Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: July 2014

We ran into quite a collection of Nordhavn Trawlers in Montague Harbor at Galiano Island. Montague Harbor Marine Provincial Park is located in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia and is their oldest marine park.

Nordhavn 55, Enterprise III from Hobart Australia and Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle.

Nordhavn 55, Enterprise III from Hobart Australia and Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle.


On our way in from Pender Island, we passed Cowabunga (N4025) crossing Swanson Channel and received a hearty wave as we both dodged the commercial traffic coming in from Active Pass.

As we arrived in the harbor, I spotted Enterprise III (N5503 – Hobart Australia) and picked a spot to anchor next to that beautiful 55′ Nordhavn. Not long after getting settled in, Martin Brooks paddled over to say hello and we discovered we shared some common history, having both worked extensively in Perth and Broome (Australia).

One unique feature of Martin’s N55 was a clear boat dock (no dingy chocks) with an elaborate sun shade. He uses a folding boat for a dingy and kayaks. I also spotted two large commercial airline containers on the back rail that held folding bicycles. Very intriguing setup!

Nordhavn 63, True Blue (Sausalito) and Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle.

Nordhavn 63, True Blue (Sausalito) and Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle.

The next morning, as we were hiking around the Provincial Park, John Zimmerman and sons showed up in True Blue (N6302 – Sausalito) and anchored next to Sea Eagle. We putzed over just as they finished launching their dingy and made arrangements to visit the Hummingbird Pub, en mass, that evening.

Later, I was treated to a tour of the brand new 63′ Nordhavn, and she is indeed a beauty! Lots of room and spotlessly clean! John loves the layout of the Nordhavn 63 much better than the N62 that he previously owned.

That evening, Alan and Jane Fantel, pulled into the harbor on Sedna (N4024 – Decatur Island) and anchored near what was now a cluster of Nordhavns. I motored over for a chat and invited the crew to join us at the Pub for dinner.

Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle and Nordhavn 40, Sedna

Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle and Nordhavn 40, Sedna

Serenity and the Dinghy Flotilla at Matia Island's Park Dock.

Serenity and the Dinghy Flotilla at Matia Island’s Park Dock.

Matia Island is located 2.5 miles East of Sucia’s Echo Bay, in Washington State’s beautiful San Juan Islands. Mike and Becky had cruised over in Serenity (Meridian 38) and found space at the park dock, so gave us a call and invited us over for lunch. It was pretty lumpy in Rolfe Cove due to a North wind blowing down through the Straits of Georgia, but we braved the 4′ seas and ran the 2.5 miles in the dinghies. It was an exhilarating ride!

On arrival, we found that the two mooring buoys were empty (due to the weather) and tied up to the dock. The dock was heaving and rolling a bit from the swell, but we tied up the small boats and went for a hike around the loop trail.

One of the peaceful coves along Matia's Southern Shore.

One of the peaceful coves along Matia’s Southern Shore.

The island was named Isla de Matia (~ no protection), by Spanish Explorer Francisco de Eliza in 1792. It was established as a wildlife refuge in 1937 and today is managed as a State Park. The 1.2 mile loop trail is a magnificent hike through old growth Douglass Fir and Western Red Cedar trees that are rarely found unharvested in the Pacific Northwest.

For those boaters visiting Sucia Island, I highly recommend a trip over to see Matia Island. You will get a sense of what the San Juan Islands were like before the timber was harvested and the islands became populated. It’s like walking back through time….

Park Dock at Matia Island with Sucia Island and Echo Bay in the background.

Park Dock at Matia Island with Sucia Island and Echo Bay in the background.

The water damaged Mathers Control Head being removed.

The water damaged Mathers Control Head being removed.

The Mathers Control Head (P/N 453-3R) on the flybridge had been giving me trouble for a while. Apparently it doesn’t like our wet, rainy, Pacific Northwest Weather! Frequently, while docking, it would keep the boat in gear when moved to neutral, or sometimes even shift to reverse when it was supposed to be in neutral. Once even racing the engine while reversing all by itself! 😉

I decided that was enough excitement for this summer and replaced the control head with a spare that I had ordered last year. It’s a pretty simple swap and the new control head seems to be working like a champ.

The new Mathers Control Head installed and ready for another ten years of service.

The new Mathers Control Head installed and ready for another ten years of service.

Another long standing item on my Fix-It list was the 12-volt DC Carbon Monoxide detector in the master stateroom. During our purchase survey, Matt had pointed out that the sensors are only good for five years and needed to be replaced. I had installed an additional Carbon Monoxide detector in the Saloon, based on the surveyor’s recommendation.

The old carbon monoxide detector being removed.

The old carbon monoxide detector being removed.


