Tuesday, January 1, 2019

EYE ON THE PRIZE, January 1, 2019

Scrimshaw
1990 Grand Banks Classic

We are long overdue for an adventure. Early spring we cast off Scrimshaw's dock lines, and head north! Our New Year Resolution is, "EYE ON THE PRIZE", as we prepare Scrimshaw for her journey to the Salish Sea. We are making lists for getting her cruise-ready, paper charts, an upgraded depth sounder, a new anchor bridle, perhaps an Ultra Swivel for the anchor like we had for El Tiburon, and who knows what else, the list continues to grow daily. We have decided to ship her from Ensenada, Mexico to Victoria B.C. I have spent the last 40 some years waiting for good weather windows to sail to from Point A to Point B.  Exploring new idyllic cruising spots requires waiting for safe passages. Cruising the Mediterranean, an Atlantic crossing, transiting the Panama Canal to the Caribbean, or simply sailing from Baja across to Sea of Cortez to Puerto Vallarta, have been worthwhile endeavors that required patience and endurance. BUT, I have had enough waiting. We want to be in San Juan Island the first of May for the Grand Banks Rendezvous, not waiting out weather in some distant port. I've earned it, 30,000 Bluewater miles and at 68-years old, I wanna BE THERE NOW! We had to postpone our trip north last spring, but nothing is stopping us now. If we decide it's too flipping cold and drizzly "Up There", we will enjoy a season, and turn tail south to Mexico.....on Scrimshaw's very own bottom with D and me at the helm. Not likely, but anythings possible.
My favorite varnisher.
While Darrell freshens the varnish, I have been attending to cleaning the decks, hands and knees work. UGH. We have re-caulked much of the deck and the windows, re-organized drawers, and scrubbed and sanded until our fingers scream for relief. The main salon and forward berth have new upholstery. New carpeting. New electric heads too! The galley has a new refrigerator and stove, and the bridge deck has new cushions and pillows. Next on the list, a wax and buff job will be done at Marina Coral in Ensenada. And then, Let the Cruising Begin! "Eye on the Prize" helps us to plow through all the seemingly never-ending list of to do's.
Looking like home.
Our glass is half-full.
Sparky's job is to get well-rested and ready to romp.
Spark is a good old boat dog. He was just 8-weeks-old when he was introduced to boat life aboard our Tayana '47 on San Francisco Bay. He's sailed to Mexico twice, cruised up and down the California coast and out to Catalina several times. Nearly 11 years after his maiden voyage, he says he's ready cruise the Pacific Northwest in a trawler. We are all beyond ready! 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

TIME FOR ANOTHER PNW ROADTRIP

Every few months we seem to need to drive for days from San Diego, to Morro Bay, to our home in the Sierra, and up to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of further affirmation that we REALLY do want to move north. So, we packed up the car and loaded the dog in his preferred seating arrangement, and headed to Port Ludlow, Washington. Again.
Our San Diego Home.
We're tugging on the docklines because.......?
Because we are hopeless wanderers.
Port Ludlow, Puget Sound, Washington.
Sweetness.
Scrimshaw's ETA: SPRING 2019

