Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back to land

After our stop in Seattle we moved on to Tacoma, Olympia, Bremerton, Port Townsend and back to Roche Harbor for a grand Ranger Tug Rendezvous.

We arrived today at our last stop, Everett, Washington right back where we started. We left the Ranger Tug Rendezvous a day early since weather predictions did not seem favorable for getting back when planned. The Rendezvous was well attended. One hundred and seventy-five boats in attendance. They said this is the largest rendezvous in the world.

So now we will spend tomorrow getting the boat prepped for land travel. On Tuesday, 09/13, we will load ILLUSIONS up on the trailer and hit the road. We will be heading south and making stops in Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit my cousins and Austin, Texas to visit my niece. Our travels on the boat this year will be 180 days. We covered a lot of ground and water. We are so grateful to be able to have this experience and to have met so many nice people along the way. They have become more than just passing ships in the night. As we were making our way towards Everett I received a call on the radio from someone. “Illusions, Illusions Illusions, this is vessel Tribute." I responded and was requested to switch to Channel 69. It was former Ranger Tug owners John and Laurie that now own a Kadey Krogen. They recognized our boat since it is one of a few tugs having the Laurene Green hull color.  We met John and Laurie in Florida when they were doing the completion of their loop trip in their Ranger 29. The boating world can be small and no matter where you are paths do cross more than once. And there is always someone you meet who knows someone you met. Below are some trip stats and below that some pictures of the towns along the way. 

Trip Stats

146 hours of engine time
1037 Nautical miles traveled  Average speed 7.10 KTS
1193 Statute miles traveled    Average speed  8.17 MPH

Fuel Consumption 347 Gallons
2.98 NM per gallon
3.43 Miles per gallon

While in Tacoma I tried my hand at a little glass blowing. Chihuly may have competition in the future.

A bit of help from my instructor. That is red hot glass he has in his hand. I was told it is 2,000 degrees. Those who visit us in Rhode Island can tour my masterpiece in our garden next summer.

A piece on display at the Chihuly Glass museum in Tacoma
Five floors like this of cars from every vintage to every make. An outstanding collection and a must see. The American Car Museum in Tacoma, WA

The Capitol Building in Olympia

Downtown Olympia

Our dock at Bremerton. We hit it right. They were having the Blackberry Festival the next day. It seemed everywhere we went in Washington and Canada you could find wild blackberries and just pick to your hearts content. Or should I say stomachs content.
A view of the waterfront in Port Townsend. Jess said this was her favorite stop.

Can you see our boat? A great spot for a Rendezvous and a spectacular event put on by Ranger and supported by many of their suppliers. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Seattle here we come!

After Anacortes we worked our way down to Seattle stopping at Langely along the way. Langley is a quaint seaside town and offers a nice Main Street with plenty of shops and eateries. It is a great spot for stopping halfway to Seattle.

The Bell Harbor Marina in Seattle couldn’t be in a better spot to stay. We were right downtown and were able to walk to everything. Seattle is rich in history and has quite an interesting beginning. We learned a lot about the history on the Underground Walking Tour. Seattle had actually burned to the ground on June 6, 1889. It was started in a Carpenter shop by John Back, an assistant, heating glue over a gas fire. The glue boiled over and fire quickly spread with one calamity after another. It hit a liquor store, then a saloon. Needless to say lots of alcohol added to the flames. To make matter worse the water pressure for the hoses was weak and the hoses were too short. Eventually an entire 25 block area was destroyed and had to be rebuilt.

