LONG AWAITED MOMENT
After a long cold hard winter on the island, the locals were ready to celebrate the beginning of the season and more specifically the members of the Friday Harbor Sailing Club's Opening Day. It was held this year on nearby Lopez Island.
We headed down to Snug Harbor about 11:00 AM to meet our friends and neighbors Jim and Brenda who were joining us on a quick ride in Knotty Dog over to the island. Before we even got to the docks we could hear Norris yelling funny things to whoever will listen about heading out to Lopez Island and the dogs were barking and running around the docks.
Larry, Zig and I were loaded with stuff, like jackets, sandwiches and snacks for the day. We packed the boat and were getting things ready. Brenda and Jim, our friends and neighbors, were on their way down the ramp ready to join us. Larry turns the keys to get the engines warmed up and instead all we heard was a dull "da..da...da..da...click...click". Whoops, the batteries are dead! How could that be? Larry just ran the boat the other day after getting her out of the airplane hanger where she'd been stored all winter. Everyone was obviously disappointed and realizing that we may not have an outing to go to today. What a bummer after packing all that food and looking forward to a fun time.
Jim headed back up to their house to get a jumper and battery and Jim that manages Snug Harbor brought down a big battery on a dolly and more jumper cables to see if we could get her started.
Everybody was helping, and sparks were flying but we heard nothing but those dead noises, more of that da...da...da....click...click. Larry decided he'd try hooking the chargers up to the back up battery and then the ones directly linked to the batteries for each big engine. First we tried one engine. On the go ahead I turned the key and this time we heard the engine turning over and soon it caught on and was running! We did the same scenario with the next engine and were good to go. It's good to be around guys that know how to fix things! We borrowed the jumper cables from Jim the manager and took Jim and Brenda's battery charger too, just in case we get into a problem over at Lopez.
By now Norris was gone, going faster than I've ever seen that boat go. He even created a wake which is unheard of for him as he ran out past the rocks that greet Snug Harbor. All three dogs were in their positions on the boat and soon they were out of sight.
We backed out of the slip and slowly went out the entrance. The waters have been shallow lately with below normal tides. We heard that Jim Maya our local whale watching expert and friend had to lift his engines up and coast out past the shallows the other day it was so shallow. We had plenty of water under us this morning but maybe not the case when we come back later today.
Out and around the point and through Mosquito Pass we sped. The skies were over cast and rain was forecast but that wasn't going to deter anyone today from celebrating Opening Day. We soon emptied into the bay by Roche Harbor were rewarded by the sight of the majestic old sailing ship "Zodiac". We slowed down momentarily for a few pictures and then headed out the harbor along side Spieden Island. Of course we could hear Norris on Fragile Habitat chit chatting on the radio with who ever would listen.
It wasn't long before we see him ahead and Larry speeds us alongside. Looks like it's just Norris and the dogs today because Karen his trusty wife and side kick is doing census work on Lopez and we heard will meet us and Norris later today. So, no wonder Norris is talking on the radio, he must be lonely.
VESSEL IN TROUBLE
We headed down San Juan Channel and could hear the Coast Guard assisting a vessel in distress but we weren't listening too closely. Soon Norris hailed us and said the vessel in distress was near our position and maybe we could help them. From the report, the boat was a Bayliner and hit a rock or something hard and was taking on water. So we got the coordinates from the USCG via Norris on the radio and headed towards the location by Crane Island.
It took us a bit out of our way but a vessel in distress is a necessary detour. Fortunately by the time we got there, the Coast Guard was there plus several other boats and things looked like they were well taken care of. There's nothing like adding a little excitement to the day but with a happy ending.
We soon arrived at the quaint village of Lopez. Did I forget to say the theme of the day was Pirates? Aye matey, and Ziggy was dressed for the event having put on his favorite pirate shirt with skull and cross bones on the back saying "Bad to da Bone" and Larry, not to be out done, displayed a pirate's flag on top of the boat. We soon realized we were put to shame by the neat outfits many others had on and the several boats decorated to fit the theme as well.
We had a bit of grog and exchanged a few "Arghs!" and had lots of fun visiting. Later games of skills commenced like seeing who could throw a life ring around a fender and after some grog there weren't too many that I'd want throwing me a life line. We laughed too as Larry, Brenda, Jim, Ziggy and I all crammed in our little Knotty Dog for wine and cheese and sandwiches. So though it was doubtful we know now for sure it is possible to get four people in there for drinks.
By late afternoon it was time to head home and it was just as the contests were starting for the sailboat races. Did I say sail boats? Well, these were itsy bitsy teeny weenie sailboats but they were fast, those little things skirted across the harbor with no problem. It was a great sight for the ending of our day at Lopez seeing them skim across the water in the afternoon light as we left.
FRIDAY HARBOR CELEBRATING TOO
In just a few minutes we were cruising Friday Harbor on the way back to see what San Juan Island Yacht Club was up to, as it was their opening day too. We are members there but decided to opt for the Lopez Island outing today. Several boats though in the harbor were decorated with celebration flags and people's boats were full with friends celebrating. It was a festive time through out the islands today.
Time to go though as it was late so soon we retraced our path back around the top of the island, through Roche Harbor, Mosquito Pass and back into Snug with the depth sounder reading -.07 feet! Larry tilted the engines up a bit and we slowly cruised in past the shallow rocky areas. We had to laugh as it took us a couple tries getting back in the slip. We were a bit rusty I guess and forgot how much this boat likes to run with the wind but nevertheless got in safe and sound.
JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME
It was a great day and I think we made it back just in time because not long after the rain began pour as predicted and then a surprising strong winds followed blowing through the night. It's a good thing we left Lopez when we did. We wondered how it was for the others staying at Lopez that night as I remember that marina being pretty exposed to the winds there I bet it was fun.
CLEAR AS A BELL
Surprisingly we woke up this morning with bright sunshine like as if Mother Nature hadn't been up to any tricks except the evidence was there, left with all the debris from the tree branches laying around.
LOTS TO LOOK FORWARD TOO!
Hey, who cares, the season has started on the San Juan's and we're all talking about fun boating trips to take this summer. We can't wait!