Next, Leave Puget Sound

To put our cunning cruising plan into action, first, we had to leave the dock. Check that off the list.  We left the dock and our heavy marina fees far behind three weeks ago. Other cruisers told us that leaving the dock was the hardest part of cruising. Once you had dropped the docklines, you were supposed to be golden. You had done it! You were now cruising! Are we cruisers yet?

A day in Tacoma to see some tall ships. We’re not all work around here!

In our case leaving the marina was the easy part. Turns out the hard part is going to be leaving this geographic area. We have to actually find a convenient time to travel north, pass Seattle to starboard, and continue on to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and right up into Canada, as was our plan. So far, we are still here.

We are currently comfortably anchored in Gig Harbor working on the fix to our aft cabin. Let me share with you how this repair is going. Our approach is one of sloth.

World’s largest rubber duck photo bombing the Foss Waterway.

When we were working fools all boat work projects had to be squeezed into weekends and evenings, so basically we made hay while the sun shone and hoped we could get a bunch done all at once. Suddenly, with the quitting of our day jobs, now all we have is time. With our new schedule, we’ve decided that accomplishing one small thing per day is fine. This new approach comes smack up against our well-ingrained work ethic. It’s like we’ve very suddenly forgotten that we are hard workers. And yet…well, here’s how our progress has looked:

Monday: Made cardboard pattern for replacing part of bulkhead. Called it a day. Went for walk in Gig Harbor. Ate food. Regretted it.

Tuesday: Napped and read books. Piddled around in the harbor doing nothing in particular. Went on walk. Spyed on neighboring boats with small binoculars. Serious cockpit lounging.

Wednesday: A banner day! My sister picked us up and took us to Mitchell’s Lumber in Belfair. Bought marine plywood for repair. Brought wood back to her place and used brother-in-law Darin’s tools to cut wood to fit space. Exhausted from this effort, called it a day. Hung around with her family. Played badminton; badly.

Thursday: Mixed thickened epoxy and used a large syringe to fill gap between bulkhead and coach roof. Made it smooth. Called it a day. Ordered replacement winch parts and a few other things on Amazon. Went kayaking.

Friday: Mixed more epoxy and filled gaps. Coated replacement piece of plywood with epoxy. Made thicker epoxy with adhesive filler and set that piece in place. Braced it with boat hooks which, wedged between bulkhead and cabinet, provided just the right amount of pressure. Swooning from effort, wiped our brows, called it a day. Went to have dinner with our kids. Mike’s birthday. Celebrated with cake.

Yes, it’s in Gig Harbor. Why bother going all the way to Italy.?

Today we might have the wherewithall to replace the piece of plywood we removed from the adjacent wall. We’ll mix more epoxy to coat the edges. The day after that we might be able to do the final piece which will finish the structural repair inside, except for the finish work such as trim and paint.

I’m pretty certain that at this breakneck pace we’ll have this repair completed by our July 10 date with Mr. Fiberglass Guy down in Olympia. We figured we would be able to cut loose from south Puget Sound right after the fiberglass repair was done and the mizzen mast replaced.

But, alas, we may not reach escape velocity even then. There is a garden party at our house for all the people who couldn’t go to Scotland for Claire and Dan’s wedding. It’s scheduled for July 22 and I don’t really want to miss it. Since we’ll likely be in Olympia through July 15 or so, it’s not asking too much to stay a little longer for the party.  After that, we should be good. Maybe that will be our fond farewell to friends and family?  No plans are ever firm anymore.

Sailboats race around the anchorage on Thursday nights.

Meanwhile, we live in Gig Harbor for awhile, seeing this town in a whole new way.  In terms of anchorages, it’s really great. The dinghy dock is safe, there is a regular Trolley that goes to the shopping district, and the harbor is filled with all varieties of interesting boats from big powerboats to lovely sailboats, even a real gondola from Italy. There are good restaurants and coffee shops nearby and lots of streets to explore to get our walks in. We’ve discovered a few small things that need fixing, now that we are using all the boat systems away from the dock,  and it’s a convenient place from which to order parts while we can still have them delivered to us at the house. In all, we can stay here happily for awhile.

