Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday Evening, Port Hardy to Orcas Island Dolphin Cove…A 250 Nautical Mile Day! –

Wow! I can hardly believe it. Our Alaska Trip is officially over! We’re tied up at our dock on Orcas Island. The boat is off-loaded. I’m surprised it didn’t sink with all the stuff we had on it. Last night, we went to sleep early with the thunder rumbling, lightning flashing, and the pitter-patter of rain. There are gale warnings in Johnstone Strait and High Wind Warnings in Queen Charlotte Sound and the Strait of Georgia. The winds usually die down at night and kick up by the afternoon in these passes, so we wanted to leave at first light hoping to get through Johnstone Strait. We were off the dock shortly before 6AM, hoping the new drive actually worked. We stuck our nose out of the breakwater into solid fog. We ran slowly with radar for a couple of hours with eyes pierced and bugging out. The sun finally brightened things up and burned off the fog about 7:30 or so. It was really quite beautiful. We could finally run at cruise speed. We pulled the throttles back at Campbell River about 11 and took on some fuel and lunch. By 12:30, we were cruising again. We had flat water almost the entire way with only 1-2’ chop near the end. We dropped our crab trap 4 miles out from our dock and tied up at a little after 6PM…250 nautical miles later. That was our biggest day by far. We needed to get back to pick up Cody’s best friend from the airport. The blown outdrive cost us a couple of days and we need to have a good day. Praise God for flat water and that the new drive worked. After we docked, it was all hands on deck…off-loading, cleaning, hauling, etc. Cody and Mom put clothes and food away. Connor and I hauled everything off the boat into the cabin. Mom had another great grilled Halibut meal ready for us by 8PM. Then, Connor and I went to check the crab trap. (Legally, it has to be out of the water by midnight on Saturday.) In just a couple of hours, we pulled up 15 crabs! We kept 4 large males. It was the best crab pull we’ve had all summer, right here, in our own back yard. Crazy! So, since we left Orcas Island, we’ve logged 2,806 nautical miles (3,227 statute miles,) and burned 1,680 gallons of diesel, (sorry, Mr. Gore!) for an average of 1.92 miles per gallon. (That also includes running the genset for about 100 hours and the furnace too.) We ran heavy most of the time because I wasn’t sure about fuel availability or pricing. Had I ran with less fuel, our economy would have been better; but I am very pleased with these numbers. It’s really nice having a fast boat. When we need to, we can fly…like today, for example. When we get a good weather window, we can make up lost ground. When it’s snotty out, we can hunker down and wait it out. Other than the blown drive, which was a huge deal to me, everything ran way better than I expected. I give a lot of credit to the designer and the builder, Ron Meng and Jim Lindell. The Ocean Sport is a great boat for a trip like this. God has blessed our family greatly in this last six weeks. It was a trip of a lifetime and I’m so glad we could do it as a family. It was so much better than we expected in so many ways. God took care of us. Our four daily prayers were answered: 1) We had great and safe weather. 2) We didn’t hit anything. 3) Everything kept working (except the blown outdrive, which couldn’t have happened at a better time or place.) and 4) We all got along great! Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and grace on this family. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and your family as He has blessed ours. Good night. I may have some more closing thoughts after a good night’s sleep. But I wanted to share a few pictures of the lovely San Juan Islands as viewed through the lens of my new friend, Jeff Hanson, who I met at Islands Marine Center right before we left for Alaska. He is an amazing photographer. I’ll try to load these in high-resolution so you can click on them and view them in all their glory. Speaking of glory, remember that everything you’ve seen in this blog was created by Jesus Christ for the glory of God!