Paxton and Kelsey in San Juan Islands 2012

August 3rd to August 15th

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Kelsey was scheduled to fly in to Friday Harbor at noon on Friday, however, she surprised us by being a half hour early. We got Kelsey settled in to her stateroom and then we walked to town for the girls to do a little shopping. I talked them into going to West Marine first so I could get some new black fender whips that Linda had requested, but they didn’t have any. We started walking back down the hill through town with Linda and Kelsey shopping at a few stores. Kelsey found a top with part of the sleeves missing and she was happy. We stopped at King’s Marine and they had some black fender whips and I picked up a couple of hangers that I could attach to the boards that I had placed in the starboard forward storage locker with epoxy. We walked back to Helios and had lunch and then Kelsey thought she would do a little fishing but her reel was broken, so we walked back to town to get her a new setup and some hooks and weights. We stopped at the ice cream stand by the ferry dock and had desert early for dinner. When we returned to Helios Kelsey decided it was time for swimming and the water was a little colder than she expected, but she didn’t bother to put on her bodysuit. Afterwards, Kelsey showered and we played some games in the cockpit with Linda winning at Ligretto, me at Chronology and Kelsey at Mexican Train Dominoes. We had a late supper and then walked the docks before Kelsey and I settled in to watch Harry Potter – The Half Blood Prince and then to bed.

Linda was the first up around 7 with me a ½ hour later. The sun is shining brightly and there is a little wind out of the north. We are planning on traveling about 11 miles to West Sound and Skull Island to anchor. We were untied and on our way by 10:30. After we got out of the harbor, Linda and Kelsey did some reading for her summer homework in English. It was a 2 hour trip and we anchored on the west side of Skull Island. The depth is around 35 feet at low tide, which we are at -0.7. Kelsey was into her body suit and the water as soon as she could. Kelsey showered and shifted into dinghy traveling clothes, and we lowered the dinghy into the water. We toured the shoreline around our anchorage and Skull Island and then headed off to West Sound Marina and the Orcas Island Yacht Club reciprocal dock to show Kelsey where we had stayed before. We got back to Helios and hauled the dinghy back into position, and then played some dominos, until it was time for a little math homework, and then dinner. After dinner we put on The Deathly Hallows Part I and watched it. Linda went to bed and Kelsey and I joined her after the movie was over around 10:30.

Linda and I were up at 7:30 to bright sunshine and a cockpit that was warmer than the inside of the boat. The morning thermal wind is blowing from the head of West Sound and Massacre Bay down to the mouth on Harney Channel.  We left our anchorage around 11:30 and motored down Harney Channel to the mouth of East Sound and headed directly for Rosario. I called in on channel #78 and told them I would be there in 20 minutes and they replied they would have someone on the dock to help. The approach looks much narrower than it is and we had no problems getting settled. Linda and Kelsey made an appointment at the spa for nails and were on their way shortly after we had arrived. I cleaned up around Helios while they were gone, and when they got back we all walked up to the swimming pool and Kelsey swam for a while. We came back and played some Mexican Dominoes until dinner, and then Kelsey and I watched the final movie in the Harry Potter series.

Linda and I were up at 6:30 for coffee and a little reading, and Kelsey was up around 8. We had breakfast, and afterwards while Linda and Kelsey went up to the store I washed the deck and filled the water tank. We untied and with a little help from one of the other boaters were able to back out of the slip without any problems, and we were on our way a little after 9. When we got to Deer Harbor there was only one boat in the outstation, Huzzah, so we tied behind. As we were getting settled with the marina the Kenmore Air plane arrived with Paxton, in his bright lime yellow/green hoody. We got things situated had lunch and then walked up to the pool. We tried a dinghy ride but it started to sprinkle so we went back to Helios. We played some games in the cockpit until it was time for dinner. We had dinner in the cockpit and then Paxton and Kelsey decided it was time to breakout the fishing gear to see what could be caught. We gathered at the galley table to watch a couple episodes of Hawaii 50 (new), which was Paxton’s choice. We were all in bed by 11, with Kelsey a little unsure sleeping in the starboard forward berth for the first time.

