Jan's Journal

Living and Playing in West Sound... Haven't we been here before?

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Dec. 31, 2008: Guess I spoke too soon and jinxed us! The storm arrived after dinner last night so we climbed into bed early. Around 2330 the power went out. We wouldn't have known except Jim left his ham radio on and we were awakened when someone started talking about the power outage on the islands. Jim climbed out of bed and sure enough, West Sound was pitch black, with the exception of Manana. When the power went out, our inverter kicked on, allowing the exterior holiday lights to remain lit. I'm guessing it would have made a startling picture for someone on land. Not wanting to wear down the batteries, Jim turned our electric heater off. At that point, the wind was blowing around 30 kts, causing the boat to rock in the slip. The large round fender hanging forward would "thud" against the hull, sounding like someone was standing outside beating a large base drum. Eventually Jim climbed out of bed again, dressed, went outside and removed the fender -- my hero! Shortly after his returning to bed, we heard what sounded like a freight train except there are no trains on the island. It was a huge gust of wind; our anemometer recorded it at 50 kts (57 mph)! So needless to say, neither of us got much sleep! The power was back on by 0600 and the boat was quite chilly!

We made New Year's Eve dinner for P&B at their house and served a bottle of red wine (L'Uvaggio de tre amici) that we purchased from the Witch Creek Winery, Carlsbad, CA when we were on our second honeymoon in 2007. Oh! Was it good! I noted that it was made from Mexican grapes from the Valle de Guadelupe, the wine region we toured when we were in Ensenada last year. We celebrated New Year's Eve on east coast time. At 2100, we wished each other a Happy New Year and returned to the boat, taking comfort in the fact that this year, bullets will not be falling around us!

Dec. 30, 2008: Here we go again...another rain and wind storm is headed our way tonight. This time NOAA is predicting gusts to 60 mph. We haven't seen the predicted gusts in any of the previous storms and we certainly don't want to see 60! When cruising, I used to cringe when winds were forecasted. That usually meant sleepless nights and anchor watches. But tied to a dock, I find hunkering down in our little boat comforting. It's nice to know that we are safe and warm, with cats for comfort and quilts for warmth! Our furnace went on the occasional blink on Christmas; Jim diagnosed the problem but the vendor has been on a reduced staff level this week, so phone calls have gone unanswered until today. The furnace runs periodically, but not reliably. Thankfully the frigid cold disappeared on Christmas and our little portable electric has been able to take the chill off. The power has stayed on and we've only lost the internet once.

Dec. 25, 2008: Merry Christmas! After opening gifts on board, we headed out to P&B's. The driveway was a sheet of ice and the only way we could get up the hill was to walk in the snow. Then Jim tried to get the Volvo out of the parking lot and after the third try, parked the car! The roads between the marina and Peter's were slick so we continued walking on the snow, where we could get a bit of traction. We had a mixed bag weather-wise with rain, snow, and sun throughout the day. We spent the day with Peter & Babs and talked to family. We left their house an hour later than planned and everything that had melted during the day was frozen. The ramp down to the docks was particularly treacherous -- one step at a time and don't let go of the railing! Jim's brother in Victoria called to cancel our trip up there tomorrow. While we had rain, they had sleet and traffic was at a stand still. So chalk another holiday cancelation up to Mother Nature!

Dec. 24, 2008: The temperature climbed above 32 degrees and the precipitation fell as rain instead of snow for a change. The 6" of snow on the ground turned to slush and slowly began to melt; we might have missed having a white Christmas by one day. As I had to work today, Jim ferried over to Friday Harbor to pick up tonight's dinner -- the lobsters were expensive, but yummy!

Dec. 23, 2008: I feel like a broken record... yet another Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the San Juans beginning tonight thru Thursday morning. This is beginning to get REALLY OLD and I hope it is not an indication of what January's weather will be. At this time of year, people start thinking about their new years's resolution. My resolution is not to make one, but another quilter shared hers: "I vow not to purchase any more new fabric on a whim. I will think about it for at least 15 minutes before making a purchase -- that will give me more time to look around the shop!" Guess if I were going to make a resolution, that would be a good one (except my fabric purchases are made online)!

Dec. 20, 2008: We're learning how to deal with condensation. This morning the exterior temperature was 22 degrees and the condensation on the interior windows was frozen, as in we could have chipped it off and put it in our orange juice! Also frozen to the wall were our coats! Who on earth wants to put on a frozen coat? In the evening I usually wipe the windows and wall above the bed so I don't get dripped on in the middle of the night. And occasionally we prop the bed mattress away from the wall so it can dry. Last night Jim opened a cabinet in the galley and discovered the dishes wet -- yup! condensation in there, too. I sure will be glad when this Arctic air goes away.

In the meantime, though, we watched as the barometer dropped and Wunderground's radar showed yet another snow storm (blizzard conditions in the Strait of Juan de Fuca) knocking on our doorstep. Should we go to the community potluck or not? Well, it's within walking distance, albeit a long walk, but what the heck. We may be stuck on board the boat for the next several days and we both have a touch of cabin fever. It seemed many people shared our feelings, based on the number of people who showed up tonight (about 70). As always, there was an abundant amount of delicious food and we did a bit of caroling. The McCorison clan volunteered to set up the tables for next month's meeting and Jim volunteered to be on the maintenance committee. A light, powdery snow was falling when we left but we managed to make it back to the marina's parking lot and onto the boat with no mishaps, although going down the snow-covered ramp at low tide was extremely interesting! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Dec. 19, 2008: I haven't been to work since Tuesday; the winter weather hasn't let up and Wunderground isn't predicting any cheery weather in the near future. We ventured out today as the sun was finally shining, although the temperature hovered at 25 degrees. Stopped by P&B's; Peter had some tire chains that he thought might fit the Volvo, but they didn't. The roads were in pretty good shape until you got into downtown Eastsound; there, all streets had a good inch of packed ice and snow, making walking and driving treacherous. We took advantage of being out and ran a bunch of errands, including several for Babs. I'm happy to say that our Xmas shopping is now complete. Returned to the boat before the sun went down. Every now and then we look at each other and say, "Remind me again, why did we return home?"

