|Charlie stands by for the launch our beautiful boat.|
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Happily, Gratitude needed very little done at the end of this tour except a new coat of bottom paint. In his wisdom Charlie had scheduled a haulout soon after we expected to arrive home. During recent weeks we’d noticed some vibration when motoring at high revs. We took this to be from cavitation, but were not sure. Charlie removed our line cutter from the prop shaft, and added a few zincs. CSR completed the paint job and polished the prop. Outside the locks we revved up to full throttle. No more vibration! Not bad after all those miles! No doubt Charlie will add some statistics at a later date, but this is my last post. What a wonderful adventure we have had!
Gratitude hit the water late in the day right next to the Nanaimo seaplane dock. She was a bit gritty and salty from a week aboard ship, but otherwise fine. Luckily it was raining (and about 45°. Diane and I suddenly found a use for the newly knitted hats.) Charlie and I spent the night aboard and cleaned up on deck a bit as, dressed for a wet winter day, we headed out early to make the tide at Dodd Narrows.
The cruise home helped link boat life with our Seattle world. Diane and Ian joined us at the Royal Victoria YC the next day and we had a great sail to Roche Harbor where Customs was downright friendly, welcoming us home and skipping the refrigerator inspection. There was a little sightseeing for Diane on the way with Fathers Day lunch at the restaurant on the dock and provisioning at the store. Then we spent the night at Henry Island and proceeded to Port Townsend, sailing downwind almost all the way on a favoring tide!
On the fourth day the weather started to turn. We had sun over a glassy calm Sound as we motored the last leg to Shilshole and slid into our new slip next to the Steward’s sloop, Alert. Originally it was her voyage to Mexico that inspired ours. Chuck and Peggy’s advice guided many of our choices along the way. Thanks to them and all our helpful cruising friends!
|Looking up the Sound at Point No Point and Whidbey Island with a bulk carrier in the shipping lanes.|
|Diane and her grandchildren|
Naturally Charlie was glued to his iPhone's AIS tracking software for the next few days. Sure enough it took longer for the Pac Acrux to get north than planned. The destination was changed from Victoria to Nanaimo. We took the Victoria Clipper up to stay with Ian and Diane for a night in their little patch of paradise on Shanigan Lake. One night turned into two when the stevedores found the ship’s cranes didn’t pass a safety inspection.
|This hat pattern may show an oystercatcher but|
I think it's a hummingbird.
In the background is Emily's photo illustrating
a recent magazine article.
In spite of the extra wait, we had a great time with Ian and Diane. She took me to see Hill’s Cowichan trading post in Duncan where I met Emily, a manager of the store who’s a member of the local band. Sure enough along with all the other woolens, a partially knit sweater in a corner gave away her knitting sideline. We had a long visit discussing the authenticity of various practices in making the hats. She even showed me her cast-on technique, handed down to her by her mother. I’d never seen that before. In the room she also had a yarn spinner operated by a foot treadle. I learned that, like her, the women often spin their yarn themselves before knitting it. I got all kinds of new ideas for hat designs.
|Kim and her eldest, Sierra, on the "mud" couch. Look at the back. Real branches!|
We also visited Diane's daughter’s family in the straw and mud house they constructed. No, the big bad wolf can’t blow it down, but a family of gnomes from Sweden might sneak in to live there. Ian calls it the mud hut. While we were gone, Charlie and Ian moved a load of gravel to shore up his bank and threw worms to the father bass fish guarding babies in the lakeside shallows.
(Of course this date is a lie. It is really June 30, 2012 and I have postponed writing the official final post for this blog. Procrastination, a skill well learned by grade school, is only partly to blame. Home is much larger and more complicated than Gratitude’s 43 feet by 13.)
On the day the Pac Acrux inched into Ensenada harbor, Charlie and I were like little kids whose overworked dad drives into the garage long after dinner. We rushed over to watch and take photos, then rode our bikes to get a better view. Ensenada has a very small port dock but it’s defended by a tall cinderblock wall and many guards. Only from a great distance could we watch the crane and sling slowly unloading boats. The next morning we drove our boat over to the tall green side of the ship, tied her up turning off everything, grabbed our travel bags, and with a final panga ride, left Gratitude to fend for herself.
|The ship carried most of the sailboats on the bow. This shows the many tiedown straps and two cranes.|
|Getting too close for comfort, Charlie?|
Although Charlie had a final checklist, on the bus he started to worry about possible trouble with the bow thruster going off if its cockpit switch got wet. The thruster roaring away high over the deck somehow struck me as funny, but of course running the motor with the boat out of water would wreck it. Not sure if he had remembered to shut it off, he called the Loading Master who agreed to check the thruster circuit.
Awaiting the YachtPath vessel we had rattled around in Ensenada, making daily runs to the Santo Tomas winery warehouse to replace the emptied bottles in our locker. Their Misión red really hit the mark. It’s a mix of carignan and tempranillo grapes, both new to us. Making the most of our exit from Mexico we each carried two bottles, a change of clothes and our computers as we boarded a bus for Tijuana, the border crossing and an afternoon flight from San Diego to Seattle.