Since they were rebuilding they decided they would level the city off somewhat by cutting the top of the hills and moving the fill to the waterfront to raise it. They estimated that the project would take ten years. The building owners wouldn’t and couldn’t wait ten years for new buildings. They decided they would build new buildings with the idea that once the land around them was filled their first floor would actually be the basement. How do you fill in around buildings and keep them open and accessible during the process? They built retaining walls around each building about twenty feet or so away from the building and about 12 foot high. The fill was then brought in and built up on the outside of the walls and this became the street. Ladders were put in at intervals to allow people to climb up and down to get to the businesses. I am sure if OSHA existed then they would have had a field day. Once the streets were complete they then installed beams from the retaining walls to the buildings and planked it over and then poured concrete over to make the walkways. The second floor was now the first floor and the first floor became the basement. The basements had windows and doorways that opened up to the now abandoned underground sidewalks. Our tour took us through sections that were musty and dirty with debris strewn about. It was a dank walk back in history.

We also rented a car and drove to the Boeing plant where we took a tour of their manufacturing facility. It is amazing how they build the planes on an assembly line type of environment, building one per month of the 747.

While in Seattle we looked up Jess's cousin Helen who she hadn't seen in 40 years. 

Next stop Tacoma.

Interesting way to store dingys in the marina at Langley. Photo courtesy of Laurie Hafener

Chihuly Museum in Seattle. Chihuly has installations all around the USA and the world

Boeing celebrating their 100th anniversary

View from the Seattle needle

Walking the underground

A typical glass walkway embedded in the sidewalk to allow light into the underground
The topside of the sidewalk glass

The entrance to the teller's cage when it was originally on the first floor.

Some Chihuly works on exhibit.

The Space needle

A Chihuly piece with the space needle in the background.

Great Picture of Jess, don't you think?

Pike's Market is a place to see. Several blocks of food and people selling their wares.

Just like the old Patty Duke show, "Identical Cousins, two of a kind."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Respite in Anacortes

We took a two week break from cruising in Anacortes, WA. We had a great time there with two other Ranger Tug owners, Ron & Libby from Tug O' My Heart and Steve and Laurie from Sea Life Too. We know Laurie and Steve from Sanibel, Florida and we know them from there and by happenstance we crossed paths in Anacortes. It was a great two weeks of hiking, seeing sights and crabbing. We now are heading south and going as far as Olympia, WA and then returning to Roche Harbor for a Rendezvous with 139 Ranger Tugs in attendance.

Stay tuned.

Entrance way and exit to downtown Anacortes

Mount Baker

An interesting sea wall in Anacortes

Mike & Jess, Steve & Laurie, Ron & Libby
The Anacortes Jive Six
Moonlight in Anacortes

Laurie took this picture of the reflection of our stern in the water.
"Reflections of Illusions"
Sounds like a good title for a book.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls

The trip to Princess Louisa Inlet is considered one of the holy grails of cruising. We started early morning at 6:00AM from Backeddy Marina to make the 37 nautical mile trip to Malibu Rapids. There are many areas in this section of cruising that have large dangerous rapids and timing is everything. You have a small window of opportunity to pass the rapid areas at slack tide. Slack tide is the time between high and low when there is the least amount of current. Either side of that window and you are literally taking your life into your hands. Timing calculations are important and figuring when slack will be involves using a tide station that could be a significant distance from where you will be. It is suggested that Point Atkinson, which is near Vancouver be used and then add 36 minutes to the stated slack after high tide and that should work. Now the trick is to pace your speed to get there just at the right moment. GPS has made those calculations somewhat easy. I set my destination waypoint at the center of the rapids. I initially figured a speed of 6.5 knots running up 37 nautical miles. My GPS will then tell me my anticipated arrival time based on my current speed. As you progress winds and current change and this requires either slowing down or speeding up so that you maintain your required arrival time. We left figuring the worst case scenario and kept having to throttle back because mother nature was helping us way too much. We even stopped and anchored for a half hour since we were going so fast. We arrived at the entrance point and as one can suspect we were not the only boat waiting for slack. And remember boats want to go in and boats want to go out. It is a pretty orderly operation. You can see the Rapids from the outside and everyone is looking down the small narrow channel to see how it looks. No one wants to be the first in and usually the biggest boat takes the plunge and then reports back. After that the chatter begins (maybe that is why it is called Chatterbox Falls) and everyone announces their place in line and waits for a clear spot to enter. Only one boat at a time can go through since it is so narrow. Usually groups of three or four, one at a time, will take turns entering the rapids or exiting from the falls side. “Security, security, security, 27-foot Ranger Tug entering Malibu Rapids. Any vessel opposing please respond immediately”. No response, good to go. Usually a few other boats behind you will report accordingly and announce who they are behind. When there is a break in the announcing by incoming, anyone on the other side will jump in and announce their exiting. We all have about a 20-minute window on either side of slack to make the passage. It works well and we all enter and exit in one piece. As we get closer to the falls the canyon walls get higher and steeper, raising vertically at points to 3,000 feet. Waterfalls run down in several places and on this day clouds hung low is places creating a Jurassic Park feeling as we progressed. We finally made it to the falls. It was now time to find a spot to anchor. There is a dock, but it is usually full before you get there. The people anchored out from the night before grab a spot as soon as those who were there leave to exit.
We coincidentally met up with a couple of other Ranger Tug folks that we met previously so three of us rafted up for the night while the other group miraculously found a spot at the dock. After rafting up it was time to go to shore and hike the numerous paths and see the falls up close. Pretty magnificent. The trip was well worth it. After the hiking Jeff brought over a bucket of clams he had dug up from his secret spot the day before. Before you knew it we had an impromptu repeat of the Feeding of Multitudes from the Bible. Ken and Sandy made spaghetti and clam sauce. I cooked some clams in a tin foil bag I made and used garlic, butter, wine, onions and basil and steamed them on the grill, Ron and Libby made garlic bread and Jess made a salad. We all sat down on Sandy and Ken’s 29 foot Ranger and brought our food, appetizers and wine and indulged in a feast.  It was a great evening and we wished it wouldn’t end, but for us and Ron and Libby it was early to bed early to rise. The rapids went slack at 6:05 AM so it was a 5:30 AM departure to make it through.

Below are a few pictures of our journey to the falls. 

We are not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Yes, a bit ominous looking.

I think I saw a dinosaur 

The Falls are not as big as they are in early spring. I read that in the spring you should not anchor in front since boulders do come down at times.

Some markings of water running down earlier in the season.

I expected Gollum from Lord of the Rings to pop out at any time!

So after they put up the sign no one else died? 

Gullum are you home?

Typical forest foliage.

More forest foliage

Baby Chatterbox maybe?

Forest gnomes!

Ron, Jess and Libby going back to the boat. Not our boat behind them. Ron has a bad sense of direction. Explains why he always follows us. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Desolation Sound

It is said that Desolation Sound is one of the best cruising grounds in the world. Each destination for cruising in the world has its unique reason for being great and Desolation Sound definitely has some unique spots. For that matter the Pacific Northwest has many unique spots. I am not going to get too wordy here, the pictures tell the story. 

This is the Family dog Clipper at Widernest Marina. He is half Wolf

Definitely not the East Coast. 

This is a fresh water lake we hiked up to. No showers on the boat tonight! A nice dip in the lake.

Jess making it to the falls at Toba Inlet. The owners of wildernest use this for hydro-power and all the water for the marina.

When cruising you always make friends along the way. We met Ron & Libby in Gorge and they decided to travel with us on the rest of our adventure. So far we are all still smiling.

The Toba falls

Every view is interesting up here

Here we are in Laura Cove stern tied. Stern tying is common in these parts. The water runs deep quickly from shore so you need to get close. Stern tying prevents swinging so more boats can anchor closer together. The ladies are enjoying a break after a short cruise.

Sunset view at Toba Inlet. One of our favorite stops.

Anchored and stern tied for a stop at castle falls. Unfortunately we did not get a shot of our boats in front of the falls. It got late and the wind kicked up and we had to skedaddle to a safe anchorage

Jess scaling down a rock embankment to enter Castle lake for a swim.