Snow in West Sound

Dec. 17, 2008: Woke to snow, which ultimately meant that I did not have to go to work today (but I didn't get paid, either). Snow showers came and went throughout the day but the temperature climbed into the upper 30s and the sun made a very brief appearance. After lunch, Jim headed out to put gas in the Volvo while the roads were in good shape (he attempted that yesterday but the gas station's fuel tanks ran out -- I swear, we're in a VERY northern Mexican state!)! I stopped by the office, only to find it closed; people are not beating the doors down in this weather! In the space of 45 minutes, the temperature dropped 5 degrees and the snow fell so hard that it was almost a white out. The marina's company Christmas party was canceled; no one wanted to be out on icy roads. Regarding the photos: the first shot was taken by Jim in the morning. It is actually a color photo! My shot was taken during the near white-out conditions. The marina's office is in the background.

Dec. 16, 2008: Woke several times during the night to the sounds of silence. Something must be wrong with our anemometer -- it's only registering 8 kts! It was a beautiful sunny day with the temp hovering just above freezing, but Wunderground predicted that the fair weather was going to come to an end tonight.

Dec. 15, 2008: Oh, baby! It's COLD outside! While I'm very thankful that I have a job to go to, I especially did NOT want to go to it this morning! The wind howled all night, but the power held. Jim had to help me off the boat as the steps were not in close proximity of our boarding gate and the boat was being blown off the dock. Betsy told me I could go home early, but I'd come prepared with a thermos of coffee plus my lunch. There was no way I was going to spend any more time than absolutely necessary outside! The wind huffed and puffed and blew tarps off neighbors' boats; it blew the sun screen off our boat. Kenmore Air's float plane circled the bay and then headed south, without landing. The Nordlund, a landing barge, came up West Sound carrying a propane truck, but turned around without offloading the truck. Spume could be seen in the outer bay. Brrrr! On the good side of things, though, the sun was out and that melted some of the ice and warmed the interior of our boat. Jim made a trip downtown for mail and food and I got off work just before sunset so I could walk the docks in daylight. These conditions are forecasted to be with us for the remainder of the week. Received an email from our friend, the Padre, who said the weather in Chula Vista is "icky". Global warming is in the news, but it seems to be bypassing the San Juans and Chula Vista, where the temperature is colder than normal!

Dec. 14, 2008: Today's song is "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"! The world around us was white this morning and our dock steps were blown down the slip's finger. The day's high temperature made it up to 27 degrees; the wind blew a steady 30 kts. all day (with occasional gusts to 42) and the waves splashed up onto the dock. Needless to say, going to Friday Harbor was not high on my priority list! In the late afternoon, the power started cutting in and out. We crossed collective fingers, toes and eyes that it would stay on as we have our little electric portable heater cranked up. Wunderground keeps extending the high winds forecast; now they say the high winds will be with us until Tuesday. Babs invited us up for dinner but neither of us wanted to be walking or driving on slick docks/roads after dark, so we took a raincheck...or would that be a snowcheck?

Dec. 13, 2008: Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow! The barometer at work bottomed out yesterday - whoa! Woke at some point during the night to the sound of hail on the cabin but all was dry here in West Sound this morning. Peter stopped by around noon and reported that Moran State Park received 2" of snow. The winds steadily increased beginning mid-morning and we had to readjust our lines again as we were still being blown into the piling in front of us. At noon the temperature started dropping. By late afternoon I had stuffed towels and napkins into every nook, crack and vent opening trying to block off the drafts. We had sustained winds of 30 kts (multiply by 1.15 to get mph) by late afternoon with higher gusts (had a gust of 42.5 kts. last night just as I was leaving work). We have the furnace turned up and the electric heater on full blast. So far, thank heavens, the power is still on. I made a big pot of minestrone soup for dinner. Wunderground is predicting gusts of 60 possible tonight and tomorrow morning -- I sure hope they are wrong!

Dec. 11, 2008: All eyes are on the weather report and it's not looking good! At noon we had a couple of gusts out of the north that sent our anchor into the piling so we moved the boat back in the slip and tied it as tight as we dared. Winds from the north are actually fairly rare; boats are usually tied to protect them from storms from the south. So when a storm comes in from the north, folks scramble to retie their boats! Jim's been busy installing a new stereo and ham radio in the Volvo. He has several new scars from where he's whacked his head! He needed to pick up something for tomorrow's ham Xmas luncheon so we went downtown to the grocery store and then had dinner at Bilbo's, where it's "date night" (2 dinners, 1 dessert and a bottle of wine for $36). Restaurants on Orcas are generally very expensive and we are limited in those we can afford to eat at. However in the winter, when the tourist population is blessedly non-existent, many of the restaurants have 2-for-1 specials for the locals. It's a special treat for us to be able to eat someplace where we normally would not visit. And finally, I've been accepted to attend quilt camp at the end of January...yippee!!

Dec. 10, 2008: The wood for the v-berth and aft cabin renovations arrived today. We aren't actually renovating the aft cabin but several pieces of wood were damaged by salt water when our butt joint was loose; Jim will replace that wood but, of course, that repair will necessitate painting the entire floor once the new boards are down. And boo hiss; we canceled our trip to Colleen's this weekend. Shoot! (...bang!) Wunderground is predicting a norther beginning Friday with high temps around 20 degrees, snow and wind gusts to 50 kts. Neither of us is comfortable with the idea of leaving the cats unattended in those conditions. If it were just the wind, that would be one thing, but I'd hate to lose power and have the boys get sick due to the cold temperatures -- they aren't spring chickens any more!

Dec. 7, 2008: Wunderground predicted a 90% chance of rain, but it was beautifully sunny all day so we took advantage of the sun and got the exterior holiday lights up. Afterwards Jim went to Peter's and spent quality time with his head under the Volvo's hood while I stayed on board and made water. Jim discovered several loose electrical connections in the engine compartment. Perhaps that was our problem? We hope so! We accompanied Peter & Babs to an open house of a ham radio operator down in Eastsound. Lots of good food and an especially good nonalcoholic punch. After a weekend of 2 late nights, we hit the sack early. We're such party animals!

The Commodore's Ball

Dec. 6, 2008: Had hoped to get the exterior Christmas lights up this morning but the rain began around 0900. Perhaps we'll make do with the pretty evergreen wreath that Jim hung on the eyebrow of the flybridge a couple of days ago. Jim talked about putting the Volvo in Peter's barn to start diagnosing things, but that didn't happen either. The weather was more conducive to tucking oneself away where it was warm and dry! We dolled ourselves up for the Commodore's Ball; we actually cleaned up rather well for a couple of boat bums! First we went to P&B's for photo shots and then headed off to Camp Orkila (in the rain, which means mud). Thankfully a bus brought us from the upper parking lot to the hall so we didn't have to walk too far. The party was in full swing with a great sounding band and well over 100 people. Formal wear was the norm of the night -- Gordeaux's apparently had a profitable month! Jim took a picture of Betsy (my boss) and me decked out in our finest. We joked that West Sound Marina never looked so good! The food was delicious, the room was decorated in such a way that it looked magical...absolutely no complaints! I even danced in my high heels and did not break my neck! We had a wonderful time.

