Anacortes to Bend

phoenix_covers_on_at_dock

Jim puts on our canvas window covers and finishes closing up the boat before we leave her at the dock for a few weeks.

It’s the middle of summer cruising season, so why are we leaving our boat for a few weeks? That’s one of the challenges of having to split our time between boating and maintaining a house and yard!

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A laptop is a warm place

Rosie on laptop

I left my laptop open the other day, and found Rosie curled up on the keyboard when I came back.

Rosie is a small kitty. She weighs around 7 pounds and has a very thin body. Maybe that’s why she’s always seeking out warm places to curl up. I don’t think of my laptop as a warm place, however, if I’m away and leave the laptop open, frequently I will find her curled up on the keyboard when I come back. I guess the laptop generates just enough heat to attract her.

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July 8 – West Sound to Anacortes

Double Island Rafted Sailboats

At sunrise in our Double Island anchorage, two sailboats rafted near us cast a rosy reflection in the calm water.

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.

Double Island Sailboats

At sunrise in our Double Island anchorage: a wider view of sailboats anchored near us.

Double Island sunrise

Sunrise in West Sound, Orcas Island, from our anchorage behind Double Island.

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!

Pizza LaConner Brewery

We split a Neapolitan pizza at LaConner Brewery.

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.

Kitties in the wind

Back in our home slip in Anacortes Marina, Rosie and Mickey enjoy a breeze from the cabin door.

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.

map_july2012_cruise

This map of the Canadian Gulf Islands and Washington San Juan Islands shows where we stopped on our one-week cruise in July 2012.

July 5 – Reid Harbor to Montague Harbour

Reid Harbor Sunrise July 5

The sun rises on a gorgeous morning in Reid Harbor.

The morning at Reid Harbor was wonderful…calm and sunny…even though it was a little cool with temps in the 50s. We have to be back in Anacortes in 4 days, so we pondered where to go. We thought about going to Sucia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucia_Island), but had concerns about the anchorage being crowded since this is the Fourth of July week, and we were looking for a quiet place where we could continue our relaxing.

Rosie at Reid Harbor

Rosie looks out at today’s sunny morning in Reid Harbor.

Nothing in the San Juans seemed right, so we finally decided to head into Canada, and go to Montague Harbour. Montague is one of our favorite anchorages in the Gulf Islands, particularly because it offers a very large anchoring area as well as some enjoyable hiking and a small store at the Montague Harbour Marina (http://www.montagueharbour.com). With our Nexus passes, we can clear Canadian Customs by cell phone in Boundary Pass and arrange to stop in Montague for a customs inspection, if they want to board us. They did not.

Turn Point Lighthouse Haro Strait

We passed the Turn Point Lighthouse as we navigated from Haro Strait to Boundary Pass.

We hadn’t planned on going to Canada, so needed to check what liquor and food we had on board. Only had some beer and a few half full bottles of booze, so we were within the limit for alcohol. However, we did have potatoes on board. Potatoes are not allowed to be brought into Canada. So, when we called Customs for our clearance, we disclosed the potatoes. The customs agent suggested we peel the potatoes and put them in the freezer…so that’s what we did! Used them later to make potato salad.

BE Ferries in Swanson Channel

Two of the BC ferries we encountered in Swanson Channel…one headed for Active Pass and one that just came through the pass.

This week had spring tides, and we encountered strong currents in Haro Strait and Swanson Channel…lots of whirlpools and some tide races. Even though there wasn’t a lot of wind, we bounced around quite a bit. We also encountered 5 or 6 ferries as we crossed Swanson Channel near Active Pass, and their wakes added to the bouncing.

The trip from Reid Harbor to Montague took about 3 hours. We motored slowly so that we didn’t get to Montague too far ahead of the time we told Customs we would arrive. The knot meter is still not working, and AIS is also not working. Later, we found that the data rate between AIS and Nobeltec was incorrectly set, which explains the AIS problem, but we still don’t have a clue about what’s wrong with the knot meter.

Montague Harbour

There weren’t as many boats anchored in Montague Harbour as we expected.

Montague Harbour Marina

Montague Harbour Marina has a small store and a modest restaurant. Moorage and fuel is available.

There were not as many boats in Montague as we expected, and it was sunny, warm, and fairly calm with a gentle breeze in the anchorage. A great afternoon to sit on the flybridge and catch up on more reading! Due to the high tides this week, we noticed a lot of floating debris that came through the anchorage from time to time. Even some big logs. Good thing the tide doesn’t push that stuff very fast…

Jim reading on flybridge

Jim enjoys some relaxing time for reading on the flybridge while we were anchored in Montague Harbour.

Kitties at Montague

The kitties enjoyed some relaxing time too. Rosie curled up on the left and Mickey REALLY relaxing on the right.

July 2 – Anacortes to Reid Harbor

Guemes Channel

Heading west in Guemes Channel, we caught the outbound current.

Rosie underway

Rosie curled up on the dashboard…she frequently sleeps while we’re underway.

Mickey underway

Mickey likes to crawl under our foot stool while we’re underway…a nice secure place for him.

Double Island anchorage

Looking into West Sound from our anchorage behind Double Island, where we stopped for a couple of hours to wait for the Speiden Channel current to change.