Before we get to our prized destination, we have a 6 hour drive to our first leg of the trip. Our first stop is always Morro Bay to visit our grandson, Jack. He makes our hearts sing.
 My boy Jack, and I checking out the water scene in Morro Bay. Lots of sea lions, sea birds, and of course, boats to count! I am teaching him how to recognize the difference between sail and power boats. There is also a great nearby park where Jack burns off lots of energy running and chasing Sparky.
J A C K
 We always stay at the same spot, the Inn at Morro Bay, mainly because of the pool. We also want to create some kind of constancy for Jack with his gypsy grandparents. Another constant is we always start our mornings at a favorite local pancake restaurant.
After two days of play, Papa and Mimi, share a cocktail and enjoy quiet time watching the sunset. We used to live in Morro Bay and have kept various boats there for decades, so our sunset ritual brings back fond memories.
The setting sun signals that its almost time for us to continue our journey north. Tomorrow morning we'll give Jack a big hug and kiss before we drive north to our Sierra home.
 The Feather River runs through our little mountain town.
 Returning to the Sierra almost always includes a walk to Lake Davis. In the summer months we camp, swim, and kayak. Snowy winters mean we put on our snowshoeing gear and trail blaze with Sparky towards the icy lake. There's something for all seasons.
My Sweet Japanese Maple greets us.
After a couple of days of relaxing, and visiting friends, off we go again. We travel towards Hat Creek, stop for a walk along the river at Fowler's near McCloud, and end up in Shasta for lunch.
A short walk to one of 3 waterfalls at 
Fowler's Campground.
We swim here in the summer months.
One of my favorite views of Mt. Shasta
A different perspective of my favorite view.
After lunch we targeted our next stop, Cottage Grove. It's just a few miles short of my alma mater, University of Oregon in Eugene. I made Darrell do the U of O walk down memory lane last journey north, so I didn't push my luck this time. We like to stop and walk along the Covered Bridges path in Cottage Grove before checking into our motel. The Best Western is comfortable, but finding a good meal is not so easy. Still, we prefer to stay out of Eugene's ever increasing traffic, and forfeit fine dining until we arrive at our final destination at the Resort at Port Ludlow.
Our covered bridges walk to stretch our legs.
A peaceful pasture at Cottage Grove.
The next morning, we drove 5 hours to finish our final leg.
Resort at Port Ludlow
Home Sweet Home.
 It was foggy the first day, but no rain!
Spark readies himself for his familiar run on the PL beach.
The sun popped out for a bit and we decided to cruise the neighborhoods looking for potential homes. There's a variety of new neighborhoods, but we preferred an older area with lots of mature landscaping and Mid-century homes. Just exploring possibilities now.
 Dreaming...
Eye on the Prize.

The next day we headed across the Hood Canal over to Port Gamble for lunch. I have written about Port Gamble in a prior blog post last October 2017 when we visited the area, so I will only share current pictures of the gorgeous and plentiful zinnias grown at the Port Gamble Post Office.
 WOW
 More WOW
Wowzer!
And,YIKES!

Our next outing was to Poulsbo in search of A.) cappuccinos, B.) a slip for Scrimshaw, 
C.) a hot lunch, and D.) a good market. We decided that as much as we LOVE Port Ludlow, and may buy a house there, we wanted Scrimshaw to be closer to restaurants and cafes. Poulsbo is a charming Nordic village with 10,000 people, 3 marinas, a yacht club, art galleries, and two independent bookstores! The Main Street runs along the waterfront, our kind of town! We found a welcoming spot for lunch that serves homemade clam chowder and warm baked bread. A,B,C,D on our listed, happily completed.
 An alley off the main drag with unique shops.
 A Scandinavian Bakery, art galleries, and 2 Bookstores!
Poulsbo oozes charm.
There is a lovely walk along Liberty Bay that we enjoyed.
 PNW gray was refreshing after a hot San Diego summer.
We secured a slip in this marina for the spring :-)

Perhaps, the one thing that really sealed the deal for us was the Poulsbo Central Market. It was acres of wonderful sights and fragrances that had our taste buds jumping for JOY. We took home a variety of paper containers filled with tasty treats for a fireside picnic in our Port Ludlow room. Yep, our room comes with a nice Bay/Marina view, a deep soaking tub, and two comfy chairs facing a toasty fireplace. The Resort at Port Ludlow staff are really fantastic. They microwaved our gourmet prizes, offered us china, silverware, and linen napkins to enjoy our cozy private dinner in our room. It's not just the staff at P.L. that are nice, everyone we encountered in Puget Sound was friendly and helpful.
Now this is a Happy Man!
Darrell found his favorite Stone Delicious beer, crafted in our hometown, San Diego. The thing that made him happiest, was it's cheaper at the Poulsbo Central Market than in S.D.
Crazy, who cares about the PNW cloudiness, D's beer is waiting for him! Full Speed Ahead!