Dec. 5, 2008: The saga of the Volvo...the Volvo began acting up the day after we bought it. You're driving along and the engine surges a bit and then loses power and dies. Or sometimes it would just die with no warning (driving along at 40 mph and the next thing you know, the car dies). It seemed to happen more often at night when there was more of an electrical load on it. But it always started back up and you'd go on your merry way. Jim started researching things on the internet and had a couple of thoughts. One thing he noticed was that the main fuse was missing. So he installed one and took it for a test drive. The car didn't die so he thought he had solved the problem. On the way to the Orcas Center this evening, we got to the end of the road and the car went dead. There was a "click" and everything died -- no lights, no flashers, no restarting, no nothing! Of course we didn't have a flash light and there are no street lights on the island. So Jim called Peter via the ham radio. Thank goodness we were only 3 houses away! Peter arrived with a flashlight and Jim noticed that the main fuse that he'd put in earlier had blown. Luckily Peter had also brought along some fuses. Jim put a new fuse in and everything worked. Putting their heads together, they think this means that there's a short in the wiring, perhaps in the engine harness. Does this sound good? Not really! Jim drove the Volvo back to Peter's and Peter drove me to the Orcas Center so I could attend the reception for the quilt display. Carol and team did a lovely job of arranging the quilts in both the main lobby and side rooms. There's a nice assortment of sizes, colors and techniques. It was great timing for us as tonight's performance for the Olga Symphony was sold out. From what I could tell, everyone enjoyed viewing the quilts as they waited for the doors to the concert hall to open. My being at the Orcas Center early had a side benefit -- I was able to sneak into the auditorium and save 5 prime seats! The rest of the McCorison clan arrived an hour later, after they'd eaten dinner. We've heard nothing but good about the Olga Symphony. This is not your average symphony (then again, come to think of it, none of the folks on Orcas are average -- one must be a little bit different to want to live on a rock). Their performance had a little bit of jazz, a lot of country fiddling, some folk music and a traditional waltz. No toes went untapped! Their instruments included guitars, banjo, mandolin, violins, concertinas, tuba, trombone, base, harmonica, piano, drums, kazoo and saw. Yes, saw, as in American made-in-Vermont buy-it-at-the-hardware store! We had a wonderful evening, and again, another classy experience for $5 per person!

Dec. 3, 2008: Talk about procrastination...the Commodore's Ball is this coming Sat. and we waited until today to figure out what we are going to wear. I had thought I'd wear a skirt -- definitely not fancy, but comfortable. Jim tried his suit on, only to discover that it no longer fits. A local store could sell him a tuxedo for about $200, but if he wore a tux, there was no way I could wear my "not fancy" skirt. So I took a long lunch and stopped in to Aurora's, the second hand store. There I found fancy-enough clothing to keep up with Jim's tux. I wasn't thrilled with the sleeveless top, but one can't be too picky when you're buying used clothing! Once I had my outfit in hand, I walked to Gordeaux's, where Jim was being fitted for his tux. Gordeaux's sells formal wear, and I splurged and bought a pair of high heels that I'll probably break my neck in, but damn, I'll look hot (ah, NOT!)! After dinner I drove the Volvo to the library for an evening of stuffing catnip mice with my quilting friends. The darn car quit on me 3 times; the Volvo is not my friend at the moment. I stopped at the grocery store first, hoping to buy some pantyhose. Oh, yea! This place is like Mexico. The grocery store does NOT sell greeting cards or pantyhose; you have to buy them at the pharmacy, which is not open in the evening. The guild's quilt display was hung at the Orcas Center today and two of my pieces are hanging on the walls. The show opens on Friday with a reception. Naturally I'll be on hand and this works out well because we'll be attending the Olga Symphony's performance there that evening. Perhaps I'll wear that skirt....

Fog in West Sound

Nov. 30, 2008: Pea soup fog rolled in at sunset. That's fog you see in the foreground!

Nov. 29, 2008: Returned to our slip at 0900, in plenty of time for Jim to join his dad for an emergency communication drill with the ham radio group. I went downtown and did a little Christmas shopping. In the evening, we attended the A Cappella concert at the Orcas Center. Several folks that we know sing in it; the group has received rave reviews and even toured in Russia. Lopez Sound, along with several other "special guests" performed and it was a wonderful evening. The concert was 2.5 hours long and cost a whopping $5.00 per person! Jim's mom would be proud of us -- "getting a little class" into our lives!

Nov. 28, 2008: Got an early start to Anacortes. The plan was to fuel up, spend a couple hours shopping and then either come home or spend the night at Blind Bay. Earlier in the week, Wunderground was saying that it was supposed to be sunny; then the forecast changed to cloudy with light southerly winds. As we made our way east, the winds picked up in the 10-15 kts. range and the rain came down. By the time we got to the fuel dock, it was blowing 15-20 kts. and the rain was coming down sideways. It took an hour to fuel the boat (315 gallons) and we were drenched. I could see Rite Aid in the distance, about 1/2 mile away, but the thought of walking there and back was getting less and less exciting as I got wetter and wetter! So we decided to bag it. The closer to home we got, the better the weather (Murphy's Law)! So we decided to spend the night on a mooring ball in Blind Bay, which is on Shaw Island. We are definitely out of practice when it comes to "chillin' while on the hook", and decided we should do this more often because it forces us to unwind and relax! We heated leftover turkey and climbed into bed early.

Peter & Babs

Nov. 27, 2008: Happy Thanksgiving! We spent the day with Peter & Babs and enjoyed our first Thanksgiving together since 2002 -- great turkey with all the fixings, plus pecan pie and pumpkin pie for desert. Yum! Talked to family, which is always special.

Nov. 24, 2008: It's a good thing we bought the Volvo yesterday because today, the van died! Jim was able to drive it to a garage and left it for an estimate. And I actually added 3 more keys to my keychain!

