30 June 2010

The Critter Report

Both the sea otter and the deer on de Courcey at Pirate’s Cove:
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And then we saw those funny colorful skinny whales again sunning on the beach at de Courcey as well:
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And at Gowlland Harbour some seals sunning themselves on a log pen:

Gowlland Harbor

29 June 2010

Logbook – Leaving the Gulf Islands

There is something about going further North than Nanaimo that feels like the “real” start for cruising for us. There are a number of transitions that have already happened, including the “not going back to the dock at the end of the week/weekend” feeling, but going further NW than Nanaimo puts us into completely new cruising grounds.

We are currently in the middle of a lovely downwind sail that started at Pirate’s Cove on de Courcey Island (or rather, started after we motored through Gabriola pass at slack) and will end at Hornby Island or Lasqueti if the wind dies. We’ve been sailing mostly directly downwind with 10 knots apparent with the main only and a preventer, with a nice current helping us along.

But, back to the beginning… We left Sidney on Tuesday late morning with our friends Nathan & Lauren from Colorado. We had a light air sail (gennaker and main) to Montague and we anchored on the North side at the shell beach, with some swimming and kayaking, and a medium good sunset that night. That anchorage (on the N) is a great place to see sunsets when they are good which is why we usually go there instead of the main anchorage.

On Wednesday we intended to motor a short bit to change anchorages but ended up sailing half of the way to Pirate’s Cove. We anchored outside the main anchorage, instead going to the South side of the island which was gorgeous. I was not impressed with the main Pirate’s Cove anchorage and was started to feel like the area was overrated until we did the hike. The East side of the island is beautiful as is the Northern point in the park.

Main anchorage at Pirates:
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Our anchorage:
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The hike:
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The point at our anchorage during the day and at dusk:
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The stars aligned to give us this day of northing. We had an 0830hr slack out of Gabriola Pass (for non locals the passes near the Strait of Georgia can run up to 9 knots), a flood current helping us go North until 1500hr and a SE wind of 15 knots (true). The sun is out and we couldn’t ask for a better day.

I can feel myself relaxing into the trip. - Livia

28 June 2010

Haul out mess

HAUL OUT MONDAY!

Normally we’ve lived on our boat during a haul out but thanks to our good friends George & Andrea we had somewhere to stay for our two week push. When things went down with the rudder and we were afraid we would miss the haul out date and be stuck on the hard for another two weeks, they even offered to let us continue to stay there. House guests for a MONTH, can you imagine? Now, that is friendship.

Thankfully we splashed on time and we learned how much easier it is to work on a boat when you are not living on it. We could pull everything out that we needed and at the end of the day we could just leave it as is, saving hours and hours of stowing and unstowing over the two weeks.

Deck mess:
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Cockpit mess:
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The salon table became a work bench:
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We tore up our v-berth to access (and clean) the space underneath it:
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26 June 2010

Critters

Here is the critter report from the first few days of our cruise:

One baby seal (no photo) who was as small as an otter and crying for its mother. Tres triste!

A bunch of rock crabs, now in our bellies:

Rock crab

A number of bald eagles:

Bald Eagle

A pod of brightly colored skinny whales:

Kayakers

And one huge flying bird we couldn't identify that swooped down over us at Portland Island, that we are calling the "George Bird":

Seaking

25 June 2010

Propane

We use propane for cooking. Pretoriens have a built in propane locker in an aft lazarette on the port side. Propane needs a safe place to vent outside the boat so any leaks don't settle and, when sparked, go BOOM. Our locker is fiberglass in, separated from the rest of the boat and vented at the stern.

We go through our 20lb tank of propane in approximately 2.5 months. The length of time we go changes depending on how much we eat out, and how cold it is, and so will vary depending on where we cruise. Our propane use is on the heavier side in the winter when we make a gazillion cups of coffee, cocoa and tea and bake more. Some people are smart and put their extra hot water from the kettle in a thermos. We haven't internalized that trick yet.

I wondered stuff like that when we were thinking about boats and when we first moved aboard. Propane storage is tricky so when buying a new boat, how much is enough? Should we carry extra propane?

