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Moxie Sailing Log - September 2014

posted Nov 4, 2014, 2:19 PM by PacificNorthWest MultihullAssoc   [ updated Nov 4, 2014, 2:22 PM ]

Martyn and Linda Adams spent two weeks sailing in and around the San Juan Islands and Canada - Here is their account of what sounds like a great adventure!


Moxie September 2014

10th Wednesday: Doctor said Martyn would be able to return to normal activities in a week after surgery. Straining and sneezing are the most stressful on umbilical hernia repairs. He would sense when he could do what. The surgery was a month ago and lifting Moxie's anchor did not seem realistic until this week. We are transitioning from racing to cruising and trying to keep our sense of humor as we age into our late sixties. Moxie was half provisioned when Martyn lifted the tile saw and needed surgery. There seemed to be so much stuff to pack; so much that it was easy to overlook something. On racing day,s we packed as light as we could and each of us brought our own food. The person with the biggest / heaviest bag got razed by the other sailors. Now I'm packing coolers, laundry bags, groceries, cooking utensils, books, games, enough underwear to last between ports! After loading three dock carts onto Moxie, we decide that was enough for the day and we slept at the dock. I realize Martyn is still recovering.

 

Thursday 11th: Where are we going? In the morning Martyn points north, up the east side of Whidbey Island. The general plan is to sail until the weather changes. At the moment, forecast is sunny until next Wednesday evening. As we motor out I notice the speed meter is not working. Martyn mutters about leaving the boat in the water and says he will fix it later. We get a push from the current but no wind. Martyn wants to pull up the NavX charts on the iPad but the battery is low. Where is the charge cord!? I know it is not on the charge table at home but cannot find it on the boat. Mandatory stop at a harbor. We have friends at Oak Harbor and they will drive us to a store. We take Annie on board with us for a sail around to Cornet Bay - her first! She enjoys a new  perspective of her island home and beautiful views of mountains and the bridge. She does very well steering even thru the tricky currents. A small breeze develops but Martyn does not put up even the jib; hmmm. Bob and Claudia join us with pizza and wine at the remodeled Cornet  Bay state park.

 

Friday 12th: We catch the morning 4 knot ebb thru the pass and stop in our favorite Bowman Bay for breakfast and to ready the sails. We notice that all the mooring buoys are removed and hope reason wins out and they are replaced. At noon, a retired Air Force sailor who is our only neighbor on the floating dock, says the forecast is for two more weeks of summer after Wednesdays clouds! A brisk 8-10 knot wind makes us look good as we sail north on two hulls. When the wind eases I head for a nap and Martyn motor sails.*The tide has changed and we enjoy a push all the way up Rosario Strait and soon it is my turn to motor and Martyn sleep as we near San Juan Island. The Peapod Islands are coming up and I choose a line through them to the point I want to turn to head for Matia. I am aiming to clip the east edge of the southern island and notice seagulls sitting on something. Looks to be kelp and I adjust auto pilot**to go between the bed and the island. Auto and I are too slow to compensate for the following current. As the boat does the teakettle tip Martyn is up and asking if I've hit bottom. Well, not exactly and I'm hoping the kelp is not massive enough to high center me. We slither and we are free. We stop and shed all the kelp. Look! I fixed the speed meter!  

*I have discovered that with the motor running at fast idle, Moxie will cruise at a bit over 4 knots.   In this configuration with the main up and over traveled, she will do a bit over 5 with a fuel burn of under a liter per hour. I can also carry the apparent wind much farther forward when sailing off the wind a bit with even greater speeds. Martyn

**Autopilot is a new to us experience and we have found a new use for Linda's venerable BattleStick. We use the end to push the 1 or 10 degree port or starboard buttons and then lay back in the comfort of the reclining seats and play another game of solitaire. This cruising life is hard. Martyn

 

The wind starts to pick up as we near the point. I shed the motor and auto. Too strong to sail main only and I ask Martyn for the jib. Yeah, Moxie and I are ready for some wave skipping!  As soon as it is up I realize the wind is going to be even stronger as we round. I want a reef! Martyn's lazy jack /reefing system works perfectly and it's no strain for him as I hold Moxie into the wind. The wind is 20 over the deck and boat speed is 7.5 with 8.5 over the ground, lite by racing standards but enough for today...a Gorgeous day!

We sail into Matia and the two mooring buoys are taken and too many at the dock so we head on to Sucia. All the mooring buoys are taken there but the linear tie is available. Martyn has reached the end of his endurance and we tie up instead of anchoring out. Moxie's floats ride under the linear rope and we tie up to the floats and place a seat cushion against the shroud. Calm night, so should be secure.

