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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Index of Interesting Blog Posts

Most Amazing

 A Lone Humpback Whale    

 Panama Canal Crossing

 Isla Talon


 French pastries delivered?!

 El Salvadorian chicken boat

 America's Cup Races

 French Canal Boat


Emotional or Funny

 Reaching the Canal

 We can't catch a thing

 Flying the Dingy

 Snakes on a boat Part 1

 Snakes on a boat Part 2

 Melissa can't fly a Spinnaker

 Embarrassing laundromat trip


 Helping the Mexican bureaucracy

 Squid attack!


Best Land Side Trips

 Caiman Capture!

 Swimming in the Amazon River

 Arches National Park

 Machu Picchu

 Best Zip Line

 Paying our first bribe

 Seeing our first wild monkeys

 Evening in Tlaquepaque

 Melissa attacked by monkeys

 Most beautiful cities in the world

 Oaxaca market day

 Monte Alban ruins

 El Salvadorian wedding

 Copan ruins

Scary Stuff

 A bump in the night

 Remind me why Greece is fun?

 Tried to kill the boat owner

 Getting caught in a fishing line

 Apsaras tries to sink herself

 Dark and stormy night at sea

 Fire aboard the boat!

 A scary marina entrance

 Michoacan Mexico Unrest

 Engine trouble at sea at night

 Automatic weapons fire?

 Frogman Mike


The MacGyver Stories

 Debugging the starter problems

 Outwitting the Panama Canal

 Bringing back the icemaker

 Fixing Saltydog's autopilot

 Saltydog gets a new navigation system

 Towing a boat across the bay

 SSB Seminar

 Stabbed by a broken beer bottle in Mexico

 Autopilot failure in Alaska

 Removing the washer/dryer

 Where is that leak anyway?

 The day Dave wanted to sell the boat

Rescue Stories

 Paddleboard Rescue

 Rescue on the Amazon River

 Fuel transfer at sea

 Aground & Rescue of Joint Decision

 Day 1 and Day 2 of fixing the generator




Current Journey - RSS Feed at http://svapsaras.com/entries.atom

I can get gluten free pasta here?

So when we packed up for this trip - knowing we might be here several months - Melissa packed lots of food.  Probably 50 lbs worth - gluten free flour, pasta, chips.  All the stuff that she misses down here because you can't get those foods in the grocery stores here the way you can back home.  In doing some research before we left, Melissa did find a health food store of sorts here in Punta De Mita.  We had somehow never gone in there during our several previous visits.  But turns out its only a block from our condo complex.  So we gave it a try.  And low and behold - they carry lots of foods Melissa can eat!  And like premium meats!  And great wine at reasonable prices!  Oh boy, what a find!! Likely its here because of the very expensive and exclusive hotels and houses on the point here.  We've never seen anything like it before in Mexico.  So now we are getting in the habit of walking down every day to pick out dinner!

Tonight's menu - rack of lamb, tzatziki, quinoa, and a cucumber and tomato salad.  Yumo!

Birthday Dinner in Mexico


Its been pouring down rain here in Punta De Mita all day.  That's ok though because we love the sound of the tropical rain.  Did make it so that we didn't want to walk far for dinner, so we decided on Tuna Blanca - the "fancy" beach restaurant that is right across the street.  We ordered the drink special - a mix of pineapple juice and mescal.  Who doesn't love a drink that comes to your table flaming!

Dave ordered the hamburger (yeah, big surprise there!) and Melissa ordered the ceviche and short rib.  Yumo.


Melissa made a big mistake though.  She told the hostess it was her birthday.  That meant we got a giant surf board - covered in candy and chocolate - along with fireworks delivered to our table.  And singing waiters.  Only in Mexico!

Mexico Here We Come! Or Not. Or Yes!