Linda and I slept in until 7:30, so I think we are adjusting to vacation. We didn’t hear a peep from the other side all night. It is pretty foggy this morning which is better than having it yesterday and delaying Paxton’s flight. The grandkids didn’t crawl out of their berths until almost 9:30, when we had breakfast. We were thinking about leaving around 11, but that got pushed back with everyone moving slower. We saw another TYC sailboat come in and it asked about rafting off us. We said if you wait 10 minutes we will be off the dock and it is yours. It was Lowell Anderson and his wife, Marlys, on Tourmaline. We motored down Wasp Passage and passed Home Run with Lester and Linda headed the other direction. We chatted on the VHF and Lester said Sea Fire, with George and Patti Holmgren was on the rocks at Shirt Tail Reef. As we got to the end of Wasp Passage we saw the 43’ Bayliner sitting a little high out of the water. We had heard on the VHF that Vessel Assist was on the way, and there was nothing we could do, so we continued on down San Juan Channel to Lopez Island. We arrived at the mouth of the channel to go into Fisherman Bay about an hour before low tide, but the least amount of water we saw under the keels was 4’. The marina had assigned us a slip, but when I called to verify that they realized we were a catamaran and 21’ feet wide, and not 21’ long they said we would have to moor on the outside along the breakwater. We tied to the north end of the breakwater. The grandkids helped me lower the dinghy into the water so I could reconnoiter the area while they swam. I motored around the area for about an hour and found the Galley Restaurant with a dinghy dock. I walked up to the pool after tying up the dinghy, just in time to walk back with Linda and the grandkids. We played some games in the cockpit until it was time for dinner and then Kelsey’s choice for the evening’s entrainment was a couple episodes of Bones, and then it was off to bed. I forgot to mention that was seen a few bolts Linda and I were up a little after 7 for coffee and some quiet time. We discussed a possible change in plans do to the weather being a little iffy. We are thinking about getting a slip at Rosario for Thursday night rather than going to Sucia to anchor, but when I checked with them they were full up. I got a call from Doug and they were headed across Juan de Fuca and were coming to Fisherman Bay. I walked up to the check in desk and made a reservation for Chinook Wind. We rented bicycles except Linda who wanted to walk and went to the little shopping village north of the marina. We bought what groceries we needed and used Paxton and Linda as pack mules to carry everything back, as they had their backpacks. Paxton rode down the dock to Helios to drop off his pack before returning the bike. We played some games in the cockpit for a while and then decided to go for a dinghy ride, with Linda deciding to enjoy a brief respite of quiet on Helios. I took the grandkids out through the channel and headed south when we spotted Doug, Nyla and Rocky headed our way in Chinook Wind. We raced over and chatted while they motored towards the channel. We came ahead so we could be on the dock to help them tie up. We had already agreed to a joint dinner with us cooking chicken and they would bring a salad. We had dinner in the cockpit and then visited. Doug and Nyla went back around 8 to take Rocky for a walk, before bed, and we fired up the entertainment center to watch Sahara. It was off to bed after the movie.of lightning and heard thunder to go along with a couple of showers during the evening.

We were up and put coffee on, and I was drinking coffee looking at the electrical panel when I realized the “House Bank” was down to 12.1 volts, while plugged in to shore power. I checked and the power was not coming in on line #1, so went to the dock and switched plugs. Then I got out one of the other shore power cables and hooked it up to line #2 from the same power supply Doug was using. The reason for power to line #2 is that we would like to dry the towels from our showers this morning. We (grandkids) decided that if we were going to anchor and their choices were Spencer Spit, Sucia or Reid Harbor on Stuart Island, they wanted to go to Reid. We were away from the dock a little before noon and there wasn’t enough wind to sail so we motored to Reid Harbor and anchored in the middle of the harbor near the northeast side of the CG buoy. We put the dinghy in the water and went out to Gossett Island and walked around exploring and looking for the “Right” piece of driftwood to make into a stand for the pelican. Then Paxton drove us the length of the harbor to the marine park dock, where we tied the dinghy up and walked over to the other side of the island to look at Prevost Harbor, which was full. Paxton took us back to Helios and we were just finished hauling the dinghy up when Mark Helling came up in his dinghy. We chatted awhile about our trips this summer and then he was on his way to check his crab pot. We played some Mexican Dominoes until it was time for dinner and then ate in the cockpit. We learned a new game, Wizard, after dinner, but everyone was a little tired so we didn’t finish. We watched an episode of NCIS and then it was off to bed.

