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.
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.
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
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.
FINAL NUMBERS for ASD:
· 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)