This morning it was time to head over to Philbrooks Boatyard in Sidney, BC for some planned refit work. We brought the boat here last year and were really pleased with their capabilities and level of service, so we are back again for more.
Yesterday was a beautiful blue sky day in Anacortes, but this morning was shrouded in fog. It was a great opportunity to test out our new Furuno Digital radar, which can overlay a radar image on top of a chart on our PC based navigation system… but that is the topic for a different (overdue) post.
As I approached Thatcher Pass, the fog began to clear. You can just begin to make out land in the photo above.
Then the sun came out, making it a very pleasant 33 mile cruise over to Sidney. Philbrooks gave me a slip assignment just inside the breakwater of Van Isle Marina.
The tall building on the left side of the image is the Phibrooks boat shed, and they have a marine railway for hauling boats out of the water. It is a cradle on tracks that goes underwater, and you drive the boat up on it.
Here is a photo of the cradle. Tomorrow they will roll it down the tracks and we will bring Miss Miranda up onto it to begin work which includes (in no particular order):
Bottom and running gear, anti-fouling paint as needed
Install a new Sarca Excel anchor to replace our drag-prone CQR.
Major electrical system upgrade that includes replacing our house batteries with Firefly Carbon foam batteries, adding chargers, and installing solar panels. This will allow us to stay at anchor indefinitely.
Reupholster the salon settee. After nearly 20 years, the cushions and fabric are shot, and Philbrooks did a terrific job on the pilot house settee last year.
Install an Iridium GO satellite messenger. This will allow us to receive weather data from Predictwind at sea, and also supports (very slow) email access and voice calls.
Scheduled maintenance for almost all major systems, including main engine, wing engine, generator, stabilizers, hydronic heating system, watermaker and autopilot/steering.
It’s a good thing that the condo renovations are (almost) complete, since the boat, our home for the past two months, will be at Philbrooks for all of April. The plan is to have the work done by May 1st, when we will pick up the boat and head down to Seattle for the Opening Day of the boating season.
This week we went to Santa Rosa California to spend two days at a training class learning about our hydraulic stabilizers and bow thrusters. The stabilizers are very important features that make our boat easier to handle and more comfortable in rough seas. They won’t save our lives, but they will make us less likely to want to die from seasickness.
The company ABT Trac holds these classes at their US based manufacturing company in California. The most amazing thing we learned was how service oriented ABT is – they have all the original drawings of our specific boat installation from 20 years ago, and we can call them at any time for help. We got the entire history of parts replacement and service for the life of our boat from the previous two owners. Now we are ready to do what’s required before we set sail on our voyage. We were truly impressed with ABT’s commitment to quality and reliability, and to their highly skilled long-standing staff.
Our instructor Eric was hilarious – I wish my Physics professor in college had Eric’s enthusiasm and excitement for fluid dynamics – I would not have struggled nearly as much! “Hydraulics is like baseball – everything goes back to home plate. “
In addition to learning the principles of hydraulic systems, we also got hands on mechanical experience taking the system apart to fix problems that are rare but COULD happen. Larry now thinks I am in charge of all maintenance.
We’ve ordered the list of spare parts that would be hard to get in Mexico. Now I just need to review where everything is on our own boat so I know what to look for when and if anything stops working.
In Sonoma County, if you are studying fluids you must study wine. We spent an enjoyable day with two tastings – Jordan Winery and Ramey. Perfect on a dreary rainy and chilly day in California.
A beautiful spring day in Anacortes. Time to dust off the bike and do some exploring. We had head about the Tommy Thompson trail (https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/tommy-thompson-trail), and have seen where it crosses Fidalgo Bay while driving into town. Today I decided to go find it.
I rode in from Skline on SR 20… not many options here, and the shouldder is pretty decent. I went to see if the local bike shop was open (it wasn’t) and then across to “R” Avenue. The trail is a paved, multi-use path that runs beside it. It winds through the boat yards on the way out of town and then out and across the bay.
