Sunday, September 30, 2012

What a difference a year makes

And yes, I ran ALL DAY without shoes on!

Here we are, our last day in the South Sound and the last day of September.  This summer is ending in storybook fashion for those here in the PNW.  Tonight we picked up a mooring buoy off of Eagle Island, and true to it's name, have enjoyed the company of an Eagle.  As well as a Blue Heron, and 15+ seals.  It is a night that Cruising Brochures are made from.

Comparing this to a year ago.  The night of The Event.  Memories of which Kristi will to this day recall when asked “So, how do you like this life?”  (

Tomorrow we will pass through the Narrows and begin our trip back up to the San Juan Islands.  With stops at Blake to say Hi, and Keyport in hopes to secure dockage and tour the Navy Submarine museum.  The exact route we have not decided, but do plan on a stopover in Eagle Harbor, taking the Ferry over to visit Kristi’s Daughter who will be in Seattle for a Doula class.

Yes, this summer had been idea weather wise, mostly as I did not need to re-label the calendar with a Sharpie for Marchuary, Apuary, Mayaury, and heck even Juneuary as we did the last several years.  Let’s hope THIS trend continues.

Island Hopping

We left Olympia and have begun our slow migration north for the winter!  I know, opposite from many people, but we are not average bears, you know.

First stop:  McMicken Island

How fitting that our first weekend in the South Sound, we spent with fellow Cascadians, and that our last weekend in the South Sound was also shared with a Cascadian.  Skip and his boat Slow Flight joined us at anchor, and another Cascadian, Pam, could even spy on us from her house!  I am guessing Tami could not see around Wilson Point, however.

Skip made a fine wing-and-wing approach, totally under sail!

Skip was the judge at the South Sound Sail-In last June.  We hear that Judi has already been priming the judge for the next Sail-In, so here is our effort to rack up a few points ourselves!  Skip had glasses of his favored WHITE wine, AND dinner, complete with HOMEMADE butterscotch pudding!

Moonrise over McMicken Island

This morning Skip got a head start on us, since we are rather slow risers.  I had just poured coffee, and Al was still in the shower when Skip departed McMicken for Hope Island.  The wind is SO light today, that we caught up to him at Wilson Point on Harstene Island, and took a turn around him for more photos.

I like this one best -- centered in the sparkle path of the sun!

We had hoped to find an empty buoy at Eagle Island, and we did.  This is one of very few places we have NOT been to in the South Sound, and now we can cross it off that short list.  The other two spots are Peale Passage, and Totten Inlet.

We arrive at low tide, and even though we have 14 feet of water under us, it is so clear that we can see a giant starfish below.  There are MANY seals (we counted 15 once) hunting the reef just west of the island.  We have heard eagle cries numerous times, and finally saw one soaring over the water towards McNeil Island.

There is a rope swing on shore, though seeing the tree is it hanging from , we wonder at it's security!
We also wonder if the seat floats at high tide.....

We have seen herons in trees before, but I don't think I've ever seen one at the very top of one!

So we've hopped from McMicken to Eagle Island.  Tomorrow we plan to stop at Dockton on Vashon Island, and the following day re-visit Blake Island.  Then most likely a stop at Bainbridge Island?  Daughter Lindsay is taking some classes in Seattle the next two weekends, and we want to meet up with her.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Washington Capitol Tour

On our last full day in Olympia, we decided to finally go tour the Capitol Building.  We have taken many pictures of it from Percival Landing, and now we got up close and personal.  My mother worked there once upon a time....I think in the 40's.  I actually asked if there might be some record of her employment, and was sent to archives, but they said there that it would be like the 'needle in a haystack' kind of search.  Oh well, I tried.

It was a beautiful fall day!  We walked the whole way, uphill.  AND down.

Here are the photos and the stories...

We approached from the northeast.  There are a lot of interesting trees on the campus -- I wish there were identification signs.

There is presently a beautification project underway.  The sandstone is being scrubbed/scraped , and then waterproofed.  I would NOT like this job.

The Washington State Vietnam War Memorial

The sundial.  It was about 10:30 a.m.

The south side.  The lighting was better for this one.

