 15+ knots. This created quite a chop in the anchorage.

Just around 2:00 PM we went to town to do some shopping. We had to get some steaks to welcome Josef back from two weeks hockey camp in Port Alberni. We got the text message that we were to meet him at "Muddy Waters Pub" at 4:00 PM. Kim and I enjoyed a snack and a drink while we waited for Josef. The day was turning out to be another hot one. When we finally met up with Josef he was miserable from carrying all his hockey gear a long distance and being hit by a car in the parking lot. The ride from the pub to the boat was enjoyable in that it cooled us all off.

We came back and started grilling steaks and shrimp on the back deck. We chatted about our boating adventures and listened to Josef about his hockey adventures. We were glad to have JoJo back on board the Independence.

Nm: 23.8 Avg. speed: 6.3 kts. Time: 3:45 Hours: 3.9 Ending hours: 5918.4

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Long Slog Down the Strait

Wednesday, July 22, 2009. Day 18.
Woke to sunny, clear skies. Weighed anchor at 0540. Breezes are light from the NW and an ebb current lightly pulled us out of Desolation Sound. As we motored along I noticed that we were making great speed and time because of the large ebb current that we were riding S. As we approached the Mystery Reef waypoint I did a course correction - instead of going down the W side of Texada, we decided to go down Malaspina Strait. Listening to the weather reports there were rough seas from Comox and down through the Sisters so this was the 'quieter' route to go. Unfortunately this route is about 5.8 nm farther which will probably cost us an hour. Oh well I hate being rolled by rough water.

There was quite a bit of chop and waves around Powell River but seas subsided as we continued to go down Malaspina Strait. Opposite of Hardy Island the wind almost completely stopped. As we came by the Anderson Bay waypoint, we discussed continuing on to Nanaimo instead of stopping at Jedediah Island overnight. In the end we decided to stop for the day. So we entered the archipelago from the southern end of Bull Passage and motored to Long Bay, or what I call "Goat Bay." We dropped the anchor close to the Jedediah Island shore in 15' of water. The wind is blowing from the NW at about 10-15 knots. While sure the wind is blowing, it's keeping us cool and keeping the mosquitoes away.

After anchoring, I took a nap and Kim cleaned the Zipper. I then woke and put the crab pots away for the year and made dinner. The winds died down for dinner which made grilling European wieners easier. I also made a German potatoe salad for dinner.

Nm: 56.1 Avg. speed: 6.9 kts. Time: 8:07 Hours: 8.5 Ending hours: 5914.5

A Day Off

Tuesday, July 21, 2009. Day 17.
Woke to clear skies. At 0800 I went over to the bakery to get our order of "sticky buns." They were very good. Then I started the generator and let it run for a couple of hours. I think the generator is starting to burn oil because I had to add 1/2 pint.

We cruised over to the Squirrel Cove lagoon entrance and it looked like a waterfall. Kim took some pictures. We manuevered the Zipper over into a spot where we were in the shade and got some of the mist from the lagoon outfall. Although it was early it was already quite warm. We then went over to Squirrel Cove to get some groceries and some ice.

We had a nice relaxing evening grilling some steaks and enjoying a Cesar on the back deck. It's our last day before we go down Strait of Georgia.

Time for a Swim

Monday, July 20, 2009. Day 16.
We weighed anchor from beautiful Von Donop Provincial Marine Park at 0756. Several other boats had the same idea. We followed 2 boats through the narrows and past the mid-channel rock (stay well to the W). I think the many boats were leaving because the tide was falling fast and it was supposed to be a low tide today. We rode a healthy ebb current out of Von Donop Inlet and out into Sutil Channel. We continued to enjoy this ebb until the far end of Cortes Island where we fought the current until we entered Lewis Channel. The wind was brisk again today from the N/NW and we enjoyed following seas and a healthy ebb down Lewis Channel helping us make well over 7 knots speed. We got into Squirrel Cove at 11:15 AM. We anchored in our usual spot, except this time we did a stern tie to shore. We did this so we can enjoy the afternoon shade as it's going to be hot today. We're anchored in 14.5' of water and our stern is about 20' from shore.

I ran the generator for a few hours and then we headed off to Teakerne Arm for a swim. The swim was absolutely delicious. The water was just perfect for a hot day. The swim was definitely what was needed. I felt so refreshed. We then came back and grilled some wieners for dinner. I finished the day enjoying a nice crisp, cool Cesar on the back deck.

Nm: 16.0 Avg. speed: 5.9 kts. Time: 2:43 Hours: 3.0 Ending hours: 5906.0

Yuculta's & Von Donop Inlet

Sunday, July 19, 2009. Day 15.
We weighed anchor at 05:50 AM to get through the Yuculta's. Weather was clear with a brisk W wind. We cruised at 1700 RPM because I didn't want to go too fast since we would arrive at the rapids too soon. We were supposed to be fighting an ebb current, but instead got a ride from a current that pushed me along faster than I wanted. Cruising down past Shoal Bay I slowed down even more on the throttle to less than 1500 RPM but still was making 7 knots. Only when we got by Gomer Island just N of Dent Rapids did I start to experience a strong ebb, slowing me down to 4 knots or less. I simply motored over close to the Sonora Island shore and caught the back eddies. As it was, we made Gillard Rapids right at slack. By the time we made Yuculta Rapids, the rapids were just starting to form.

After traversing through the Yuculta's we went down Drew Passage just W of the Rendezvous Islands. For all the years we been cruising up here this was a first for us. We continued this course into Sutil Channel and then down into Von Donop Inlet. We entered Von Donop Inlet just after the tide had turned and so we had a good current pushing us into the bay. I was a bit concerned about the mid-channel rock in Von Donop Inlet but it was no problem. We met another power boat trying to exit, but I had to let him know that I had the right-of-way since I was traveling with the current and my steerage was a bit affected.

As we entered into the larger portion of the bay we could see it was not too crowded, but there were still quite a few boats anchored. We decided to anchor on the W side of the outer bay so we could enjoy the shade sooner later in the day. It was looking like it was going to be a hot day. We anchored in 31' of water at just past low tide.

The outer bay is large and will accommodate many boats; there are about 12-14 boats anchored out here. Von Donop Inlet is quite scenic with all the little bays and indents. After taking a short nap, we then 'Zipper'd' around Von Donop Inlet to explore. At one point we stopped at a beach and played 'water fetch' with Hank. He thought fetching the stick out of the water was great fun. After all of this we came back prepared a crab & prawn dinner.

Nm: 31.7 Avg. speed: 5.6 kts. Time: 5:38 Hours: 5.9 Ending hours: 5903.0