Have I mentioned the full moon, the cool nip in the breeze and the warmth in the am to pm sun?

When we left Bowman Bay, we looked West, down the calm straight and felt the NE wind. Sailing to Clallum Bay on a reach and then on to the Broken Islands was tempting. But, we did not feel ready for the challenges the open ocean could present us. We turned away just as we would from a sucker hole in the clouds when we were pilots.

Saturday 13th: The morning dawns bright at Sucia. Martyn readies the dingy and the electric motor and we go ashore for a hike. We move Moxie to a mooring buoy for another night's stay. The sunset colors Mt Baker in the distance and then it is calm and dark. Beautiful sky of stars and the bioluminescence in the bay rewards the old age, 3 am insomnia. 

Martyn later tells me he felt like returning home Friday night but the aches and pains are less after a good nights sleep in a rocking boat!

The next morning we motor out of Sucia and then north to west inside the reef just off Sucia's north coast. Because I hit this reef with our first boat, F 27 Cuttlefish, I pay close attention to it, grateful that it was a slow encounter with no damage and just a close look at a potentially good drive site. Today five large sea lions pose as statues looming over twenty or so females. Their barks are low and  guttural. Sun and scenery are spectacular but not enough wind to take out the sails. *Evening finds us at Prevost on Stewart Island, snagging a mooring buoy and enjoying steak and hash browns.

*The run down Boundary passage is quiet except for the chatter of the little Yamaha 8. Once again I am playing with the tide and search out the fastest eddies. I take us close aboard Skipjack Island and grossly under estimate the southing of the local 5 knot current. Fortunately, Linda spots it and with full power and helm out of Auto's hands, Moxie claws away from the foul area on its north side. Martyn.

Sunday 14th: In the morning we decide to take a short walk ashore before heading out for Canadian customs at Bedwell Harbor. We are greeted at the dock by willing hands and "hooray another sailboat!"  Betsy from Oak Harbor who knows a slew of people started conversing with us and Martyn started telling stories. We got out the umbrella for the picnic table so I would not be sun burnt on one side. We apologized for our smell as we don't have a shower. Ken handed me a solar bag and encouraged us to tie it to our boom. Washing my hair was a treat and I hosed Martyn down.  Dick and Cheryl in their cruising sailboat from Anacortes joined the conversations and soon we were having potluck dinner. Dick presented everyone with whiskey crab soup for starters and ended with coffee, almond fudge ice cream cones! These cruisers know how to provision! 24hours, later we headed to Canada!

**This is also where I may have been seduced by another boat. Tied to the next mooring is a Cabo Rico NE400...oh dear! Martyn.

Monday 15th: We cleared customs and filled the gas tanks at Bedwell Harbor. Then motored and sailed to Salt Spring Island. Have I mentioned how much I dislike motor sailing? I look at the sails, feel the boat and it is just wrong: either sail or motor! Martyn enjoys it and has perfected his technique. I am glad he does as we need to to go places in calmer winds. Sometimes I agree that the sail is adding pull but other times...really, I think it is drag. Good time to sunbathe, sleep, read, write, well, anything but listen to my sailing senses! Near Ganges we spot another tri! Cam on Dream Chaser was taking down his sails. He is looking very well and said next spring he would like to travel from his home in Mexico in time to stop by Blaine for the Semiahmoo Regatta! He'd like to leave his trailer there while he spends his summer in Canada. It is one of our favorite regattas and we know he will be a worthy contender. As we tied up in the marina we were greeted by a pair of beautiful swans and their four signets. We walked in the evening sun to the Oyster Catcher Restaurant and then provisioned at the grocery store.

 

Tuesday 16th : Next morning we motor sailed against adverse current to Dodd Narrows. I was betting against Martyn being able to pass thru and found myself at the ready should he need assistance. * I wish I had the camera as he played the back eddy and then ferried cross the current and out into the bay. Nanaimo holds such great memories for us: four VanIsle starts, SIN Regatta and several cruises. We spent the night on S dock, did the laundry and provisioned at the chandlery and the grocery store. We stocked up on Hardy Buoy's salmon candy, meat, fruits and a lot of other stuff. Shopping while hungry was not a good idea. We would need to consume most of this before we could return to the states! Maybe it wasn't a bad Idea! Martyn is feeling good. We purchased two 2.5 gallon red tanks to hold extra gas and ear plugs. Later I find out he is thinking of the Broughton Islands!

