Looking east to Mount Baker and Obstruction Pass

Paxton and Kelsey in the San Juan Islands August 2011

It was decided that Paxton would be crew for the trip to the San Juans and Roche Harbor, and that Kelsey would crew for the trip back. Paxton came over to the house on Monday evening and we discussed our travel plans for tomorrow and the two days following. Linda dropped us off at the marina around 7:30 and we had breakfast and stowed our gear. Paxton was going to handle the lines and fenders during docking or leaving the dock, and he would also back me up on the helm when I needed a break. We untied and motored over to the fuel dock at Breakwater to top off Helios' diesel tank and the gas tank for the dinghy and its spare. We were underway for Poulsbo by 8:30. The water was smooth with the wind less than 5 knots so we didn't even take the sail covers off, (a common theme for the trip.) We arrived in Liberty Bay and the Poulsbo Marina a little after noon, and Don Foss from TYC was there so we pulled in next to him and he took the line from Paxton. We got all settled in our slip and the marina paid and it was time to walk through town. Paxton was giving me a hard time about being Norwegian after seeing one of the stores describing the upcoming slug hunt and the availability of slug hunting licenses. We decided upon the Hare & Hound for lunch with fish & chips for Paxton and a large cheeseburger for me, and root beer for both of us. We walked over to Sluy's Bakery for dessert, which we brought back to the boat to eat. Paxton dropped the kayak in the water to paddle around the marina, while I visited with Don and Paul & Leslie Brantner from TYC.

Paxton and I were up for my coffee and his cocoa and then breakfast. We listened to the weather forecast and made our decision to travel up the eastside of Whidbey Island, since the winds were supposed to be 30+ knots in the eastern part of Juan de Fuca. Once again the wind gods were somewhere else, as we had winds of 2 knots. We motored over to Everett and were tied to the dock with everything settled by 3. We both had showers and then an early dinner at Anthony's Woodfire Restaurant, and back to Helios for a couple of movies, Jaws & Heartbreak Ridge. We were to bed later than planned but we will sleep some other time.

We were up at 7 for breakfast and coffee for me, and were untied and on our way by a little after 8. We needed to arrive at the southern entrance of the Swinomish Channel around 1:30-2:00 P.M., so we alternated using the engines and moved along around 5.5-6 knots. There was plenty of water with the lowest reading under the keels being 6 feet. We were tied up at the end tie of Q dock at Cap Santee by 3:45 P.M. Paxton had called for a slip while we were traversing the channel. We used the dinghy to get over the office and check in. We got back to Helios and we washed the deck with Paxton doing most of the work. We had dinner at the new Anthony's and were entertained by the chef cooking the seafood, while we sat at bar seats overlooking his grill. It was back to Helios and Jaws 2 before heading off to bed.

We were up a little after 7, had breakfast and coffee. The fog had limited visibility but we had a schedule to meet. Helios was underway by 8:30 and moving slowly through the fog, with visibility down to 100-150 yards. The AIS and radar were providing a sense of security by showing where the Washington State Ferries and the tugs with tows were. We got across Rosario Strait and through Thatcher Pass before the fog started to lift. We motored up Harney Channel and through the Wasp Islands to San Juan Channel and Roche Harbor. We anchored over in front of the Seattle outstation, and took the dinghy over to the docks. We were on the docks around 2, only to find out through a text from Grandma that the schedule had been pushed back because of the fog in Seattle. The estimated time of arrival was close to 4, so Paxton and I had plenty of time to walk the docks and ended up sitting in the waiting chairs for Kenmore Air and watching the moving circus of boats trying to get to the Customs Dock so they could check in to the U.S.A. Grandma and Kelsey came in on a Beaver with four other passengers and we walked up to Dominique’s to have the dry flower arrangement ordered. We then headed back to the dinghy and Helios. The anchor was raised with a huge amount of eel grass. We were underway for the 3.5 miles trip to Reid Harbor, where we dropped anchor and settled in for the night. The grandkids and I took a ride down to the dinghy dock and back, and before we left Kelsey took try at starting the motor on the dinghy and it started. After the dinghy ride the kayak went in the water and Paxton and Kelsey paddled around various parts of the anchorage. We had hamburgers and fruit for dinner and then Kelsey started watching a Bones episode, while Paxton and I played a couple of games of Chronology. After the games we watched another episode of Bones with Kelsey and then it was time for bed.

