August, 2014

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Saturday, August 30. Bowen Island.

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

I am staying here one more night and leave tomorrow for Vancouver. There is a 10.30 a.m. mass within a short walk from the marina. Rondy and Dorothy Dike, the owners of the marina let men be their guest for the second night. They are leaving themselves on their motor yacht for a two week vacation in the Desolation Sound. Their oldest daughter Oita and son in law have moved here as well from the States. I had not seen Oita since the seventies when we skied with them at Mt. Baker. She is the same age as our Rose Marie who is four years younger than Lisa. There was more sunshine today but also a few short light showers. No trace yet of Rose Marie’s father in law who I am supposed to meet here. Paul de Leeuw did not show up either. I think we crossed up our times and connections.

This is a lovely stop, excellent marina and very nice facilities. The restaurant and bar attract a lively crowd.

Today would have been our mother’s 113th birthday.

A towering dead Sitka Spruce, once above the tide line.

A towering dead Sitka Spruce, once above the tide line.

The Union Steamship Company marina on Bowen Island

The Union Steamship Company marina on Bowen Island

Howe Sound from Snug Cove on Bowen Island

Howe Sound from Snug Cove on Bowen Island

 

Friday August 29. Bowen Island, Canada

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

I left Bellingham at 11 a.m. on Thursday. I had hoped to catch some of the Croatian fishermen on their coffee break at the Weblocker in the morning. But they all went to a funeral of one of their comrades. There was plenty of wind in Bellingham Bay and I had the ebb tide with me in Hales Pass between the mainland and Lummi Island. I made a nostalgic stop in Echo Bay of Sucia Island in the San Juan Islands. This was an easy weekend sail from where I used to have a weekend retreat in La Conner. My kids still remember when in 1978  both the Canadian and U.S. fireboats came too late to the rescue of a sailboat that burned down to the waterline a few boats anchored away from our boat. Today I made a 45 nautical mile sail to Bowen Island, to the N.W. of Vancouver. Sailed it in 10 hours, following and reaching winds. Slalomming through the gillnets set at the mouth of the Fraser River. The last time I was in the marina here was 20 years ago. My twin brother and sister in law came to visit from Germany. My boat sat on it’s trailer in Gig Harbor and I borrowed a friend’s boat, also a NAJA like “Fleetwood”, who kept his boat in Eagle Harbor, nearby Bowen Island. The owner of the marina here went to CalPoly architecture school with Sid, who I met on Wednesday in B’ham. I’m meeting my long time Canadian American friend Paul de Leeuw ( de echte) here and my son in law’s father who lives here on the Island. Then I sail to Vancouver tomorrow.

No pictures, yet. The weather has changed to normal N.W. summer weather, drizzle and grey.

 

August 27. Bellingham

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

I am staying another night here at the Squalicum Marina. Doug brought me his extra Avon inflatable. I needed to go and shop for oars. Fortunately the pump Ron Ray had given me fits the inflatable. I also purchased the smallest anchor the store had, for a stern anchor when I compared it with my (main) bow anchor it turned out to be the same Danforth size and weight. I better not run into the Brit in Durban who was spreading the story that Jack has a bow anchor he can fit in his short pocket and the stern anchor fits in his breast pocket…. B’ham has a terrific used marine equipment store the N.W. Marine Exchange. Rows and rows of engine parts, hardware, you name it. I think I’ll have to come back there with a U-haul.

I am trying to make contact with some of the B’ham Dalmatian fishermen whose relatives I met in Croatia in 2012. I talked to one so far. Tomorrow morning I’m planning to  crash their coffee break at the Web Locker restaurant.

Their was big party Pow Wow like going on in the marina park. Something to do with the Seahawks football team. There is a large Indian reservation near B’ham, the Lummi tribe. There was strong westerly and the kite flyers were just as happy as the sailors for these conditions.

Below is a picture of my long time friend Sid and his son Doug. Sid designed all three of the houses that I had built between 1976 and 1993. We met on a KLM ski charter flight from Seattle to Zuerich in 1972. Doug and Sid were living on Maui when I vacationed there with Lisa and Rose Marie in 1973. They were then respectively 8 and 4 years old and Doug 11. He already then made a big impressions on my daughters.

Lummi island in background

Lummi island in background

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Lummi kids grabbing the kite's tail

Lummi kids grabbing the kite’s tail

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Tuesday August 26. It’s for real.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

After three false starts, I finally made it out of Dodge. I’m in Bellingham having a cold beer and excellent fish and chips at Nicky’s. Its been a hot day again, in the 80-ties.

