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.