We also use the main tank for our BBQ with an adapter. As a marginally reasonable back up we carry a few small disposable BBQ tanks. So far a 20lb tank is fine for us. We can cook full time for two for approximately 2.5 months. We might add a smaller tank on our stern rail someday when we travel somewhere where we can't fill the tank easily in that timeframe.

24 June 2010

Logbook: Week 1 – Gulf Islands

Note: Logbook posts are high detail posts for our own records. Read at your own boredom risk.


We woke up early, without an alarm, despite the late bon voyage. After dropping off our marina key card in the safe, cleaning up after the party, garbage/recycle and topping up the water tanks we were off relatively early.

We motored to Discovery Island and then sailed all of the way to Princess Bay at Portland Island. After that long day we waited until the next day to be active.

Carol, his Mother and Roland took off to do a little hiking and a little crabbing (successfully) and Carol and I got a chance to sit at the gorgeous shell beach facing Brackman Island in the sun with a cold beer in the afternoon. Usually that beach is packed with campers but a mid-week mid-June visit apparently avoids them and we had it to ourselves.
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After two nights at Portland we decided to head over to Russell Island based on a picture I had seen in a magazine somewhere. The East side was unattractive at a distance but the entire West side was sloped white (barnacle) rock or shell beaches. We arrived early in the day and promptly kayaked around the entire island. The West side was much prettier by kayak with stone cliffs hollowed out by the surf.
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That night we watched the sun set from the shell beach on the SW corner of the island which meant the sun was setting down Fulford Harbor between the mountains. Lovely.
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We hiked around the island that day which was nice but not spectacular. Great way to stretch our legs but I wouldn’t go there for the hiking.

Next we had a great upwind sail to Bedwell Harbour. This was also a big entrance for us because it was our first time sailing onto anchor. Bedwell is probably one of the easier places in existence for doing this. It’s large and mostly the same depth everywhere. We also had a good wind from behind us as we entered - perfect.

We revisited Poet’s Cove which Marcelle had been to for our wedding. We had a great time going to the spot we said our vows and then as an early 3 year anniversary gift Marcelle & Roland bought us dinner at the patio cafe. Great weather for a long patio meal.

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Funny enough, despite more than a dozen visits to Bedwell we’ve managed to never go ashore at the marine park. We’ve been to Poet’s Cove, kayaked all over, even played disque golf at the great free course on the island, but never hiked up to the top of Mount Normal for the great view of the Gulf Islands. So, we did.
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Next stop, we had a light air sail to Sidney BC to stay overnight at Port of Sidney and to drop off Marcelle and Roland and pick up our third set of guests from Colorado and start HEADING NORTH.

It took about 30 minutes to put together the log for a week. I’m not sure if I will continue this way or not. We’ll see…whatever is fun, right? :)
- Livia

23 June 2010

Bon Voyage Party Report

Our friends in Victoria rock. The boat was so loaded down with people and the liquid presents they brought for us that our stern was 6" in the water. In fact, we are still floating very, very low with 4 people, food for 4 and enough liquor from friends to (nearly) sink us. We've at least adjusted our trim so we are somewhat equally laden instead of stern and port down. We would also like to thank those from afar that sent us notes or called and my parents for giving us a box of wrapped gifts to open for various occasions as we voyage. Well done, Mom.

I tried to limit myself to a handful of the photos that captured the mood.

Good times

Stern under water

Serious pirates

Tooth pick?

Bon Voyage

22 June 2010

A Boat's History

A recent post by Siempre Sabado as well as wondering if someone hit something to damage our rudder shoe, started me thinking about our boat's history.

If you are curious about your own boat and it is US registered, you can find some about its history at this NOAA site (by name or registry number). The Canadian version doesn't give any history.

Our boat was built in 1983 in Mouvaux, France by the yard of Henri Wauquiez. Between 1979 and 1987 there were 212 Pretoriens built. The yard also built the Gladiateur (33'), the Centurion in various 40'+ lengths, and the Hood (38').

