Merry Christmas Year in Review

From Our Home to Yours . . . Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Cambria at anchor in the Bunsby Islands

Here we are at the end of yet another year and, once again, we’re left wondering where the time went – it all passed by so quickly.

The 2013 cruising season took us as far north as Bishop Bay Hot Springs (53°28.22 N) and back to one of our favourite cruising grounds, the Central Coast in northern British Columbia, before we turned south and made our way down the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  While not as spectacular as the scenery and surroundings of the Central Coast or as kind as the waters along the Inside Passage, this area has a rough charm all of its own.  Open to the influences of the Pacific Ocean, cruising these waters is challenging: changes in conditions caused by approaching weather systems, the occurrence of frequently dense fog, and the very nature of the coast itself with its many off-lying rocks, scattered reefs and shoals, require a crew to be constantly aware and performing to their best abilities.  Despite the challenges, the solitude found in many of the areas and the rugged nature of the coast is alluring; almost magnetic, something that’s difficult to describe in words.

As seasons go, this one was more demanding than most, though they all present their own set of challenges.  In August, Sally fell ill and it’s proven difficult to get her back on her paws again.  She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and finding the correct dosage of medication was a struggle.  Come to find out, she shouldn’t have been prescribed the medication at all and was immediately taken off of it by our vet in Wichita.   It’s been a slow process and we've spent many sleepless nights trying to calm her down but, after a week or so, we’re beginning to see signs of Sally’s personality again.  The old girl’s stubborn to a fault, a quality that has served her well over the years, and we’re hopeful that we’ll get through this with barely a scratch.

If it wasn’t Sally giving us cause for concern, then it was most certainly the house batteries aboard Cambria.  We lost one of three in late July and the remaining two progressively grew weaker over the course of the season.   Because the West Coast is so isolated, we weren’t able to replace them and had to nurse them along.  By the end of the season, we estimated that we were working with less than 80 amp-hours of battery capacity, down from the original 640, whereas our average daily use is approximately 150.  Needless to say, our solar panels and generator earned their keep in the final weeks of the season.

And if it wasn’t Sally or the house batteries keeping us on our toes, then it was surely the weather.  In addition to the regular monthly summer storms, in late August we sat out the remnants of a typhoon that hit the coast of Japan and brought day after day of strong winds and torrential rain.   In September, we were caught in a lightning storm in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.   And we rode out forty plus knots of wind at anchor in late September.  By the time the first of October rolled around, we were ready to tie the boat up for the winter.

After five years in Poulsbo, Washington, we have a new winter home.   The port failed to re-negotiate their live-aboard contract for temporary moorage with the city, so we took a berth in nearby Kingston and couldn’t be happier with the change.  Though they’re both communities with less than 10,000 residents Poulsbo, as it turns out, is much too busy for us and we should have moved years ago.

Now that the holidays are upon us, we’re back in Kansas spending time with family and friends but, once again, we have a long list of jobs we want to tackle on the boat and plan to be back in the Seattle area by the end of January so that we might (finally) be able to drop our lines and head north in April.   Our plans were to cruise Southeast Alaska, but we’ve decided against that because of Sally’s health.  Instead, we’re going to have a more leisurely season and spend some more time along the Central Coast exploring the many fjords and hot springs.  Before we left Washington this winter, I was offered the opportunity to so some writing for an online boating magazine so I’ll use the extra time to concentrate on that.  And I’m sure David will be happy to have more time with his guitars. 

Wishing you and your families all the best this holiday season,
David, Stephanie and Sally the Sea Dog

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