Saturday, January 8, 2011

The long way home

This will be a several part narrative, posted after we arrive in Sidney for reasons which will be revealed later.

Yesterday afternoon we drove up to Anacortes to pick up Chuck Speith, the 3rd prior owner of Gray Hawk.  He had agreed to travel with us from Seattle to Anacortes and even offered to catch the bus down to Seattle.  We thought the least we could do was pick him up.  We had a great visit with him and his wife Gail (and dogs), finished up the visit with supper and then drove back to down to Seattle.  We were up late into the night while I got the rental car returned and we both did the last minute prep for our early morning departure.

This morning I was up at 4:00 local (6:00 AM ship time) but decided that was just silly so I went back to bed until 8:00 ship time.  Then I whipped up breakfast and Marilyn did all her last minute departure routines.  We rounded the breakwater at 7:32, exactly two minutes after I had planned to.  The winds were calm and we had more sunshine than we had expected but somewhere on the east side of Widbey Island we ran into snow for a while.  There was a dirty grey cloud to the northeast of us most of the morning and at times it looked like we were about to run into fog.  Gray Hawk performed flawlessly, chewing along at 7 to 8 knots most of the way.  Occasionally one of us would miss a floating log and Gray Hawk would chew it up making a heavy underwater thunk in the process but we had no major issues for the whole trip.

We arrived at the south end of the Swinomish Channel around 2 in the afternoon.  I’d have turned back when the depth sounder briefly flashed 3 feet and stayed resolutely stuck at less than 8 feet for over a half a mile.  The incessant warning beep was on everybody’s nerves but I didn’t want to turn it off because I had already dialed it down from 40 feet to 20 feet to 15 feet to 8 feet.  It seemed like we should have some no-go level and 8 feet just seemed like the right number for a boat that drafts over 4 feet.  I seriously need to figure out what we draft under the transducer because we never dragged bottom but I know that if Chuck hadn’t been at my elbow the whole way I’d have turned back.  He kept saying “You’re OK – keep going” and so I did.

We dodged around a sailboat in the channel just south of the bridge and finally motored into La Conner at a dead slow RPM. 

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