Saturday, September 27, 2008

leaving victoria sept 22 08

we visited the royal bc museum sunday. they had a spectacular display of local history and we had the pleasure of watching a young storyteller bring local legends to life with his orations. afterwards he gave us some local bits of information. the empress hotel was originally built on a shallow part of the bay originally a dump and now it's slowing sinking.

monday i saw my first "suit" in a long time. a man dressed for work. my first thought was oh they still wear those? it's been a long time since i've been in a cosmopolitan city. as we walked through the city i head languages i couldn't identify and saw a real mix of cultures. as we left the harbor we had to contend with lots of traffic from small water taxies to pleasure craft, ferries anda seaplanes. the pictures here show the traffic, a wonderful car created in the 1940's, a truck carrying hanging baskets, and marina shots.

victoria is like disneyland on sept 20 08

okay so we didn't exactly leave pt on time. it took another day to get going but our final stop was breakfast at sea j's where we feel at home. lots of chaos this am as a little sparrow was flying around the cafe trying to get out. we're regulars now and greeted with "the usual?" conversations this day, sept. 20, was about the $500 billion bailout and financial concerns among the men at the next table. we've been blissfully detached from the news most days. anyway, we motored over to vancouver island, into the city of victoria and cleared customs with no problems. we walked up to murchies for tea and then spent a pleasant evening on the boat watching a couple episodes of "six feet under". the marina is totally open to the public and it felt weird to be sitting below deck and having people walk by all night long peering in to see our faces reflecting the computer screen. looking out into the bay later i see we're tucked into a half circle of colored lights next to the underwater garden (tourist spot). it's like being tied up in disneyland with all the lights. and flowers everywhere. the empress hotel in front of us looks like a medieval castle with two large trees standing guard.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

back in the water sept 18 08

the boat got splashed at 5:30pm today. that's boat talk for getting back into the water. it's really interesting to watch the whole process, at least to us it's interesting. a guy drives the travel lift with an orange remote-control box, straps are placed around the hull and the boat is gently lifted off it's supports. then he walks backwards, facing the travel lift, and drives it w/boat around the yard and positions the boat over the water. we had a couple scratches on the keel that got painted on the way. poor boat was filthy after 15 days in the yard. guess who gets to clean it tomorrow morning before we leave? not me. i'll be doing a final grocery run, clean the house we've been staying in , return the car and walk back to a clean boat.

so the pictures from top to bottom are boat about to hit the water, dirty boat, remote control driven travel lift, painting the keel, boat about to get picked up by travel lift, guy manuevering the boat through the yard.

collecting in the palm of my hand sept 17 08

i've scaled down my beachcombing finds. if it doesn't fit in the palm of my hand i'm not taking it. sigh. the white shell is from fort flagler, the purple clam shells are from the beach off discovery bay down the road from where we're staying. i'm starting to organize my stuff to take back to the boat tomorrow. we're supposed to go back into the water sometime in the morning. the balance of the day will be spent cleaning and organizing. if everything goes according to plan we'll leave friday morning and motorsail over to victoria for a day or two and then on to friday harbor before visiting some of the other islands. we're both anxious to get back on water to the solitude of cruising. tomorrow will be my last opportunity to email and blog until around october 4 when we return to port townsend.

on another note we just came back from seeing "burn after reading" and i thought it was pretty quirky and entertaining.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

mystery bay, marrowstone island and more 9-16-08

another spot we visited yesterday was mystery bay on marrowstone island which is about 30-40 minutes away, over by fort flagler. the madrones are beautiful red trees that peel like eucalyptus trees. later in the day we drove over to pt. angeles to hurricane ridge, but unfortunately the road was closed about 5 miles up. on the way back we stopped at a fancy market/deli for coffee and it was the first time i ever saw a tv in the ladies room. and speaking of toilets, the state parks up here have really clean flush toilets, no port-a-potties like some of the california state parks i've been to. and another thing about some of the state parks like fort worden and fort flagler, the old officers' quarters houses are now vactional rentals. check it out if you're interested

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

geese at flagler sept 16 08

this is what i really wanted to share with you. the geese were at the other end of fort flagler and i have no idea why they were behind the fence with the goats. by now you must realize i'm crazy about birds. i had a grand time taking their pictures.

fort flagler sept 16 08

this is a mishmash of images from today and i apologize for the crazy layout. i was experimenting and i don't know how to change it and i'm too tired to redo it. so be it. more to come about fort flagler in my next post.

i can't believe how much driftwood there is around here. it's a beachcomber's paradise. where is cynthia when i need her?

today we explored fort flagler state park. the white building is a shot of the geo marine research center at the fort. then we went wandering on the beach.

as many of you know i take pictures of weird stuff and i love rusty metal. who knows what this once was.
the picture of the pilings has a story. jim read that in 1942 the military strung a submarine net across the bay because there was a military base nearby. this also explains the piling i shot a few days ago at old fort townsend state park. port townsend is in the background.

whale incident aug 7 08

some of you have asked about more details concerning the whale incident so here goes. first off, my disclaimer: there were four of us onboard all in different places on the boat, and just like blindmen describing the elephant, we each had our own experience. this is mine, taken from my journal. i'd been on watch from 04:00-08:00 (that's 4am-8am).

