Goin’ North 2017

Conundrum has just returned from an epic journey to the north! Throughout our amazing trip we put 47.9 hours on Conundrum’s engines and covered a grand total of 463 nautical miles! Our journey took us from Seattle, to the San Juan Islands of Washington, up through the Gulf Islands, to Sunshine Coast of Canada, over to Vancouver and gorgeous Indian Arm, across Port Sidney on Vancouver Island, and finally back to America through the San Juan Islands again.

20170902_162048000_iOS

Conundrum takes a wake inside Deception Pass

We began our trip on Friday 8/18 with two days in Roche Harbor. Weather forecast was a bit snotty for the Strait of Juan de Fuca so we opted for Deception Pass with our friends on Be-Knotty and L’Atitude. It was all good until we got hit on our starboard stern quarter by a wake from a tour boat that ignored our call through the pass and passed us right in the middle of the pass during a moderate flood current! Conundrum handled well but I did have to throttle down and correct back to starboard into the center of the pass as we already chose a path favoring the left side of the pass. Roche Harbor was an impressive start to the trip. We had to privilege of traveling with three amazing musicians that provided unbelievable entertainment for us all weekend long! Thank you so much to Will Champlin, Tim Moyer, and Chai McLean for providing world class entertainment for us and an amazing ad hoc show for the Meydenbauer Yacht Club rendezvous. You guys rock!

Our next destination was Echo Bay in Sucia Island. We cruised over in the morning and spent two peaceful nights on the hook rafted up with Splash Dance as we waited for the Tyee Yacht Club Goin’ North fleet to join us on Monday, the second day of our stay in Sucia! Echo Bay provided us with amazing sunrises as well as our first opportunity to train our boat dog Brit to be a dinghy dog! That’s right, we had to dinghy Brit to shore for her potty breaks and she did amazing! Monday we hiked over to Fossil Bay and then over to Shallow Bay. That evening the weather was perfect and we circumnavigated the island in Splash Dance’s dinghy. The TYEE flotilla arrived Monday evening and we all prepared for our trip across the border into Canada and up to Salt Spring Island.

20170822_002654044_iOS

Conundrum and Splash Dance in Echo Bay

 

Following Echo Bay, we joined with the TYEE fleet and headed across the border to Ganges Marina on Salt Spring Island in Canada for two nights. Ganges was a cute town with good food and even better shopping! Seaplanes landed regularly and the flight path was right over the marina! They came so close on some approached that it seemed like we could reach out and touch the planes as they zoomed by. The TYEE fleet had left a day before us and spent a night up in Ladysmith. We got up early to meet them as they left Ladysmith on the way to Nanaimo. Our plan was to ride with the flotilla through the Dodd Narrows and based on the weather in the Strait of Georgia, make a decision to cross or spend a night in Nanaimo with TYEE. Turned out the winds laid down enough for us to cross with an 8-10 kt NW wind and once we negotiated the Dodd Narrows we parted ways with TYEE until later in the month, when we would meet again in Port Sidney, and we motored the rest of the day up to the Backeddy Marina and Resort in Egmont, BC.

20170823_195650464_iOS

Seaplane central on Salt Spring Island

Backeddy is one of our favorite places we’ve been to in the PNW. First off you must time your arrival with slack current. The max flood on the day of our arrival was 12.4 kt! That would make for an exciting docking experience! We timed the slack perfectly and pulled in for a 2 night stay right at 4:30p on Thursday 8/24. Backeddy was quiet and very relaxing. We did not have many neighbors during our stay and we were able to do some well timed dinghy hijinks through the Skookumchuck rapids during slack.

20170825_000018775_iOS

Conundrum on the Backeddy guest dock

On Saturday we left the peacful confines of Egmont, headed back down the Agamemnon Channel, along the norther edge of the Strait of Georgia, and into Vancouver for a four night stay at Coal Harbour Marina right in downtown Vancouver! Coal Harbour was a nice juxtaposition with Backeddy and we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and food of Vancouver!

20170827_180404869_iOS

Vancouver as we approach Coal Harbour Marina

Sunday morning we cruised up to Port Moody BC to pick up Conundrum’s prior owner Tony. He took us on a fantastic guided tour of Indian Arm. I couldn’t help to think that Indian Arm reminded me of a mini-Puget Sound with it’s combination of islands, coves for anchoring, and marina/outstations but perhaps even prettier!

Our final night in Vancouver we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on the west coast, the Blue Water Cafe. It was a perfect ending to our urban getaway on Condundrum.

On Wednesday 8/30, we left Vancouver behind us and we cruised across the strait in 10-15 kt SSE winds and re-engaged with the TYEE flotilla at Port Sidney. As we cruised through Active Pass we were met with a brief rain shower (the only rain during our entire trip) at the entrance to the pass but it didn’t dampen our mood as at the same time we saw a small pod of orcas cross our path heading south. Port Sidney was a pleasant surprise. The marina and surrounding town was much larger and more modern than we expected. Once we realized the Victoria Airport is located there as well it all made more sense why the amenities were up to date and well maintained!

20170831_135014631_iOS

Good morning Port Sidney!

After a nice breakfast in Sidney the TYEE flotilla split up. A couple of our boats cruised across to Roche Harbor for the weekend while the rest of us made our way across the border and into Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. Once we cleared customs we continued into Reid Harbor with Splash Dance and we rafted with Ocean Dream who had made their way across a bit earlier in the day. The weather Thursday afternoon was perfect and we took advantage of it. We piled into two dinghies and made a dinghy run over to Roche Harbor for some seafood and a drink! A bottled of champagne and a pail o’prawns later and we made our way back to Reid Harbor. Friday we packed up a picnic lunch and hiked to Turn Point and the lighthouse. If was quite a hike but we made it up and back without too much trouble. Brit made the trip with us and made it all the way back form the lighthouse to the schoolhouse .7 km from the dock before laying down for a well deserved rest!

Friday our small flotilla grew by one as Aventura met us and added to the growing raft up to Ocean Dream. The weather was perfect, the winds light and we had no problems rafting to Ocean Dream and their massive 125 lb Rocna anchor! Ocean Dream had a successful crabbing day and treated the rest of us to delicious dungeness crab! We also all got a crash course in the best and fastest way to clean and cook crab! Thank you Bonnie and Kevin!

20170902_140709036_iOS

The TYEE Reid Harbor raft up!

Saturday 9/2 the final three remaining in the TYEE group weighed anchor and cruised across to Lopez Island for the final night of the Tyee Yacht club’s 2017 Goin’ North cruise. The entrance to Fisherman Bay on Lopez is tricky and not for the faint of heart. We waited until there was enough water in the channel to snake our way in and tie up at the Islander Marine Center. Happy Ours visited us from Roche and several of us walked up to town for an ice cream. For dinner we cooked steaks, drank wine, told stories, and celebrated a successful cruise.

Sunday was the last day of our adventure. We parted with our TYEE friends but looked forward to meeting up with Be-Knotty once again on Orcas at Rosario Resort. The winds kicked up as we entered Rosario and with a little help from Tony from Be-Knotty we were able to negotiate a tight entrance and find our way into our slip through the 15-20 kt NW winds! The final night of our adventure we had a great dinner on Orcas at the Madrona Bar and Grill.  Our three week adventure ended as it started. Good food, good drinks, and great company with our friends Tony and Vicki. As if this last night wasn’t perfect enough, our trip home was through perfect calm conditions south through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and as we passed Smith Island, a humpback whale crossed our bow and surfaced three times as if to say safe travels home!

20170904_191632345_iOS

Home sweet home!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sucia Island Sunrise!

Conundrum arrived in Echo Bay on Sucia Island Sunday 8/20. We left Roche Harbor and had a nice calm run over to Sucia while passing Orcas Island on our starboard. We were met by our good friend Joseph and Bryan on Conundrum’s sister Meridian 411, Splash Dance. We anchored out in Echo Bay awaiting fellow TYEE flotilla arrivals on Monday. We took advantage of our extra day on Sucia with a nice hike over to Fossil Bay. We had a picnic lunch and made our way back to Echo Bay with a short stop to check out Shallow Bay. In the evening, we circumnavigated the island in Splash Dance’ dinghy. Sucia was amazing and the sunrise over the bay every morning could not be described by words! On to Ganges on Salt Spring Island… Oh Canada!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Happy Birthday America…and Dad!

July 4th is my Dad’s birthday. We usually spend the week on Cape Cod but this year we changed it up a bit. My parents came out for a visit this past April and we took Conundrum to Gig Harbor for a few days. Happy Birthday Dad! We miss you guys!

This year without our usual east coast trip scheduled, Conundrum joined friends B Knotty, Epic, and L’Attitude up in Friday Harbor for a good ol’ 4th of July celebration! We embarked on our trip Thursday morning, 6/30, for an overnight stay in Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend is an amazing little town with great shopping, food, and of course…coffee! B Knotty arrived a few hours behind us after trying their luck crabbing and we had a nice quiet evening before venturing across the Straight of Juan de Fuca.

