Thursday, May 4, 2017

And So It Begins

Written by: Kerry

We have left Port Townsend.  It was about a month later than we had hoped/planned on, but you know what?  Considering all the years of planning and months of hard work, being a month late is not something to be ashamed of.  In fact, I'm kind of in a state of happy shock that we're actually out here, doing this - finally.

Day one was overcast, but dry with a 10-15 knot wind forecast from the SE.  We figured this would be a perfect day of sailing.  We timed our departure with the ebb current and headed out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca with our sights set on Hunter Bay on SE Lopez Island.  Under mainsail alone and with a strong ebb current, we found ourselves doing 8-10 knots (crazy fast for us).

The wind quickly picked up to 20+ knots and stayed that way our entire journey.  We attempted to balance the boat a bit by rolling out the staysail, but soon realized we simply had too much sail out for the weather.  Rolling in the staysail, we debated reefing the main and Donn decided to go for it.  This helped a bit, but by the time we passed Smith Island the seas were in the 3-4 foot range and the winds felt relentless off our starboard quarter.  We plowed along, knowing we'd reach a sheltered harbor soon.

Hunter Bay was a perfect choice.  We motored into to a calm bay protected from the South and proceeded to anchor with no problems.  But overnight the wind clocked around to the west.  All day Sunday Brigadoon tugged at her anchor in 20 knots coming over the trees from the shore.  We both knew we were anchored well and our equipment is basically brand new, but when you're not used to sitting in winds in a rolly anchorage it can kind of mess with your head.  I spent Sunday in a mixed state of knowing deep down I could trust in our ground tackle and feeling a bit nervous about what would happen if we did start to drag.  It was a long day.

We awoke on the third day, Monday, May 1st to a beautiful sunrise and extremely calm weather.

It was glorious and did a lot for our mood.  Donn tackled a few small boat projects during a beautiful day at anchor.  We finished our day early and turned in knowing we'd be up by 0600 to catch the flood current north.

Tuesday we motored for two hours in dead calm as the sun rose and were safely anchored in Blind Bay, just off the Shaw Island Ferry landing, by 0930.  We lowered the dinghy and visited the Shaw Island store next to the Ferry and took a short walk before heading back to the boat to enjoy another quiet evening at anchor.

For our fifth day out, we decided to splurge a bit on a marina and hopped up to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island to get some laundry done, enjoy showers, and procure some groceries.  They are still charging winter rates, so we are staying for two nights, which allowed us to get one more major project done (running the wire for our Iridium Go antenna) today while it was beautiful and sunny out.

Tomorrow?  We're debating about stopping in at Jones Island or possibly straight up to Sucia, which I'm very excited to finally visit after hearing so much about it.  We'll most likely check in to Canada sometime next week.

So - you may wonder how I'm feeling about finally being out here and starting this new life.  I think mostly, I'm relieved to begin.  There are many new things to learn and get used to, and so many unknowns - which I always realized would be the case.  This is not a long term vacation, we both agreed that's not what this is about.  It's a new way of living, of learning and seeing our world.  For me this is about deliberately putting myself in the way of challenge, so I can grow and learn what I'm capable of.  I have no illusions this will be easy.  Fortunately I have a partner who understands and encourages me at every turn.  I know together we'll enjoy some amazing moments and get through some equally terrifying ones.  This is the journey we're now on, and I couldn't be more thrilled.


  1. Wow. Such an amazing life to begin. I'm excited for you and look forward to hearing more. --Stephanie

  2. "I think mostly, I'm relieved to begin." So true, I'm sure. There is something almost surreal about having this huge focus of 'planning' for so long. When the time comes and you've actually taken off, i'm guessing it feels like it should have been a much bigger deal to leave the dock on that day at that time. Am I wrong? I have visions of just sort of slipping away, and then it's done. LIke one moment we are still in planning mode, the next we're not. Time is so strange like that. We've sailed across the strait in conditions like that. Sporty, indeed. But at least the winds were off the aft quarter! That makes for fast sailing and your boat can take it. It's a fairly short crossing and makes you really grateful for that quiet anchorage. Glad you made it and looks like you are having fun already!

    1. You are so right. We had one person seeus off last Saturday, my step-mom, Barbara. It was perfect to just slide away and be gone. :-)

    2. You are so right. We had one person seeus off last Saturday, my step-mom, Barbara. It was perfect to just slide away and be gone. :-)

  3. Thank you for this lovely update Kerry. It was sweet to see you off, to rush up to Pt. Wilson and watch you as you sailed up Whidbey. and it was windy and cold! as you well know. may you continue to love your new life!

  4. We are glad to hear you two have set sail. Enjoy the many grand moments to come.