As we approached the U. S. we saw the freeway traffic jam for miles and the famous fences that separates our countries. The Mexican fence is made of various materials, some graffitied and broken down. The U. S. fence is much taller with barbed wire at the top. The border crossing line was not what I had expected. It’s not like in an airport where you’re contained. Instead you get off the bus and go to the sidewalk. The sidewalk is crowded and everyone is headed the same direction. People don’t pass each other to get to the plentiful food stands and little tiendas. Most of the people are Mexicans who don’t carry bags like we did. They’re just going to work in San Diego and take it for granted that walking the few blocks to the check post interview will take an hour or so. Beggars and entertainers and even fundraising nurses worked the crowd as we shuffled along. The US officials barely looked at us, scanned our passports and waved us along. On the other side we found bright red trolleys waiting to whisk us right to the train station in San Diego.
Shortly after midnight we entered our house, greeted warmly by the cats and the familiar sights of home. Partly due to the unusually uncluttered surfaces, it seemed rather strange to us. I found myself watching my step very carefully as if in a new place. The house is quite short of handholds compared with the boat.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
What’s really cool about our wait in Ensenada is that I’m using up my yarn. Okay, I did buy a bit in San Diego, but that was to contrast with some white-ish alpaca from Hood River for the replacement of my 40 year old Cowichan hat, a standby during all the outdoor fun we’ve had in cold or bad weather! Finally I knit the replacement and even wrote up a rule and what I know about the history of these hats. The second hat I knit just to try out another way of making the cuff turn up reliably.
|Kid size traditional, old beloved, alpaca yarn with whale chased by a canoe.|
Okay, the canoe does look like a dead cat on its back or an elephant.
(It’s been a productive trip for knitting projects with 3 hats, 3 scarves, a couple of shorty mittens, 2 sweaters and a pair of slippers now in the works.)
|Big bull attempts to board the dock.|
Meanwhile, while packing and securing everything on deck, Charlie has been entertained by local efforts to repel sea lions across from us. He even succeeded in scaring one off the dock just by yelling.
|A towering tho' very neat example of de crap.|
|A scarelion who fell down on the job. Good thing he had|
a helmet on to protect his bleach bottle head.
Charlie also photoed a number of cruising boats here with impressive crap on de back.
After a certain amount of unrigging and packing, the boat is ready for our YachtPath pickup tomorrow. We ate the perishables and used all the ice cubes in our drinks tonight. All we have to do is clean up the icebox, pickle the watermaker and pack our overnight bags tomorrow before the Pac Accrux, a giant bulk carrier ship, comes into the harbor to load Gratitude. Next stop Victoria!
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
May 30 - June 3
While waiting for “our ship to come in,” that is the bulk carrier hired by Yachtpath to pick up Gratitude in Ensenada, we had a few more extra days than expected. Admittedly this wait generated a certain amount of frustration, but there’s lots to see in San Diego.
|Tropical tree ferns in Balboa Park Botanical Garden|
took me back to New Zealand.
|Escargot Begonia in Botanical Garden|
|Amazing variety of colored koi in Japanese Garden pool|
One lovely afternoon I visited the gardens of Balboa Park.
|Model of the Star of India in high seas off Cape of Good Hope|
gives the feeling of what conditions were like on many roundings.
|Sample of stained glass on the Berkeley.|
Another day we found ourselves at the Maritime Museum, a fine collection of ships along the waterfront. My favorite was the Berkeley ferry. It was beautifully restored, all the wooden seats, varnished, brass rails polished and stained glass all around the passenger deck. I could picture it unloading survivors from the SF earthquake at the now ruined dock that stretches about half a mile into the bay. Charlie loved the Surprise, formerly the Rose, of Master and Commander fame, and the Star of India, a real cargo vessel, miraculously plucked from the age of sail and rescued by skilled craftsmen. We saw fascinating video of these men, many of them elderly, who rebuilt the decks and the rig, restoring her to sailing condition.
|Star of India, on deck next to the spanker.|
Finally with an assist from the bus system I took a bike ride the length of Coronado Island, now a peninsula, where the famous example of Victorian excrescence, the Hotel Del (Coronado) is located. Entering via the driveway, I was accosted by an employee who shouted as he ran, “Get off your bike. Bikes aren’t allowed on the property.” Luckily, he was needed elsewhere. I carried my bike up a few stairs, left it unobtrusively in a grassy corner, and took the View Walk through the gardens to an overlook where the pool, beachside restaurant and thousands of beach umbrellas blew next to the surf. Nice view, slightly more delicious for its illicit access.
|Hotel Del Coronado|
The long peninsula’s inner beach had been fenced off to prevent disturbing least tern nests. The Navy takes credit for that. I got my fill of straight flat windy bike path going down to Imperial Beach and back.
|Ocean beach and restaurants, popular in spite of dark, windy conditions.|
|Start of Mission Bay ride —the new baby is on the right|
Tuesday, May 29
(Possibly this post is more of a candidate for Crazy Guy on a Bike...)
Having straightened out the fit of my new Bike Friday, we looked for a good ride. Last fall, our friends, California authorities Bob and Carolyn, suggested pedaling around Mission Bay, just north of Point Loma (a giant hill) and the various YC’s we’ve stayed at. Having a rental car makes a big difference in the places you choose to go for activities. We simply drove over, parked on the east side and off we rode for a flatland circuit of about 16 miles.
The route is very well signed. Basically it follows the shores of this large, multi-lobed inland bay, really more like a lake than a bay. We passed the vast Sea World parking areas and watched shrieking kids, on year end field trips, I presume, plummeting down the roller coaster.
|A variety of beach rescue vehicles are all equipped with surfboards|
Cones mark their special driving lane on the sand.
|The quiet side of Mission Bay: rusting paddle wheeler, flat water, perfect for the ever popular stand up paddleboards.|