We had planned to depart for Mexico on Tuesday.  Plan was to head down and spend the better part of the winter.  Dave threw a monkey wrench in that plan at 3am on Monday when he woke Melissa up and said, "I think its my heart".  Numb left hand, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, and chest pains.  Sounds like it could be bad.  Melissa leaps out of bed throws on some clothes and drives Dave to the ER at Overlake in Bellevue.  Where she is told she cannot accompany Dave due to COVID.  Long story short - Dave is fine.  He did not have a heart attack.  Apparently just needed his blood pressure meds adjusted.  And maybe was a bit out of sorts due to having lifted some heavy stuff the day before.  Whew.

Alas having finally arrived home at 8pm Monday night, he wasn't exactly keen to depart on a 7:30 am flight the next morning which would have required an 4:30am wake up alarm.  So Melissa rescheduled for the first non-stop flight to Puerto Vallarta where first class was available - Saturday.  That left us home for Thanksgiving.  Actually kind of a nice break - we had a prime rib and all the fixin's.

Friday Melissa packed up the gear.  4 x 50 lb suitcases required regiggering and repeated reweighing to try and get each bag under 50 lbs.  Ultimately at the check in counter - two bags weighted 49.5 each, and the other two were a couple of pounds over.  Apparently the bathroom scale is not that reliable.  But they let us check all four anyway.  (We knew the plane wasn't going to be full...)  Plus we had: Dave's back pack, Melissa's computer bag, a cooler, and a beach bag.  Here is what we looked like having arrived in Mexico with about 300 lbs of gear.

You might wonder - what the heck would we be taking that took that much space?!  Well... here's the story... with Melissa's food allergies - she was determined not be deprived in Mexico.  So the beach bag is filled with corn free, wheat free tortilla chips and crackers.  We took that onboard because last time Melissa checked them, they arrived in tiny bits and pieces having been crushed in the luggage.  One bag was entirely filled with other food stuffs - gluten free pasta, soy free "soy sauce" (cuz - hello - fresh sushi!) , gluten free flour, and an assortment of other "must have" ingredients.  Then there is the "must have" kitchen gear.  Good knives, avocado cutter, citrus press, garlic press, etc.  And then... well.. just couldn't do without the yogurt maker.  Yeah.  I know, sounds crazy right?  But with a dairy allergy - coconut yogurt is a savior!  And then there is Dave's favorite toys - his drone, the portable solar cell, and an assortment of electronics.

We made it safe and sound - an uneventful flight.  We boarded last so we wouldn't have people passing right by us, had our N-95 masks and face shields, and brought our own lunch.  Yummy chopped salad!  Alongside the endless white wine in first class - and you know - wasn't half bad!  The plane was half empty.  Crazy given the holiday weekend.  We whisked through security in Seattle and customs in Mexico.  Our bags (kid you not) were first off the plane.  Onto the rental car, and then, after a wipe down with Clorox bleach wipes (yes, prepacked for this purpose), we finally took off our masks and face shields and could just breathe!

Too wiped to do the grocery shopping when we arrived, we headed off to our favorite beach restaurant for dinner - Mercedes.  When we arrive, all the wait staff is in masks, and they take our temperature before admitting us to the restaurant.  We had to wear our masks till we reached our table.  10 feet off the beach, in the warm breeze and "aaaahhhhh" we start to relax.  Order us a pair of margaritas!

Next day we chilled in the morning - chowing on the egg bites Melissa had prepped and packed in the cooler the day before - knowing we wouldn't have groceries for breakfast this morning.  Then it was off to the Mega!  A grocery cart and a half worth of food later... we headed back to the condo.  Though not without stopping at the melon truck on the way back - selling giant cantaloupe melons for $1.50 each.

Once back at the condo, Dave hauled the groceries - taking two hand truck's worth up the elevator - while Melissa cleaned all the fruits and veggies with BacDyn (a food safe bacteria killer) before loading up the fridge.  The made a batch of sangria.  Then started a batch of coconut milk yogurt with the lactobacillus Melissa packed in the cooler to bring with us.  And a batch of beef stock on the stove for the beef stew she plans to make tomorrow for dinner.  

We also bought a second monitor.  We managed to pack one with our gear.  So Melissa and Dave are both ready to roll for work come first thing tomorrow.


