The Plan - Spend a week or two sailing the Puget Sound while juggling Erika's heavy work schedule. The recently installed cell booster antenna on Resa would keep Erika well connected to the internet. Taking just one of our boys while leaving the other two home to care for the dogs would also be helpful.
August 13th, 2020 - The picture below are the leftovers from our last trip to Stewart Island, We'll add more provisions until securing the cabinet doors are barely possible. Erika and I have been managing our onboard provisioning and stockpiling for over 30 years. Neither of us are foodies per say but appreciate a few nice meals during our passages. So sticking with the basics is our modus operandi, especially because we very often cruise with our kids. Our spice rack can last throughout the cruising season with a refill here and there.. But the challenge is to pack the appropriate fresh and perishable goods. Our 2 cubic foot top loading freezer/frig is adequately sized for a 41 foot sailboat but it is not our 20 cubic ft. home frig.
August 14, 2020 - Because Elliot was already in Port Townsend after sailing there with the Sea Scouts (pictured), Mason was picking him up to drive back to PA, Erika would catch a ride and meet Resa later that day. So, along with the help of our sailor friend Rebecca, Loren (pictured) and I departed PA, sailed along the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, in very light and very warm conditions, hence the "Team USHOODS" sun shirts. (pictured).. With both the boat load and car load arriving at Boat Haven Marina in PT by 1800, it was time for some easy cook'n...take-out burritos!(pictured)
August 14-15, 2020 - We splurged for a night in Port Townsend Marina, aka Boat Haven Marina. Comparatively, PT moorage fees are steep. And more in line with harbors such as Shilshole Bay in Seattle, 1.96/ft (peak season) or 2.25/ft in SoCal. After registering Resa and catching up with another Sweden Yachts owner (36 footer), parked a just a couple slips away, Later Erika and I walked over to West Marine for some electrical wire to finish installing the cell boosting antenna I fixed to the stern rail a couple days ago. The next day we departed Slip C192, emptied the waste tank near the fuel dock, topped off the diesel Euro style (pictured) and set off for the unknown.
August 15, 2020 - We didn't get far. With a fine westerly flowing outside the marina, we set sail and explored the southern part of PT Bay. Loren and I launched the inflatable to catch Admiral Erika in action (pictured). A short time later Resa was hailed by our friend Jared who happened to be sailing near by aboard Knight-n-Gail. He mentioned that Fort Townsend Historical State Park might be a nice place for us to check out. After a drive-by we couldn't resist the two lonely moorings adjacent to an empty beach. Thx, skip!
August 15, 2020 - Fort Townsend Historical State Park is part of the Washington State Park system so our Annual Moorage Permit covered the cost of the mooring (pictured). The park advertises over 400 forested acres criss-crossed with hiking trails and 4000 feet of shoreline. The park's historical past included a US Army barracks built in 1859 but later destroyed in 1895. Our attention was back at the beach where we found a large tree branch to play on. Loren's horseback/tree branch riding skills came in handy but eventually his swimming skills were on display (pictured). The temperature was so balmy, it brought me back to those perfect summer days sailing and beach combing between Santa Cruz and San Diego.
t August 16, 2020 - Casting off our mooring lines, we left Fort Townsend by 10am, set sail for points south. Rounding Marrowstone Point, on our way into Admiralty Inlet., we set a new daily speed record of 9 knots. The flood tide was probably peaking at the time. Resa continued sailing South without the help of any more slingshot headlands but maintained a pleasant 6 knot passage past notable Point No Point Lighthouse and Appletree Cove (pictured). About this time we "didn't see" the armada of military vessels steaming northbound on AIS (Automatic Identification System). Although we did see a Navy Submarine, surrounded by a dozen Navy escort/USCG security boats off our port beam. Loren helped point them out (pictured). As we sailed southwest into Port Madison the wind dwindled and Seattle's record setting heat (98 deg) had become much more obvious. After turning on the engine we literally and figuratively steamed under the Agate Bridge. Heading South thru Port Orchard an amazingly cool breeze filled in. We promptly switched off the noise maker and zig-zagged our way towards Bremerton Marina. After a minor misunderstanding regarding guest slips, we had Resa tied up by 1800 hrs...just in time to witness an amazing sunset (pictured) and the occasional lightning flash.
