We are out here in the San Juan Islands, bobbing around with little wind in lovely anchorages. The trip is the last long cruise of the year, a 10-day extravaganza of floating around and breaking the boat.
Par for the course. We’ve broken several things already. Probably the most critical item was the windlass, which abruptly decided this morning not to work. Nearly two hours of troubleshooting later, Dr C determined that the relay is at fault. He now has the windlass hotwired, god help us, so that it can run even if we don’t have the batteries on. This is probably not the best long-term solution, but it means that we can comfortably anchor in more than 2 fathoms without worrying how the hell we’re going to pull up nearly 200 feet of thick chain and anchor.
The way it operates – and I use that word in the loosest meaning possible -- is that Dr C stands on the tramp watching the anchor. He yells, “Go!” to Aeron standing at the mast who in turn shouts in the window to Jaime kneeling in the salon. She passes this down the line to me crouching in the port aft cabin next to the switch. When this verbal bucket brigade gets to me, I toggle the breaker. God help us if we have to anchor off a Seattle Yacht Club outstation. I'll never live down the shame.
The girls broke the head. Twice. I fixed it without getting covered in shit up to my knees, which I consider an enormous accomplishment. In fact, thus far I have not had to actually unscrew and dump crap even once. A fantastic step forward in head mastery, if I do say so myself.
In addition to breaking things, Dr C engaged in a laundry list of repairs to the boat. He got out a gel coat kit and patched the starboard hull. He just about fully installed the inverter, and for dessert he replaced the broken hinges on the two port hatches. The man is proving endlessly useful on the boat. All he asks in return is good food and frequent sex.
On the first item, I’m making progress. I didn’t overstock the boat this time, which feels good. We had three days of food for three days of travel and then went shore shopping. More significant perhaps, Jaime saw an unfamiliar vegetable on sale in the market today at Friday Harbor. Rather than avoiding it, I agreed to purchase the thing and bring it back to the boat. Sautéed in a bit of shallot, olive oil and garlic, the rainbow chard proved to be a savory and nutritious addition to dinner. This proves that ages old maxim that even shoe leather tastes good with enough fat and garlic.
We’ve enjoyed the San Juans Islands. Had two marvelous days of sailing before the blue hole for which this area is renowned settled into a complete calm. Since then, we’ve been playing the tidal currents to move from place to place. We bucked a serious rapid this morning around the west side of San Juan Island from Garrison Bay to Friday Harbor. At one point, we were getting swept along a 4 knot current. It pays to watch your tide tables around here, let me tell you. It pays to keep your eyes open for rocks, too. Rocks are not your friend.
The kids are playing a wrestling game in the cabin while Dr C and I relax in the cockpit sipping wine and contemplating our navels. The boat resonates with the harmony of children's screams and two seagulls squabbling over a Ritz cracker on the starboard bow. It's not perfect, but it might just be as good as heaven gets.