Eventually we will make our way north with the continued plan to head south about the time the Coho ho ho goes south, which is the end of August-early September.  We won’t be joining the Ho Ho, but we will leave around the same time, depending on weather, of course.

18 thoughts on “Next, Leave Puget Sound

  1. You are now cruisers. What used to be crammed into a few weekends and late night work parties now is done as you feel the need to work. Have no fear the work will get done and you will make it out of Puget Sound.

  2. Sounds to me like you’re just having a lovely relaxing time. Isn’t that what cruising is all about? If there was a pressing deadline, you’d get stuff done. Without one, enjoy the bliss of relaxing!!

  3. Alas, sailing out of port can be as hard as casting off the dock-lines. We promise, there will be days when you think, “Wow! This life is awesome and we can’t believe we are doing this”. You’ll be so glad you left port.

    Too funny! It didn’t take you very long to figure out the “one thing a day” rule. We do the same. Today we went to the grocery store. We ran out of eggs. Tomorrow is Sunday. We don’t do anything on Sundays (unless we are looking to move and a good window opens). Mark is up with the sun and does the times crossword. We eat a big breakfast about mid-morning and then laze in the cockpit the rest of the day. If we feel energetic, we might fire up the BBQ.

    Yesterday, we swam with turtles, lots of them. We found a grassy area away from a reef with a ton of them and played for about 2 hours. We’ll put a blog post up later about it. Days like this are why we put up with some of the hardships of this lifestyle. You will soon have days like this.

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

    • We will definitely leave port! I don’t want to spend another winter on board on the boat. I’m ready for some warmer water. Actually, technically we have left port since our home port is Tacoma. Since we left we have been to Olympia, Hartstine Island, and several other places besides Gig Harbor. It’s just that these are our home waters. I do look forward to sea turtles. And whales, and maybe even whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez!

    • I feel very accomplished that we have been able to be easy going about this repair. We didn’t even care that it delayed us. It’s all good. There are benefits to this sticking around for awhile. We get to enjoy the Pacific Northwest summer. We all have earned this lovely weather after a rough, wet winter. Why would we want to leave now that it’s beautiful outside?

    • It is, isn’t it? Cruisers say that the lifestyle is days and days of doing very little punctuated by moments of sheer terror. I imagine that’s coming. But so far, it’s pretty good.

    • I think we cheated today by working on two jobs. I’m finally getting to sanding the parts of the dodger that have peeling paint. Guess i’ll get the paintbrush out tomorrow.

  4. We like to follow departing PNWesteners on their journey. Best wishes for traveling seas and lots of great memories. Sure by now you’ve found your way to the Tides Tavern…..

    s/v – Fantasy
    CM 440

    • Thank you Jeff and Karry. We are looking forward to getting this show on the road. We are quite familiar with the Tides but we have not visited on this trip. Gourmet Burgers has captured our cholesterol clogged hearts of late.

    • Oh, I gave up guilt years ago. It’s just kind of useless and causes more suffering than I’m willing to take on. But I do find the new, more relaxed Mike to be interesting.

  5. This post made me so happy. After reading your blog for YEARS, it is so fulfilling to see you living the dream. Congratulations on the relaxing lifestyle – that is the big part of the cruising goal in addition to the travel.
    Also, as a physics student before I switched to neuroscience, I loved your use of the term escape velocity. It was a perfect, succinct metaphor . Did it come from a physics background on your part as well?

    • Hi Claudia, and thank you for being such a loyal reader! We always enjoy hearing from you. Yes, we started blogging not only to document this life transition to cruising, but to hold ourselves accountable and stay on track with the 5 year plan. It has worked better than I even thought it would. In terms of my use of ‘escape velocity’, that’s a term I’ve borrowed from physics many times when I describe a shift that can happen only after the amount of energy put into the change is greater than the ‘gravitational pull’ of the status quo. I find it to be a good metaphor for many of the patterns of change people go through. My physics background, alas, is limited. But I do enjoy a good metaphor!

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