Clearing customs in Roche Harbor we did sail to Deer Harbor a smaller delightful marina on Orcas Island compared to the overwhelming magnitude of yachts $$$ in the marina at Roche. We did enjoy the lowering of colors ceremony for the Union Jack, the Canadian and US flags and the music and cannon fire at Roche. I always thought our Port should have a daily ceremony with cannon and flag lowering. Some ceremony for towns is relevant.
From Deer Harbor we went to the busy marina at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island staying two nights. Watching the ferry traffic and other boat traffic is pretty interesting and meeting people and their dogs.
We were ready to head home and checked NOAA weather on the internet and Seattle weather on the VHF. Tides and winds in the Straits of San Juan de Fuca looked ok and so in the early morning we steered a course for Cattle Pass the exit between San Juan Island and Lopez into the Straits and motored to Port Ludlow. The rip tides off Point Wilson got our attention as did the two to three foot waves on our starboard beam at times during the crossing. But winds were light.
After a one day respite at Ludlow to do laundry, shower and take on fuel and water we stopped at Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island and enjoyed dinner with our friends Jean and Doug on board Greywolf. The next day on to Gig a stop to wait on a good tide to take us through the Tacoma Narrows to home port. Our departure music from Eagle Harbor was John Williams “Hymn to the Fallen” from the movie score Saving Private Ryan. As in past voyages we again honored our fallen. 🇺🇸
On our way to Olympia we encountered 3-4 waves in Dana Passage the result of a flood tide meeting an oncoming 20 knot westerly wind. We sailed briefly in Bud Inlet but the gusts overpowered my Genoa and we doused the sail. In the process of furling the sail the Genoa sheet caught the mid ship cleat and caused all sorts of issues until Ann was able to free the line. So our voyage ended with excitement and yet another learning experience about sailing on our newer boat Kestrel. Sailing like life is truly a learning experience. Some scary moments too.
Thankful to be at homeport we stayed the night and cleaned up the boat the next day. So ended 28 days on board our Kestrel living in tight quarters, bumping our heads, rowing ashore for Wilson, and taking in the beauty of the Northwest waters. Finally we did see an Orca whale just off Fox Island and a number of humpbacks off Anderson Island all in the South Puget Sound a rarity. The whales escorted us home. 🐳.
So completes a safe wonderful 28 day Voyage 2
Fair winds and Following Seas to our friends on the sea and at home.
Gary, Ann Marie and Ensign Wilson
Thursday evening 9 August at 2130 hours while at Arabella’s Marina in Gig Harbor both Ann and I did see unidentified flying objects inbound from the southeast about 125M. I saw one incoming bright fiery orange orb without defined circumference or navigation lights like the sun in a smoky sky (sunset was at 2030 one hour before). It appeared to be larger than a helicopter and at the flight level of a helicopter. There was no sound from the aircraft in fact no sound from anywhere. Before getting to a position overhead it turned south to about 175M heading proceeding to climb at an incredibly fast rate of speed compared to its lower level steady slow approach. It’s color and size dissipated to a starlike projection and disappeared into outer space. Gone in a nano second. Then another with the same physical and flight characteristics with no sound and followed by four more orbs all evenly spaced in formation about one minute a part from each other. All 6 orbs the same size and fiery color flew toward us and departed in the same direction from southeast to south on a diagonal departure vector accelerating and climbing rapidly out of sight in seconds.
I Called 911 at 2139 hours and reported my sighting of these 6 flying objects. Having been a Navy pilot and familiar with aircraft and through my current work at the Palm Springs Air Museum I felt that these flying objects were outside of any experience I have ever witnessed in aviation. I did not have my IPhone.
In looking at my charts the incoming direction was from Tacoma and the outgoing toward the Narrows Bridge.
In checking the internet I did find a nearly exact sighting of the same orb description and number in 2017. Uncanny!
So what do you think? I thought about contacting McChord airbase. Possibly the Seattle Times. I guess in moments like this experience I question the reality of my sighting and whether it is or isn’t and I should just pass on it. Or do I not believe in UFO possibility. Are we alone? I’ll keep you posted of any findings.
Ann and I depart for Olympia today with the tide and can say at this time we had a wonderful voyage. Our departure music today will be music from ET!!!
Fair winds to all!
Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson
On board our sailboat Dana 24 “Kestrel”
Gig Harbor, WA. 10 August 2018
Quiet water motoring just north of Gig Harbor.
After Telegraph we had a return overnight in Montague Harbor watching float planes come and go in the harbor. A short stop there we set off for the US to clear customs at Roche Harbor. Ann chose Holst’s St Paul’s Suite a work we’ve played with the Symphony. I set course through Navy Channel with 10-15 knot south wind on the nose and 2-3 foot seas. While the plan was to make Roche our departure time was delayed causing us to miss the ebb tide. Between that and the lumpy sea we put into Port Browning on North Pender Island for an overnight and better start the next day. We called in on VHF for a slip and lucky to get one in this small marina. Walked to the local market and picked up groceries and beer. Check out the hitch hike sign. We get alot of exercise walking for food, beer and wine carrying back pack and carry bags. Sometimes we pack ice a fair distance. We only have an ice box on board. Winds continued but abated in the night and we let go lines earl the next day for Roche. Departure music was Vaughn Williams “English Folk Suite”. Proper for leaving the Commonwealth where we enjoyed every day of our Carpe Diem philosophy.
