Improvements

Spencer Spit and Cypress Head

We spent a few days in Anacortes working on some projects, and then took Airship out for some island time. We spent Saturday night at Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island. We left Cap Sante late and arrived at Spencer Spit by about 6:30pm. 

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Saturday all day it was clear and gorgeous out, but Sunday morning the clouds had rolled in:

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On Sunday we popped back over to Cap Sante to pick up a few things and then went over to Cypress Island for the night.

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We normally stay at Eagle Harbor on Cypress, but this time we tried the NE cove at Cypress Head and it is lovely!

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Looking toward Fidalgo Island, across the little bit of beach that joins Cypress Head to Cypress Island:

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We went ashore and hiked around Cypress Head for a while. There are some primo campsites here:

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After our hike we went for a little dinghy exploration. Lots of seals and bald eagles around here. We saw a bunch of porpoises yesterday on our way from Lopez Island to Cypress Island, too.

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Sunset last night was beautiful and it was so calm in here overnight that it was hard to tell we were on a mooring ball and not in the marina.

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This morning we're heading back into Anacortes. The carpet replacement in the stateroom and on the landing outside the head is almost finished...the stairs should be done today and all the trim pieces installed. It's looking SO GOOD! (You can see the last bit of carpet in the upper left corner. I won't be sad to see that go. :)

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Anniversary Getaway in LaConner

We celebrated our 19th anniversary (19 married, 21 together, woohoo!) yesterday by heading into LaConner for an overnight at The Heron Inn & Day Spa. The Heron Inn is super cute. It's a bed and breakfast with tons of charm. Photo of the exterior (from their website...it was pouring and blowing a gale when we arrived so we just hustled from the car to the front door):

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We had the master suite for the night (and since it was a Sunday in the winter, we actually had the whole place to ourselves). Here is a shot  of the master suite/fireplace (also from the Heron Inn's website): 

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The huge jacuzzi tub was so nice (scale is tough in this photo, but there was more than enough room for two in there)!

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The nook at the end of our suite (taken while watching that tree outside the window whip around like crazy in the gale winds yesterday):

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When I booked the room, I scheduled us each for massages (which were lovely). After some massage and intense relaxation, we headed over to The Oyster & Thistle for dinner. We'd been to Oyster & Thistle for lunch before once when we were in La Conner and it was great (especially the caesar salad!) .... but last night's dinner was top notch. We started with some Shigoku oysters on the half shell with a Vesper cocktail, a salmon and scallop crudo, a caesar salad to share (just as amazing as we'd remembered it). We shared two main courses: a paella with smoked duck, clams, prawns, chorizo, escargot, and saffron, and a cassoulet with duck confit, buttered white beans, house cured bacon, garlic and onion sausage in a roasted duck broth. Delicious, all of it. The service was great, the portions were just right and not too huge, and we loved the intimate ambiance. Highly recommended. 

Heron stained glass back at the Inn, after dinner:

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We stopped at the DVD/games library downstairs before heading up to our room, and found a game Kevin used to play with his family when he was little, called Milles Bornes. We played a game last night  -- the artwork on the cards is so cute.

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We've ordered a copy for the boat (here, from amazon, if you're interested). 

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Here's a description of the game, from amazon: Rev the engine eagerly, waiting for the green light to send you hurtling across the countryside. Keep the tank full, find your way around the speed limit and avoid the accidents that will slow you down. Keep the pressure on full and be the first to make it 1,000 miles! Mille Bornes is the classic card game of cross - country racing. Keep a green light handy in case you get stopped and play a tire puncture on your opponent to keep him from getting ahead. Protect yourself with safety cards and save one for the classic Coup Fourre. Play your cards right and you'll be the first to cross the finish line and be the master of the Mille Bornes!

This morning we had breakfast downstairs at 9am...fresh fruit, yogurt, a little chia seed pudding, and then a vegetable scramble with cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, scallions...and a side of bacon. Delicious. Kind of fun to have the place to ourselves, but we recommend you come to La Conner and stay at the Heron Inn. If we didn't have the "Boat B&B" we'd stay here more often.