Paxton driving the dinghy in Reid Harbor   Paxton and Kelsey using the dinghy and the kayak in Reid Harbor on Stuart IslandKelsey in kayak and Paxton in dinghy

Linda and I were up a little after seven, while the grandkids were still sleeping. It was a quiet time for coffee and reading. They got up when Linda started breakfast. It was a nice day and we were in the dinghy on our way to the dock for a little walking to stretch the legs. We walked over to the Prevost side and while Paxton and Kelsey walked along the edge of the shore we watched them and the other people on the dock. Paxton decided to take the East Loop Trail up to the top of the bluff for the view, while the rest of us waited on the pier, watching two people fairly new to sail-boarding try to improve their skills. We all got in the dinghy for a trip to Gossip Island at the head of the harbor, with Kelsey driving. It was a little windy but the view was outstanding. Kelsey got us all back to Helios, and then she and Paxton were out in the dinghy.


We retreated to the cockpit and pull down the side curtains to enjoy a nice afternoon. Paxton gave dinghy rides and tours to all of us during the afternoon. Kelsey and I started up again of Mexican dominoes and she dominated me for three games, and then Paxton joined in and she be both of us twice before he managed to eke out a win. We had decided to spend another night rather than raise anchor find someplace new and drop anchor again. It was getting close to dinnertime, so it was time to hoist the dinghy into position, with Kelsey and I handling the and with the motor and Paxton handling the bow. We had steak for dinner and then it was time for some more Mexican dominoes with the four of us playing. Kelsey continued to win the majority of the games. A little later we moved inside to watch some NCI S episodes before heading to bed.


Linda and I were up early for coffee and a little quiet time before the grandkids got up. After they were up and had breakfast and Kelsey had done some of her summer homework, it was time to raise the anchor and head towards Fisherman's Bay. It wasn't a very long trip and we had to be careful entering as it is fairly shallow. We were tied up in our slip by two o'clock in the afternoon. And the kids were anxious to try out the swimming pool. After little time in the pool. It was time to walk back to Helios for a late lunch. We walked the docks looking at the other boats in the Marina. The grandkids got their nets out at a bucket to see what they could catch from the dock.


Looking across Fishermen's Bay to the Isthmus that separates Fishermen's Bay from the channel,Fisherman's Bay from Lopez Islander Resort leading to cattle pass

After the grandkids returned the four of us played Mexican dominoes and Kelsey continued to be the major winner with Paxton I jumping in every now and then to breaker streaks. It was baked chicken with sesame ginger for dinner with corn, and then after everything was cleaned up a walk around the docks. It was a couple of episodes of Rizzoli & Isles before bed.


We awoke to sunshine and calm waters and Linda and I got up around 7, letting the Grandkids sleep until they were ready to get up. Kelsey was up first with Paxton about 10 minutes later. We had breakfast and then while Kelsey was doing her reading for school, Paxton and I took the garbage up to the dumpsters. When everyone was ready we went over to the bike rental place. Kelsey and I were on a tandem, while Paxton and Linda opted for two singles since Linda would have to drive on a tandem. We headed to Lopez Village and parked the bikes and walked around the various stores. We found the Soda Fountain and had some sundaes, before moving on to the other stores. The Fudge Factory was a great place to stop, as was the store with the jigsaw puzzles. We finally made our way back to the bikes and headed back. I provided the entertainment when I was trying to dismount at the bike rental place and got one leg hung up on the handlebar set behind my seat. We were back to the boat to have the grandkids change into swimsuits and it was 2 hours in the pool. We were back for dinner and then I took the grandkids back to the pool. While they were swimming I took a shower and then they both did when they were done swimming around 8. We walked back to the boat for a little settling down and a couple of episodes of Bones.




