Back In The Saddle

Freya & the Volvo Penta diesel motor
Inspecting the diesel before heading out
17/18-Sep-2005: I realize that we’ve clearly fallen off the horse. We’re never going to leave the dock at this rate. If I had one of the fishing boats from my Grandpa’s resort with a little outboard motor on it, I would have piled Inga and Freya into it and taken off for hours of exploring Puget Sound regardless of tides and currents and other boats. So that’s it. We’re going out. Inga’s only real concern is about the docking aspects so we discuss roles and responsibilities, rehearse what needs to happen, and affirm that I’ll jockey the boat around however long it takes until we can line up properly and smoothly with the dock. Ok then. Let’s rock!

We run through the pre-launch checklist, fire up the diesel and gently pull out. We emerge into the no-wake zone of the Olympia harbor and head North at 3 – 4 knots past the marinas and then the big cranes of the container ship dock. The GPS shows our precise location on the complex chart with all the buoys and the dredged navigation channel. Inga scouts out the channel markers with the binoculars and helps me match them up to what we are seeing on the GPS screen. When we pass out of the no wake zone, we open up the throttle, adjust the trim tabs and move out. At speed, the boat is very competent and comfortable. We cruise to the end of Budd Inlet and there is the deep water of Puget Sound. Maybe it’s just psychological but it looks much different from the river-like environment of Budd Inlet; the water is blue, the light is dancing off the waves, the sailboats are heeled over in the wind. We spot the lighthouse next to the Boston Harbor marina, the only source around for fuel, but as we’ll still packing half a tank of diesel, we decide we’ve been brave enough for one day. We spin around and skedaddle for home feeling like we’ve really made some progress.

We approach our dock and after jockeying back and forth a bit, we slip into place without incident. Inga steps out onto the dock and has the boat expertly moored in a matter of seconds as I shut the engine down. We did it! We’re back in the saddle. We sleep like babies that night in our boat. Before we head for home late Sunday afternoon, I realize that we can drive to Boston Harbor on land to do a little reconnaissance. From the shore, we spot the Chevron sign among the forest of sailboat masts and I’m not sure how we would have ever seen it from the water side. Knowing where we have to go for fuel now takes a lot of the unknown factor out of it.

Scott washing the Surf Scoter
Washing the salt off after a ride on Puget Sound

24/25-Sep-2005: We arrive at noon on Saturday and go right into the pre-launch checklist: weather report, tide table, engine oil & radiator levels, fuel and water filters, top off the water ballast tank, stow the gear, rev up the GPS and sonar units, get out the binoculars and consult the charts. We’re doing a fuel run to Boston Harbor and then maybe we’ll head up the next inlet over to see if we can spot Sam’s workshop on the north shore of Young Cove in Eld Inlet.

We approach the Boston Harbor marina and slowly weave our way past the moored boats to the fuel dock. There is a gentle breeze coming from the North that can be used to our advantage as it will push us toward the dock. Our first attempt is not quite right so I swing around and make another pass. The second pass does the trick. We fuel up and take off. We head for Eld Inlet which is just West of Budd Inlet and go exploring. Unlike Budd Inlet, Eld is very quiet with homes here and there and lots of forested shoreline. We run South to Sam’s cove and then spin around to head for home. We dock without incident, wash down the boat, have a nice bowl of soup and then a walk with Freya before going to bed. — Scott Bruce Duncan */:-)

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