From Nanaimo we passed south through the Dodd Narrows with due respect for the currents we motored through at slack water with a 16 boat flotilla one at a time. Narrows like this one and Deception pass require careful planning as my boat only makes 6 knots under power with its 21 hp Yanmar diesel. Departure music was Handel’s “Water Music”. Weather continued hot for our 4 hour passage with light south wind on our nose. We settled in to our normal watch and easy go attitude entertained by Wilson, birds, an occasional Eagle and dolphins. No whales sighted. Ann would fix ramen now and then or Chile for lunch. On rough weather days it was peanut butter and jam. Telegraph was family run for years and we enjoyed our stay. Out in my wet suit to check zincs and found one max prop zinc depleted. So hot we spent the day in chairs under the tall cedar and fir trees. Arbitus trees in abundance as well. We stayed three days took on fuel and departed for Montague. Departure music was the well known tenor/bass duet from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers.
From Montague we motored north to Nanaimo on the coast of the big Island departure music was John Williams “Jurassic Park”. Nanaimo is a hub for a working waterfront. Looks a lot like Longview with logs and chip piles, tug and barge ops. What is different is the large ferry boat terminals and constant sea planes landing and taking off. The many marinas and boats of all types reflect high degree of activity. Dodging all of this while underway has my attention in and out of these active ports.
The scene reflects the island life with the transportation needs to drive the economy movement of goods and people. I was reminded of my working time in Japan a mega example of an island nation. Off Nanaimo Ann and I hoisted sail and set out into the Straits of Georgia for a day of sailing with 15 knot winds. This is for me the joy of feeling 8000 pounds of sailboat moving easily through light chop at 6 knots about 7 mph. The afternoon weather was nice with winds out of the north.
Nanaimo was the furthest North we traveled and headed back through the Dodd Narrows at slack with a 16 boat flotilla all heading south. All went well. Departure music was Bernstein’s “Candide Overture.” We headed for Telegraph Harbor. We continue to learn And feel more comfortable on the water. Safety still remains the primary focus amidst all the shoals, currents and at times heavy traffic. The main beef for sailors is always the big cruiser power boat wakes they leave while seeing how close they can come by. It is grin and bear it! So still on our way. I leave you with a quote from Tommy Transits book Bus Tales, the chapter “no one forgets how you make them feel. From Hada Bejar, “The fragrance of the rose lingers on the hand of the giver.” I invite you to give someone a rose and tested it out or just a smile.
Safe travels friends
Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson
With very hot weather we departed Sidney for Montague Harbor on Galiano Island where we tied up to a marine buoy for two days. One of the highlights was a bus ride to the Hummingbird Pub. Not your usual bus or driver. Nope we we boarded a vintage yellow school bus driven by Tommy Transit a colorful extrovert of positive value to every riders spirits. On board the school bus we were entertained by Tommy and the riders singing and laughing, playing percussion instruments he passed out. He was a transit driver in Vancouver B.C. for many years and he learned much and wrote a heart warming book. If you can’t afford a therapist for life’s problems his book will suffice. Check it out.
Under sail into Montague Cheers!
While my blog is not political I will say that being in Canada with good friends was refreshing and in many of our anchorages the lack of internet freed us from the daily grind of political media and tweets. When the customs agent asked our purpose for visiting I thought to myself “political asylum.” We share a very common bond and interests with our Canadian neighbors. Ann and I are thankful for their caring about that relationship and the hospitality and friendship we experienced in Canada.
We meet many wonderful and engaging people on our journey, boaters like ourselves, and often the same boaters at different ports. We share the magic of the water and wind, the same weather and quite frequently a lot of laughter. We were thankful to our friends Brian and Louise for hosting us for three days at their lovely Brentwood cottage on the bay on Vancouver Island. And meeting young Nick, a live aboard 30 year old in Nanaimo. Below Brian rowing ashore after setting a prawn trap…ummmm! On to other islands!
Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson
Gary with Captain Hook in beautiful Sidney B.C. where the WA state ferry arrived from Anacortes.
- Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina was quiet when I rolled out of the starboard quarter berth Ann still asleep in the v berth with Wilson. No wind and no fog following a night before of small craft warnings. All looked good for our 30 mile passage to Vancouver Island. I suppose with age I choose good weather to sail and pass on the small craft advisory times even though Kestrel can do it. The Straits and weather are to be respected though and more so that Ann has a comfortable experience. Last line at 0730 we departed the linear dock, passed the ferry terminal (Port Townsend and Whidbey Island) checked AIS for big ship traffic enroute. We left Admiralty inlet, Point Wilson behind and entered the Eastern Strait. Lumpy and calm the currents subsided about 30 minutes out and the glassy face of the water seemed surreal since there were 20 plus knot winds the night before. 5 hours later we were tied to the Customs dock at Oak Bay. Customs is a telephone at the fuel dock. I picked up the phone and didn’t even dial a number. A young male voice answered and after a few questions gave me a number to affix to the boat. That’s it. For sure I had left the US. I had raised the Canadian flag 🇨🇦 on the mast in conformity with tradition and the US flag 🇺🇸 on the stern. Happily we had made the crossing though by motoring and were greeted by our Canadian friends who are hosting us for the weekend. In short the crossing was very comfortable and beautiful views of the Strait. Ann and Wilson are seen on a hilltop that evening enjoying the sunset over the Straits. Shalom. Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson