Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday, October 18th.

Two or three weeks ago, our slip neighbor mentioned a cruise. He said that the Hunter Club was going to go to Coon Island for the weekend of the 18th and 19th. Hannah said that sounded great. Of course this was on one of those beautiful October days when the sun shines and the wind was light. It was warm with just a hint of the coming rains and cold weather lingering in the shadows.

Fast forward to Friday the 17th. Our group at work was awarded a 1/2 day off about three weeks ago. We could take the time off when ever we could arrange coverage, so. The 17th was like the day the trip was announced. Hannah and I had talked and she was willing. I was able to find coverage and took the afternoon off. I did the grocery shopping for the week and the trip. Since Hannah could not take the day off, I figured we could get an early start and join the cruise midway. No problem.

I awake Saturday and move into action. I said I wanted to be underway by 11. This would give us plenty of time to get to the Island. I figured on motoring the whole way as Hannah is not into really sailing. I wanted plenty of sunlight cushion so that we could get to the island in daylight. About 10:00 I have everything ready to pack in the car. I ask Hannah if she is ready and she announces that she will be ready by 11 or 11:30. I am taken aback. Well, OK, that takes a little of the cushion away, but OK. So we finally get the car packed, the cat medicated, and the dog loaded and are underway to the marina at 11:15.

The drive takes 25 minutes. But we need to have lunch. So we stop at the Taco Bell on Hayden Island. While turning into the Bell, we notice quite a few people walking from the Red Lion. We thought we were ahead of the group, but upon parking and walking to the Bell, we find the line just inside the door is about 20 people. We don't want to wait for that and get back into the car. But now we need to fix lunch at the dock, because we can't cook or fix lunch underway. So we fix soup and sandwich and eat lunch. Time is ticking.

Lunch is finished. I clean up the dishes. Finally, I can start the engine. I take care of the bow, spring, and stern lines. I push the boat out. All this time a 10 knot breeze is blowing. The last time we took out in a breeze this strong, I had to back out of the fairway. I did not want to do that this time. So I take some extra tugs and get forward of the shrouds. Normally I would have stepped aboard at the shrouds, but this time I tried to step aboard and the first stanchion. I got part way and got stuck. Hannah drops the tiller and comes to my aid, but my sized defeats any efforts she does. I finally move my hand to where I could get leverage and lift myself aboard. But not after the boat encounters our slipmate. (Sorry, Scott) I get up and move over to fend off the boat. No damage, just damage to my pride.

Great we are underway. Two thirds down the fairway, we pass a power boater who is standing in his cabin looking aft as we pass his stern. He yells out that it is not a good day to travel for power boats, but an excellent day for sail boaters. I smile. Hannah dives below and gets her felt hat, gloves and heavy coat. I check my watch, 12:30. Only 1 1/2 hours later than I wanted. If the trip truly takes us the estimated 4 hours, then that would put us there at 4:30. That is if we don't run into anything unexpected like the railroad bridge taking 1/2 hour to open.

We turn out of the marina and I see another San Juan 28, close hauled on a starboard tack heading straight for her berth in Hayden Bay Marina. Sanity is a beautifully maintained 28. She looked grand, but the point of sail meant that I could not sail to the bridge. I would have to motor. The wind was colder than it had been earlier in the marina. I saw another sailboat on a port tack close hauled crossing the river. This meant that sailing would be arduous. I got this bad feeling that this trip would be a slogg. Besides, the bumpers were still hanging from port side.

I looked again at the 28. And then looked at the other sail boats. I got this bad feeling about the trip. That's when I turned the boat back into the marina, docked. We went for a walk on the newly opened beach east of the marina. After 1/2 an hour we went back to the boat. Unpacked her, loaded the car and drove home. There will be another season. More trips. Sunny days.

Sunday we went to the Art Museum to view the pictures of the Columbia, which turned out to be pictures of the gorge and not of the entire Columbia. Old pictures at that. I am standing there looking at a picture when a man approached me and asked, "Didn't I see you leave the Tomahawk Bay Marina, yesterday?" I had to say, yes, and it was too windy for me, even.