Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 1 to Day 3

(*Warning: some of this will be a little graphic. Do not read it near mealtime if you have a sensitive stomach, unless you are the parent of a young child - in which case dealing with bodily fluids is just another day at the office.)

Day 1
We left Shilshole Sunday morning, waving goodbye to our wonderful neighbors who had come out to wish us "Bon Voyage!"

Motoring to make good time, we headed to the fuel dock for a small repair to one of the heads. It was easy to fix, glory be! The attendant at the fuel dock poured me coffee from his thermos, undermining my general cynicism about the state of generosity in our culture. (Mark Twain wrote that travel is lethal to prejudice and bigotry. So far, he was right.)

Then we headed out into Puget Sound. The water was choppy, and Wolfgang got seasick. I spent the morning cleaning up kitty vomit and diarrhea, then soundproofing everything below decks, which helped the cats settle. A couple of hours out, the water calmed, and the sun came out. We had blue sky and a smooth ride the rest of the day.

We pulled into Port Hadlock's dock with a smooth landing at 3:30pm; a good couple of hours earlier than we'd expected. There were at lesat 20 boats already anchored in the harbor, most of them resident. After tying up at the public dock, we walked up to the small 'business district' (one restaurant, 5 cottages and the Wooden Boat Center) to check out the quiet setting. We already felt a world away from stress.

Within 30 minutes Jaqi and Tor met us at the dock with our car, and we all headed for dinner at The Ajax (the sole restaurant at the top of the dock ramp). If you're ever up this way for an evening, call them and make reservations! The food is delicious and the ambience memorable. They have a collection of wild hats that most patrons choose to wear, and they have live music; for us, a pianist/harmonica player whose work covered Tom Waits and ranged into classical.

After dinner, George and Tor took Nereid out to find an anchorage, then George rowed Tor back to the dock in our new Port-a-Boat - it's a foldable, rigid 8' dinghy - much more stable than our inflatable. George rowed back to Nereid, and I drove Jaqi and Tor to the ferry, returning about 9pm. There was a new moon and a boatload of stars. George rowed over to pick me up: the night so dark I had to work at spotting him out on the water. It was reminiscent of Dunkirk, except his boat wasn't painted black. Ten minutes later we were at Nereid, settling in for our first night. George said he was especially happy that he'd been able to spend more quality time with his daughter, Jaqi, of whom he's so proud.

Day 2
We ran the diesel heater to stay warm during the night, the consequence being that the fan brought our amperage down to an unsettling level. George set up the wind generator. (Plug for Duo-Gen! It's been a great investment.) We rowed into the dock, George headed for his sailmaking class, and I went to town to find an internet cafe. At noon, George and I rowed back to Nereid for lunch and to check on the cats, who were doing fine. We rowed back with the laundry, and I spent the afternoon working on my computer at the town suds-n-duds. We both had a good day, operating in our new milleaus. (I was a domestic goddess that day! Cooked 3 meals, did laundry, grocery shopped ... Phew! I'm glad I got that out of my system.)

At 5:30 we rowed home, so I could cook up a game hen. We were keeping an eye on the amperage. The Duo-Gen was giving us a charge, but George decided to run the engines to help us out.

The engine wouldn't start! It would click, begin to turn over, and the fan belt would move an inch. George went into full troubleshooting mode. He got out his electrical equipment and books, me doing what I could to help with research. After a couple of hours he thought he'd narrowed it down to a solenoid. We dragged out the sleeping bag to keep us warm, piled wool blankets out for the cats, and went to bed, planning to call our friends at Miller & Miller in the morning.

Day 3
The day nearly began with a bang! The winds picked up, and our anchor started dragging (muddy bottom). We went into full defensive mode - getting out the Fortress anchor and preparing to fend off from a catamaran we were drifting towards.

I think it was Einstein who said the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again thinking you'll get different results. Thankfully, we ignored the stigma and tried our engine again. Thankfully, our engine started! Working as a team, we got our anchor up and headed the boat north. We called ahead and got a slip at Port Townsend's Boat Haven Marina. They had clocked winds up to 52 mph! After several attempts, we were able to get the lines on the dock and tie up.

Then it was below decks to clean up the mess. We'd had to leave too quickly to tie anything down, but we lost only one mug. And Wolfgang had given me another protest poop, but I figure that's fair payback for my hauling her out on the waters.

We're safe and sound. We'll be here until Sunday, then on to Oak Harbor.

George says we're getting exactly what we set out to get: experience. We've just been out in winds twice as high as we'd been in heretofore (and I can still use 3-syllable words!) Plus, we've had experience docking in those winds, troubleshooting (no end to that aboard any boat) and handling a dragging anchor. We are a much better team than when we started, and tonight we're pretty satisfied ... though very tired!