I recently looked at our Title of Abstract - this document is publicly available so I don't believe this blog post shares any private information but anyone involved who finds this by googling themselves can feel free to ask me to remove thier info.

Our boat started her life in August of 1983 as Réflexions owned by Stewart Smith, I believe in the Seattle area. For one year in 1995 she was owned as Réflexions by Robert A Perry (not the boat designer). In 1996 she became True Love with owner Robert Thompson. At this point, the rumor at the brokerage is that she was owned by two couples who intended to sail her around the world but ended up being diverted by growing families. I have no idea if this is true and apologies to anyone involved if I got that wrong. In 2000, she was purchased by Leroy Berges & Anne Sandkuhler who left her name as True Love. In 2004 Xylon Saltzman & Babette Siebold purchased her in San Diego (I am not sure when she made it down South), trucked her to Seattle and renamed her Clio. We assume at some point she made the journey to Mexico because we found screws with "La Paz" labels on them, but those could have come to the boat separately.

If anyone knows these people or the history I would love to learn more. I thought we were the 5th owners but now the one-year owner makes us the 6th owner. I think it is nice that the first owner had her for 12 years and I would love to find out where she sailed during that time.

- Livia

21 June 2010

Grab rail

HAUL OUT MONDAY!

A few months ago we noticed that the grab rail on our deck had popped two screws. This rail has the primary purpose of functioning as hand holds when the weather is up and the often used secondary purpose of strapping extra crap to the deck. We often have both our deflated dinghy and deflated kayak strapped under the boom or forward at the mast.

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The screws had stripped out of the fiberglass deck. Most decks, including ours, are “cored” which means that there is a layer of stiffener between the fiberglass which allows the boat to be lighter, using a thinner layer of fiberglass. The great thing about our boat is that it is solid fiberglass wherever original fixtures are bolted into the deck (such as the grab rails or the anchor windlass). This is a positive because if moisture gets into a cored deck it can spread and the core rots.

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Carol drilled out the holes, put in new epoxy, drilled pilot holes, screwed the grab rail back into the deck, glued wee teak plugs into the holes above the screw heads and sanded down the plugs.

We are trying to let the varnish wear off so we can be all natural (silvery) teak but apparently whatever the previous owner put on is extremely durable because we haven’t touched it for 3 years and it is still (somewhat patchily) on.

20 June 2010

Carol's mental health

In case you were worried, Carol is adjusting to retired life quite well.

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19 June 2010

Cutting the docklines

We decided that we were going to be literal about cutting the dock lines. Of course, we had a passerby stop during the process and tell us that he thought we were wasting a perfectly good dock line ;)

Cutting...



...and cut.

18 June 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you use sailblogs, please consider going to your account, clicking on "blog manager" and then "properties" and then changing your RSS feed to some number of posts instead of "disabled".

This helps those of us that like to use a feed reader to see all of the blogs we read, in one place. Now we can follow you more easily.

Sail blogs has some cool features (like a built in map) but you have to pay to email-to-blog (deal breaker to me) and feeds are turned off by default. So many people don't know what feeds/RSS/Atom are and so, quite reasonably on their part, they leave the setting at the default.

Merci a tous! Livia

17 June 2010

Class Acts

In the Seattle area, I had the pleasure of doing business with four class acts during the boat purchase. Everything went smoothly and in the few minor instances where it didn't, things were made right instantly. Updates during the process were constant and all inquiries were answered immediately. I don't know because I have no comparison if these outfits are the cheapest or the best, but they deserve kudos for being extremely professional.

First, John Neal at Mahina will, for a fee, assist you in your boat search. If you are an expert already in ocean going vessels, or if you already have a specific vessel in mind, I don't think this is the way to go, but if you have a long list of boats in mind and want to narrow them down, his service is excellent. Further, he commented on specific boats during the search as well as he could based on their online descriptions, raising questions that one would not have thought about.

Second, Mike Locatell at Discovery Yachts. Falling in love with the first boat looked at isn't the most thorough investigation of a broker's full range of services, but from that point on Mike took care to coordinate the process for an out of town buyer. He knows a lot about the Wauquiez line.

