|San Juan Islands 2000
- Maiden Voyage
After spending 8 months living aboard Ghost, our 51' cutter rigged ketch,
Angela and I set out on our first true voyage with everything we own aboard.
Our trip was to start out late on June 1, 2000 after Angela got off of work. Our
neighbor, Jonathan, helped us make the first leg of our trip. What follows is
an account of our month long trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
June 1, 2000
Pulling away from the dock I was full of apprehension about what lay ahead.
This would be our first long trip aboard Ghost. I couldn't help but wonder if all
systems would run properly. The wind this evening was from the NW at about
7 knots. We tried to sail, but decided that we wanted to get there and eat.
Tonight as we motor sailed up the channel to our first destination, Blake
Island, we discussed what we would or could make for dinner. To provision
for this trip we spend almost $500.00 on food and supplies. So we had plenty
to choose from. We decided on grilled swordfish with rice and vegetables. It
was so good. We passed a huge square rigger on our way. She was in the
paper the next day. Angela was at the helm most of the day. She loves
Ghost. We got to our buoy on Blake Island at about 8:30 p.m. It was so nice
and quiet. A perfect way to start the trip.
June 2, 2000
Nothing starts too early this month. We leisurely rose from our bunks and
started our new day. Today we needed to get to Bell Harbor in downtown
Seattle to pick up Jackie (Jonathan's wife). We departed Blake Island and
headed for Seattle. The site of the city was awesome. A huge cruise ship was
parked on the same pier as Ghost. We squeezed into our slip without any
problem and walked up to Pike Place Market to get some fresh food. Tonight
we planned on having stir-fry for dinner. At 3:30p.m., with everyone aboard we
departed and set sail for our next destination, Port Townsend. We sailed for
most of the evening. It was slow going as it sometime can be with a sailboat,
but we loved the quiet calm of sailing. The cruise ship that was downtown
passed us around 8:30 p.m. We still had a long way to go. Jonathan went
below to start dinner. I was at the helm. It was cold, too. About 50 degrees
with the wind right on the nose. After a discussion we decided that we wanted
to get to a protected anchorage so we could call it a night. We opted for Port
Ludlow. It was 2 hours closer and would put us on the hook by dark. We had
to wind our way through some rocks and buoys, but found our way. We
dropped the anchor for only our 2nd time. I had spray painted the chain every
20' and we set out 160' in 50' of water. Not a perfect scope, but good enough.
We slept well with our wind burned and cold bodies.
June 3, 2000
Today was our "biggest challenge." We headed out into the Strait of Juan de
Fuca. Open water, that was actually dead calm. We had breakfast on the go
and sailed most of the day. Saw some dahls porpoises and a mink whale.
Our plan was to pass through Cattle Pass at slack to flood tide. We passed
right on time. My brother, Bill, and his wife, Heidi, were on the rocks as we
passed taking pictures and movies of us. Their house is at the southern tip of
San Juan Island. We arrived in Friday Harbor at 2p.m. It was a great day. I
went up to the marine office to check in and found out that we had received a
permanent slip assignment for Ghost, J-10. We had put our names on the list
a couple months ago. We were so happy! So now we can call Friday Harbor
our new home starting in September. At this Point we all split up. Some went
shopping and some tidied up the boat. A couple hours later we set sail for
Picnic Cove. It was close and protected from the northerly. We dropped the
anchor and settle into a nice lonely cove all to ourselves. We dropped the
dinghy and kayak and played in the water all afternoon. Tonight we had steaks
for dinner. The weather was perfect. We also set out some crab rings. A
couple hours later we pulled it up to find 17 crabs in one ring. All of them
dungeness. We couldn't believe it. Wow, crabs for lunch tomorrow. We all
stayed up late and though about the trip so far. Tomorrow Angela and myself
will be on our own.
June 4, 2000
We pulled up the anchor at 12:30 p.m. and sailed around Shaw Island to Friday
Harbor. We got to the dock and dropped off our crew. For the next 10 days
Angela and I would be all alone. We sailed to Reid Harbor and tied up to a
buoy. We were all alone and it was very nice. We sat quietly and watched the
eagles and listened to people at the other end of the bay. They were talking so
loudly, we could hear everything they were saying. It was kind of funny. Our
cats, Ashes and Dusty, are acclimating nicely.
June 5, 2000
We slept in until way past 10 a.m. Both of us were slow to get going. We got
up to a rainy day. We don't mind the rain so much. We just lay around and
read and be lazy. We did spend the morning cleaning up the boat. It stopped
raining and starting clearing up later in the day. We spent a few hours
paddling around the bay. We put out the crab rings, but didn't get nearly the
amount of crabs we got in Picnic Cove.
