of best laid plans and all that - my first solo Trip, Part 1

I had it all planned out.  I had researched it.  I had plotted my course on my IPad using the Garmin Bluechart tool and on my Garmin GPS 521s unit.  It was gonna be a 4 day trip to places up north... Blake Island and Kingston to be exact.  I had provisioned (with more food than I could eat incidentally) and got a 5 gallon jug for water (as I have challenges with the water supply on the boat at the moment) and got all my Stuff together.  I was going to leave at 9 AM and get a dock space at Blake Island Marina, because I was going in the middle of the week there would be no problem.
Taken from below... it was raining....

   I forgot that I live in Washington, where the weather is unpredictable, at best.  We have had WEEKS of really great weather, so weather was the last thing on my mind.  But I arrived at the marina around 8 am to RAIN and FOG.... WHAAAAAAAT?  I guess my order for good weather got lost or something.  Hoping for the best I loaded the boat with all my stuff and put it all away.... it was time to go and still I was socked in.

So Foggy you can't even see the 11th street bridge!
Don't I look good in my new Jacket and hat?
 Finally, around NOON the fog lifted enough so I could see enough that I wouldn't crash into another boat... it was still raining though, so I brought out my Foul Weather Jacket for the first time since purchasing it a few months ago.
On my way.... Finally! can't see the Tacoma Dome or anything!

    So off I went, sporting my new Jacket and my new sailing hat, on my way to Blake Island.  Now I was SUPPOSED to SAIL there, but as my luck would have it, there was absolutely NO wind.  I guess my order for that got lost too! great!  at least the Tide was with me... for a couple of hours anyway.

The trip was kind of surreal... with all the fog around, at times it was like the movie Water World, like you were the only boat within 100 miles or so.  well, half a mile anyway, because that was about the extent of the visibility.

   So I motored along, because there was no wind to fill my sails... did I mention there was no wind?  I mean, this was supposed to be a sailing trip, and here I am motoring along at 4 to 4.5 Knots (about 6.4 MPH).  Now with a 24 HP engine you would think I would move a little faster than that.  I am gonna have to look into that... specifically, I need to look at the Prop and the bottom of the boat.  I was told that maybe the prop was the wrong pitch or something, or maybe I have a big net wrapped around the keel or something! LOL... Either way, I will either need to SCUBA dive under the boat, or I will need to haul it out of the water at some point.


Brown's Point is back there somewhere...

I could just see enough to get around Brown's point and Dash point and get alongside the north-bound shipping lanes.  I was glad to see that my new towing configuration, an idea inspired by a $80 tow strap system I saw in West Marine, seemed to be working pretty well.  now all I need to do is add a small float at the knot in the middle to keep it afloat when I am backing up and it will be great!

It appears the new towing configuration is working well
The visibility was reasonable, so I employed Audrey to do the driving.  While she was doing so, I went up to the bow and sat awhile in the "best seat in the house".   It was absolutely surreal... like I was the only boat on the water

Kicking back on the bow, while Audrey drives... note the stylish footwear!


On course down the east passage... first time plotting a course in the course plotter

Just one of the many commercial vessels.  see how FLAT the water is? that means NO WIND...

Hard to tell, but this was a bunch of logs being towed... about a half mile long!

Time to play that Favorite game of all mariners... Dodge Ferry!
So I arrived at my destination for the day, Blake Island.  Now I had to do something I had never done before... pick up a mooring... by myself.  I had read about how to do this, but never did it.  As it turned out, it was a piece of cake... Have the bowline run back on the outside of the stays on the port side, get the boat hook at the ready, Approach the mooring from downwind (not that it mattered today) bring the mooring up on the port side, shift into neutral and coast up beside the mooring, snag the ring with the hook, run the bow line through it, then just walk back to the bow with the bitter end of the bowline in hand and pass it outside the stays, then after leaving a little slack so you can float about 3 or 4 feet from the mooring, cleat the bowline on the other side!  Just to be safe, I ran another line the opposite way through the mooring ring...

Approaching the Mooring Ball at Blake Island

See?  I did good! LOL...
After I moored, I started talking to Frank on the s/v Hobbes which was on the mooring next to me.  I found out that they were also berthed in the Foss Waterway, just up a piece from me.  after a bit, He invited me over for Dinner - Curried Chicken being made by his wife, Karen.  It smelled delicious, and beat what ever I was going to rustle up, so I went aboard their 42 foot Catalina.OMG! What a boat! it has 3 (yes three) Staterooms with REAL beds, and 2 heads WITH showers and HOT WATER!  I think my jaw was dragging the deck the whole time, and they are still probably cleaning up my drool.... Frank showed me some LED light strips he put in that he got from Costco... absolutely amazing and I will be getting them if I see them again... you know how Costco is...   The food was A-MAZING, and so was the company.  There was Frank who is a Pilot, his Wife Karen and their Daughter Natalie, who was visiting after her first year of college in Utah.  Actually, Frank and Karen used to live in Utah, and now reside in California when they are not Sailing the waters of Puget Sound.  They had come to Blake Island from Paulsbo, and would depart the next day for Quartermaster Harbor.  After Dinner we were completely entertained by the rolling fog and the Sunset... Just spectacular!
Dinner on the s/v Hobbes, Curry chicken and flat bread... YUM YUM!

Frank and Karen of s/v Hobbes, GREAT PEOPLE... Really! Don't know what they were looking at so seriously at the time...

Natalee of the s/v Hobbes

Spectacular Sunset, water like glass...

Did I mention the Spectacular sunset?


I love the rolling waves in this picture
And so the first day of my 4 day adventure came to an end.  I couldn't have been any better.  Well, maybe minus the rain and if there was a bit of wind.... but I am not complaining at all, because I met some GREAT people, and there was "Red sky at night.... Sailor's Delight"

More to come...

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