Places We Go – Puget Sound & San Juan Islands
It’s been awhile since I posted to the blog. Our time has been very busy and varied. Also, my last blog – a very traumatic event, plays a big role in how I feel about writing. It takes awhile to get back into the swing of things. I have spent untold hours thinking about it and rehashing tons of alternatives to what I could have done – and will do if ever in the same situation. Experience goes a long way with this kind of event.
I don’t really want to bring it all up again, but I feel compelled to send out a Serious Recommendation: To all cruisers and boaters – I know you have a man-over-board plan. If not – get one! I am just not certain you think about what happens if a person falls in at the dock. Think about it and get a plan! It is highly unlikely that a person can be rescued with the help of one person – unless a rescue ladder is RIGHT THERE. Pay attention to what is going on around you. When you come into a marina – check out where the rescue ladders are located, what channel to hail the marina, and any other Emergency Info that is available. Don’t YOU be the person to fall in. IF you hear a call for help, NEVER ignore the call. Find out what is going on. The minute you realize someone is in the water, grab a line, a personal floatation device (PFD) and run for the person. IF you have a portable ladder of some kind, take it with you. It would be your best bet to save the person on your own. Once you have secured the person (if necessary tie them to the dock! You don’t know how long they have been in the water or their ability to hang on by themselves.) get on the VHF. Call the local marina, or the Coast Guard, or dial 911. Yell, if you see others about, just get the attention of as many as possible as someone will also call for assistance and/or come to your assistance. Since the writing of my last blog, I had several responses of similar events. Most required multiple people to help get the person out of the water. Be assured that the person in the water will be able to do little to nothing to help you or themselves. The shock of falling in, the water temperatures, and their very health or state of being will all impact them. If you are lucky, like I was, Katherine was able to hold on as long as it took, but that is all and it was close. Friends just wrote in that their large dog fell in. It took three adults to get him back on the dock. These things happen more than you can know. Please. Think about it. Have a plan. ALWAYS answer a call of distress. Okay. Now let’s move on.
I never got to tell you about some of our late June and early July time. We were still positioning ourselves to make health appointments and tests. In spite of all that we found friends along the way. We are very blessed! Spending time with our friends sweetened the fact that we were staying pretty local for the summer. We rendezvoused with sailboat friends on KIND OF BLUE in the San Juan Islands at Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. Had a great two day visit, we walked on the island, and caught up on what we all had been doing. We met Jim and Judy one winter, several years ago in Gig Harbor, then we saw them in a couple places in Mexico and now back in the PNW. Great time!
We got back with S/V CUTTHROAT over the 4th of July in Roche Harbor. We had done the 4th in Roche Harbor a few years ago and pretty much decided that it is something you do – once. Well, when great boater friends are going to be there, you can do it again! It was more fun this time as we had friends with which to enjoy it all. Roche Harbor is an absolute destination on the 4th of July. Hundreds of boats come in and it is pretty much a total zoo. The marina med moors the boats and just about doubles, maybe triples how many boats can be tied up. (Med Moor is when the boater drops an anchor forward, then backs into the dock, and stern ties to the dock. All the boats are fendered and tied to each other alongside.) The picture doesn’t really begin to show you the full picture as you can’t see further out to the left in the harbor. We are WAY out there and we were totally surrounded by other boats. It is pretty intriguing watching all the methods of anchoring and the antics of all the other boaters. Makes for great entertainment, unless they get too close to us. Roche Harbor often offers up wonderful sunsets. This one was particularly spectacular.
Roche Harbor puts on a ceremony nightly where they retire the Washington flag, the Canadian flag, the British flag, and the American flag. Each retirement is accompanied musically by the national anthem of that country. It is a very moving experience, especially when you realize all nations are represented, by visiting boaters and tourists, at the ceremony. Once all the flags have been retired, the young Roche Harbor crew that performs the ceremony all jump into the water! That was not my favorite part! I know how cold that water is. And I am a bit wary of folks in cold water lately. However, there were a lot of folks there to give them a hand out. On the 4th, afterwards, there were smaller children jumping in, too. I wondered where their mothers were.
After the 4th of July, we headed back south with CUTTHROAT to Port Townsend, where we had our departure last dinner. S/V CUTTRHOAT was headed west out the Strait of Juan de Fuca and then south to San Diego. They made a safe and successful trip and are all tied up in San Diego. A few days later we pulled into Bremerton for the infamous rendezvous with dear friends, Peter and Katherine. After spending another day with them we headed to anchor at Poulsbo for a few days.
While in Poulsbo we got a phone call from a lady friend, Jasmine, who lives in San Diego. She found herself free and we said, why not come see us! And she did – two days later! So, we got underway to Bell Harbor in Seattle to pick up Jasmine. It was our first time to tie up in downtown Seattle. Oh, wow, is that a great spot!! Jasmine caught an airporter into the city and was at the dock shortly after our arrival. Perfect timing! We did that day and half the next day in Seattle. I had the time of my life. For the first time I got to shop at Pikes Market, buying wonderful fresh fruits, flowers, and seafood. It was a luscious time. I didn’t spend much time “At Home – in Seattle” – there was just too much to do ashore!
Since Jasmine was going to be with us a week, we tried to give her a taste of cruising. We met on the docks of Cabrillo Isle Marina over eight years ago in San Diego, CA. She lived on a sailboat, but never went sailing or cruising, so this was a new experience for her. We think she loved it, had a great time, and we loved having her. She made a great house guest and welcome member of our crew. She is probably already planning her next cruise! We left Seattle, and went down to Gig Harbor, where we anchored out. The weather was idyllic. We went ashore for shopping and browsing. After two days in Gig Harbor, we went to Poulsbo and anchored. Another perfect little waterfront town with lots of little shops and restaurants to browse through and dine in. We had a couple girl lunch out days. And we all had a great evening out, too, having mojitos and a calamari, then on to a restaurant for a great meal. Yum! All this time the Captain is still watching his food intake as we still don’t have a resolution to his problems. He did fine, thankfully. Oh. They have a great ice cream and espresso shop, too. Well, honestly, every port town has at least one!
After Poulsbo we went back to Bremerton. The ferry dock to Seattle is right there at the marina and very handy for us in the next week. The end of our guest’s visit coincided with Bruce’s last medical appointments. By this time, after a summer of appointments and tests, we were referred to an ultra specialist in Seattle. We all rode the ferry to Seattle on June 20, and Bruce had his consultation. By the end of the appointment we were pretty ecstatic. We walked down the hill from the hospital and found Von’s Restaurant and enjoyed a pre-celebratory lunch! Yum!! We finally had a real and believable diagnosis, and even better the problem would be resolved the next morning in the same hospital, where Bruce underwent a specialized procedure. Jasmine traveled with us back and forth on Monday and Tuesday. Bruce stayed overnight in the hospital and came home on Wednesday and Jasmine rode the ferry back to Seattle and caught a flight home. It was an entirely satisfying week!
I know you are all wondering about all this medical stuff I have vaguely referred to all summer. To make a long story short , unblielivable as it seems Bruce was basically having gallstone attacks for the last six years! The stone was left behind at the time his gallbladder was removed. In the last years the thing has bounced around, growing, and off and on causing havoc. By the time April came along the stone was large enough that it was finally impacted in the common bile duct, all but shutting it off. But now the stone and accompanying sludge is all gone. And Bruce is back to living an almost normal life. He still has some adjustments and healing going on inside, but life is very sweet presently in the Places We Go!