Posted by: yachtanomaly | June 11, 2019

Cap Sante

The rock that makes this marina so calm

Watercolor, 9×12

Posted by: yachtanomaly | June 11, 2019

Genesis of the Name

Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes, in a sunny moment

Not as warm as I would like

There isn’t a lot to report for travel fans. We are “stationed” here at Cap Sante Marina while Jon works feverishly on an ambitious schedule of upgrades to our American Tug Fifth Element. Some are necessary for the Pacific NW; others are just really nice to have. He won’t be happy until everything functions to his satisfaction and his standards are higher than most.

Fortunately, the marina is only a few steps away from Anthony’s seafood and other great eats including the 24-hour Donut House, Starbucks, Happy Wok(wins out for selection and value over Teriyaki Time), Adrift, Village Pizza (more for the Warriors games than the pizza) and surprisingly delicious sandwiches from Safeway. We even lucked out on the rental car when the cramped Hyundai Alantra sedan had a dead battery earning us a free upgrade to a GMC Acadia with all the bells and whistles- literally. It warns you about almost everything.

Jon has numerous projects underway so there is just a tiny space for me to sit in the cabin. We had two trips to Bellingham and Whatcom Electric for alternator work(no time to visit with cousin Trudy). The electrical panel re-wiring is still going after 3 afternoons of work by talented Anthony from Jim Betts. Jon is refining his dinghy attachment hardware, and the big project of converting the heat to diesel is still to be tackled.

He has already replaced the refrigerator, microwave (now with toaster), stove, and added a dehumidifier. The alternator was a second attempt since Jon discovered the first one didn’t produce enough voltage at idle to keep the alarms from going off. This one is a success, however.

I just wish it was a bit warmer so I could sit outside more comfortably. The rain showers haven’t been too bad, but a chilly wind has been coming up late morning that is quite unpleasant. I did some plein air painting and had to get under the comforter to warm up afterwards.

Posted by: Ann | June 7, 2019

Monday June 3- Sidney to Anacortes

Sunny! 60ºF.

Really the only complaint one can have at Van Isle Marina is they close the restroom for cleaning at 7am. We were up early hoping and getting the first boat launch of the day instead of our 9:45 time slot. The yacht park didn’t waste any time loading Fifth Element onto the lift and popping her into the water.

We paid our bill then walked over to the bakery cafe for a very bad mocha and very good bagel breakfast sandwich. Also got sandwiches to go for our crossing back to the US. We departed Van Isle about 9:50.

The sandwiches came in handy since the new boarder control smartphone app cleared us in without requiring a stop at Roche Harbor; (I wonder if it will affect the famous doughnut sales?) The app did spin with a progress bar for a long time before requesting a short video call. The agent confirmed our ID and we were quickly given travel authorization numbers which we can use again.

We made the rest of the passage in calm sunny weather. Near Anacortes, Jon increased speed to test our new devices for passive stabilization. They were built and installed by a Canadian shop- I have to confirm with Jon but I think it was Independent Shipwrights in Coombs. We think so far that rolling seems damped while top speed has not been adversely affected. We arrived at out reserved slip at Cap Sante marina about 3:20- plenty of time to make it to Anthony’s Cabana for the mahi-mahi tacos.

Posted by: Ann | June 2, 2019

Our Next Adventure- somewhere near Alaska?

Sunday, June 2, 2019, Sidney, BC (Canada)

We utilized all forms of transit to start our next trip along the inland passage to Alaska. On the last day of May, Jon’s brother helped us take my car to Sacramento airport where we flew to Seattle, then bussed via the Bellaire Airporter to Anacortes.

After our favorite salmon and chips at Anthony’s Cabana, we stayed the night in the Cap Sante Inn near Cap Sante Marina, then took a taxi to the Washington state ferry the next morning. The ferry has huge breakfast sandwiches which are too big for me- will avoid next time.

The ferry was a bit late but eventually got us to Sidney, BC after a brief stop in Friday Harbor. Then another taxi, to the wrong marina initially, to van Isle marina where we can finally stay on our American Tug, Fifth Element, even though it isn’t in the water.

Most marina services are shut for the weekend, so our boat launch is scheduled for Monday morning. We did have a very nice lunch in the Seaglass cafe- my chicken sandwich had a unique house-made blackberry mayonnaise.

