The late afternoon sun casts shadows from a sailboat’s masts on Phoenix’s port side, as she sits in our slip at Anacortes Marina. We spent today sanding the teak on the aft cap rail and the eyebrow and plan to apply a third coat of varnish tomorrow, weather permitting. We taped the eyebrow trim with blue masking tape to protect the gelcoat from the sanding, and left it in place for tomorrow’s varnishing.
Our recent days have been filled with the annual maintenance of exterior teak…varnishing. Our boat’s exterior teak consists only of a cap rail around the decks and an eyebrow trim piece around the flybridge. Doesn’t sound like much, but the sanding, taping, and application of the varnish takes several hours for each coat…and we try to put on three coats each season.
We thought we had our boat system Wi-Fi working great until we came back from our week-long cruise in early July. When we reconnected everything, we experienced all kinds of problems…from slow response, to no response, to intermittent ability to connect to the Internet. Once again, we were back to the debugging stage, trying to find the source of the problems.
We contacted our Wi-Fi provider, Beacon Wi-Fi (formerly BroadbandXpress – BBX), and we learned they are replacing equipment at various places in their coverage area. Their technicians were able to reboot us a couple of times, which helped briefly, but we found that some of the problem areas were in our boat’s Internet system, as we continued to have inconsistent and slow response times.
Jim started taking out various parts of the system he set up earlier this year. He took the Apple AirPort Extreme (our router) and the AIR802 AP-G250 (our bridge) out of the area below the drawers, thinking it might be getting too hot in that small space. He also disconnected our exterior antenna (AIR802 ANMA2412 Marine Wi-Fi Antenna). Then we decided to locate the router and bridge in the forward hanging locker again, where there is more air space around the equipment, and it’s easier to see indicator lights and reboot if we need to.
In addition, we got a longer Ethernet cable, so some of the splices used in the previous setup could be removed. Yesterday Jim ran the cable through the engine room (so we have a “clean” installation in our main cabin), put the equipment in the hanging locker, and reconnected the system to the exterior antenna. Voila! Things seem to be working again. We still have to permanently mount the equipment, and we’re hoping that the system will remain stable after that.
The last day of our one-week cruise!
We woke up Sunday to a calm anchorage and clear skies. A gorgeous morning! We decided to play the currents again on our way back to Anacortes, and elected to enter Rosario Strait through Obstruction Pass and make our way along the back side of Guemes Island in order to avoid an outbound current in Guemes Channel.
The slack tide in Obstruction Pass was at 0806, so we left Double Island at 0715. We had the current with us the whole way — in Harney Channel, Rosario Strait, and along the back side of Guemes. And no whirlpools or tide races! It was a really easy trip. It was sunny the whole way, and fairly calm. We arrived back at Anacortes Marina at 1015 under a light northerly breeze. We were back early enough in the day to have time to clean up the boat and go to LaConner for dinner out — pizza at LaConner Brewery. Yum!
It was a short cruise—only one week, but still was good to be out on the boat. We never were able to get the knot meter working. Had a diver come look at the paddle wheel to see if there was anything obviously stuck in it or wrong with it, but he said it looked okay. He spun it around, but it still did not display our speed. It may be a bad sensor on the paddle wheel, or there may be something wrong in the electronics interface between the knot meter and the chart plotter. We need to pursue this problem with Raymarine.
Our next cruising opportunity for this season will be in September, as we have to return to Bend for a few weeks in August to take care of replacing our asphalt driveway. The 13-year-old original asphalt has been seriously damaged by tree roots over the years, and has become bad enough that it’s time to tear it out and repave. Sorry to cut our summer time on the boat short, but we need to schedule the paving to be done at a time of year when we don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, and there’s a short window for that in the high desert climate of Central Oregon.
Okay, okay. I’m late in finishing the posts from our cruise a couple of weeks ago. Two more posts yet to do, and I’ll do one today and will get to the last one as soon as possible. We’ve just been too busy with eye doctor appointments, spotty WiFi service, and other distractions…and I haven’t been able to get to the blog as much as I hoped.
