Sucia Islands to Poulsbo
In our final episode of our journey we head back home. But before we head back home we take a quick break during to acknowledge my uncle Ken. He was my godfather and loved everything water related. He was the one who got me into fishing and boating as a child. We had some very memorable trips out including one where we got caught some bigger than wanted swell. We had to turn around and go back. As we turned we were hit on the side by a wave which could have overturned the boat. Luckily it didn’t. But at that point we decided we had to go into the swell away from shore before going towards the shore. It was one of the nastiest days I have been out on.
After a night of swell in Echo Bay we left Sucia Islands and headed for an overnight stay in Watmough Harbor. When we got there we did not feel very good about the anchorage, probably just newbie thoughts. We then backtracked to Hunter Bay to spend the night. It was a windy one with the chain going back and forth over the bridle. Not much sleep was had.
The next morning we proceeded back across the Juan de Fuca. Without knowing, there was a small craft advisory in the strait. We noticed a lot more swell than our previous crossing but it was not uncomfortable. It maybe just felt like it was bigger due to the fact there was not any fog. Here was definitely more wind though. We were cruising at 5-6 knots.
We were slated to meet with Peter and Mary in Mystery Bay. Once across the strait, we headed toward Marrowstone Island. If you have never been here before, the entrance can be quite tricky. This was our first time going in so concentration was of the essence. Once in Kilisut Harbor we started motoring toward Mystery Bay. We arrived to a “Please do not anchor” sign. We looked around and saw lots of mooring buoys and a state park dock. We headed out of the bay to look for anchorage but it was too windy for us to get any sleep. Port Ludlow, here we come.
We exited the harbor and made our way down the sound. We anchored in Port Ludlow while the sun was going down and a twelve hour day under our belts. That being said, it is a great harbor to get some well needed sleep. We were still deciding whether to go back to Mystery Bay or just go home.
Waking up the next day with the decision to just go home, we headed off. It was a pretty uneventful rest of the trip. Although as we were motoring into the wind, I saw other boats on a slightly different course sailing. I couldn’t have this. We point Willow out into the sound and threw the sails up. Tacking back and forth we finally made it into Madison Bay and sailed all of the way up to Agate Pass. Sails went down and motor came on for the remaining time.
After a few informalities, pumping out, we got Willow back into her slip and put away. It was kind of a happy moment knowing that we were going to get a couple of days of much needed sleep but also a sad one. We knew that our summer cruise was over and we would soon be hunkered down for the winter. We do go out in the winter, but with the lack of a diesel/kerosene/propane heater we are limited to mostly day sails.
We hope you enjoyed this first trip of ours with much more to come. We had a great tome sharing it and can’t wait for next season.
Poulsbo to Port Ludlow
The most unfortunate thing about our summer was that we were caught up in replacing the mast step and repairing a stringer for most of the cruising season. We had so many plans, so many intentions to cruise here and there, exploring the Puget Sound, plans that were put on hold while we made major repairs to our boat.
So you can bet your bottom we set sail at our first opportunity once the boat was back in operable condition. All winter our friends had been telling us how great the San Juans are, how we have to get out there and explore the islands. And we’d been chomping at the bit to do just that.
We had a long list of things to do before we could leave. Provision the boat. Clean the boat. Check to make sure everything was in working order. Laundry. Make sure Katie had food. Learn how to anchor. Charge all of our batteries, since we would be staying at anchor most of the time. Make sure we had enough coffee to last us the trip. Fill the fuel and water tanks. Pump out our holding tank. Etc. Etc. Etc.
We got everything done except “Learn to anchor.” It made me a little bit nervous that we had never done this before we left on a long trip, but Jim had done a lot of research, talked to a lot of people and felt confident that we could figure it out.
And we did. In Port Ludlow, just before dark, with a windlass that just didn’t want to work at first.
Check out our video for more about the first leg of our San Juan Islands adventure.
We finally have our mast back! It was a long journey and a lot of hard work, but we are finally done with this project, and it feels awesome! Now it’s time for some rest and relaxation in the San Juan Islands!
With the sails off and the boom stored, our inspection panels cut and the wiring disconnected, we were ready to have the mast pulled. It’s quite an emotional thing…to have your mast pulled. It’s the very lifeblood of your boat. It’s what makes a sailboat a sailboat and not a power boat; without it, you have nothing to attach your sails to. Which means your boat doesn’t move through the water in the way it was intended. It was hard to watch our being wheeled around the back of Sea Marine and set to rest (however temporarily!) in the middle of a mess of masts that looked like they’d been left to die.
But we were glad to get the show on the road. We’d been aware of the problem for over a month before we got to work, and getting the job started was a relief. We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but when we finally dug into it, we realized we had no idea!