This puzzle has a sea lion giving the Lopez Island wave. Kelsey was the first one to put it together.Sea Lion Puzzle


Linda and I were up around 7:30 and the grandkids by 8. We had breakfast, filled the water tank and got ready to get underway. We were out of Fisherman’s Bay a little after 10 and through Upright Channel to Obstruction Pass. We went up the East side of Orcas but not enough wind to sail and the current was against us. We found a mooring buoy in Ewing Cove. We all loaded up in the dinghy to go pay for the moorage and then the grandkids donned their wetsuits for a little swimming. The swimming didn’t last very long with the water temp being 10 degrees colder than Wollochet or Oro Bay. After the swimming we gathered on the foredeck to warm up. Grandma brought out the deck chairs and cockpit seats and we sat in the sun. Echo Bay Sucia IslandA little later we had a snack and then it was time for a tour of the East end of Sucia Island, with Kelsey driving the dinghy. We started by going through the pass at the head of Ewing Cove and around the north side of Ewing Island. We then headed over to Fossil Bay looking at the channels between North and South Finger Islands and South Finger Island and Sucia Island, with a quick look into Snoring Bay, before entering Fossil Bay. I think there might have been more boats in Fossil Bay than Echo Bay. We came back via the channel between South Finger Island and Sucia Island, across Echo Bay and through the rocks to Ewing Cove and Helios. I played a game of Chronology with the Grandkids while Linda got dinner ready. After dinner we watched “Wild Hogs” as it was Paxton’s choice for the evening. After the movie is was almost 10 and we all gathered back on the foredeck to look at stars and we even saw a couple of shooting stars. Everyone headed to bed after stargazing.

looking through obstruction Pass towards Mt. Bakerfog in the southern portion of Rosario StraitLooking towards obstruction Pass with Mount Baker in the background, and fog in the southern portion of Rosario Strait after clearing obstruction Pass

Helios on mooring buoy in Ewing Cove Sucia Island   Kelsey driving dinghy Echo Bay Sucia Island   Paxton looking at rock formations Sucia Island

  The 3 pictures above and 2 below were taken at Sucia Island, where we moored in Ewing Cove.

Paxton and Kelsey in wetsuits before getting in the water     Paxton and Kelsey jumping in Ewing Cove on Sucia Island

On the left - "You First", On the right - "Both Together"

Paxton and Kelsey with Grandma before breakfastLinda and I were up a little after 7 and thought it was warm enough in the boat that we didn’t need the heat turned on to remove the chill. It was a little rocky with the high tide being at 8 and boats leaving in the morning. We had pancakes and bacon for breakfast and then got ready to leave and do some sailing. When we got out between Sucia and Orcas the wind was 10 from the East so up went the main sail and we rolled out the Code 0. Our best speed was around 6 before the wind gradually died. We put the sails away at the bottom of Waldron Island and motored towards eastern tip of Speiden Island and then Roche Harbor. When we got into Speiden Channel the wind was 14 knots coming up the channel behind us and the current was helping also, so we were making 9 knots. The run was too short to get the crew to put the sails back up and there was a lot of traffic, so the water was very sloppy. We arrived in Roche Harbor to find no crab pots today and our end tie slip one pier back on “I” dock from where we were a month ago. The grandkids jumped into the kayak to paddle over to the swimming pool, but returned with the news that you had to be over 14, or accompanied by an adult. I went over in the dinghy with them, while Linda straightened up Helios. They played in the pool while I read a magazine until Linda walked over, and Paxton decided he had enough. He had showered and was ready to go back, so he and I jumped in the dinghy. I saw Rod Tayet and Nini on their sailboat, which is moored across the way from Helios’ moorage in Breakwater. We pulled up and talked much longer than Paxton wanted, I’m sure. We headed back when the dock boys said a boat was coming in and we would have to move. When we got back the girls were already there. We relaxed around the cockpit and then took a dock walk to look at boats. We only did half the marina leaving the other half for tomorrow. We got back had hamburgers for dinner with some fruit and then walked up to the head of the dock while the flag lowering ceremony was happening. We got to the ice cream stand for dessert only to find out neither Linda or I had brought enough money, so she walked back while I watched Paxton and Kelsey play bocce ball. We had our ice cream and walked back to Helios and an evening movie, “Fools Gold”, after which we all went to bed.


