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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Winsome rafting up in Hunter Bay.

Winsome rafting up in Hunter Bay.

After a stop in Friday Harbor to provision, the flotilla headed for Hunter Bay on the South East side of Lopez Island. This shallow, well protected bay is a beautiful anchorage and I think many people pass right on by and head up to Spencer Spit, which I find to be a bit too busy.

Sea Eagle arrived first and anchored in a nice spot in about twelve feet of water. Then we watched the rest of the gang arrive and four boats rafted up together near us. Will and Leah chose to head on home via Deception Pass. They missed out on a great time.

Hunter.Bay582The crabbing was very successful and there were fresh crab cakes to go with Craig’s amazing Crab Gnocchi at dinner. Mmmmm! We watched the sun set along with a Great Blue Heron that was nesting in a tree right next to the raft up.

The second day, it rained, so Janet made up a big pot of spaghetti (comfort food for a cold, wet day) and we had all ten people on the Sea Eagle for an awesome dinner!

We headed to Roche Harbor at first light and rode the currents through Spieden Passage before turning into Roche Harbor. We anchored right in the middle of the bay and put out quite a bit of scope since there wasn’t anyone around us and more Thunderstorms were in the forecast.

Sea Eagle at Sunset in Roche Harbor

Sea Eagle at Sunset in Roche Harbor

Ken had sent me a text message earlier that he was already in Roche Harbor, so I dropped the large dingy in the water and took the girls in to shore. We met with Ken and the crew piled into his SUV for a breakfast run to Friday Harbor. I went back to Sea Eagle, caught up on chores and then took Janet ashore for some breakfast and the obligatory shopping.

We re-united with the crew, loaded up the dingy with 5 passengers, luggage, groceries, etc. and headed back to the boat.

Captain Boyd and the Estrogen Crew.

Captain Boyd and the Estrogen Crew.

Once aboard, we relaxed, cleaned up and late in the afternoon headed back to town to celebrate Penny’s birthday. We drove over to the Duck Soup Inn, where last year we had an amazing dinner. The food was again outstanding and the service was good, but not exceptional like it was last year. We later found out that the restaurant had changed ownership, which likely explains the minor differences.

Back on the boat, we enjoyed a glorious sunset from the flybridge and settled in with good friends, good food and good wine for a stellar evening aboard the Sea Eagle.

Ken Houlder on the Flybridge

Ken Houlder on the Flybridge

In the morning, I took the “estrogen” crew ashore as they were headed home. We’d had a great week together cruising the San Juan Islands and I would miss their help and enthusiasm! Janet and I spent a quiet day on the boat, making a short trip to town for some shopping and dinner, then walked the docks at Roche and admired several Nordhavns on the Docks.

Roche.SeaEagle486

Sea Eagle at Sucia Island with Mt. Baker in the background.

Sea Eagle at Sucia Island with Mt. Baker in the background.

After a peaceful night at Jones Island, we headed up President Channel (bucking the current) to Sucia Island, which is definitely the jewel of the San Juan Islands. Rounding the corner into Echo Bay, I was very surprised to see the anchorage was almost empty (Thursday @ noon in August). We headed over near the lineal moorage and dropped the anchor.

After pulling on the anchor to verify it was well set, we had some breakfast then lowered the large dingy to motor over to do some exploring on my favorite place in the San Juan’s. The all girl crew was excited to get some exercise and to see the entire island.

The crew at Ewing Cove

The crew at Ewing Cove

We walked over to Shallow Bay and admired some of the very nice boats that were hanging on mooring buoys in the bay. Then we hiked over to Fossil Cove and Fox Cove on the south side of the island. The girls were wading in the warm waters of Fox Cove and talking to a group of Kayakers that had just paddled half way around the Island.

We briefly went back to the boat for some Lunch, then putzed over to Ewing Cove, beached the boat and hiked from Ewing all the way to Shallow Bay. It’s a beautiful hike with stunning vistas of Echo Bay as you round each point along the trail. While stopping for a break, we noticed the rest of the flotilla arriving, even the two boats that had been missing in action in Anacortes for so long! Whoo Hoo!