"thursday aug. 7. watch calmer. watched the boobie wake up, preen and move from the traveler to chrome stancion to the life line where the narrow wire made it difficult to maintain balance. sunrise a slow yawn through clouds and eventually a full blown spread of colors quickly turning sky & water a mauve color. boobie seemed tentative to leave, not quite ready to launch himself away. sunrise start 05:40, sunrise finish 06:15, bird left 06:30. 08:00 watch calm until 08:15 when we hit a whale head on. moments later saw a black mound go past under the stern about 50 yards out and a reddish pool behind it. boat appears undamaged except for cabinets in v berth on starboard side crushed & disengaged at base. no other damage apparent. how awful to hit this creature. my first sighting of a whale but i didn't want it under these circumstances."

i had just come off watch and was on deck. lori was getting ready for her watch, still in the v berth when it happened. there was a loud BOOM and you could feel the boat hitting something. it was a different feel and sound from last evening's squall when the boat was pounding through the water. you could feel the tension from everyone. lori yelled and jim ran below deck to see what was happening. all i heard was something about a door and i thought they said we hit a door floating in the water. when i turned to look out the stern i thought i saw a large doormat floating behind us (duh). jim had run back up on deck and said it was a whale. he has now decided it was a humpback because he saw a fin and he said it was really really big. the reddish/brownish color behind it, well how knows. i just hope he was okay. we've talked with other sailors about it and apparently it's a somewhat common occurrence, especially around hawaii. could be their sonar is getting affected from underwater testing. another theory is they sleep near the surface of the water.
we were incredibly lucky there was no hull damage. the hull flexed on impact but the interior cabinetry didn't so corners were crushed and sole floorboards and doors were pushed out of alignment.

so that's the story. i hope the whale was as lucky as we were.

umbrellas & fish market sept 13 08

the longer i stay up here in pt. townsent the more i like it. for me it's the perfect mix of rural forest and water without the altitude. plus a big city with lots of culture, art, stimulation, shopping, is a short ferry ride away. and then there are all those islands to explore via kayak. i just don't know about the weather in winter. anyway, a couple more shots from our saturday trip into seattle down at pike's market.

Friday, September 12, 2008

tiny houses at sunset sept 12 08

we took a drive down to the end of the road and discovered a small fishing village/private community with an unusual mix of large and small, old and new houses. reminded me of venice, ca back before it grew it's mcCastles. some of these cottages can't be more than 500 sq. ft, if that. jim saw a for sale on one house, $450,000! yikes, california prices. more to come from this place when i'm better prepared with my bigger camera.

housesitting and sunsets week of sept 8 08

Here’s bringing you current as of today (whew! it’s a chore keeping up with this blogging when I fall behind). We are currently housesitting for Linda and Dan here in PT. They have a comfortable home outside of town with a long balcony chock full of active bird feeders, a very relaxed calico cat, and a massage chair to die for. Oh and the view is right out to Discovery Bay (at least I think that’s what I’m looking at) and sunsets off to the side. I’m delighted to have a kitchen again, and laundry facilities. Jim’s thrilled with the HDTV and cable, terrible combination, I might add, of HDTV and massage chair. We may never leave.

The boat is still being worked on. Repaired v-berth cabinetry and sole pieces, along with adding a much-needed hand rail in the salon. And something about the bow but I can’t remember at this moment. I just see $$$$ floating by. Anyway, it looks like we might go back in the water next Wednesday, Sept. 17. Then we’ll head back out, in the time we have left, to explore as much of the San Juan and Gulf islands as we can before coming back. We plan to leave October 4 from PT to head home, weather permitting.

We replaced the lost camera. Jim’s been puttering on the boat and I’ve been inquiring about kayaking spots, checking out the consignment stores (there are a lot of ‘em around here), reading (currently Bel Canto by Ann Patchett—great read) and taking lots of pictures. I’ve been to Old Fort Townsend State Park, Fort Worden where I saw the otters, a local beach access down the road here. We’ve been to the Rose Movie Theatre (Tell No One, French subtitled--very well done—man accused of murdering his wife w/lots of suspense. We highly recommend it). We went into Seattle to REI flagship store. What an amazing store. We got lost just getting from the parking structure through the pretend forest up to the store entrance. Armchair Sailor bookstore was incredibly well-stocked with all manner of nautical information with books, charts, stuff.

That’s it. I officially declare myself caught up and done. The pictures are the otters in order of appearance, seattle skyline and sunset on the ferry.

busking in pt sept 6 08

Not only did we spend a lot of time at the wooden boat show, we also went to the farmer’s market and strolled along Water Street in downtown PT. There are some amazing musicians busking (playing music on the sidewalk) and one guy, Christopher of the Wolves was really talented and we bought a couple of his CDs. He plays the didjeridu, djembe (African drum), shruti box, steel drums, and other instruments I can’t name. If you check out his website he has a nice description of them and pictures. Another group had a large kazoo, banjo, washtub board with plunger and belly dancers. I’ve included pictures of Christopher, and I apologize about the poor quality of the troupe—they were surrounded by an audience and they were hard to shoot. There was also a couple who played a zither and harp further down the street.