We were up a little later than usual and we both had coffee and discussed today’s logistics and then Kelsey was up and Paxton shortly thereafter, in time for breakfast. Our plan was to leave on the bus around 10:30. We were ahead of schedule and caught the earlier shuttle bus, and were in Friday Harbor by 10:30. We walked around the various shops and bought small fishing rods and gear for the Grandkids, T-shirt & Hat for Grandpa and a visor for Kelsey. I saw a beautiful gold orca ring at Dan Levin’s Jewelry Store. We took the 1:00 shuttle back to Roche Harbor and Kelsey and I did a page of math, (multiplying fractions,) while Linda and Paxton washed the deck. I went with the grandkids to the pool and Linda went up to the store to pick up her flower arrangement. The kids swam until around 6 and we headed back to get ready for dinner.

Paxton & Kelsey fishing at Roche HarborPaxton and Kelsey fishing

 We walked up to the more causal restaurant called, Madrona. We were seated outside next to the railing. While we were eating, one of the employees was finishing his last shift of the summer, and two of the other guys picked him up and carried him over and dumped him into the water off the railing of the pier to the old dock. After dinner we walked down the old dock to look at boats but the girls wanted to head back to the boat to get some warmer clothes for the flag lowering ceremony. We walked back up and got some ice cream for dessert and the ceremony. The cannon salute caught the girls off guard; however, the ceremony was very nice. We started to walk down one of the fingers that we hadn’t checked out, but we decided it was time to head back to the boat as things were cooling off rapidly. We started “Sleepless in Seattle”, Kelsey’s choice, after they tried fishing at dusk. About halfway through the movie Kelsey was falling asleep, and Paxton had already bailed, so it was time for bed.

Linda and I were up at 7 for coffee and quiet time. We aren’t sure where we will end up for the evening. After breakfast the grandkids headed to the dinghy dock by the pool in the dinghy, and I walked up with a little shopping list. I talked with one of the dock helpers about staying another night, but wanted to talk with Linda before a final decision. She agreed and went to pay for another night, and then we walked up to the stores. We each found something in the store and then it was back to Helios and the kids changed into swimsuits with tops and took the dinghy back to the pool dinghy dock, and when they were done fishing they would call so one or both Linda and I could come over to get them into the pool area. Linda puttered on the boat while I walked the docks looking at boats, and ran into new members of TYC, Ken and Edie Gordon on Kokomo. They had joined last month and will be presented to the club at the September meeting. The grandkids called around 4:30 and Linda and I walked over with kindle and magazine to pass the time. Paxton was done first around 6 and Kelsey shortly afterwards. While they showered to rinse off the chlorine, Linda walked back to get dinner started and I came with the kids in the dinghy. We played Mexican Train Dominos in the cockpit until dinner was ready, and then it was a quick walk to the ice cream stand for dessert before it closed, and a little more Mexican Train Dominos in the cockpit while eating ice cream. We adjourned to the cabin to watch a couple episodes of Bones and it was time for bed.


Pax on mooring linePaxton using stern mooring line as a tightrope

Linda and I were up before 7 for coffee and quiet time. I think we will try and leave a little early and stop by English Camp, will see. We were finished with breakfast by 9:30 and Paxton took up the garbage and helped me fill the water tank. He rolled up the power cords and Kelsey started the engines to warm them up. We pulled away from the dock at 10 headed for Deer Harbor. It was a short trip helped by the fact it was almost high tide, so we could leave through the opening on the east end of Pearl Island, which eliminates about a mile of travel, and the lowest reading with a 5’ tide was 6’, or 10’ to the surface. The current was already flowing west so we hugged the San Juan shoreline for a little relief. We pulled into Deer Harbor a little after 11 and the dock was busy. The guys on the dock asked me to wait while they figured out what they were going to do. We motored by our outstation and saw that there was only one boat there, so we pulled in and tied up. Ron and Sharon Hegewald were there. I notified the marina that we would be at the outstation, and they said fine, since they were turning away people. The grandkids were anxious to swim, so they went swimming for awhile came back for lunch. While we were gone Steve Felton in Wiki Wiki side-tied to Helios.  They returned to the pool and swam until 6 when we went back for dinner, and then it was time for ice cream for dessert and a walk of the docks to look at boats. We came back and played some Mexican Train Dominos and I talked with Steve a little. He has his boat up for sale and is buying Roger Rue’s Penn Station, a 44 Hylas. We adjourned to the cabin for a couple episodes of Bones before bed.


