Tim Spofford's "Inochi's": Anacortes to Orcas Island trip (Sept. 2001)

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Tim Spofford, Skipper, & Steve Spofford, Crew

To: WWPotter@yahoogroups.com
From: tim spofford
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 20:58:44 -0700
Subject: [WWP] Fwd: We're back too (aka San Juans make-up sail)

For those of you who've never seen the San Juan Islands, here are a few
pictures: http://www.spof.org/sanjuans9-01/. The snow covered mountain in
a few of them is NOT Mount Rainier, as one might assume if one is not from
the area, but rather Mount Baker, considered by some to be one of the
world's great snowboarding sites and current holder of the American record
for most measured snowfall in a single year, set in 1998-99 at 1140 inches
(94 feet).
- crossposted from the Northwest Potters list:

Steve and I had a much less significant - 2 days, as compared to Jim and
Derek's 8 - but nonetheless wonderful trip as well. We left Washington
Park in Anacortes, where there was plenty of parking this time, Saturday
morning in dense fog. (Thanks to Michele for cautioning us to carry a
radar reflector, which we did.) We headed north-northwest, toward Orcas,
under power on still seas, keeping a double watch and a close ear to the
ferry horns which seemed to be - and may have been - just beyond
visibility in the fog. We were just this side of lost but perservered and
after an hour or so broke into a glorious Puget Sound setting, being by
pure luck and no credit to our navigation abilities exactly where we
wanted to be, just west of the shipping channel west of Strawberry Island
and directly on course for Doe Bay. We had sun but still no wind. Since
we were going to find ourselves at Doe by mid-afternoon, much earlier than
we wanted to be - or expected to be - we decided to head west to Deer
Harbor, mostly because y'all were so positive about your visit a couple of
weeks ago. Once we cleared Obstruction Pass we had enough wind, 8-10
knots, that we could shut off the motor and made our way pleasurably to
Deer Harbor, arriving uneventfully around 5:30 and pulling into the slip
we called ahead for. After halibut (Tim) and salmon (Steve) across the
street, we retired early for a fitfull sleep, due to Steve's snoring. (If
Steve were telling the tale, the previous paragraph would likely have
said, "...due to Tim's snoring." But he's not and I am.)

The next morning was cold and foggy but still pleasant. Breakfast at the
dock of hot coffee and Pepperidge Farm Nantucket chocolate chip cookies
amply prepared us for our departure. The fog was not so thick as the day
before and we were able to maintain the shore in view much of the
time. Still, we became much more adept at navigating with our charts and
the GPS. (After our experience with fog on Saturday, I can now see much
more clearly the advantages of a mapping GPS, although even without
mapping ability mine was a great boon that, never having had to use it for
navigation before, I hadn't previously appreciated.) At about the time we
passed the Shaw Island ferry landing we acquired enough wind to sail, wind
that built throughout the day although never to the point of requiring us
to reef. (All of our sailing was under unreefed main and lapper.) We
headed south of Blakely on the return, advancing with long tacks to
Thatcher Pass and then from there on an exciting broad reach, including a
period of significant swells from the south, back to Washington Park.

We had no problem with ferries, of which we encountered many. (We
calculated that we saw the Yakima 5 or 6 different times over the two
days.) It occurred to us late in the day, however, that it would have
been convenient to have a ferry schedule, simply to know when a ferry and
Inochi were likely to arrive at the same place at the same time: a small
thing that, while hardly critical to our trip would nevertheless make a
nice addition to a future trip in the same location.

The only adrenalin rush of the trip came at the very end. I had used the
buoy just north of the Washington Park ramp for a mark on our approach and
cut it a little closer than I intended or was prudent. As it happened,
the flood current damned near wrapped Inochi right around the buoy and its
resident cormorant. Had I been thinking more clearly I would have changed
course and simply let the current and the wind carry us safely past the
buoy on the lee side. Instead I held my course and my brother and I both
realized at the same time that we were traveling sideways at what seemed
like about 8 knots, compared to 2-3 knots forward progress, directly
toward the buoy. It is no credit to my seamanship that we cleared it
safely but uncomfortably close. A lesson learned, I hope.

I'm not sure what time the Portlanders arrived back at Washington Park,
whether it was earlier or later than us. We never managed to make radio
contact and my cell signal was spotty at best. But Steve and I had a
wonderful time and fully intend not to miss next year's group sail, as
well as making a longer solo trip (possibly even this fall if we are
blessed with an Indian Summer).

At 06:50 PM 9/11/2001 -0700, Tim Spofford wrote:

Since we missed the San Juans' sail of a couple of weeks ago due to a
dearth of parking at the launch site, brother Steve and I are planning to
do a make-up Saturday and Sunday. We'll be leaving from the same
location Saturday morning around 9:30. Anybody who would like to join us
is most welcome. We may, serendipitously, also hook up with Jim Ferguson
and Derek Jensen, who are rumored to be cruising in the vicinity.

It's possible that in light of today's horrors we will conclude this
isn't an appropriate weekend to do it. We've discussed the issue and
have decided for now to go ahead with our plans. Should we change our
minds, I'll post a message here by mid-day Friday.

We only intend to sail to Orcas vicinity. Our plan - highly subject to
change on the spot - is to sail to Doe Bay and anchor, having dinner at
the Doe Bay restaurant and maybe a soak in the tubs. Option B is to
anchor or beach at one marine parks north or east of Orcas. Option C is
to do a return of the Potter(s) at Deer Harbor. There may well be an
Option D not yet identified.

My cell is 425-444-xxxx, and I'll be monitoring Ch. 16.

P19 #611 "Inochi"
Kirkland, Washington

(This content was imported from the old 2003 NW Potters website.)