This was our first trip after the installation of the renovated winch was a 12-day trip to the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and to Victoria BC for the Classic Boat Festival.
August 25 (Day 1: Home to Port Townsend)
Our friend Ricardo flew in from the East Coast and his daughter Marcia arrived after driving the coast from California. We got them settled, did some more provisioning, and headed off to Port Townsend, anchoring in the usual location, just off-shore from Haven Boat Works.
We took Ricardo and Marcia into town on the GFB. They spent a few hours wandering around the port town, and then returned for dinner. We tested out a new crab pot in the harbor. No keepers. The next morning, we picked up Esther and Chris who drove over from Marrowstone Island, and headed up north. Wildlife: Bonaparte’s Gulls and Harbor porpoises.
August 26 (Day 2: Port Townsend to Sucia Island).
Marcia shared her family recipe for Columbian Arepas for breakfast. Excellent; we will add them to our Gyrfalcon menu.
The weather was excellent, and crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca was great. Just north of Marrowstone Island, we encountered hundreds of small seabirds. They were too small to be gulls, and held their legs wrong for sandpipers. After studying my bird guides, I determined they were Leach’s Storm Petrels – an unusual sighting for the location (must have been migrating), and a new Life Bird for me!
On the trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we had great views of Mt. Baker on the mainland to the east. Always a good day when one of the mountains is out
When we arrived in Sucia, we deployed the kayaks. There are many narrow harbors on Sucia. Chris and Esther circumnavigated the island and portaged from one bay to another.
Wildlife: Minke whale, sea lion, seals, common murres, marbled murrulets, Heerman’s gulls, Leach’s Storm Petrel.
August 27 (Day 3: Sucia Island to Stuart Island – Reid Harbor)
Before we departed Sucia, Nancy went for a morning kayak. It’s the best time for photos–especially animals.
Today was a fairly short cruise. We arrived in Reid Harbor (one of our favorite anchorages) early in the day. Everyone went kayaking. Marcia decided she wanted to practice her open water swimming skills. Although she swims regularly, Pappa Ricardo wasn’t convinced, so he followed her to shore in a kayak – just in case. We all hiked to the old school house in the center of the island. Ricardo and Marcia got picked up by a ranger who showed them the lighthouse as well.
That night we were treated to two Barred Owls signing duets across the harbor. Wildlife: harlequin ducks, black oystercatcher, pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, seals, least sandpipers, great blue heron, deer mouse, deer, barred owls.
August 28 (Day 4: Reid Harbor to Bedwell Harbor to Sidney Spit to Glenthorne Passage)
We left Reid Harbor and crossed the Canadian border to the Gulf Islands. Cleared customs at Bedwell Harbor on Pender Island. From there we cruised south to Sidney Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island. Ricardo & Marcia went ashore and hiked along Sidney Spit. Esther & Chris had to leave us to go back to work. Peter took them in the GFB to the ferry dock in Sidney, where they caught the WA State Ferry back to Anacortes, and then worked their way home.
Meanwhile, David and Susan Wisdom flew into Victoria Airport to Sidney. Nancy took the GFB into Sidney to reprovision, then met the Wisdoms at the Port of Sidney marina and brought them back to the Gyrfalcon. After everyone was settled, we cruised up to Prevost Island to Glenthorne Passage (between Secret Island and Prevost), where Curt and Marsha were hosting their annual party. We rafted up to Teal and went to the party where we ate, drank, and caught up with lots of friends.
August 29 (Day 5: Glenthorne Passage to Genoa Bay)
In the morning, Nancy made her special huevos rancheros with chorizo. After breakfast, some of the crew joined the Prevost Island Farm tour, while others of us (who have done the tour in the past) lazed around on the Gyrfalcon (huevos rancheros are filling!)
We then cruised to Genoa Bay, and anchored in the center of the quiet harbor. Ricardo and Marcia kayaked ashore and had a great meal at the Genoa Bay Café.
Meanwhile, Susan tackled cleaning the brass stair rail. It looks like the rail tackled her!
She talked David into helping her, and the rail was soon shiny once more.
Wildlife: Mew gulls, Olympic gulls, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher
August 30 (Day 6: Genoa Bay to Cadboro Bay)
We left Genoa Bay in the morning and went looking for deep water. When we found a deep spot with 492 ft of water, we let out all of chain and cable from the drum on the port side of the windlass, and then rewound under tension. This experiment was conducted to make certain that the cable was wound on the drum under proper tension.
With the anchor back on board, we cruised on to Cadboro Bay on Vancouver Island. We have stayed there several times on our way to the Victoria Boat Festival. It is a popular spot: Teal, Thelonius, Marian II, and Joshua were all nearby. The yacht club holds a weekly regatta on Wednesday nights. They asked if they could put an inflatable Pink Panther on our bow as a race marker. For several hours, we were surrounded by sailboats and slightly inebriated sailors as they tacked around the Gyrfalcon.
Captain Bill from Joshua rowed over in his dinghy with a sprayer of oxalic acid, which he used to clean rust stains on Gyrfalcon. I think he couldn’t stand the site of the unsightly rust on our flanks. It did the trick, and the boat looked much better for her upcoming appearance in Victoria. After the hull was clean, Nancy decided to attack her nemisis – spiders under the coachhouse roof.
August 31 (Day 7: Cadboro Bay to Victoria Harbor)
We sailed around the southern end of Vancouver Island in a convoy of ships headed for the Victoria Classic Boat Festival and arrived in Victoria Harbor in time for the annual docking rodeo. We docked with the rest of the workboats at Ship Point Wharf along with David B, Teal, and a number of smaller fishing boats. We spent the rest of the day preparing for the show.
Summer Wind came up and docked right behind us. Once again, ASV-79 [E Lester Jones/Summer Wind/] and ASV-80 [Patton/Gyrfalcon] were docked together.
September 1-3 (Days 7-10: Victoria Harbor)
The next three days were spent at the Victoria Classic Boat Festival. The boat was open to the public from 10-4, and several thousand people took a tour of the Gyrfalcon. Our neighbors at our home dock, Andy and JoEllen, took the Victoria Clipper from Seattle and spent the weekend on the Gyrfalcon, so we had a full house.
When kids come aboard at shows, we give them a personalized sticker that declares them Gyrfalcon Captain. Then they get to sit in the captain’s chair and “drive” the Gyrfalcon.
Our crew took turns acting as docents: Ricardo won the prize for making up the most facts about the boat. We attended the cocktail reception and the Awards Dinner. We had asked not to be judged this year (mostly because of the sad state of our bulwarks), but we won Best Liveaboard anyway. One night, our crew took Nancy and me out to dinner to thank us for the trip. After that they went to a local drag bar for music and dancing; we went home to bed.
September 4 (Day 11: Victoria to Port Ludlow)
We left Victoria early and crossed the Strait to clear customs in Port Angeles. We then sailed along thenorthern border of the Olympic Peninsula, past Port Townsend to Port Ludlow. The converted halibut schooner, Merrie Ellen, was also anchored there. We had toured the boat the year before when it was at Victoria. In the afternoon, Captain John motored over and stayed for dinner. That night the moon was dark red, due to smoke from forest fires.
September 5 (Day 12: Port Ludlow to Ewing Street Moorings)
In the morning, we all went over to the Merrie Ellen, and Captain John gave us a tour. He has done an amazing job on her. We then motored back to Seattle, and found that the small locks were closed.
When we got in the locks, we discovered our friend Gordy (he built the pilot house roof in 2012) in the boat in front of us. Of course he was weating his Gyrfalcon t-shirt!
We spent 2 hours jockeying for position outside the locks, and then 1 hour locking through, before we made it back to our dock. The sun was still blood red because of the continued fires and smoke. When we got home, we discovered a fine coating of ash on the decks. Andy and JoEllen were there to great us (they had taken the Clipper back on Sunday). Andy had won a high output propane burner at the Festival auction, and could not wait to try it out.
Ricardo and Marcia headed off by car to Oregon and California, and David and Susan took the train back to Portland. Another fine cruise with good friends was completed.