*Dodd was against us at a bit over 4 knots. The first time we went thru 13 years ago, we did it under sail with a following current in blissful ignorance. Now, I broadcast  a securite and announce our intensions. Not foolproof but better than nothing. Martyn

Rain showers at night. The front maybe a little early.

 

Wednesday 17: We spent the afternoon exploring Newcastle Island. A new favorite place! A stone cutter, like a giant hole saw, was used to cut pulp grinding stones and pillar columns for SF Mint building. Wonderful walking paths. Mooing buoys at $12 and dock space for $18. A family of otters greeted us. That night we heard the chatter of the albino or champagne raccoons. We motored our dinghy to the Dinghy Dock Pub. I enjoyed the best beer ever and Martyn voted his ribs the best he has eaten! Fun atmosphere.

*Most people who know us also know we are not beer connesures but I am a rib connesure. Extraordinary! Martyn

 

  

Thursday 18: Next morning was a low ropy overcast with a wind from the south. Looking east a fog monster was resting on the water across the straight. Martyn declares Lasqueti Island as our next destination. We bundle up and sailed jib and or screecher for 5 hours across Straight og Georgia. We found Scotty Bay jammed with local boats and house boats. The weather had cleared as we sailed north and the wind was 12 to 15 over the deck and boat speed averaged 8 knots. We sailed into False Bay and found a well protected spot behind a proa! With a bow and stern anchor we set the drag alarm. The night was spent responding to the alarm and fighting off mosquitoes. I am getting old. I want a shower and a bug free, secure night!

 

Friday 19th: The wind has changed and is blowing from the north, so we head back south. Another night at Newcastle with its wonderful showers  beckon like sirens.

As we sailed south the weather changed from low clouds, almost fog to brilliant sun with a brisk wind. I caught up on sleep and Martyn enjoyed some solo sailing. Mid afternoon we were sailing just northwest of Newcastle Island with planes landing and marine traffic on the narrow channel on the west side. A lack of lunies was soon solved by some helpful tourist. After a shower and short walk we returned to the boat for what one fellow boater termed a "tough day in paradise": reading, sunning and cooking diner at the dock.

The purple martins came close to extinction in BC. They were down to five known nesting pairs. Their numbers have now increased thanks to nesting boxes in marine parts like Newcastle. They are sensitive to human impact, weather and competition from non native birds. For centuries American SE native people encouraged martins to live close by to serve as intruder alerts and help keep insect numbers down. Thus the boxes are placed right on the docks! Not a single mosquito insight!

 

Saturday 20th: After a late morning walk and squeezing out between two mono hulls we were sailing again south between ferries and planes out of Nanaimo towards Dodd Narrows. Again the current is against us! Martyn has this exaggerated faith in my ability to sail the boat. Three dimensional whirlpools and strong boiling water threw the boat side to side. Three times it took all my strength on the rudder to keep Moxie on a straight course. Martyn commented eight people were on the bank watching boats go through and waved at us. I dare not take my eyes and my concentration off the water. Once thru the wind moderated and I gave the helm back to Martyn.

*Gee and here I thought it was great fun. The whirlpools weren't that big although they were some of the largest we have seen of late. We never dropped below 1 knot over the ground at 6.5 thru the water, even when the big Bayliner came roaring past while we were half way through. Martyn        

Our next stop was Pirates Cove. After lining up an arrow on the bank and x on a post we motored past a reef into a beautiful lagoon that is maintained by local yacht clubs and the Provincial Parks. Metal stern tie rings in stone cliffs line two sides. Octagon dinghy floats and recreation areas on the east and west banks. A walk out to the northern point brought us to a treasure chest which invited us to take treasure and leave a treasure!


We stern tied Moxie and put out two bow anchors. Several years ago we had a bad experience here: a strong NE wind blew in and our anchor drug. The stern tie held and we crashed into the dinghy dock. Fortunately, angles of contact were just right and there was no damage.

The weather is changing. Clouds moved in after a beautiful sunset; fresh breeze from the south. We set the drag alarm. Martyn's hearing loss is such that he can not hear the high pitch alarm but I can! He insists I wake him - eight times! But no problems as we swing in the breeze and slack as the tide rises and falls.

*this is a serious bummer. That frequency is now totally gone and I hate to ask Linda to assume this responsibility. Anyone who knows how to alter the alarm frequency on a Garmin 500 series, please let me know. Martyn.

