Thursday, August 21, 2014

First offshore passage

Ok to begin with this is Scott not the artful Cindy,
We set sail from Neah Bay at 0810 bound for Newport Or.
This will be not only our first offshore passage but also our first overnight passage, I know the boat is well prepared but am nervous none the less.
The trip length is about 250 miles, we decided that we would sail about 30 to 50 miles offshore to accomplish a few things. First and foremost it would give us sea room in case a bad storm came up and blew us around a bit , second we would be clear of the crab pots that are set by the commercial fishermen, and third the wind would be more steady and constant.
We set a course for 125 degrees west and would follow that south.
Well, it was foggy as all get out (again).
We had to motor until about 1600 due to lack of wind.
The wind picked up at about 1600 so we hoisted the Main and unfurled the Genoa and Staysil, the wind was about 9 to 12 knots.
The wind was on our Starboard rear quarter about 120 degrees, with the wind there the boat wanted to turn into the wind (round up) we had to turn the wheel to the left to counter balance the sail plan.
The monitor wind vane steered the boat like a dream.
The wind then moved a bit further aft and things went wrong, we should have put a double reef in the main and just used our Genoa to pull us down wind. The boat was overpowered and the Main sail was covering the Genoa and the Wind vane couldn't overcome the weather helm.
I spoke to a sailing pro Allison HickenWood from Port Townsend sails to confirm my suspicions.
I can't thank Allison enough for the advice and encouragement.
Live and Learn.
Well, instead we started the engine and motor-sailed with a single reef in the main for the next 35 hours.
Its was foggy for the entire trip.
We arrived at our Newport approach waypoint at 2345 and found that our visibility was less than 100 feet. Truly if the Nav lights had not been on I wouldn't have been able to see the bow of the boat.
As I was ready to turn into the jetty I hear on the radio that a Tug and Tow was headed out the jetty, I called the captain and told him that we would hold and jog at the green entry bout until he was clear.
He was 500 feet behind our stern but we never saw him (heard him loud and clear though).
He could see us on AIS and Radar and we could see him by the same means.
We told the tug skipper that we had never been here before and he gave us some very good advice about getting in the jetty.
As an aside one day earlier in better conditions but still very foggy two commercial fishing boats collided in this very spot.
Well, we did manage to navigate into the harbor, found the entry to the marina found the very first slip open docked the boat at 0103 and went to sleep.
We had acomplished and learned a great deal about our selves and the boat.
Bucket was awesome he entertained himself from his "nest" on our bed. He watched movies and ate snacks. What a great guy.
Cindy was the ultimate trooper, I had painted a mental picture for her of warm breezes and smooth sailing. Our trip was anything but that, it was bumpy and grey and really kind of dismal.
We will set out tomorrow Friday the 22nd bound for Coos Bay, only a short by comparison 80 miles.
We will employ the sail plan that we discussed with Allison and are sure that it will be an enjoyable passage.
You will be happy to hear that Cindy will be back at the keyboard soon, 'til then Fair Winds and Following Seas to all of you.

Photo Gallery update

Monday, August 18, 2014


     We are taking the plunge!  Some call it the BIG LEFT TURN.   Mother Ocean, welcome us.

     This morning we woke up in slip B32 at Neah Bay.  We were gifted a beautiful king salmon from the tribe of Makah.  Thanks to them.

       We have scheduled ourselves to push off the dock at 0830.  Our plan is to make Newport, Oregon our first stop.  We will be 30 miles out from the coast and hope for fair winds and smooth sailing.

Oceans of Love to All,
Scott, Cindy, and Bucket
(Sailing Team of Velvet Sky)


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bellingham Today Anacortes Tomorrow

     I am hearing voices.....

     Mostly through the phone lines, and often from the Capt'n, "Are you going to blog again soon?" they are asking.
     I am certain to not be alone in this kind of thinking...  "I am so far behind, I am not sure where to begin."  I suppose sometimes it is just easy to begin with the now.  We are tied up to the guest dock at gate 3 in Bellingham, Washington.  We have been here since Friday, August 8 at 17:59.  We have been  bouncing back and forth from Bellingham to Anacortes, and Port Townsend to Anacortes, then back to Port Townsend and right back here to Bellingham and tomorrow we return to Anacortes.  This may bring up the question of, "Why the back and forth?"  Well, the best response I have at this time is, "We are passing time."  We have spent the last four and a half months cruising schedule free.  We meandered and dawdled our way as far north as Hartley Bay, BC (53 degrees 42 minutes point 58 seconds north and 128 degrees 42 minutes point 40 seconds west) just south of Prince Rupert.  We arrived at Hartley Bay on June 3rd.  We used the BBQ for the first time and cooked a whole chicken.
Hartley Bay is a village still in possession of the First Nation People (an indian reserve).  The docks are government owned and moorage is free.  The only photo we captured of Hartley Bay was the one we took while leaving.  The streets here are all made of wood.  There are no cars here.  The motorized transportation was that of four wheel ATV's.  The locals call their village ATV capitol of the world.  We did spot a smart car in the village however, the fire truck was a Kubota, and the police car was a Mini Cooper.  A grocery facility with limited goods was the garage of someones home and was open whenever they chose to be open which was not while we were there.  It was worth the visit (especially for diesel fill up.

