Guests Come to Cruise

Sometimes renting a car in Seattle is expensive and difficult. Reserving a car to pick up our friends, Mel & Maria, from the airport turned out to be impossible!  There were none available. Tom’s solution, a U-Haul truck. Mel & Maria got a kick out of it and it became fodder for many jokes. They did say it was easy to spot him at the curb.

After a trip to Costco on their way home, they all picked up Paula at the boat for a trip to Fred Meyers for more groceries. That meant Maria sitting on Mel’s lap and Paula sitting on a pillow in the middle. Unfortunately, Tom lost the key to the boat while there and it was never found. We had to enter The Secret through the hatch, which Tom had fortunately left open.

Mel & Maria also celebrated Paula’s birthday with a nice card and the best birthday cake popcorn. Really!  It tasted like birthday cake and was delicious!

After dinner that evening, we went over potential cruising destinations during their time with us. It would culminate with a weekend at Silverdale, WA at the Whaling Festival, but we had a week to get there. We decided on our potential stops, a combination of anchorages and marinas.

The next day we were off to anchor in Manzanita Bay. Leaving Fishermen’s Terminal, we arrived at the Ballard Lock within 15 minutes, which took us from the fresh water of Lake Union to the Puget Sound. It was Mel & Maria’s first experience with a lock, and they proved useful hands. The sound was calm, though a little windy. With temperatures in the low 80s, it was a perfect day for cruising.

Mel had looked forward to fishing since we first invited them. And soon after we arrived at the anchorage, the poles came out. He and Tom fished…and Mel caught!  What did he catch?  6 dog sharks, each progressively bigger!  Mel, as the great white shark hunter, also became fodder for a week of jokes. He definitely enjoyed himself, but the rest of us would have preferred edible fish!

We learned Mel is an excellent chef on the grill and enjoyed delicious steaks and asparagus before teaching them Qwirkle, our most loved boat game. Then Maria whipped us all in a game of Project L, our new boat game for the summer.

The next morning, under Mel & Maria’s watchful eye, Tom filled over 200 previous nail holes in our teak (we tried to never add holes) before our leisurely departure to Poulsbo. Again, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we pulled into a slip just behind the seaplane with a uncomfortable depth of 6’2” (we draw 4.5’) at the slip closest to the shore and nice park at Poulsbo Marina. Seafood lunch (since we couldn’t eat Mel’s catch) at the nearby Loft restaurant overlooking the bay was delicious. We walked the 3 blocks of main street, then returned to the boat to get Whisper for a walk to the hardware store about a mile away to make spare boat keys. It culminated with sorbets at Mora ice cream shop. Unfortunately, the secondhand marine store, one reason for our visit to Poulsbo, was closed on Mondays. Because of that and also because there was brass band concert advertised for the next night at the park, we decided to stay an extra day.

The day was forecast to be hot and turned out to be the beginning of a record-breaking 6 days in the 90’s, some as high as 94. Many houses in the Pacific Northwest, including our boat, have no air conditioning, so we tried to plan outings early or late in the day.

First on the agenda for Tuesday (after Paula walked Whisper along the boardwalk) was Sluy’s Bakery. Oh my…so many choices! We decided the apple fritters and elephant ears were our favorites. After breakfast, Maria wanted to try our electric bike, so she and Paula “pedaled” around a beautiful neighborhood and then to Safeway to pick up a few fresh items; Paula even happened on a lovely yarn store! 

Meanwhile, Mel, an electrical engineer, troubleshot a few things with Tom. Later, we discovered Maria was a whiz when it came to cleaning – she got paint off a stool we had not been able to clean, shined our windows, de-cobwebbed our boat, and other things.

Click for video

After dinner, Mel and Maria went out for another bike ride, but had a soft tire. Unfortunately, the concert turned out not to be a brass band but more of an 80’s band. But it provided a little dancing entertainment on the dinghy deck.

We arose early the next morning to depart the Poulsbo Marina at a higher tide than our entry. Mel & Maria walked to Sluy’s Bakery to buy our morning sugar rush (unfortunately too early for the elephant ears) while Tom and Paula prepped the boat for departure. At 8:45, we shoved off the dock for our short 2.5-mile cruise to the Keyport dock. Fortunately, a very helpful townsperson was walking by, showed us the 50’ dock to use and caught lines for us. We walked Whisper around the very small friendly town (350 houses), then went back to the boat to play games while we waited for Naval Undersea Museum to open at 10:00.

The Naval Undersea Museum on the base a short walk away had 2 exhibits outside and a large, mazed room of exhibits inside. We all found it very interesting with subjects on the ocean environment, mines and torpedo, submarines, marine mammals, and search/spy/rescue recover areas and stayed almost 2 hours wandering through (until we were too cold from the overly air-conditioned building).

On the way back to the boat, we had a good lunch at Casa Mexico, then left for Illahee. Enroute, we ran single engine to balance the engine hours and let they men troll as we got some breeze on the hot day. Unfortunately, they didn’t even get a bite.

Depths dropped quickly at Illahee making anchoring unfeasible, so we side-tied on the public dock and checked price. It was $.70/foot with no power and noisy swimming kids. We decided to leave and go anchor in Lynwood Cove just off Rich Passage (with easy passage to Puget Sound for fishing the next day). It was very noisy onshore until 2100 and we got some wake from the passing ferries, but it didn’t interrupt our game playing, with Mel winning at Tri-ominoes.

