Home at Last

Day 29 & 30 – The last two days out on the water will be spent in Seattle school shopping for the kids, and cruising the last leg to our home port in Tacoma.  We woke up late with a great cup of coffee looking up at the city. Against the kids wishes, everyone got ready for a full day of back-to-school shopping.  It was a must though, the kids go back in a few days and this it our only opportunity.

Back in the big city after all that time bonding with nature can be a little shocking.  We ran around from store to store getting the kids everything they needed then had a great dinner at Ettas.

After getting up early the next day to wash the boat, we took off for the final run to Tacoma Yacht Club. Thankfully it was a nice calm day so my wash job stayed nice and clean.

30 days out on the boat with two kids is quite a long time.  It certainly has its challenges, but even after all that time no one really wanted to go home.  As we approached TYC we all talked about the fun we had and our favorite moments.  The time together in close quarters really helps us all become closer to each other. 

Trip Summary –

Tacoma – Sucia, 102nm
Sucia – Roche, 17.8nm
Roche – Pender, 10.4nm
Pender – Roche back to Montague, 32.4nm
Montague – Nanaimo, 28nm
Nanaimo – Garden Bay, 34.7nm
Garden Bay – Grace, 48.6nm
Grace – Tenedos, 9.67nm
Tenedos – Roscoe, 5.79nm
Roscoe – Laura, 5.83nm
Laura – Refuge, 8.39
Refuge – Teakerne – Squirl, 15.4nm
Squirl – Savary – Lund, 14.7nm
Lund – Nanaimo, 61.34nm
Nanaimo – Pirates, 11.1nm
Pirates – Ruxton – Ladysmith, 12nm
Ladysmith – Wallace, 15.9nm
Wallace – Otter, 14.2nm
Otter – Russell, 5.8nm
Russell – Sidney, 6.5nm
Sidney – Roche, 10.5nm
Roche – Sucia, 16.68nm
Sucia – LaConner, 30.6nm
LaConner – Seattle, 56.67nm
Seattle – Tacoma, 22nm

Total nautical miles traveled = 597.15   Thats 687.18 regular miles!
Fuel used 369 gallons = 1.61 miles per gallon
Engine hours = 86 hours 20 minutes

Crank it up!

Day 28 – Arriving in La Conner the night before, we were now ready for our 1:30pm haul out to replace the rudder shaft seal.  With some time in the morning we called our friend Steve who now sells American Tugs factory direct.  At some point we want a boat with 2 staterooms, so Steve was going to show us some options in their lineup.  We had a great time looking and dreaming about boats.  Nothing we are serious about now, but in a couple years these kids will be too big.  Exactly what we want they don’t have, but their new 48 set to come out in the next few months could fit the bill with some changes.  We had a great time discussing boats and having lunch with Steve.

The haul out and repair went smooth but now it was 3pm.  Our plan was to leave La Conner just after what should have been an 11am haul out, bound for Seattle, 55 miles away.  At 8 knots (our usual cruising speed) we would never make it before dark, so we cranked it up to the fuel sucking 13.5 knots.  The computer showed an arrival time of just before 8pm so we set off at the blistering pace.  The kids start school in just over a week, so Seattle will provide some much needed back to school shopping.

Upon arrival in Bell Harbor we were all pretty tired.  Ava went straight to bed while the 3 of us were soon to follow.  Tomorrow will be a big day for Ava walking all around the city doing what she hates, retail.


Just Northwest of Sucia Islands Shallow Bay, is an island called Patos.  Every year we pull into its small anchorage trying to find a spot to anchor, with no luck.  We have never stayed the night on this island so exposed to the Straight of Georgia its wind beaten sandstone clifs and trees are extremely ragged.

The weather was nice and calm.  We decided our best shot of exploring Patos Island would be to make the 3 mile run across fairly exposed open water from our anchorage on Sucia to Patos, using our dinghy.  Our dinghy will run at about 20mph (with the 4 of us) and is actually more stable and seaworthy than you might think but even though, its still only 10.5 feet long.

We all hopped in the dinghy for the early morning run.  A smooth crossing all the way landed us on a sandstone beach off the beaten path.  Exploring where not many go is our favorite, and this was just that .  After about 30 minutes or so I started to see the wind kick up and tide rips forming in the distance.  Not a good sign.  We didnt want to be stuck on Patos so I told Julie its time to go!  What already? We just got here, she said.  Pack it up, Im not risking the crossing in anything but perfect conditions, I said.

We piled back on the dinghy.  Weaving around some of the larger tide rips that were creating some white cap waves we rode through some building lumpy seas.  Probably nothing that would have gotten much worse but Im not taking that chance!

It was time to get the boat down to the American Tug factory in La Conner.  Our rudder shaft seal has been leaking a little bit for the last year, so it was time to get it replaced.  To replace it though, they need to pull the boat out of the water.  Our haul out appointment was for 11am the next day, so the plan was to stay the night in La Conner tonight to be ready for our appointment tomorrow.  As we were getting ready to leave Sucia, about 10:30am I got a text from the factory asking if we were close.  Close?  We were 35 miles north; and our appointment is not until tomorrow, I thought.  I figured they must have the date mixed up, so I went to my email to confirm what I told them.  Sure enough, that’s exactly what I told them, today at 11am.  How could I have got that so screwed up!  After lots of apologies I got a new appointment for 1:30pm the next day.

Nothing we can do now, lets go fishing!  We pulled out of Shallow bay and got the downrigger in the water.  After an hour or so of fishing, Skylar asked, “how will we know if there is a fish on”?  I explained how the downrigger worked then just said, “you’ll know”.  Within a few minutes Julie and Skylar start screaming “FISH ON, FISH ON”.  I was in the pilothouse and came running back to a zinging line.  All right, finally a salmon, I thought.  It fought pretty hard for a minute or so, then not so much.  As I got it close to the boat I could tell it wasn’t a salmon, then the huge mouth of a lingcod lurked up out from below.  It was a beautiful fish, but this time of year you can’t keep them.  It was extremely difficult to let him free!

We realed up, then southbound for a nice cruise to LaConner.  We tied up for the night at the American Tug docks for an early to bed.