We were greeted Friday morning with fog. Visibility was less than 1/4 mile and the sailing vessel that was clearly visible just outside Point Hudson Marina the day before was all but invisible from Conundrum. We left a few hours later than anticipated but confident in our instruments. Thank you RADAR and AIS! 20170630_174306873_iOS

As we hit the fog we were hailed by the USCG. A submarine was in the area and we were asked to stay away. A little zig-zagging about and we were back on course to Friday Harbor! Seas were a bit larger than predicted and we did have to do some tacking back an forth to keep to head or following seas to limit the rolling in the NNW seas and winds. Our friends in L’Attitude were meeting us along the way and were able to meet us right about the buoy in the TLS area in the middle of the straight.

Great job by Captain John! The fog lifted as we made our way into San Juan channel and by the time we tied up at Friday Harbor it was a beautiful, sunny, PNW day!

Friday Harbor was simply amazing. It was our first time visiting and we now know what the fuss is all about! Great town, good food, music, and very friendly. We took several dinghy rides around the harbor and around Brown Island. We thought we were about to come up on porpoises or even a whale in the marine preserve but they turned out to be two deer taking an afternoon swim! The fireworks on the night of the 4th were amazing although Brit, our boat dog, was not amused. After Friday Harbor’s show concluded we turned to the south and were treated with a second show over at Lopez Island.

Wednesday we left Friday Harbor nice and early to hit slack and the flood tides back to Seattle. We ended up taking a nice trip back to Elliott Bay Marina, made very good time, and were treated with sighting several orcas off Shilshole as we made our way south!

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tyee YC visits the “French Riviera”

Conundrum joined Tyee YC’s June sunset cruise down to Des Moines, WA. Getting underway about 3p Friday, we had head winds and an ebb tide that slowed us a bit but we made it along with passing a couple of friends on the way. Kokanee and the Journey were steaming along at about 8-10 kt and we figured we’d get in ahead of them and help them in. Friday night was docktails and then dinner up in town. 11 of us feasted on chinese and had a wonderful time talking about what else… boating and cruising in the PNW!

Saturday was breakfast on the Ocean Dream. Kevin and Bonnie laid out a spread of croissants and all the fixins along with some fabulous french press coffee. It was a lazy day on Conundrum and we got some reading in, tinkered on the boat, and took a walk up into town for some quick shopping. There was also a nice little farmer’s market set up right by the marina. Everyone strolled through and found some nice gifts, fresh produce, or just grabbed lunch on the go at the amazing food trucks that were present. By Saturday evening all boats were in and we had 6 rafted and stern tied up to the dock! Dinner was a pot luck with a french theme. Everyone brought their favorite recipes and there was even a french wine tasting, again courtesy of our fleet captain Kevin!

Sunday people we on their own for the most part given it was Father’s day. A small crew that stuck around the dock gathered on Conundrum for coffee and breakfast. By noon everyone began preparations for departure. A 1pm departure ensured we had a following sea and a nice light wind pushing us on our short trip back to Seattle. Thank you Tyee YC for a great weekend on the “French Riviera” down in Des Moines. We are looking forward to the next cruise!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pleasant Harbor was…pleasant!

Conundrum set out Friday with our EBM friends “Be Knotty” headed up to Pleasant Harbor inside the Hood Canal. It’s a trip both of us have been wanting to take for a while. 3.5 hours later we entered PH. It was a nice surprise! The harbor and marina are very quiet and secluded. It offered a wonderful place to wind down from the hectic work week but also good food (especially the pizza!) at the Galley and Pub and we even got to enjoy some live music on Saturday night provided by Howly Slim!

Saturday morning we took the dinghys north and then later on were joined by L’Attitude from Edmonds and that night we enjoyed Copper River Sockeye and prawns on the grill!

Sunday we took off from PH about 11:15a and had great weather back down to Seattle. Fishing must have been good in the Hood Canal because we saw several groups of porpoises feeding and even got a glimpse of a couple larger whales!  Thank you to the staff at the Pleasant Harbor Marina and the Galley. They made us feel very welcome. We will be back!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Opening Day 2017

Saturday was opening day for the boating season here in WA! Conundrum was back at Elliott Bay Marina getting some TLC while we were invited onto her sister Meridian 411, “Splash Dance”. Splash Dance was rafted up with several other Tyee YC boats bringing it strong for opening day! Thank you for the invite and the great day on the water Joseph and Bryan!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Killer Whales off Vashon Island

On our way back to Elliot Bay Marina from Gig Harbor we ran into a pod of Killer Whales! It was an amazing site as they followed us close off starboard for 15-20 minutes. But not too close (stay at least 200 yds away)!  It was our first whale sighting and it was great to experience them with my parents who were in visiting from Boston!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.