We were up for coffee in the sunshine around 8. The grandkids got up an hour later. After breakfast Kelsey and I spent some more time on her summer math packet and we are down to 3 pages to finish before school starts. We left Reid Harbor at 1 going down Haro Strait to the Mosquito Pass southern entrance, which made it a trip of 9 miles. We had just passed Danger Rock in Speiden Channel when Kelsey noticed the exhaust from the starboard engine was white. I shut the engine down and checked, and it was overheating. The grandkids noticed we had snagged large bull kelp with our saildrive, and the fronds had blocked the saltwater cooling intake. Paxton and I cut the bull kelp in half and used the boathook to clear it away from the saildrive and we were back to normal and on our way. It wasn’t too crowded when we arrived in Garrison Bay and we found a place to anchor closer to the dinghy dock. After we had the anchor down and everything cleaned up, it was time to lower the dinghy and go to English Camp, a first for Paxton and Kelsey. We walked the grounds reading the signs and went in to the building that was open to listen to the 12 minute history on the “Pig War.” We came back, put the dinghy up and played some games until dinner at sunset, and then it was time for Ghostbusters, Paxton’s choice.

My back was a little sore so I was up a little after 6. I checked the depth and we had 5 feet of water under us, just at low tide. The sky is clear and the sun should soon clear the surrounding tree tops, and start to charge the house bank batteries, which were down to 12.3 volts after making coffee. We had breakfast when the grandkids were up and then Kelsey and I finished the last 3 pages of her math packet for the summer. We started the engines and then pulled up our 50’ of muddy chain and motored towards Roche Harbor. I called on the VHF to get our slip assignment for the 2 nights and we are going to be on the end tie of the old dock. It was easy to bring Helios in with a little help from the light wind and current. The only problem was that the power only had two 30 amp connectors, so if someone else comes we will need to disconnect line #2. We had lunch and then Kelsey and I went to the store to get ice, but stopped along the way to hit the cash machine and the ice cream stand. The ice cream was my bribe to Kelsey if she would carry the ice block back to the boat. Kelsey was walking a lot faster than me and I told her to go ahead. I hailed Walt and Leslie Burton and they invited me aboard to chat. Linda, Paxton and Kelsey came by about 20 minutes later headed for the pool and I talked with Walt and Leslie for awhile before heading back to Helios to shower and shave. As I was finishing up the group arrived back from the pool. The grandkids put the kayak in the water along with their fishing poles and headed over to the dock by the pool. Linda and I chatted and talked with dock walkers. Paxton and Kelsey returned a little after 7 and got ready for dinner. We went to Madrona for dinner, but had to wait about a ½ hour, as they don’t take reservations and the lowering of the colors happened during our waiting period, in which there is no seating activity. We were planning walking the docks and looking at boats, but it was too late, so back to Helios for Romancing the Stone and then to bed.

Linda and I were up at 7:30 for coffee and some quiet time. I don’t think the grandkids will pop up to soon, as they didn’t go to bed until midnight. Linda and I talked about the day and then I walked up to the store to get some eggs for breakfast. After the grandkids were up and breakfast served, Paxton, Linda and I went for a walk on the main dock to look at boats. This is an activity that I enjoy and the rest of the family is polite. We were about halfway through when Linda decided to return to Helios and check on Kelsey, who was kayaking and fishing. Linda was worried with all the boat traffic to the fuel dock, and leaving & entering slips. She returned with Kelsey and we finished our tour of boats. Then it was time to show me the stuff at the stores. Linda and Paxton had scouted yesterday and found some acrylic glasses and a serving platter, which I told Linda I liked and we should go ahead and buy. We headed back to Helios where the grandkids were off in the kayak. Linda and Kelsey started to get ready to go around 4 for their 5:30 flight. We started to walk over a little before 5 and arrived at the seaplane dock with the plane a ½ hour early and more people than plane. The pilot had names for 6 people of with Linda and Kelsey were listed and said another plane would be arriving shortly, which it did. Linda was riding co-pilot while Kelsey was in the middle row on the starboard side. Paxton and I waved good-bye and then walked up to the store to get some stuff for our travels. We got things ready on Helios for a quick departure in the morning, and then walked up to Madrona for chowder, sandwiches and dessert. We watched Dirty Harry and an episode of Big Bang Theory before going to bed.