Nov. 23, 2008: A rather brisk morning...it was 38 degrees when we finally pulled ourselves out from under the flannel sheets! We undid the lines and headed out for a cruise to the San Juan Channel -- "municipal duties", as Jim referred to them, were due! We had a wonderful cruise; the sun was warm, the seas were flat and the wind light. Once back in the slip, the rest of the day flew by. I was able to do a little quilting, we hauled more tools out of the v-berth, did some housecleaning and bought a car. Did I say we bought a car? Yup! We bought a 1982 Volvo 4-door sedan. It seemed pretty solid -- no thunks, clunks, dents or rattles and only minimal rust. It had good pick up with no blowing smoke, the brakes stopped the car and the lights and heater worked. The radio doesn't work but that's okay (although I suspect Jim will get a radio into it quickly). Other than a bath and wax job, it needs (possibly) a front end alignment and (definitely) a quilting bumper sticker! Jim will do the paperwork tomorrow and we'll add another key to our key chain. The truest test of how engrossed you are with life is to see how many keys are on your key chain -- and to know what each key is for!

Receiving the OIYC Award

Nov. 20, 2008: Crazy weather! Today the wind shifted around out of the south and howled and dumped rain on and off most of the day. Tonight was the yacht club's awards potluck dinner and changing of the Board. I would have liked nothing better than to stay at home and do a little quilting, as it was windy and cold. But we went and sat with Chris, Lynn, Howard and Sheila. We are meeting more and more people -- remembering their names is another story! Anyway, one award in particular, the Outstanding Cruising Award, is given to the members who have done the most interesting cruising that year. Imagine our surprise when our names were called!! Jim and I sat at the table looking at one another, totally in shock! I don't think 70% of the yacht club members even know who we are! (Lynn told me later that she was the one who told the Board about our travels.) So we graciously accepted the award and the congratulations of the membership. And how appropriate that the award be given tonight; one year ago today we left Ensenada and headed south for Mañana's Great Adventure - Part II! Later in the evening, during the awards for the Round the County Race, we were once again applauded by one of the racers, who told everyone how professionally we ran and anchored the boat in gale-force winds. Wow! I'm sure glad we didn't stay home!

Nov. 19, 2008: The wind began howling around 0400. For a change of pace, though, it was blowing out of the NE and we recorded one gust of 33 kts. The wind was from behind us, causing us to ride forward on our lines. Unfortunately, directly in front of us is a tar-covered piling, which our bow pulpit kept bonking into. This was one morning when Jim wanted to sleep in, but I had to get him out of bed to help adjust the lines. In the end, the wind was just too strong for us to maneuver the boat against, so I started the engine and put Mañana into reverse. We were able to move it back about a foot so that the anchor was hitting the piling instead. By mid-afternoon, the wind was gone, the sun was out and it was easily in the 60s.

Nov. 18, 2008: Woohoo! Jim brought home a 6-pack of the french onion soup (along with several other goodies) from Costco.

Nov. 15-16, 2008: What a beautiful weekend for November -- sunny and in the upper 50s. I spent Sat. at the sewing machine, working on the new lap throw that I'm making for Jim. Yacht club members Chuck and Eska, who own a 41' DeFever, stopped by to say hi in the afternoon and checked out our boat. They used to be down the dock from us, but moved to a different marina a week before we arrived. After they left, it was time for me to start fixing the potluck dish for the West Sound community potluck. On Sunday morning we helped Peter empty the furniture and carpeting out of Coho's main salon, as he's getting ready to varnish, paint and install new flooring. Gee, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? After lunch we started on our own project of emptying out the forward v-berth (aka "the garage"). We loaded up one large dock cart and then went to our storage locker, where we assembled 2 shelf units and started filling them up. Returned to the boat with enough daylight left for me to get a little more quilting in before having to call it quits for the night. For dinner, we had the BEST frozen french onion soup! It was made by Plats du Chef out of Canada and we highly recommend it! Their website indicates that the soup can be purchased either at Trader Joe's or seasonally at Costco (in Washington), so Jim will look for it when he's off island on Tuesday.

Good Use of the Grab Rail!

Nov. 13, 2008: Finally! The last piece of fabric that I ordered for our Oriental quilt arrived today. It was shipped USPS priority mail 10 days ago! And the post office wonders why people prefer to use UPS or FedEx! But the fabric is absolutely perfect and the quilt is going to be stunning. Jim says the quilt will be too pretty to use! I took advantage of the sunny day by prewashing and hanging several of the fabrics for Jim's Koi Pond lap throw out to dry.

Nov. 10, 2008: The following was written by Rebecca Earnest, who was in charge of this year's race (and was on the boat with us), and posted to the Orcas Island Yacht Club's website regarding Saturday's race start:

"Last week, the owners of Mañana, this year's volunteer committee boat for the Saturday start, looked at long-range forecasts and asked whether we'd have to go out if there were really gale-force winds. So there we were on Saturday, headed toward Lydia Shoal with 6 committee volunteers, 2 boat owners, and 2 dubious cats, in wind gusts in the 40s. The cats had our total sympathy. One of them promptly tossed his kibble.

But Jim and Jan, long-time blue-water cruisers in their DeFever 38, handled it like the pros they are. When we got to the designated 18-fathom pinnacle - the only place remotely shallow enough to anchor, and a place reputed to be almost impossible to find or anchor on - they simply dropped the anchor on the pinnacle and called it good. After we anchored, we got a gust at 50 knots. We had radio check-in, in a rolling boat, with people turning slightly green from trying to read and concentrate. We had coffee and muffins, for those who were interested. We had a photographer who didn't let turning green stop her.

We had one GPS at the nav station and another on the stern, with instructions to blow the boat's horn from the nav station and raise flags on the stern without communication between the two. Everything went without a hitch. Most committee people got a bit wide-eyed during the last start, with a group of the biggest boats all wanting the committee boat end of the line simultaneously. One of them had to go around at the last second. Seeing all that fiberglass charging at her wooden boat, Jan covered her eyes.

