Mike on his SUP in the San Juan Islands, WA
Limerick at anchor in the San Juan Islands. Mt Baker in the distance.
Minivan Camping near the Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
Cenote Ik Kil, Yucatán, Mexico.
Camille at anchor in Mexico
Snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico
Camille from above
Mike and Limerick in the San Juan Islands
Mike in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Camille in the distance)
Verena and Camille in Ensenada Grande, Baja, Mexico
Fireweed in Alaska
Butterfly Fish, Big Island, Hawai'i
Limerick underway in British Columbia
Mike and Dorado, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Dolphins on the bow of Camille
Ice floes in Cook Inlet, Alaska
Limerick and Chatterbox Falls in Princess Louisa Inlet, BC
Surfboards, Sayulita, Mexico
Minivan Camper near Death Valley
Camille anchored off Isla San Francisco, Mexico
Fire Dancer, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mike fishing for salmon in Alaska
Cruising down the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend
Limerick and moon in BC

Shakedown Cruise to the San Juan Islands

After three months of working on the boat we took her out for a week-long shakedown cruise. We have replaced nearly every thru-hull, installed new seacocks, revamped how the heads flush, changed out a lot of hoses, refurbished the anchor windlass, installed a new waterpump (not just an impeller) on the main engine, and generally improved and replaced a lot of systems. We wanted to make sure everything would work the way we hoped. Check out our monthly cruising expenses for more info on recent boat projects.

We provisioned the boat and headed out to the San Juan Islands, which is just a three-hour cruise from Anacortes. Our yard makes it so easy to go in and out of the water that many boat owners store their boats on the hard year-round and just put their boat in the water when they are in town ready to cruise. Much cheaper and less worry than a marina.Lots of space for provisions under the settee (more boat interior photos). I’ve been taking advantage of having our car here and slowly filling this space. That way we just have to stock up on fresh food when we are out cruising and don’t have access to our car.The islands have great docks and mooring balls that are within the Washington State Parks system for an annual fee of $5 per foot. For our first night we went to a dock on Sucia Island because we needed some space to inflate the SUP and the new kayak. We have been waiting for months to try out the new kayak! It is so much better than the old kayak – no more wet behind! Everywhere we go people have been asking “what sort of contraption” it is. It’s a kayak that can be pedalled much like a bike or paddled like a kayak or SUP. The flat bottom makes it super fast and the width makes it very stable. The rudder is controlled via a small wheel at the seat.Shallow Bay on Sucia Island is one of the few places that has a beach with soft sand instead of pebbles. Perfect for a picnic. We usually use ceramic plates on board (more on that here) but I like to take paper plates to shore since we can just burn them. Our boat BBQ has feet and latches so it’s easy to take ashore. For other great products (like our folding chairs shown below) check out our favorite Gear page.We spend most of our time on the flying bridge. It is like a second living room. Nothing like morning coffee with a view.Reid Harbor on Stuart Island has a lot of state mooring balls and floating docks though it can get a bit congested with kayak campers. We often don’t even bother with the dinghy. The SUP and kayak are so much faster to deploy and easy to beach. We just carry them up the beach aways and don’t have to worry about the tide going out and not being able to push the heavy dinghy off the beach. The K-pump is the only pump we have on board that doesn’t have something broken on it. It’s made for whitewater rafting and is bullet-proof. Made in Oregon!  We finally saw orca whales from our own boat in Washington. Along with about 20 boats full of tourists and from a long distance away — I had to use a 270mm zoom. This is nothing like seeing whales in Alaska! Before heading back to the boatyard we stopped at Cypress Island which is managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The area is protected so they ask that you don’t anchor. Instead they have free mooring buoys and amazing views of Mount Baker. Overall everything seemed to work well. Knock on wood. We found a couple of thru-hulls with a slight leak that will need to be rebedded and determined that the outboard engine needed a carburetor rebuild. We had a scare with the fridge which started to cycle continuously and not stay cold. Turns out we had a loose wire.  We are back in the yard finishing up a few projects (painting, varnishing) and hope to get back on the water very soon for more than just a shakedown!

Shrink Wrap Finally Gets Removed

Nine months ago, we had our boat shrink wrapped for winter. Two months ago, we drove back to Washington after spending most of the winter in San Diego. We’ve been working on the boat non-stop since then. Yesterday we finally emerged from the shrink wrap. We have a few more projects we could not get to, with the cover on, before we can finally get back in the water.