After breakfast we drove back over to Anacortes and grabbed some groceries, then took Airship and cruised over to Blind Bay at Shaw Island. The wind had mellowed out a little bit and we were itchin' to be out testing our new gear. Take a look at the new sonar options:

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These are all three sonar windows: top left is down view, bottom left is traditional, and right is side view. Side view is a little tricky to wrap your head around at first (well, it was for me). The center line is the bottom of your boat, the black is the water on either side of your boat, and the blue is the bottom on the left and right side of your boat. Here's a bigger, full-screen image of sideview:

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It's pretty sweet. Passing the mooring buoys at Blind Island, you could see the concrete block on the bottom, and the chain coming up to the buoy on the surface. I'll try to get a photo of that when we leave. 

We also figured out our fishing pole storage. No, it's not rocket science, but it is hard to carry along everything you want while mostly living aboard a 34 foot boat without looking like the Clampetts (which we will NOT do), so it can be a challenge. Will report on fishing pole storage solution later. :) 


Electronics...Upgraded!

Earlier this week we headed over to LaConner to have our electronics upgraded. Here's what we got: Garmin 7616xsv chart plotter, GHP Reactor autopilot with GHC20 control, GXM52 Sirius XM weather receiver, GMI20 marine instrument, Garmin gWind wind and weather sensor, and downview/sideview CHIRP sonar transducers, GST43 speed/temperature transducer.

Out with the old:

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Hauling out for a couple hours to install the transducers (much different than our haulout in Juneau):

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It's always fun to see the boat out of the water. The hull looked great...we did a quick pressure wash ("we" meaning the guy who hauled us out) and replaced one zinc...the one on the bow thruster.

Downview/sideview transducer on the starboard side:

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Water speed, temperature, and depth sensor:

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It was great...they hauled and hung us at the end of the day (a very windy day when most haulouts had cancelled) and we were able to get back in the water last thing so we didn't have to stay the night in a hotel. 

Yesterday afternoon we took the boat out for some sea trials to set up the new equipment and test that everything was working as it should. It had been so stormy previously that there was a ton of wood in the water, so it made it a bit tougher, but we managed. 

Back into LaConner at dusk:

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Look at all those logs ahead!

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Everything checked out well and we're super happy with the new stuff! 

Random daffodil field on the way to Best Buy the other day (blurry, taken not with my fast camera/lens):

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This morning I took Airship back over to Cap Sante while Kevin drove over in the truck. It was definitely not as windy as the other day (and I had almost a 2 knot current helping me along, woohoo!) Hey! Look at those shiny new electronics!

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Once back in Cap Sante we mounted the iPad holder and iPad. We run Navionics on the iPad for some redundant chart plotting.

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Looks great there, doesn't it?

Our new wind/weather instrument mounted on the mast:

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And while I'm up there, here's another shot of those huge new solar panels:

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This afternoon was windy and rainy, but late in the day the sun poked through and the light was beautiful against the gray sky:

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This new gear will give us a lot of capabilities that we didn't have before. The satellite weather will let us get marine forecasts, precipitation, wind and wave heights ANYWHERE, which will be super useful as we make our way up to Alaska again this spring/summer. The new wind and weather and speed sensors give us a lot of information about conditions where we are: what the winds and currents are actually doing, etc. The new autopilot will steer a much smoother course with less wear and tear on the hydraulic pumps. The new sonar will give us much more information (with way cooler images of the bottom -- we'll show you some images once we have some). The 16 inch touchscreen is a LOT nicer and easier to use than our previous 12 inch non touchscreen monitor was (pinch and zoom! pinch and zoom!!) We can connect to the new system with our smart phones via Wi-Fi (and even mirror and control the display via iPhone). And...it all just looks more modern and cool. :)

Fun stuff! Now to go try it all out some more!