Shortly after the next to last boat crossed the line, we began hoisting anchor and removing flags - the last boat crossed about 15 minutes later. The first boat to withdraw did so before we had the anchor up, followed by three more before we made it back to West Sound. Once we hit Harney Channel, the cats purred, the people smiled, and almost nobody volunteered to do it again next year. - Rebecca Earnest"

And, yes, it was fun (sort of), and no, I'm not in any hurry to volunteer Mañana for next year's race! You can check out the pictures of the Round the County Race by going to: http://gailjo.smugmug.com/gallery/6497872_djoqM#412692169_NBDLx

Nov. 9, 2008: We slept almost 12 hours! I guess it's safe to say that we are out of practice when it comes to cruising in turbulent water! It was feast or famine for the racers as today there was no wind and it became a drifting match! Most of the boats withdrew from the race (in fact, only 3 of the largest boats actually finished). So it went from 50 kts to 0 kts -- typical for the Pacific Northwest -- either there's too much wind or not enough! Jim dug the flybridge cover out of storage, helped me modify it and then we put it on the boat. After that, I baked a dessert for tonight's Round the County awards dinner. We went to the Community Center at 1430 and helped to set up the tables and chairs for tonight. With no wind, the racers didn't get back until almost 1830, but eventually, the hall was filled with smiling racers. Jim ended up pulling bar duty and I filled in selling dinner/bar tickets. We staggered home at 2030, totally exhausted from the weekend!

Nov. 8, 2008: Holy cow! What a morning! Jim and I were up at 0500 making pots of coffee and doing a last minute engine room check, stowing, and securing of the boat. Everyone was on board by 0600 and there were 9 of us total. West Sound was dry and dead calm but as soon as we left the protected bay and headed east, we were met head-on by 25 kts. of wind and very choppy seas. The wind picked up to 35 kts. as we crossed Upright Channel, and gusted to 50(!) kts., hitting us on the beam. Rolly, rolly, rolly until we got into the lee of Blakely Island. We joked about moving the start line! The lat/lon that was given to us as being the shallowest spot to anchor didn't match up with our charts, so Jim followed his instinct to trust our charts rather than the info we were given and sure enough, we found the spot that was ONLY(!) 110' deep. (In Mexico, we rarely anchored in anything deeper than 25'). Charlie helped Jim deploy our anchor and it set and held on the first try! From the tales that were told, this may have been a record -- in previous races, the committee boat either (1) couldn't find the "shallow" spot or (2) couldn't get their anchor to grab. Fortunately Mañana clocked into the wind and our ride was more up and down, rather than side to side. Once anchored, everyone readied themselves for the start of the race, which consisted of checking off the racers as they called in on the VHF, blowing the horn at specific intervals (5 min. till start, 1 min. till start, and start) and the handling of the flags, which had to be changed out and flown to coincide when the horn was sounded. And, of course, Mother Nature picked the 20 min. start period to drop rain on us! An unofficial count showed 58 out of 65 boats were ready to race. I was a nervous wreck as the sailboats zoomed around us, fueled by the 35+kts of wind. There were 3 different starts, slowest boats starting first. The last start was at 0900, but one catamaran was having a very difficult time with the sea conditions and we had to wait a few minutes for it before we could leave. Once again, Charlie helped Jim with the anchor duty. The chain got caught briefly around something, but we were able to free it. At least 2 other committee boats could not retrieve their anchors, but we lucked out! By this time two of our passengers were feeling green around the gills. Our friend Josh was in a faster boat and offered to take them back. Josh tried to come alongside us but the seas were just too wild so the transfer was made in Obstruction Pass, where we had Blakely Island blocking the wind. Another rolly, rolly, rolly as we crossed Upright Channel and then a nice downwind ride back to West Sound. So, all in all, a good day for us in spite of Mother Nature. Some sailboats, however, didn't fair as well as we did. Within 15 min. of the start of the race, 3 boats had dropped out. A fourth dropped out about an hour later. And one boat lost its rudder while another's mast broke. A check of the weather showed it blowing 50 kts. at Smith Island, which is just south of where the racers were headed (Roche Harbor) for the evening. The race will conclude tomorrow, back where it all began today! I went into the office when we got back to the marina and worked until 1500 as Betsy, Ian and Kelly were all crewing on our slip neighbor's boat. Jim and I were in bed with lights out at 1930; there was just way too much excitement for this pair of old goats!

DC's version: Mom and dad were up earlier than usual so I figured something was up. Pretty soon a lot of people came onto the boat, dropping duffel bags and backpacks on the floor, which I was eager to check out. Then dad started the engine so I went up to climb onto "my" spot on the settee, only to find it taken by the People! I didn't know where to sit, and I couldn't walk around because there were so many feet that I was afraid I'd get my tail stepped on. Then the boat started to bump up and down. Jerry doesn't like the bumps so he came up from the bed and curled up next to a man he didn't know. The man petted Jerry, and I was jealous. And then I got sick in front of everyone. Boy, was I ever unhappy! Mom found a spot for me to lay down and several of the People petted me and said "poor DC." When dad turned the engine off, several People went outside, giving me more space, but then dad started blowing that darn horn. How was I supposed to take my cat nap? On the way back, a lady picked me up and started rubbing my ear. Aaahh, that felt so good that I buried my head in her hand and started purring, which she liked. After a couple of minutes, she passed me to the man that had been petting Jerry. He, too, rubbed my head, and probably would have continued to do so, but Jerry got jealous that HIS friend was petting ME and came over and interrupted the petting...that dumb twink! Mom gave Jerry and me treats when we got back home. She picked me up and cooed into my ear, telling me how proud she was of me and telling me what a trooper I was. I don't know what a trooper is, but I like when she cuddles me.

Nov. 6, 2008: Same old, same old going on for the past week. I think my body is just about adjusted to my working schedule, although we overslept this morning. Thank goodness for the jeans/sweatshirt dress code and 2 min. commute! I am enjoying the job; there is a variety of tasks to be done daily and this being the slow season, I can take my time and take good notes, etc. as I ponder what I have learned. The Round the County race is this weekend and Mañana will be the start boat. We will have 4 or 5 committee members on board with us, plus a photographer. So we will be cozy. Now add in the lousy weather factor...15-25 kts. of wind plus heavy rain is forecasted. Seas are predicted to be 2-4'. I'm not having a good mental image of Saturday morning! We will require life jackets be worn by anyone who will be out on deck (manning the start flags) and will hand out the Dramamine if necessary! The fabric for the newest quilt arrived yesterday; it is going to be very Oriental done in red (dragons!), black and gold.

Oct. 31, 2008: Happy Halloween! An interesting day for San Juan County as the majority of the phone lines, including the 911 emergency line, went down for several hours. We could call intra-island, but had no cell phones, long distance, internet or even off island calling ability. Phone lines on Orcas, Lopez and Shaw Islands were affected. The ham radio ARES group activated the emergency net to provide backup communications to the fire and medical emergency services. By 1430 the problem was fixed, but having no telephones sure put a damper on businesses!

