May 4, 2017
We have a week vacation on Samadhi! Ashley, the kids, the dog and the cat picked Dan up from work and headed to Anacortes. We were getting alerts that a thunder and lightning storm was moving north which we seemed to be about 45 minutes ahead of. We got the truck unloaded, Samadhi loaded and ready to leave the dock just as the storm came over the southern hill in Anacortes. We saw some sheet lightning and it started raining just as we were pulling out of the marina. We decided to go anyway unless it got bad. We had a slip reserved in Victoria BC for the next 2 nights (prepaid of course) and really wanted to get there tonight but knew it might be an uncomfortable trip. Dan found a place on the southern end of Lopez Island that is a hide out in case of storms so knew we could pull in there if needed. Except for some cold rain, we really didn’t encounter bad weather and eventually the rain ceased. We pulled in to Victoria Harbour about 10pm in calm and clear conditions and were tied to the dock by 1030pm. Samadhi is right in front of the Empress Hotel and the Parliament building. Both are beautiful at night.
May 5, 2017
Went out for a lovely and delicious breakfast at a modern diner right in downtown Victoria it was great until a mouse appeared at our table then we were all on edge a bit. From there we visited the Royal BC museum. It is a great museum that we visit whenever in Victoria. We headed back to Samadhi for some lunch and naps then back to the museum to see an IMAX 3d movie. It was about the reefs in the Pacific triangle and the kids seemed to enjoy it. After the movie we walked to the grocery store and stopped at a park for the kids to play a bit. Tomorrow is a big day so we’re headed to bed early. We plan to leave at 4am to head out the Strait of Juan de Fuca and up the western coast of Vancouver Island. The winds are forecasted to be light until the afternoon so we’re expecting a slow sail right into the wind with lots of tacking. The journey is 90 miles which can be accomplished in 18 hours or so.
May 6, 2017
Left Victoria 4am in calm and clear weather to make our way to Barkley Sound. We were expecting wind around 10 kts. We have been working on using weather models as it’s something that we need to master before conquering open ocean. We were seeing 15-20 once we hit the straits. You could literally see a wall of white caps ahead as we found the area where winds and tide and shallow and deep water all converged. The ride got quite rough with Samadhi’s bow lifting as we came off a wave then getting buried in the next one. The kids slept until around 530 when the pounding woke them. We stayed on a SB tack until off the Washington coast then tacked and headed NW on a port tack, we were heeled about 20 degrees with the SB portlights and rail in the water. The kayaks on our deck that are usually strapped on at times were actually floating as the wall of water rushed from the bow of Samadhi back towards the cockpit. Once awake the kids stayed in their bunks watching the water go by their porthole, talking and reading books. Ashley went down to check on them and noticed she immediately felt very seasick forward in the boat. A quick check on them confirmed they both felt the same way and were quite queasy. We got them moved to our bed in the aft of the boat but by then they couldn’t shake the feeling of being queasy. While ferrying them from the forward cabin to the rear we noticed quite a bit of water in the galley, on the countertops and under the oven. Salt water. Ugh, not good. There was no obvious place it was coming in but the galley porthole had quite a bit of water around it’s frame and the 2 in the salon had a bit as well. After getting that cleaned up we got the kids upstairs but it didn’t clear up their feeling sick very much. At 715 we decided that between Ashley and the kids feeling seasick, their fear, higher than forecasted wind, the angles we had to sail at requiring much heeling, and now water intrusion that continuing on for another 13 hours would be uncomfortable and not much of a vacation. Eventually we have to tackle rough sailing but for right now we want the kids to enjoy the boat and sailing. We have a book called “Gentlemen Never Sail to Weather” there’s a reason for this. Sailing towards the wind causes the boat to drop into the troughs between the waves and plow into the next wave thereby making for a very ride. As she slams down into the trough and plows into the next it sends water over the bow and sprays the cockpit. As far as the sails are concerned this is called being close hauled, sails are winched in very tight. It causes quite a bit of pressure on the mast and rigging. Sailing downwind (with the wind behind the boat) the waves gently lift the stern of the boat lifting it and making for a less forceful interaction between the water and the boat. The sails have to be very far out over the sides of the boat but because the angle of the wind can easily cause the sails to go from one side to the other (called jibing) it can create an unsafe situation. A large sail with lots of line (rope) whipping across the