The batteries got a good charge with the late afternoon sun. No leaks really,
either. I am so happy.
June 6, 2000
We woke up much earlier today. Rain again. Today our tasks were simple;
Relax, pay our buoy fee ($5) and then motor over to the pump out and dump
our holding tank. I had finished my book early last night, so I was bored. I was
patient however and waited from my love to get her tushy in gear. She told me
she would be ready to go at noon, and she was. She also said she wanted to
try and park the boat at the free-floating pump out dock. She did a wonderful
job. She is really gaining in confidence and skill. Then we left for Roche
Harbor. We got to Roche Harbor and Angela docked the boat again with
people watching and everything. Wow was I impressed! We pretty much had
all day to be lazy until our dinner with Bill & Heidi. We took showers and
walked around looking at boats. At around 6:30 p.m. Bill & Heidi showed up
for dinner. Afterwards, Angela re-docked the boat in an even tighter spot for
our pump-out (earlier the pump-out didn’t work). To top the whole day off, she
backed us out and turned us around and anchored us out in the nice Roche
Harbor. What a day!
June 7, 2000
We slept very well in Roche last night. Some time during the night our house
batteries went flat. 3 8-D’s and all flat. Our engine battery still started the
engine, thank goodness! I think the problem lies in the fact that we didn’t get
a full charge during the little motoring we did. We left early as planned and
motored into a very tricky passage to Westcott Bay. Shallow, but we set the
hook in about 20’ of water and spent the day like all others (being lazy). We
started crabbing and before we knew it, we had more than we could eat.
Dinner was steak and crab. Yummmm! I shut off the fridge to let the battery
rest. Very quiet and slept very well.
June 8, 2000
I could not sleep too late, of course I was worried about the batteries. We
needed to leave at high tide, so as to not have to deal with the shallow water
from the day before. We motored out of Mosquito Pass to the same place we
saw whales the first time 4 years ago. We did see some dauls porpoises and
had enough wind to sail the Jenny. I got her all dry and bagged for a few
days. Ashes is really getting acclimated to sailing and motoring. Dusty still is
a little afraid, but better. The weather is better. More sun, and we are able to
sit outside in the sun for the better part of the day. We keep running into a
little yellow sloop with a dragon figure head named “Cutaway”. So far they
have matched us anchorage for anchorage.Today they sailed into the dock.
Very cool. I don’t think we could ever do that with “Ghost” shorthanded.
Both Angela, and I went for a sea kayak, and now we are just being lazy
enjoying this wonderful lifestyle. Life is good!
June 9, 2000
Still worried about our batteries. We abandoned our plan to hike this morning,
opting to head to Friday Harbor early. Angela again docked us, this time with
even more grace and perfection. A brief note about last night. Angela came to
bed late from reading, and I got up to secure something bumping. The stars
were so bright and the phosphorous was amazing.
Ok, we checked into Friday Harbor and cleaned all we could off the Pondo
May. We also moved her forward a little. She is now secure in her temporary
home. We showered with Ghost’s hot water and charged her batteries as best
we could with the length of time available. Bill showed up at about 6:30 p.m.
and Angela got us off the dock without a hitch. The wind was pinning us
against the dock. We lost a bumper and had to drop me off in the dinghy to
retrieve it. It was just a short hop to Parks Bay for the night. It was very quiet
with a light rain.
June 10, 2000
We woke up and our fridge was still running!! Yahoo! It only took all day to re-
charge the 600 amps of our house bank. That was the problem all along. I
thought we were getting a full charge, but it would take longer than a little
engine run to top off the batts. We sailed the whole way to Sucia. After we
slowly made our way into the bay we took a bouy and relxed for a bit before
taking a long hike. Last night I had a dream that Angela and I had baby boy
born at 8:08. I wasn't sure if it was AM or PM, but it was light outside and
warm. Also there was a blemish or something on the right side of his face. And
he had brown hair. Wierd huh?
(Just a note: We found out we were pregnant with Zak on July 22. He was born
the following March. He had a birth mark on his forehead. He did have a head
of hair, but it was blonde.)
Bill and I went for a ride in the sea kayaks. We just layed around and enjoyed
the day. Carolyne called! She will be here with us on the 17th! Great news!
We played Monopoly and had burgers for dinner. Guess who won the
Monopoly game? Angela of course. After we all went to bead late, I got up in
the middle of the night to bring the annoying thumping kayak aboard. As I was
securing the dingy I threw out my back! I am getting old.