I made it Monday night to Oak Bay, just south of the canal that made Marrowstone an island, just south of Port Townsend. I anchored out just when the sun was setting. The other picture is of the sun rising over the Fir trees when I pulled the anchor to catch the ebb tide and current through the canal. The engine problems appear to be resolved. I held my breath in the first hours, particularly when I had to wrestle a steep wake. Yesterday the wind came mainly from the NW. Most of the time too little to sail but also some real power spurts. Today the wind came from every directions you can imagine. Some great sailing and then back to the iron man.

But one thing is for sure: this is one of the most beautiful natural beauties God created. I had to see 51 countries from “Fleetwood” to be convinced. Particularly from the water. People that have lived here all their lives tell me that this is the best summer they have ever had here.

The seal picture has a story. I could not determine what I was coming upon near Point No Point. I passed just a few feet from her and she was not going to move. It looks like she might have possibly be injured. Her eyes look sad. Do you notice what looks like a heart tattooed on her chest. I’m in love! Any marine biologists in the house? She was floating on this piece of styrofoam.

I put the spinnaker up for the first time. But soon after the wind quit again. Anyway, another piece of my inventory checked out. Looks good. Nearly the same colors as the one that went down with the Sloop Jack V. Just the additional light blue panel.

Doug, my longtime friend Sid’s son, is bringing me a inflatable dinghy that he has donated to the “causa”, here in B’ham tomorrow. Then I’m off to Canadian waters.

Yesterday, a sailboat overtook me and hailed me near Blake Island. It was “White Cap” of John Dixon. I met John and his wife Sarah in 1987 when they had a Catlina 34? “Sail  la Vie” when they participated in tje very first Jack and Jill Race I organized for the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. Sarah had MS. And I often wondered what happened to John and Sarah. He brought me the sad news that Sarah had passed away. He was on his way to Hood Canal with his new friend Susan. He knew all about my adventures as he regularly checks my blog.  September 13 and 14 the GHYC has their annual Jand J race. I am searching for a Jill to participate. I can give a few character references if necessary.

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Sunday August 24. The Netherworld.

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Today’s gospel reading was from Matthew 16 : “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”  A promise that the extremist ISIS murderers, the Red Chinese persecution of the Chinese Christians, the violence in Africa against the Church, etc. will never be won by the Netherworld.

I have become superstitious. I am not going to announce my sailing plans again, if I ever get further than 50 miles from Gig Harbor then I will mention it in this blog. I drained my fuel tank and filtered the diesel fuel. The engine appears to be running fine. But it did before…. The weather continues to be warm and sunny.

I installed a retrofit gismo to crack my forward hatch open instead of popping a beer bottle under the hatch. One of the latches was missing when I bought the boat, it is replaced and instead of the mickey mouse aluminum rivets I screwed the latches and the gismo into the plywood rim.

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August 22nd. Never leave on a Friday.

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

I made it as far as the Tides Tavern and the engine quit again after an early morning start. I sculled the boat back. Ric Holl, a mechanic, had a hard time figuring out where the air was coming in but got the engine running again. It ran well for a bout 2 1/2 hours. I was motor sailing against the Northerly and was near the north end of Colvos Pass. A jerk in a dive boat passed a few feet from me at high speed, I was on the starboard side of the pass and he was going south. He threw a mean wake and water came over the deck and into the open forward hatch. The right after the engine quit. Most likely something got dislodged in the tank, filter or fuel lines. I could not restart the engine by bleeding the lines as I had been able to do the week before. I sailed back south on the stiff Northerly but it petered out near Gig Harbor, I inched close to the harbor entrance but the ebb was starting to push me backwards. I hailed a sport fisher who towed me into the harbor where there is always wind when there is none outside and I sailed the rest of the way into my slip.

So, I’ll ave to start the whole process over again. I should have been born 200 years earlier before engines spoiled the fun of a good sail.

Thursday August 21. Engine runs again.

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The pump promised for Tuesday showed up today. And all is back to normal. I plan take off for places North via Bellingham in the morning (Friday).