We can quarantine here as well as in Seattle to be sure!  And with this for a view:

Why working on a boat is so hard

We awoke to an even eerier smokey sky.  We had to turn on the lights in the cabin despite it being daylight because the sun was so dim.  Melissa stayed in her flannel PJs all day to keep warm as the smoke prevented the cabin from warning up.  Jim made us a breakfast of eggs benedict with fresh made hollandaise.  A labor of love, but ohhhh, sooooo good.

We head out to Blake Island.  Classic shot of Captain Dave in the command chair.  Note the lack of visibility due to the smoke.  You can barely see the land behind him.  We pick up a mooring buoy here.

At Blake Island are now within easy distance of the locks inbound to Lake Washington tomorrow from here.  And, with luck, maybe we will be able to see the phosphorescence tonight. 

Underway, Dave decides that the alternator has finally gone out.  Its been a bit intermittent recently and he has had to tighten the belt a few times.  Fortunately we have a spare aboard!  So Dave decides to go for replacement here at Blake.  The photos that follow demonstrate why working on a boat is just hard.  We see Dave on his knees with his body half in the engine compartment, and peering through the cut out in the master bathroom tub that he cut years ago to access the back side of the engine compartment.


The guys are finding after they finish the install of the new alternator that it still isn’t charging the starter battery.  They continue investigating.


Eventually the light dawns that Dave needs to rev the engine to get the alternator to generate current to the battery.  Duh.  It was installed right all along!

And that old alternator.  Yuck.  Dave believes a broken wire may have been the issue after all and says we can put the old one back in stores as the spare.  Melissa (quartermaster in charge of spares) nixes this idea.  We are buying a new one.

The good news is that all the investigation of why the installation of the alternator wasn’t working allowed Dave to find the leak in the engine compartment he has been fighting for a while now, and likely was the cause of the demise of the starter a few months ago.  A hose that is leaking!  A new hose clamp and hopefully that problem is gone too.

In letting the radar warm up a few days ago in the smoke, Dave discovered that it wasn't working. Someone has to go up the mast.  Its so calm here at Blake that Jim volunteers.  Melissa hates it when the guys go up the mast, so she starts to stress cook.  By the time Jim comes down there is a tuna casserole, blistered peppers, fried sage, and pink champagne chilled down.

Meanwhile, Jim goes up the mast.

We raise him using one of the halyards and the big power winch.  To rig this, the line stretches across the companonway so you have to be careful going up and down. In one dash up the steps, Dave manages to about coldcock himself running nose first into the sheet that is steel tight.  He's sporting a nasty contusion on his face.  Ooops.

Jim discovers that the belt wasn't loose as Dave had suspected.  He finds a bad connector.  Unfortunately we don't have a spare.  And the guys couldn't figure a reasonable jury rig.  Here is Dave sending parts and tools up to Jim.

While Melissa was taking this shot, she heard a small snort below her.  Kinda like when the whales would surface next to us only smaller.  She looks down to find a seal is swimming between the bow and the mooring buoy.

And indeed we got to see the phosphorescence!  So despite the smokey conditions, we are still having fun!


Do we need radar in this smoke?

Melissa whipped up a Mexican breakfast with the black refried beans she made before leaving home, scrambled eggs, fresh made Pico-de-Gallo, and a dollop of sour cream.

Then it was time for boat projects.  Dave found the slow leak in the dingy by putting soapy water all over it.  Turns out the leak is in a place where three pieces of the rubber meet.  So we shouldn’t attempt the repair ourselves.  Best to take that repair into the shop when we get back to Seattle.  Meanwhile, Jim replaced the speakers in the master state room that haven’t worked for years.

Then the guys sawed up plywood to finish up the temporary repair of floor boards in the master stateroom.  Dave has good decking material in the garage, but before cutting into the expensive wood, he wanted to make prototypes and fit them out of cheap wood.  Now that the prototypes are done, sawing up the final decking should be a snap when we get home.

Dave warmed up the radar as in this smokey haze we might need it.  We let go the mooring buoy and headed out to, Quartermaster Harbor.  It was a weird day with the smoke from all the forest fires.  Somehow appropriate on the 19th anniversary of 9/11 that we would be surrounded by smoke and ash.  We put up the giant flag in remembrance.

As we headed underneath the Tacoma Narrows bridge the lowered visibility made it eerie.

Underway, Melissa juiced the remaining limes, and combined with homemade limoncello and tequila to make a fresh batch of margaritas.  Along with sliced apples and the homemade maple pecans, and rosemary sea salt pecans, the gang was a happy crew.  But they wanted seconds on the margaritas.  Melissa informs them that we have more commercially made mix, but no more fresh limes.  Will have to do.  But interestingly, we found that the mix was much too sweet and not nearly acidic enough for our taste.  Note to self, pack more limes next trip.

We decided to anchor at Dockton.  Melissa went forward to drop anchor, presses the “down” button on the winch and…. Nothing.  She yells back to Jim to check that the windlass breaker is turned on.  Normally we don’t turn it off – particularly underway.  If there is an emergency – say you lose your engine while in strong wind or currents, you really want to be able to drop the anchor at a moment’s notice.  So for it not to be operational is not good.  Right now the wind is dead calm – so no biggie.  But something has gone wrong in our process!  Jim says the windlass switch down below is turned on.  Melissa confirms – still not working.  Hmmmm.

Dave is like, “what are doing?” and comes forward to check things out.  Melissa inwardly rolls her eyes.  After hundreds of anchoring’s, pretty sure she knows how to push the “down” button.  Dave confirms something is amiss.  He and Jim snap into action.  Likely when they were trying to install the wash down pump a few days ago they accidentally disconnected something.  Sure enough, after 10 minutes of floating around, the guys reconnect the broken wire, and voila!  We have an operational windlass again.

After we got anchored, the guys decided to launch the dingy and take some pictures as the sun set through the smokey haze.

Despite the conditions the girls seem to be having fun!

Dinner was smoked corned beef (home smoked before we departed) along side garlic green beans, butternut squash fries with sage, and sautéed rainbow chard.  After dinner the movie was Goonies.  Melissa fell asleep, but the gang turned off the movie as the kids screaming through the whole movie was driving them nuts.

We’re Sinking!

Breakfast was yogurt, homemade granola, and sausage.  A light breakfast as we plan to head out on the big expedition today.  We need to go find a gas station to refill the gas for the dingy engine and generator.  And we plan to visit Sand-dollar bay.  Its not actually called this.  It’s a nickname we gave it 20 years ago when we passed through.  It’s a small bay with thousands of sand dollars littering the bottom.  We want to go back and visit to see if the sand dollars are still there.

After breakfast the guys get the 20 HP motor off the rail and onto the dingy.  Its too heavy to carry up and down, so we move it up and down with the boom.

Meanwhile, Melissa and Margaret packed a picnic of veggies and dip, salamis, and white wine.  Then we all pile in the dingy for the 20 minute high speed journey to sand dollar bay.  Alas.  It seems that (ahem, cough) that some of us might be a pound or two heavier than the last time we all piled in the dingy for a high speed ride.  We can’t get the dingy up on plane.  And it will take hours if we can’t get up to speed.  We all lean forward.  No luck.  We shift positions again getting even further forward.  The bow dips down and cold ocean water pours into the dingy.  Melissa yells, “we’re sinking!” and Dave pulls back the power.  Hmm.  Well.  That didn’t work so well.  New plan is clearly needed.  We turn around and head back to the marina.  We agree that the guys will make the run for gas while Melissa and Margaret hang out on Apsaras.  Then maybe later we have the guys make a high speed run for the burgers from Lake Bay Marina.  Melissa comments, “its like Marla says, you gotta remember the ‘F’ word.  Flexibility.”

After the guys get back with the gas, we debate what to do.  The burgers just won’t be the same unless we are sitting at the picnic tables on the dock at Lake Bay.  Well, Melissa comments, we paid for two nights here at Longbranch Marina, but that’s sunk money.  If we think it will be more fun to go anchor near Lake Bay, then we should go.

