Port Townsend, WA, 7-SEP-2017 – This year’s trip is over. Caro Babbo is in her slip at Lee’s landing. Jennifer, Hilary and I are back in Port Townsend for the next few weeks before we start our fall travels: We’ll spend most of the fall at my residence in Atlanta, with time in Phoenix, New York and, for Jennifer, Berlin.
Our time at Matia Island felt like vacation: A vacation from the bad weather in Alaska, and vacation from the responsibilities of Hilary, though she was with us. Jennifer prepaid for the maximum time we could stay at the dock. Then, we would take a few more days stopping along the way at the gorgeous San Juan Islands and enjoy the continuing summer weather. We might sail the dinghy, we might just lay in the sun, walk with Hilary or just sit and read.
Our friend Dennis offered us a mooring buoy in Port Hadlock, which meant that any time we spent in Port Townsed on the way to Seattle would be with Caro Babbo safe at a free anchorage.
Within an hour or so after dropping the payment into the aluminum box, Jennifer received a short, ambiguous email from her daughter saying basically she had lost her phone and things weren’t good.
Jennifer decided. and I concurred, that if we hadn’t heard back from her daughter by morning we’d catch the fast southward flowing current and get back to Port Towsend that day so Jennifer could jump into a car and head to Olympia.
There is a very good book, which I have referenced elsewhere in this blog, called Slower than Walking Speed. One day the author’s anchor snubber gives way, transferring the direct loads from the chain to the Samson post on deck, which tears out, destroying her boat. The voyage, after nine years, ends in those few moments.
Our trip, this year, had a similar feel. The relaxing wind down in sunny weather ended in a few moments with an email.
We did not receive any email by morning when we hoisted the dinghy on deck and caught the southbound current, and what a current it was. The air was absolutely still and no appreciable breeze showed up the entire 40-some odd miles, but the current ran at 3-plus knots giving us speeds of 9 knots with an average of more than seven.
About two hours from Port Townsend, we received an email from Jennifer’s daughter. All was fine, ‘‘not good’’ was not in reference to her. Turning around was more than we had in us, we’d resolved ourselves to the trip being over.
We arrived at Dennis’ mooring ball around 1 pm. Got to hug Dennis and Lisa who, on their way to the Coupeville ferry, gave us a ride to the Port Townsend Haines’ Transit center, where we caught a cab up to the house.
The next day Jennifer drove down to Olympia to bring her daughter back to PT.
Jennifer reveled in driving a car and being back. I was sad that the trip had ended and that it was time to be back into the land-based routine of the work that needed to get done each day. And for the first time, I found I preferred being in those small town and empty anchorages away from the world.
This past Wednesday we motored to Seattle to deliver Caro Babbo to her slip. The water was mirrored the entire way; the sky was overcast with smoke from the inland wildfires; the reflection of the sun on the water was sunset red.
This year we remembered that the bridges between the locks and our slip are closed from 4pm until 6pm. We caught the first lock-thru that would lead us to opening bridges and motored into our slip to a people-less marina.
We’re back in PT now. Hilary moves to the jazz music on KNKX with her eyes closed. Jennifer is at the Wooden Boat Festival, abbreviated locally as WBF. She is attending presentations on weather forecasting and certain more esoteric details of sailing the inside passage. She has also commented to me about mistakes she is seeing in the presenters, which she doesn’t want to make. I and many other people have been urging her to present, perhaps she is considering. Her experience and point of view would be very well received.
This fall we’ll place Hilary into a facility somewhere. Where in the country is unclear; we’ll continue our peripatetic lifestyle so the choice of locale becomes more complicated
In April, we plan to take off again, whether to Alaska once more, or Hawaii, or southern California is open.
I’ll document how much money we spent on the trip – we think much more than last year; what broke – not much; and write profiles on the people we met.
I’d also like to blog and youtube about cooking aboard. I’ve become more and more surprised at the limited amount of cooking people do board and that amount of processed, packaged food they consume. On the other hand, I have no idea how this compares to what people eat when living ashore.
When we return to the PNW in January, I need to do the 3000-hour maintenance on the engine, plus continue to work on the air-in-the-fuel line problem.
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I think I have figured out why many people are not getting notices and I hope to get that taken care of across the fall.