At Anchor

At Anchor
Whiskyjack at anchor in Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Quick Visit of the San Juan Islands

We have been avoiding the San Juan Islands for the last several times we have been in the area.  Mostly because of the number of people.  Toward the end of June, while transiting the area, we decided to stop into some places that we either had not visited or had not visited in a long time.
English Camp, San Juan Island
Our first stop was Garrison Bay on San Juan Island.  We entered the bay on a Friday afternoon just to have a look, expecting that we may have to move on if the bay was crowded.  We were surprised to find just a few boats anchored.  We found a lovely spot to anchor, north of Guss Island, not far off the southern bluffs of Bell Point.  We spent the afternoon exploring English Camp followed by a dingy ride around the bay.  In the morning before breakfast we hiked the loop trail around Bell Point.  This is a lovely trail.

The Dingy Captain

The following morning we weighed anchor and made for Echo Bay on Sucia Island.  Arriving on a Saturday afternoon, we expected that we may  not be able to find a spot to anchor.  Boy, were we surprised!  There were plenty of spots to anchor, even close in.  We spent the day hiking some of the trails on Sucia.  The 2 mile Lawson Bluff trail is absolutely outstanding!  We hiked it in the late afternoon and the views to the west and north are fabulous.  The trail meanders from the edge of the bluff into the forest and back again.  Looking down from the precipice of the bluff to the water's edge at the weathered sand stone, you can see all manner of shape and form.  It makes the imagination run wild.

Alden Point Lighthouse on Patos Island

Sunday morning we left Echo Bay and made for Stuart Island.  We turned north out of Echo bay going between Ewing Island and Clements Reef to view Lawson Bluff from the water.  We also wanted to see the lighthouse on Patos Island at Alden Point.  Looking at the lighthouse reminds one of the strength of the Light Keepers to be able to live in such surroundings.  We transited Boundary Pass to Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island.  Over one half of the Start Park mooring buoys we vacant, so we took one, just east of the park dock. 

The New School
The Old School
From the State Park dock in Prevost Harbor, we walked a well maintained trail southwest to the county road, then northwest to the Stuart Island School.  We toured the school, being fortunate enough to meet with last year's teacher of the two students that attended the school.

The sunrise over South Pender Island

Monday morning we were underway at first light to catch the ebb tide as we made way for Port Angeles.  Our trip across the Straights of Juan de Fuca was uneventful with the exception of fog on the south side of the Straight.  Closed hauled on a single tack from Discovery Island to Ediz Hook with wind of (Beaufort) Force 3 to Force 4.  Does it get any better than this?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cruising up the coast of Washington

We love cruising the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands and have a desire to extend that to other areas around Vancouver Island like Barclay Sound, Desolation Sound, and the Broughtons.  But, our boat is in Oregon.  We could have our boat trucked to Puget Sound and go from there or............we could just sail it up the coast.  In early June, I did just that!

Day 1, Scappose, OR, to Illwaco, WA:  The first day we traveled down the Columbia from our moorage in Scappoose to Illwaco, Washington, a distance of about 95 statute miles.  This is a trip that we have made annually for many years, the only difference is that we take 10 days to go down and back and I wanted to make it in one.

Note to self:  Remember to smile when taking a selfie!
Day 2, Illwaco to Westport:  I timed my departure to be able to transit the Columbia River Bar very near dawn on the beginning of the flood tide.  The crossing was uneventful.   There were 2 to 3 foot wind waves (out of the west) on top of a 4 to 6 foot swell, so the motion of the boat was less than serene.  The wind was (Beaufort) Force 3 to 4, out of the NW (basically on our nose).  I ran with the engine and the main sheeted in tight to dampen the rolling motion.  Our course was NNW until we were about 12 miles off shore then we paralleled the shore line north.  We tied up in Westport before dark.

I had taken on a crew member for the trip (to satisfy my wife, as she did not want me to do it alone) and he did not have his sea legs.  Before our departure, while on an evening walk through town, I encouraged him to get some OTC medicine to relieve the symptoms of motion sickness.  His reply was, "I don't want any drugs."  Nothing could convince him otherwise.  Shortly after crossing the bar he became ill and spent the rest of the day either asleep or vomiting. Shortly after arriving in Westport my crew said, "Let's go get to sea sickness meds!"  Yes!!!!

Sailing in a grey bubble.
Day 3, Westport to LaPush:  This is one of the longest legs of the trip.  We left the dock at 0500.  We motored-sailed in a grey bubble all day.  Our visibility was from 1\8th mile to 3/4 mile in fog.  Winds were F2 to F3 out of the NNW.  We did not see the shore or the sky all day.  It was a challenge to avoid the crab pots with the reduced visibility.  Our approach into LaPush via the Quillayute River was in the dark (not desirable), making the small opening seem even smaller.  We tied up at 2200.

Cape Flattery Light on Tatoosh Island
Day 4, LaPush to Neah Bay:  We left LaPush at 0500.  The sky was mostly clear, winds were F2 to F3 out of the NNW.  Again, we followed the 30 fathom line, (about 10 miles offshore).  An easy day.  We took on fuel at 1800 and tied shortly afterward.

Wing on wing.
Day 5, Neah Bay to Port Angeles:  Another long day in mileage but WOW!  The winds were out of the NW F4 with a 6 to 8 foot following swell,  Our boat speed was hitting 7 kts (screaming for Whsikyjack) with a 2 kts flood current giving us over 9 kts SOG (speed over ground).  The sky was mostly sunny and the autopilot was dong the steering.  I stood at the back of the boat holding on to the rear stay (clipped in) yelling at the top of my lungs, "I'm living the dream!"  It just doesn't get any better than this.  In the Port Angeles Boat Haven by 1800.

Epilogue:  338 miles (gps), with about 140 miles of offshore in a 25" boat.  Check that off the "Bucket List"!  We will be using Port Angeles as a base for our summer cruising, hoping to check a few more places of the "List".  If you see us, be sure to introduce yourself and say "Hi".

Travelocity has nothing on me and my companion!

Fresh Water Cooling & A Surprise

One of this winter's projects was to add FWC (fresh water cooling) the the Yanmar 2QM15 engine.  Yanmar made this engine for just 2 to 3 years and it was never FWC.  The engine that followed, the "GM" Series, was FWC.  Thanks to a lead from a reader, I ordered a heat exchanger from SenDure Manufacturing ( who had produced a FWC kit.  While they no longer sell the kit, they were more than willing to construct the heat exchanger.

I mounted the heat exhanger by manufacturing "extention nuts" from stainless steel hex stock that replace two of the nuts that hold the exhaust manifold onto the engine head.  Socket head cap screws then secure the heat exchanger mounting clamps to the other end of the extension nuts.

The more challenging part of the project is the added pump.  The original pump will be used to circulate the engine coolant through the heat exchanger, but an additional pump is required to to pump the sea water through the heat exchanger.  I believe that constructing a bracket to mount the pump was more work and trouble than it was worth.  The new method is to use an electric automotive pump (the ones used to cool automobile engines), but that did not appeal to me.  I choose to mount a pump on the front of the engine.  Yanmar made provisions for a PTO (power take off) on the front of the engine vibration dampener.

I purchase a Johnson pump from my local Yanmar dealer and manufactured a mounting flange to mate up with the engine.  I also made a bracket to prevent rotation of the pump.  The whole assembly was then bolted to the front of the engine.

And when it was all done it looked like this!  This picture was taken before the expansion tank was installed on the bulkhead ahead of the engine, the lower left in this photo.

Also visible on the left hand side of the photo is the added valve and hose that allows me to rinse the heat exchanger with fresh water.  The (white) hose has a "garden hose" fitting on the end.  Connect the hose to a fresh water hoes, (or let it pick up form a bucket), close the thru-hull, open the valve to the white hose, and run the engine to flush the system.

The real surprise that I encountered, was that the level of the cooling water in the expansion tank kept going down.  Where was the water going?  After much thought and inspection, I found that the FWC pump was leaking slightly.  Because the engine was raw water cooled and not drawing the coolant from a reservoir, it had gone unnoticed.  A quick rebuild of the pump with a new shaft, bearings and seals solved the problem and everything is running well.