We buttoned everything up and headed into the wind for Friday Harbor. It took
us four hours. We did a boat swap and for a short time we had both of the
boats tied up side by side. It was very cool to have the “Pondo May” and
“Ghost” in the same slip. We quickly got everything all put back together, took
a shower, and headed to Bill and Heidi’s for dinner. Back to “ghost” around
We still can’t believe that we are going to live in this wonderful place. I am a
little nervous, but anxious to start the next chapter in the adventure book…. of
our life. Angela and I took off to spend our last $40 on food and gas.
Angela took off later in the afternoon to try and make a dent in the piles of
laundry that had to be done. While she was away I worked on the boat. I
started cleaning and making more bread. I made four more loafs. I fixed up the
dingy and emptied the head.
Our guests were arriving a day later than planned so the skipper and I decided
to sail to someplace close for the night. We have wanted to continue to seek
out places we have not yet seen, so this voyage found us heading to Blind Bay.
Blind Bay is on Shaw island and is very nice. There was really good crabbing
and even a little island to explore. The weather was cloudy, not to cool, and
calm. We laid around and read a lot. I even got a nap in the hammock. We had
steak for dinner.
Guests arrive (Bob and Shari)
We woke up to absolutely dead calm. We made our way slowly to Friday
Harbor under cloudy skies and calm seas. We tied up to the break water and
filled our fresh water. I walked up to get Bill's car so I could go and get some
turkey legs. After a little bit of shopping we anxiously waited for the 3:50 ferry
to arrive with Bob and Shari. They arrived and we all decided on Reid Harbor
at Stuart Island as our first night. The wind was light, but we did get to stretch
the sails a little. The weather was blustery, but it was showing some signs of
improving. No crabs really, so we settled on burgers for dinner.
We all got up early with the ambitious intentions of hiking out to the light
house at Turn Point. We had a great hike! It was nice to get out and stretch
our legs. Talked to Mike on the phone, He and Kari are not coming. Bummer.
So that means we have an extra two days to get lost. We headed over to
Roche Harbor for some showers, and a little provisioning. After that we set
sail and sailed all the way around Turn Point to Patos Island. We saw a very
cool pod of porpoises and some of them even swam with the bow wake. It was
very cool. It was the first time we had seen this. I think it might have been the
red hull paint. When we got to Patos Island, we got the last of two buoys. It
was very close quarters. We didn’t have a lot of swing room. Good thing it is
calm. It was a wonderful night. We had spaghetti and watched the moon rise,
and the sun set at the same time.
Did I say calm!? Sometime during the night, the wind came up and started
howling. It wasn’t very fun. We were almost up against the rocks with a falling
tide. We decided to move. We had to be very careful. If we let the wind catch
us, we would get swung around and pushed into the rocks before we could do
anything about it. Bob and Shari were still curled up in bed, so Angela and I
planned our escape. I would go forward and get ready to release the line
attached to the float. Angela was at the helm and gave me the signal to drop
the line as she started moving us forward out of the cove. There was another
boat tied up to the other float near the entrance to the cove. The crew from
that boat was also up and watching us. There wasn’t a lot of options if we lost
control. All went smoothly though as Angela steered us out of the cove into
the rough water. We decided that we should find a more protected place to
drop our hook. We motored around the north side of Sucia Island and found
calm water in Echo Bay. It was still very early so we had our pick of floats.
Again we did a long hike. We hatched a plan to build a fire on the beach and
cook a nice dinner over the fire and watch the full moon rise to the east. It was
a perfect night. Shari went for a night time kayak paddle.
We thought that we would wake up to the “rooster” this morning, but alas he
was nowhere to be heard! We slowly motored out of “Echo Bay”. The winds
were too light to shake the sails out of there bags, so we had to motor all the
way to Friday Harbor. This week has been so cool. We were friends with Bob
and Shari before this week, but now after all this, we have become closer than
words can say. I am sure that in the years to come our families will grow
together, and dream together. I think Bob and Shari have started thinking
about boats. Soon, I feel, they could be our neighbors on the water. We can’t
wait to see them again! We arrived in Friday Harbor and with a sad heart
because we knew it was the end of a great week. Bill and Heidi and Carolyn
and Tracy showed up and we had a nice night playing cards and enjoying the
night at the dock. Tomorrow we will head out on another adventure.
