Monday, August 30, 2010

Our Northwest Passage

Coming home from a great vacation has its challenges. But none of those is as daunting as telling the story. Especially in today's digital world, people expect to see photos instantly, and blogs should stream like consciousness in a beautiful coherent structure that rivals Hemingway. But... trust me, I do not feel up to the task. The next few entries will be my best effort to get a few of the pictures out, and some of the stories.

Katie, Dom and Blixa

Chris and Allison

Glenn and I decided in order to take all our stuff to the Northwest, a drive was in order. That would allow us to also stop and see my family on the way to our charter in Anacortes. Allison and Chris had driven up before us and Katie and Dom along with his daughter Blixa were going to come by my sister Vicki's house in Gig Harbor. We hadn't met Dom or his daughter yet and since they are such an important part of our daughter's life we welcomed the opportunity. To join the fun my niece Laura and her son Owen also came by, making the perfect play mate for Blixa.

Blixa, Owen and Dexter

After our family event, we headed off the next day to pick up Patti and John at the airport. Stowing their bags in the packed car, we drove the 2 hour drive up to Anacortes. Our friends Barbara and Curtiss had already arrived in the area with their boat La Vida, a 26 ft Macgregor sailboat "with an attitude". Luckily the truck Curtiss had used to tow it was repaired in Ashland after a breakdown... and he was able to make it to Anacortes in one piece.

Before we made it to Ship Harbor Charters, we stopped at a winery/cidery place outside Anacortes for a pre party....

Once at the harbor, we checked in and was shown where our new home for the cruise, Wave Dancer, was sitting. We were not allowed to check out until morning, so we called Barbara and Curtiss and arranged a rendezvous at Brown Lantern Ale House. Patti also called some Sausalito neighbors, also up in the area for a vacation, Stuart and Emily Riddle who met us there too.

Emily, Stuart, Patti and John

The cruisers

Ready to set sail? Or power up?

We slept on the boat and settled in. The boys set a time for checking out at 9am, so Patti and I met Barbara in Anacortes to go shopping and provision the boat while they "worked".

John, our captain, checked out the engines.... Once we were ok-ed to leave off we went on our San Juan adventure, heading to Spencer spit on Lopez Island...

One of the many ferries...

The boat felt like it was 10 stories high. For people who usually sail, this Bayliner was huge, and somewhat sluggish to respond. The currents in the San Juans make sailing in the area "challenging" so we broke our resolve not to be power boaters, in favor of getting from place to place on the same day.

But Barbara and Curtiss on La Vida had their own solution for getting outboard with HORSEPOWER! They looked like a ski boat as they flew through the water.

But they told us they were able to sneak in a little sail time on the way.

Their dingy motor had a little starting issue, but after a tow and some suggestions from John, it was all better....

The vacation on the water has a wonderful effect on type A busy people like Glenn. His eyes begin to crinkle into a satisfied smile. His shoulders came down from his ears to their rightful position and the smile spread over his face... "I remember you..." I thought

For people like Curtiss and Barbara, this cruising lifestyle is not foreign. They took many years off to sail around the world, raising a daughter on their boat. They are ready to do it again, with Barbara set to retire at the end of the year.

This is the second cruise we have taken with John. He is a mechanic in his "real" life so he was the ideal person to appoint Captain of Wave Dancer. And Patti, why Patti and I and Glenn have sailed in other foreign lands...Thailand, Spain, Greece.

Me.... I am a party planner in my alternate life, so I planned one for our first night "out there".

The typical suspects began to arrive and the pre-party began.

Pasta and Pistols was one of those mystery games you play over dinner.
I will have to guess at everyone's names, after several days and many bottles of wine that night.

Terra Misu

Mama Rosa

Rocco Scarfacci and Mama Rossa

Terra, Beau Jalais, Angel

There was also John's character who was a wanna be soccer player. John wore his England soccer shirt. I guess he didn't get the message it was an Italian theme!

As the sun set, the views began to take center stage... we all slipped away to our respective berths to wait for the sun to rise. Tomorrow we had exploring to do.