Mickey relaxing at Double Island

After we got settled at Double Island, Mickey came out from under the stool and showed us one of his best relaxation poses.

Navionics on iPad next to Raymarine Chart Plotter

The navigation display on the left is on the iPad using the Navionics app “Marine & Lakes U.S. and Canada,” and on the right as it looks on our Raymarine Chart Plotter.

Navigation display on the iPad

A closer look at the iPad navigation display. Notice the red line that continuously updates while we are underway to show where we are headed. What a great tool!

Whale watching boat

We passed this whale watching boat as we crossed San Juan Channel on our way to Reid Harbor.

Container ship in Haro Strait

As we approached Reid Harbor, we spotted this container ship in Haro Strait, headed for Boundary Pass.

Entrance to Reid Harbor

Approaching the entrance to Reid Harbor on Stuart Island, one of our favorite anchorages in the San Juans.

Reid Harbor anchorage

In Reid Harbor, Stuart Island, looking toward the head of the anchorage.

First, a note. We are now back in Anacortes after a one-week cruise from July 2nd to the 8th…but we did not have access to the Internet while we were out, so publishing the posts from our cruise has been delayed. This is the first post from our cruise…more to come soon!

The weather conditions in Anacortes looked good this morning…grey and overcast, but no strong wind and no rain. This was a good morning for us to head out for our first cruise of 2012.

We caught the outbound current in Guemes Channel, and crossed Rosario Strait near the slack. We found lots of boat traffic in Harney Channel this morning, including several ferries. One of the ferries came up behind us as we motored west in the narrowing channel by Shaw Island…we got caught between the oncoming ferry and a large power boat with an enormous wake next to us paralleling our course, so ended up turning toward the beach and slowing almost to a stop, then going in a circle so that we could cross behind all of them. Harney Channel can get really crowded in July and August!

This was our first opportunity to use the Navionics iPad app “Marine & Lakes U.S. and Canada” for navigation. What a neat tool! It has an outstanding display, fast seamless operation, and runs from the iPad’s GPS without the need of a cell connection. The GPS does use a lot of battery, so we discovered it was best to have it hooked up to a power source. We set up the iPad alongside our 10-year-old Raymarine chart plotter and found there was no comparison…the iPad was much better! In addition to following our course, the app also provides a great tool for looking up the tide and current information for any given location.

First time out every year we get to see if things work. Most things were okay, except… The AIS wasn’t working, but that turned out to be a loose wire. And the knot meter didn’t work, and we thought that might be due to something being stuck in the paddle wheel…but no matter how much maneuvering we did, the knot meter still didn’t work. We’ll need to do more investigating to find the problem.

We turned into West Sound and found the anchorage behind Double Island empty so decided to anchor there for a few hours to wait for the current in Speiden Channel to change. We were heading on to Reid Harbor, and wanted to avoid the strong adverse current along Speiden Island. Waiting until later in the day would give the current time to moderate and reverse.

We left Double Island around 1500 and found much less boat traffic than we experienced this morning. And more favorable current! However, the clouds thickened and we had light rain most of the way. Even though we waited for more favorable current in Speiden Channel, we still encountered a strong tide race with lots of whirlpools near Limestone Point.

We found lots of boats in Reid Harbor, but there was still plenty of room to anchor. It turned into a cold, rainy night. But the heavier rain held off until later in the night, so we were able to barbecue salmon for dinner, along with steamed green beans. Felt nice to be out on the anchor again.

More WiFi Fun

Jim drilling holes to reinstall WiFi bridge.

Jim pulled out the two bottom drawers under our helm seat to install the WiFi equipment. Here he is drilling a hole to bring up the exterior antenna cable to the space under the drawers.

Jim inserts the new airport into its new location.

Jim inserting the new Apple Airport base station into its new location under the drawers in the cabinet below our helm seat.

Mickey explores the open space where the drawers have been removed.

Of course, as soon as the drawers were removed and there was open space, both kitties had to check out the space. Here Mickey is inside, looking around. Rosie followed shortly thereafter.

WiFi equipment under the drawers.

The bridge and new Airport base station (router) fit nicely in the space under the bottom drawer.

Argh! We lost our Internet connection this week…the new WiFi bridge is still good (see May 28 post), but the 6-year-old Apple Airport base station that we use as a router seems to have become buggy. So we went to Best Buy and bought a new one. Yesterday Jim worked on re-wiring the on-boat WiFi system to hook it up to the new Airport. The new Airport device is smaller than the old one, so now there is room to install both the Airport and the bridge in the area under the drawers in the cabinet below the helm seat.

After rerouting the cable connections to the exterior antenna and hooking up everything, our system seemed to be back and working as it should. However, this morning it was down again, so looks like we need to do more trouble shooting. In the meantime, we are able to connect our laptop directly to the bridge, so we are able to reach the Internet from at least one device.

Meanwhile…we have a free week between eye doctor exams/surgeries in connection with Jim’s cataracts (his next exam is July 10), so we are getting ready to leave the dock (yea!!) to spend a few days in the San Juans. We thought we’d leave this morning, but the wind has come up a bit here in Anacortes and there is a gale watch posted for the East Entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca for later this afternoon, so we have decided to wait for a better weather window before departing…Rosario Strait can be a bit uncomfortable when the SE wind blows against the current.