As summer is winding down in the PNW, we wanted to get in a trip to the San Juan islands. But before we headed out, I had two more small mods I wanted to get done.
First up: the hatches in the cockpit dont stay open on their own, so you have to hold them open, or try to prop them open and hope they dont fall on your head while you are digging in the hatches. Newer boats have gas struts to hold them open, but I had seen some spring latches that I thought were clever. Drilled a couple of holes and a few minutes later I had hatches that stay open on their own.
For our trip, I wanted to bring along my little kayak but needed a way to transport it. The boat has a roof rack built in which makes attaching carriers a breeze, but I knew I had a solar project coming up (stay tuned!) and wanted to keep the top of the roof clear. I searched and searched and searched and had a really hard time finding what I wanted. But I eventually found some racks that let me mount the kayak without taking up any room on the roof. (More information on the setup can be found on the Tugnuts forum)
With those two mods complete, we were ready to go. Although we got our (new to us) boat at the tail end of last summer, we only had about a month of boating before tucking her away for the winter. So this was the first full summer that we really had the boat, so a shake down cruise to the San Juans was in order and we achieved a few personal 'firsts' along the way.
We left Langley around 10am on Tuesday and headed up to Oak Harbor. The Sound was like glass but we hardly saw another boat. We got gas and also did our first-ever pump out (and without incident). We then cruised around the eastern shore of Whidbey Island and headed toward Deception Pass. This was our first time through, so we timed it at slack tide to be safe. It was an easy passage, though I was surprised how many boats were fishing directly under the bridge, zig-zagging back and forth right in the narrowest part of the channel. Next was an uneventful crossing of Rosario Strait before turning north towards Friday Harbor. We arrived mid-afternoon and enjoyed walking around the harbor and the town. After a nice dinner, we retired to the boat to try out our homemade mattress topper.
The next morning, we cooked up a hearty breakfast of biscuits and gravy using the bbq and the butane stove. We dilly-dallied a bit and then shoved off for Sucia Island. Lots more boats up here cruising, and it was a nice trip over to Sucia. We had planned to anchor out, but decided to try the dock in Fossil Bay for convenience. We ran across some fellow Tugnutters on their way back from the rendezvous. We had a great hike out to the point and took in the views. We made a fancy dinner of beef tenderloin with sauteed mushrooms over polenta (we even got dressed up for the occasion!) and then enjoyed a beautiful sunset. It was another peaceful night lulled to sleep by the lapping of the water.
Thursday we hung around until nearly 1pm, slowing preparing to head back but in no rush. We decided to come back via the Swinomish Channel just to see what it was like. On the way back, the waves really kicked up in the channel so we ducked between some islands and snuck in the back way to Anacortes. The Swinomish Channel was slow, but fun to cruise past La Conner and the small communities along the way. The shipwrecked boat at the southern entrance was a reminder that this channel was no joke so we kept a close eye on the nav chart and depth finder. Once we were back out into Saratoga Passage, the water was like glass again so we sped up and zipped home in about 40 minutes. We arrived back at Langley very happy with our short little vacation. Lots more to explore but the boat and our systems all worked flawlessly so it was a great success.
We had a big windstorm blow a tree down but made the best of it
Upgrading our solar setup for energy independence
A few small upgrades for the boat and an end-of-summer trip to the San Juan islands
Replacing the shore power plug with a SmartPlug and adding a galvanic isolator
Installing a Discovery Bay Power Hauler Crab/Shrimp Pot Puller