Oct. 30, 2008: My first day of work. I guess I never gave marina office workings much thought before! Their cash register has so many codes that by mid-day I was well beyond confused! However, by quitting time I had decided that they hadn't scared me too much and I'll be back tomorrow! Babs is on the mainland for the weekend so we invited Peter to join us for bangers and mash for dinner. Peter and I had all we could do to stay awake past 2000; we're such a wild bunch! I climbed into bed with codes and processes running through my brain!

Oct. 29, 2008: Jim and I handled the lines for Peter as he turned Coho around in her slip for the winter. We did this in the morning before the predicted winds picked up. Then we went downtown and ran several errands, got library cards and had lunch at Chimayo with Chris & Lynn.

Oct. 28, 2008: It was gray for most of the day so I spent quality time with my sewing machine and my Laurel Burch Christmas panel. Jim got the furnace running...heat is a good thing! And Betsy stopped by at 1700 and asked when I want to start work...I'll become gainfully employed this coming Thursday! With the thought of an income, I got online and picked out fabrics for our next bed quilt! Oriental -- dragons...red...gold...black -- beautiful!

Oct. 27, 2008: I applied for the office manager position at the West Sound Marina. One should never pass up the opportunity to work 2 min. from their home, especially when the position's dress code is jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers! Should I find full-time employment on the island, our Alaska trip will be put on the back burner for a couple of years. After lunch I went downtown to run errands and dropped off 3 of my wall hangings for an upcoming quilt display. The Orcas Island Quilters seem to have a different display running in different locations around the island almost every month. It gives us the opportunity to sell our pieces if we so choose, or just show them off. And speaking of quilts, since the one I made over the weekend is too big to use on the boat, I guess I'll have to make another blanket-sized quilt (rather than bedspread sized). The selection of fabrics can be overwhelming, but I'm sure I'll find something.

President's Quilt Camp Orkila's View

Oct. 24-26, 2008: It never ceases to amaze me how much fun I have at a quilting retreat! Camp Orkila is a YMCA camp located on the water's edge and in the woods. You couldn't ask for a prettier or more inspiring setting. Lynn and I carpooled daily and we spent about 12 hours each day at the camp. I got right down to business and started working on my President's Quilt. This quilt is being made with the blocks that the ladies from the Chula Vista quilters guild made me. I surrounded the gorgeous compass rose medallion with 16 blocks, and added an additional 5 blocks to run across the bed pillows (I had 2 blocks left over which I will make into throw pillows). We left the lodge late Sat. night, and 3 of us walked the pitch black path together to the parking lot. As we walked, we heard a rustling in the woods. My flashlight was best suited for illuminating directly in front of us; Beth's flashlight wasn't much better. We weren't sure if what we were hearing was the teenagers preparing for the camp's Halloween Fright Night, or perhaps deer, or perhaps even Big Foot! We were all such chickens that we picked up our walking pace significantly, relaxing only when we were safely in our cars! By Sunday morning, the quilt top was finished and it came out beautifully, but is huge! It took 2 of us standing on chairs to hold it off the floor for photo op! Because of its size, I've decided to put it aside, unquilted, until we have a bed that will do it justice. After working on that challenging piece, I started my Laurel Burch cheater Christmas panel. It will lend itself to all sorts of embellishment possibilities! On Sunday, Lynn and I returned to the marina a few minutes before Coho's return, so we were able to catch their lines. Jim and I joined Chris and Lynn for dinner at the Deer Harbor Inn.

Oct. 23, 2008: Greetings from KE7WQZ! That is my new call sign (Kilo Echo 7 Whiskey Quebec Zulu). "Whiskey Quebec Zulu" does nothing for me so I've come up with my own, unofficial, variation of the alphabet. I prefer "Wild and Quazy Zebwa"! I went to the laundromat in Deer Harbor this morning to wash one of our sleeping bags and while I was out, Jim was busy ordering various replacement parts from Fisheries Supply in Seattle. After lunch, he went up to his dad's, where there is cell coverage, and spent hours on the phone dealing with our various financial institutions. Tonight was the yacht club's crab dinner. It was very well attended and was a superb deal! Everybody got 1 very large crab, coleslaw and a slice of garlic bread for $5.00. I couldn't believe how much meat was in each crab! For dessert, the bakers in the crowd were encouraged to make an apple dish (pie, tart, crisp) using the apples from the trees that are on the community center property (did I mention we are in the country BIG time?). Babs won for "best topping" on her crisp. I am packed and ready to head off to quilt camp tomorrow -- no cooking, no cleaning, no husband, no NOTHING except quilting, quilting, quilting! Do you think I'm psyched?? Jim plans to accompany P&B and friends on Coho Sat. pm/Sunday. When I mentioned that I was going to have the boat to myself Sat. night, Lynn, whom I'm carpooling with, said, "so no one will miss you if we decide to quilt all night?" Ah, what an attitude!! :-)

Oct. 22, 2008: What a beautiful day today was -- crystal blue sky with virtually no wind and temps in the upper 50s. I spent quality time with the heat gun and scraper, still working on the lower rails and the ensign and burgee staffs. Jim installed the new T-molding around the engine hatch and then diagnosed the generator's newest issue (the fuel pump isn't running properly) and helped his dad on Coho. Guess you could say that it was an extremely productive morning! After lunch we went into Eastsound, where we purchased some warm clothes at the consignment shop. After yesterday's shopping spree, cheap is good!!

Oct. 21, 2008: In order to be on the first ferry, we were up and off to P&B's at 0545. The dock was frosty and slippery in spots, and we had to hold on to the hand rail to climb the ramp, as the ramp was icy and it was low tide. Gotta love this living aboard in winter! P&B have the mainland shopping expedition routine down, so we went along for the ride, not wanting to disrupt the order of stops! My biggest challenge was to remember that we were not provisioning for 3 or 4 months! We shopped at 7 different stores (Fred Meyer and Costco just 2 of them) and even had time for Babs to get an ice cream cone before we made our way back to the ferry terminal at 1400 for the 1520 ferry. Once in line, we sat in the van and ate our lunches, totally amazed that we had accomplished everything on our lists in such a short amount of time! The fun part for us came when we had to transfer everything out of our van and to our boat. We filled one dock cart and then, when I couldn't push the darn thing, realized that it had 2 flat front tires! A second dock cart wasn't in much better shape so I grabbed two smaller ones. Jim filled the larger of the two and headed down the ramp, only to discover that the screws holding the right side of the handle were broken! Thank heavens it wasn't low tide or our cart might have gone for a swim! It took us a good hour to stow everything away and we were wiped from the day's activities! And we had so much fun that we'll do this on a monthly basis!

