Poulsbo Puget Sound

Farvel 'til Poulsbo

Tuesday, June 15, 2010S.V. CAMBRIA

Port Ludlow Falls

After saying our final good-byes for the season to Jan, Don and Jonathan (the last ones standing), we fueled up Cambria and left Poulsbo with the tide last Thursday evening. Four hours later, we were about 25 nautical miles north tying up to the linear dock in Port Ludlow – the same spot we finished the season out in last year (fortunately, the night was a lot more restful this time around). With plans for an early morning departure the following day, I walked Sally, we said a quick hello to some friends, and called it a night. The alarm went off at 5 am (such an ungodly hour) and we drug ourselves out of bed to a gloomy morning of fog and mist, so we climbed back in and put our departure off until Saturday.

Later that morning, the inverter (a piece of equipment that converts dc power to ac and runs everything from our DVD player to vacuum cleaner) stopped working. If it hadn't happened to us, it might funny at some point because of the irony – David spent months putting together a solar panel array to help recharge the batteries, and the one piece of equipment that allows us to consume the most energy fell over. Unbelievable! The mood was fairly grim most of the day as he tried to get people to respond to his phone calls and was ready to sell the boat to the next person with more than $20 pocket change. But by Saturday, things had calmed down and we decided that we'd just manage with what we have (two small 110 volt inverters) to run the computer and deal with the rest in October.

Even though we're not operating at full-demand, we're very happy with the job the solar panels and MPPT are doing. On Saturday, there was hardly a cloud in the sky and we put in over 120 amps of power back into the batteries – starting as early as 5:30 am – and rarely ended a day with a deficit. In five days at anchor, we saved over 20 engine hours and $60 in diesel, but the biggest difference we're seeing is how much weight has been lifted off of David's shoulders. He's no longer held captive by our energy needs and doesn't have to spend up to four hours a day recharging the batteries – morning, noon, and night – which leaves more time for exploring.

Alas, conjuring up adventures in Port Ludlow can be difficult. It's a quiet spot centered around a resort inn and golf course where people come to relax or retire. There are a couple of “hiking” trails in the area, so we sought one of them out which took us to a small local waterfall. It's a nicely kept loop and we had a good walk around the old-growth forest. We also took the bus up to Port Townsend one afternoon to do a bit of grocery shopping and have lunch (no, I'm afraid we skipped Waterfront Pizza this time around). We hadn't been to the recently built Northwest Maritime Center yet, so we stopped in for a look around and were pleasantly surprised. In addition to the gift shop/chandlery where they sell everything from pirate treasure maps to copper nails, there's a workshop where volunteers and professionals (re)build wooden kayaks, dinghies, and sailboats with the goal of educating and promoting interest in the general public. All and all, it's an impressive addition to a town known for its wooden boat heritage.

Now we're just sitting and waiting for the weather to clear so we can make a run across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and up to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The forecasts have been “wishy-washy” (in the words of the NOAA meteorologists) with favorable conditions predicted in the morning and a complete revision issued in the afternoon which has left us guessing for the past few days. If the current forecast holds, we'll leave tomorrow morning with the tide. If it doesn't, well, there are worse things you can do than spend another day in Port Ludlow!

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