     From Hartley Bay we decided to make our way back down.  We spent the next 6 days anchored out in small and secluded coves of Princess Royal Island.  We were determined to encounter a spirit bear.  There are approximately 500 of these spectacular creatures in existence and approximately 300 hundred of them inhabit the Princess Royal Island.  A Spirit Bear is a black bear with blonde hair (not albino). Though we would dinghy across to the shore and plant bagels with peanut butter with hopes of enticing the beautiful creature, we never got to see one. We anchored our ever-so-trusting ROCHNA at Cameron Cove, Penn Habour, Bone Anchorage, Cowards Cove, Morris Bay.  During this time we had dinners made from fish that was caught daily (including rockfish, halibut, and salmon).  On June 11, we made our way back to Shearwater Marina where we re-provisioned and had a lunch made by someone other than me (the restaurant at the marina).  Of course Bucket enjoyed his usual meal away from home, a hamburger.  We used $32.00 for laundry, $278.00 for groceries, $10.00 for showers, and $124.00 for fuel.  That night we had cereal with real milk for dinner.

     Then back out into the solitude world of anchoring for the next seven days.  We went into the McNaughton Group, Judd Cove (Watt Bay), Lewall Inlet (where we crossed paths with Ken and Mary on 4th of July), back to Pruth Bay, and Waterfall Inlet of Fish Egg Islands.  We had more rainy days than sunny ones.  We often asked, "Will we ever experience summer again."  We would get in FRESH and dinghy around and explore the shores, rain or shine.  We found fresh water streams for bathing, playing and exploring.  We always brought along a tin can containing a few coins for noise making, which was probably one of the reasons we didn't see any bears. Ya think?

     On June 19th we started getting our first taste of civilization.  Well, sort of.  While anchored at Lewall  Inlet (June 15th) Scott took the dinghy over and had a visit with Ken and Mary.  This was the beginning of buddy-ing up for the two of us.  Velvet Sky and 4th of July would meet and tie up on the docks of Dawson's Landing, on June 19th.  We got held up at Dawson's landing with 4 days of rain and gale force winds.  The best part about this was that we got to know our new friends better and on a much deeper level.  Together we found laughter in the high prices of expired food (most of it was expired at least a year), the milk was brought over by a boat while we were there and cost $16.00 a gallon.  The laughter helped ease the shock of paying a little over $300.00 for a small 3 bags of groceries (less the milk). Civilization?

     On June 23, we left shoved off the dock at Dawson's Landing and set course for Duncanby.  With Duncanby in our sights we decided to put the transmission in neutral and do some fishin'.  This is when Scott caught the "Yellow Eye."  He caught a couple of smaller rockfish a short time before the yellow eye and through them back to in so that they could grow older and bigger.  We discovered that Eagles like the "throw backs."  An unintended consequence of a too-small rockfish being pulled to the surface quickly is that the fish needs to acclimate in order to return to the depths.  In the meantime they float on top the water.  Well....while acclimating (floating) the fish becomes easy prey and the eagle gets and easy meal.  The circle of life.  I cleaned the yellow eye in the cock pit, washed it and put it in the fridge for dinner that night.  Scott got bitten by the fishing bug.  We tied up at the dock at Duncanby at 12:30. He brought his pole and tackle out on the dock (in driving raining, I must add) where he caught the ling cod.  Feast!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nanaimo, BC (here today)

     We have returned to civilization.  There are large metal contraptions that roar and grumble and roll around on this completely unnatural black trail that meanders through this village that has large buildings with flashing signs.  And there are people everywhere! Hundreds of, thousands of them!  And they sit in these contraptions as they move throughout the village.  They do not carry back packs loaded with water, snacks, first aid, bug spray, and sunscreen.  They carry fancy little bags that fit  in one hand or over their shoulder.  So many of them are looking at their hands and moving their fingers around on some rectangular device.  They rarely look up.  They are all moving so fast and look as if they have some place to be.  No time to talk, I'm late, I'm late....

     So this is the city! Cars, and streets, and stores, and shopping, and people, and phones, and people in cars with phones going shopping, and internet that works.  And ice cream and hamburgers! (Yells Bucket)  His first meal when we tie up to a dock in a place that serves food is a hamburger with catsup and pickles, his favorite.