boat from one side to the other can cause extreme damage to the rigging (even bringing down the mast) or can injure or knock a person off the boat if they are hit by the boom. So, to keep the sails from coming across unexpectedly we have some tools to prevent this from happening. For the forward sail, we have a pole that connects from the mast to the line that controls how far out the sail can be over the side of the boat. For the mainsail, we have a line that connects to the boom forward on the boat, called a preventer. The preventer give us some peace of mind but we are still very mindful of wind angle because it’s not foolproof, the mainsail is big and the wind powerful so can still cause damage if wind gets on the wrong side of the sail. It was disappointing but felt good to know we would be able to pull into an anchorage in daylight and to rest after a stressful morning. Again Samadhi proved to us she’s a strong and capable boat. We learned that we need to get the kids into the aft cabin before leaving on such an adventure again (even if the wind models say it’ll be light) and that we need to look into resealing or possible replacing some portlights. Yay for another boat project. When we turned back we were headed downwind so set up the main preventer and spinnaker pole and since the seas were now following the ride was much better, we even ate a bit. As we left the straits and headed north up Haro strait the seas got rough again but at least we were on a beam reach and had a much larger margin of error for taking the wind. We tried an anchorage in the gulf islands of BC but it was full so we headed east back into US waters. We ended up at Reid Harbor at Stuart Island. It was wonderful! We found a little island to explore and let the kids get off the boat. Since it was our niece’s birthday (happy 18th Tiffany!) we named the island after her.
May 7, 2017
Stuart Island is a great little island with some hiking, from the anchorages you can get to the north-western corner of the island where a lighthouse and coast guard station are. It’s not a strenuous hike but it is over 3.5 miles each direction. The kids were troopers and made it both ways. There is a 1 room school house along the route that sells shirts, hats and post cards to help fund it. We got the kids shirts on the way back. We couldn’t have been prouder that they hiked 7.3 miles. We saw a swing in a tree, a couple farms, an airstrip with little plane, and old abandoned car (a necessity it seems on these remote islands), and a couple of garter snakes.
May 8, 2017
Dan got up and ran over 3 miles with Ranger this morning. Ashley and the kids just had a lazy morning. We left Stuart around noon and headed over to Jones Island. We didn’t see any deer but did take the obligatory Murphy picture in the Murphy tree (we forgot the tripod and no one was around to take a picture for us so Ashley is missing in the picture). After a quick trip to shore we got back underway and headed to today’s destination… Patos Island. Patos is the most northern San Juan Island, the anchorage is tiny and shallow though we got Samadhi in fine. Thankfully just 1 other boat was here and they were on a buoy so didn’t need much swinging room (Samadhi swings a lot and she needs lots of room). Dan and the kids went to shore while Ashley stayed behind to take a nap in the cockpit and have some quiet time. It mostly was quiet except Ranger kept whining because he wasn’t onshore with the family. The kids found tide pools, little crabs, hermit crabs and all were impressed by the beach on this little island. It’s the first time any of us have ever been here and Dan says it’s his new favorite island.
May 9, 2017
This morning we went to the beach and gathered drift wood, shells, lichon & moss, and sand. Dan remembered a fun craft from his childhood where they created a little beach scene on little pieces of driftwood. We recreated them and they are adorable! They made them for their grandparents and couldn’t be prouder! After the beach craft we hiked the short walk to the light house. Upon returning to Samadhi we pulled up anchor and sailed to Sucia. We attempted a few different techniques with the spinnaker pole and the genoa. We still fumble like idiots with it and are out of ideas. We anchored in Echo Bay, took naps then headed over to Ewing Cove.
May 10, 2017
We packed up the kids’ school work and hiked over (hike is probably a stretch, it’s less than a mile) over to Shallow Bay. We sat at a picnic table for their lessons and then played on the beach. Tomorrow is forecasted to rain. We’ve had great weather this trip, other than a bit of rain Friday when we were in Victoria, so have decided to head back to the marina tonight. After nap we went for one last trip to Echo Bay. We pulled in to the marina about 8pm and had lots of cleaning up to do. One week with 2 adults, 2 kids, 1 dog and 1 cat and poor Samadhi is dirty! We left for home after 10 so didn’t get there until almost 1am. We woke up to pouring rain, which Ashley was thankful for. She didn’t want to come home so early in Dan’s week off but was happy to be home during the rain.