We walked to Sidney’s Starbucks this morning since the Seaglass is expensive and everything else is closed on Sundays. Jon has many more boat upgrades to do so I doubt if we’ll make it anywhere near Alaska this year. That’s ok- the weather has been gorgeous. Anacortes reports over 20 days straight of above normal temps for this time of year and Sidney is actually hot for vigorous walking.

Pacific Dogwood at the well kept Van Isle Marina

Posted by: Ann | October 20, 2018

Saturday, October 20th- Back to the USA

Sidney to Rosario

We were undecided whether to visit Lopez Island or Rosario on Orcas Ise.  We finally decided we aren’t equipped yet to land the dinghy somewhere like the Lopez Island Spencer Spit park, so we opted for the comfort of the Rosario Resort marina.

First we had to officially re-enter the US at Roche Harbor which turned into a hide-and-seek to find the customs dock.  I should have guessed that coming from the water, all resident dockage is on the right, and all tourist services like fuel dock, harbor master customs dock are on the left.  Jon said the customs agent maintained a stern demeanor, but he did let us stay long enough to grab some fresh donuts from the Limekiln cafe.

The wind picked up as we approached Orcas Island and Rosario.  It got rough enough that we worried the dinghy might capsize.  We also had difficulty getting close to the dock as the wind was strong enough to overpower the thrusters.  I was finally able to lassoo a cleat and pull us in, something that would be impossible with Canadian bull rails.

We had a nice lunch in the lounge – salmon burgers again- and the house ginger beer had the intriguing addition of lime, cardamom and cayenne.  Then we enjoyed the Saturday music concert which was a lovely combination of historical photographs taken by Robert Moran while a resident artist (who is also the resort general manager) played both the 1900 Steinway piano and the 1913 vintage Aeolian pipe organ with it’s nearly 2000 pipes.  

The most surprising thing happened after the show when we were all invited to view the actual organ console as it played some music automatically.  The original paper scroll control had been replaced with an old Apple PowerMac 6116, Jon had been the project manager for that model back at Apple 25 years ago! Antiques controlling antiques! What a small world.

We enjoyed the evening on Fifth Element; the wind and air temperature is quite biting now, but we’re snug in the cabin with power from the marina.

Power PC!

The visible pipes are actually a “blind” for the real pipes behind

View from the Rosario Resort museum

Posted by: Ann | October 20, 2018

Friday, October 19th- Nanaimo to Sidney


Sunrise at Nanaimo


Dodd Narrows




Zero Visibility reveals a spider web

Sun then thick fog

The slack at Dodd Narrows was around 6:30 am, but we left Nanaimo at 7:15, about 15 minutes after there was enough light to navigate.  Jon had to straighten several twists out of the anchor chain again.

Before we reached the Narrows, a 24’ Hovercraft announced transit in our direction.  That was an interesting boat to see. I was also amused by a a large group of seagulls hitching a ride on a log boom, and we enjoyed seeing several sea lions, which are less common than harbor seals we’ve seen every day.

We reached Dodd narrows at 8am which was just a little turbulent with various instruments reporting between 2.5 to 3 kts flood(adverse current).  Frankly, the wake from the motorboat that raced past from behind us was worse.  

We continued along the Stuart channel towards Sidney, but about 9:30 the fog started to thicken.  The visibility was worsened by what must have been the sun from above.  We slowed a bit in the white glare.  I was glad for Jon’s radar and AIS systems but it was still a tense hour of looking for non-transmitting and/or non radar reflecting boats before the fog started to lift.

Fortunately, it was clear enough to see as we approached Sidney and crossed the paths of many ferries and local boats.  We docked at D-31 around 1:40 pm and headed up to Starbucks and my favorite little art store, Island Blue.  

I could not believe how many people were in downtown Sidney.  The Starbucks was packed for hours and I’ve never seen so many people browsing downtown.

There were several possible reasons.  The World Rowing Coastal championships just ended Oct 14th, Pumpkin and Oktoberfest events are going on, an ArtSea Open Studios event for the coming weekend and the Antimatter Media week in Victoria is just ending.  Whatever the reason, we were also buzzed two military jets for several minutes.

We were sorry to miss our friends who live in Sidney, Chris and Dave Schroeder, so we consoled ourselves with the schnitzel and spatzli from my favorite restaurant, Bistro Suisse.  I got a good tutorial on how to properly prepare the pan for schnitzel, concluding that I don’t get my pans hot enough (which is probably why most of the breading falls off!)

