New Chapter

We have some exciting news to share, but as it has been awhile since we’ve shared an update, let’s start with sharing how the 2016 summer boating season ended:

We did deliver El Bucanero to the buyers, handing her off in July, in Ketchikan, Aaska. Our delivery cruise had a feeling of sending your daughter away to be married, knowing you may never see her again.   But we were rewarded to be able to meet the buyers in person and show them around the boat, knowing that she’d be in great hands.

wilbur-0716-20160724-619

The owners of “The Wilbur of Juneau” are a wonderful couple who took her out weekend cruising, for the rest of the summer, catching salmon and having fun.  Jim and Tamera love the outdoors and boating.  Tamera is also a quilter and Jim has a commercial sewing machine and has already made things for the boat!

To clarify, The Wilbur is now home ported in Juneau, Alaska and will winter on the hard (they did a great job having her shrink wrapped).  But we look forward to hearing about her adventures on the water, every summer.  We also hope to see her cruising one day, as we head north to SE Alaska.

el-bucanero-in-cocoon

 

2017 has kicked off to be an exciting year for us, as we bought a new (used) boat.  Nordic Song is a 2011 Nordic Tug 42′, which only had ~100 hours on her.  Escrow has just close, so we can officially announce she is ours and we are very happy with her.  We are in the process of making a few changes, which we feel will work better with our extended cruising every summer.  For example, she had an electric stove top and we are swapping it out for a propane oven.  And while she has a much larger refrigerator/freezer, we still like having a large standalone freezer on board. To optimize placement, we are removing the ice maker and having a freezer placed in that spot.

5914451_20160822181815272_1_xlarge

She comes to us empty and given we left everything on board El Bucanero for the new buyers, we are now in the process of compiling lists for what we need (e.g. linens, kitchen items, etc.).  We plan a 10 day trip late March where we’ll be spending time shopping and working on Nordic Song, but we are also trying to order as much as we can online and have it delivered to Brad’s brother in Oak Harbor, till we arrive in March.  We’ll go back up again late May, with plans for some shake down cruising, before we head out for our official summer cruising this year.

We’ve picked out a color scheme of nautical blues, greys and are thinking of probably pull in some soft tans, or creams.  Darlene is working on a quilt for the main stateroom (blues/greys), and hopes to get towels and pillows embroidered, before we go up in late March.  In the meantime, we continue to compile a growing list of things we buy and try to find as much as we can by shopping online.  Fortunately, there is a Costco somewhat near where we keep our boat, as well as WalMart and Target.  But, as we don’t live in the area, it will be challenging for us to know what we’ll be able to buy in the area vs online, or bring with us.

If you have any online sources, for outfitting a boat, or know of stores in the area, please let us know.  For now, we’re looking at:

We also anticipate doing some serious shopping at West Marine and Fisheries Supply.

Looks like we are switching from the mode of shopping for a boat, to shopping to provision a boat, as well as to get her ready to cruise this coming summer.  Needless to say, we are excited and looking forward to spending the summer cruising on a larger boat.   We are in a new chapter of our lives and thoroughly loving it.   But yes, we will miss El Bucanero (aka Bucky) and while we love cruising in the PNW, we do miss cruising with MBYC friends in Southern California.  But if you are wondering if we plan to bring Nordic Song back to So. Cal. – we can honestly say, we don’t have any plans for giving up spending our summers boating in the PNW.  Life is just too good on the water, in the PNW.

 

Introducing “The Wilbur, of Juneau, Alaska”

20160621_065028

With mixed emotions, we have sold El Bucanero.  We truly love this boat and have enjoyed cruising on her on the Columbia River (Oregon), Channel Islands (Southern California), and our absolute favorite – cruising in the Pacific Northwest. The more north we go, the more we love it.  And, El Bucanero certainly has been a reliable boat where ever we have cruised, particularly on our trips to SE Alaska.  But as we spend the entire summer boating, I think I finally convinced Brad we really needed a larger boat.  While El Bucanero is truly a perfect size for us, having a larger boat would give us more space that we could also invite family and/or friends to come join us during the summer.

On a positive side, the buyers are from Juneau, Alaska and they thoroughly researched Wilbur Yachts, our boat manufacturer.  Of course, we think they will also love this boat too and we are very pleased with the new name that they have given her “The WILBUR of Juneau, Alaska”.  Way cool.

