So much for blogging about our boat adventures… I had good intentions of maintaining a meticulous ship’s log. But, for the most part, I’ve been throwing receipts in a folder, checking the oil, and forgetting to write down the engine hours. The good news is it’s because we’ve been using the boat! We’ve been cruising, hanging out in the marina, and performing maintenance. There aren’t enough hours in a day – and if it’s a choice between using the boat and documenting the boat… well that answers that.
It’s bee exactly a summer since we last updated – and we’ve had a wonderful season getting to know Shifty and building our confidence. Here’re some highlights in no particular order.
Poulsbo has become our like our own cabin on the lake; it’s such an easy, quick jaunt (about 90 minutes away, depending on how we drive). It’s the perfect destination when we don’t have time to plan. Downtown Polusbo is right off the marina, it’s cheap (about $35 per night), there’s plenty for the girls to do, and it’s Clyde-friendly. There are kid-friendly restaurants and breweries, an awesome convenience store (mini Chuck’s plus ramen and licorice), coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and even an acquarium. So far, we’ve found the people to be friendly and helpful. We’ve been out with family, friends, and alone – all total maybe nine or ten times now. It’s so easy and fun that there’s a real danger of not taking chances on other destinations.
We took our first trip through The Locks to Lake Washington and Andrews Bay. It was everything we’d heard – crowded and filled with knuckleheads pretending they’re on some even trashier version of MTV’s Spring Break. The fresh water was nice, though. It was a blast to go swimming. We ancored for the first time and managed to break our windlass when pulling it up, so I had to haul the anchor up by hand. Fun. It takes about three hours to get there from Shilshole, so it’s a commitment. I’d prefer to make it a weekend rather than try to go out and back in one day. The Locks were chaos but they’re really good at getting dozens of boats filled with noobs through safely and quickly. We’ll go back once we’re better equipped for anchoring over night.
We took a trip to Vashon and Quartermaster Marina, but the nicest part was the cruise. The harbor itself was just ok – and there wasn’t much public beach to explore. The marina was private and expensive ($65 per night) and there’s nothing near by. We went for a walk and found a convenience store to buy ice cream, but quickly found ourselves on a shoulderless country road with heavy traffic and blind corners. It was nice to see South Sound, though. It takes about three hours to get there at 1,500 rpms (plus another 45 minutes to get up the five mile harbor).
We’ve had a bunch of family and friends out for short and long criuses. We had a Fourth of July party in Shilshole surrounded by amateur fireworks. We did our first overnight with my sister’s family where we converted the dinette to a bed. We’ve spent many nights having cocktails in the quiet evening marina. All-in-all, it’s been a great inaugural summer of boating. With this last trip to Polusbo, we both feel like we’re out of complete noob territory and are moving into the advanced beginner stage.
- As I mentioned, we broke the windlass – it’s still broken as of this writing. Also, if we’re going to get serious about anchoring we’ll need to replace our ground tackle.
- I finally found a replacement wiper blade and got it mounted on the starboard window in front of the lower helm. I need to order two more plus a new motor for the center arm. The blades themselves are a little long so I might need to get something smaller than 28”. I forgot to write down the size of the nuts I used to attach it. Oh well. I can drive from inside now when it rains. Yay.
- I found parts for our main cabin door and now it slides open and closed smoothly. I’ll order a second set as well since the company that made them is out of business.
- Our old Norcold refrigerator died and we replaced it with a much nicer Vitri-Frigo. It’s a drop-in replacement that runs much quieter and has two additional cubic feet. The mounting flanges weren’t exact, but it was nothing a few creative screw angles and some screw caps couldn’t fix.
- We replaced the old Parker BBQ with a new Dickinson Sea-B-Que. The old one kept blowing out and took 45 minutes to cook a burger. There was also no grease trap, so not only did hot grease blow onto the deck, but the grill spontaneously burst into flames a couple of times. I put the Parker out by the dumpster and it was gone in under 10 minutes. Let someone else figure it out. The new grill is beautiful and, more importantly, functional. It’s like a mini-weber (flavorizer bars and all)!
- We added some weathercloth to enclose the aft deck to waist-high. This is still in progress as they haven’t added all the doors yet, but it’s made hanging out with the girls so much less stressful. They would have to work at it to fall off so we’re not constantly on edge trying to corral them. It’s also surprisingly effective at sheltering the deck. We’re definitely going to enclose the aft deck entirely now – just a matter of money and time. Canvas Supply was incredibly hard to work with, but they did do nice work.
- After a summer of cruising, both engines were a little low on oil. I added 1/2 a quart to each to bring them up to the bottom line on the dipsticks. I’m not sure whether burning oil at that rate is normal.
- We added a small kayak to our repertoire. Paddling around Shilshole and Liberty Bay at dawn and after dark is so much fun.
I think that’s everything. We had a dozen smaller projects like finding better dinnerware, purchasing deck chairs, and adding 100 feet of generic dock line, but I’ve started to forget them all. We’re really excited about making Shifty the best boat we can. We’ll never get her back to Mint – or to be anything better than a Bayliner – but we can make sure she’s got it where it counts. Solid, well-thought-out, reliable systems to support us on our adventures.