Sometimes Galapagos is downright embarrassing. We’ve never heard a boat gurgle, burp, and probably fart as much as she does and it’s taking us awhile to figure out whether these are noises of distress or whether we are just ignorant like first time parents; focused on every small nuance a newborn exhibits. She’s trying to tell us something, but she speaks with foreign tongue. More on this later.
This weekend, determined to do not a lick of boat work and just enjoy being on the water, we took Galapagos to visit Anderson Island, just south of Tacoma, and home to our favorite boat surveyor, Tony Allport of “He saved us from buying the beautiful but high maintenance Flying Gull” fame. We were secretly hoping for a ‘Tony’ sighting, but I guess Anderson Island is bigger than we thought because none of the people we sighted were Tony.
Most people who travel to Anderson Island choose to pull into protected Oro Bay or Amsterdam Bay, but we are not ‘most people’ and don’t mind anchoring in a little current if the weather is fine. So we chose Thompson Cove at the south end of the island. That way we could enjoy the sunset. As we pulled in a woman on the shore waved at us and yelled out ‘Beautiful boat!’ and something about anchoring. The tone was welcoming; she seemed friendly with a good attitude toward sailboats. Anchor set for the weekend, I pulled out my hammock, opened the new Kindle Mike got me for my birthday, and commenced to some hardcore reading. The light sound of laughter wafted by on the breeze, coming from the house on the shore. My hammock rocked gently.
After a few hours I felt eyes upon me and noticed someone floating on a swim toy in the water, holding on to what appeared to be a dog. This is the Pacific Northwest. Anyone in the water is either in trouble or is a hardier soul than me. This was the woman with the good attitude and she and her dog were floating our way. I stood up to greet her. Smiling hugely, she said “Welcome to Thompson Cove! Your boat is lovely! I’m an old sailor and I love seeing a sailboat anchored in the cove. Here, I brought you some freshly picked blackberries. If we have a bonfire tonight, be sure to come and join us!”
She exuded warmth. I wanted immediately to be her friend. The current was taking her, so we had a quick conversation that assured me that she and her dog swam Thompson Cove every day and she would have no trouble getting back to shore. Still, we watched her carefully, since it was hard to believe anyone could be close to the actual wetness that long without becoming hypothermic, and the current was swift.
I couldn’t help but compare this open and friendly welcome complete with fresh berries to the one we received last year when making the late fall trip up to Anacortes on Moonrise to deliver her to her new owners. At the end of a long day of cold sailing, we needed to anchor for the night and wanted to be on the protected side of the land. Orcas Island offered our best solution and we pulled into a bay filled with empty mooring balls. Choosing a spot well away from them we dropped anchor.
As Mike was snugging up the rode we were greeted by a woman standing aggressively on her porch on shore. Her weapon of choice was a large cheerleader megaphone apparently kept on the front porch, shotgun like, just for this purpose. The megaphone was as big as she was. Her echoing voice grated on my last nerve as she informed us that 1) this wasn’t a good place to anchor (Yes, it was), 2) We might touch her mooring ball. (No, we wouldn’t.) 3) Were we in trouble? (No, just exhausted.) 4) People had been known to get blown off the anchorage there as storms came out of nowhere. (Clearly she was a conjurer of the first degree. ) This woman was one who would eat the souls of young children lost in the forest. I hope we didn’t destroy her precious view of the empty mooring field. You know, sometimes it’s okay that I don’t hear very well. It makes those people easier to ignore. Poor Mike, with his preternaturally good hearing, bore witness to several of her impromptu speeches before the night got too old for her. We retired to the cabin for a little scrabble.
Back at the welcoming Thompson Cove, we enjoyed a lovely sunset/moonrise. Let the photos speak to this.
On Sunday we had set a date to pick up some friends at the Steilacoom Dock. Chere Clark and Edwin Nieves have been good friends since Chere came to practice with me 10 years ago. They’d been on the Saucy Sue, our Catalina 27, on Moonrise, our Cal 34, and now we would have them as our first guests aboard Galapagos! It is exciting to finally be at that stage in this game.
One thing we are learning with a boat this big is that we must remain flexible about how we accomplish things; like sidling up to a dock. Sometimes that just isn’t going to happen. When we approached the dock by the Steilacoom ferry it was clear that we would need a shoehorn to bring Galapagos into the space available. In situations such as this, I like to take the Nancy Reagan approach and ‘Just say NO’. The space was clearly too small. It would not be happening. Our friends were waving from the dock, and people were meandering down to watch the show. I hope we didn’t disappoint them as Mike dropped the dinghy into the water and rowed over to pick them up. I breathed a sigh of considerable relief that there would be no need to wedge our big boat into a small space. Show over with no drama. I predict this will happen a lot. I especially like the ‘no drama’ part.
And here is a little blast from the past; Chere and Edwin enjoying a little Wednesday night racing aboard our old Catalina 27. The Saucy Sue was a perfect first boat.
The plan was to go for an evening sail, taking advantage of the winds that kick up each summer night, then drop them back off at Steilacoom before tootling back up to Tacoma. We anchored off McNeil Island (careful to keep at least a football field’s length off the shore since it’s a prison island) and had a lovely dinner in the cockpit. We were having so much fun that they stuck with us all the way to Tacoma.
And this is where those embarrassing noises come into play. There is so much gurgling! We had identified one source of the gurgling as the drain in the galley sink. It sounded like air was getting into the line and coming up against small quantities of water and we didn’t know how to make it stop. Then, in a brainstorm of epic proportions, I managed to think about putting the stoppers in the sink. Just give me time. Sometimes I’m a little slow, but problem solved. Still, we can’t figure out where the other sound is coming from. It’s intermittant, no apparent rhyme or reason jumps out at us. So we’ll be sitting enjoying a quiet dinner in the cockpit, or the silence of sails up at an easy heel, and suddenly the boat lets out a long, rude sounding burp. It seems like it’s coming from the cockpit drains, or maybe the vent to the engine. The sound is similar to what the bilge pump makes, but we’ve at least determined that it is not, in fact, the bilge pump. We have a mystery on our hands. I’d like to think that, like our son who was a gassy baby, this boat will outgrow this problem. But, alas, at her age, it is unlikely.
For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy a flurry of photos from the passage back to Tacoma.
We know we’ll need to get back to our project list soon, but these weekends on the boat have a way of filling up the cup of energy required to keep that momentum going. We’re keeping a gimlet eye on the engine exhaust elbow and so far it’s holding. When Mike’s not looking I secretly use a magnifying glass to check for cracks around that recently welded joint. So far, so good. We just want it to hold long enough for us to get the final fix in place.