Active Captain had a great discount on CO detectors at Defender, so I purchased a new unit and installed it in place of the old dinosaur in the stateroom. The sensor install itself was pretty easy with good access, but getting the 12 volt DC power hooked up was not fun.

I had to pull out all of my heavy spare parts (starters, alternators, pumps, etc.), then crawl into the locker next to one of the diesel furnaces to get it hooked up. I took the opportunity to inventory my heavy spares, which was a good exercise. It turns out I have two spare drinking water pumps. Who knew? 🙂

The new carbon monoxide unit installed and keeping us safe.

The new carbon monoxide unit installed and keeping us safe.

Harbor Seal and Pup at Sucia Island.

Harbor Seal and Pup at Sucia Island.

We spent several days with Sea Eagle (and the flotilla) anchored in Echo Bay at Sucia Island, in the San Juan Islands. Sucia is one of my favorite spots (in the entire world) to hang on the hook. It is about as remote as you can get without crossing the border into Canada and is a Boat Only Marine Park that was purchased by many of the Puget Sound Yacht Clubs then donated to the State as a Park.

The Harbor Seals were out in force sunning themselves and their new pups along the rocky shores of the island.

Sea Eagle and Mt. Baker in Sucia's Echo Bay.

Sea Eagle and Mt. Baker in Sucia’s Echo Bay.

Sucia (which is Spanish for ‘foul’) is rugged, rocky, full of dangerous reefs and beautiful. We had perfect weather and loved the wildlife and meeting out fellow boaters.

One night, we went ashore and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows (for smores) over an open fire. I had not done that since I was a youngster and we had a blast!

We also had a very pleasant visit with Don Stabbert and his beautiful 77′ Northern Marine Trawler, MV Starr.

Smores any one?

Smores any one?

Sea Eagle passed a large milestone today while cruising. She now has 20,000 nautical miles on her Furuno GPS trip meter. That means she has traveled more than 20,000 miles on her own keel in the last ten years. Not too shabby for a 47′ boat.

Sea Eagle passes the 20000 mile mark on her trip meter.

Sea Eagle passes the 20000 mile mark on her trip meter.

That means she’s put more than 3500 hours on the Lugger main engine, 5000 hours on the generator and has probably consumed close to 10,000 gallons of fuel between the two. Fortunately, she’s still going strong and is ready for another 20,000 miles over the next ten years!

The fleet rafted up in Hunter Bay.

The fleet rafted up in Hunter Bay.

We spent a couple of days tucked in to Hunter Bay, at the South end of Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. Serenity, Get Wet and Bella Kai rafted up together and enjoyed the bounty of the sea (aka LOTS of fresh crabs on the opening day of crabbing season).

Just south of Lopez Pass, in Mud Bay, we found several totem poles and then Paul Allen’s hidden and very private retreat, tucked away from sight behind a private rock islet. It’s an impressive spread.

Totem Pole at Mud Bay

Totem Pole at Mud Bay


Hunter Bay is our favorite spot for staging into and out of the San Juan Islands. It’s 8 hours from Seattle and is very well protected from winds by large rocky cliffs.

There is also abundant wildlife, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Ravens, Deer, etc. that keep the crew entertained and happy.

The shallow, muddy bottom holds out 150 # CQR anchor VERY well. We’ve never had an issue dragging anchors, even in gale force winds just on the other side of the protective cliffs.

Paul Allen's private retreat.

Paul Allen’s private retreat.

Lopez Pass at Sunrise

Lopez Pass at Sunrise

After a night hunkered down on the anchor, swinging in Gale Force winds, we had a break in the weather at 4 AM, so were up and underway by 5 AM. Lopez Pass was stunning as the sun came up in the morning.

Heading across the Straits of Juan de Fuca when there are Gale Warnings is always a little dicey, but we had good luck and saw nothing bigger than 4 footers, so had a relatively easy crossing.

On the way down Admiralty Inlet, we spotted Serendipity (N86) steaming north. She’s quite an impressive ship!

Nordhavn 86, Serendipity heading north in Admiralty Inlet.

Nordhavn 86, Serendipity heading north in Admiralty Inlet.

Orca Whales playing in Rosario Straight

Orca Whales playing in Rosario Straight

While heading North up Rosario Strait en-route to the San Juan Islands, we spotted a large pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) near Decatur Island. We slowed to a crawl and drifted along with the strong currents admiring the Large Male whales, the matriarch and the baby whales which seemed to be enjoying life immensely.

For the crew, it was their first visit to the San Juan Islands and the very first time they had seen Orcas. What a great welcome to the jewels of the Pacific Northwest!

Orcas near Decatur Island

Orcas near Decatur Island