Sunday, October 1, 2017

Final Thoughts and Numbers For ASD 2017


Hard to believe the 2017 cruising is over.  This was an awesome year, due mainly to our cruising partners John and Tracy of the M/Y Pairadice.  There is a sense of security when you are traveling together.  Each Capt. brings their expertise to the game.  Moreover, we made some lifelong friends. Actually Tracy started calling us roommates!!



·         Columbia River Bar

o   Never, ever cross the Bar on an Ebb.  You will be met with hell!  It’s also dangerous for you and your crew.  Honestly, I took the chance because we had a guest on board and we wanted to show her the San Juans.  Ended up, we got stuck in Friday Harbor because I damaged the generator. Timing is critical for a smooth safe crossing.

·         Weather

o   Always check the weather from “multiple” sources. We got our asses handed to us crossing Dixon Entrance.  All our weather apps we used were ALL WRONG!  John used Windty exclusively and I used PredictWind.  On this day we didn’t bother to check Environment Canada, because “They are always wrong!”  Well when we were hit by west 35kt winds and 7-foot swells from the SW, it sucked!  Turns out Environmental Canada was right on with Gale warnings, but we didn’t check it.

·         Group Decisions

o   As Tracy states “Team Meetings.”  Discuss the days cruise with EVERYONE on board this way everyone feels like they have input, but most importantly don’t be afraid to express your issues during these meetings.  This maybe a little awkward at first, but in the end better decisions are made.  We had a rule that stated anyone of the group could veto the weather window. 

·         Breakdowns

o   You WILL break down!  It is part of the cruising experience.  Getting all mad and upset won’t change it.  Deal with the issue and work the problem.  This is when having a cruising partner is valuable, especially if you have to be towed in.  This never happened to us, but when our windlasses broke we supported each other.  Yep it would have been easier to leave the moorage and let your friend deal with it, but then again there is payback.  I stuck it out for John and he did for me.  It .was only after my insistence did John leave Ketch for the only weather window in a week.  Besides, I was faster and could catch up.  It also gave John and Tracy alone for a while

·         Anchoring

o   To this day, I still get nervous about anchoring in close quarters.  Choosing a space so you are not encroaching on someone else or swinging into someone still scares me.  How much rode do I let out?  How far are you from someone if you start dragging?  Sometimes, I would get dink out and look at the situation.  I still need practice.  I have all the right equipment and the 77lb Rocna NEVER failed to stick.

·         It’s all about the cruise and not the destination:

o   Don’t place yourself on a schedule.  We had to remind ourselves that we were retired and didn’t need a schedule.  Well with the exception of family and friends visiting.  Don’t be afraid to advance or delay your cruise due to weather or it is just a great moorage for a few more days.  We witnessed cruiser pull into a bad in the evening, then leave in the morning, complaining there was no wildlife.  We stayed in Red Bluff Bay for 5 days and saw all kinds of bears, up close.

·         Pot Puller

o   600 feet of leaded line.  Pulling by hand SUCKS!!!!! Pot puller is now on the list of upgrades.



All in all, this was a great summer.  We explored new places and returned to old places.  As this was our second time to Alaska, we felt like we were home again.  Yes, the weather sucked in Alaska.  John would say “If one more person tells me this is the worst weather they have ever seen, I will………”  Funny thing SE Alaska broke all kinds of records for weather.  From June 1st to September 1st, SE received over 45 inches of rain.  Normally the average is less than 20 inches in the summer.  Weather played a big role in our cruise this year.  It made crossing open water a little frustrating.  On the other hand, the time we spent in Chatham Straits was awesome.  The rain calmed the strait and we had flat seas. Almost unheard of in Chatham.

We actually saw whales and Orcas!  Up close and personal at times.  We actually saw a male Orca chasing Pairadice as they were looking at a pod ahead of them.

Ketchikan was the noisiest, while Angoon was the biggest disappointment. The Gorge Harbor, B.C., was nicknamed “The Pond” by the Admiral and they had the worst insect, flies of the cruise.  It was also the hottest place at 100f. 

Trawler Forum (TF) members were seen throughout the cruise.  It was like a big family. One member though was exceptional.

Ketchikan Al (and Carol) went out of his way to make sure we had the parts and services we needed during our breakdowns.  He and Carol always were welcoming and made us feel at home, even when John and I were challenged.  You will never find a nicer couple anywhere in the PNW!  Thank you, Al, for your friendship, help and of course AA.  Kay and I feel we have made life-long friends.

This will be our last post on the blog for a while.  We will be working on the boat and the dock mess at the winter dock.  At this point we may not do any cruising next year due the amount of funds it is taking to clean up this mess.