August 17, 2020 - Monday morning and Erika is back to work. Leaving Erika plugged into her cyberworld with all the hatches wide open to battle the very warm and humid conditions, Loren and I were off to explore the area via SUP and kayak. Without surprise , it didn't take long for Loren to find his two favorite boats in the harbor, a "fast and colorful" cigarette boat and the "big and powerful" destroyer Turner Joy (pictured). But most of the afternoon we were paddling under the shade of the piers or pulling each other on SUP by the Inflatable motor dingy (pictured). Did I say it was WARM. Luckily, after her long day in work meetings, Erika joined me for a slightly cooler paddle around the harbor (pictured).
August 18, 2020 - Two days earlier Resa sailed south to Bremerton Marina, passing the inlet to Poulsbo/Liberty Bay, Brownville and Illahee State Park. Our plan was to head North and visit one or each of the above locations but decided to head east thru Rich Passage and explore Blake Island. Erika wrapped up her morning meetings and off went the dock lines. Next stop Blake Island State park (pictured). Motor sailing up the narrow entrance to Rich Passage we began to feel a breeze building from the Southeast. I eagerly switched off the motor and steered to starboard. Out went the jib heeling Resa to port. After a few tacks down the narrow passage we officially sailed into Puget Sound (pictured), Blake Island was dead ahead. We dropped sails and motored up to one of the north end white mooring balls. As I leaned over the bow to snag the ball a 6-8ft I noticed a ship wake bearing down on Resa. Erika heeded the three or four small set mountains rolling our way and turned to face them. It only took a few seconds for Resa to pitch over the relatively massive wakes but we quickly decided to explore the eastern edge of Blake for a more protected spot anyway. On the way an opportunity to check out the island marina for future reference presented itself. Erika piloted Resa between the narrow entrance markers (pictured), and before we knew it a dock host wearing an orange volunteer vest was guiding us towards an open dock space. Oh well, guess we'll explore anchoring Blake another time. We tied up, dawned our face masks and walked to the state park kiosk to register. It was posted that boaters were allowed to stay up to seven nights. We marked down three nights and found out later, due to new Covid regulations, stays were limited to three nights anyway. Perfect for us.
August 19, 2020 - Since it was another work day for Erika, she would be staying aboard (pictured) while Loren and I explored the island. Blake Island's perimeter trail (pictured), about 5 miles long, would be a good start. We broke off the trail at a pay station near the mooring balls along the southern shore (pictured) and continued along the beach. It was low tide so Loren and I had a large, empty, rocky edge of the island to ourselves. Eventually rejoining the main trail near the NW corner, we made the short walk back to the marina. By then Erika was able to take a lunch break. The three of us walked over to the Tillicum cafe' to try the house specials...Steelhead salmon sandwiches and salads. Later in the afternoon, Erika and I hiked one of the two inter-island trails, marked "blue" and "red".. The "blue trail" was well marked but obviously overgrown (pictured). Since January large tour boats out of Seattle, full of hundreds of day passengers, were not running due to covid. The abnormally quiet state park wasn't missed on us. We were grateful to experience the area in semi-solitude usually rife with tourists.
August 20, 2020 - An unstable air mass (wind and rain), was predicted for the following night and into the next day or two. It wasn't the reason we decided to turn north again and make our way home but it started the conversation. About noon the next day we said goodbye to Rich, one of our old dock mates from PA that had sailed in the night before, and pulled out of Blake Island Marina (pictured). With the local winds playing a bit from the NW I plotted a general course for our next stop, Appletree Cove (pictured). Here we would hunker down for the cooler, wetter weather. For the next couple hours we sailed up Admiralty Inlet until Seattle was off our starboard beam (pictured). By then the breeze had faded away. A couple hours later we motored into Kingston Marina in time to watch the rain clouds build above us (pictured).
August 20-21, 2020 - We have sailed into Kingston a half dozen times and caught the local ferry a dozen more so it wasn't so much an exciting stay in as much as it was a comfort stop. With bathroom codes and grocery bags in hand, we took a quick shower then topped off our provisions at the grocery store located a brief stroll up the street. Over the next day and a half we enjoyed the sounds of rain sprinkling above our heads, reading and taking short walks, all while preparing to continue our passage northward.
