Monthly Archives: October 2015

Achieving cruising balance on the Salish Sea

Heading north to the San Juan Islands
Heading north to the San Juan Islands

The sun shined through Yahtzee’s windows, illuminating the cabin and gleaming off our brass oil lamp swaying near the mast. The boat bobbed on a mooring ball next to Turn Island Marine State Park and thin, fog-like clouds whizzed by on a southerly breeze.

A day later and in a different anchorage, a storm raged outside and the wind howled — gusting in upwards of 30-knots. It started at about 3 a.m.; it always seems to start at 3 a.m. Rain showers occasionally strafed the decks and Yahtzee tugged persistently at the mooring. Soon, blue sky emerged and the sun made a grand appearance.

Such is life on a boat in the San Juan Islands in the fall and winter. It feels like home. Continue reading Achieving cruising balance on the Salish Sea

Solitude rediscovered at Hope Island

Rowing back to Yahtzee from Hope Island at sunset
Rowing back to Yahtzee from Hope Island at sunset

A deer grazed near the old windmill by the caretaker’s small, brown house and raccoons glanced at us from under a walnut tree as Porter ran ahead into the orchard. With an hour left before sunset we’d come ashore at Hope Island State Park to burn off some pre-dinner energy, and the island’s other inhabitants paid us little attention as they went about enjoying their evening meals.

Just as we’d remembered from our previous visits to the park, there was no one else around — the caretaker was off island, no other boats swung on the park’s moorings and the campsites lay empty. The solitude was palpable, yet we were just a few miles from quaint Boston Harbor and bustling Olympia.

Welcome indeed!
Welcome indeed!

Continue reading Solitude rediscovered at Hope Island

Race Your House fun aboard Yahtzee

Paul, Porter, Andy, Cliff (in the stern) and Mike working hard and having fun
Paul, Porter, Andy, Cliff (in the stern) and Mike working hard and having fun

Dinghies swung from davits, grills hung on push pits and wind generators whirred as area live-aboards took to the Puget Sound on Sunday to decide who’s got the fastest “house.”

Put on by the the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club in Ballard, Race Your House is an annual, light-hearted event aimed to get live-aboard sailors out of their slips and onto the race course. It’s a sailing event that we always look forward to and after missing out on the fun last year, we were excited to have Yahtzee back on the start line for Sunday’s race.

Joining Yahtzee’s crew of Andy, Jill, Porter and Magnus, we had our friends Emily, Paul, Cliff and Mike (and son Logan) aboard for the race. As is the custom on many boats, laughter is served up in large doses along with a few libations.

Porter was very excited to be back out racing again
Porter was very excited to be back out racing again

The forecast for Sunday’s race called for overcast skies with light and variable winds, which isn’t the best for getting hefty houses around a 9.25-mile race course. But enough breeze filled in to get 32 of the competing boats around the buoys. Continue reading Race Your House fun aboard Yahtzee

South Sound three: A truly family affair

P&A in hornpipe

Porter sat on the stern seat of our dinghy counting to 10 with the rhythm of the oars going in and out of the water as we rowed back from the beach. The rays of a beautiful fall sunset lit up Mt. Rainier to the east and bathed Yahtzee in an orange glow. It was a moment that I wanted to last forever; one of many during yet another great cruise to the South Puget Sound.

This was our third trip to the South Sound in the past three years. Each year we’d explored numerous parks, visited Olympia and stopped in at quirky, quaint Boston Harbor.

But we always cherish a stop in Washington’s capital city because we get a chance to spend time with our Aunt Kate who lives just minutes from the marina. This year, though, there was an added level of anticipation as my Uncle Eric and Aunt Jenny were coming out to the Pacific Northwest from Atlanta and we’d all planned to meet up for a weekend in Olympia. Continue reading South Sound three: A truly family affair