Thursday, October 10, 2019

Final Thoughts and Numbers

Final Thoughts and Numbers

This year seemed like we were actually returning home. Our goal this year we to go to Sitka.  We had never been there and the navigation was pretty straight forward.  We were surprised by the friendly town and the attitude of the commercial fishermen.  They nicknamed the recreational cruisers as “Yachties.”  We were told they were surprised by the number of Yachties and how early they were showing up in Sitka.

Our biggest disappointment was the salmon fishing.  One of the reasons we went to Sitka was the Chinook fishing.  We were told it is the King fishing capital of SE Alaska and the shark hole was the place to be.  Kay and I fished hard for two weeks, as we had freezers to fill.  Not a single salmon bite, not one landed.  As we left the legendary rains came.  Up until then it had been sunny and warm.
We explored old and new places.  The south arm of Hoonah Sound was a big surprise.  We spend 4 days there and didn’t see another boat.  We also did not have any VHF or cell communications.  You were in true wilderness.  It kinda of made you nervous.

We also met up with old friends and made new friends.  The nicest place we stayed was Taku Harbor just south of Juneau.  This was the playground for the residents of Juneau.  We did skip Juneau as we didn’t want to mess with the crowed docks and cruise ships.
As always Canada was awesome.  We found new anchorages like Bottleneck and old favorites like Kutze Inlet.  Spent a lot of time in Kutze. Still one of our favorite places.  We also hung out in the Gulf islands side and explored some new spots with our great friends Chris and Bridgette.  Winter Cove was awesome.  Ganges was crowded and a mess.

The “Gate” crossings (Dixon Entrance, Cape Caution and Open pacific) was like we have never seen.  Smooth crossings both ways!!!  In fact, we didn’t really have that much bad weather.  As our buddy Ketchikan Al would say “Tea Cup smooth!”

Overall the trip was without any major breakdowns and ASD operated great.  We did have a “smart start” on the main A/C unit go bad, but we had the forward unit that worked just fine.  Our trip to Seattle to get it fixed was a mess, especially the Ballard Locks.

Lessons Learned:
·         Never ever approach a nuclear submarine in the Strait of Juan De Fuca.
·         Know were WG is located.  It was amazing how many idiots couldn’t tell you were it was located and whether it was open or closed.  We had no issues.
·         Having Auto Pilot is AWESOME.
·         Kay bought me a “range finder” for anchoring.  One of our new friends Doug of the “Overdrive” suggested it to us.  This simple tool made crowded anchorages easier.
·         Never be afraid to explore new places.  You never know what you might find. 
·         Water maker is AWESOME.
·         There are thunderstorms in Alaska
·         We got better skilled using the radar.  Practice using radar as it could save your life.

Did I say Never ever approach a nuclear submarine in the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

We already have our winter “to do list” and planning next year.

Final Numbers:

Fuel Costs:  $7864.44

Fuel used: 2412.6 Gal

Miles Traveled: 3363 miles

Total Engine Hours: 373.7

Average MPG (Generator included): 1.4mpg

Average Fuel Burn (Generator included): 6.45gph

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Seattle to Winter Dock

We were docked up on Miller and Miller Boatyard.  We arrived a few days early so we could be ready for the technician on Tuesday.  We had fun watching pleasure boaters entering and leaving the Ballard Locks.  Boats waiting for a lock down had to first do the “Lock Boat Dance!”  Imagine 30 boats all waiting for their turn to lock down (30 feet) to the slat water.  People yelling at each other, the lock operators yelling at the boaters.  It was fun to watch.  We saw every type of boat out there from mega yachts to kayaks locking up and down.

On Tuesday, Ben looked at our rear A/C unit.  When the unit was installed last year we found out that on startup, the unit drew too much power and would kill the generator.  So we installed a “soft start” which helps the unit reduce the amount of power to start the compressor.

After a few minutes, Ben told us he thought the soft start was bad.  He disconnected it and sure enough we had A/C on shore power.  We also noted that the A/C unit drew 19.2 amps on start up.  Way to much for my generator.  We ordered a new soft start which was under warranty.  I noticed we had a good 3-day window to get back to the Columbia.  We would be leaving in the morning.  The shop would forward the new soft start to us.

We figured out by watching the boat dance that if we left early in the morning, we would not have a crowd to get into the lock.  We followed a Corps boat into the small lock and a few minutes later we were back in salt water heading for Port Angeles.  We had called ahead for fuel and a spot.  No worries.

We rode the outgoing current all the way to Port Angeles.  The water was calm and pleasant.  We could see big ships making their way to port under the watchful eye of VTS. Then we saw a strange ship.  As we got closer, we saw it was a submarine being escorted into the Sound. There was an inter ring of USCG ships protecting the sub, then the outer ring with smaller boats with BIG guns on the front and back.  We were outside the outer ring.  Far enough to be outside the ring, but not far enough to not gain attention.  I told Kay about the sub.  The next thing she was doing I couldn’t believe.  She was out on the bow taking pictures of a Top-Secret nuclear submarine.