August 22, 2020 - It's the weekend and Erika has the whole day to relax on our way back to Port Townsend. The sunny weather and ebb tide made for a pleasant three and a half hour, 25 nm scenic saunter north (pictured). Plan A was to seek out a mooring ball off Fort Worden State Park. The marine chart showed eight moorings available in depths around 18 to 20 feet at mean lower low tide. Charts have proven mostly true to reality but we have observed missing moorings and even the occasional buoy (that's another story!). Anyway, we approached the moorings off the state park and found, in fact eight empty/available mooring balls. Our question was why were there 15 to 20 sailboats anchored a mere 100 meters to the south of the state park..not one employing a single mooring ball. Turns out the large fleet anchored to our south was just about to start a race and NOT avoiding the area for some unpublished and perilous reasons. Taking advantage of the prepaid state park moorage and free nautical entertainment, we grabbed snacks from the galley and cheered the fleet on from the comfort of our cockpit (pictured). Later we dinghied to an empty part of the beach to stretch our legs and... dig holes? (pictured). After dinner, Erika baked up some much appreciated brownies to cap off the night. Soon we were crawling into our bunks to be soothed asleep by the rippling and swishing of the ocean around our hull.
August 23, 2020 - Breaking our fast to another sunny day in the PNW, we cast off our mooring lines and started our haul westward passing Point Wilson lighthouse to port and Point Wilson buoy to starboard (pictured). Five hours and 30 nautical miles later Resa found her spot back in the marina she calls home. Guess now its time to clean up a house we charged two bachelors to take care of. Or maybe next time Erika and I will forget to turn into PA and keep going ;) - Keith
Leaving Steadfast in the hands of the broker, I beat it back to Santa Cruz for some cold water work and recreation. Over the years I've developed an appetite for teaching sailing and marine science....and I was hungry. Setting up a weekly schedule with the O'Neill Sea Odyssey aboard the O'Neill catamaran along with a few ASA lessons thrown in here and there via Pacific Yachting, I was a happy camper or more appropriately..... a happy marine science/sailing instructor.
My February hegira west seemed a bit premature this year. Leaving the snow covered Rocky Mts. for drought stricken California seemed somewhat malapropros. I mean I barely had a chance to use my season snowboarding pass . But as usual, the siren song of the sea had to be quelled. To help matters, my nephew Ethan, a recent college grad, booked an early date with "Uncle Keith's Discount Sailing School". So, once again, I traded in my powder pants for board shorts and headed out to sunny Santa Cruz. By March 1st, Ethan and I were reaching across the Monterey Bay with a double reef main in a cool 20 knot breeze. (Top Photo)
Three weeks later, it was time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. The March 25th forecast for the Santa Barbara Channel; 10-20 NW winds settling to 10-15 knots in the afternoon, seas 3-5 feet, chance of rain...0%. Anacapa Island, at closest approach, is about 10 nautical miles from Channel Islands Marina. Our destination for the day was 13 nm southwest, Frenchy's Cove. By 1300 hrs Steadfast passed the "1" green marker off her starboard side. With light winds and full sails we approached the shipping channel at a leisurely pace. But whitecaps appeared mid-channel ordering Erika and I to tuck in a reef for a more comfortable ride to windward. Near the island the wind all but disappeared. After setting the hook, the boys and I dawned our birthday suits and ceremoniously dove in the cool offshore waters.
Day One: By 2pm Saturday afternoon, our favorite family from Boulder, Colorado pulled into Chula Vista ready to start their holiday break. We roused all the boys into the marina swimming pool before the drive down to Ensenada. While the ninos were wrestling in the water (right - Leif and Elliot), Erika and Kathy slapdashed to the supermarket for a weeks worth of supplies. Before the clock struck four, seven boys, four adults and two dogs were truck'n across the border into manana-land and another Mexican adventure. Upon arrival the adults immediately seized the beach house (above) and relinquished the "back" house to the teens!
Day Two: Sunday morning found everyone, eventually, migrating the few steps down to the beach to soak up some southern Ensenada sun. It didn't take long to notice the consistent beach breakers before us. I swiftly suited up, grabbed my long-board and hit the small but pleasant surf along the beach. After a long day beach-combing, surfing, body-boarding, digging, and dog-walking, it was time to relax in our vacation villa whilst savoring a few cervazas (see picture below).
Day 3: On Monday the parents deserted all the kids for a day in downtown Ensenada. Since there was zero cell-service, we were trying not to use our imagination while thinking about what the kids were up to for six hours. We were very pleased upon our return that everyone was accounted for, especially Loren and Elliot. After a fun day at the beach the nino's were muy contendo when we pulled up to the beach house bearing 50 tacos from a hip outdoor taco bar in southern Ensenda. (far right) While in town we also stopped at the local grocers to re-supplied the pantry and pick up a Christmas tree...