We are falling in love with the Pacific Northwest, in fact, I just asked Darrell if he wants to fly up to the Seattle Boat Show again the end of January! Scrimshaw is scheduled to be shipped on a BIG cargo freighter from Ensenada to Victoria B.C. this March. Not sure we can wait that long to return!
Port Ludlow and Poulsbo here we come.
Oh, and, those miles and miles of islands and anchorages stretching all the way to Alaska.
Ready to Go!



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

OUR SIDE TRIP TO ST. MICHAELS, MARYLAND

It had been 38 years since my last trip to the sleepy waterfront village of St. Michaels, yet its sweet harbor filled with all kinds of wonderful sailing yachts and powerboats was fresh in my mind.
A Peaceful scene
It was easy to remember the elegance of the Inn at Perry Cabin. The Inn now offers a large Hinckley Picnic Boat and Alerion Sailboats for guests to enjoy the waters of St Michaels.
                                             A schooner. Pure Romance. 
Can you imagine the thrill and the sense of peace under sail exploring all the islets and tiny islands around St. Micheals? I can. I was indeed a very fortunate young woman in 1980, sailing my 30' sloop, Kahuna, over these smooth waters.

 There has been some changes at St. Michaels overs the years, but it has not lost an iota of charm. Parking a car on the weekend was a bit of a challenge, and while I preferred entering the harbor by sail, as I did nearly four decades ago, I was very glad I returned. There's not a lot of spots I have traveled to that evoke the original romance I felt upon a virgin visit, but St. Michaels did not disappoint, and I was happy to share it with Darrell.
Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses are a treasured memory.
These beautiful historic beacons of light dot the Chesapeake to safely guide boaters into often shallow waters. Most were built in the 1800's, but a couple were added at the turn of the twentieth century. The Museum has models that allow visitors to walk through the light keeper's quarters. Life in the lighthouse could be dangerous and cold, and often lonely. The lighthouse keepers did not have time to become bored. Regardless of weather, the oil lamps that provided light required constant attention. The lenses that magnified had to be continually polished, the lighthouse had to be painted and in good repair for regular inspections.

The colorful figurehead below, carved by the US Naval Academy in 2012 welcomes visitors to the Maritime Museum.
The figurehead for the Schooner, Freedom
Not sure why she's not on the Freedom?!

St. Michael's is rich with history, and it has been well recorded at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. While we both really enjoyed the Annapolis Boat Show that had brought us to the East Coast, this spot was the BEST part of our trip. Anyone who loves classic wooden boats as much as Darrell and I, should make this trip. (As long as your on the east coast, you might as well go to Mystic Connecticut too!). 

 Those sails require muscle to lift.
In the distance, beyond "Delaware, we could see, perhaps a hundred or more, fine wooden day sailers. Upon closer inspection, we learned we had picked a popular weekend to visit the Maritime Museum. We lucked out that there was a BIG hoedown for wooden boat builders to show off their craft and compete in sailing races. These folks spent many long winter days in their garages or workshops carving out their crafts from single logs! These sailing builders camped out on the lawn in tents to share stories of boat building, festive music, and good food. I'm pretty sure the beer flowed.
 The boat builders were a really friendly and knowledgeable group.
Quite a beautiful sight. 
Precious wooden boats tugging on their lines ready to prove themselves against the wind.
All shapes, and sizes, and colors, and all executed with fine craftsmanship.
Ready to Go!
 Each one loved, and unique.
Imagine the feeling of joy and accomplishment.

Are any of the builders thinking of the next boat to craft?
The builders told us that they often use one solid log for the hull, and it can take up to 6 winters to make their dreamboat come to life.
A blackboard in the Museum's communal shed.
A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands, and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain, and his heart is an artist.
A true labor of love.
My favorite.
Darrell's favorite was the original first pleasure craft.
Shamefully, I can not remember the year it was built.

Believe or not, after we had almost had enough boats, we decided to wander around the neighborhood of St. Micheals. Charming. Oh So Charming! Boats anchored in front of old stately homes standing on seemingly miles of green manicured lawns. A wonderful little marina, with a restaurant filled with lots of happy boaters and other dreamers. I'm already plotting my return.

C H A R M I N G !
Home Sweet Home.
Happy to be Serial Boat Owners.