Seattle – Miss You Already!

on September 18th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound, Seattle by | Comments Seattle – Miss You Already!

Seattle 3 Seattle – Miss You Already!

As we approached the final weeks of our PNW cruising adventure, I asked Lisa if there was one place she wanted to visit before our trip came to a close. Unsurprisingly she said, “Downtown Seattle of course.” That’s why we positioned ourselves at the Bainbridge Island anchorage for two nights before we made the short 8-mile trip across Puget Sound into Elliott Bay and finally to the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina. The reason we like docking in downtown Seattle is that, as visiting boaters, everything we could possible need is with 10 blocks or so of the marina, providing an endless amount of activities to entertain us.

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While waiting for our slip to open up at the marina, we cruised around the harbor and happened upon two-year old Serene, one of the world’s largest private super-yachts.

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Jim was amazed at the variety of beer selection at the World Market during our first walk into town.

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On top of our list, when visiting Seattle, is the famous Pike Place Market. With everything from fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, brightly colored bouquets of flowers, homemade pastries, pasta, and mountains of freshly caught seafood, Pike Place Market is the “bomb.” Opened in 1907 and holding the distinction as the oldest continuously operated public farmers market in the country, this attraction is a must see when visiting Seattle. Our love for the market formed years ago – first when Lisa lived on Queen Anne Hill, (just north of the downtown area during the 1970s), and again when we, together, spent a winter, in 2007/2008, renting a room in a B&B on Capitol Hill. We were waiting for our Fathom 40 to be built. During that time we’d visit the market once a week to procure produce, fresh fish, and assorted accoutrements. We’d return to the B&B to put together a feast from our finds – we like to revive that ritual whenever we visit downtown Seattle.

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This was our first taste of Jack’s smoked salmon candy. Wow, delicious!

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The Bubble Gum Wall, a local landmark in downtown Seattle, is located in Post Alley under the Pike Place Market by the box office for the Market Theater. The old brick wall, 15 feet high and 50 feet long, is covered several inches thick with used bubble gum. The tradition continues after theatre workers twice scraped the gum away only to have it reappear. The growing gum wall was finally left to grow on its own and was declared a tourist attraction around 1999.

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Pastries for breakfast and freshly baked bread is always procured at our favorite, Three Girls Bakery (above).

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We bought halibut for our dinner that night. It was fun deciding where and what to buy.

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The next day we walked down to Pioneer Square, close to where the Seattle Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field and Seattle Mariner’s Safeco Stadium are located. That afternoon, unbeknownst to us, the Seahawks had a home game. This was not to be any home game as sometime during the game they were going to try to set a record for the “Loudest Outdoor Sports Stadium.” As we sat in the cockpit of our boat later in the day the roar of the crowd was loud and we were a good mile away. They did end up setting a 136.6 decibel sound record at that game and Seattle went on to win the game and become SuperBowl Champions.

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Years ago, during our stay at the B&B, we discovered Uwajimaya, the 35,000 sq. ft. Asian market located in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Similar to our experience at the Pike Place Market, visiting Uwajimaya is a visual treat. With an abundance of interesting produce, unusual seafood and all things Asian, this Asian market is more like visiting a living cultural museum.

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Another walk to Pioneer Square brought us to an old time favorite, the Glasshouse Studio. Founded by good friends back in the 70s, under new ownership it survives the ups and downs of today’s economy. We thought the window display looked like a richly blooming garden with the bright and colorful, organically crafted glass.

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Lots of driftwood piling up at the marina… daily. If you don’t want it banging on the hull of your boat you just drag it out of the water and set it on the dock.

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When we spent the winter in Seattle several years ago, our favorite happy hour spot was Ray’s Boathouse, a waterfront restaurant we are totally hooked on.

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Earlier in the week, we made arrangements to visit Ranger Tug owners Bruce and Vickie at their downtown Seattle condo. Upon entering their lovely home, the stunning views from their picture windows captured our attention. Elliot Bay, downtown Seattle and off in the distance, the majestic Olympic Mountains presented themselves for our viewing pleasure. After meeting their two beautiful Bengal cats, our conversation quickly turned to boating. We discussed our cruises up to British Columbia (we both traveled with the 2013 Ranger Tugs Desolation Sound Cruise), and future boating plans. After romancing one of Bruce’s artfully prepared martini’s, we all walked back down toward Pike Place Market to one of Bruce and Vickies favorite restaurants for dinner. Afer dinner we said our goodbyes  – the next day we waved goodby to Seattle as we left Bell Harbor for the trip to Anacortes where we would prepare Kismet to come out of the water.

