Monday, August 3, 2009

HELP! No Worries- I Just Need Your Feedback!

Did that title get your attention? No worries. We're safe and sound; but I would really like you're help. I'd like some feedback on my blog. Would you be willing to share with me? How did you find out about the blog? How often did you read it? Did you read every entry or just some or simply scan the pictures? Was it too wordy? Too many or not enough photos? Where are you from? Did you know me before you found the blog? Are you a boater? What did you find most interesting about the blog? Any overall comments about the blog or the trip? Please feel free to cut and past the above with your answers or just send me a note with your thoughts? Thanks!

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!

Friday, July 31, Port Hardy, Still –

Not much has happened lately other than waiting, waiting, and more waiting. It just about kills us to watch all these huge Halibut and Salmon coming in off the fishing boats and not being able to go catch them. Our new outdrive left the San Juan Islands bound for Seattle yesterday afternoon. It left Seattle and arrived in Port McNeill early this afternoon and the mechanics got it installed by about 4PM. (We are taking the blown one back with us for an autopsy.) Our boat got back in the water by about 5:30PM, just in time for a big thunderstorm; the first one we’ve seen this summer. Nutz! We were hoping to cruise for a couple of hours tonight. The forecast is for severe thunderstorms and gale force winds. So, we’re staying put here for the night. Karl, Randy, Donna, Amber and so many others here at Quarterdeck Marina have been so nice to us. It’s great to see so much quality service again. The Volvo Penta dealer in Port McNeill was great as were the folks at Kenmore Air and Ron Meng at Islands Marine Center. Everyone worked hard to get us back in the water.

We also met a lot of other nice boaters on the docks. The boys saw a 27’ Skagit Orca go by and commented that it looked like our old boat. I looked up and said, “Hey, that IS our old boat!” We ran over to great Tom and Theresa Connelly, who bought it from us. They live just north of Nanaimo but were up here fishing and we just happened to run across them. The love their new boat and are really making good use of it. They came in with four really nice Coho and one nice King. Tom didn’t think it was that big but Theresa did. (Guess who caught it?) Cody spends time working on his school work. He’s getting a great jump on his senior year already. Connor loves talk to people on the dock and throw a lure at anything that moves (above and below the water!) Last night, he caught two small Halibut right off the dock. (Actually, there was another name for them, but they looked like big sole or little flounder. Whatever they are, he had a great time catching them.) Tanner and Lucky enjoy all the attention they get from the passers-by. Val even got to walk to the mall today for some shopping. I enjoyed the whole boat lifting, fixing, process and was glad when everything checked out.

We had pizza delivered to the boat tonight. We had our devotions and played our nightly game of poker. I did win the last two games and even had a true Royal Flush; which I’ve never seen before! But, Cody is really running away with the summer standings. Val is in a potential come-back second position (with some major luck.) I doubt if I can ever recover from my third place standing and Connor is dust in the wind.We’re thankful that we’re back in the water and that all the planes, people, and parts made it here. We’re praying for flat water tomorrow morning and we’re leaving at first light. So, I better get to bed. You should too. Good night and God bless you.