Saturday, May 29, 2010

Underway, La Conner, and a series of unfortunate events!

It was a typical start to a long weekend for us...a short week of work, rushing to get the boat stocked/laundry done/work caught up after a week of leave, then aaaahhhhhh, the lines were cast off Thursday evening!  We didn't really have a solid plan for the weekend, but headed north.  That night was just a quick jaunt up to Elgar Bay where we anchored for the night.  Our big treat there?  The anchor windlass stopped working properly!  The "down" would work, but not the "up"--bummer!  We did a bit of trouble shooting that night, but couldn't get it going.  Oh well, good ole' fashioned brute strength (a.k.a. Frank) got the anchor back on deck and we were underway just fine on Friday morning.

Tides and currents weren't totally favorable for getting us through Deception Pass so we decided to try something new--the Swinomish Channel.  We tried to time it so that we would be at a "0" tide and rising for our trip into the channel.  THAT was exciting!  We heard another vessel on VHF report that is was "now longer obstructing Swinomish Channel."  Great.  Then we saw it at the mouth of the channel right as we started in.  It was nerve-racking for Frank and I honestly could have done without the power boat that insisted on passing us right in a bend with another sailboat coming at us, but we made it!

Once we made it through the channel we decided we might as well check out La Conner.  It gets a lot of hype and we were honestly a little spent after that stress.  We scored with a nice city dock right in the middle of town that was only $.50/ft/nt.  It was rainy, but we geared up and headed into town to play in mud puddles and shop a little.  We scored at an awesome olive shop right up the pier.  YUMMY!  Frank got some ridiculously hot ones, while I went for sun-dried tomato stuffed.  And since the kids had been really good, we got ice cream!  We all got a little cold, but it was delicious!  The kids played around a bit in town, but we were getting hungry so we headed back to the boat.

This is where it gets good!  I had ribs in the oven and was about to cook corn when I realized that the gas was out.  No big deal, right?  We always keep the spare filled.  Well not this time!  We were OUT!  At this point it was after 6pm and no where was open.  We salvaged dinner and looked up a place to go in the morning, right on the water, that had propane.  According to the website it opened at 8am which would allow us to get out of the channel on the north side before the tide got too low.

This morning was less than ideal.  As we went to get underway the current was tearing along, right into our stern, and the boat got pushed well away from the pier before I could get on.  I freaked, but Frank kept his cool, got the line onboard, flipped around to point into the current, and got right up to where I could jump onto the port side.  I decided I hate current.  Next we had to find a place to tie up by this marine store.  Well, its dock was full of over-nighters, so we pulled into the fuel dock (which sucked with the current and the no-cleat piers they favor there) just to be told we couldn't pull up there to go get propane next door.  Grrr....  So then we tied up to the northern guest piers (which thankfully had cleats) and Frank ran to go fill the propane.  It was about 8:15am when he left and he returned, soaked from the rain, to tell me that the store doesn't open until 9am.  Curse you, stupid stores that don't post the correct hours on your web sites!!!!!  So we waited.  We didn't want to have to try to pull in anywhere else.  The cool thing was that they Skagit County dockmaster (where we were tied up) didn't give us a hard time about hanging out there and not paying for the hour.  He was really cool.

Ok, so at 9am Frank got BOTH propane tanks filled and we got underway ASAP.  We wanted to be out of this channel before the tide dropped below "0" level just after 10am.  It was honestly tight.  We were behind, and I can't believe I'm saying this, a slow power boat.  At least yesterday when we were coming in if we grounded the water was rising and we'd shortly float off.  Today, the water was dropping and we could be stuck for hours.  But....WE MADE IT!  I'm happy that we "did" La Conner and the channel, but I'm happy to be headed out to the islands right now.  Not sure where we'll end up tonight...Cypress or Sucia???

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