My first ORCA sighting.
Arrived Bellingham June 29, 2013
Ahaaaaaaaaa. Home again, home again. It’s been 10 months since I last set eyes on the Rhino. Now she’s here in Bellingham, Washington and I just arrived. A new chapter is about to unfold for us, Rick, Rhino and me.
We hired a Skipper to deliver her home and then changed our minds and had him deliver her to HIS home area, Bellingham, Washington (he lives in Portland Oregon). We then fly up to do some cruising around the San Juan’s off Bellingham before sailing her back down the coast to Dana Point. A beautiful place between Vancouver Island, Canada and Washington with lots to see and enjoy along with pods of Orca’s (I hope).
Funny thing about coming home to Rhino, she’s small, cramped and cluttered but we love her none the less. She takes us to places seldom seem by the passing tourists. So with a little TLC she will be ready again for our journey of cruising around the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands and even Desolation Sound (Maybe if time and weather permits) then back home to Dana Point.
We’ve got our work cut out for us to get her ready to go again, after her 42 day trip from Raiatea to Washington with one 2 day stop in Hawaii.. She needs a deep cleaning; mold and mildew have invaded her. Rick had a head start since he arrived a week before me. He’s been working very hard to get her ready for me and there is still lots to do. I opened the locker where my pots and pans are kept. OMG… My cast iron pans are a mess with rust and mold, plus gross water in a few places. Hard to believe the damage that rust can do.
July 2, 2013
Yesterday I tackled the galley, scrubbed out the cabinets and cleaned all the pots and pans. My cast irons are still sitting with the baking soda, they should be like new soon. After scrubbing everything and letting it dry out I sprinkle boric acid in the corners of the cabinets to keep the bugs out and it must work because I didn’t find any varmints’ anywhere… Yippeeeee
Today I’ll conquer the spices, I think most will see the trash and we’ll have to buy new. Oh well it’s a cleansing experience for all.
July 22, 2013
Already… I been a busy bee and haven’t had time to blog. However, we arrived at our first anchorage last night. We “cut” the dock lines and did it – no easy task. More about that later. First I want to fill in some of the blanks of what’s been going on for the past twenty days.
Rick and I have been busy bees, the Rhino is back and looking good. It took me about 4 days of scrubbing my cast iron pans, when I thought there has to be a better way. So we went to our favorite store, the Hardware store and I bought some sanding wheels to attach to our drill. Amazing how well they worked, but it still took another 2 days to get down past the rust. When I was done I thought I had sanded all the cast off the cast iron… lol
Well anyway, I re-seasoned them and they are like new… Yippee, all my hard work has paid off. My cast iron pans are like new again. Rick thinks I’m crazy and should have thrown them away and bought new, but these have history and I love them.
So galley is done, now on to other projects. We went to immigration and took care of the paperwork for heading into Canada. We met some fellow cruisers there that had to be in their 80’s, so we still have lots of time to enjoy this lifestyle.
We also went to an orientation given by San Juan Sailing – a charter group – to learn about the waters here and what to avoid. Very helpful, in fact they had a good chart which was marked in red of the areas to avoid. So of course we had to buy one, the more information we had the safer we’ll be. We went twice…
Rick changed the engine oil, fixed a frozen winch on mast, shocked the water tanks with chlorine, changed the fuel filters, fixed the shower pump (had a faulty connection), replaced broken macerator pump in the head (a very unpleasant job), had the propane tanks filled, put the sails back on (We had to have some repairs made to both the jib and staysail), washed down the outside of Rhino and even scrubbed her floors. So our baby Rhino is very happy and healthy once again and we are ready to cut the dock lines and head out. AWOL (Adventures without limits).
We met with a fellow cruiser by the name of Todd who gave us some helpful hints on where to go and what to see. I keep asking everyone “where’s the best place to see the Orca’s? After talking with Todd we were very excited about cutting the dock lines and leaving to go visit all the wonderful anchorages he told us about. He even convinced us that we should definitely go up to Desolation Sound – you’re here, you can’t go home and not go there. So now we needed additional information on D.S. Rick checked our chart plotter and our charts didn’t cover that area. So now we had more work to do, that was to acquire the charts and books on the area. We went around to 3 different marine stores to find the Navionics chip for our chart plotter. Everyone was out of it. We were able to have one ordered in from Seattle and it would arrive on Friday. So we had to wait.
The chip arrived on Friday afternoon and of course we plugged it in right away to see if it worked and it did… Yippee, we can leave tomorrow, Saturday. Well the weather wasn’t about to co-operate: gale force winds were expected through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, small craft warnings, etc. Another delay.
Sunday we wake up to heavy fog but the winds had died down some and the forecast was ok. So finally around 11:30 we were able to pull out of the slip and cut the dock lines. We were headed to Cypress Island and going to pick up a mooring ball in Eagle Harbor. From Bellingham to Eagle Harbor we go right past Vendovi Island that is owned by the San Juan Preservation Trust. The island is the newest preserve acquisition of the Trust. Only two acres are developed on the entire island, leaving the island pristine and in a natural condition. The islands caretakers are Heather Bansmer and Shawn Breeding – the authors of the Cruising Guide for the San Juan Islands and also The Sea of Cortez. We actually had met them in La Paz when we were there. They have the same type boat, a Westsail, and she’s almost a twin to Rhino. We had time and decided to stop by to see them. There is an 80’ dock but no over-night tie up. When we arrived the dock was just about full but a boat was just leaving, so we waited. Shawn and Heather met us at the dock and we reminisced. Rick and I walked around the Island for a bit, they have these beaches called Midden, which are crushed shell beaches that were used for centuries by Coast Salish people as seasonal camps. It was a wonderful place, peaceful and beautiful. After our tour of the Island we said our goodbyes and headed to Eagle Harbor.
Eagle Harbor has 13 mooring balls and upon our arrival there were at least 3 open. So we decided on which one we wanted and picked it up. They are a bit different than the ones we’re used to in Catalina but we didn’t have a problem. After the engine was off and we sat in the cockpit and looked around. It was amazing. Such grandeur and magnificence I hadn’t seen since Daniels Bay in the Marquesas. We were surrounded by tall evergreens reaching up to the sky with calm, cool green water below. You forget how much you love this feeling of peace and quiet. Rick and I immerse ourselves in it by turning all electronic devices off, at least for a time. ;0-)
July 23, 2013
Still here in Eagle Harbor. What a treat. We were even greeted by a Full Moon during our stay here. Yesterday, Rick and I took a dinghy ride up to the other anchorage, shut off the engine and drifted with the tide. It was splendid; the birds were feasting on fish and making a racket. It was so much better then listening to the radio just listening to life. Back to Rhino and she’s sitting on the mooring ball in the majestic Eagle Harbor. We were even treated to a fly over by one of our feathered friends. Leaving today and headed up to James Island.