We are headed north to deliver “their” boat to them in Ketchikan.  They will take possession on the 20th of July, but we’ll spend a few days in Ketchikan showing them around the boat, before they cruise home to Juneau and we fly south to Seattle (where we will most likely start shopping for a new/used boat).

Lastly, for a critter report while boating:  We’ve yet to see any whales or bears, but we have seen some cute Canadian Geese families with very cute fuzzy wuzzy babies.  And we have seen plenty of Bald Eagles.

Next update to be shared about July 21st, from Ketchikan, Alaska.

 

UPDATE:

In past years, we’ve lucked out to be in BC on Canada Day, a few times.  Always great fun and celebration of the Anniversary of Canada.  We lucked out as this year we’ll be celebrating it in Port McNeil.  It will kick off with a Parade, a special Raise The Flag ceremony, Logging Sports, Pancake Breakfast and more.  It is also the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Port McNeill.  Click here for a flyer with insights on all the fun events.

13516443_10153479514130194_8774884989466537310_n

 

 

 

Cruise North Update

In 2015 we spent the summer cruising on El Bucanero, spending a good part of the time in The Broughton Archipeligo, in British Columbia.  We always enjoy visiting old haunts and exploring new areas.  We also visited areas in the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and North of Desolation Sound. While we don’t have firm plans for 2016, we believe we’ll be cruising in same general areas this summer again, possibly further north. As we’ve visited and shared insights about those areas before, combined with the fact it is not that often we get internet access during our summer cruise schedule, we have stopped sharing updates throughout the same.  But I do want want to share with you a recent underwater video Brad created, while diving in Kona, Hawaii (Big Island).  No, we didn’t take our boat to Hawaii (flew Alaska Air), but we are enjoying time in the water vs on the water.

Brad’s Youtube channel has more of his u/w videos and  can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBNj1PysJLEU00KGzVFFADg

 

We should be cruising in the PNW no later than the week of June 7th, when Brad’s brother Rodney gets to join us for 7-10 days of boating in the San Juans, before we head North.

The Final Leg of our 2014 Cruise

We are actually back home, safe and sound, but with loads of dirty laundry, plenty of weeds and trimming waiting for us in our garden, and a dead battery in Brad’s car.   While we had a wonderful summer boating in SE Alaska, there is still no place like home.  Before we forget how much fun we had, we best  provide an update on the final leg of our 2014 cruise.  And, as we’ll be making some changes for the content of this blog, we want to share our plans first, as you may want to opt out of receiving these updates!

We do plan to continue to boat in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) every summer, but as we feel that over the years of blogging updates on such  PNW trips, with little internet time while boating, we are struggling with the decision to continue to provide such updates going forward.  We are thinking we will stop providing status updates via our blog, but may periodically use this tool to share more in-depth insights on a particular place that we might recommend for non-boaters or for boaters.  If you do wish to UNSUBSCRIBE from email updates, at any time, just click the UNSUBSCRIBE link at the bottom of any email update you receive.

 

Ok, time to share insights with you on our last leg of our 2014 boating adventure:

Our last update was from Port McNeil, Vancouver Island, as we had cruised South from Prince of Whales (Alaska) Island, clearing Canadian Customs in Prince Rupert (BC Mainland), and cruised south to Port McNeil.  From Port McNeil we continued South crossing into the Broughtons, parts of Desolation Sound and Gulf Islands, before we cleared customs in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, for clearance into the US.  We spent a few days cruising in the San Juans, with initial thoughts that we’d connect with Fred (m/v Rita Ann), but timing didn’t work.

When we arrived in Anacortes, WA we thought we’d spend several days on the dock, doing some basic maintenance and also having time to visit with Family and Friends that are in the area.  But we quickly learned that the yard we are using to store our boat, over the winter, had made a change to what was previously free to customers to use their dock to a daily fee that equaled Cap Sante Marina fees (equaled resort boating fees).  If we had previously known we would have completed some of the work needed on anchor, or in prior marinas.  Needless to say, we quickly kicked into gear to complete our work on the boat and get El Bucanero hauled out.  We also took into consideration the road trip home and opportunity to bypass Sacramento, Stockton, and Los Angeles on a weekend and we hustled to get El Bucanero winterized so we could depart Anacortes many days earlier than we had originally anticipated.

