Sunday, March 9, 2014

Leaving Seattle

We got an early start from Puget Sound Yacht Club Friday morning because we had a big day ahead of us.  As it turned out one of the biggest challenges of the whole day was winding our way through the flock of rowing sculls between Freemont and Ballard bridges.  Talk about taking your life in your hands.  There’s some serious boats go through that canal – boats that make Gray Hawk look like a dinghy.  And then here comes a bunch of clowns out there rowing.  Kayaking is bad enough but at least they look where they’re going.  Rowers sit ass backwards in their boats, can’t see shit for where they’re going and these clowns didn’t seem overly concerned.   Out of the whole works of them – maybe a dozen boats in total, some with 4 idiots rowing, I saw exactly one of them with one of those head mounted rearview mirrors that bicyclists sometimes use.  I had one clown that appeared determined to ram me until I blew the horn at him and most of the time we were in and out of gear and spinning the wheel from side to side to get through them.  I’m sure the commercial guys are a lot less concerned for their welfare.

Covich Williams, the Chevron dealer just inside the locks was our first stop.  We took on just a few gallons less than an even 500.  I think maybe we could have squeezed in the 500 if it had mattered but their volume break started at 400 gallons. Its really bad form to overflow your tanks – the EPA has no sense of humour about oil spills so we stopped just short of 500 gallons.

The total came to close to $1,600 US – I expect it will kick hell out of $2,000 by the time it clears our account in Nipawin.  When I did the miles per gallon calculation it came out to 1.47 nautical miles per US gallon.  I could make that sound better by converting it to statute miles (shorter miles) and using a real gallon instead of that wimpy ass thing the Americans use but no matter how you cut it, we don’t get great mileage.  And after well over three years, that’s what it is.  In the winter we burn extra diesel running the Webasto to keep warm and in the summer we burn extra diesel through the old Onan to keep the lights and stove working.  We probably get something better than 2 nautical miles to the US gallon when we’re underway but this whole adventure wouldn’t be much fun if we were freezing our asses off and hungry all the time.

Armed with full fuel tanks we tackled the locks again and this time they were a piece of cake.  We went through the small lock again – and all alone again.  There was some monster plastic boat sitting outside the locks when we pulled out of Covich Williams – I thought he must be waiting for the locks but after a while he just cut across the channel in front of us, turned around and buggered off.

Then we had an uneventful cruise north to Everett.  Uneventful is always our goal.  The occasional whale event would be pleasant but, in general, boring cruising is the best kind.


As we approached the entrance to Everett Marina we could easily see the warship in the foreground of this photo.  As we got closer though it became apparent that what initially appeared to be the background waterfront is actually an aircraft carrier.  Those things are immense – its hard to imagine just how big they really are until you are looking up at one from the water. 


Everett Marina is at the mouth of the Snohomish River so there’s a pretty fierce current flows through it at all times.  It took me by surprise as we approached the marina because I had throttled back to idle, as I always do, and couldn’t figure out why we were barely moving.  Getting through the entrance required some additional throttle followed by quick action to make the turn up toward our reciprocal slip.  Unlike Seattle, in Everett we had lots of room to tie up.  The evening turned out to be really pleasant – not quite warm enough for a glass of wine on the aft deck but we tried that for a few minutes anyway.

Yesterday we moved further north to La Conner, retracing our track from when we first moved Gray Hawk from Seattle to Sidney.  I didn’t have Chuck standing beside me as we entered the Swinomish Channel but I could have used him yesterday.  We had a really stiff breeze blowing out of Skagit Bay to the south of us.  It was blowing hard enough that I had to be crabbed about 30 degrees to the channel as we followed the range in.  That’s pretty hard on the nerves when you’re in a really narrow channel but you have the boat pointed out of it.  As you turn in at the west end of the channel there’s a couple of reefs that were just barely awash yesterday and our strong crab made it look like we were heading straight over top of them.  Fortunately we didn’t hit anything.  We had all the electronics turned on plus 2 pairs of eyeballs watching the world around us.  They’re still the best nav instruments on the boat – eyeballs that is.


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