The other woman

Here’s a boat undergoing repairs at the Port Townsend shipyard. You can see some of the braces that I showed you yesterday put to work.

I snapped this shot because as we drove by my DH could barely contain himself. “Look at her stern,” he said, sounding almost raunchy. “Dang, that’s gorgeous,” as he admired its shape and curves. I saw the lines he visually embraced but I also saw the age and rust, once again grateful for his farsighted selective vision.

At the shipyard

When we go to Port Townsend we invariably end up in the shipyard there as DH searches for some kind of maritime this or that at the marine supply store. While he shops I usually go on the prowl with my camera, which is what I did recently. The landscape is always changing as boats come ashore for maintenance and there’s lots going on. I’m not a mariner but I love this place. You’ll see more in the next few days.

Race to Alaska

The third annual Race to Alaska (R2AK) kicked off at 5 a.m. last Thursday as 64 vessels large and small left Port Townsend, headed first to Victoria B.C. and eventually, for many, to Ketchikan, Alaska. The race structure is straightforward: “No motor, no support, all the way to Alaska.”

We were in Port Townsend on Wednesday as many of the boats arrived and people readied for an evening “Ruckus” sendoff event. Entrants ranged from standup paddleboards and kayaks to rowing boats and sailing crafts of all types. Smaller vessels generally entered for the first 40-mile Victoria leg only. The entire race is 750 miles, give or take, depending on capriciousness of the wind.

Can you see the three pedaling setups here? Sailors don’t always rely on wind alone.

Winds picked up on Thursday and boat were scattered across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and up into Oak Bay east of Victoria. Two rowers arrived first in Victoria on Thursday. Tomorrow 41 of the entrants will leave Victoria destined for Ketchikan. According to the R2AK website, the race can be finished in anywhere from four days to never.

The race website is entertaining, full of information, and includes a tracker which follows each of the boats. Here’s an excerpt:

“What is the best boat for R2AK?
Great question. We have no idea. We intentionally picked the start date because the winds are of unpredictable strength and duration. There is an ongoing debate on whether the optimal boat will favor sail, oars, or paddles. From the conversations we’ve had, usually sailors are scared of the rowers, rowers are scared of the sailors, and kayakers don’t seem to be scared of anything. Our best advice is to choose a boat design based on your skills, then go for it.”

Spring adventure

I’ve wanted to go back to the San Juan Islands, arguably one of the most beautiful areas of Washington State, since the first time I visited by ferry decades ago. It was there that I fell in love with Washington.

A while back I heard about a San Juan Island cruise offered by Puget Sound Express in partnership with Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society. The three day birdwatching and wildlife cruise sounded spectacular. From Sequim our voyage was just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The photo above is of the MV Glacier Spirit, the family owned cruiser we traveled on.

Inside was comfortable and warm with snacks, lunch, coffee, and good cheer.

This is a chart of our travels over three days through the San Juans, shown in yellow. Vancouver Island is the large land mass on the upper left; to the far right is northern Washington and the city of Bellingham. The thin pink and red lines show our route as we looked for whales, dolphins, birds, and other sealife through the large and small islands of the San Juan archipelago. I’ll show you what we saw over the coming days.