 

We had an amazing summer.  And we enjoyed cruising to new places, meeting new people, learning more about a number of Indian Tribes/Bands in SE Alaska, as well as in BC, and seeing wildlife and beautiful scenery. As we cruised South, the mountains and even the trees became smaller and we saw less wildlife.  We also went from spending days where we didn’t see another boat, to where we might see quite a few boats.  It has been a gradual adjustment back into civilization, with an abrupt change back in a car, driving on I-5, and passing thru traffic in such cities as Seattle, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.  But part of our logic of leaving Anacortes so quickly, was to be able to make this road trip where we could pass thru major traffic areas on a weekend vs weekday.  Overall, we only had one minor slowdown due to a car accident.

 

Here are a few photos that capture some of the highlights:

P1110769

After Port McNeil, we cruised south thru an archipelago called “The Broughtons”.  We always enjoy visiting Lagoon Cove, in The Broughtons.  While we miss Bill Barber, owner (who passed away in 2013), Bill’s wife Jean, along with the wonderful team of Bob and Pat, Lagoon Cove continues to be a wonderful place for boaters.  We enjoyed two nights, with fun Happy Hour socials inside of Jean’s home.  We also enjoyed hiking some beautiful trails and seeing signs of Fall.  This is traditionally a favorite stop as we head North, as well as returning South, but it is easy to see why some boaters could happily spend the entire summer here.  With mixed feelings, we share that Lagoon Cove is For Sale.  We only hope the lucky buyer will continue to operate this resort with a special endearment towards boaters and nature, which makes this spot standout from other boating destinations.

P1110739 masked

(below)  We are always delighted to see well maintained old woodies while boating.  This one was certainly a beauty.P1110824P1110788 masked

{above} Forward Harbor always seems to smile as it welcomes boaters to this place of safety, while waiting out storms and/or tidal gates.  Clearly, someone else felt the same way when they painted a smiley face on the fock that we spotted on shore as we cruised into this harbor.

P1110894 masked

Another favorite destination spot is the Octopus Islands.  It is a relaxing and safe place to anchor, with plenty of areas to anchor.  Also hiking trails, fishing, crabbing and wildlife in the area.  Plus, there is an old Trapper’s Cabin where many boaters leave nautical artwork made from driftwood.  The “shark” with teeth of crab claws was quite creative.

P1110884 maskedP1110948 masked

We’ve enjoyed many beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  And, since cruising South, we’ve seen quite a few float planes.P1110972 masked

Overall, water has been calm, but all Mariners know what it is like to cruise in waters where the currents and the wind clash.  While this was a safe day cruising, El Bucanero was wet and salty.  Frustrating given she had just received a super good fresh water bath and scrub down the day before!P1120053 maskedP1120068 masked

{above} Another spectacular sunset.

{below} Another beautiful old woodie, this one is on anchor in Ganges, Salt Spring Island, which is part of the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.

P1120129 masked

{below} After clearing customs in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, we were able to take a walk up to the McMillin Mausoleum.  It is an easy walk and one that we have typically done when it was raining, but this time we had glorious sunshine.  It is a fun walk and beautiful setting, with a lovely view.  Definitely a place that we’d recommend to anyone visiting San Juan Island (also a perfect place for bicycles).

P1120198 masked

{below} While we keep a lookout for other boaters, logs in the waters, whales, we also keep a lookout for ferries.  In the San Juan Islands, the ferries seem to be everywhere….but they really are quite safe boaters.

P1120215 masked

 

P1120225

{above}  As our cruise came to an end, we did some cleaning and winterizing on the docks and prepared to be hauled out for the “hard’ (dry land).  This time, Captain Brad was approved to drive the boat onto the trailer that is used to haul all of the boats out.  He did a great job too!P1120246

{above}  Brad supervised the power wash performed by the yard and they did a great job.  Afterwards, we spent two days rushing to do additional cleaning and winterizing.  We put up our older sent of “windows” vs having her shrink wrapped this year. As she doesn’t have any leaks, like some boats have, we want to see how she does wintering this way.  Still, she’ll have a professional come take care of her every month and we’ll have a professional polish the hull before we launch her next summer.

 

Other than cruising to Chatterbox Falls, Princess Louisa Inlet next summer, we do not have definite plans other than we know we’ll be in the San Juans, Gulf Islands, parts of Desolation sound, and possibly The Broughtons.  We hope to be able to do some boating with Fred (m/v Rita Ann), Chuck and Carol (Armchara), as well as connect with many other boating friends out cruising.  And, as Brad’s brother and sister-in-law have moved from Anchorage, AK and want to settle in Oak Harbor, WA we are also hoping to be able to spend time with them next summer and maybe some boating/camping time together.  🙂    Again, we’ll find ways to keep Family and Friends updated while boating, but we will not be providing such future updates via this blog.  Internet time is just too limited.  Plus, with the adoption of smart phones it is getting easier to stay in touch via cell, text and email.

 

 

El Bucanero is For Sale

While we love cruising in El Bucanero, as we are out on the water 4+ months each year, we’ve decided we need a larger boat.  As such, we’ve placed El Bucanero For Sale.  She is currently listed with Wilbur Yachts, whom you can contact directly if you are interested.  And, if you know anyone whom you think might be interested in purchasing El Bucanero, we hope you will share this information with them too!  El Bucanero is a wonderful cruising boat.

http://www.wilburyachts.com/brokerage/large_view.asp?BrokerID=207&PhotoID=3240

P1060935

Cruising South: Update from Port McNeil, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

We have been having a wonderful summer, but it is winding down quickly. We thoroughly enjoyed cruising in SE Alaska, but now that we are back in BC, we are looking forward to visiting some of our favorite places in The Broughtons, Desolation Sound, and Gulf Islands the first few weeks of September.  We’ll then clear US Customs in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island,  and visit a few other places in the San Juans (Garrison Bay/English Camp on San Juan Island, Reid Harbor or Prevost on Stuart Island, Deer Harbor on Orcas Island and Blind Bay on Shaw Island), before we return to Anacortes.  It will take us a good 7-10 days to do some work on the boat (regular maintenance, varnishing, etc) and winterizing, before we drive back home late September.

Now that we’ve let you know we are doing well, shall we tell you about the bears swimming across a channel, bears on a picnic/hike, 50 knot winds, the boat that anchored next to us at midnight,  our fishing, the whales, how much fun we had visiting different Indian villages and learning more about their history and culture, or how we have noticed a reduction in water in the Pacific Northwest?  Or better yet, how about some photos to show you what we’ve been up to?

While we are still technically off the grid, we’re back in an area where we should get internet access at least once a week and cell phone/text coverage should be more frequently.  But, don’t worry if you don’t get a blog post update from us till late September.  We don’t anticipate great internet access or time for another blog post, until we reach Anacortes.  But we do think we’ll be in a better area for cell coverage (including text messages) and what time we get for the internet, we’ll try to use for emails and checking news (we are way out of touch as to what has been going on in the world the past few months).

 

We will We will most likely not have adequate  internet access and time to do another blogand will keep what access we get to email, phone calls, and texting. And we’ll try to get a final blog post out once we get connected to the grid in Anacortes.

 

Hope you are having a wonderful summer and finding time to enjoy.  We are.

 

P1110014 masked

We’ve experienced a variety of weather conditions (fog, rain, high winds, sunshine).  Fortunately, overall we’ve had great weather all summer long.

P1110029 masked

We’ve met some amazing people and have had some fun visitors.  Tsunami came to visit us daily, while on the docks in Craig, on the Prince of Wales Island.  He is a very interesting dog, who is part wolf.  Story goes that before he was neutered he’d go off in the mountain side for days at a time, even in winter.  He learned to break ice to get to water to drink.  He definitely knows boaters have food on board and he’ll be a fun visitor, especially if he can get a treat.

P1110047 masked

While in Craig, the fishing fleet was in and it was fun to walk the docks and see these beautiful boats and chat with the hardworking fishermen in Alaska.

 

Karelian Bear Dogs

P1110114 masked

 

We bought fuel at Petro Marine, while in Craig. This was one of the largest fuel docks we’ve ever used, and it was quite busy with fishing boats getting fuel as they headed out for another open window to fish.  While at the fuel dock, we spotted an usual looking dog that we learned is a Karelian Bear Dog.  Extremely alert, yet not threatening.  It sounds like they are great hunters.

P1110141 masked

South of Craig, while on anchor, we had fun watching a Mama Bear and her two cubs.  It was initially rainy when we initially spotted them, after anchoring.  We watched them feed on sedge grass along the shoreline and one of the cubs tried to climb a tree.  The next day was sunny and Mama Bear must have decided to take the cubs on a hike and picnic.  That day we headed out for fishing and spotted a Mama Bear and two cubs miles away from where we had anchored and thought it must be another family.  But later that afternoon, after we had anchored, Mama Bear and her two cubs finished their hike and returned to where we were anchored (and we had seen them the previous day).  Amazing the territory they covered.

