Sunday, June 5, 2011

Short Trip to Hope Island

It's the first nice weekend of the year so we thought we'd make a short trip to Hope Island.  This has been the coldest spring on record and its supposed to be nice and warm. Being that it's going to be the first trip of the year... I thoroughly checked the engine - oil, coolant, raw water strainer, heat exchangers, and more.  I found a bit of caked salt build-up in the main aft heat exchanger.  Not sure where or why this salt build-up occurs.  It's big enough to almost clog the raw water flow into the heat exchanger.  After checking the engine I had to get the dinghy back on to the MV Independence.  This required filling the pontoons, checking for leaks and putting it on the swim step dinghy chocks.  This all checked out okay.  However when I laid down on the dock I glimpsed the Independence rudder covered with barnacles and mussels.  Ugh.  That means if I can see growth, there's more that I cannot see.  I know from experience that there's probably basketball sized "balls" of mussels growing off of the engine intake and other through-hulls.  So I don my dive gear and go clean up the growth.  It's not as bad as I thought on the rudder, prop, and skeg, but it's worse than I thought on the through-hulls - huge basketball sized "balls" of mussels growing on the through-hulls.  They come off easily with little effort.  I think, good I dove to clean this growth off no use giving mussels a free ride at my fuel expense.  I also scraped what I could off of the rudder, skeg, and prop.  I now think we're ready to go.  I wanted to leave at about 11 AM, but now it is after 3 PM and I'm beat.

We pull out of the slip and I'm glad I gave the prop and rudder a good cleaning because I remember I need the steerage to get out of my slip.  I have to make a 180 degree turn.  But it's not that easy to just turn I have to do some "jogging" to get out.  Wind and current will affect my out of the slip "jogging."  There's a slight breeze out of the N about 10 knots or less.  The tide is ebbing and it is a big tide - over a 17' drop between high and low.  There's a minus 2.2 tide today.  The stand (moment between low and high tide) for Olympia is at about 2:15 PM.  It's going to be a whopper of an incoming tide. 

As we get out of West Bay Marina, there's a lot of boats out in the Olympia Harbor.  Everybody is enjoying the first nice weather of the year.  We cruise slowly out as I watch the engine temperature come up.  I check the bilge to see if there are any leaks - I don't see any from my cleaning of the salt from the heat exchanger.  The engine temp rises to its normal mark and I increase the throttle to 1,800 rpm - cruising speed.  We're doing 6+ knots going out of Budd Inlet.  Once past the Olympia Shoal I make for Hunter Point about 6 nm away, due true N.  I can tell we're fighting the incoming flood since we're doing just barely over 6 knots.  Once we get close to Hunter Point we start to ride the incoming flood going to Totten Inlet.  We pass the Squaxin Shoal buoy and we're doing over 9 knots and the Squaxin buoy is almost under water from the current.  I can tell I'm drifting or "crabbing" to the west as I turn to go up Squaxin Passage to where I want to anchor.  When I get in Squaxin Passage with Hope Is directly to the W, I slow to an idle about 750 rpm and notice we're still doing over 5 knots going N.  I turn into the current to find my anchoring spot in about 20' of water about 50' from shore.  I drop the hook and let the current take us as I drop the chain rode.  The anchor sets quickly with a jolt.  I let out about another 10' of chain making the rode about 60' out.  A 3:1 rode should be satisfactory with settled weather.  There's two other sailboats anchored nearby.  I enjoy this spot because if you anchor in the right spot you get a bit of a feel of wilderness - you won't see any houses except for Hunter Pt.

I drop the dinghy to take the dogs to the beach.  I row furiously and still lose ground ending up much farther down the beach to the N than I wanted.  I let the dogs off and then pull the dinghy by its painter along the beach to a point were I can ride the current back to the Independence.  The dogs enjoy the beach, romping about and barking.  Nothing like "terra firma" for dogs.  It's a short beach visit.  The strong flood current catches the dinghy and I miss the Independence by about 20'.  I feel like I'm on a river.  Fortunately I am able to row against the current to tie up to the stern but I am exhausted.  I finally sit down to relax after a full day of activities and enjoy my first cold beer.  Almost immediately from all the day's events I find that I am exhausted and quickly take a short pre-dinner nap. 
View S towards Hunter Pt from anchorage

The cruise to Hope Island took just over an hour.  The evening is warm and enjoyable.  It's what boating is all about.  We enjoy the evening with a drink, a light dinner, and listening to the radio until it just starts to turn dark.

I wake early the next morning to a gorgeous clear morning.  There's thunder heads far to the south.  The morning is muggy.  We enjoy a relaxing morning with another beach visit and taking some time to read a book with a cup of coffee in hand - nothing finer.  We take off to return back home about noon.  We slowly cruise back to our home port slip by 2:00 PM.  I pour myself a shot of spirits after getting everything stowed away and take a quick break to enjoy what was a great quick get away weekend.

No comments: