Monday, September 12, 2011

First Mate's Log of Brigadoon: The Rest of our Sailing Vacation - August 19-28, 2011

By: Kerry Christianson

So - as a warning, this may be a bit longish...  but I want to try to get down in words my memories of the last couple of weeks.  :-)

We left Shilshole on Friday morning, 8/19 with a north wind beating down as we tacked our way towards the south end of Whidbey Island on our way to Port Ludlow.  Then the wind died and we made the decision to bring the sails down and motor for a bit.  Well, as Donn was securing the main to the boom, the engine started sounding funny... and then died altogether. We immediately brought the sails up again, although we weren't moving much at that point, and I did my best to sail, while Donn headed down into the engine compartment to try to figure out what was going on.  He worked on replacing some filters and tried a few times to restart the engine with no success.  Meanwhile we kept sailing and the wind started to slowly pick up.  About two weeks before our trip I had deciced it might be a good idea to purchase Vessel Assist insurance "just in case".  I gave them a call and we had them meet us outside the Port Ludlow Marina to get us to our slip, as we didn't know the marina at all and weren't sure how easy it would be to sail in.  Because of the insurance, we paid nothing for a $700 tow.  We arrived around 7:30pm, got situated and went to find ourselves a much needed dinner, complete with wine in front of a lovely fireplace.  

We were in Port Ludlow for the Bob Perry Rendezvous - which is a gathering for any boats designed by Bob Perry.  He, himself attends and everyone gets to look at each other's boats, mix, mingle and party.  Saturday morning, Donn asked at the Marina office if there was a diesel engine mechanic nearby he could call.  There was, Donn called, and Gabriel Marine was on the job!  By that afternoon our engine problems had been figured out and fixed.  Great guy - we'd recommend him to anyone needing assistance with their engine in that neck of the woods.  

We enjoyed the rest of our day by watching the blind dinghy races, talking with other boat owners and preparing for the potluck and party that evening.  Dinner came, we ate and enjoyed ourselves and then around 8:30 or so headed back to the boat feeling tired after a full day.  That's when I started not feeling so well.  I will keep this part short - but I just need to share that around midnight when I found myself puking over the stern of Brigadoon - I was amazed at the beauty of the phosphorescence effects as my dinner came up and hit the water in the dark.  I had to laugh at the beautiful effects from a not-so-fun ordeal. 

Sunday morning, 8/21
We had decided to travel to Port Townsend with 2 other boats just in case we had engine troubles again - we'd have someone close by to help us out if necessary.  We left at high tide around noon and said goodbye to Port Ludlow.  We ended up motoring a little bit of the way but then the wind came up and we raised the sails and had a fun time sailing most of the way up to the Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend.  We arrived around 3:30, checked in and then Donn went to the marine shop nearby to inquire about getting our oil changed and our fuel tank cleaned. Then we headed out to dinner with one of the other couples we had travelled with.  Afterwards we met up with my friend Kim over at Sirens and had a couple of drinks.  It was a really nice evening.

Monday, 8/22
Today we got the oil changed and wandered around town a bit.  Had mexican for lunch and then another nice dinner at one of the local Thai restaurants.

Tuesday, 8/23
We had the fuel tank polished today - took about 4 hours but boy was our tank and fuel sparkling clean after that - good feeling.  We also went up and visited the Port Townsend Sail Loft - owned and run by Carol Hasse and completely staffed by women.  Amazing artistry and quality - everything is hand sewn there, onsite in their loft.  We ended up getting a quote for new sails for Brigadoon (sorely needed) and are now discussing finances and a timeline for how to get ourselves some of these beautiful sails.  We enjoyed another nice dinner and hit the local Rose Theater to see "Another Earth" - which we both enjoyed.  Quite thought provoking.  

For the last couple of days we had been discussing where to go next.  Our original plan had been to leave by Tuesday and head up to Victoria if the weather was good.  But that was before the engine/fuel problems and neither of us felt a huge urge to head further north at this point.  So... we thought about our options and decided to head south and take it one day at a time and see where we felt like going....

Wednesday, 8/24
No wind.  We left around 8 at a very low tide and motored for 5 hours with a flow current down to Edmonds Marina.  No problems with the boat at all - things were looking good.  Barely found a spot on the guest dock, which was mostly populated by small fishing runabouts.  We managed to get tied up, went in search of lunch and then came back for a well earned nap.  That evening, we headed into town and caught another movie - "The Help".  Great movie - hard to watch at times.  Not a proud time of American history.  Things close up early around the marina - so we headed back to boat after the movie and read for a bit before falling asleep.  

Thursday, 8/25
I slowly awoke as diesel fumes filled our cabin and in my half-asleep state I was having worries of passing out and dying in our bunk.  The fishing boats and work boats around us had been starting (and running) their engines around us and the fumes had made their way in.  We got ourselves up - made use of the marina showers and got out of there.  Not a marina we'd stay in again if we could help it.  No wind again.  We motored southwest to the north end of Bainbridge Island and headed into Agate Passage down the west side of the island.  Then we made a right hand turn into Liberty Bay and made our way slowly up to Poulsbo.  We found ourselves a slip at the main marina and headed into town for some food.  It was a hot day and after lunch, as Donn went shopping for deals at the local marina store, I sought out the local salon/spa and got myself a mani/pedi (which I never do).  It was lovely - my nails became a bright rosy pink and my toenails a deep blue.  :-)  I was a happy girl.  Donn came by in high spirits having found two amazing items at a steep discount.  Our boat now has a new compass in the cockpit and he also scored a Top Climber, which allows a person to climb their own mast, unassisted.  As neither of us had ever been up our mast - he was eager to try it out.  Later that afternoon, I enjoyed some reading, while Donn took down one of the kayaks and headed out into the bay for a bit.  He came back glowing after having seen a mama and baby seal pop their heads up just 5 feet from where he floated.  At this point, we were enjoying Poulsbo a lot and decided to just stay put for another day.

Friday, 8/26
Enjoyed breakfast at a 2nd story German restaurant in town, sitting on the balcony overlooking the main drag.  Wandered around town some more and I ended up finding and buying myself a nice sundress, which I wore that evening out to dinner.  We walked through the small aquarium on the edge of town - a highlight was watching the octopus get fed.  We made it back to the boat and Donn got out the new Top Climber and started his slow ascent up the mast, while I watched and took pictures.  Everything went well and now we know we can get up there when and if necessary.  We got the kayaks down and both went for a late afternoon paddle at high tide towards the very end of the bay.  It was a slow easy paddle, complete with bird watching (including a beautiful eagle hunting from a tree over the water) and another seal sighting.  By the time we returned, we were both ready for dinner.  I showered, put on my new dress and we headed to a wonderful Spanish Tapas place in town.  We sat at the bar and let the bartender take care of us.  Great dinner!

Saturday, 8/27
Ok - so I thought I had the tides/currents figured out for our departure...  the tide was going to be coming in, so we left at slack and instead of heading up through Agate pass again, where I knew we'd be fighting an incoming current, I planned for us to head south around the south end of Bainbridge Island and out into Puget Sound.  Well...  we had an incoming current on that end too and it was fairly strong (3-4 knots) and no wind.  So we motored slowly through it until we were able to come out into the more open waters of the Sound and suddenly the current was mostly gone and we had wind!  Yay!  We were off and sailing merrily towards Seattle, heading NE on a port tack.  After we had successfully crossed the shipping lanes and were much closer to Seattle, we had an interesting close call with a container ship who turned towards Seattle with us right in his path.  We tacked away and were fine and kept heading north towards Shilshole.  Then another container ship headed out of Seattle behind us and I noticed he was putting off quite a wake and mentioned it to Donn.  He told me to keep an eye on it and we kept on sailing.  A short while later, I look off our port side and saw this huge wall of water heading our way.  "WAKE!" I shouted to Donn and pointed to the west.  He looked and turned us away from it just in time for it to lift up the stern and sending us surfing down about 12-15 feet.  3-4 more waves followed and we hung on and went for the ride.  Wow - that counts as my biggest wave ever so far on the boat.  Kind of like riding a roller coaster.... (and I love roller coaters).  :-)  We pulled into Shilshole again for our last night and headed out to Ray's Boathouse for another splendid dinner to celebrate a safe and happy homecoming.  

Sunday, 8/28
Got up to a foggy morning and took our time leaving to head over to the locks.  When we got there, the train bridge was down.  We sounded our horn and were met with the 5 blast code of "you shall not pass now!"  So we waited on the west side of the train bridge while the small locks opened, some boats came out and they loaded up the next batch heading east.  There was enough room for us and they actually looked like they were holding the locks for us so we could come right in once the train bridge went up.  It wasn't to be.  By the time two trains went by and they finally raised it, the locks had to close and do another round so we could get in next time.  We tied up at the waiting wall and waited.  When it was finally our turn, we were the first in and got situated and tied up pretty quickly with little problem.  Then we watched the rest of the fun.  They packed us in and when the rear (west) gates started to close, the gates actualy got stuck on someone's boat because they were too close.  The locks officers had some of the boats shift a bit, so that guy could move forward and we progressed from there.  I would have been freaking out if the lock gates were stuck on our boat.  Dang.  We got out safely, got through both bridges with no problem at all and were home by noon.  We spend the afternoon resting, getting our boat back to living at home mode, and bringing our minds back into home/work life.

It was an amazing ten days and I feel happy to realize that I'm excited to go out again.  I like this life - I love travelling and meeting new people and I'm really enjoying sailing with my partner and Captain, Donn.   We have plans for ordering new sails, new upholstery and a multitude of small projects over the next several months.  It's truly an awesome adventure. 

No comments:

Post a Comment