Posted by: Ann | October 20, 2018

Thursday, October 18th- Pender Harbour to Nanaimo


The Dinghy Dock


Fifth Element from Dinghy Dock with Newcastle Island in background


Another beautiful day; we have been so lucky with the weather this trip!  Temperature at Sechelt was 53 deg. F at 10:45

Both of us have noticed a high pitched whine from the engine today.  Jon could not find anything amiss.

By 1:30 Vancouver Island homes, N. Nanaimo in sight.  Arrived Port of Nanaimo at 2:30 and allowed 3 free hours on G dock.  We spent the next couple of hours shopping.  

We visited the fascinating Harbour Chandlery which has all kinds of boating and fishing supplies.  Jon had to exchange some LED lights that had failed and he also looked into possibilities for a stern tie reel.  

A quick stop at Starbucks took us past the homeless encampments which seems heavily supported by the Nanaimo health services department.  The debate:  does this help alleviate or aggravate the homeless issue.

Finally, we stopped by Flying Fish Kitchen supply but still could not find an acceptable coffee scoop for Jon.  We did pass a promising looking cafe- Le Cafe Francais- that I’d like to visit in the future.

A quick garbage run- free here- and then we were off to anchor off Newcastle Island.  We noticed that some lucky boat was tied up at right at the Dinghy Dock, but there wasn’t a spot for us.  

We anchored nearby and took the dinghy over.  The waitress did a double-take and said it was deja vu because she recognized us and we ordered the exact same thing- grilled wild sockeye salmon burger.  This time we also had the dessert with the suggestive name, Sex in a Dinghy. One of the regulars/owners came over to inform us that no condoms are provided since the Dinghy Dock is on Protection Island!


View out the stern of Fifth Element


The huge scale of Princess Louisa- there’s a boat going around the corner

We take bit of a risk…

We enjoyed walking around the falls again this morning, this time at low tide.  We had to leave Princess Louisa inlet fairly late due to the slack time at Malibu Rapids.  Our ETA for the Back Eddy marina was to be 6pm.

We really didn’t want to stay there again.  It had been $43 for a dock in poor condition and a closed pub; Gorge Harbor had been $34 and was in immaculate condition. 

Jon studied all the possible alternatives.  Green Bay further along in the Agamemnon channel was said to have uncharted rocks, so not wise for newbies arriving in low light.  Saltery Bay sounded promising, but it would put us back the wrong direction out the Jervis inlet, forcing us to miss the beautiful Agamemnon.  And we didn’t know what the availability at the public dock would be, with the fall-back anchorage also unfamiliar to us.

We finally decided to continue on down the Agamemnon to Pender Harbor with an ETA of 7:30 pm.  

It turned out to be a little more scary than we expected.  By the time we anchored, it was closer to 8pm and very dark.  It was difficult even with our knowledge of Garden bay and our instruments telling us we anchored almost in the exact same spot as we did previously.  The lights of homes reflecting off the water and our pilothouse windows made for very difficult visibility.  We were fortunate that it was very calm and the sunset lingered long enough to see the entrance of Pender Harbour.

Posted by: Ann | October 19, 2018

Musings on Princess Louisa


Reflections make the scene seem even more majestic


The Magic of Princess Louisa Inlet

I was trying to think of why this place is so special.  After all, why do we ogle falling water like Chatterbox Falls?  But I think it is the sum total of things that makes this inlet beloved.  

First, it takes some effort to get here. It’s only accessible by boat, and you have to cruise three long reaches of about 10 miles each to get to the entrance.  The whole way there you are surrounded by towering mountains.

Then there is the mysterious Malibu rapids entrance.  You have to time it just right to pass through safely.  You wonder who discovered this was even here. 


Wait for slack at Malibu Rapids

There’s the beautiful lodge repurposed as a youth group venue perched right on the edge of the rapids.  It’s almost as if they want a front row seat to watch for any difficulty you may encounter.

Then, finally another 6 or 7 miles in, you reach the end.  You are surrounded on all sides by steep fjord-like cliffs and the waterfall starts way above you.  All you see up close is the final cascade.  There are gulls and ducks and seals floating by.

You understand why this place was immortalized in The Curve of Time and saved for posterity by it’s caretaker, John Fitzgerald MacDonald.



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