Day 4: The fourth day we added horse and ultralight aircraft riding to our beach adventures. Erika invited River, Loren and Elliot for a horse ride along the six mile beach (left) while Mason and Leif earned some air-time flying over the Punta Banda area aboard a local ultralight piloted by Mexican pilot, Zune! (lower left and below) Later Kathy and Erika scored 50 tamales from Punta Banda's local "cocineros". (lower right)
Day 5: Dia de Navidad! Waking up to four giant bay windows overlooking sunny Bahia Todos los Santos was a real Christmas gift (see top picture). And eating Dave's traditional homemade crepe's (and Kathy's assortment of fillings) for Christmas brunch was a huge treat. (left) Relaxing in the morning, eating and playing board games the rest of the day made for an incredible Bajaliday!
Day 6: La Bufadora - Erika heard about this very popular tourist attraction just a few minutes drive from where we were staying. Basically, its a marine geyser or blowhole, and when the swell and tide are right just- boom, water shoots straight up. The picture to the left shows the region where our beach house (red star) and La Bufadora (green star) are located. Below, the gang taking a break from window shopping along the street market that runs into the staging area for the geyser. On a good day the geyser can shoot hundreds of feet high. Overall, it was a worthwhile field-trip. But it was nice to get back to the beach, throw the boards in the water and catch a few more waves before heading home the next day. Happy New Year!
Out of tens of thousands, not one of these fingerlings (below) could escape the voraciousness of a dozen mackerel. Within minutes of taking this picture these little fellas were no more. Chula Vista Marina
After evaluating the hazards and arrival times for the trip from Long Beach to San Diego Bay Erika and I agreed that an early departure would be imperative. The decision to set off at 12:30 a.m. wasn't our first choice but if all went according to plan we would be safely navigating the last of a very narrow channel near Chula Vista Marina by late afternoon. Erika and Mason gladly volunteered for the first watch. By 1:30 in the morning Steadfast settled into her motor-sailing groove and I into my warm and cozy bunk, leaving the "dim" witted duo at the helm. And by 3:30 a.m. I was back on deck sending my mariners to their mattresses. Through the ages sailors have venerated the coming of dawn. So, with a fresh collection of music filling my head, I weighed the last hours of darkness, all alone, sailing easterly into the coming sunrise (pictured above).
After navigating around Point Loma's extensive kelp hazards, Steadfast turned north towards San Diego Bay. By 2:30, the 18th of October, we were sharing the bay with a crowd of San Diegan sailors enjoying a sunny and breezy Friday afternoon. But we weren't done yet! It would be another two hours and twelve nautical miles before we would reach our destination, Chula Vista Marina. (Right) The blue dot located at the south-eastern side of San Diego Bay indicates our final position. Here we met up with our cruising friends aboard "Dawn Treader." In anticipation, and celebration, of seeing "old friends", especially Sophia, Loren and Elliot dressed up for the occasion (Below).
I always hope to learn a bit of cultural or scientific dirt during our brief sojourns landward. And Long Beach did not disappoint. Less than 3000 feet from our marina was the Aquarium of the Pacific. Lets just say our new, annual membership to the aquarium was well used during the six days we were docked in LB. After tearing me away from the aquarium, Ren and Elliot insisted we tour the cruise ship I've been looking at out of my porthole for the past week (Left: My porthole and the RMS Queen Mary, aka the "Grey Ghost"). All week the kids got a kick out of the timely, and loud, blast of Queen Mary's horn every morning, afternoon and evening.
Saturday, October 12th marked the end of Steadfast's week-long stay at Anacapa Isle Marina in Oxnard and the beginning of another adventure down the California coast. We cast off at 7:05 a.m., a reasonable hour considering our next stop was roughly 66 nautical miles away. Travelling at a rate of 6.5 knots we would make the Port of Long Beach in 10 hours. Plotting a course parallel to the shipping lane was the most direct route to the busiest port in the U.S...who would've guessed! After a day of container ship spotting, reading, eating and sight-seeing we pulled into Shoreline Marina by 5pm, just in time to check-in and get a gate key from the harbor office.
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA certified sailing instructor.