     Our most recent experience with a real city was just a few of days ago (July 9, 2014).  We were in Campbell River (fishing capitol of the world).  Campbell river is a city of 40 thousand.  Can you say, "Over stimulated?"  Okay, everyone knows what it is like to be in a big city.  We had not planned to arrive in the city for another day.  Before Campbell River we were at a nice little dock at Port Harvey Marina.  Let me back up a little more.  On July 08, 2014 at  09:43 we start the engine at 09:55 we cast off from the dock at the quaint and pleasant Lagoon Cove Marina (one of our favorite stops in the Broughton Islands). At 10:03 we are underway, our course overground is 100 degrees (m), speed overground an easy 6.6 kts, true wind speed the dull 2.2 kts, and we are in a comfortable depth of 176 feet.  It is overcast and cool, looks like rain.  We have a course set for Port Harvey.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Photo Update

Yellow Eye Rockfish for dinner?

Or Ling Cod?  Both caught the same day and on the menu for dinner that evening.

Excuse me?  Can I get a price check (at Duncanby).

This is a real road, it is called the Corduroy Road.

Hiking back from the lake at the "now closed Greenway Marina."

Deep in the woods....happy days

A bird tornado forming

Hello Mr. Humback whale


Hello again....he entertained us for a good 45 minutes.  We have videos of this whale and a pod of dolphins (wish I could figure out how to post them).  Amazing!

My friend, Mary.  She travels on the Grand Banks named 4th of July.  She is a keeper!

Bucket makes friends so easily.  This is Bucket, David, and Guiness going out to pick up the prawn trap.

Returning with 3 prawns  (they were BIG prawns!)

David is certain we should have a dog on the boat.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


     I have a new found respect for the technological bundle of internet, email, texting, and words with friends.  I got the news that my Grandfather had a severe stroke and may be undergoing some type of surgery by the end of the week.  Yes, I call him Grandfather.  He never said whether or not he preferred Grandpa or Gramps or anything other than Grandfather.  Although I am sure that if he did not like the name I gave him he would surely let me know.  He had no problem speaking his truth to me.  I could always count on him to be straight up and forward with me, no subtleties and no beating around the bush, not from him, not ever.  That is what I admire and like about him.  When I was just a little girl, still in grade school, I watched the movie "Heidi."  Heidi and her Grandfather had the perfect relationship as far as I can remember. It was then that I decided to call my Grandpa, "Grandfather," it was a name, that for me represented a purest form of trust and love. 

     I love my Grandfather.  I love him for so many reasons one of them being that he liked me and not because he had to.  He genuinely liked me.  He listened and conversed.  He never ever casted judgement or lay shame, though, trust me, he never hesitated to tell me if he though I was full of shit. He called bull when he thought bull.  He brought me laughter and confidence and I trusted that he always had my back.  He lifted me up.

     Now here I am so so many miles away and he is thinking of leaving this world.  I know it is ridiculous for me to think that I could find a way to get to Idaho and I could change everything.  Make my Grandfather well and put him back to the way I remember him.  I am not going to make it to Idaho any time soon and I feel so helpless and sad.  If I could just have another moment with this man whom I hold so dear to my heart.  He must know that he is one of a kind in my book and he added so much joy to my life.  He made a difference.  His love, honesty, and so many words he spoke from his heart, adds to the beauty I find in life.  I can only hope I told him and showed him what he meant to me.   

     A few years back I read a book by Mitch Album titled "The Five People You Meet In Heaven."  I just want to say that I hope my Grandfather is one of the five people I have the honor of meeting in heaven. 

     I have hope that he will recover from this stroke.  So far the news that I have received has been far from positive or hopeful of a full recovery.  I will keep him close to my heart and in my thoughts and send prayer for peace, comfort, and healing.

  Thank you to my loved ones (Shawn, Hope, and Carlee) for reaching out to me and keeping me informed.  It means more to me than you will ever know.  I feel pretty blessed that we are docked and a little closer to civilization and I was able to receive the news, though I would have preferred it to be good news.

April 3, 2014

I love this smile

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dawson's Landing

     We rarely stay in one place for more than a day. We haven't any phone service. This is a strange way of living. I feel so primitive sometimes.  Conserving water, making bread two or three times a week, using powdered milk, washing clothes in the cockpit by hand and hanging them out to dry.  Sometimes I get so frustrated with the whole thing and want the conveniences of being a "land lubber."  Then, on the other hand, fishing for our daily meat is kind of exciting.  I do have to tell you though, I filleted the cod the other day and had such a hard time.  I don't know how to fillet ANYTHING!  I made such a mess (a bloody, yucky mess) and the fish was looking at me while I was stripping him of his meat, which I mutilated and wasted so much of.   Scott has done the catching, and cleaning and I do the cooking.  Anyway, we were underway and fishing and I HAD to do the filleting.  It was terrible for me! I thought, "Oh, my....I think I might have to become a vegetarian." Well, we had cod and rockfish for dinner that night and all that passed.  The fresh food is unbeatable.