I asked Kay what the hell are you doing.  Kay, “Taking pictures of the submarine.  WHAT?  I went into panic mode as one of the outer ring, heavily armed, patrol boat noticed it too!  The boat was heading our way with guns on us.  I told Kay to get inside and put that d$$$$$ camera down!!  And HURRY!!  She came in and I maintained my course and speed.  The armed boat came within 150 feet of us at full speed, then pointed the boat at us with the big gun and a young fella with his finger on the trigger!  He went parallel to us turning up the water, did I say he had a BIG GUN!!  After the sub was well off in the distance at our stern the gun boat retreated.  What the heck Kay?  What did I do, she asked?  I said on the bow taking pictures of a Top-Secret Nuclear Submarine that’s what you did!  Wait what is that smell and squishy stuff in my pants??

We made to the marina where we fueled up and got a slip.  Our friend Jeff from the MY Irene came down for a visit.  It was good to see him.  In the morning we were heading to Neah Bay to anchor and prepare the cabin for the 190-mile trek down the Washington coast to the Columbia River Bar.  Smooth seas down Juan De Fuca straits.  About 10 miles out we could see and feel ocean waves.  They were not too bad, but a good 4 feet.  We anchored in the bay and we both went around the boat strapping things down.  The weather forecast was for 3-foot seas at 10 seconds apart, so no rough stuff, but you never know when the weather report was not accurate. We set the alarm for 5 AM.
The next morning it was a little rain and fog.  I delayed our departure by 30 minutes so I could see a little.  We followed another boat out of the bay and around Cape Flattery.  The water was a little rough but not bad.  As soon as we got around the point things settled down as we didn’t have the influence of the strait.  It was getting lighter and visibility was about 5 miles.  Over the next hour I would speed up until the engines were running at 2100 RPMs.  This pushed the boat at about 13.8kts.  The ride down the coast was without incident.  There were a few crab pots but not a lot.  This was a relief as running over a crab pot is a bad thing.  

We turned into the Columbia River 12 hours after leaving Neah Bay.  The entrance to the river was smooth and full of birds!  It felt good to be back.  We decided to anchor one last time behind Tongue Point by Lois Bay.

We woke to a nice calm and quiet.  This is a nice anchorage.  We got underway and as is tradition, Kay fixed an awesome beacon and eggs breakfast. 
We reached Center line County RV park.  We talked to Ron and Kathy.  Blasted our horns and went on our way to the winter dock just around the corner. As we entered into Fisher Slough.  The winter dock seemed lonely. 

After we docked and hooked up electric and water, it was time for a cigar and scotch.

Thoughts and final numbers later.

The Boat Dance

Our Sister Ship.  Another Camargue

Gull rest stop


Sunset in Seattle

Boats of all sizes come through the locks

Lighthouse on our way to Port Angeles

Biggest Tug I have ever seen

Secret Sub

BIG Guns

No closer than us....

A boat name with my mother's name.  Cool

Port Angeles

Fueling and listening for back flow

Sub escort vessel

Olympic Mountains

On our way to Neah Bay.  Nice water

Across the Columbia River Bar with the Astoria Bridge in the back ground

Anchorage at Lois Island Bay

Traditional breakfast

County Line RV Park  Hi Ron

Hi Kat!  (Sitting on bench)

Fisher Slough

Arrival at Winter Dock

Alaska 2019 completed

Sunset at Winter Dock.  

Good Night 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Friday Harbor to Seattle

The trip from Friday Harbor to Seattle was hot.  I almost stripped naked. We had 3 container ships pass us doing 20kts!.  They put out a HUGH wake.  We tried to cross one and it rocked ASD bad.  Scared us.

But by the time we made it to  Shilshole Marina a north wind popped up and the harbor master assigned me 2 slips I could not get into because to the wind.  He ended up putting us on a "T" dock.  Should have requested that in the first place.

We departed early and headed up the throat of the devil, aka Ballard Lock.  We had to wait for 2 hours to get into the lock.  About 20 boats piled up behind me with some pushing forward trying to get ahead of the line.

When we were told to enter, all large boats first.  That would be me, so we entered.  Kay tossed the line up to the line handlers.  Then we had 2 boats raft to us.  The lift was only about 29-30 feet.  No worries, the Columbia River was much larger and no line handlers.

Don't know what I was thinking.  Our fenders had covers on them.  The covered caught on the rock wall.  One was ripped off and went forward.  Nice folks caught it for us.  Then we had a fender blow up!!  Crap.  I had to use my feet to push the boat away from the wall.  I am now convinced the Columbia is much easier.

We docked at Miller and Miller Boatyard.  Very friendly folks.  I backed in.  Why?  So I can watch the zoo at the lock!  This so much fun watching all these boats doing the "Boat Dance!"  Boats everywhere.

Then I saw the sister ship to ASD.  It was a Camargue "Star Weird!"  Cool I could get him to respond to my hails.  Oh well. 

Once we are done here, it is a 3 day travel back to the Columbia River.

Cattle Pass

Cattle Pass Light

Mt. Baker

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One of the container ships that waked us.


Shilshole Marina

Sunset at Seattle

Entrance to Ballard Locks

Waiting our turn

Harbor seal trolling

Barge entering locks.  They have priority. 

The lock just let down a bunch of boats

Pooper Boat

Could be the pooper boat

Train running over the lock

ASD entering lock

Behind us

Ahead of us

Line handler


Watching the lock load up all the boats doing the boat dance

ASD's twin!!!