Thursday, July 30, 2009

Aaron's Island (aka Blakely Rock)

Aaron has laid claim to an island! No matter that this island is really a rock or that it's not his to claim or that it's all but submerged save for low tide. No, those are minor details.

Aaron stuck his flag in the ground (also known as "marking his territory") of Blakely Rock during our jaunt over to Blakely Harbor on the southeast shore of Bainbridge Island last weekend. It was a minus tide when we all hopped in the dinghy and motored (note the use of the motor here--this will prove relevant later) the 1.5 miles to the craggy rock.

At low tide, Blakely Rock is covered with tide pools and drifts of white shell, and you can find dozens of seals lounging about in the rocks just off shore. At high tide, though, the island is reclaimed by the water, leaving only the tallest rock and a black & white navigation marker showing. Since the tide was on the way in, we dragged the dinghy up the shell beach far enough that it wouldn't get swept away with the rising tide. This place isn't particularly hospitable, and I certainly wouldn't want to get stuck there.

Greta was off exploring all the low-tide scents (she almost rolled on a dead starfish before Aaron stopped her. Ew.), while we checked out the tide pools, watched the seals swimming around, got yelled at by many a seabird and climbed to the tippy top of the rock. Oh, and Greta and Aaron "marked their territory."

Here's where the "motoring" part of the story comes in. Once we'd had our fill of exploring, we got back in the dinghy and pushed off (the water was so clear! No wonder this is a prime diving location.). We'd been going for just enough time to clear the waves breaking on the rock when, yep, you guessed it... putt, putt, putt... nothing. We were out of gas--with a mile and half to go to get back to the boat. We bobbed around for a minute while we confirmed our suspicions (yep, out of gas) and broke out the oars. It's a good thing Aaron used to be a rower! He was such a sport rowing the entire way back (yes, I offered to spell him on numerous occasions) with only minimal under-the-breath utterances. I really thought he should serenade me, but I guess he wasn't in a romantic mood.

We made it back without incident (except for some sore shoulders) and treated ourselves to a delicious dinner and bottle of wine on the foredeck. You just can't beat a day like that. Really, how often do you get to claim an island?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pun Intended

Aaron: How are the repairs going in there?
Nicole: Shitty. :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Wet Wiener Dog and Plenty of Sunshine

The two days we spent out at Blake Island (yes, we love Blake Island) this week were fabulous! My company gave everyone a half-day on the 2nd to get a jump on the holiday weekend, and since Aaron was already off that day, we decided to get out early and head to Blake for a couple days of sunshine, hikes, beach jaunts and relaxing. We managed to get over there around 12:30, which allowed us to snag one of only two remaining mooring buoys--and it was in one of the best spots, too. Score. We got to try out our new mooring buoy hook thingy (which hooks the loop on the buoy and automatically secures itself--and the line you've attached--without the need to use all your muscles to hold onto the buoy while the current is trying to rip the boat hook from your hands so you can pull the buoy close enough to attach the line), and it worked like a charm!

After lunch, we popped on our hiking boots, dinghyed to shore (can you use "dinghy" as a verb? Why not.) and hiked around the trails. The smell of the woods in the summer is one of my favorite aromas--warm cedar and earth mixed with a touch of sweetness, like blackberries in the sun. Walking under the trees in the dappled shade (with a wiener dog leading the way) was just what we needed to put a stressful workweek behind us.

When we weren't exploring the trails, we were playing on the beach. Greta can't get enough of chasing sticks into the water--the cold, salty water. Now keep in mind that she won't swim. She wades until she almost floats off the bottom and then gently snaps up the stick and returns to the safety of the shore, ever mindful of the potentially treacherous waves. She would do it all day long if we'd keep throwing sticks! Or rocks. She's just as happy chasing the splash of a rock. And when we weren't playing on the beach, we were lounging in the cockpit reading. What a great sensation to feel like you're on vacation when you're only an hour or so away from home. Well, I suppose we technically were home (liveaboards that we are), but you know what I mean.

Semi-adventurous, stick-chasing wiener dog

Getting a towel off from mommy post "swim"

Hangin' in the cockpit (love the grin on Greta)
Being on vacation is hard work

The last mooring buoy was snatched up soon after we arrived, and it turns out that we weren't the only ones to think a few days at Blake were necessary. People were anchored all over the place! I've never seen so many boats there. Fortunately, though, folks seemed to flock to the north shore where the beach is wide and sandy, leaving us in relative peace farther down the west side and on the trails.

Despite the fact that we "vacation" here all the time, Blake Island never fails to reinvigorate us. The trails, the beach, the forest... it just never gets old. What a great way to spend a long weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sailing off Shilshole

You gotta love these sunny, windy days! Here we are on our "liveaboard shakedown" sail making sure all the stuff we brought with us was adequately stored and wouldn't break and/or tip over under sail. We were doing a fair bit of heeling in 15-20 knots of wind, and everything managed to stay put. Well, save for the pencil holder that dumped its contents all over the place...
And here's a video. We're just off Golden Gardens Park, heading northwest.