Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and our Bigfoot29 powerboat, "Raven," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, sailed to Mexico, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded Sockdolager (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016, Sockdolager found new owners, and we began cruising on Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. In 2018 we cruised up to Glacier Bay, Alaska, and back. But in 2024 we had the chance to buy Sockdolager back (we missed her), so we sold Raven. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Week Before Departure

The house is all spiffed up, we’ve found some good renters, and the boat’s ready. Now now all we have to do is move our stuff into storage and clean, while taking care of all those pesky details of moving from a land-based existence to being a couple of sea-gypsies.

We thought that doing so much work well in advance would mean that we could relax just before departure, but HA! say the Gods of Millions of Ridiculous Details. You thought wrong.

It turns out that when you try that, you make up more stuff to do!

Date is set: We’ve decided that leaving on a holiday (July 4th) when there are still a couple of things to do that would be better done on a non-holiday is just plumb inconvenient. For example, we need to complete the transactions of selling both vehicles but would like to use them over the weekend. There are also goodbyes to be said. Why rush? So we’ll leave the dock on the afternoon of July 5th, to anchor for the night in front of our beloved Port Townsend, weather permitting.

Which leads us to those goodbyes. If you are in the Port Townsend area on July 4 between 2 and 6 pm, come on down to Boat Haven’s D dock, second dock extension on the left, and have a coldie, some munchies, a boat tour, and maybe a hug or two. We’ll head over to a friends’ house in the evening to watch the fireworks. The next day we’ll wrap up business and go.

Which leads us to keeping in touch. There are several hundred friends and family on our email list, and so far we’ve had the luxury of emailing you directly when we update the blog. That is rapidly coming to a close. There will be times when we can email you from shoreside internet cafes, but more often than not the blog might be updated at sea from our Ham radio. We can’t email you directly from sea, because it’s such a slow connection. So slow that a single text file can take 10 minutes to download. So, hint hint, the ones who figure out the “Follow” or “Updates From Sea” gadgets to the left of this text will be able to get updates from sea as they are posted. "Follow" instructions can be found here.

First leg of the voyage: We'll sail for Neah Bay at the far northwest corner of the country, and await good weather there. Then we’ll head out to sea, destination Drake’s Bay at Point Reyes just north of San Francisco, California. Enroute we’ll stay about 70 to 100 miles offshore to avoid the shipping traffic, headwinds and crab pots that are common nearer to shore. (Lin and Larry Pardey confirmed to us that that this is the best and often shortest route.) We’re planning to stop in Drake’s Bay because it’s an easy harbor to enter and anchor in normal weather conditions after a long passage. We’ll rest up there and negotiate the busy entrance to San Francisco a couple days later, during daylight hours.

Speaking of Lin and Larry Pardey, they featured Sockdolager's pull-out table on their blog! Click here to see their article. Karen has been following Lin and Larry's adventures via their many helpful and entertaining books since the 1970s, and has learned much from them. They coined the phrase "Go simple, go small, but go now." Basically, they've been two of Karen's sailing heroes for decades. So it's a delightful surprise to: a.) be able to get to know them, since they live in New Zealand; and b.) learn that Lin has written a sweet memoir about their years in a very unusual location building their beautiful Bristol Channel Cutter, Taliesin. It's quite a change for a writer to do a memoir, but Lin has written a fine, readable, often funny book called Bull Canyon, subtitled A Boatbuilder, a Writer, and Other Wildlife. It's gotten good reviews, including from Publisher's Weekly. She keeps a brand new writer's blog separate from their other web site. Click here to go to Lin's blog and learn more about her book.

Lin and Larry came for a visit at the March 2011 Spring Sailing Symposium in Port Townsend.

And if you're looking for some nail-biting reading about a voyage through pirate infested waters, check out Cap'n Fatty Goodlander's web site and book called Red Sea Run, about traversing the area in convoy with other cruising boats. He just published a new book that describes the situation in that area in detail, called, Somali Pirates and Cruising Sailors. And in case you were wondering, no, we don't plan to go there.

Must get back to work now. More later.