After hiking back to the dingy at Ewing, we did some exploring along the north shore of Sucia and then putzed over the raft-up to say hello. A large group dinner was planned for the evening and we headed back to Sea Eagle to clean up for dinner.

Seals at Sucia Island

Seals at Sucia Island

Dinner Crowd on Sucia Island.

Dinner Crowd on Sucia Island.

Still here? Dinner was awesome and we didn’t head back to Sea Eagle until well after dark. Some idiot in a blue hulled sailboat anchored right next to us and sure enough, during the big Thunderstorms at night, drug their anchor. I was awakened at 4 AM to pouring rain and I could see that the other boat was clearly headed our way, so I fired up the main engine and pulled the anchor in the dark. NOT my idea of a fun time! We motored over to a spot near Ewing Cove and dropped the hook until it became light at 06:00, then headed for Roche Harbor to pick up Ken Houlder.

Skippy asking Gary, what's up?

Skippy asking Gary, what’s up?

Seals at Sucia

Seals at Sucia

One of the many friendly deer on Jones Island.

One of the many friendly deer on Jones Island.

With two boats still stuck in Anacortes, waiting on parts, we decided to saunter on over to Jones Island to see if there was any room in the very small North Cove. Much to our surprise, we arrived to find all of the park buoys taken, but enough room in the center to anchor Sea Eagle. We dropped the hook in fairly deep water, checked the set and watched our swing to make sure we’d stay off the rocks and away from the other boats in this cozy but busy cove.

We dropped Eaglet (the large dingy) in the water and putzed over to the dock to explore Jones Island, which is famous for its very tame deer. Sure enough, just steps after arriving and heading down the main trail, we spotted a doe and a pair of fawns munching away and watching the dopey tourists snapping pictures of them.

The Sea Eagle crew on Jones Island with Speiden Island in the background.

The Sea Eagle crew on Jones Island with Speiden Island in the background.

We hiked over the crest of the island to the South Cove, which is very windy and exposed. There were a couple of nice Selenes bouncing on the park buoys. The scenery was so beautiful that we decided to hike the entire perimeter and set of along the South trail. Jones Island is all a state park and we observed stunning views of the San Juan Islands as we made our way around the island. There were large groups of kayakers camping in various parts of the island and I could see why they made the trek!

Eventually, we made our way back to Sea Eagle and then the afternoon’s entertainment really began. We observed several boats come into the small and crowded cove, then attempt to anchor where they really shouldn’t. At least half a dozen came in, dropped the hook, realized it wasn’t going to work and then pulled anchor and left.

Our favorite was a Bayliner that came in, dropped the anchor very close to shore, then attempted some odd form of stern tie off at a very large angle to the transom. The boat kept getting closer and closer to the rock wall and I was just remarking to the crew that it looked like it was almost aground when we heard this gut wrenching ERRRRRRPPPPP as the dingy rubbed against the rock wall, much like a fender.

Penny watching the sun set and the entertainment from the flybridge.

Penny watching the sun set and the entertainment from the flybridge.


After more than an hour spent fiddling with lines, they eventually abandoned the cove and cruised off to another anchorage. With the entertainment over, the crew was hungry and it was time to throw some steaks on the new BBQ and enjoy another glorious evening in the San Juan’s. After dinner, a beautifully restored old seiner that was built in 1924 anchored in the cove (Commencement), so we went over to say hello.

Missed Approach and the Right One in Blind Bay.  Sea Eagle in the background.

Missed Approach and the Right One in Blind Bay. Sea Eagle in the background.

We headed out through Deception Pass in the early morning fog, which closed in and became like Pea Soup as we entered Rosario Straight. The rudder locked against the stops again just after we passed under the Deception Pass Bridge, which gave some of the fishing boats quite a scare, but the tide was pushing us along so recovery was easy.

