With all systems go, we were finally free to leave the dock on Saturday, May 7. With Facebook seeming to tease us with posts from past years that showed us at anchor weeks earlier in the year, I was beginning to get a little anxious to be gone.
The first time off the dock every year is a little more daunting. This is because the items on the checklist that are naturals after reinforced repetition over the summer have faded. And then there is the worry about the close-quarters maneuverings needed at the dock - it is not learning all over again from scratch, but it is definitely not second nature either. And then there are all those things that you worked on since last year. Sure you checked them, and tested them... but, well Murphy is always an unwelcome stowaway on every boat.
I am happy to report that the shakedown was pretty much uneventful. Leaving the dock was a little exciting with a pretty stiff NW breeze causing the boat to weathercock off of the rudder, making it difficult to get away from the dock without the bow pulpit brushing the piling at the end of the finger pier.
Well, OK, it did brush it... just. No damage, no foul.
|Ahhh... sleeping at anchor|
As it too often seems to be the case, the wind was on our nose coming our Guemes Channel, and then died off entirely as we entered Rosario Strait. So we were a motor boat. But we were away! We anchored in Blind Bay (Honey, I'm home!) and spent the night, another day, and another nite there, luxuriating in the peace of being at anchor. The only error I made was a failure to separate the battery banks after shutting the engine down... first-time-of-the-year failure. Unfortunately, we slept thru the Aurora Borealis display Saturday nite.
Then, studying our Current Atlas (a book everyone navigating the waters of the San Juans should have), we decided on a trip to Roche Harbor, followed by a jump to Reid Harbor. The Current Atlas really paid off, with the tide carrying us for 6 of the miles of that trip - motoring again because of a complete lack of wind.
|Required Roche Harbor ritual|
We dropped the dinghy and went ashore because there were some things that had to be done:
- We were out of coffee! Get a pound at the store.
- Visit with Jill and get caught up with the crew of s/v Ambition.
- No visit to Roche Harbor is complete for us without clams and a bottle of wine at the Roche Harbor Hotel. And we got to catch up with our favorite server there, "Crash" (Jayne) and found out she is engaged!
And then back out to the boat to enjoy a quiet evening.
|Evening peace in Roche Harbor|
The next morning, we rose, and after consulting the Current Atlas again, determined our departure for the quick jaunt across Spieden Channel to Reid Harbor on Stuart Island.
Now, Reid is one of those places without telephone or internet coverage. So our stay there was NOT spent staring at our phones or the computer. Instead we went ashore and did some relaxed hiking. In fact we met one of the few Stuart Island residents, who was working as a volunteer on the park facilities, and had a nice chat.
|Eolian and curmudgeon in Reid Harbor|
While on the journey, we found some other shakedown items:
- Our flares need to be replaced - they are nearing their expiration date. (Done.)
- For some reason, I forgot to purchase our 2016 state registration. Last year's expires 6/30/2016, so getting a new one coming is a priority. (Ordered.)
- The rechargeable battery in our wireless handheld mic for the VHF will now only hold enough electrons for about an hour of operation. (New battery pack ordered. Actually, 3 battery packs are coming, and what a diversity of prices! Amazon wants $45 for this battery pack, and I got 3 of them, delivered, for $5.69 on eBay. Always do the research!)