Since sailing into Neah Bay in late July, I've been transient in the Pacific Northwest. Being transient in this area during the summer is no hardship by any means. Summer is the time to be out on the water and enjoying the area, and that's what I have been doing.
The ultimate destination of this cruise was Shilshole Bay Marina, where I have been on the waitlist for a slip to become available. The marina contacted me last week to let me know that I could come in, and this morning I arrived and I am now tied up in my new home, slip C-82. I've become a marina based sailor again.
Since leaving Shilshole in September of 2013 I have been in two marina's: four or five days in La Paz while I was preparing for my passage to the Marquesas and then a few days in Cabo San Jose while I was checking out of Mexico. Since then Luckness and I have been at anchor, on a mooring or sailing between destinations every single day. I'm looking forward to having easy access to land again.
My second cruise has finished, September 2013 to August 2016. Over the past few weeks, since being back, memories of the cruise keep flashing into my head unexpectedly: the people I met along the way; the places I've been on this trip; sights I've seen; experiences. What a fine way to spend three years.
Rather than posting a picture of Luckness in her new slip, which would be a pretty ordinary, here are a few pictures from my recent passages:
Posting pictures of sunrises and sunsets is somewhat of a cliche in the cruising community. As a group, we see so many astounding sunrises and sunsets that if we were to post pictures of them all, the web would fill up with them. Here's one of the many astounding light shows I enjoyed along the way from New Zealand to Seattle - the sunrise on May 10th, toward the beginning of my passage from New Zealand to Seattle.
Its somewhat surprising how many people ask about the storms I've encountered while sailing, or ask about the largest waves I've been in. There have been some time with more wind that I would have liked, or with rougher seas, but being becalmed with almost no wind, or no wind at all, is by far a more common occurrence. And you know what? Being becalmed in the tropics can be beautiful as well. I love the deep blues of the water on ocean passages.
Here's one of my many new buddies, Dennis on s/v Pamela, as he was leaving Hanalei in his Pacific Seacraft 37, single handing his way back to his wife in San Francisco.
I mentioned my incredible encounter with the whale as I was traveling north from Hawaii, before I turned East to head into Neah Bay. I took a lot of pictures, and most of them did not turn out well. Its a well known fact, in some circles, that pictures of large waves do not convey the experience well. You could be in some dramatic waves, take a picture of them and then later when you see them? They are completely underwhelming. Well, the same may be true of whale pictures. The whale above was very close to the boat, and was enormous! Read back in the blog for more of a description of the encounter; the memory of this encounter will stay with me forever. Astounding.
Some beautiful downwind sailing. There has been lots, and lots of this. I enjoy to sail, and there has been a lot of enjoyment on this, and my previous cruise.
Luckness, anchored in Friday Harbor. Before I left on this cruise, you could walk down the dock at Shilshole and stand right beside Luckness and admire how beautiful this boat is. As the cruise progressed, if you got too close you might (I would) start seeing little things that needed attention: the hull oxidizes easily in bright sun and greys, the wax needs constant attention as does the varnish. Despite its reputation, stainless steel does rust, and needs fairly constant attention. As the cruise progressed the distance you needed to be away in order to fully appreciate Luckness's beauty grew and grew. This is about the right distance while I was in Friday Harbor - from this far away you couldn't see the rusting stainless, for example. Over the past three weeks, I've been working on cleaning her up again - and if you were to walk down the dock at Shilshole today, you could again admire this vessels beauty from up close. (...as long as you ignore the varnish, and I have a completely different plan for that which will have to wait until next spring/summer to work on...)
It was a good trip, which is a very understated way of describing my last three years. I'm not sure what my future sailing plans are at this point, but when I returned to the Pacific Northwest my intention was to stay for a while and then leave again. I've sailed two loops now, the second larger and longer than the first. I tend not to make long term plans; who knows what I'll be doing in three years time? Maybe sailing down the coast on a new adventure?