Sunday, March 9, 2014

Back in Anacortes ………………

…….. in the high rent neighbourhood.  This is what is parked directly in front of us. 


I don’t particularly like the looks of it and I’m damn glad I don’t have to pay his moorage, let alone his fuel bill.  I wouldn’t even want to guess what it might sell for – it looks pretty shiny.  We’re on a reciprocal dock so our moorage is zero dollars per night, paid for by our SNSYC membership.  There’s a great flurry of activity in the marina today – the sun is halfway out, its not raining and it is pretty warm so everyone’s thoughts are turning to getting their boats ready for spring.

This morning we got untied relatively early – I couldn’t sleep so I was up really early and Marilyn didn’t sleep in as late as she said she would.  We were entertaining guests onboard last night.  That happens pretty regularly on cruising boats.  You meet someone on the dock, invite them for drinks and end up visiting for several hours.  Last night it was a couple from Seattle in an Ocean Alexander and a young guy in a sailboat.  As we pulled up to the dock in La Conner, they materialized out of nowhere to take our lines.  I think we very rudely spurned their offer of assistance but they let on they didn’t notice.  We’re just so used to doing it alone and its really no big deal. 

La Conner has a bad reputation because there is always a current flowing through town but our slip was parallel to the water flow.  Current running lengthwise down the boat doesn’t really present much of a problem.  If its running crosswise to the pier you are trying to tie up to it can be more of a challenge.  Anyway, having blown off their help we felt compelled to go apologize and that morphed into appetizers. 

First we had to go shopping for a few staples.  Marilyn was out of flour which meant she was also out of bread.  She’s turned into a pretty damn good bread builder.  She uses a machine but sometimes she makes dough and sometimes she uses the machine to make a loaf.  Anyone who has ever run a bread machine knows they aren’t dead simple to operate.  Most people get frustrated with them and quit using them.  That’s how she got this one – someone didn’t use it so they gave it to the Thrift Store where she bought it. 

After she bought flour she was able to make cinnamon buns for our guests.  I made some garlic roasted mushrooms.  Evidently they both were a hit because we didn’t have much for leftovers.  Our guests arrived armed with a creamy spinach dip and some crackers so by the time we got wrapped around all the appetizers we didn’t bother with supper. 

We had to stop at the pooper pumper this morning.  Puget Sound is a no-discharge zone for sewage but they make it pretty easy by providing lots of pumpouts.  The whole subject of marine poop is extremely political with people holding strong views on both sides.  I have a bit of a philosophical problem with pumping our sewage into shoreside pumpouts which dump into municipal sewers which in turn dump directly into the ocean.  But we’re guests in the state so we do as they do, whether we think the practice makes sense or not.  On the Canadian side there’s lots of enviro-quacks who think we should pump our sewage but no pumpouts to pump it into so the decision is pretty well made for us there too.  In the big scheme of things I think there are a lot more serious environmental concerns than the shit that a couple of prairie dogs create in their 5 or 6 months of annual cruising.

By the time we got done pumping poop our guests from last night were untied and heading north up the Swinomish Channel so we just followed them to Anacortes.  The channel is a little shallower north of La Conner than it was south of town which is the exact opposite of what it was the last time we went through.  They need to dredge this channel about once every four or five years.  I think they had just dredged the channel north of town the last time we were through; at that time the south channel was really shallow.  They did the south channel in the winter of 2012-13.  It looks to me like the one north of town is going to need to be done pretty soon.  There was some big fight leading up to the dredging in 2012-13 because the Corps of Engineers refused to fund the dredging, as they had done in the past.  Their decision had something to do with the amount of commercial traffic that goes through the channel and it seems to me that the local communities ended up raising some or all of the money for the project.  The alternative to the channel is to take Admiralty Inlet on the outside of Whidbey Island and eventually follow Juan de Fuca, Rosario or Haro straits, depending on where you want to go.

That exposes boaters to a lot worse weather than the relatively sheltered trip up the east side of Whidbey Island and then out to Rasario through the Swinomish Channel to Anacortes.  When I think about it though, we really don’t see much commercial traffic on that whole inside route so if they’re who is paying the freight, there won’t be much commercial support for dredging.

Edit: Google came through on the tug: Evidently she is the Nautilus Swell.  According to this guy she was 100 years old in 2012.  Platypus is the yard that we hauled Gray Hawk at 2 years ago – this boat may have been there while we were there but if she was I certainly don’t remember her.

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