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Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

on September 14th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Eagle Harbor 1 Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island sits north and west of downtown Seattle – Eagle Harbor was our choice for one night on the hook. On a clear day, you can plainly see Seattle’s skyline eight miles to the east across Puget Sound. Eagle Harbor is home to the City of Bainbridge Island, which can be a little confusing. Kind of like New York, New York but in this case it’s Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island!

After finding a suitable spot to anchor, we dinghied to the city dock so we could explore town, this being our first visit by boat. We were fortunate in that just a few months before our arrival the brand new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art opened its doors. We were able to tour the museum’s, well put together, inaugural exhibit.

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We got a big laugh out of this shark mooring ball. Someone has a great sense of humor.

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The Ranger Tug (above) must have been a very early edition of the 25-foot model, it was docked not far from our anchorage.

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Torpedo Town USA – Keyport, WA

on September 13th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments Torpedo Town USA – Keyport, WA

Keyport 2 Torpedo Town USA – Keyport, WA

After doing some research of the Liberty Bay area, for our planned stop in Poulsbo, I stumbled across information on the little town of Keyport, WA., nicknamed “Torpedo Town USA. Its major tourist facility, the Naval Undersea Museum is located at the a small U.S. Navy depot, Torpedo Research and Testing Facility, tasked with ranging and repairing torpedoes for the U.S. Navy and allies. The museum features exhibits and displays on undersea technology, including the Trieste II, which descended to 20,000 ft (6,100 m). After pulling anchor in Poulsbo, we arrived at Keyport’s free town dock, in a matter of minutes, for a tour of the Museum.

We happened to be there the same day as a Naval ceremony took place inside the museum, so we got to see a lot of service men, all dressed up in their Navy Blues, and their families getting ready for the ceremony. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours learning about everything to do with undersea naval operations as it relates to the preservation, collection and interpretation of  U.S. Navel undersea history, science (geology and weather) and operations. It was a good stop to get off the boat to stretch our legs before we continued on our way to our next anchorage, in Eagle Harbor, off Bainbridge Island.

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A Taste of Scandinavia in Poulsbo, WA

on September 12th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments A Taste of Scandinavia in Poulsbo, WA

Poulsbo 2 A Taste of Scandinavia in Poulsbo, WA

Poulsbo, sitting at the edge of Liberty Bay, is a delightful, highly Scandinavian influenced, community. This quaint, picturesque, little town has a strong Norwegian heritage. Its founders came from Norway via Michigan and Minnesota to settle in a landscape that was similar to their own snow peaked mountains and fjords. Other Scandinavian immigrants soon followed.

On a prior visit to Poulsbo, we had docked at the city marina, so this time we decided to anchor out in the protective confines of the bay and dinghy into town for a our on shore leave. We arrived late afternoon, so we hung out on the boat and enjoyed a nice sunset and a peaceful night at anchor.

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The next morning we dinghied over to the city marina to tie up so we could have lunch and shop. We were surprised to see Teddy Bear (above) docked at the marina. We first encountered this interesting yacht in Anacortes, WA when we took possession of our Fathom 40.

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Poulsbo has an array of gift shops, galleries and stores with unique and unusual items to look through. We found a Mexican Cantina style restaurant for a tasty lunch which in hind sight is about as far away form Scandinavian food as I guess you can get.

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Thinking back to our first visit to Poulsbo, we remembered a nice bakery in town, although it was late in the day, we tracked down Sluys Bakery. We each made mental notes to decide what we wanted to pick up the next morning for breakfast when I would return by dinghy for a pastry run.

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Something seemed to be amiss in the water in the bay, especially in the marina. Not sure what it could be, can only imagine. Wouldn’t want to accidentally fall into the water in this area.