     We spend most of our days anchored and tucked away in little coves away from and out of the weather.  Our solar panels provide enough electricity to watch a movie and have lights at night. Our stove is propane and we have diesel heat. The heater, uses less than a gallon of fuel a day. We carry 57 gallons of diesel in our tanks and 150 gallons of fresh water lasts us about two weeks. We haven't hiked in a while because we have been in bear country and we don't have bear spray. When we go out I carry a beer can full of coins and spend the entire trip making noise.  We would really like to see the bear instead of scare it so we set out peanut butter bagels and sit on the boat waiting for a show. We haven't seen the show yet.

     We have seen many other forms of wild life which is totally cool though. And we DID see that Mama with her two cubs. What we really wanted to see is this bear called a Spirit Bear. It is a blonde brown bear.  You can look it up and read about it.It is not albino, just has an odd gene and there are about 400 of them on Princess Royal Island, BC.

      Right now we are held up in a place called Dawson's Landing. We have been here since Thursday the 19th. The weather has been calling for gale force winds (Southeast) between 20 and 40 knots and seas up to 8 feet. We have to go South around Cape Caution so we need the wind and sea in our favor. We think we will be here until Tuesday. We are feeling very cooped up. The rain is relentless and the only trail here is the dock which is about 400 feet long. I am ready to move on.

     On the bright side.  We crossed paths with this wonderful couple in Princess Louisa Inlet. They are traveling on a boat named 4th of July. We re-crossed paths on our way back down in Lewall Inlet on Stirling Island. They also ended up here at Dawson's Landing, waiting out the weather. We are very happy to spending the time on the dock with them. They have turned out to be top notch people, and we have decided to keep them. They are good friends. Their names are Ken and Mary and they live in Nevada. They cruise this area once a year for vacation and have done so for years.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Photo Update

These swings have been appropriately labeled "Adult Swings."
They are located on a trail in Lagoon Cove.  Scott could almost touch the sky!  He got the swing as high as a 90 degree angle!

The swings from a different perspective

From Lagoon Cove to Sullivan Bay

A fire on the beach a Fury Cove

And marshmallows ....  of course

And sand/shell castles

The monster trucks work much better on the beach than on the boat

NOW a sand beach.  This is called West Beach at Pruth Bay on Calvert Island

Yep...real sand and a WHOLE sand dollar

The finder (he left it where he found it)

Rock climbing after some wave running

A full day of exercise (we all love this)

This is the coolest outhouse on any trail we have wandered thus far (Pruth Bay)

Fire and Mallows (peace, love, and joy!)

We are artists!  Our sculpture on West Beach

This is art (not done by us)

Carved in a tree at Pruth Bay
Butedale....there is history here
The remains of an old cannery

Looking a bit worn down

The dock at Butedale. It only looks unsafe

Another view
Planes dock here too...must be safe

The powerhouse

generator for electricity

ran using an alternator 

The mind that makes this work is a brilliant one
Look!  Scott caught dinner!  21 1/4 inches

It actually fed us two dinners!  Indescribably delicious!

We were hoping to see a "Spirit Bear," (which is a blonde brown bear)....all we got was  a research ground that was surrounded with barbed wire that captured the hair of the bear as he walked around the baited area.

So....we gave up bear scouting for the day and went swimming instead ( was like 46 degree water)

This like a good place to build a sculpture

And he was right

Scott builds one and so does Bucket...TWO sculptures left at Morris Bay on Lady Douglas Island
Our return trip to Shearwater (as we head back down) blessed us with a velvety sunset

And a second stop at West Beach in Pruth Bay

Offered Bucket a beach race with a student at the research institute (his name is David, he is researching the life and behavior of the River Otter)

Bucket also joined the girls on the dock researching the Moon Jellyfish.
He was sure they were disappointed when he had to go.
His words were, "Well girls, sorry, but it is time for me to go.  Don't touch the Lion Mane Jellyfish, they will sting you."
Wild life....An Eagle observes the line up of Ravens on the breakwater at Alert Bay

Swan in the wild.....such an "AWE" moment for me

Dinner (cod, and not his good side for this photo)

Eagles...lovely proud and majestic

Cape Caution on our way up

Whale fin....say hello

And good bye

showing a bit of hump

and a bit more

before he fades away as mysteriously as he appeared

We LOVE LOVE LOVE the dolphins  (I am trying to post a video of them dancing and playing at the bow of the boat while we are underway)