We said good bye to Bob and Shari. It was hard. There is something about
saying good bye to friends when they are leaving on a plane, train or in this
case….ferry! They were waving to us from the top deck. Somehow I felt that
we had started something. It was the best week! We were up early to get a
start on the day. We went for a walk to get some coffee. It was the first coffee
we had had that we had not made ourselves. If you know us, then you know
this is special. We left for Reid Harbor around noon. We put the sails up and
motor sailed all the way to the mooring buoy. The girls went hiking, while
Angela and I just laid around and relaxed all day. It was so nice. We pulled up
to the biffy pump out dock and tried to dump our holding tank, but the
receiving tank was full, so we had to wait till Roche Harbor. We cooked up
some grilled veggies for dinner. They weren’t as good as the ones we cooked
in Sucia Island, but it was still ok. The beef curry was great with the fresh
bread. We played cards again tonight. We even made up our own way of
betting using foiled covered mints as chips. Guess who won!? She never
Calm winds and a gentle boat motion made sleeping very well last night. We
mistakenly dropped the crab pots off the bow of the boat last night, and this
morning had a real mess. The lines were all wrapped around the buoy rode. We
had a nice breakfast and coffee. We slowly motored out of our favorite bay and
headed around Turn Point towards Patos Island. The day was slow and lazy.
We saw tons of ships and dauls porpoises. Carolyn painted her toe nails for
the first time. It was that kind of a crew….all women. We arrived at Patos
Island and we all took off in different directions. Each one going on there own
adventure. I paddled the sea kayak way out into the calm water and just sat
there waiting for the porpoises to find me. It was very cool. We all took a sun
shower. It felt soo good! Tonight the guests are cooking. We also decided to
try and get a picture of Angela and I in “Boo” with “Ghost” in the back ground.
Patos Island is the best place to watch the sun set. Carolyn was going to take
the picture from the sea kayak. We had just filled up a roll of film and I was
going to tow her in the kayak to a better position. She held on to the side of
the dingy, while I motored to a better spot…..and over she went! Yep, in the
drink! She was only in the water about 15 seconds, but it was enough to get
wet and cold. I felt soo bad. The camera was toast. Luckily we had just
changed the film. We played a good ole game of Monopoly. I lost again.
Patos Island day two
Another lazy day on board “ghost”. We all agreed that we could use another
day of bliss, so it was here that we would stay for another night. Carolyn and
Tracy decided they wanted me to drop them off on a secluded beach to do a
little sun bathing. Why is that airplane circling over head? I took the sea kayak
all around the island. It was nice. I saw some cool birds.
Tonight we had decided to go ashore and build a big fire and watch the full
moon rise. We gathered all our remaining booze and took food ashore for
dinner. We were the only boat at the island, so we had the place to ourselves.
Around midnight we walked back to the beach and found that the water in the
cove was alive with phosphorous light. There were thousands of fish in the
water, and there swimming caused the water to light up. It was a very cool
night and no camera to record any of it.
This morning rollers were lifting us up and down as they piled into this tiny
cove. They had almost 100 miles to grow from the northwest. We left early and
arrived in Friday Harbor to drop off Carolyn and Tracy. We walked up the
street to Kings market for a few things and headed out again to explore some
yet undiscovered water. We headed around to Deer Harbor, then Mud Bay, and
couldn’t find anyplace that looked interesting so we keep going. We ended up
in Hunter Bay on Lopez Island. It was a long boring motor sail. There was a lot
of shallow water, and many crab pots. We decided that we didn’t like this part
of the islands.
A strange feeling has descended upon the boat. We both have this feeling that
we are leaving something behind. We are heading home. Even though this ship
is our home, we have known no port but Tacoma. We are lightened a bit to
know that we will head back to Friday Harbor to start a new chapter in our
lives. I look forward this new town. It feels like home, even though we are
leaving. I know we are coming back. Angela is anxious about her new job (She
got hired on with Windermere Realty as an office assistant while we were
there). We spent the night on the hook. There really isn’t anyplace to get a
good hold in the bay, but “Ghost” is holding proud and strong. She has held
Well, “Ghost” has sure proved her self today. We started around 9 am and
headed south to Tacoma. We wanted to get all the way to Blake Island today
and did. We wanted to get some heavy weather sailing and we did. It was fine.
We found that everything that was not secured got thrown around, but all in all
we did well. We had the sails up all day. It was so nice. When we neared Point
Wilson we got into some huge tide ripps and had some big trailing seas. It
wasn’t until we passed Point Wilson that the seas calmed and we had a
smooth rest of the day. We pushed eleven hours out of our iron sail. It will be
a rollie pollie night but we will sleep well. Almost home.
It was a very bad night for sleep. Lots of ship traffic, and with that, lots of
ships wake. We left around 8:30 am. It was a quiet run down Culvos Passage
as we reflected on that past month. When we left, we hardly knew our boat.
Now, Angela takes the helm and guides us into our slip as gently as can be.
The entire marina greeted us with jaws dropped when they saw me on the bow
with a line instead of at the helm. Angela earned much respect from the old
salts on the dock.