I rode a little way towards March point. This is a photo looking back across the Bay to Anacortes. On the right is a trailer park owned by the refinery for recreational use by employees.
This is looking back at the trestle across the bay.
Finally, a shot from the trestle looking north up the Bay towards Anacortes and Cap Sante Marina.
The dock that Miss Miranda lives at is accompanied by a one bedroom condo. This is our land base for the foreseeable future. Miranda will have a place while we are away, and this will be a touchdown spot for us in between voyages.
For the past 3 years we’ve rented it out and not set foot in it. When we reentered in December, it was obvious it needed a LOT of work. It’s 40 years old and not much had been done in all those years. Remember 1970s avocado green and orange? We first decided to do the kitchen, paint and refloor and replace all the appliances. Along the way we decided might as well do the whole thing – a bathroom refresh is still in the works.
Of course, as all remodels do, it’s taken twice as long as planned. To be fair, that’s partly because all the snow delayed the delivery of the kitchen cabinets by two weeks.
Yesterday, all the protective covering was removed and the new condo revealed!
Now we can clean the dust off and the movers will pull up with our stuff from storage on Monday morning. I am having a bit of a panic that we haven’t downsized our stuff enough! I’ve also realized that after nearly 2 months on the boat, there is not much I have missed from our stuff.
I can’t wait to enjoy the view through our newly revealed windows while sitting on the couch enjoying a cocktail.
February was a snowy and frigid month, but we did have a weekend that was good for getting outside. We decided to get our boat chores done one Saturday morning and then explore Deception Pass State Park. We have passed under the Deception Pass bridge which connects the Straight of Juan de Fuca to Skagit Bay many times, but had never seen it by land.
Going through by boat can be hairy if you don’t time the currents right. When the tide is coming in or going out the currents can get up to several knots. It’s a tight passage with lots of rocks and lots of boats wanting to go in both directions, so we always time it for slack current to make it a non-event.
On Saturday we came by car, and walked over the bridge. This turned out to be much scarier than I expected! I wanted to take a picture looking directly down from the bridge, but my stomach wouldn’t allow me to. So here is a shot from the bridge looking out and Larry pointing down. Neither of us could actually look down.
We have a bunch of things on our to-do list, between the renovations on the condo, getting the boat ready to go into the yard and getting ready to cruise to Alaska and beyond. We had our post-it notes with the tasks on flip chart paper before we moved out of the house, but we’ve improvised on the boat, using the aft salon window. We’ve grown addicted to the satisfaction of crossing off a task, and sometimes we (OK, I) get upset when we do something useful that is NOT on a sticky…
I got the “Captain in a Box” course, which contains a full set of printed course materials in addition to online access via their portal. It’s very easy to use, and the self-paced learning fits my style. I like having the option of using the portal online or the books for offline reference. I just finished the first module, and as a result got this sticker. Not really sure what I am supposed to do with it…. so might as well display it proudly here 🙂
We headed over to Rosario Resort to celebrate Gwen’s birthday this weekend. It was a really nice day enjoying the spa facilities and a birthday dinner at the Mansion Restaurant. We woke up this morning to snow flurries. It’s 36 degrees, so nothing is going to stick… but it will be fun boating back home through the snow.
We’ve finally made the move from Seattle up to Anacortes, where we own, but have rented out for the past couple of years, a condo in Skyline. The condo is having some remodeling done, so we’ve been living on the boat for the past couple of weeks. We were greeted with plenty of snow and cold weather, as you can see here.
We survived the winter weather surprisingly well. The boat stays plenty warm, though we are giving the diesel heater a big workout. The biggest issue has been water (getting a bit low) and holding tank (getting a bit high). The local pumpout guy made it over after the worst of the snow, and as soon as it warmed up, we will fill up the water tanks.
Here’s the view out of the port side of the pilothouse.
And one looking back up towards the condo. Our unit is just to the left, out of this photo.
This was the view looking south from the Skyline Marina entrance the day after the storms.