Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Voyage #4: San Juan Islands - Days 1-3

San Juan Islands
8/24/2001 - 9/8/2001

August 24,2001

We had been trying to find the time to make a long trip aboard Eolian - long being defined as more than a couple of days. Although a year ago, we actually did 4 days over the Labor Day weekend, this trip would be the first real journey - to the San Juan Islands where we have a lot of fond memories, from other boats and other times. We were allowing for 2 weeks, which made for a relaxed trip.

We didn't rush, and as a consequence, we got off the dock at 09:12 (according to the log). Not only did this make for a leisurely morning, but it also allowed us to take advantage of the tides and get a free ride north to the tune of about 1 kt. This was a good thing, since we had no wind until we got to the south end of Whidbey Island, where we shut down the engine and sailed before the south wind under jib and mizzen, going north up into Possession Sound toward Everett. When we got north of Jefferson Head (on the west) and Meadow Bay (on the east), I remarked that this was the farthest north we had been since the delivery trip down from Bellingham, nearly 4 years ago. We were definitely leaving the cruising grounds we had been enjoying for all that time, and which we had come to know like the back of our hands.

Not long after raising sail, while Eolian was sailing herself under autopilot, I was walking the decks, enjoying the sun, the wind, and the boat moving thru the water. Then I heard the splat of the bilge pump discharging onto the passing sea. It didn't run long, but it shouldn't have been running at all. So I went looking. After pulling up the third floorboard, I found the problem - there was sea water dripping off of everything. It seems that one of the sea water hoses on the engine had split, and had sprayed all over everything. The hose was still drooling too. I shut off the relevant sea cock, and cleaned up the salt water to
try to avoid corrosion problems. I removed the (short - about 3" long) hose, and went thru the ships stores looking for something to use as a replacement. Nothing aboard would match the approx 1 1/4" dia. Jane found a short piece of white plastic 1" head hose that I had bought to use as a chafe guard on the docklines, and I eventually determined that this was the best we were going to do. So I fired up the inverter (wonderful invention!) and heated up the heat gun. I softened the plastic hose enough so that I could stretch it over the pipes, but it was tricky since getting the second end on had to be done quickly, before any part of the hose cooled and hardened. I got it on almost completely and applied the hose clamps again. Starting the engine, it dripped a little, but that was all.

This was well and good, since we needed the engine to dock in Everett (16:20), where we stayed the first night. We got cleaned up, and had dinner at Anthony's (a great seafood restaurant) right on the dock, and right above Eolian.

Saturday morning we walked up to the West Marine store in the area and got a piece of replacement hose, and installed it. Then the rest of the day was spent exploring the port on foot - partly because we were slated to attend a wedding at the marina on Sunday, and we wanted to know where to go. Sunday was consumed with the wedding.

Monday, we left the dock at Everett at 08:20, and headed north up Saratoga Passage, past Camano Head on the south tip of Camano Island.

We were able to sail all the way from Everett and part way up Camano, but the wind finally gave out and we were forced to use the diesel again. We drove the rest of the way to Skagit Bay. This is a strange area... we would be motoring along in 40 feet while just a little way to starboard there were seagulls *walking* in what was for them knee deep water. You do need to pay attention to the charts... We anchored in a lovely little place close in to the south shore of Hope Island in an area with a uniform depth of 21 feet, sheltered by the island from the now-building north wind. We quickly caught 3 Dungeness crabs, upon which we feasted. Jane was tired, but I put down the dinghy and rowed the length of Hope Island and went ashore at some interesting rocks on the east tip. There I found a decorative piece of driftwood, balanced perfectly on a rock. Its precarious position fairly called out to me. That piece of driftwood lived on the aft deck for the rest of the trip.

To be continued...

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