Updates since last summer

It’s been awhile since we updated the blog.  We’ve gone on a few trips, and made some more upgrades.

Here are the highlights of the last half of 2015 and the first half of 2016:  Lots of pictures, not much text.

Big improvement in the wheelhouse:  A new floor.  We chose a cork floor.  So far, she’s holding up well:


There are no straight lines on a boat.  Every piece was scribed.


So good to see the old floor disappear


2015 Labor Day cruise to Victoria BC for the Victoria Classic Boat Festival:

We transited the locks (small locks, outward bound) for the first time with just the 2 of us.  It was totally uneventful, which is what we like.

Spent a day in the San Juans, then went to Customs at Bedwell.  Coming into Bedwell, there must have been a strong current, because the boat made a sudden 90 degree turn without us touching the controls.


A sudden turn coming into Bedwell Harbor from the southeast

We headed next to Secret Cove, where we were hosted by the very gracious Ericssons.


The Olympus and Teal


Teal heading out

We ended up staying in the cove for 2 nights before heading over to Genoa Bay, on Vancouver Island.  While we were there, we decided to accept patina.  Instead of sanding down the interior of all of the doors and refinishing them properly, we decided to take a halfway step: take all the paint drips off, sand down the rough spots, and layer on a few coats of varnish.  This actually greatly improved the appearance, and was a good stop-gap measure.  The gap that’s being stopped might extend several years…


Work in progress


Improved look



We next went to Sidney Spit, one of our favorite locations.  Our friends Paul and Erica flew into Victoria and made their way to Sidney Harbor, where we picked them up in the Go Fast Boat and brought them back to the Gyrfalcon.

The four of us headed to Victoria for 3 days of fun.



The harbor


Commodore Ken’s boat, the Patamar


The water taxi ballet


Gyrfalcon at Victoria Harbor

We even won the award for the best liveaboard!

After Victoria, we headed back through Friday Harbor and US Customs, then went to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island (back in the USA), and spent the evening kayaking, before heading home the next day.


Deerleap at the dock next to Syrene II in Deer Harbor


Paul and Erica coming back from kayaking

Peter managed to damage his back hauling lines going through the locks, and his injury didn’t respond to conservative treatment. He ended up on the surgeon’s table in December, but somehow managed to recover enough for our next trip:

The Christmas Bird Count:

We have been providing the platform for the pelagic Christmas Bird Count in Seattle for a few years now.  Basically, we take the boat out to Shilshole Marina the evening before the day of the bird count.  Our intrepid bird counters plus bird nerd wannabes come on the boat at 0 dark 30, and we head out on a prescribed course that has been followed for the past 20 years.  We count the birds that we see, and add them to the tallies of all the other Christmas Counts in the Seattle count.  We’ve had about 15 people aboard  each of the past few years.

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Cathy Britell’s photo of the Gyr returning from the Bird Count.  Note the intrepid birders on the foredeck and the fantail.

The upgrades:

We have spent the past year making numerous upgrades to the Gyrfalcon.  Some are cosmetic, some are for comfort, and some are for safety.  Here’s a list of the ones we’ve made since last July:

Canvas for the vents and for the roof freezer and railing on the pilothouse roof

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The cowl vent canvas is a big improvement over black plastic garbage bags adorned with duct tape.



Rubber padding on the dock piling

Canvaswork on cables and hydraulic tubing in the guest quarters

New VHF radio with fog horn and loud hailer

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New radio–easy to reach and has an auto foghorn.


AIS (Automatic Identification System) an electronic transponder system that allows us to “see” other boats (if they have AIS) on our charts and they can see us. It tells us what kind of boat, how big it is, how fast it is going, and where it is going (like an airplane flight plan)


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The new AIS unit

With upgrades to the boat, work travel for Peter, and with Nancy based in San Francisco for her job, we didn’t have much chance for weekend trips so far in 2016.  However, last weekend, we went to the Bell Street Classic Boat Weekend and had a blast.  More firsts for us:

First time going out through the Large Locks by ourselves.

First time into Bell Street Marina by ourselves (it’s a tight entrance)

First time time inbound through the locks with just us 2 (small locks)

We (Gyrfalcon, Peter, and Nancy, that is) were featured on a local Seattle early morning television show. We had more than 750 people tour the boat over 2 days. After the public has seen all the boats, they get to vote for a People’s Choice Award. This year, Gryfalcon won!

And now we’re less than one week away from heading north.  Destination: The Broughton Islands.  Stay tuned for more adventures.

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3 Responses to Updates since last summer

  1. Jacqueline says:

    Have a great time in the Broughtons!!

  2. Ashton Kelley says:

    You guys are incredible!! I can see how your boat won the award!!!

  3. Linda says:

    I love reading of your (Nancy, Peter, and Gyrfalcon) adventures. Sorry about Peter’s back, but glad he is better and ready for more adventures.

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