Sunday 21st: After a morning hike we are off for Pender Island but at  Monteque Harbor an empty bay of about 30 mooring buoys greets us. Too good to pass up, so we stop early. We hike to the other side of the peninsula to a white shell bay and meet a fellow from Australia!

 

Monday 22nd Early am I hear rain. Just showers. I'll wait until there is a pause between them and then get up. Oops, the ten o'clock rule may have to be enforced. Martyn is up and cooking breakfast and we start waiting for any break to head for a shore walk. In the constant drizzle we pull over to the dock for a drippy hike in the woods. Where to next? We have cooked the last of the meat and it looks like we will be wet sailors no matter where we go. Ganges or Browning? Browning is more inline for home and listening to the weather forecast summer is over. Rain and winds for the next couple of days. Fortunately for me, Martyn will be driving and I will be fixing warm drinks! Martyn suggests I get the fog horn ready. I pull out the EcoHORN: nifty device with plastic bottle and a hand pump. Also have mega phone type that I can blow. After the experience with the WA Ferry off Port Townsend I am prepared....but that is another story.

 

In October 2013 we had sailed to Port Townsend on our way to Cowichen Bay. I had hoped that what happened in the fog would stay in the fog...but ...

We had sailed from Everett in beautiful sun and moderately brisk winds to Flagger state park for the night. The plan was for a leisurely four day sail and meeting our crew who was flying in from Los Angeles. We woke to the sounds of fog horns. Hiking to the crest we could see a fog monster lying just north of Point Wilson extending east and presumably west out the Straight of Juan De Fuca. Oh well, we will enjoy another day at the park. Same the next day. Next day was a carbon copy. We watched as small fishing boats and a few sailboats headed out and maybe turned along the Wa shoreline. Let's go see how thick and deep it is! No radar but I do have our charts, GPS, and free AIS app on my phone (I thought there were two ferries but the app is only showing one !?! ) our course would take us across the major shipping lanes from Admiralty Inlet  to points out the Straights and thru the nexus where it is joined by two lanes from the north. We poked our nose in, sailing as there was a nice wind. The fog was thin and the filtered sunshine made everything a bright white. We had the fog horn ready, the compressed air can type. We started our sequence of sounds: one long two short. When Martyn pressed the button only a feeble terp emitted. Rusty fitting, empty can? Martyn fiddled and then put the can down his shirt front to warm up. We heard one large motor go by and then the chugging of another. We decided it was not wise for sailors with poor eyesight and hearing to be in this place without radar. How could we detect a tug pulling a barge? The horn was emitting an acceptable sound but for how long. We both voted on a one eighty and started sailing downwind back to the point. The wind had blown the fog farther into Port Townsend. We heard a deep thrumming from shoreward but the AIS did not show a vessel. Looking towards the sound I was soon looking down the mouth of a very tall and close ferry. Although I started doing things to avoid collision I knew it was fruitless. The ferry scribed a shallow arc behind us and we watched it ghost away. As those who sail with Martyn know anything can be a good story. Sometimes it takes a few month or even years. We looked at each other and said lets never tell, we will never live this one down. We called our friend and cancelled the racing as it was highly likely that we were not going to make Cowichen in time. The next afternoon the fog did clear and we sailed to Friday Harbor and then on to Stewart Island. While in Friday Harbor we met Dana and Lindsey Hoffman."Oh, did you have fun with the ferry?" Rita a former commodore of NWMA was on the  observation deck and saw everything!

 

Wednesday September 24: back to the Gulf Islands!

Browning Marina was the winner and we sailed in with the boat well washed from rain water. Thanks to the diesel heater the inside was warm and dry. We tied her up amongst the local colorful boats (tomato plants growing on the foredeck )and headed for the pub. Nice cozy place with good view. We had Newcastle Brown, my new fav beer, and Martyn starts to order his usual, buffalo wings, but spies pig wings on the menu. I'll be trying to find these in the states. Yum! A salad and fries rounds out our snack as we watch the Mariners and the Blue Jays on the big screen. We leave the friendly crowd; wearing our riangear. Shedding it in the boat and drying it while we play Quirkle and card games. Heavy rain is like background music all night long. This morning we woke to silence and after a warm shower we walked back to the boat in filtered sunshine and no coats! Martyn takes down the screecher and prepares for a wild and wet ride. We listened to the weather channel 2 last night but conditions turn out to be much milder. Only on the boat does Martyn receive one of his fav breakfasts while we are under way: bacon with toast browned in the bacon grease. He puts up the screecher; I clear customs and we are off to Matia Island.

