Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Afloat

Guy stood watch between Capaz and Tosca
He even sometimes danced and sang when his motion sensor was working

October 24-26, 2008

We kicked off our Halloween season with a family Halloween event (or “non-event” – as we prefer to think of it) at Port Madison on Bainbridge Island. There was pumpkin carving, a haunted house, trick-or-treating from boat to boat, a fantastic potluck and just general good company. We had two pirates again this year. The boys put in some time helping to set-up the haunted house and building stuff with legos (of course).

Our two "2-year" pumpkins all carved and decorating the boat

We had two huge “2-year” pumpkins. By the way, a “2-year” pumpkin is the biggest pumpkin that you can find on the farm that Grandma Ellie buys for you just in case you don’t celebrate Halloween wherever you will be this time next year. The plan is to be in San Diego or maybe even a little farther south (Mexico). The first of which is still in the US, so my guess is that they celebrate Halloween and the second, Mexico, has a very similar huge holiday celebrated on the first of November called “Dia de los Muertos” – or Day of the Dead! I think we will have it covered!!

Back to this weekend. We arrived Friday afternoon and in time for the cocktail hour pu pu’s. The new barbeque set-up works just great – tried it out with some chicken for dinner. The Tolands and their shipmates, Chris and Skip joined us for night caps after the kids went to bed. Laurian was very slow out of the starting gates Saturday morning. The new oven is performing well giving us fresh baked muffins for breakfast. Austin was so sure he did not like blueberry muffins until he was told to eat half of one, then he immediately ordered up MORE! I wonder if this is related to the number of times that he was read “Green Eggs and Ham” when he was smaller.

Family Pumpkin Carving

Many, many pumpkins were carved on the fishing dock. I think this is first time in memory that our fishing poles have not come out at Port Madison. We carved several pumpkins including the 2-year pumpkins and the ones that we had “tried” to grow in our garden. With the weird weather we had this year, our pumpkins didn’t pollinate or ripen very well so we had two out of the three orange ones rot on us and the other three that matured were green with just a little orange starting. We carved up all the pumpkins that were not mushy!

As it darkened, the anticipation heightened for both the run(s) through the haunted house and trick-or-treating. The potluck food was varied and all yummy, though the kids hoovered it down, so that they could get on with the next thing. I manned the boat while Brad accompanied the boys through the haunted house. Austin decided last year, that the haunted house was not his thing. This year, after helping put it together, he went through it twice. Afterwards, it was down to the dock with all the kids in the costumes which become mostly covered when they don their life jackets!

Thanks to Olinda for taking some pictures since we forgot our camera!!!!

It was a full day, so everyone was to bed pretty early. We all got a good night’s sleep because brunch wasn’t until 10am. Another fantastic spread appeared and was promptly devoured. All in all, the weekend was a smashing success. We had a full house, I mean, dock with many of the families who participate in Potlatch.

We lounged about most of Sunday, though the boys did take a break from the legos and take down the decorations that were left after I took a bunch down at 5am when the wind piped up. Around 3:00 we headed back to Shilshole on the engine as we have already taken the genoa off the furler in preparation for the boat going into the yard. What a shame too! Today was sunny (and cold) with a nice northerly, perfect for a nice sail on Capaz home. Oh well, I am sure there will be many more chances in our future.

Even though it was pretty windy, Brad wanted to try backing the boat into our slip. Thank Posiden that we reside on a wonderful dock with awesome neighbors. A big thanks to Douglas and Barry who made our first back-in of boat a success on this first try. (Brad and I were prepared for several attempts if need be.) The kids are looking forward to trick-or-treating down our dock on Halloween with a couple of other boat kids from a boat that is called "Ghost"! More on that next week (I will remember the camera!!!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Australian Influence

October 3-5, 2008
"Scootering" is a verb

Wow, it has been quite a fall thus far! It was so great to get away (all the way to Bainbridge Island) on Capaz. The weekend was made even better by the company of our good friends visiting from Australia, the Harangs.

The Harangs returned from a short visit to Hood River and decided that the easiest route was to join us on the boat Friday night and then we would set off at some time on Saturday morning. I unfortunately, was not able to join the party on the boat til late because I was attending the SYC Annual Meeting. I do believe that Chef Brad prepared some sort of a meal. I can guess that the boys played legos, because, well that’s what they do!!!!

Kathryn drives Capaz

Saturday morning dawned with kinda gray skies and some showers. Kathryn got a run in and she and Mark made a quick trip to the store to supplement the provisions that I already had on the boat, making sure that we were well stocked in the fruit and milk departments (those things that are easily put in front of growing boys that are consumed without much fuss either in preparation or consumption). As we prepared to leave the dock, the boys got in some time with the legos, some breakfast, and even a little bit of scootering.