The trip up the Straight was slow and steady with just a bit of commercial traffic. As we approached Thatcher Pass, the radar was alive with boats going every which way, passing very close until we emerged from the pass and the fog lifted like a veil, revealing the beautiful San Juan Islands in all their glory!

Sea Eagle crew wondering, where the heck the captain ran off to...

Sea Eagle crew wondering, where the heck the captain ran off to…

Anchoring in Blind Bay (Shaw Island) is easy as there is room for LOTS of boats. We set the hook, launched the dingy and took the all female crew over to Orcas Island for some shopping. After BBQ’d steaks for dinner, half of the Flotilla that we were supposed to be traveling with showed up. One of the boats had broken down and had to be towed in.

That kept two of the boats over in Anacortes, waiting on parts while the rest of us partied in Blind Bay. I’m thinking we were having a LOT more fun! It’s probably a good thing the Nuns left Lopez Island…

Preparing to Raft Up in Blind Bay, Shaw island

Preparing to Raft Up in Blind Bay, Shaw island

Sea Eagle on the float at Cornet Bay

Sea Eagle on the float at Cornet Bay

Sea Eagle began a two week trip to the San Juan Islands on August 3rd. We cruised up to Everett Marina, where we met up with the rest of the crew. Ken Houlder dropped off the girls and then treated the entire “estrogen” crew to a nice dinner at Scuttlebutt’s Brewery and Restaurant. The food was outstanding and they make awesome beer right on site.

If your travels take you to the Everett Marina, Scuttlebutt’s is the place to eat! The down side of the Everett marina is the ripping river currents that occur on the guest docks when the tide is ebbing. We watched some real horror shows as people tried bringing their boats in or out while the ebb was screaming. We just waited for it to calm down a bit and then left without even needing the thrusters.

Our supervisor for the evening in Cornet Bay

Our supervisor for the evening in Cornet Bay

We headed up Saratoga Passage between Whidbey Island and Camano Island, then cruised through the skinny waters of Skagit Bay to Cornet Bay, just East of Deception Pass. We tied up to one of the Park Floats and fired up the BBQ for the very first time. The wind was howling out of the West, which blew out the BBQ every time we opened it, but dinner was tasty.

We also had a few boats come over to say hello, they liked the boat and were admiring the giant “Wine a Bit” flag that we had hanging as a welcome.

We were captivated watching an eagle hunt. He managed to catch a VERY large fish and it then took him nearly 15 minutes of flying in circles to get enough elevation to land in a tree. That’s what I call persistence!

The small gray logos on the outside of the bulwarks

The small gray logos on the outside of the bulwarks

We decided to add Sea Eagle’s name and logo to the front and sides of the boat. There was a nice Sea Eagle graphic on the transom, but you really couldn’t see the name of the vessel due to the indent. I called Eric Nelson at Tacoma Rubber Stamp and sent over the logo that we’d be using for our shirts. He scaled the logo up and cut out the vinyl.

The small gray logos went on the outsides of the bulwarks easily, fooling us into thinking this was going to be an “easy” boat job (finally!). Then we started on the Large black graphics across the front of the flybridge and the “fun” began. The compound curve of the flybridge and the big straight line all the way across the top of the logo I designed didn’t like each other much (moral, don’t let an engineer design artwork). After some head scratching, we hinged the vinyl side to side and rolled it out.

The large Black Graphic on the Front of the Sea Eagle

The large Black Graphic on the Front of the Sea Eagle

I think the graphics project turned out pretty well, but time will tell if I want to keep the big black and white logo across the front or not. The gray logos on the sides are a lot more subtle. Any opinions?

I also finally got around to changing the oil, plugs and filters of the 40 HP Honda on the large dingy. Just a few more jobs (and a few more days) and we should be ready for the San Juan’s.

Now where did that list of boat repairs go….

New Graphics across the front of the Fly Bridge

New Graphics across the front of the Fly Bridge