Monthly Archives: December 2015

A very dinghy Christmas: Part I

Rolling hornpipe onto the Ferry in Friday Harbor
Rolling Hornpipe onto the Ferry in Friday Harbor

The ferry’s crew chuckled as I rolled Hornpipe over the ramp and through the car deck. With the boys tucked behind the dinghy’s thwart in their carseats and our bags loaded as to not set the balance off, we’d walked over half-a-mile to that point and were greeted with smiles and waves along the way. I guess you don’t see that everyday.

When we decided to spend Christmas with our friends at their house in the mountains, I didn’t initially think it was going to turn into a full on session of boat projects. Alas, here we are.

Acting on Mike’s suggestion to utilize the wood shop in their barn (and his expertise), we brought the dinghy along for some much needed love as well as its foils, oars and Yahtzee’s flagpole. And as a blanket of snow fell outside, we fired up the wood stove, rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Continue reading A very dinghy Christmas: Part I

Seclusion abounds in the offseason at Cabbage Island

The sun shines as we sail out into Haro Strait
The sun shines on Yahtzee in Haro Stait

The sun burst through the clouds as we motor-sailed into a strong current between tiny islets in the Gulf Islands. Once clear of the islands and out in Boundary Pass, the wind started pipping up and we easily made the decision to fly our spinnaker. There’s nothing like a good spinnaker run and we always tell ourselves that the sail is onboard for a reason — it does no good stored down below.

Flying big blue is always a good time
Flying big blue is always a good time

Continue reading Seclusion abounds in the offseason at Cabbage Island

Winter cruising at its finest in the Gulf Islands

I’ll concede that it’s not winter quite yet, but with the strong wind and rain that has battered the Pacific Northwest as of late, it might as well be. The official start of winter is just days away, and we’re ready to welcome it with open arms, because cruising this time of year is extremely rewarding.

As is our custom in the gales of fall and winter, we waited for a storm to move through before jumping across Haro Strait into Canada last week. The trick to this is not waiting until the storm is completely gone — because then there’s no wind — rather, to catch its tail end as the wind is dropping to use it as propulsion to our next destination. Of course, sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Riding the last of a storm across Haro Strait to Canada as blue sky appears
Riding the last of a storm across Haro Strait to Canada as blue sky appears

Continue reading Winter cruising at its finest in the Gulf Islands

Playing house gives us perspective

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Blind Island State Park

As we approached Blind Island State Park near Shaw Island on Monday afternoon, the sun wriggled free from the clouds and a light mist fell. A bald eagle sat perched at the top of a tree and a rainbow arched overhead. For a December day in the San Juan Islands, the scene was nearly perfect.

After getting settled on one of the park’s moorings, I dropped Hornpipe (our dinghy) in the water while Jill woke the boys and got them ready to head for shore. Blind Island is small, so after landing on the beach we left Porter to dig on the rocky beach while we went to see if the eagle was still in his perch. He (or she?) was. Continue reading Playing house gives us perspective