·         Total Days of Cruise: 143

·         Total Miles: 3649

·         Moorage Costs: $3774 (includes 5 weeks at Ketchikan)

·         Total Fuel: $7263

·         Average Cost Per Gallon: $2.91

·         Average MPG: 1.5

·         Average Burn Rate: 5.94 gph (Includes Genny)


Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Harbor to Winter Dock

After leaving the Pairadice in Blind Bay, they headed to Oak Harbor, we went to Friday Harbor. We had a reservation for 2 days, but ended up to be 3 days due to the weather on the coast. We topped of with fuel at $2.97 a gallon.

We left and head to Neah Bay to stage for the crossing on Thursday the 14th.  The trip to Neah bay was without incident, but I routed a straight path from Cattle Pass, pass the tip of Victoria (yes back into Canada temporarily) and from there a straight path to Neah Bay.  By doing it this way I cut off about 10 miles.

On the coast the weather reports called for wind waves less than 1 foot, with westerly swells 3-4 feet at 12 seconds apart. After Thursday the weather returned back to crap.

We anchored in Neah Bay and refuse to get fuel here anymore because of the local tribe attitude at the dock.  Vey nice calm evening until about midnight. The wind blew up to about 30mph from the southwest.  I let some more chain rode out, then after about an hour (by coincidence with the tide changing) it was like someone flipped a switch.  The wind died to 1mph and we had a great sleep.

We were up about an hour before sunrise.  I needed 12 hours of good seas to make it to the Columbia River Bar.  But not too quick as the flood didn't start until 5:30 PM. WE NEVER EVER CROSS ON AN EBB!!!!  See beginning of the trip post to see why.  After everything was tied down and the anchor pulled (love the new windlass) we headed to Cape Flattery.  By the time we were rounding the Cape, the sun was rising.  Then it all disappeared! Crap, FOG!!!  I set the radar up and mad sure I stayed on course.  I was hoping it would lift and some places it did, briefly.  For most of the 190 miles to the Bar the fog visibility was less than 3/4 of a mile or less.  Most of the time less.  Radar awareness was paramount. Kay kept an eye on the radar and out the front of the boat looking for crab pots.  A few did show up, but we saw them in time.  We were still looking at a 5:20 crossing and we were cruising around 14kts. 

About 20 miles from the Bar, the fog lifted and visibility was unlimited.  Lucky us!  No issues crossing the bar, except the last 20 miles seem to take forever.  Our plan was to anchor in a small bay behind Tongue Point.  The problem was we took a little longer, 12.5 hours to do the jump from Neah Bay.  Now I had a big Cruise Ship at the Astoria docks releasing from the dock and turning around.  They called us on the radio and wanted us to hang for 20 minutes while he got away from the dock!  Nope wasn't happening.  I was tired and wanted to get to the anchorage before dark.  So I threw the throttles forward and was around him in less than 5 minutes.  Geez these Cruise boats think they own the waterway.  Ran into the same issue in Alaska.

Made it to a nice bay at Lois Island and threw the anchor in 24ft of water, but by this time it was dark.  I was a little nervous, so I sat up for about an hour.  I actually dosed off in my chair on the bridge.  I did one last walk around and went to bed.  Boy I was tired.

Woke up at 9 AM the following morning and we just took our time getting ready to leave.  This was the last anchorage of the 2017 ASD cruise. We also knew we had a mess back at the home dock.  A nice ride upriver and 4 hours later we tied up to the winter dock among all the trash and pieces stacked on the dock.  You could hardly walk on the dock!  But Ron was afraid of throwing anything away as we needed to take pictures and such. Good thinking Ron.

The divers had failed to get floatation under the boat shed.  They tried hard, but just couldn't do it. About a week later after we got there, the crane barge came by and crunched it getting it out of the water.  We were sad, but it had to come out.  We lost a lot, due to a fisherman's boat creating a wake in a no wake zone and sunk it.

About a week or so later, John and Tracy on the Pairadice side-tied to us for the last time.  Bitter sweet it was.  I had a few cold AAs and BBQ ribs off the grill.

I will be making one more post with "Lessons Learned and Final Thoughts."

National Geographic Quest followed us around in SE Alaska or at least it seemed that way.

Washington State Ferry

Relaxing in Port of Friday Harbor

Island hopper

Sunset in Friday Harbor

San Juan island farm

The famous pig war

Garrison bay

English camp

See the deer?

ASD at Friday Harbor

Cattle Pass

Lots of birds

Victoria Canada

Mt Baker on our way down Juan De Fuca Strait

Olympic Mountains

Light House at the beginning of Juan De Fuca straits


mystery circle above Neah Bay

Seal Rock

Sunset Neah Bay

Sun Rise leaving Neah Bay

Cape Flattery

Big wake, 14kts

Not bad seas

Sunset over the Columbia River Bar


Arriving at the winter dock.  What a mess

Pairadice one last time

Sunset from winter dock

Pairadice leaving