Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Currently Speaking

It was Memorial Day Weekend and we had no plans. The weather was shaping up to be pretty darn good considering the last few months, but Brad and I had a serious case of indecisiveness. After our wonderful little spontaneous dinner in Port Madison last weekend, we are feeling like we can just make something without much planning.
Sometimes (more often than not in our past life), planning is a good thing. We had even tried some planning: friends down the dock had lost their ride for Swiftsure and we had proposed going a couple of different places. They thought it was a great idea and left without us on Thursday evening (bummer that some of still have to work). I must say at this point that they did make it up to us, but I am getting ahead of myself. I wasn't prepared to make momentous cruising plans on my own, so I figured we would just stick close, maybe going to Poulsbo and getting breakfast from the bakery would be just fine with me. If that was going to be our plan, there was no need to get going til Saturday some time.
Thank goodness for customers who often need Brad's help with local knowledge of waters around here. It just so happened that we had closed a boat that the owner was delivering to Sydney and being from Calgary was relying on Brad to help with his trip planning. Brad started looking at the tides and weather and realized that we could have some of the biggest currents of the year. A plan started to crystalize and by the time Brad was able to join the kids and I at our neighbors' dock party, we were pretty sure that it was going to be an early morning heading north to the San Juans. Where exactly, well, like I said, we were having a serious case of the indecisives.
Saturday morning dawned beautiful (but calm). At least, we had that raging current. We headed north at 6:30. The woman across the dock was encouraging her husband to "hurry up" with those dock lines as she backed out their powerboat. I usually back us out, so I did the same thing (tongue in cheek, of course). When it was finally a reasonable hour for normal people to recieve phone calls, we put in a call to some friends who have a cabin on the south end of Lopez Island.
A cabin that they have had for 9 years and we have been trying to connect with them at for most of that time. The moon and stars aligned: they were in Anacortes awaiting a tittle higher tide to get out of the marina and head over with some other guests. We made it to their mooring ball by 1:30 and spent the rest of the day catching up and exploring their property and oh yeah, the kids played on the beach. The cabin is very cool, much like a boat as they are not connected to the grid. They have a battery bank charged by solar power and a very cool catchment system.
As of Saturday night, we still had no plan for the rest of the weekend except that we could always fall back on hit Henry Island (outstation) or Mystery Bay (a state park across the street from Deer Meadow). Then, our friends from down the dock (the ones who left without us on Thursday) and their cell phone intervened with a text message about coming to play with them in Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. Again, we had killer currents to get us up to them about midday and so that's what we did. Since, we were waiting for that all important current shift about 11:00, we had a leisurely morning with our friends, I even got in a little kayak trip around Aleck Bay and oh yeah, the kids played on the beach.
A quick two and half hour motor (no wind), but again awesome current, we made Reid Harbor. With a good weather report (no wind expected), we rafted to our neighbors and their friends. They had been waiting for us to take a dinghy ride to a beach that they had seen on their hike the day before. We may not have found the exact beach they had seen, but we found one that had the warm afternoon sun and lots of rocks to skip in Prevost Harbor. One the way back, with the Baker family re-distributed to even out the dinghies, a little dinghy race took shape. It had all the makings of a dramatic competition with the fastest boat encountering engine trouble near the finish and eventually being overtaken by a smaller but more reliable team. There was a group effort barbecue and some live music once we joined by another friend from home later in the evening who motored over from Sucia.
Again, the currents were with us if we left Reid Harbor around 9:00 am (that left me plenty of time for a nice kayak around the foot of the harbor). The Straits were lumpy as the easterly finished out and swung around to a weak westerly. Up went the sails as Austin was not feeling very well and Brad was trying to steady the boat. Sailing was nice while it lasted but the dying wind and calming seas combined to get us back motor sailing the rest of the way home. Just about the mid-channel marker (about 25 minutes from the dock) a nice northerly began to fill in as Brad and I were putting away the sails.
Pretty good weekend for CAPAZ considering that we really didn't have a clear plan on Friday night!

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