So we head out for Mayo Cove.  We caught a mooring buoy.  Jim got a lesson in how to approach the buoy so that Melissa could snag it from the bow.  Last trip we heard a lot of thumping from the mooring buoys – not uncommon in relatively calm conditions.  In the wind the boat is blown away from the buoy.  But in the calm the boat tends to bonk its bow on the buoy and can keep people awake at night.  Dave had spotted a cool “anti noise” device – basically a rubber bumper that you rig on the bow that keeps the noise down.  Here are the guys rigging the bumper up front for the first time from the dingy.

After that we headed up the river to explore and then grabbed greasy burgers at Lake Bay for dinner along with a bottle of red wine.  Perfect boat food!  The marina is a happen place.  Ski boats and jet skis from all over come for the burgers.  It’s a week night and its still hopping.  One of the boaters brings out his guitar and gives us a concert with our dinner.

Movie night was Kindergarten Cop.  Always a good one.

What is a Boroscope?

We left Gig Harbor early in the morning and headed to Longbranch Improvement Club Marina.  Cute place.  Docks in good condition and plenty of room for us.  We had a heck of a time getting onto the dock though because the wind was right on our beam blowing us off the dock while Dave was backing into the slip.  Fortunately, two good samaritans came out to help us get tied down.

After that it was time for boat projects!  Melissa has been wanting a wash down pump installed in the bow to clean off the anchor chain as it comes up from a muddy bottom to keep all the mud out of the anchor locker.  We’ve been carrying around the parts for a couple of years now.  On last year’s trip the guys concluded that they wouldn’t be able to snake a pipe from the available through hole in the bow bilge up to the anchor locker.  But Dave bought a new tool this year for use in another project – snaking wires to install another solar panel – a borescope.  It’s a device you hook up to your phone and you can see where you are snaking.  So rather than blindly trying to run a snake through a wall, you can aim it where you want it to go  (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MYTHWK4).  With this the guys thought they might be able to snake the hose down to the through hole.  A through hole is what it sounds like – a hole through the hull of the boat.  They are capped with a valve that you only open when you want something either to go out the hole or water to come in the hole.  The spare through hole hooked up to the washdown pump would allow the pump to pull up seawater when in operation.

Alas even with the boroscope, the guys couldn’t find a path to run the hose.  They eventually decide to mount the pump in the anchor compartment and we will just have a hose we drop over the side into the water while in operation.  But that means they need to test whether at deck level the pump will self-prime.  Meaning can it clear the air in the hose and suck up water, or do you have to prime it manually because it doesn’t have the power to pull up the water unless the hose is already full of water.

So they decide to test the pump first.  Here is Dave getting ready to connect the pump to a battery to test it.  Right about now Dave looks at Jim and says with a grin, “You really want to stand there?”


Eventually the guys decide they know exactly how to install the pump, but lack all the necessary parts.  So that project remains on the list.

Meanwhile, Melissa and Margaret inventory the remaining food.  We have just enough food to make it through to Sunday lunchtime.  After that things get pretty skinny.  Though there is always some tuna fish in the cupboard, so if we were to get stuck out one more night for some reason, we can always make tuna casserole.  At this point Dave’s ears perk up.  Tuna casserole is one of his favorites.  So might be that the frozen shrimp stay frozen.

As we are at the dock, where we can turn on the air conditioning, Melissa decides to cook up the artichokes.  (You have to boil them for 30 minutes – so it generates a lot of heat and steam.)  We had the artichokes with a pesto mayo for lunch.

Dave turns on the air conditioning.  Click.  Blows the dock side breaker on the shore power.  Hmmm.  Problem is the breaker is in a box that is padlocked so we can’t reset it.  Dave suspects inductive load is causing a phase imbalance that looks like a current imbalance to the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt).  We moved to another outlet on the dock.  Alas, the hot water heater was on and as Dave plugged in, the second outlet blew its GFCI breaker because not all three contacts got connected simultaneously.  Sigh.  So we switch to a third outlet, and this time do Dave’s trick of connecting up to the battery charger and letting the battery power all the AC systems on the boat.  This way he can turn on the air conditioning for a while and let the boat cool down before having to let the battery fully recharge.