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The next morning we awoke to a pea soup type fog; it took forever to lift.

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Port Townsend Recommendation

on September 10th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments Port Townsend Recommendation

Port Townsend 1 Port Townsend Recommendation

Over the years people have highly recommended a visit to Port Townsend, WA, but, for whatever reason, we have never made the stop. During our trip out west this year, we put Port Townsend on our planned route as we headed south from the San Juans toward Puget Sound.

Port Townsend sits at the northeast point of the Olympic peninsula where Strait of Juan De Fuca and Admiralty Inlet meet. In the late 1800s Port Townsend was intended to become the main city in the Puget Sound area, so a great deal of new buildings and Victorian houses were built. However, the rail system the founders counted on to make this happen, only made it to Tacoma. So Port Townsend never became the big city mecca they hoped for. The good news is that today Port Townsend has a unique small town village feel with elaborate 120-year old buildings lining the main street of downtown.

We arrived in port the day after the annual wooden boat show and were happy to see some of the classic wood boats still lingering in port. Like most towns we visit by boat, we walked the entire length of the downtown area,  located within a block of the marina. Lisa especially liked the variety of shops and spent some of her free time shopping. After taking a tour of the main street, we ventured up the bluff overlooking the harbor for a spectacular hillside view of the town and waterfront.

We stayed two days and can attest to why so many of our boater friends suggested we put Port Townsend on our 2014 PNW itinerary… we’ll be back.

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Transiting Desolation Pass in a Pocket of Fog

on September 9th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments Transiting Desolation Pass in a Pocket of Fog

Deception Pass 1 Transiting Desolation Pass in a Pocket of Fog

After spending a pleasant night on the hook at Hope Island, we woke to a blanket of fog so thick, we could hardly see more then 150 feet in any direction. We waited and waited until finally, close to our planned departure time, the fog began to lift a little. We pulled anchor, turned on our radar and headed towards Deception Pass. A safe trip through Deception Pass needs to done at slack tide. We needed to be positioned at the pass for the optimal tidal event.

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The fog continued to lift as we made our way to the pass, however, we were surprised when we arrived to see a wall of fog completely covering the cut. We idled in a circular pattern, along with a couple of other boats, waiting as long as we could for the possibility of the fog lifting but it never did. At precisely slack tide, we saw a big tugboat heading towards the narrow pass and decided to follow them through the foggy channel. We were close enough to see the tug boat and that’s about all, we couldn’t even see the bridge that spans the channel until we were almost directly under it.

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Looking off our back deck we could see a barge bringing up the rear (below).

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Once we cleared the bridge the channel opened up, we were heading south, the tugboat and barge were heading north, we parted ways and headed into a thick white haze with smooth, glassy water beneath us. Without the tugboat for guidance, we idled ever so slowly around Deception Island and inched our way south, staying attentive to the stray radar bleeps on our radar screen. We traversed the whole length of Whidbey Island in complete fog that lifted ever so slightly as we crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca and got closer to Port Townsend, 18 miles south. The good thing about foggy conditions is that the surface water is typically fairly calm.

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Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

on September 8th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Hope Island 1 Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Leaving the dock at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, I saw our fuel gage flashing a bright red “low fuel” light, setting my mind into a bit of a panic. Idling to the fuel dock, I was hoping we’d make it before running completely out. how embarrassing would that have been, I haven’t run out of fuel since I was in High School. The good news is we made it to the fuel dock without conking out in the harbor.

Confidently fueled up, we headed through LaConner and up into Skagit Bay, where we caught a mooring ball off Hope Island. We were positioning ourselves to transit through Deception Pass the next morning. The plan was to cruise down the open waters of Rosario Strait to Port Townsend – our first ever visit by boat. 

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Dinner on board Kismet came together without a hitch after we got settled in. A beautiful evening to enjoy on our back deck, along with a yummy feast using up some of the fresh produce we had acquired in Anacortes.

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Hope Island 12 Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

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The next morning we woke up to a thick blanket of fog.

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2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

on September 7th, 2013 in CRUISING :, PACIFIC NORTHWEST:, Puget Sound by | Comments 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

Ranger Tugs Rendezvous 1 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

One of the ancillary benefits of boating are the many social opportunities present. Everywhere we anchor or dock we’ll either run into old friends or we’ll end up meeting some very interesting people. We can’t think of a better place to do this than at the annual Ranger Tug/Cutwater 2013 Rendezvous, held this year at Cap Santé Marina in Anacortes, WA.

Because we’d been cruising for an extended period of time, in British Columbia, we decided to arrive a few days early so we could get caught up on the usual boat chores, which included a thorough cleaning of the boat, inside and out, washing clothes and picking up a batch of mail. In the midst of our getting settled and organized, Ranger Tug owners, and residents of Anacortes, Bob and Nita (below), on Nellie Too, approached us and said they were trying to put together a group to head up to Anthony’s for the early bird special. So, with a sprinkling of familiar faces and a few new mixed in, we had an unofficial kick-off to the rendezvous.

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We’d met Bob and Nita (above) during our first 2011 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous in Bremerton, WA. soon after we took possession of our Ranger Tug R27. Nita and Bob are so much fun, we wish we could just take them home with us.

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Before the rendezvous started, we had time to walk downtown on our way to visit the farmer’s market and have lunch at the Croatian Restaurant our fellow tug nut, Tym told us about.

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The next day boats started showing up in droves and by the time it was all said and done there were 73 boats in attendance, with about 150 people who own either a Ranger Tug, a Cutwater and/or work for the company. Although most of the folks were from Washington State and British Columbia, Canada, there was representation form Texas, California, Oregon, Michigan, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and more. We tug owners attend these valuable rendezvous to learn more about our boats, see what upgrades others have done to their vessels, attend seminars, eat, drink, celebrate our time together and share our boating pursuits as Ranger Tug or Cutwater owners. We talk about where we’ve cruised, if we trailer or not and more often than not, we share maintenance tips and tricks. We gave a power point presentation about our cruising time on Lake Powell.

The Anacortes Rendezvous was our third as Ranger Tug owners and we’d have to say the event is more like a fun family picnic or large reunion, except most of us are not related. Boating, with our Ranger Tugs and Cutwaters, is the common denominator and basis for a likely friendship. The family part comes into play because Jeff, John, Andrew, Kenny, Ivan, Linda, and others representing the factory, bring their own families to the three-day event and have a grand time alongside the owners group during the three-day event.

One of the things we admire about Fluid Motion as a company (builders of both the Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats) is how hands on they are with their owners group. We get the distinct impression, during our interactions with the factory staff that one of the company’s main goals and objectives is to help people get out on the water to boat. This thinking is supported by how they actively engage their owners group in boating activities, how thoughtfully they build their boats, with ease of use in mind, and take care of their owners. It goes without saying that such a philosophy is beneficial to both owners and factory alike.

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Herb, on Willie’s Tug (above), was getting help with something on his boat.

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Harmony (above) was responsible for organizing the event, her two little pups helped.

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Rich and Cheryll, on Roam (above) just returned from a trip to Alaska on their Ranger Tug. Gill and Barry, on Laxey (below)

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There was a rumor going around that Jim (below) kissed Bob while he was kiddingly sitting on his lap, but somehow we didn’t get that shot. Maybe next time.

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A few of the many participants at this year’s rendezvous… Georgene and Colin (above), Willie and Herb, on Willie’s Tug (above), Vicki and Bruce, on Moondance (below-left) and Tym and June, on Circle T (below-right).

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Bob (above) and Nita (below) are always in charge of making margaritas for the rendezvous, it’s why we call him “Margarita Bob,” As you can see, they’ve got this chore down to a science. I caught Nita downing the last batch of mix just before we wrapped up happy hour to begin feasting on dinner.

Ranger Tugs Rendezvous 37 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 38 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 40 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 39 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 32 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 33 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

Ivan (above), from the factory, came to our boat to install a Bluetooth module to our Fusion stereo unit, a job that would have taken us a few hours took Ivan only a few minutes.

Ranger Tugs Rendezvous 43 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 41 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 42 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 44 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 45 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 46 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 47 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WARanger Tugs Rendezvous 49 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

The last night of the rendezvous, the sky was on fire.

Ranger Tugs Rendezvous 50 2013 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

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