Aboard Astraea

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Summer Cruise 2011 Day 1: Everett to Cornet Bay

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The new "Captain's Chair"  All controls are led aft starboard.

The new "Captain's Chair" All controls are led aft starboard.

We said goodby to Koku the day before and finished shopping for our upcoming 2 week sailing trip. The advice we got from Jill and Barret, our friends on “Cheers” was not to bring enough food for the whole trip, but to stop by all the cool little towns along the way and use them to replenish. We filled our extra gas can up at Costco and got to the boat at around 9am. After filling up our tanks with water we headed out of Naval Station Everett Marina, past the Aircraft carrier and called the security boat letting them know we’d be back in two weeks!

That morning the wind was right on the nose as we headed northwest through Saratoga Passage between Whidbey and Camano Islands. After turning East at Rocky Point the wind was off our port beam so up went the sails and we were sailing! Slowly motorsailing along at 4 knots. Then we turned to the left in Skagit bay and saw the Coast Guard Buoy Tender “Henry Blake” working the aids to navigation. We gave them a wide berth and sailed northwest.

Natalie at the helm

Natalie smiling from in the cockpit.

At lunchtime we were still motoring along and Natalie made the first meal of our cruise, grilled cheese and tomato soup. It doesn’t sound like much, but the creamy hot soup and toasty grilled cheese really makes for a simple, excellent meal when you’re underway on a cold day.

During the day I perfected my “Captain’s Chair.” Our cooler full of beer was stowed on the aft starboard corner of the lazarette and made for a great seat. With the Tillermaster autopilot doing the steering I led the genoa and mainsheet over and I was able to control the whole boat from right there. Sitting up a bit higher than normal I gain a great view of any oncoming traffic. The only downside was, I lost our extra Danforth anchor which was stowed on the rail. My back rubbed against one of the clamps that hold it on, set it loose and into the sea the anchor went, 60 feet down. I heard a surprising “Splash!” come from right behind the boat and looked to see if a fish or whale had jumped, but alas, it was only the anchor dropping in to the sea. That was our first offering to Davy Jones. If you’re ever transiting Skagit Bay in the channel I’ve got an anchor there for you.

We continued sailing up to Hope Island. The rough plan I made for the day only called for us to make it that far, and it was just about dinner time so we tied up to a buoy and grilled some burgers. In the middle of our meal Henry Blake came up and anchored in Simlik Bay. After dinner I launched the dinghy and we rowed ashore to hike around the island.

Sailing past U. S. Coast Guard buoy tender Henry Blake.

Natalie led us off, hiking clockwise around the island. Hope Island looks deceptively small on the chart, but really is quite a long way around. After about an hour going around the island we found what appeared to be a trail cutting back across to near where we landed our dinghy. The trail disappeared in the underbrush so we spent 20 minutes clamboring over giant downed moss covered trees and bushwhacking through thick green undergrowth. It was exciting, to say the least, listening to Natalie’s yelps as she stepped on squishy decomposing trees, sinking in. Finally we made it back to the beach where we landed the dinghy and treated ourselves to a rope swing ride. I went first, testing it’s strength swinging far out over the water. Then Natalie had her go saying “No, don’t push me!” as I pushed her higher and higher and then gently caught her so she could hop back ashore.

Impressive view to the West from Hope Island

We dropped our line from the mooring buoy and then motored over to Cornet Bay to anchor for the night. Tomorrow we have to cross Deception Pass to get over to the San Juan Islands! Our anchor is set well in 25 feet of water, the anchor watch alarm is set on our chart plotter and our anchor light burns bright white so there’s nothing to worry about. An excellent start of cruise.

Natalie swinging high towards Airborne on the rope swing

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