As we plan to take the bog 20 HP engine out tomorrow and go for an adventure, Melissa digs out the dingy spares kit.  We haven’t rigged it up since we got back from Panama as we haven’t been far enough from Apsaras with the dingy that we couldn’t row back.  But we plan to do several miles tomorrow and that means we need to make sure the spares kit with the spare prop and tools to change the prop are aboard the skiff.

For dinner, Melissa marinated some lamb chops in red wine, garlic, and rosemary.  Jim grilled them up while Margaret and Melissa made a risotto from some leeks, lobster mushrooms, and that beef stock Melissa made up before we left.  A side of sauteed kale and shallots.  Nice glass of Merlot to finish it off.  Yumo.

Jellyfish! Zillions of em.

We awake to a dead calm morning.  We pulled up anchor and headed for the Clearwater public dock to fill up with water.  While there, we were fascinated by the thousands of jelly fish surrounding the dock.

While underway, Jim and Melissa cooked up a hash of sweet potatoes with lobster mushrooms, and an apple chicken sausage.  Over the top a poached duck egg with hollandaise.  Served with mimosas of course!  Fabulous!  Jim and Melissa have it down to a science working side by side in the “one man kitchen”.


We had planned to head for Blake Island, but underway we got word that our refinances were ready for signature.  So we headed to Gig Harbor instead where a mobile notary would meet us.  Underway, Melissa blogged all the trip days thus far.  We set down anchor and enjoyed the sights in the tiny harbor. 

Melissa fixed Shishido peppers with sea salt that we served with a pear cider.

Jim fixed us a dish of chicken with grilled pineapple and wild rice.

After dinner, Melissa and Dave headed ashore to sign the refinance paperwork.  But first had to blow up the dingy.  Gotta find that slow leak!  We went and sat at a Mexican restaurant to sign the papers and ordered margaritas and wine.  Why not?!

"Entertainment" while at sea

We awoke knowing the winds would kick up today.  We did not anticipate the entertainment value that was in store.

For breakfast we had bacon, with yogurt and homemade granola.  We continued our investigation of the HuntAKiller murder game we started a couple of days ago.  We got far enough that we ran out of steam and decided to crack open the solution.  We were oh so very very close.  We had most of it right.  But we did miss a few easter eggs buried in the documents.  Hours of fun!

10am – The wind kicks up.  Reports claim the wind will calm down at about 5pm.  We debate what to do, stay in Ostrich Bay or head for somewhere with a shorter fetch.  (Fetch = distance between nearest shore and your location.  Longer fetch means wind waves build up to be larger.  Wind can blow hard but the waves are small if you are close to the shore where the wind is coming from.)  We decide to sit in Ostrich Bay and see whether the wind calms down in the evening.  If not, we will head to Silverdale at the north end of Dyes Inlet where we know the fetch will be short.  Meanwhile we watch the wind waves kick up to about 2 feet.

11am - The first boat to start to drag anchor was B-squared.  Dave hopped in the skiff, and with Jim assisting in the launch, Dave headed over to see if he could assist.  Before he got half way over the occupants got the boat under control, pulled up their anchor and departed the bay.  Dave headed back to Apsaras, where he and Jim decided to pull up the skiff onto the arch in case we too drug anchor and needed to maneuver.  This turned out to be a bit tricky as the wind waves are now 2 to 3 feet.  Not dangerous, just annoying mostly.  They also moved the new generator up a bit on the transom to keep it clear of the splash.

Noon – We observe another sailboat, later identified at Ondine, drag anchor and start to fly down the bay.  No one is aboard her.  We debate.  Launch the dingy and try for a rescue?  Captain Dave decides that getting aboard her will be tough and we likely will have to break in as she is locked up.  Plus by the time we could do all that, she might be on the rocks, putting us at risk.  We go back and forth with no resolution.