Third and fourth are Pacific Maritime Title who were fast and efficient and respond to inquiries I've made way after the fact and Rich Haynie insurance who were similarly efficient and who scrambled around last year to help me decide whether we were still getting the best deal when I asked them to do so shortly before our policy expired.

Kudos.

Our only negative experience was with a short, non-thorough survey that left me feeling seriously unhappy. If you are getting surveyed in Seattle, shoot me an email and I'll let you know who it was.

16 June 2010

And we're off...

Estrella beer

Time to giddyup...

15 June 2010

Bon Voyage Party!!!

Mile 0


If ever a title deserved 3 exclamation points, this is it. Zero days to cruising*! We made it! Woooohooo! Holy crap. We're stunned.

With friends spread across great distances, Carol and I are having a virtual Bon Voyage party (and Carol's retirement) right here and YOU** are invited.

Come in, say hi, tell us what you would like to drink, make yourself comfortable, wear non-marking shoes, share a story, tell us about a friend's or your own adventure, share a tradition, give advice, warn us off, whatever you like.

In a traditional leave taking, family might give letters and trinkets that could be opened at various stages of the journey. For example, they might send an envelope saying "open at the Equator" or "for your first night North of 50 degrees". However, given the state of border and customs I don't think we'll be able to bring a bunch of unmarked gifts (letters I suppose we could).

Also, traditionally, the cruisers would also be fending off unwanted, bulky gifts from well-meaning relatives that they didn't have room for on the boat like potted plants or wall hangings.

And finally everyone would have too much to drink and the poor cruisers would have to get up in the morning and sail (this may very well still happen at a small local gathering tonight).


We would like to thank everyone for their support. In particular, we would like to thank Carol's mother Marcelle for asking us every few months what she could buy for the boat and Livia's parents for being a support-and-gear logistics team extraordinaire. We are hoping to abuse your kindness more in the future.


Tomorrow morning we sail with Marcelle et Roland aboard for a week in the Gulf Islands - our fourth set of sailing guests so far. After they leave we'll be...possibly picking up another set of guests flying in from Colorado and heading North?


*Not to be confused with Mike & Rebecca's most excellent blog
**Yes, even if we've never met.

14 June 2010

Keeping it hot

HAUL OUT MONDAY!

Because we are going to winter mostly at anchor, we thought it was a good time to pull out the heating unit and give it some TLC. We have a Wallas forced air (blowing fan) diesel furnace with two vents – one aft at the navigation table and one forward near the v-berth.

It is tucked away near the stern underneath our propane locker – this means boat yoga. Carol’s turn!

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It opened easily:
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Carol carefully cleaned out the burner and we decided to replace the “wick” which in our case is a glass mat circle (new and old here – the old mat broke while Carol removed it):

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We also bought a second spare mat and a spare glow pin. Those are, apparently, the most often needed spares.  Putting it back together was a puzzle. Everything slides back in but you have to hold all of the other bits while sliding in later bits or…JENGA!  Definitely a two-person four-handed job.

More boat yoga by Carol, remounted, tested et voila – we have a tuned up heater.

12 June 2010

Last minute stuff

I know that when you are doing any kind of trip the last minute details always take more time than you think and that is where we are right now. Having read a ton of first hand reports of sailing voyages and doing my own travel I was kind of expecting this. Honestly, although tiring, it isn't as bad as I was worried about. Carol is a champ and a work horse, pushing when I'm ready to keel over.

The list includes some very important but could be done later things:
- a decision to push to get our solar panels wired as well as mounted (done!)
- buy new end fitting for spinnaker pole
- buy materials to re-do running back stays with synthetic rigging
- buy new tow ring for dinghy + special hypalon glue (broke ours towing when we shouldn't have)

Some things that are easier at the dock but not critical:
- shock treating fresh water tanks with bleach + rinse
- laundering infrequently laundered but bulky items
- enormous Costco etc run

And things that have come up at the last minute:
- sudden fear of not having meningitis vaccine instilled by Carol's doctor so Livia makes last minute appointment, then cancels it
- citizenship card comes in so Livia quickly gets passport process pushed through
- multiple faxes regarding a parking ticket because Livia punched in the wrong number for the parking spot when she paid the meter
- a million little things for Carol related to retirement and signatures and paperwork

Once we have propane, have picked up various orders, had my injection, and partied, we are ready to go next week. Free at last. 

