Puget Sound South Sound

Inspiration Can Be Overrated

Monday, June 12, 2017S.V. CAMBRIA

Cambria at anchor in Carr Inlet, South Sound.

I envy bloggers who are able to sit down and write about something, anything, off the top of their heads. That’s not me. Not normally, anyway. I spend my time fussing over the details: Is the grammar correct? Is that what I really meant to say? What purpose does it serve?

The truth is, I’m more interested in editing than writing and normally need a little inspiration to get down to the work of blogging . . . and sitting in a marina can be pretty uninspiring.

Cambria has a berth at the Port of Kingston guest dock until the end of June, but we needed to leave over Memorial Day Weekend to open up some space for visiting boats. So, we dropped our lines Thursday afternoon (the 25th of May – geez! where does the time go?) and pointed our bow south.

We’ve been threatening to sail down Puget Sound for a couple of months but the weather has gotten in the way. Either it’s been pouring down rain, too cold, or too windy to enjoy life at anchor (yes, we can be wimps when it comes to the weather). Or it’s been so nice that we’ve used the time to work outside on the boat while we had the chance.

To be honest, neither David nor I have been excited about the fast-approaching start to the summer season. We’ve clearly moved on from this lifestyle in our heads and aren’t very interesting in cruising this season. But with no other option (for the weekend, anyway), we decided to take the opportunity to check out some new anchorages in the South Sound.

Our first stop was Blakely Harbor, Bainbridge Island, which sits across Puget Sound from Seattle and has a beautiful view of the cityscape . . . along with the roll from passing container ships. 

Our second night saw us anchored in Quartermaster Harbor, Vashon Island, which we thought was pretty unremarkable . . . or at least the spot we chose. But it wasn’t the “where”, it was the “what” and we found ourselves slipping back into life at anchor easily and enjoying some of the things we love about cruising again – dining in the cockpit, reading books, finding the time to play the guitar. It was lovely.

The cruising life is one of ups and downs and it was our turn for some bad news.

There’s one thing you can count on while sailing the Inside Passage and that’s debris in the water. David and I take this hazard very seriously – we’ve seen too many boats with holes in them not too. And despite the fact that we keep a keen eye out at all times, we’ve hit a log or two along the way.

After leaving Quartermaster Harbor, we made our way down to Tacoma Narrows where there’s a decent current flowing (0 to 5 knot range). It was close to slack tide, but the water was “active” and we could see a rip line ahead with some debris gathered along it. We had a clear path, though, and went through.

Then we heard a sound we hadn’t expected – bang! A direct hit to the prop.  

We put the motor in neutral and looked behind us, expecting to see a log pop up, but there was nothing there. Back in gear and moving forward, we felt a slight vibration from the engine but it seemed to settle down so we continued to Carr Inlet where we anchored off the home of some friends, thinking we’d dodged a bullet. But when David put the boat into reverse to set the anchor, we learned the truth: Cambria no longer had any rear propulsion and there was a “ticking” sound was coming from the prop – we were going to have to haul-out. 

So, it looks like I finally found the “inspiration” I’ve needed to write a blog post after two weeks of silence but the story has to stop there . . . for now. There’s a lot more to tell (including a singing prop, a surprise visit from David’s sons, and finally meeting Mike and Melissa from Little Cunning Plan!) but that will all have to wait until the next time. 

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  1. How terrible! It really seems safer and easier to stay home sometimes...but where is the "fun" in that?

    1. Unfortunately, our tale of woe gets worse (which is why I stopped the story when I did). But everything will get sorted out in the end . . . I think. :-)

  2. It will all get sorted but we're sure sorry our waters treated Cambria so badly. No fun at all. Except for YAY to being in the boatyard together!

    1. I think everyone should have a buddy boat in the yard! It makes it so much more fun, but I'm really glad you guys aren't stuck here with us.

  3. Isn't there a saying "bad experiences make good stories", or something like that? So sorry you had to deal with that bang and needed to get hauled out again. I remember our attempt to once sail to Bocas del Torro in Panama and the heavy rains had put tree trunks in the ocean, as run-off from the rivers on the mainland. We hit one of the trees after sailing for ten hours and - after this encounter in addition to bad weather - decided to return back where we came from. We never made it to Bocas. Ups and downs, for sure!

    1. I really need to get to work on some blog posts so I can share the rest of the story -- the culprit wasn't a log, after all. And we're looking at another week (possibly more) on the hard while we wait for our prop and the shaft to come back from the shop. [Sigh]