Oct. 20, 2008: Jim started working on the aluminum t-molding for around the engine hatch and realized that he didn't have the correct size screw. That, of course, set off an all-afternoon excursion in town. We may not be in Mexico but we are definitely in mañana land, or more politically correctly put, we are on "island time". Neither hardware store had the correct size stainless screws so in the end, Jim decided to drill the holes out and use the next larger size, which he has on the boat. His business license finally arrived so he headed off to the bank to open a new account while I took my food list and went to the grocery store, where I recorded the price of the items. We are headed off island tomorrow and I wanted to be able to comparison shop. Then we made several phone calls and ended up (temporarily) renting a 10 x 5 storage locker. We immediately hauled stuff out of Jim's van, but the main purpose for the storage locker is to store everything currently in the v-berth while Jim remodels it. That is not going to be a fun project and I really wouldn't mind not living on board while it's going on. Does anyone have a spare bedroom they'd like to rent out for cheap?

Oct. 19, 2008: It was 39 degrees out when Jim climbed out of bed...brr! We sure could use a functional furnace! (hint, hint hubby) At 1000 we attempted to back out of the slip, only to immediately veer starboard. Something was wrong but we couldn't figure out what it was. Jim wondered whether something was caught under our keel. As I was fending us off the boat beside us, I looked forward and realized that we had forgotten to untie our second bow line! That was a major WHOOPS! :-) However, in our defense, it has been over 5 years since we have had to secure the boat in the slip with a second bow line! Once untied, we backed up normally and went off for a lovely cruise to Jones Island, where we picked up a mooring buoy and had lunch. We insisted that DC expend all his energy while we were out; in fact, we put him out on deck whenever he came into the cabin! Had an uneventful trip back to the marina. We plugged in our electrical cord and turned on the boat's circuit breaker only to discover that our charging system wasn't working properly. After some finagling, Jim got the charging system charging, but the indicator lights wouldn't work. It never fails to frustrate me when something works when we leave and breaks upon our return. AAARRRGGGHHH -- I swear we have little gremlins running around the boat with the sole purpose of ticking me off! Just add it to the list of items that need to be diagnosed and/or repaired. We made a quick trip to P&B's for me to do a couple loads of laundry while Jim made use of Peter's office and worked on both our computers.

Oct. 18, 2008: We took the 1045 ferry to Friday Harbor, where I took, and PASSED, my ham license test. All that studying over the past few days really paid off. The return ferry to Orcas didn't leave Friday Harbor until 1415 so we had lunch, purchased a pair of jeans for Jim, and bought a few groceries. Unfortunately food prices aren't any cheaper on Friday Harbor. I made Spanish rice for tonight's community potluck dinner. The sky was clear and the stars were out in force, as they had been in many Mexican anchorages. It had the makings of being a very beautiful night, except that it was 40 degrees colder than Mexico! Needless to say, we didn't spend much time outside star gazing!

Oct. 17, 2008: DC went AWOL this morning. I heard a commotion on the dock near the office and watched Ian pull Desmond, his 1 1/2 year old yellow Labrador, out of the water. Ian saw me and yelled "poor cat"! When I inquired as to DC's location, Ian told me that DC was next to the boat house. Sure enough, DC was at the end of the finger, fluffed up and eyes as large as quarters! As the story goes, DC went wandering down the dock, where he was spotted by Desmond, who took off at a gallop after him. When Ian shouted for Desmond to stop, Desmond put on his brakes but slid on the slippery dock into the water! Needless to say, DC was grounded for life (again) and we apologized to Desmond for our cat getting him in trouble! I discovered a reasonably-priced hairdresser in Eastsound and had my hair cut in the afternoon. Jennifer did a great job so she has herself a new client!

Oct. 16, 2008: Ahhhh! Flannel sheets are our friend! It rained on and off all day so we stayed on board, where is was warm'ish and dry.

Oct. 15, 2008: I wanted to put the flannel sheets on the bed this morning, but they've been on the shelf for 5 years and I decided they really needed to be washed. Deer Harbor is closer to us than the new location of the Eastsound laundromat, so off I went. At $4.00 total per load, I suspect Deer Harbor's laundromat (located at the marina) is much cheaper than Eastsound's, but Deer Harbor only had 2 machines and I had 3 loads of laundry. I put aside the towels for another laundry day and made myself comfortable while I waited for the laundry cycles. While I was out, Jim was trying to diagnose the furnace issue; so far he has figured out what is NOT wrong with it, but not what IS wrong with it! I spent an hour or so studying for Saturday's test for my technician level ham license. It was never an issue when we were cruising but here on island, there is limited cell coverage so portable hand held ham radios are used to converse. I figure I'll spend an hour or so every night between now and Sat. taking sample tests. And hopefully by then I'll be doing better than today, when I flunked all but 2 tests.

Oct. 14, 2008: Once we confirmed that an insurance binder was in place on the van, Jim moved the van out from behind Peter's barn and swapped license plates. He poured what little gasoline Peter had on hand into the tank and we headed off to the gas station. On the way, the engine started overheating -- this had the makings of a fun trip! However, we made it without running out of gas or breaking down. We filled the tank and put water in the radiator and then we were off for several hours of running around. I can't believe how much time it has taken us to get settled. We went back to the insurance agent and dropped off an application for health insurance, picked up the aluminum molding, only to discover it was too long to get in the van! Then we went to Napa, and the post office, grabbed lunch at Island Market, did some food shopping, went to the pharmacy and then back to the gas station to fill Peter's gas jug -- whew! It appears we have been volunteered to be the start boat for the Round the County sailboat race on Nov. 8. Jim talked with the race coordinator for the specifics and agreed to do it; I just hope it isn't stormy that day! We returned to the boat to find the refrigerator fan growling at us again, so that needs to be researched further. And Jim tried bypassing something or other in the heating system as suggested by the vendor, but it still didn't start. So that, too, will be researched further. There's always something! Jim climbed into bed with his usual spot of rum. Somehow he managed to spill it all over himself, the bed and bureau. So he mopped things up, spread a towel over the bottom sheet, got himself another spot of rum and climbed into bed. He very carefully pulled two of the blankets up but, once again, somehow managed to spill the rum all over the rug and floor when pulling up the top blanket. He sat there in shock as I laughed hysterically! His spot of rum is a nightly ritual and he's never spilled a drop but tonight he managed to do it twice! Well, I don't call him "Grace" for nothing!