Stay tuned! Next week we get the dirty work started!
This past weekend, September 8-10 was the 41st Annual Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. Located at Point Hudson Marina and the Northwest Maritime Center, the three day festival was a truly special event. In addition to the myriad of really cool old (and not so old) wooden boats on display to be toured (and some even chartered!), each day was cram packed with informational seminars, talks by authors and experts in all things wooden boats.
Edensaw hosted its annual boatbuilding challenge where teams of up to four people worked to build a sail, paddle or row boat made of wood over the course of the three days of the festival. We were only there for the one day, but it was neat to see the progression of these small boats, each one very different from the next.
There were tons of activities for kids including treasure hunts, boatbuilding (on a much smaller scale, of course), oceanography on the dock, a puppet theater and boat rides just for kids. We watched a race between two kids on boats made out of cardboard and duct tape (in a large pool-type tank, not in the marina) that looked like a lot of fun!
One of our favorite parts of the day was meeting Carol Hasse and seeing where our sails were built at the Port Townsend Sails Loft. It was so neat to see the space and to listed to Carol’s talk about sail construction. We learned a lot and gained a better understanding of how our boat works.
We hadn’t planned on staying all day, but 6 p.m. rolled around and we were still chatting with friends we’d met on the tall ship Ladyhawk at Festival of Sail in June. It was a great day, and we can’t wait for next year!
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With the time that has gone by, we have volunteered for the Festival of Sail and participated in our very first Third of July in Poulsbo. We had a lot of fun doing both (even with all of the rain at Festival of Sail). We both ended up being sick at Festival of Sail which was a bummer.
Steph made Jello shots for Third of July that came out amazing. They were definitely a hit at the BBQ. The fireworks were awesome and the bay was filled with boats. We can’t wait to do it again next year.
We’ve lived aboard Willow for six months now, and when we look back at the number of trips we’ve made in her, it’s a little sad. Of course, most of it isn’t our fault. We moved aboard at the end of fall and have lived through one of the Pacific Northwest’s nastiest winters in recent history. On a boat. As new sailors, the idea of getting out there in wet and windy conditions wasn’t appealing to us. For safety reasons as well as comfort.
But a couple of weekends ago, we decided it would be fun to sail down to Tacoma when our friend, Sue, who was also our boat broker, invited us to come down for dinner. The weather wasn’t supposed to be beautiful, but it wasn’t supposed to be too wet or too windy, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to venture outside of our little Liberty Bay bubble.
Though we didn’t have much good sailing wind, the trip was a learning experience for us, and we got to know our boat and her capabilities a little bit better. Though it probably won’t be for a while now (more on this to come!), we are excited to get back out on the water and learn even more about our boat we call home.
When we decided to move our life onto a boat, one of the things we were most excited about was the sense of community that seems to exist within a marina. Living in a house in a neighborhood where the residents seemed to care very little about each other was sad for us and left a lot to be desired by way of feeling like we belonged where we lived.
When we got to Poulsbo, we were immediately welcomed into the fold, and we love it. There are 25 liveaboard boats in our marina and we’ve become friends with several of them. Two boats down from us on a Hunter 37 is Skip, a seasoned sailor who was eager to share his knowledge and passion for sailing with us. As newbies to this realm of the boating world, we are eager to accept any tutelage that is offered to us, and last week Skip came out with us to show us a few things about sailing our boat efficiently and safely.
We were so grateful for the lessons and the company of our friend, Skip. And we are so glad to finally feel like we fit in with the community we live in.
If you live on a boat, what is your favorite thing about boat life?
Last week, Jim was asked by our friend Aaron to help tow a 53′ sailboat from Eagle Harbor back to Poulsbo with his tug. It was supposed to be a simple tie up and tow, but the day had other plans in store and quickly turned into one big learning experience for Jim.
We bought Willow at the end of October. Between the arrival of the holidays and winter moving in, we haven’t had a whole lot of time to break her in. So a few weeks ago, when it looked like we were going to have a day of nicer weather, we decided to take her around Bainbridge Island.
The trip took us just over 6 hours, which was longer than it should have. We hit some seriously soupy fog heading out of Liberty Bay, so that portion of the journey took longer than normal. Safety first, right?
The rest of the day was beautiful, though, and we really enjoyed the trip. Well, all of us except Katie. She’s still trying to figure out how to enjoy sailing.
We are excited for our next trip. We’re not sure where we will go, maybe to Tacoma or maybe we will head north. All we know is we are itching to get out on the water. This winter weather is KILLING us!
If you’re a sailor, where will your next adventure take you?…even if you’re not! We love all kinds of adventures!