I was up at 6:30 for coffee. Paxton was up at 8 we had breakfast and then got the engine warmed up and ready to go, and were untied and on our way at 9. There was no wind to speak of, so we didn’t remove the sail covers. We were motoring down the west side of San Juan Island when 3 cows, 1 calf and 1 bull orca went swimming by in the opposite direction. Paxton was able to get some pictures. We were about halfway across when the wind was strong enough to be of assistance in steadying Helios. The wave and swell action were making for a rough ride, so we raised the headsail and it helped smooth things out and picked our speed up. There was fog on the strait all day but visibility was 1 – 2 miles most of the day. It was nice to have the AIS and radar. We rounded Point Wilson and dropped the headsail. It is a narrow opening to enter Point Hudson Marina but the marina is well protected. We backed into our slip and cleaned things up, before checking in at the office and then walking downtown. The boat next to us is from TYC, Cetacea, with Paul & Debbie Birkey. Paxton and I walked downtown and had dinner at The Pizza Factory; bring half our pizzas back with us for tomorrow’s trip. We watched a couple of Dirty Harry movies and listened to the wind whistle through the rigging. Paxton said he saw 25+ on the wind speed indicator. The wind is supposed to slack off by morning. We checked and low tide is at 8:30 so we will leave around 9 and ride the flood current down to Poulsbo, which is about 35 miles away.

It is always pleasant to have this viewpoint after crossing the strait of Juan de Fuca. The wind speed was over 25 knots at times during the night but Paxton was only able to get 24.5 knots with the camera.

I was up a little after 6 took a shower and put some coffee on. Paxton was up at 8 had cereal for breakfast while I had the rest of my pizza from yesterday. We had an easy exit with light winds and low tide, and were on our way a little after 9. There was some fog to be seen, but none in our travel lane. We were tied up just before 2:30, so the flood tide made it a quick 35 mile trip. We paid for our moorage and the only disappointing thing was the marina’s wifi was down. We walked the town and stopped at Sluy’s Bakery for a little sustenance before finishing the walk. We had checked out the restaurants and decided on Italian this evening around 6:30. The dinner was good for me but average for Paxton. We came back to Helios and enjoyed the A/C and the door being shut which reduced the sound coming from the band playing in the park. The Babe Ruth World Series is this weekend and they had a parade at 5. Paxton worked on his “Monkey Fist” pulls for the various snap shackles and we watched some movies and recorded shows. We didn’t make to bed until after midnight, but we are leaving until noon or later.

I was up at 8 to have coffee and update the log. We will have over 400 miles on the hulls by the time we tie up at Breakwater, since we are at 397 here in Poulsbo. We are hoping to sail this afternoon. The wind has been coming from the north in the afternoon, and we don’t have to be in Tacoma until this evening. We started moving towards leaving around 11:30, after pastries for breakfast from Sluy’s Bakery. Paxton was the “Good” grandson and went up to the bakery while I had my morning coffee. The wind has been from the north at 10 to 15 knots. We motored through Liberty Bay and around the Navy complex and then set the main and head sails, and jibed all the way down to Rich Passage.

The 3 video clips below take about 30 seconds to 1 minute to load and were taken on our travels from Poulsbo to Tacoma, as was the picture to the left.

39 second sailing video, 27 MB Windows Media File - WMV

48 second sailing video, 33 MB Windows Media File - WMV

21 second sailing video 15MB Windows Media File - WMV

We motored through Rich Passage and out past Blake Island. We continued to jibe down East Channel and after we crossed the ferry traffic lanes, put up the code 0. We were seeing 7-8 knots in 10-15 knots of wind. The wind continued to rise and we had to take down the code 0, and since Paxton had already furled and put the cover on the head sail, we just used the main to jibe down to Breakwater. We pulled into Breakwater only to find a trimaran in Helios’ slip. We went to the member dock at TYC and tied up. Brian met us with my Yukon and I drove them home, and then went home myself.

It was a great time on the water, almost a month.