Oct. 13, 2008: The heating system vendor was closed but the department of licensing was open (strange!) So we headed downtown with the necessary paperwork and 10 min. after walking into the DOL, we walked out with a WA registration and plates for the van -- cool! California's DOL had told Jim that he would be unable to register the van in WA because we had neglected to process the paperwork in the proper order when we shipped the van north. Needless to say, we held our breath as the WA DOL clerk punched everything into the computer. We walked out of the building high fiving each other! Yes -- we're one step closer to having our own wheels! From there we went to the insurance agency, only to find their office closed; however, the interior design shop next door was open. We ordered aluminum T-molding to go around the engine hatch -- the trim will finish the floor remodel that we did over a year ago. Returned to the boat to find the refrigerator fan growling. Jim made an attempt to fix it; we'll see if the fix holds. Jim attended the yacht club's "skippers lunch" at noon and I attended the "mates lunch", which started at 1630 and was really a martini lunch. I carpooled with 2 other ladies and thankfully, Howard acted as our chauffeur! It rained cats and dogs and we didn't see any water come in the portlight so perhaps that problem is fixed.

Oct. 12, 2008: Happy birthday to me! The alarm went off at 0630 and we crawled out of bed and made our way to P&B's for breakfast with the family. At 0830 we waved good-bye as Joyce and family flew to Seattle for their connecting flight to San Francisco. We returned to the boat to continue boat projects. The first project was to install the forward port window screen; a simple project once we found the track that the screen went into! This will keep the rain and drafts out of the sliding window. The next project was to get the hydronic heating system up and running, but the system would not start. Jim thinks it may be the mother board but will contact the vendor for more thoughts tomorrow. P&B joined us in mid-afternoon for some delicious raspberry and brie bites that I bought at Trader Joes' when we were in Seattle. They were wrapped in phyllo and extremely yummy. Of course we all know that these kinds of treats have no calories when served on your birthday! :-)

Oct. 11, 2008: Jim and I spent the day doing projects on Mañana as we're trying to get her ready for winter. One of the projects high on the priority list was to rebed the aft starboard portlight so that it will stop leaking. Jim removed the trim ring and discovered a small amount of rot where the water had penetrated. Luckily he caught it before much damage was done. We walked up to P&B's in mid afternoon. Jim has spent mucho hours backing up my computer and trying to figure out why I can't get on the internet here at the marina on my machine, but he can connect with his computer. Windows vs Mac? Who knows? Babs made Joyce & me a delicious birthday dinner of chicken cacciatore and even made 2 carrot cakes (Joyce's birthday was yesterday).

Oct. 10, 2008: Joyce, Bill & Nick arrived from San Francisco last night. Today we went for a nice day cruise on Coho to Reid Harbor with the family. It was quite choppy going over but very pleasant once in the anchorage. Peter dropped the hook and Babs made clam chowder, which really hit the spot. Going back was much smoother as we were running with the wind/seas.

Oct. 8, 2008: Brrr...this is the coldest it's been so far -- 41 outside this morning and not much better inside! We had the portable electric heater on full blast with Jerry camped out in front of it. We really need to get our hydronic heating system up and running, and soon! We caught the 0840 ferry to Friday Harbor, or Sin City, as the locals call it. From the ferry landing, we walked about 1.5 miles to the fire station where we applied for WA drivers licenses. The challenge in getting a WA driver's license is that you have to prove you are a resident of WA. Utility bills work (we don't have any), a telephone works (we don't have one), mortgages, W2s, etc. all work. But we don't have any of those. So just how does one prove one lives here? We brought as much official-looking paperwork bearing our Seattle address that we could find, along with our voter registration cards, insurance policies, etc. The clerk caught on that our Seattle address was not a residence, but a business, so technically none of our paperwork would work. What saved our bacon was the copy of the slip rental agreement for West Sound Marina and the fact that the worker was able to bend the rules to accommodate those of us who don't live a "normal" life. And to make everything really good, we each got our old driver's license number back...sweet! From there we walked back 1.5 miles to the court house, hoping to change our voting precinct. Unfortunately we were 5 days too late for this coming election, but paperwork was processed for the future. Peter met us at the ferry and taxied us back to the marina.

Oct. 7, 2008: We were cold last night so Jim climbed out of bed and spread the sleeping bag on top of us...much better! This makes 3 layers on top of us and it's not even winter yet -- I think we're going to freeze to death! :-) We spent the day running in circles, trying to get ourselves re-established back in the real world. First stop: the post office for a box number. Then to the department of licensing to register Jim's work van. We can't register the van as a commercial vehicle until Starfish Marine is a legal WA business, and we couldn't get that paperwork started until we had a PO number (there's part of the circle we ran around in). From there we went to an insurance agency to see about commercial insurance for the van, and ended up discussing health insurance, renter's insurance and boat insurance. Whoa! Our brains were full of insurance terminology! And finally, we stopped by the medical clinic to see about getting prescriptions transferred. Once back at Peter's, Jim hopped on the computer and registered Starfish Marine; he should have the necessary paperwork for registering the van by the end of the week. We were invited to have dinner with P&B again, which we accepted.

Oct. 6, 2008: Babs graciously offered the use of her washer and dryer, which I appreciated more than words can express! Winds are predicted to be up to 40 kts. tonight so many people, including us, were on their boats, adding extra lines to secure them. We spent a quiet afternoon on the boat; Jim is still under the weather, although I'm feeling much better.

Oct. 5, 2008: We are both down with colds and would have liked nothing better than to spend the day in bed. However, a review of the weather report had us thinking if we didn't leave today, we might get stuck here for the week as another large storm system is predicted for tomorrow afternoon. We would have stayed put, but Jim's stepsister and family arrive Thurs. for a couple of days from San Francisco and we didn't want to chance missing them. So we decided to head out along with everyone else. We spotted a bald eagle sitting on a piling as we exited the Slough -- this is the first one we've seen since we arrived last month! We had a smooth passage across Rosario Strait and into West Sound, where a couple of yacht club members caught our lines as we came up into our slip. This is actually our first time in this slip, which is on the opposite side of the marina from where we were in 2002. Our fingers are crossed that we won't be tossed around in the winter storms like we were 6 years ago. After an afternoon nap, we had dinner with Peter & Babs.

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