Dave calls out a “PAN PAN” warning on the radio, identifying our location and the boat adrift in hopes that maybe someone near by knows the owner's location.  (The radiotelephony message PAN-PAN is the international standard urgency signal that someone aboard a boat, ship, aircraft, or other vehicle uses to declare that they have a situation that is urgent, but for the time being, does not pose an immediate danger to anyone's life or to the vessel itself.)  Momentarily the coast guard calls back for additional details including our Lat/Long position and the name of the boat which we didn’t yet have.  Dave explains our hesitation to launch our dingy in the rough conditions to go get them the name of the boat.  

A few minutes later a speed boat comes out of Oyster Bay, (bay just to the east of us) with 5 people aboard.  They speed up to the adrift sailboat and attempt to approach.  Several failed attempts.  The sailboat is bouncing around in the waves along with the skiff.  Non trivial to board a boat in these conditions. 


It took them several tries.  We think they finally just pushed the bow of the skiff up against the side of the sailboat.  Eventually they manage it and a woman and man board the sailboat.  The skiff takes off back to Oyster Bay.

Dave lets the coast guard know that there are now people aboard the adrift boat.  We observe the man pulling the anchor up by hand.  As in hand over hand - no winch.  He eventually gets the anchor back aboard.  We think things are now good.  Alas.  Not.

They drift down the bay, the man dumps the anchor back overboard and heads down below decks.  Um.  Well.  What the heck?  You are drifting down the bay and no one is on deck?  We continue to watch in wonder and horror.  We speculate endlessly about what might be happening?  Why would you toss the anchor back over and then be below deck?  Maybe the engine won’t start?  So your only hope is that the anchor catches?  No way did they put out enough rode for the anchor to hold in these conditions.

For those non sailors – the reason an anchor holds is that it sits flat on the bottom and digs in.  So you need LOTS of length of chain or rope out (called scope) so the anchor always is flat on the bottom.  In calm conditions this means you put out 5x your depth in scope at the hide tide mark.  So if you are in 10 feet of water at low tide, and the tide will rise another 10 feet, you need 20 feet x 5 = 100 feet of scope out in CALM conditions.  Best to double this in high winds.

So bottom line, we watch the sailboat put out like 20 feet of rope.  Then disappear below deck.  Um, yeah, not gonna hold.  They keep drifting.  Note in the picture how close they are to shore now.

Eventually they come back aboard deck and pull up the anchor again.  They power forward and come up the bay slowly.  Looking for another spot to anchor. 

We watch in horror and amazement as they start to drop anchor – squarely on top of where our anchor is located.   This is BAD.  VERY BAD.  If they drop anchor on top of our anchor line they can trip our anchor, and cause us to go adrift.  We are screaming and waving, “NOOOOOOOO”.  Dave hops on the boat’s PA system and blasts out “DO NOT ANCHOR THERE!”  The guy looks up as if seeing our boat for the first time.  Deer in the headlights look.  He hauls the anchor back aboard.  Fortunately having only dropped it a few feet.

The sailboat wanders around the bay as if looking for another place to anchor.  We are all like, “wow”.  Anchoring 101 says you come up behind another boat and drop your anchor at their stern.  That way as we all swing round on our anchors no one gets twisted up.  Alas, the sailboat now goes and drops anchor right in front of the only other boat in the bay (which is giant and has tons of room for lots of boats).  The other boat – a 46’ Nordhavn power boat.  As they let the chain/rope out, they start dropping back on the Nordhavn.  Now the Nordhavn occupants are out on deck waving off the sailboat, “nooooooo!!!!!”.  Ondine then pulls up anchor again.  Remember – hand over hand manually.  They anchor again in front of the Nordhavn.  They can’t catch and now drift down onto the Nordhavn.  We are watching helplessly thinking, “OMG they are going to collide!”

Miraculously Ondine flies past the Nordhavn.

Note that we can see that Odine has again set her anchor.  Again they reel it all back in.  Eventually, they get Odine anchored again in a somewhat sheltered part of the bay.  The skiff that brought the couple out to the boat comes back to pick them up.  This leads to much speculation – was the couple the owners of Odine?  Or were they just good Samaritans trying to save the boat?  They showed no competency with anchoring.  But they did seem to know the boat.  We may never know.