So, back to our cruise… We left Montague on Saturday, July 7th. We planned to head to Ganges and take in the Saltspring Saturday Market (http://www.saltspringmarket.com) before returning to the States. The Saturday Market in Ganges is quite an event, and we look forward to opportunities to be in Ganges on Saturdays during the summer so we can go to the market as well as visit other favorite shopping venues in Ganges.
It was calm in the anchorage at Montague Harbour in the morning, but afternoon wind predictions encouraged us to skip the Saturday Market and head for the San Juans instead. We have to be back for Jim’s July 10th eye exam in Seattle, so didn’t want to be caught by weather and end up too far away from Anacortes. We’ll be sure to plan our cruising in September so that we’ll be able to visit the Saltspring Saturday Market!
We decided to bypass all the currents and whirlpools where Haro Strait meets Boundary Pass, so rather than returning through Swanson Channel, we headed south in Trincomali Channel to Navy Channel, then through Plumper Sound and across Boundary Pass — which is a direct route into the San Juans through Spring Passage, then Deer Harbor and Pole Pass. This route also bypasses all the whirlpools around Speiden Island.
We decided to time our passage to hit Boundary Pass at slack tide, to minimize the whirlpools and tide races. We had the current with us almost all the way, as we left Montague at 0800 to catch the 0900 slack in Boundary Pass. Everything turned to ebb (including Pole Pass), and we got a great lift from the current.
Once we got into the bay outside Deer Harbor, we were able to power down and idle to call U. S. Customs for our clearance to return to the U.S. With our Nexus passes, we were allowed to clear over the cell phone. Since it was Saturday, we encountered lots of pleasure boats in Harney Channel.
As we passed West Sound, we decided to check the Double Island anchorage in West Sound, and found only two other boats there. So, we decided to stop there for the night, rather than continuing on to Blind Bay. Another powerboat and 3 more sailboats came in later in the afternoon…more boats than we’ve ever seen in this anchorage.
It was relatively calm and sunny for the afternoon and evening. We were glad to have U.S. Internet service again so we could get caught up on bank stuff and emails. We fixed BLTs on rye bread for dinner. We don’t usually have bacon onboard, but made an exception and brought some along this time, with the intention of fixing a nice breakfast somewhere…and since we hadn’t fixed such a meal, this was a good way to use the bacon!
It’s now been 4 weeks since Jim had cataract surgery on his right eye, and this week he went back to have the cataract removed from his left eye. So, we made two trips between Anacortes and Seattle – one on Thursday to have the procedure, and another trip on Friday for a post-surgery exam. Both trips were longer than we expected due to traffic volume. Thursday was a beautiful sunny day, and it seems there were lots of people out on the freeway going who knows where…or possibly there are a lot of people vacationing in Seattle. Whatever the reason, I-5 southbound became a parking lot and we ended up leaving the freeway at Northgate and taking surface roads the rest of the way to downtown Seattle.
On Friday, we woke to another thunderstorm and very heavy rain. We had to be in Seattle before noon for the follow-up exam, and we found the freeway jammed again – this time from the heavy rain and all the water that had accumulated on the roads. So, once again, we left I-5 at Northgate…now we’re getting to be an expert at finding our way to downtown Seattle by going through Fremont!
Anyway, the surgery has gone well, and the only event left is another post-surgery exam next week. That should be our last trip between Anacortes and Seattle for a while. Thank goodness!
We went for a walk to Cap Sante Boat Haven (http://www.portofanacortes.com/marina.shtml) this morning. The Port of Anacortes is located at Cap Sante and there is always lots of interesting boat activity there. The morning started out foggy and things were still fairly wet, but the sun came out later and made it a pleasant day for a walk and to enjoy wandering around the boats at Cap Sante.
Next up for the boat is to tackle annual exterior maintenance…varnishing and waxing. The unsettled and wet weather will make that a challenge. Earlier this week, we found a couple of dry days to do a little of the waxing and got one coat of varnish on the teak before Friday’s rain. Rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days, but we’ll start up again on the varnish when the weather allows.