Linda and I were up at 7 for coffee and quiet time. This is our last day together as the girls fly out on Kenmore air at 3. I think Paxton and I will go to Garrison Bay for the evening, as it will give us a good start for crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The plans were made in sand once again. The weather isn’t going to hold so we are going to Hunter Bay. The grandkids were up and read to swim after breakfast and we were at the pool until after 12. We stopped at the small grill restaurant on the dock to place our lunch orders. Paxton and I waited for the orders while Linda and Kelsey headed back to the boat. We hung around the boat until it was time to walk over to the Kenmore dock for the plane, which was a few minutes late. Paxton and I were back at Helios getting ready to go to Hunter Bay on the southeast corner of Lopez Island. It was about a 2 hour trip under power, as the wind was variable and usually on the nose. We dropped the anchor in 22 feet of water. Paxton and I planned Monday’s travel and had dinner watching an episode of Rizzoli & Isles. We watched Bullet and then it was time for bed.


I was up at 6:30 to gray skies and a light mist. The diesel heater didn’t want to work this morning, so it looks like I have another project. We are hoping to be underway by 8 and through Deception Pass before 10 and on our way to Everett. Paxton was locking the anchor into place as the clock went from 7:59 to 8:00. The wind continued to build as we headed towards Deception Pass; however, the waves hadn’t time to build. We had gusts of 23-25 through the pass, and fairly steady in the 15-20 all the way to Oak Harbor. The motor down to Everett was long and boring, with various motor vessels passing us, along with dodging the purse seiners. We were tied up to the dock in Everett at 3:37 in the rain. We got all the power on and the heaters running, including the hot water heater and after 15-20 minutes Paxton showered, then I showered. We walked up to the Woodfire Restaurant, stopping to pay our moorage fee at the check in box. Paxton had his favorite appetizer of hard little breads with a bowl of baked 4 cheeses with pecans on top, while I had the calamari. We had light meals, pizza for Pax and fish and chips for me, so there would be room for dessert. After dinner we walked back to one episode of Rizzoli & Isles and then Bloodwork with Clint. It was still early enough that I introduced him to an episode of Highlander, and then it was off to bed.


I awoke because of a thump hitting the hull. I got up looked through the windows, didn’t see anything and set about making coffee. I noticed the battery bank drop when I started the coffeepot and checked the power cables, and one had come loose. I plugged it back in and everything was fine. I think we will leave sometime between 9-10 today. We left at 9:30 and had to motor all the way to Poulsbo, as the most wind we saw was 6 knots on the nose and most of the time it was less than 3 knots. We pulled into the fuel dock to top off and get assigned a slip, and we took the one behind the office, where we had been before. It was a little tight getting in but we managed. We got the power hooked up and headed uptown to walk around. We stopped in the marine store looking for ball bearings no luck. Paxton wanted them for his monkey fist knots. We stopped at Sluy’s Bakery for an afternoon snack and then hung out on the boat until time to go to dinner. Paxton has been whipping the end of various lines on the boat. The Woodfire Pizzeria was our choice for dinner. The movie for the evening was Clint’s “Line of Fire” and then it was off to bed.


Helios at Poulsbo MarinaPaxton whipping mooring lines  

We were up at 8 and Paxton went up to the bakery for our breakfast. There is no wind and low tide was 7:46. We pulled out of the marina around 10:30 and motored all the way through Rich Passage. After we cleared the WSF lanes and were a little north of Blake Island, we put up the main sail and the code 0. The wind was primarily from the north and we started out on a port jibe headed towards the Fauntleroy Ferry dock. We were sailing along at 5 knots and after jibing we adjusted the code 0 tack over to the starboard ama and were able to sail 150 degrees on the apparent wind and still be moving above half the wind speed. We had one section after rounding Point Robinson where we were moving at 7.5-8.0 knots. The commercial traffic forced us over to the mouth of Quartermaster where the wind shadow drops the wind to less than 4 knots and we furled the sails. We tied up at our home slip in Breakwater at 6:30 and Linda arrived shortly thereafter to take us home. It was a great trip.