2pm – All this craziness has taken several hours.  Its past lunch.  So we prep some crostini’s with chive sour cream, smoked salmon, and capers.  With margaritas.  Because yeah, we all need margaritas by now.

Alas the craziness is not over.  It is now that we realize that the Nordhavn is also dragging anchor.  Likely Odine tripped their anchor when dragging past them.  Crap.  We hail them on the PA and the radio multiple times.  We managed to get their name – Carolina.  Alas multiple hail’s did not raise them.  We watch and debate at what point we would pull up anchor and head over and raise them on the PA when we can get closer.  Eventually the occupants show up on deck.  They are clearly now aware of the situation.

We watch as they pull up the anchor and head out of the bay.  We look around and realize we are the only ones left.  Hmmmm.  An omen?  We debate what to do.  Eventually we decide to pull up anchor and head across the bay to Silverdale where the fetch is short.

We find that we can only make 4 knots against the strong winds (we normally make 6 knots).  But we putz our way across the way.  Dave spots another boat potentially in trouble up ahead.  Its sideways to the wind (generally a clue that it’s adrift).  We discuss whether we need to effect a rescue.

Captain Dave instructs Melissa and Jim on how to rig a bridle and put it through the anti-chafe on the aft deck to ensure the tow ropes don’t cut through the deck with the force and abrasion.  (Dave and Melissa rigged the anti-chafe originally to ensure we could rig a sea anchor safely.  But works well for towing too.)  Melissa grabs the harness/life jackets for her and Jim as we will not be out on deck while working on a tow without safety gear.  Melissa reminds Margaret to “take pictures!”.

We approach the adrift boat.  They start to honk at us.  “WHAT?!”  They power up and pull away.  What the heck were they doing drifting down the bay in these conditions?  No fishing gear out.  But clear they thought we were going to run into them!  Oh well.  No rescue today.

When we get to Silverdale and the wind is still blowing pretty hard.  We put out 200 feet of chain.  The tide is relatively low – about 20 feet so we have out 10:1 scope.  Fine for now, but when the tide comes up 10 feet, Dave wants out even more.  This means we have to put out part of the additional 100 foot of rope which is tied to the 200 feet of chain.  No biggie except that Melissa broke the brake on the windlass last month and without the brake there is nothing to stop the rope from just whizzing right out of the winch.  Fortunately the spare part arrived and Jim and Melissa were able to quickly put the new brake on.  Dave then put out another 50 feet of rope.  We are going nowhere!


Jim and Melissa then get to cooking up dinner.  First an appetizer with the last of the oysters.  Then Jim made meatballs, while Melissa started on the alfredo sauce and pasta to go with it.  A few sauteed beet greens to go along side!

We manage not to screw up the spinnaker!

We had arranged for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box this week from Hitchcock’s to be delivered to Jim and Margaret’s daughter’s place on Bainbridge Island.  Yeah, we need more food like a fish in the ocean needs more water.  But its such great stuff they send!  Jennifer is also a Hitchcock’s CSA box member so easy to swing by her place and grab her mooring buoy.  We decide to head ashore with lunch – Jim’s famous burgers!

Jim cooked up lunch while Margaret and Melissa headed into Winslow.  Lunch was burgers with all the fixin’s plus purple potato fries, and a pasta salad.  And wine.  Jennifer has the most amazing kitchen!  We can see the boat out the windows.

At that point we decide Jennifer needs to go for a sail!  We’ve not put up the spinnaker since Panama when Jim and Melissa managed to muck it up.  Jennifer can’t resist the idea that we might screw it up again.  So we pile back on the boat and head upwind.

With Dave reminding us all along the way what we need to do, Melissa and Jim manage to get the spinnaker rigged up.




And then a puff of wind and Whoosh!  And now we sail downwind with no apparent wind - so its quiet and lovely!


In all too short a time, it was time to pull the spinnaker back down.  Also not trivial.

After we dropped off Jennifer she took a great shot of us after we got the spinnaker back up and headed off to Oyster Bay.

As we had found some oysters in town earlier in the day, we shucked a few for dinner as we were still full from lunch!

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