Rainstorm, then Sunshine and my Sister, oh MY!

This is the third summer I have owned Dulcinea.  Every summer I have taken some sort of trip, each year doing it a little bigger, and this year I planned the longest trip I have ever taken... almost 3 weeks!  Now, I am aware of the Cruisers superstition of never starting a passage on a Friday, but I reasoned that this was a vacation, not a passage, so therefore it wouldn't apply to me.... WRONG!  Now, don't get me wrong, overall I had a great time, it is just that I went through some pretty rough times as well.

Really?  Again?
Looking at Quartermaster Harbor entrance...  2 boats or more so it must be a race!
But I am getting ahead of myself...  This years trip was starting on Friday, August 14 and would go through Sept 2nd.  This year I planned well ahead of the trip, and had all of my provisioning and loading done by Thursday, a minor miracle!  Still, I didn't leave as early as I intended to (0800) and by the time I had fueled and left Foss Harbor at 1315, an unseasonable rainstorm was almost on top of me.  I headed to Blake Island in heavy rain, and winds out of the WNW at 10-20kts, which made for some pretty fast sailing at times. At one point, as I was headed to the Colvos Passage, I was sailing 6 kts, with just the Jib out! But as is the case here, the direction constantly changed, so I kept furling and unfurling the jib several times as I motored along the way.  I was surprised by the amount of other sailboats out day sailing in this weather, but it made sense... it made for brisk sailing!  As I passed quartermaster harbor, there looked like some sort of race underway.

Colvos Passage is up there.... somewhere!
 I made it to Blake island in really good time... only a little over 3 hours.  However, when coming out of the Colvos Passage, the wind changed direction suddenly, and I had trouble wrangling the Jib under control.  I finally was able to Furl it up, and motored to the west side of Blake Island to grab the last remaining Mooring ball.  Because of the strong winds and current  it took me FOUR TRIES to grab the mooring ball, and once I did, because I grabbed it at the stern of the boat, I had a real tug of war going on while walking the bowline up to the bow to tie it off, and almost lost it a couple of times.  Good thing I have been working out at the Gym!  I tied a second bowline to the mooring just to be on the safe side. and when all that was done and the deck squared away, I went below to get out of my soaking rain gear, and I turned on the heater... the first time I have really needed to do so while on a trip!  It worked GREAT and kept the cabin nice and warm while the weather howled outside, and I listened to the first pre-season Seahawks game on the Stereo.  I waited until the storm settled down, then went onto the island to register, but even then, it was a real challenge getting to and from the island in a Kayak because of the weather.

  The next morning I got up and had breakfast, then it was off to Fort Flagler State Park.  I did something that I had never done before.  The wind was pretty favorable, so I raised the main while on the mooring buoy, and SAILED off the buoy!  I had read how to do this recently, and it worked great, although a little tricky when you are single handing, as after you release the mooring line, you have to high tail it back to the cockpit to get the boat headed in the right direction without hitting any of your neighbors!  It felt really strange, but great, to get going without starting the engine!  I had some good sailing for awhile, but, alas, the wind died, and I had to start the engine and Motor-Sail the rest of the way.

I don't know if it is just me, but my vacations and the wind here in Puget sound always seem to go like this:

Q:  Which direction is the wind blowing from?
A:  Which direction are you heading?

I played my favorite game around the Seattle area... Dodge Ferry!  As well as a lot of commercial Traffic!

Looks can be deceiving... These guys are MUCH faster than you think...

This is about as close as you want to be....

Then there are these huge cargo and container ships that put out pretty good sized wakes...

Now the Clipper is just plain fun to watch zooming by...
The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, and with no wind to speak of.   I went over to the Port Townsend Marina before getting to Ft. Flagler to refuel, as I didn't want to deal with that later, as I planned an early departure to go across the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Monday.  The Marina was great and very friendly.  It was very easy to get to the fuel dock, and getting out was just as easy. 

Getting into Fort Flagler is NOT a straight shot... You have to make sure you are familiar with the charts for the entry into the park.  You can get into trouble in a hurry if you don't follow the marked channel which does a button hook to the right.  Just keep the red markers to the Starboard and the green the left and you will be fine.    I spent a couple of very comfortable nights on a mooring ball.  The park is a very popular place with a boat ramp, and lots RV camping, yet is was pretty quiet out on the water.  There is a great little mom and pop store right there were you can get some pretty good food as well as ice, t-shirts, fishing supplies, Soft Serve Ice Cream, and a whole host of other items!  There are about 6 -7 Mooring balls as well as a small Dock.  The dock is used by people who are crabbing, but the signage states that mooring takes precedence over fishing.

Dulcinea on her mooring, to the right of the Dock
Me, ferrying the Kayaks over to pick up my sister.
After a nice night, and a fairly lazy day, My sister arrived at the park so I ferried over both kayaks to pick up her and her stuff, which included a borrowed crab trap, and she picked up a license as well.  getting that trap to Dulcinea on a kayak was a challenge, but we managed.

  Since it was nearing high tide, we baited the trap and dropped it off right next to the boat and waited. 
The first Catch!
after awhile we pulled up the trap, and we had caught our very first dungeoness crab!  Nice.

Then my sister, who is a bit of a shutterbug, wanted to take some sunset pics, and she got this one
My favorite Picture of this trip, taken by my sister.  but don't tell her I said that!  that's me aboard Dulcinea.

After a good dinner and a couple of margaritas, we hit the hay.  The plan was to get underway by 6 AM so we could catch the outgoing tide to go across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

It was a great morning, except there was no wind to speak of, so we started motoring our way up the strait.  Sharon made herself useful by baking some Cinnamon rolls while we were under way... knew I brought her along for some reason!

My Sister,(mugging it up) and I take a selfie with breakfast!

We had a very Calm motor sail across the strait (Which is just the way I preferred my first crossing), and then into the Haro Strait in the hopes of seeing some Orca Whales.  The Haro Strait is where they are often seen, or so I had been told, but alas, all of the whale watching boats were going towards Victoria.  Oh well...

My Sister, kinda bummed out we hadn't seen any whales
THEN..... when we were almost out of the Haro Strait, at the northwest corner of San Juan Island, all of a sudden the whale watching boats were coming from Victoria, right across our bow headed toward San Juan Island!!!! Thar be WHALES thar!!!! so, we followed, well as fast as a sailboat can... What happened next was easily the most AMAZING thing I have ever experienced aboard Dulcinea....

Find out what that was in my next post!!! Stay Tuned!!!!

As usual, please feel free to leave a comment below!


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