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
Limerick and SUPs on Pelican Beach, Cypress Island, WA
Limerick and Mike on his SUP in Reid Harbor, Stuart Island, WA
Bonfire on the beach in Shallow Bay, Sucia Island, WA

Cruising BC’s Desolation Sound

After our shakedown cruise in June, followed by another haul-out to fix a few more items, we were finally ready to start heading north. Or so we thought…

While the boat was being lowered into the water we received a call offering work on the Columbia River for a few weeks. The next day, we hauled back out and put Limerick back into storage. Having her on the hard when we are not aboard is a lot less worry. We spent the rest of June and most of July on the river doing dredge surveys.

At the end of July we finally made it back to the boat and launched the very next day. Within a couple of days we were in Canada and on our way to Desolation Sound! We love our flying bridge and spend most of our time underway and at anchor up here. After turning the corner into Desolation Sound we are greeted by snow-capped mountains.Unlimited supply of oysters! After two years cruising Mexico and getting way too much sun, I am obsessed with making shade. The umbrella works pretty well in the dinghy too.Taking trash to shore with the kayak. Everywhere I go I am asked what “sort of contraption” that is. It’s a Hobie hybrid kayak/SUP/pedal boat and I love it! It even goes backwards.Mike loves his inflatable paddle board. It’s faster to set up and get going but not quite as versatile. It is the easiest way to take the stern tie to shore, in our opinion.Much of the water around Desolation Sound is “warm”. Well, not freezing cold anyway. We were able to swim everyday thanks to an amazing, sunny summer. After countless recommendations from other cruisers I purchased some turkish towels. They dry super fast and take up a third of the space of regular towels. 

 

To see all of our destinations check out our (free, downloadable, editable) digital log book. We use Google Calendar to track our cruising destinations.

By early September we had to be back in Washington to once again store Limerick and head back to work. Luckily our work is mostly on the water!

For those of you interested in the cost of cruising check out our Cruising Expenses and how we are able to afford cruising well before retirement age.

Not enough photos in this post? Check out our Photo Albums.

 

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

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