Monday, October 24, 2016


Shilshole was a "local" marina.  Most of the boats there were actually from Seattle.

Cap Sante is a horse of a different color...  many of the boats here are NOT from Anacortes, or even Seattle.  I took a tour of our dock this morning, and this is what I found:

Port of CallCount
Other Western Washington6
British Columbia1
New York1

Now, these are ports of call, which don't always reflect the owners' residences.  But it is the data I have. 

Kind of surprising... Seattle and Western Washington outnumber local (Anacortes) boats 21 to 13, considering that these folks must drive 70-130 miles from their homes to get to their boats.  But perhaps even more surprising is that the third largest category is California!  And we know for a fact that at least two of the California boat owners drive here - what a commute!  But any way you choose to count it, Cap Sante is a lot more geographically diverse than Shilshole was.

There is a consequence that falls from the long commute distances...  This time of the year the marina is virtually deserted.  Even the ubiquitous detailers have put their buffers away for the season.

I miss the camaraderie that we had at Shilshole, with their large live-aboard population, but there are benefits to our situation at Cap Sante:  Parking in the parking lot is easy, and there is always a dock cart waiting for us.  And as I am sure that I have mentioned before, Anacortes is a wonderful town.  All within walking distance of the marina:
  • Grocery stores (2!  One is directly across the street from the marina)
  • Hardware stores (2!  One is directly across the street from the marina)
  • West Marine store (two blocks from the marina)
  • NAPA store
  • Movie theater
  • Live theater
  • Bars and restaurants galore (Anthony's is right at the head of the dock!)
  • Post Office
  • Drivers license office
I am sure that I have left things off the list that others would be interested in... but the point is that Anacortes is a pretty complete little town, and that the marina is centrally located within it. 

So, tho we say goodbye to the "summer folk", in the fall, we continue to enjoy the marina and Anacortes all winter long!

Monday, October 17, 2016


The precursor

Modern Weather forecasting is simply amazing.  100 years ago, we would have had absolutely no warning.  Zero.  Yet in today's world, days ahead of time the forecasting models predicted that this amorphous blob of clouds (that happened to be a remnant of the western pacific typhoon, Songda), thousands of miles away, would morph into a tight little low with a central pressure of only 950-960 mb, and come very, very near to us.  Perhaps even directly over Seattle.

As the days wore on, the forecast sharpened and the storm track became better known ( a phenomenon well-known to our East Coast brethren and sisteren). 

The reality

In the final day or so, the storm tightened up - so much so that a difference of 25 miles in its track would make the difference between catastrophic hurricane force winds pummeling the Salish Sea, and only damaging winds.

As it turned out we got those 25 miles; we were spared.  But now some in the news media are having a field day criticizing the predictions (which, by the way,  they were happy to use to produce panic-inducing headlines...  and sales).  Given the difficulty of predicting the path and strength of this storm, and the disastrous consequences of not giving adequate warning, I for one was happy to be warned.  Warned enough to add extra docklines and fenders and to make sure that everything loose was tied down.

The reality was bad enough:

New record low measured aboard Eolian: 984 mb

New record wind speed measured aboard Eolian: 47 kt

We were warned that a bullet was heading our way, and as it turned out, we dodged it.



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Damn Fish

We had visitors coming to the boat on Sunday.  So of course our galley sink stopped up almost entirely on Saturday.  Yeah, I tried the plunger, but if anything it made things worse.  Since we had had experience with fish swimming up our plumbing before, I suspected that this might be the case again...

So yesterday morning I tackled it - we can't go on washing dishes in the forward head sink forever...

My first thought was that the easiest approach would be to disconnect the hose from the sink plumbing under the sink.  This would allow me to isolate the problem to either the hose or the nearly inaccessible thru hull/seacock, or to the drain plumbing under the sink, where the diameter goes from 1-1/2" to 1" hose.  (One of my mechanic's rules is to always try the easiest or cheapest solution first.)

Well.  Since we all know that Murphy was a marine architect, you can guess that the "easy" approach was not so easy after all.  In fact, because of an intervening shelf that the plumbing passed thru, I destroyed almost everything in the plumber's nightmare above in getting the hose off. 

And no, the problem was not there.

Well, the hose was off, so I got out our sewer snake (don't all boats have a sewer snake?).  It easily ran down the hose all the way to the elbow on the thru hull. 

No joy.

Thankfully, Sebo's Hardware is just two blocks from the head of the dock, so I think you can imagine me, squatted down in the plumbing section, piecing together various fittings on the floor to try to make up a similar nightmare.  Sebo's is a very complete hardware - I was able to remake the plumbing and even replace the 2" sink strainer for only $28.

So where are we?

The sink plumbing is back together, shiny and new.  Sadly, it still doesn't drain. 

For now at least, we have decided to continue the use of the fwd head sink as the wash basin.  We have a haul-out scheduled for this spring - tackling the thru hull from the outside with a plunger (or worse, disassembling it) would be a lot easier with the boat on the hard than trying to use a plunger on it from the outside now, wearing a wet suit.

And who knows - maybe it will heal.  if it is a fish that is in there, maybe he leave on his own.  Or decompose.


Monday, October 3, 2016

The Opposite Perspective

We have anchored in Blind Bay and Indian Cove on Shaw Island countless times.  But other than the obligatory trips to the Shaw Island General Store for ice cream, we have never been on Shaw Island.

There was one exception however, when we took a hike from Blind Bay over to the campground at Indian Cove.  Now Shaw Island is not big - the hike is almost exactly 2 miles long.  When we did that hike, we promised ourselves that we'd repeat it some day, with backpacking gear and spend the nite at the campground.

We took the occasion of our 45th wedding anniversary to do just that last Thursday...

Backpacking on the ferry

When hiking on Shaw Island, you are likely to run into some of the residents...  residents who will not gracefully surrender right of way to you or car traffic.

On the way, you will pass this charming little hut, where someone is selling locally gathered seeds.  On the honor system, of course.

The campground is lovely.  There are 10 sites, most of which are on the edge of a 20 foot high bluff directly above the beach.  All are supplied with picnic tables and a fire ring (firewood is available).  Water spigots are not far.

And then there is the beach at Indian Cove, one of the nicest beaches in the Islands.

The view begs you to just sit and contemplate. 
So we had the opportunity to see the anchorages we are so familiar with, but from the opposite perspective - from land.

Finally, being the gadget nerd that I am, this trip provided the opportunity to try out some neat things that I had received from my son and daughter-in-law as presents...

Backpacker's beer - No one wants to carry the weight of a six-pack when backpacking.  But most of that weight is water.  What if you removed that water?  Yeah, that's the ticket!  It's real beer, with a real head, and it is as cold as your water source.  You won't believe how good it tastes!

Heating water for coffee... and charging my phone!

Unlike almost all of our backpacking campsites, This one on Shaw Island has cell service.  But the battery in my ageing iPhone 5s is failing and needs frequent transfusions of electrons to stay alive.  Imagine my delight then, at receiving this backpacker's pot!  Yes, it does indeed have a wire attached to it...  You see, the base of the pot is a thermoelectric generator, and creates electricity as long as there is enough temperature difference between the bottom of the pot and its contents.

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