Lessons & Tips

  • Use white or clear wrap if you are going to be working on the boat under cover — blue makes it dark and changes colors of things like electrical wires.
  • It would have been nice to have some more headroom on the side decks — it made carrying heavy items very hard on the back.
  • We protected all surfaces that were in direct contact with the shrink-wrap with cheap outdoor carpet like this (I use this same stuff to line our lockers – much cheaper from the hardware store). This seems to have been a good decision.
  • We were hesitant to cut windows into the shrink wrap, but it held up great with the help of lots of tape. It also made us feel sane.
  • Looking at other boats in the yard, covered in green slime and probably leaking, this was a great decision!
  • Originally, we were not going to wrap the swim-step and just leave it and the dinghy uncovered. Having it covered made a great entry to the boat where we could keep wet and dirty shoes and tools. We also opted for the largest door in the shrink wrap.
  • Leaving the boat at North Harbor Diesel was a great decision. The boat was safe and well looked after – they even hopped on board to grab Mike’s passport and mailed it to us so we could go to Mexico to get our teeth cleaned!

Watch the great unveiling time-lapse video

Galley Organization – Drawers

When I look at photos of other people’s boats, I always wonder what is inside all of their cabinets and closets. How do they store and organize their stuff in a small space? I’m starting small and showing you the contents of our galley drawers. We have a total of four drawers in the galley: Two small utensil drawers and two large storage drawers. Three located across from the stove and one under the stove.Due to the bend in the counter the drawers do not go very far back. Just enough space for the silverware and another inch behind the drawer organizers – just enough to squeeze in the chopsticks.All our eating utensils are made of stainless steel and are the same ones we used back on shore. In fact, most everything on this boat (and our previous boat) are things we used back in land life. In the far right bin we have items we use a lot. Corkscrew, tea infuser, veggie peeler, oyster shucking knife (very important in this region!), and various snack utensils. I like to use fondue forks for snacks – nice when we have guests aboard because they are color coded.The middle drawer is very tall and therefore hard to organize. Things we don’t use very often are in the tub in the back (about the height of a cereal box). The things we use more often naturally end up on top, like the TDS meter to check the water since we drink the water from our faucet. We have a whole “house” water filter which I will cover in another post.Here is everything from the middle drawer.  Moving left to right, skipping a few self-explanatory items:

  • Have never actually used that mesh sieve, not sure why I keep it.
  • Spare cork screws – maybe a few too many?
  • I seem to need rubber bands all the time.
  • Those nutcrackers and pokers are for the fresh crab we catch! Yum!
  • Up here where it’s colder we like to eat soup so the ladles sometimes come in handy.
  • I love our knife set. Because the blades are sheathed I can just toss them in the drawer. The knives stay sharp and we can’t cut ourselves when rummaging through the drawer. Though I have to admit I rarely use anything other than the red one.
  • The hand mixer that goes with those beaters is packed away a bit deeper in the galley. It usually only comes out for birthday cakes and the occasional cookies. That and the stick blender are the only small appliances we have on board.
  • One grater is enough for all the grating we do. I know there are many different sizes but this is sort of an in between size and works for everything but zesting. I keep meaning to buy a zester like this one – not that I zest all that often…
  • Citrus squeezer. In my opinion there is no better or faster way to squeeze a lemon or lime (even small oranges). Nothing is easier to clean either. Make sure not to buy a plastic one, it will break. We have made many a grapefruity margarita with this thing.
  • Bamboo kitchen tools and tongs and stainless tongs for the BBQ.
  • Stainless cup and spoon measure sets. Nothing to break, nothing to rust. Every kitchen needs these, right?
  • I use my stick blender every day. I put coconut oil into my coffee and blend. If you have not tried this, do it now! This blender also comes with a small chopper/grinder attachment so I can make salsa and paté. Been considering getting a battery operated frother to be able to make my coffee without having to use the inverter.

Below the two utensil drawers is one more large drawer. This used to be a cupboard that the previous owner converted into a drawer. This is our everyday pantry. When we will be away from stores for a while we have more space under the settee (couch) for food and drinks, but that area is a lot harder to get to. Things get moved from under the settee to this drawer as we need them.The last drawer in the galley is under the stove. This also used to be a cupboard that was converted to a drawer. Much more functional this way. I have an entire set of stainless steel pots that I purchased at Costco many, many years ago (when I lived in a house). Small, medium and large saucepans that nest, one large stock pot, one small cast iron pan, one small and one 10″ non-stick pan. Also a small kettle and a folding strainer. I find I pretty much never use the medium and large saucepans. All the lids not seen are in the 10″ stock pot. I had this same assortment of pots on the sailboat.Yes, this seems like a lot of space but we had about the same amount of galley gear on our sailboat Camille. Actually I think we might have less now because we have learned what we use all the time. And as mentioned above, there are even more things I could get rid of but I don’t, since we do have the space. Is there anything you cannot do without in your galley? Anything you think I’m crazy to do without? Leave a comment below or show me your galley drawers by adding a photo to this thread on our Facebook page!

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