In my previous blog I wrote how my world has shrunk in size, but I do not lack company and friends here. Jim the wood products salesman on my float just took me up to the supermarket for my last minute provisions. Pete and Diane stopped by in their runabout with two of their granddaughters. Pete grew up on Wollochet bay, near here. While we are visiting Christine walks by with her sister in law Jan, both grew up with Pete on W-Bay.  Jan and her husband spend the summer here on their boat and the winter in Mexico. Last night  Terry and Janet invited me over for a barbecue at their house with another couple I have known since the eighties, Tom and Doris. Last Sunday I went to drop off a “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”  for Patty who bought one at coffee after the 8.30 mass. She lives in the condos on the bay where I temporarily moored my boat in May, on Joan’s dock. This was right after lunch. I did not get back here till dinnertime. After Patty I visited with her neighbors Bob and Gayle. They operated the “Harbor Inn” restaurant here for about 30 years and are sailing friends. And last stop was with Joan who gave me tour of her condo and I met her son and his family. Another Eugene sailing couple arrived here last night on their tri-maran and, of course, they also know my good Eugene friend Evert Slijper. They are Terry and Janice and also sail Thistles.

 

 

Monday August 18. I like living in this Fish bowl.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Without a car and so-so public transportation beyond the town limits, my world has shrunk to a 3 mile radius. The nearest grocery market is about 4 miles up a steep incline. I take my bike on the on the every half hourly trolley up the hill and ride the bike back down hill. I found out that I can still make it up the hill on the bicycle, when I was now willing to wait 25 minutes when I missed the bus. The bus stops at the park and ride at the top of the hill for 10 minutes and, instead of waiting for the bus to get going again, I then take the Cushman trail for a mile to the Shopping Mall. The trail is lined with ripe black berries.  For the first time in my life I have started wearing a bicycle helmet because the descent on Sound View Drive is steep and fast.. There is a toll bridge between Gig Harbor and Tacoma and I have not crossed it since June 20th.

But there is no dull moment here in the Harbor as the below pictures show. There is a constant coming and going of visiting yachts, often a group of them from the different yacht clubs in the Puget Sound. Practically every boat has some kind of dog aboard.

I will have a new electric fuel pump ordered to arrive tomorrow. The one I installed in May is shot and cannot be fixed. But I also plan to buy the proper mechanical pump for the boat they are less likely to break, but will keep the electric one as a back up. Both cost about a $100 each. The mechanical one comes out of Eastern Canada and will take a while to get here.

I received the below pictures from Mike and Roxanne. The triplets showed up in the marina with their grandfather Mike and his friend Roxanne a few Tuesdays back. Later that afternoon I came upon them again and one of the three princesses had dropped her flip flop in the bay. Not her, but her sister stood there sobbing. I rushed down to the marina, grabbed the first boat hook from two sweet lesbian sailors and saved the flip flop which was just about to disappear under the dock in the current.

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A wedding Shower

A wedding Shower

Blue Heron at low tide

Blue Heron at low tide

After getting up courage she cocked her neck and swallowed the starfish whole

After getting up courage she cocked her neck and swallowed the starfish whole

A treat for the dog and the eye....

A treat for the dog and the eye….

 

Saturday August 16. A false start of my cruise North.

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

About an hour into Colvos Passage the engine quit once again. Sputtered to a halt. The current was running North and I needed to get back south to my berth. Fortunately the engine started up again after I bled the fuel line and ran till I got back into my marina spot. I spent the rest of the day trying to find the leak. Took the Racor fuel filter apart, renewed the fuel line ends and hose clamps. The motor seemed to run fine after all this but then stopped after 5 minutes running. I am trying to find a diesel mechanic to sort this out for me.

I have gone ahead and ordered a GPS USB antenna that is supposed to work on Windows-8 and this means that my departure is delayed towards the end of the week anyway.

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Friday August 15. Off on a sailing trip.

Friday, August 15th, 2014

It has been a raining for most of the night but it is supposed to clear but little wind is in the forecast I plan to try make it to Port Townsend, Bellingham Sunday evening and I will be in Vancouver Tuesday,Wednesday possibly longer then cross through the Canadian San Juan islands to the Chemainus area of Vancouver Island. I may go further north and end up in Roche Harbor for the Labor day weekend, then head for home again.

This week did a lot of chores on the boat. Yesterday was winched up the mast, by my dock neighbor John Alskog, to the lower spreaders to install a burgee flag halyard for the Canadian courtesy flag. Put in the harness lines,  so I can get from the cockpit to the bow with the harness clipped on to it. Received my replacement zoom lens, just in time. An EnGenius wi-fi booster also came just in time. The only item I wished I had is a GPS USB antenna. The one I purchased on Amazon from Prolific does not work on Windows 8. It works on my old Acer laptop but the laptop only works when it feels like it. The keyboard and mouse mostly wish to be left undisturbed.  I tried every trick to roll the driver back to Windows 7 on the new lap top, to no avail.

Picture is of last nights dinner, a delicious piece of Salmon, John Alskog’s friend caught on a fishing trip in Alaska. I am being well taken care off.

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