The view north, from in front of the Temple of Justice.  I did zoom in , and  WE could see Viking Star, but it isn't a great shot for anyone else to look at ...

These columns were carved IN PLACE!

The state seal, in bronze.

The Washington flag, as a banner.  The smaller flags are from counties....

San Juan County, our winter home!

The rotunda and chandelier.  They were asking for volunteers to change the lightbulbs.  The chandelier cannot be lowered.  It is 150 feet from the bronze seal to the very bottom of the chandelier.  When 30 percent of the bulbs are out, they build a scaffolding and change EVERY bulb.  It is done 'about' every 10 years.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Michael's Visit

We had three whole days with Michael, and parts of a couple more at either end of the visit.  It was really nice to see him and spend time with him.  Al was SO excited to have him come.

Peekaboo!  Michael rolls bottom pain on the spots exposed once the boat is lifted from the blocks.

Tuesday morning low tide.  Father and son pick oysters for breakfast.

They come back with full bellies and an empty bucket, because they ate their limit on the beach!

Michael's eagle

Seafood feast on Wednesday night.  Mussells steaming on the left, and shrimp on the barbie.

Oysters pan-fried with olive oil, garlic, and green onion to go over spaghetti.

They sit down to enjoy their feast, and I go fry a burger.


...and moonrise.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Swinging the Viking Star

But first, a couple of 'catch up' photos:

Jellies, continued.  Egg Yolk Jelly

Our baited bucket.  Al chose cheese, I chose peanut butter.  It  remains undisturbed.

The 'Evidence'.  Too big for a mouse...

While at McMicken, every evening when we took our books and drinks to the back deck to  hang out and relax a bit before beginning dinner, one seagull (or two, or three) would join us, looking hopeful.  We don't encourage them, but we did enjoy their mostly quiet company.

A dreamy photo of a crescent moon setting through a pink haze.

Now we move on the the haul out of our home.  I have only been involved in this process once before -- July 2011 at Ilwaco.  Previously, she has been hauled every two years, but Al was anxious to see what the bottom and the zincs looked like after more than a year in salt water.

Clearing the water

'Flexing her mussels'

This photo was specifically to document the strap placement.  Al was quite pleased with Swantown Boatworks, with their four straps with sleeves.

In case you didn't catch it in the above photo, this is a Big  Effin' Machine!  The operator told us that Viking  Star tips the scales at 40.000 pounds!  That is with the water tank empty, and fuel at 50% or less.

Power washing the slime away

Driving across the yard.  She  DOES swing a bit when the Travelift stops!

Touch down!

Setting stilts, and safety-chaining them together

The sacrificial zincs have burned away a lot!  The ones on the shaft were completely gone.  We will most likely have a diver check and replace as needed nest year!

A close-up of the mussel and barnacle growth IN the exhaust pipe, AFTER a few scrapings over recent months!

While I celebrated my birthday with a successful shopping trip to the mall, Al repainted the boot stripe, moving the waterline up a bit more than we already moved it up last year ( yes, 40,000 is more than we expected, or maybe should have).  There was one small spot of rot in the hull, which he dug out and treated. 

Today he will epoxy that hole, and apply seam compound in one area, and perhaps do one coat of bottom paint.  And I will catch up on a huge mound of laundry!  Tomorrow, Michael arrives!  Another coat of bottom paint.  Monday, the jack stands will be moved, first thing in the morning, and the area that was behind them will be painted.  We have an appointment to be put back in the water at 4:15 Monday afternoon.  

Then back to McMicken to feed Michael the freshest oysters he's likely ever had!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

McMicken Island

It is SSOoooooo relaxing to sit and watch the jellies floating along ....

Small ... medium ... and large


There are some 'floaties' on top too, but you can how THICK the jellies are in the water!

Al heads off to hunt oysters on the far shore.  He was successful.

Viking Star rests at her buoy.

There are lots of  'erratics' here -- the one on the right is even noted on the chart.  See below.

The BOULDER even merits 'all caps'.

Loons.  We can hear them calling now and then.

What a beautiful day!  September has been filled with them.  It has been a bit of a 'lather, rinse, repeat' stretch of weather.

Today, however, overcast and morning fog.