Our crew assembled and all back aboard, we left the dock and headed around the breakwater down towards Blake Island before coming back toward Port Madison where we hoped to rendez-vous with Garth Wilcox and Wendy Hinman. The logic was to go upwind a bit and then have a quick down-wind leg. Good logic considering that we saw some gusts of 30+ knots once we had reached about Blakely Harbor and turned to get to lunch at the dock in Port Madison.

It was even blowing pretty hard at the dock where thankfully Garth and Wendy were waiting to catch us. A big gust of wind right as we were about half way into the slip made for some serious excitement. It all ended well with Capaz secured to the dock. Since our friends had ridden their bikes up from Eagle Harbor, we decided to just have our meal mid afternoonand then we could have snacky food later in the day and they wouldn’t be pressured to stay late and ride back in the dark.

"Legoing" also a verb - results shown below

My pressure cooker does a most excellent job on ribs. We took our whole meal up to the clubhouse and finished the cooking on the grill. We enjoyed being out of the wind that kept howling til after dark. It seemed that the showers were missing Port Madison. The lights only flickered a couple of times. The kids played more legos and created some Spore creatures.

We eventually, migrated back to the boat where we enjoyed some dessert and good company. As the sun set Wendy and Garth decided that it would be a good idea to get their bikes headed in a homeward direction back to their boat. The boys decided that they wanted to watch “Atlantis” and the grown-ups played a rousing game of Hearts. Brad was the champion and PJ was about as far from that position as she could be. The glass of port followed by a fantastic coffee drink concocted by Brad took the sting out of the loss.

Look who is in the lead - it's all OK with Austin now

Beautiful calm and even some spots of sun welcomed our Sunday morning. There was more legoing in the aft cabin. The boys were finally coaxed out with some food. I tried out the single kayak and explored all the way to the end of Port Madison (Hidden Cove). Kathryn got the boys out into the fresh air with a kayak trip. Austin was not sure that he wanted to go in the double with her (rather than with another kid), until he realized just how much faster the two of the them could go than Bryce and Erik. It was all good. Kathryn tried out all the various forms of kayak that we had available (inflatable double with skeg, inflatable single without skeg, and hard single that we borrowed from the Club.) Mark also did a little comparing.

There must be something interesting they have discovered

Once back at the boat, the fishing poles came out and the carnage began. It was all catch and release, but the critters on the dock (being used as bait) didn’t fare quite as well as a the fish being caught and released. Hopefully, the population will rebound by the end of the month when we hope to return for the Halloween Non-Event. Mark kept trying to head up the dock for a shower, but every time I looked out to check on the boys, there he was again, helping bait a hook or looking over the edge of the dock at a particularly interesting find or trying to avoid the hooks from "the casting" poles. The dock is usually way too crowded to allow for safe casting, so this was a quite welcome opportunity!!!

Austin gives the thumbs up from the tip top

Erik reminded Brad of his promise to send those little pirates up the mast and so that's what Brad did. Erik led the charge, going right to the top! Bryce followed suit. Not be outdone, Austin made it way past his personal best of the the first spreader all the way to the top. He gave me a thumb's up for a picture and then promptly asked to be let down.

A little lunch and clean-up, then it was time to point Capaz back toward Shilshole. We sailed right across and it is amazing with a little help (from our sons also - who has stolen my children and replaced them with alien look-alikes??????) how quickly the boat can be cleaned up and put away. The Harangs headed off to their next destination in Blue Ridge. Luckily, the next time we see them, it will be because they have moved back to Seattle. It will be so nice to have them in the same hemisphere . . . . . . country . . . . . state. . . . . . . maybe even in the same county!!!!

After Saturday's blow, we decided that since there won't be really any sailing until after Capaz returns from her trip to the spa (that would be the boatyard), that we should take down the roller furling genoa. We have the greatest neighbors on F Dock. Erin and Brian were walking by and stopped to talk and even helped us fold up the sail. Thanks!!!! What a great weekend.

Sometimes they even let me drive


Walter Roger Baker 1933-2008

Note: While Bryce, Austin and I were having our little kayak adventure last weekend, Brad was down in Portland helping his step-mom, Sue, with his father, Walt’s, hospice care. Over the last couple of months Walt’s MS had quickly progressed to a point at which he had long ago decided that he would be done fighting. He submitted and passed away last Monday. The boys and I joined Brad and Sue’s family in Portland on Tuesday for a couple of days. To those of you who knew and sent condolences, thoughts and prayers, we are again reminded of the sincerity and love of our circle of family and friends – Thank you.