P1110157 masked

 

P1110229 masked

 

Another stop on the West side of Prince of Wales (POW) Island was Hydaburg.  This is a village with a Haida Indian community that welcomes everyone to visit.  We highly recommend visiting Hydaburg, if you ever have a chance. We fell in love with this place and certainly want to go back.

P1110220 masked

We visited the woodcarving shed, where the talented woodworkers have carved totem poles and a variety of other spectacular works of art.

P1110165 masked P1110179 masked P1110194 masked

 

Salmon were spawning and swimming upstream.  The stream was thick with salmon and kids were fishing off of the bridge, snagging salmon.

P1110255 masked

There are new docks in Hydaburg, that were just installed this year.  For the most part they were empty.  We were the only recreational boat for the two nights we planned to stay.  But a storm came thru, with 50 knot gusts of winds, so we decided to stay another night (which turned into another).  Several fishing seiners from Petersburg joined us on the docks. We learned it was their first time in Hydaburg and they too enjoyed it.  We also had great fun visiting with the skippers and crew of these beautiful fishing boats.

P1110238 masked

P1110267 masked P1110339 masked

We’ve seen quite a few juvenile Bald Eagles this summer.  They look so ugly, but we are certain they are loved by their mothers, just the same.

P1110345 masked P1110361 masked

P1110423 maskedP1110417 masked

P1110454 masked

Cruising south, we decided to spend a night on the docks in Hartley Bay.  This is First Nations community that is warm and friendly.   While in Hartley we were given a tour of their Big House which has special meeting rooms for the Elders, as well as a room where the entire community can gather for celebrations.

 

P1110469 masked

This community maintains a fish hatchery where salmon are raised and released into a lake, helping to naturally (vs farm raised with chemicals) replenish the fish stock.  And we observed adults and kids having fun catching salmon using a fish and release technique.

You may have heard of the Queen of the North, a BC Ferry, that hit a rock in 2006.  It actually hit an island and it was the Hartley Bay community that rescued the people on this ferry, during the middle of the night.  On our visit this summer we were able to meet Ed Robinson, the first responder, from Hartley Bay, to this ship that had run aground.  It was interesting to hear Ed’s perspective of this incident.  And how the entire community of Hartley Bay took in over 120 souls, into their homes, to keep them warm and fed until further assistance could come to take these individuals back home.   Very little was done to say thank you to the residents of Hartley Bay who saved the lives of so many that night.  They were promised a search and rescue boat by the Canadian Coast Guard, but they have never received such a boat.  What a shame as they are in a location that needs such a boat and clearly they are a community that cares about the environment, as well as the safety of others, even those whom they may not know.

P1110472

 

 

P1110522 masked

As we cruised South, one night on anchor, about midnight on a very warm night, we heard people talking. This was strange as we were on anchor in a cove by ourselves (when we went to sleep).  We got up to see lights shining on our boat and initially thought maybe it was the Coast Guard, only to realize it was a recreational boat coming in to anchor very late at night.  This is so bizarre to us, as we taking boating safety seriously and there are quite a few rocks in the area and logs that a boater could easily hit during the day, more so at night.  We left early the next morning and passed the boat that had anchored, never learning the story, but chuckling that the boat’s name is K-Yachtic.

P1110535 masked

Over the years we’ve heard about boaters that have had the opportunity to see deers, elk, moose, or bears swimming in a channel.  This year, was the first time we came across bears swimming from island to island.  And it was quite a distance.  This was a Mama Bear and two cubs.  One was so small that it continually tried to climb on Mama’s back.  But they all made it across a channel that was larger than several football fields.  Quite a site.

 

We’re heading off to make a few stops in The Broughtons, cruising South thru the Gulf Islands.  We’ll spend a few days in the San Juan Islands before we return to Anacortes, WA and do basic boat maintenance and cleaning, as well as winterize El Bucanero.  We are a few weeks away from winding down the summer.  We’ll share one last update on our cruising, once settled in Anacortes.  In the meantime, don’t worry if you don’t hear from us for awhile (of course you can still call or text us via cell, or email and we’ll respond as soon as we can).

 

We hope you are also enjoying the final days of summer.