Random Thoughts With My Morning Coffee

Ah, good morning, Pacific Northwest flat water. What is this thing about an anchorage so quiet that the boat feels like dry land? What’s the point in that? May as well be in a house. You’d think I’d sleep better, but I don’t. It’s too still and I don’t know where I am. It’s confusing.

Unexpected yet delightful Canadian welcoming committee.

I realize that we have been in cell service for about 8 days now and I’m already hooked. That’s a bad sign. I know this because we took refuge from some rainy winds coming to Port Townsend by toodling over to the bay between Indian Island and Marrowstone Island. It’s protected here all right. We prefer anchoring away from the huge cluster of boats in Mystery Bay so we are over by the DO NOT LAND BOATS HERE signs that the Navy puts up along the shoreline of Indian Island. There is no cell service here for some bizarre reason. I was dead irritated by that. I wanted to spend the evening scrolling through Craigslist looking at camping vans, along with, apparently, every other human who lives in the United States. They are very popular right now. Maybe we should wait until winter.

Hey, here’s a bit of information about our last passage. Reading between the lines of our posts you may be wondering why we suddenly turned the engine on (Blast! I hated to do that.) and why we landed in Canada for a couple of days (See photo of welcoming committee above.). That would be because we lost our backstay on Day 21 of our beautiful passage from Hawaii, 500 miles from Cape Flattery. Yes, we sure did. The word ‘lost’ here means kaput. Toast. A goner. Yikes!

Yikes stripes. It broke in half. While this looks like metal fatigue, in fact it is not. The metal you are seeing is the end piece that is inserted into the insulator. There is another like it on the bottom half. The composite material was probably UV damaged, at least that is our operating hypothesis. 

For the non-sailors in the reader group, the backstay is one of the pieces of wire that holds up the mast. The mast is the big pokey stick that holds the big sail that makes the boat go. In short, when one of the pieces of wire breaks, your mast can fall down. The backstay is the piece of wire that supports the mast from the back of the boat, keeping it from falling forward. To lose a backstay is very, very NO BUENO.

I’m writing that story up for possible publication (because, why not?) so I cannot tell the story the way I want to right now. If the story is accepted for publishing, you will read it there. If it isn’t, then I’ll publish it on the blog.  Anyway, the important things are thus: we did great, we kept our rig intact, it failed at the SSB insulator up at the top of the mast, no one was hurt, no other boat damage was had, it happened in the morning when the sun was up, and we are a pretty terrific team when the chips are down.

After we had everything secured and under control, I was feeling pretty low.  Then a huge pod of mixed Pacific White Sided and Northern Right Whale dolphins came to the boat and stayed for well over half an hour, leaping and tail slapping, and it made me feel loads better. There were hundreds of them. This was the only dolphin visitation we had for the whole passage. Coincidence? I will never believe it. Once I get my computer to play video again (Thanks, Apple.) I will post videos for you. Until then, imagine hundreds of dolphins leaping and slapping by the boat. Oh, and also the sun came out. Consider my spirits uplifted.

Northern Right Whale Dolphin. So adorable and different!

We now have a new backstay, which Mike installed two days ago. Thank you to Port Townsend Rigging for fitting us in as an ‘emergency rigging need’ and getting it built for us in less than 2 days. They rock. A complete new rig was already on the list for after these passages. We just started earlier than expected.

And why didn’t we talk about it as soon as it happened? That would be because we didn’t want people like our kids and mothers to be worried about us when there was no reason to be and there was nothing they could do. Also that would have been an additional distraction for us and we needed to focus on getting the boat home safely.  We were safe, we were fine, just bitterly disappointed and sad. I have to mention, however, that right after it happened our kids’ spidey senses must have been tingling because we received sat phone text messages from BOTH of them within an hour of each other asking how things were going out there on the sea. I can only say that, travelers that they are, they surely understand the lies of ommission people tell when they don’t want to worry others needlessly.

Pretty Velella on a calm day at sea.

Hey, remember S/V Flying Gull? The gorgeous Sparkman and Stevens sailboat we almost bought years ago due to completely overlooking how much money we would need to update her? Recall she fell on hard times and was involved in a police shooting in the waters of Bainbridge Island. Then she was sold to someone who wanted to bring her back to her glory. Well she is sitting in the Port Townsend boat yard and might be up for sale again soon. She needs a lot of work but if a person has deep pockets and a love of classic boats, well, need I say more? We still think she is one of the loveliest boats we have ever seen. Plus she has a porcelain urinal. That would provide a lot of amusement. Seeing her up on the hard in Port Townsend made our hearts sore.

Flying Gull. Still a beauty.

In other news, these are the thoughts that run through the mind over coffee.

– You really can never have too much extra line on a boat.

– Ditto on shackles and other random sailing hardware.

– What is the useful life of a shackle, anyway?

– There are WAY too many boats up here. It’s suffocating.

– The thing they say about being out on the ocean getting under your
skin is absolutely true. Let’s go.

– Having any kind of rig failure at sea crushes your soul just a little bit and leaves a hard
kernal of guilt that needs to be resolved.

– Tuna blood dries hard and slick and is difficult to remove from the
side of the boat.

– It’s impossible that the San Juan Islands are as close as the chart
says they are. WTF?

– Our website needs a redesign and I have no idea where to even
start with that.

– Will we ever use our paddle boards in these waters? I see other
people on theirs. Maybe they don’t fall in like I do.

– Cruising friends on the ground when you are on passage are

– Shout out to the Coast Guard for existing and being on top of
their original mission.

– Our boat looks shabby and rode hard after 5000+ miles.

– Why can’t someone create a product that completely protects
marine stainless steel from rust? Forever.

– Ditto on teak. I am so over doing wood finishing.

– Tell me, grey seal, how does it feel to be so wise? To see with eyes
that only see what’s real. Tell me, grey seal.*

– Every day I read the news and it’s always the same. Why bother?

– We cannot wait for new salon cushions. The need is real.

– Putting up the sail for the first time after repairs is a fine feeling.

Greetings, friend! Where are your companions?

Sitting here watching for Tufted Puffins at Protection Island. I love anchoring a nice roadstead anchorage. Maybe we will roll around a little bit and I’ll sleep better. Tomorrow we go up to the San Juans. It’s less than 20 miles away. Still beside myself with disbelief over that. It used to feel like going to another world altogether.

*Thanks for the ear worm, Elton John.

S/V Galapagos, standing by on channel 16. Currently at Protection Island. Watching Puffins.