Combined, Craig and I have about 8,400 blue water miles from our trips aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans (AKA the Robbie C). Those days in the middle of the Pacific are the direct cause of this path that we are on- trying to get back to the middle of nowhere. But if we had to tally the miles or days spent out on the water with our own boat, it would be an embarrassingly low number. Between the engine repairs, the new dodger, other projects, and having to work our day jobs, we have been tied to the dock for the extreme majority of the two years we have called Small World home. Many days, while working on the endless list of projects, we struggle to keep the goal in mind. In a miraculous feat of geography, the tropics seem to get further and further away from the Pacific Northwest.
Luckily, last summer we got a small taste of the cruising life here in the Puget Sound. It was only about a week, but it helped us refocus and it helped to renew our motivation. Because all work and no play makes for a kranky Kraigle. So this is another post about how we finally got our hull out of the slip and went cruising! A year ago. Consider it a submission for #ThrowbackThursday if you must.
Emmy B. is the Secret to Success
During my time in Woods Hole and aboard the Robbie C, Emmy B. was my roommate, my shipmate, and my person. She helped maintain my sanity and kept me grounded in reality. She also gave the best whispered wake up calls, “We’re sailing under the 4 lowers, no significant weather, chocolate chip cookies are on the snack bar, you have 8 minutes until you’re on watch, and I only ralphed 2 times last night!” Never needed the snooze button.
Craig and I begged Emmy to join us for the trip last summer, not just because she would provide free labor, but because she is an amazing friend with a side of confidence boosting. When we look back at the trip, we can recognize that it was a success because we all lived to tell the stories, and because we had Emmy there helping us.
Day 1 – Shilshole to Blake Island
- Thanks to Phil and Tom for coming to the fuel dock to lend a hand and send us off!
- If the fuel guy ever asks Craig for clarification after I’ve told him what fuel we need, HEADS. WILL. ROLL.
- Great sailing to Blake Island after the 2014 Battle of the Mizzen. It took Craig and Emmy 40 minutes to get the mizzen set due to overrides in the furling. (Uncle Tim, I was steering so I don’t want to hear your nonsense!)
- After the debacle of attempting to anchor from the 4th of July, I was a little nervous so we ended up on the windier but less populated side of the island. But we did it! We anchored!
- Celebratory Dark and Stormies in the cockpit because it’s a really big deal to actually be using our boat like we said we would.
- We saw 3 satellites in the sky at once AND the space station! Craig nearly pooped his pants.
Day 2 – Blake Island to Ruston
- Texted our friend Jill, who lives near Three Tree Point, and she saw us sailing from her house. According to her, we totally looked awesome under full sail.
- We had experienced some issues with the electronics turning off whenever the windlass was on and under load. It’s a bit stressful when you’re anchoring and all of a sudden your depth finder shuts off. Craig was able to troubleshoot and discovered that the power from the alternator was not actually being fed to the batteries (thank goodness for solar panels).
- Several friends who live in Ruston drove to the shore and we brought them aboard via dinghy for a floating happy hour.
Day 3 – Ruston to Tanglewood Island (Off Fox Island)
- Went under the Tacoma Narrows bridge with a porpoise that was hanging out with us and doing some sweet flips. No big deal.
- It was crazy warm with no wind so we went swimming in the 61 degree water.
- Craig and I went for a ride on the dinghy. We had to row because Craig didn’t want to bring the outboard. For the record, I did great when I was doing crew style rowing a few years ago. And it is NOT the same as rowing that dinghy.
- An entire pod of porpoise came to say goodnight with an incredible sunset backdrop. One of the many moments that we looked at each other to see if this was really our lives.
Day 4 – Tanglewood Island to Gig Harbor
- Didn’t realize just how narrow (about 35 ft) and shallow (at most 15 ft) the entrance to the harbor is at low tide. We draw 6 ft of water and we are about 12 ft wide. It was the whitest knuckled driving I have ever done at idle speeds.
- The harbor was busy and we made several circles debating where to drop the hook. At this point I wonder if we will look back and think that we were being overly cautious, or if we will always want to be extremely far away from the neighbors.
- We took the dinghy ashore and met up with Jill and Piete for some beers at a local brewery. I’m pretty sure someone swiped a glass, but I assure you it wasn’t me.
- Somehow there is a sailing race within the harbor among all of the boats that are anchored. They impress me and terrify me all at once.
Day 5 – Gig Harbor to Blakely Harbor
- Head tank pump out! Ah yes, the glories of cruising. But it provided an opportunity to test some of our driving and maneuvering skills with tight turns and winds pinning us to the dock.
- Many drinks and a dance party in the cockpit.
- It was our last night of the trip and we were looking forward to showers, but not to the rest of reality.
Day 6 – Blakely Harbor to Shilshole
- Sailed most of the way home and kept the boat moving in light winds.
- Docked the boat without breaking anything or running into anyone.
Overall it was an incredible week for several reasons. Leading up to the trip I had so many worries about doing all of the things that we had yet to do on our own boat. Could she hack it? Could we? Or would we be stuck in the land of projects forever? The week helped bring everything into perspective. Yes there were more projects to do, but cruising was worth the work. Yes we are still somewhat novice, but we know a lot, too. We came home and felt like we were back on track and ready for the next set of projects!