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Deception Pass

On Thursday we left Port Townsend and headed north toward Deception Pass, where we planned to meet our friends Sam & Anna in Sam's Nordic Tug 37 for the night.

Morning view from Point Hudson Marina at Port Townsend:



The day was pretty gray, but the water was nice and calm. Our ETA at Deception Pass was right near slack tide. (The current that day peaked at about 7kts).


The bridge over the pass:


You can see the water was still pretty swirly about a half an hour after slack (the current was going with us):


Looking back toward the bridge:


We anchored in Cornet Bay and about 30 minutes later Sam and Anna arrived and anchored nearby. We took Sam's dinghy (with the 15HP motor, not our dinghy with the electric Torqueedo) and we beached over on North Beach and then did a little walk … after slamming through the current in Canoe Pass (the narrower pass on the other side of Pass Island in Deception Pass). It was super fun skirting the whirlpools…and don't try this in a Torqueedo!

Walking along North Beach at Deception Pass State Park:


We all had dinner together on Sam's boat and spent the evening just gabbing and gabbing and laughing (and drinking wine). It was a great time.

On Friday morning Sam and Anna came over to Airship and I made breakfast for us all. It poured most of the morning. Fishermen on shore in the rain:


After a late breakfast the clouds went away and blue sky and sun took over and it turned into a gorgeous day. Sam and Anna took off to hang in the islands for another night, and we went back to Cap Sante to pick up our new solar panels and accessories so we could start our installation. (More in a separate post.)

Sam and Anna heading back through Deception Pass:


Thursday's route from Port Townsend to Deception Pass (about 21 nautical miles):

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Today we finished up the solar installation, then went for happy hour at Anthony's for a little Valentine's Day celebration, and we're just about to have dinner on Airship (chicken mole, forbidden rice, and caesar salad). We'll head home tomorrow, but be back soon, because we have more upgrades to do! 

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Anne Parker Anne Parker

    Congratulations! JobS well done. — Anne

  2. Really nice looking installation. Good work!

  3. Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

    Did you upsize your house battery bank? I run four 6 volt 250ah agms as of last summer, but no solar yet.

    • Kevin, we presently have four 220ah 6 volt AGMs and we’re thinking about upgrading to 500 or 600ah lithium.

      • Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

        I looked at the lithium option very seriously, but I am sittting on the sidelines until some shelf life/ cost issues are resolved.

        • We are aware of the cost issues, but what have you heard about shelf life? From everything we know, lithiums last WAY longer than lead acid batteries….

          • Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

            I have studied the battery chemistry issue pretty thoroughly. The typical shelf/service life of the current crop of chinese lithium batteries is six years. That is what the early adopters are reporting. The number of charge cycles is essentialy irrelevant. Improvement is on the upswing, but the other route is to buy US at a much greater cost. (The MIT produced battery). Heat exposure seems to be the problem amongst the Caribbean cruisers using the first generation of chinese lithiums. Warm climate, warm engine compartments, etc.

    • Not yet, Kevin. We currently have four 6V 220ah AGMs and I think we’re going to upgrade to 500 or 600ah of lithium. (!!!)

  4. GMertl GMertl

    Can I ask who is installing the Amtico flooring for you? I’m looking at doing the same thing as an upgrade. Thanks. Super job on the solar panels. That’s a massive array and should provide you with ample power. Although it does seem that the more you have, the more you tend to use, lol.

    • Hi Gary. Frank Liddell in LaConner is doing the work. He did a fantastic job replacing the carpet in the salon and pilothouse of our friend Sam’s NT37. Our job will be tiny compared to that (the landing at the bottom of the stairs, between the head and the stateroom, and the small flat area at the foot of the bed). The stairs (triangular, difficult) will keep the carpet, but now all the traffic areas will be Amtico. email me if you want his contact info (laura at domela dot com). 🙂

  5. eheffa eheffa

    Very interesting.

    We had to replace our 4 x 300 Amp/h 6V AGM
    house batteries on our Nordic Tug 37, as they were worn out and ready for retirement. We replaced them with 4 x 260 Amp/h AGM’s thinking that that would be plenty of capacity but have found that it still isn’t quite enough reserve in the winter with the Wallas running all the time. We only want to get down to 50% draw at most. (This is
    despite frugal use of power with all LED lighting etc.)

    So we are adding another 2 of the same AGM’s to give us 6 x 260 Amp/h (6V) for ~ 390 Amp/h of real 12 V working capacity (50% of the 12V nominal capacity. That should help, but it does bug me a little to have all these obligatory loads like the furnace and fridge/freezer drawing us down and needing to run the generator daily.

    Lithiums would be great but the price of admission is a little too daunting for my taste.

    We installed solar on our Airstream once upon a time as well. It’s wonderful not needing a generator to stay charged & in action. (I tried to attach a link to our installation report (on Airforums) but Disqus flags that as spam. It’s off-topic anyways I guess.) We too bought all our parts from AM Solar. They are good to deal with. I would think that their panels would hold up well in a marine spray environment? Did your old panels show any signs of corrosion?

    We really would prefer not to have run the generator every day & we
    wouldn’t have to worry about too many trees shading the panels like with
    the land-based trailer. My mechanic mentor feels that Solar is too expensive when you already have a good generator & diesel is so cheap (compared to the solar hardware outlay), but I would much rather only need to run that generator for an hour every other day than 3 hours a day to recharge.

    Thanks for the nudge & the food for thought.


  6. eheffa eheffa

    May I ask where you got the 260W panels from?


  7. Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

    The leading US lithium battery maker is Genasun, they are the MIT commercial group. I am looking up my notes from last year on some promising Chinese lithiums using the safer phosphate chemistry, distributed from California, that I nearly bought but fitting them into a sailboat compartment was too difficult. More to follow.

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