Bon voyage party here on Tuesday - save the date :)

- Livia

11 June 2010

Buoy

Do you personally pronounce this word booo-eee or boy? I'm a booo-eee speaker.

Sea Lion - Port Townsend

Sometimes you can use the tilt of markers to tell which way the current is going and how strong. Once we saw this huge marker tilted over at a 45 degree angle and were worried until we saw a huge fat sea lion on it.

Here is a smaller sea lion making a smaller angle on a buoy as we came by Port Townsend on our way to the Wauquiez Rendezvous this year.

10 June 2010

The Estrellita Report: 2010 Update #1

This is it. We are starting our sailing voyage in 4 days and we plan to continue until it is no longer fun.

The first 13 months will be in and around British Columbia and Washington State. Next summer we will probably head South to California and then Mexico...but who knows.

We have been working hard to be ready to leave the docks and although we have another set of projects to complete before we head South, we are ready to go.

It is difficult to convey how exciting of a moment this is for us. Our transition to cruising will be easier than it is for many people because we will begin by exploring further into our own backyard rather than immediately heading off to parts unknown. Still, it is the start of a big adventure that we've dreamed about, schemed about, and sweated over.

We have been blogging regularly and we will continue to write. Mark your calendar and join us at our online BON VOYAGE PARTY on June 15th at the blog - we would love to hear from you.

Best, Livia & Carol

Frantic pre-cruising preparation

Our cruise is sponsored by Kirkland (a la Costco), or at least it should be.

Pre-Cruising Costco run

My oh my, we had a doozy of a Costco run yesterday. We didn't need to do a big provisioning trip. We'll be in BC and WA for the near future and we'll still be in Costco range through Mexico.

However, to learn how much this boat can store, because we have a car right now, because we are at a dock right now, and because it is so fun and cruiser-like, we did a HUGE Costco trip with the aim of buying the bulk of our non-perishables for the next 5 or 6 months. Rest assured, those are not actually two boxes full of Marie Calendar pot pies - just transport boxes for other stuff.

Apres Costco, we did a normal grocery store run...and a drug store run...and a liquor store run...and a run to several marine stores.

Let it not be said that we somehow managed to avoid the week-before-cruising-hemorrhaging-of-money. No sir, we did not.

We are just barely still on our water line and our nose is higher than the stern. At least we managed to balance port and starboard since our last gear addition. Time to re-arrange the heavy stuff.

At least we won't run out of bacon ;)

- Livia

09 June 2010

North Olympic Discovery (Half) Marathon

On a non-sailing note, I wanted to congratulate my Mother on her first half marathon!

After two days of the Wauquiez Rendezvous, Carol single handed the boat back to Victoria and I went to Sequim to run with my Mom to Port Angeles through rain forest and along the ocean. It was beautiful.

I ran with her as her support person, non-expert coach and water fetcher. I had only run 4 times since my first marathon last October and I am nicely sore today.

NODM Half Marathon

I made sure to fly the colors on the run ;)

Running with pirates

Carol leaving Port Townsend. We are starting to really get "cruiser butt" which I am not the biggest fan of but can't figure a way around.

Carol single handing

- Livia

08 June 2010

Dear Friends & Family

Dear Friends & Family,

You should come visit at some point. We expect you to know that you are permanently invited and as we travel you should contact us if there is a place at which you want to meet us and we will tell you if the logistics work out. We won't invite people every few months - we'll expect you to stalk our progress and suggest a rendezvous.
 
When friends and family come to visit we will stuff them in the aft cabin unless they are too creaky to maneuver inside in which case we set up and take down the bed in the main salon each evening and morning.

This picture of our good friends Jamie, Ella & Tyler (currently gallivanting around Buenos Aires) gives you a sense of the size (or lack of size!) of our aft cabin.

Sincerely, Team Giddyup