Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Shakedown Cruise To Seattle

Welcome to my blog. This first entry is a test run as this is my first blog experience ever. I wanted to share with my family and friends our journey to Alaska this summer. My family, which consists of my bride, Val, 2 boys, Cody-17 & Connor-12, and our 2 labs, Lucky and Tanner, will be attempting to motor from Orcas Island, WA to Glacier Bay, AK and back in about six weeks. The six of us will be stuffed into our 33' Ocean Sport Roamer, a 370hp single diesel cruiser. If all goes as planned, we'll be cruising nearly 3,000 miles (with side trips), taking many of the same passages as the cruise ships. I hope to share our experiences and photos every couple of days as we meander along and can pick up an internet signal. This is definately a new and BIG adventure for us South Dakota kids, so PRAY FOR US! Also, send us a note and let us know how you are doing and how your summer is going. So, for a little of the past (really, an attempt to figure out how this blogging thing really works)...
We arrived on Orcas Island on May 22. One of my first goals, was to get the boat launched. It takes a while to get the boat ready and moving around a 33' 17,000# boat on land is a lot more difficult than in the water! The boat seems so big on land but so small when everyone is on board and cruising through big water!
In less than 2 weeks, we'll be setting sail for Alaska and I want to make sure that the mothballs are out of the boat! Cody needed to go to Seattle to catch a plane on Sunday for a Summit Ministries Camp in Colorado, so we decided to take him in the boat, about an 80 mile run one way. That little shakedown cruise should reveal any system glitches from the winter and it gives us a great reason to go explore that area of Puget Sound.
On Friday, May 29, we made the 3 hour run from Orcas Island to Elliott Bay Marina. The weather was perfect. We timed the currents to run through Deception Pass, no problem. Elliott Bay Marina has very nice facilities and the views are great! (Click on the picture for a higher resosultion view.)

On Saturday, we toured Pike's Market, a classic Seattle tourist spot. Val and I really enjoyed it but Cody would rather be in the wilderness. Connor is just a happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flo kinda guy. On Sunday, Cody took a taxi from the marina to catch his flight. Connor, Val, and I went to the Seattle Acquarium and the Space Needle. It was very nice but we're ready to get out of the city.

So, on Monday, we left Elliott Bay, sailing past downtown, on our way to Blake Island Marine Park, only about 10 miles away. It felt great to get out in the woods, let the dogs run, and get some "openness" again. We don't mind being in marinas with lots of other boaters....they're very friendly, for the most part, and always helpful; however, we'd rather be on the hook (anchor) in our little slice of a cove. So, we got our fix at Blake Island.
On Tuesday, we sailed for Port Orchard to check it out, had lunch there, and then sailed over to Bremerton, a big Navy base. Connor and I were excited to see an old Navy ship that we could explore. Val wanted to shop but the boys won out! Connor really enjoyed the ship and so did I. Mom still wanted to shop!
We left late afternoon for about an hour run up to Port Townsend, a favorite spot of ours. We went downtown for some dinner and shopping. Val is happy now!
Wednesday morning, Val was taking a shower and hose coupling let go so I spent an hour or so cleaning up water in the bilge and fixing the leak. (Part of working out the bugs...and pretty typical on a boat.) We sailed back to Orcas Islaand that afternoon. Crossing the Strait of Juan DeFuca can be horrid but today it was sunny, hot, and dead calm seas! I've had some crossing attempts fail and scared the heck out of me! Glad this one went well!
So, the shakedown cruise went well. We had a great time. I have a laundry list of items that need adjusting, fixing, cleaning, and just plain attention. But, I think we're ready for Alaska. Now, if I can just get this blogging thing figured out.