Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Alaska Prep and Local Fun

Despite having made several trips to Alaska and living aboard the boat, it seems like the month prior to departure is always crammed with boat prep. This year is no exception. During the last few weeks I've been busy doing oil changes (main, transmission, generator), fuel filter changes (three for main, two for generator), installing a watermaker, and a whole bunch of other little things. The mechanics were aboard to adjust main engine valves and alignment and give the mechanical systems a good inspection.

I've also been busy provisioning the boat with food, household supplies, and spare parts. Although most supplies are reasonably available along the Inside Passage, it's cheaper and more convenient to do major shopping in Washington State when I have a car available.

A few more things to take care of before departure on May 15th, but thankfully the list is getting shorter!

Chores aside, I've also carved out some time to use the boat with friends or family almost every weekend. Warmer, drier weather and longer days sure make spring boating pleasant!

Safe Harbour in Shallow Bay, Sucia Island
Several weeks ago, after leaving Shallow Bay, I was boarded by the San Juan County Sheriff. 

I was on my way to Spencer Spit to meet up with a couple college friends who were bike touring the San Juan Islands. Boat supported bike touring!
Spencer Spit at low tide.
Bringing bike touring gear aboard.
Wine, Catan, and good friends.
We spent a couple of nights at Spencer Spit, then moved over to Obstruction Pass State Park.

Silvery light at Obstruction Pass State Park
Aerial of Obstruction Pass State Park
Beach fires aren't permitted at State Parks, but there were plenty of empty campsites with fire rings.
After dropping off friends, I picked up my Mom, twin brother Peter, and Maggie the golden retriever. We only had one night, so we opted for nearby James Island.

Here's a drone video I shot at James Island:

The next weekend a big group of us (brothers Ben and Peter, and a bunch of Ben's friends) went to Decatur Island. We have a small cabin on the island, so most people slept ashore. Some of the group took Retriever (yeah, the C-Dory!) to Orcas Island to ride their bikes up Mount Constitution. This was only the second or third time I've had the C-Dory and the Nordic Tug next to each other.
Safe Harbour on the dock, dinghy and kayak out-and-about, Retriever getting ready to dock...too many boats?
On the dock at Decatur Northwest
The next weekend Anna and I headed for Patos Island. Friends Laura and Kevin keep reporting strange encounters at Patos, so I had to check it out. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we didn't have any strange encounters.
Anna in front of the Patos Island Lightstation
Active Cove, Patos Island, from the air. Sucia Island is in the upper right corner.
A tree root emerges through the sandstone.
Despite calm winds, Active Cove got pretty active in the morning. We were already planning on meeting Deane and Arlene on Easy Goin' at Sucia later in the day, so we headed over early. Fossil Bay was crowded, but Snoring Bay next door was empty. We grabbed one of the mooring buoys and waited for Easy Goin' to arrive.

Snoring Bay, Sucia Island
The next day we headed back to Anacortes. Now, time to get the last Alaska prep done!

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