With 22 knots over the deck and 9 knots thru the water, true wind 10 -12 knots, we approach the little bay on the NW side of Matia. Martyn hands me the tiller as soon as we can look into the bay. Down comes the jib and we sail in under main. I start the engine. Both buoys are open and we drop the main. The current and wind make holding the buoy between the main hull and port float difficult. Martyn is head down for longer than usual. He finally comes up with a big grin " I am so exhausted I had trouble tying a bowline!" I was so tired I forgot to have the dinghy pulled up and secured. Good thing the current and wind were strong: they pushed the dinghy astern the boat and kept the painter out of the prop even when I was backing up. A fouled prop in that spot would have put us into the rocks in no time! We relax then find ourselves taking turns playing solitaire on the iPad. Wait! It is a beautiful afternoon and an island waiting to be explored. Martyn rows us ashore. For half of the loop trail we chat with a solo sailor who has sailed to Sitka seven times. Takes a couple of months during the summer, mostly by himself. Full of stories and recommendations of what to see. This is still a trip Martyn wants to do.

We are down to canned goods and salmon candy. But the hot chili tastes good in the cool but colorful setting sun.

 Martyn has rigged a block off the end of the bow sprit and thru this he runs a line to the mooring buoy. Trimarans love to sail even when the sails are down. Tied to a buoy they will dance back and forth. This center line tie dampens the amount of swing in lieu of a bridle. The wind and current that enter thru the gap between Matia and a tiny island of rocks and exits the other still create a gentle rock that foretells a good nights sleep.

 

Thursday 25th:

Martyn invites me into his nest despite our agreement of the previous night to get up early and catch the current home. I often sleep in the v birth and he in the main cabin to lessen the sound of snoring...his not mine! There is no rain and he promises I can go back to sleep after I help him get under way. We leave at 9 instead of 8 am. But tide and wind are in our favor.

I sleep for an hour and am awaken by the sound of Martyn walking on the foredeck. He is messing with the head sails but all seems well. I don't hear a splash as he returns to the aft cockpit.

Martyn has enjoyed solo sailing in the past and has some spectacular stories to tell. Lately I have expressed my concerns about the wisdom of his continuing and have offered to come along, read, sleep then be there if conditions get gnarly or he falls overboard. I think today he is enjoying "solo" sailing. Seas are relatively flat but I hear lots of rushing water ( later he told me average 7 to  8 knots boat speed with additional push of 2 to 3 knots and wind across the deck 18 knots) several stompings to change head sails later I decide it is a good time to get up and fix salmon candy, cheeses, crackers and a hot drink. Martyn has a big smile. He and Neptune have enjoyed the morning! Conditions continue down the west side of Whidbey Island. I offer to spell Martyn but he can stay down only for half an hour and then he is back on deck. Wind is building and we hear of a Troy motor boat contacting the Coast Guard: out of fuel, battery dying. They continue on cell phone. We note his gps location and another boat radios he is near and can assist. We will monitor Ch 16; would love to tow in a stink boat! 

I love the way the wind carries the Pacific Ocean moisture around the north and south ends of the Olympics. The sky over us is a large blue circle rimed in puffy clouds. The "convergent Zone" creates beautiful sailing conditions in Puget Sound.

We are approaching Point Wilson a turning point for both currents and wind. Today the southerly wind is stacking up waves against the inflow of current. Martyn shouts "women and children ashore! Oh, but you are driving the boat" In earlier years the local Indians would put their families ashore to walk from the east bank across the point to the north shore or visa versa. At first read, I thought this was some form of male chauvinism or another one of those superstitions about females and boats. But several times I have sailed past this point in steep, confused waves with strong currents and now acknowledge the wisdom of their practice.

Today current was 3 knots, winds over the deck 27 and boats speed 7 to 8 knots, waves 3 feet close together and confused.

We decide to pass up Mystery Bay and make a run for Everett. Beautiful sailing. Martyn calls to be first into the hot tub at home!

Turning Possession Point, we hit a mooring buoy with the folding arm. Saw the other one but hit this one. Martyn calls the Coast Guard to find out why there are two mooring buoys within 100 yards of the green marker. They mark a sunken vessel! *The convergent zone is moving north revealing Mount Baker and the Cascade Range. Nice welcome home! The south wind has blown in a front, we tie up Moxie leaving her as is and see the first rain drops on the truck's windshield on the way home..

*Mark a sunken vessel...OK...then they asked if I was taking on water. Martyn.

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