We had a relaxed start the next day, eating our third straight breakfast of pastries. (They were almost as good even a day old.) The hard-boiled eggs balanced the sugar with some protein.

Paula made some marina calls and we decided to go to Port Orchard for 1 or 2 nights before heading for Silverdale for the weekend. We cruised out to the Puget Sound and drifted while the men “practiced their casting.”  Again, a disappointing zilch.

Upon arriving at Port Orchard, we rested from the heat, then walked the 3 blocks of the tired-looking town; we all agreed Poulsbo was nicer. A little game-playing (we’re such good hosts; we let Mel and Maria both win) and a dinner of grilled salmon from the freezer followed by Key lime pie and chocolate caramel mousse from our town walk with a classic rock and blues concert on shore finished out the day.

On Friday morning, we crossed the bay 2 miles to Bremerton and docked at their guest dock only to have to move the boat twice more to get out of the way of an incoming rendezvous. At 11:00, we walked town, and all decided it was bigger and younger (due to the naval base) than Port Orchard, but there was really nothing there of interest to us. Back on the boat, we had salads enroute to Silverdale.

We didn’t think there was much of a chance of a slip at Silverdale, as we thought Whaling Days had started the day before and were prepared to anchor. Praise the Lord. The festival started later that afternoon, and there was a space big enough for us. After a stern-around move by Paula to move the boat to a different inner slip, we even had power!  No amenities but for $22 for 2 nights, it was a deal!  The boat next to us even had a kiddie pool on the dock and let Paula dip Whisper in it multiple times to keep her cool. Whisper didn’t like it, but it did do the job for the hot 2 days there. There was a lot of relaxing on the boat.

At 4:00, we walked up the ramp to Whaling Festival. The booths were just getting set up. It was so hot; we pitied the vendors on the hot asphalt!  Though Mel & Maria tried out the Indian fry bread, we enjoyed a dinner of Instant Pot corned beef with grilled squash and zucchini more.

We got a text from the George and Deb Grovhoug that informed us they were about 12 minutes out from Silverdale. We had only met them through email through a mutual friend, but they also owned a DeFever 49RPH and we had hoped to get together. They also were cruising in the Puget Sound and after Paula told them about the Whaling Festival, they decided to come.

That night we all watched fireworks together from our dinghy deck. It was a late start, (after 10:00 PM) but was enjoyable with some fireworks we’d never seen before. Whisper, on Paula’s lap, did pretty well until the finale.

The next morning, we had a surprise mess of fireworks ash to clean up. Guess we’d never been that close to fireworks before!  Paula also put the final coat of Cetol on the flybridge steps, dinghy deck hatch, door and frame and the Portuguese bridge handrail she hadn’t had time to finish due to debris in the air at Fishermen’s Terminal. It felt good to be finished!  We all did some spiffing up of the boat with Tom keeping us supplied with necessary items. The Secret was looking great!

At 10:00, we walked to Sugar Studios Sweet Shop for a late breakfast of crepes. Tom had strawberry-banana, Paula and Maria enjoyed Lemon Pie (w/ lemon curd in the crepe), and Mel had apple. They were all delicious and, oops, they made one too many strawberry-banana, which we all split.

After a tour of George & Deb’s boat (newer than ours), we visited awhile. Smoothies for lunch to cool us off helped, as did a nap or two. We felt like we had “done” the festival, though we continued to enjoy the bands from the boat. Pasta with olive oil and fresh basil from Paula’s Aerogarden for dinner was easy and filling.

On Sunday morning, at 7:15, we walked once again to Sugar Studios Sweet Shop for crepes because they were so good. Maria had posted an awesome review for the restaurant, and owner Daleen Grimes had already read it and asked if she was the poster. We even got another extra crepe, George & Deb joined us, and before we left, Tom purchased some baklava and lemon bars for dessert.

We pushed off and headed out to the Puget Sound to fish one more time before Mel & Maria’s journey with us was over. For 1.5 hours, we ran single engine, but still no reward. We felt blessed when a tug on the end space at Eagle Harbor public dock offered to move to a smaller space to allow us the easier, bigger dock space. While there, a smaller boat rafted to us for several hours and when Maria was helping them tie up, her Fitbit fell off. We all felt badly about that, but now there may be a fish swimming around with a really cool watch! We had a front row seat for the sailboat races right off the dock.

As we began our walk around town, we found a discarded large suitcase at the paying station and Tom took it to boat to fill and send home w/ Mel & Maria. (More off the boat. Thank you so much Mel and Marina for schlepping stuff home for us.)  As we walked town, we found several ice cream and pastry shops as well as a well-supplied grocery store. George and Deb came in later and docked opposite us.

It was our final night together and Marie showed us how to win at all our games before our late bedtime of 11:00 PM. We didn’t want it to be over. We sure had enjoyed our time together!

One of the reasons for going to Eagle Harbor was that there was a free ferry from Eagle Harbor to Seattle.   Before walking them over (less than half mile), we imbibed one last time at a pastry shop.  (We all saw some dieting in our futures after this week!)

And of course all this took place with Whisper alongside, or leading the way.

Next, we head back to our home port to get serious about selling The Secret.

Let us know what you think!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *