July 29th we cast off from our slip at Shilshole at 5am, mom and dad stayed cozy in the bow but Griffin got up soon after the engine started. The prior afternoon mom and dad beat us to the boat so they helped us load the last few precious things such as our two cats and take out pizza for dinner. Al Hughs, our dock neighbor, super great guy, and amazing sailor joined us for cockpit dinner, what a nice send off. That next morning there was more light in the sky than I expected and the sunrise arrived soon, a perfect morning on Puget Sound. Ahead of us were the Tula with Ann and crew on board and Flyer with Steven, Kristen, James, Paul, and their cat Pele, they had left a little earlier knowing we’d catch up. We rode the ebb out of the sound and were nearly to Port Townsend before mom and dad were up. Soon after the breeze picked up and we had a great sail across the straits. The sea state was pretty gnarly for part of the crossing but it didn’t last long, we blew up the West side of San Juan Island and soon we were close to the border and needed to call in to customs.

All 5 humans and 2 cats were checked into Canada and I attempted to take a nap down below. It had gotten a little more sporty, the wind had picked up, but I was still so comfy and tired I fell asleep pretty quickly. Too bad though, I was soon awoken due to poor Gabriola having a bathroom accident in the bow which hasn’t ever happened before, how odd! That was cleaned up but Gabby was stressed still- she was the one who alerted us to the fact that Cleo WAS NOT ON BOARD. Usually when we are underway the cats hide in the bow for much of the time, the straits had been so choppy we wouldn’t have seen him anyway… but now the entire boat had been searched over and no Cleo. He wears an AirTag because he occasionally sneaks out a door at home. On the boat, I’m used to my phone telling me I’ve left everything behind though I know it’s just down below, all the carbon does a great job of inhibiting signals. When my watch or phone told me that I’d left my keys, bag, and Cleo behind I ignored it, I was just up on the bow putting lines and bumpers away and there was enough deck between me and those things to set off the notification. I’ll never ignore that again!

Cleo’s AirTag told us he was near the finger pier at Shilshole, what an absolute tragedy! How could we have missed him? He almost never jumps off the boat and we didn’t even notice that he was out of the cabin. We barely had the companionway open before we cast off… just absolutely unbelievable. We sent off the digital emergency flares and shortly many friends at Shilshole were searching G dock for the pesky cat and we slowed down wondering what in the world we were going to do. Some thought it was a joke when they found the boat named Cleo just down the dock from us, how we wished it was. The current was against us if we turned around and we wouldn’t get back until the next morning. Despite so many people searching for him he wasn’t found, his tracker updated a few times and still showed him in the same place with the center being just off the end of the finger pier, maybe he had drown and we definitely didn’t want to go back to figure that out. Griffin was in despair and went to lay in bed and mourn. We continued northward and my sister brought down some food and a carrier to leave on the dock in case he showed up.

We came around the corner and into a little bay outside of Montague on Parker Island where we have some friends to visit. Mom met Karen as a fellow artist a while back and she and her husband Herb used to have a J40 as well. We anchored, the Tula and Flyer tied alongside, and some of us went to shore to be distracted by Karen and Herbs company and try not to think about poor Cleo. They entertained us with a tour of their cabin, guest cabin, and snacks in the summer dining room. It was a lovely evening and Ann’s crew Bryan began the summer of the green speedo by doing multiple front and back flips into the water.

The next morning, 7/30, we kicked off fairly early to head up and out the straights. The day started out great with the news that Cleo had jumped in through a hull portlight on our neighbors powerboat in the middle of the night. She’s a mom so even though she was awoken in the middle of the night, she did not throw the waker right back out the window he came in. It’s a miracle Cleo’s clumsiness didn’t put him in the drink on his own! She’s allergic so she put him in the head for the rest of the night and called in the morning. Greg’s parents took him home and sent pictures of him happily being spoiled again, WHEW. We then had an amazing straits crossing complete with the spinnaker and a whale sighting. We pulled into Ballet Bay with plenty of time for swimming and happy hour.

The next morning we motored up the inside of Texada, not much wind but a lovely sunny day cruising along. Mid morning we saw a pod of Orcas, they were pretty far away but great to see them.

Then, just in front of Powell River we saw two humpbacks. They weren’t going anywhere, just splashing about by slapping the water with any and all of their fins. Sometimes they were right next to each other, sometimes they swam away and came up breeching, and it was one of the best whale shows I’ve seen. We stopped and watched them as they went right up to Flyer (Tula was behind us now), swam underneath them, and then kept at it. We had drifted beyond them by then and had taken too many photos while squealing and so we kept pushing North.

That afternoon we anchored at Mink Island, my favorite place on the planet so far. Earlier Gabriola had waved to her island across the straights and now that we were stopped she told us in her quiet little voice lots of opinions on what was going well and what wasn’t. Mostly she was glad to stop moving but very confused about where her brother was. Flattery was anchored over in the corner of the bay but Dal and Denise were off on their huge Zodiac, “the Zod”. Tula caught up after going to Lund and everyone swam, even Dad got in the water from Tula’s ladder. D&D returned and came over for happy hour, we talked with Matt the caretaker, and got permission to go ashore- he asked us to help pull salal where it impedes on the trail. Many stay up late playing games and enjoying shenanigans on the Tula.

The next day some of us went for the traditional hike up to the lake and around, found a snake and kept the younger generation entertained. Felt great to stretch the legs! Followed that with lots of swimming and eating. Flattery came over to tie up and Flyer when to Refuge to meet up with the people who found their cat last year when she jumped ship on the dock. Lots of funny chatter about how we now need a lost cat yacht club. Fresh prawns from Dal and Denise and pasta for dinner.

Slept really well that night, Greg tried the settee instead of the aft cabin with me and neither of us are complaining. Woke up to rain and I had left my logbook and daily journal out on the deck, oops! Went to shore with Griffin to walk around and ended up sitting chatting with Eric Jespersen on his boat. He recognized Rocket Science and had many overlapping stories to share. I got wet in the misty rain while perched on the shore he was stern tied to, it was delightful. Around the corner, back behind our boat, I untied the stern lines from RS and Flattery in the very low tide and got on board. Tula went back to Refuge and anchored there (good job team!), we headed to Squirrel Cove and found Flyer anchored and stern tied and tied alongside. Boys were happy to be reunited and went off in the dinghy to look for the rope swing. Pele the cat’s rescuers were on board and we had a great time visiting with them but soon they had to get home. We had a swim and used our bowsprit in new ways to get into the water, it was very entertaining.

Flyer is looking towards going around Vancouver Island and if they’re going to try they need to start heading north soon. Our friends the Taddy’s from G dock back in Shilshole are already heading around and keep sending amazing photos and stories, it’s hard to resist! We leave Squirrel and head over to Teakearne Arm and anchor in the same little corner as we have before but Flyer gets a spot close to the falls. Kristen, the boys, and I head for a swim, Greg and Steve hang out on Flyer for a bit but come meet us at the lake too. Mom has hurt her ribs and doesn’t want to move much. On our way back we find all 4 of the Tula crew in their little inflatable paddling, the engine won’t go. Flyer picks them up and joins us at the raft up. More swimming and hanging out on the rocks, The evening brought group photos, dinner, and this time shenanigans on Flyer, another gorgeous evening. Flyer would take off in the morning.

We’ll miss Flyer and her fabulous family! The morning was quiet except for the oyster catchers on the rocks nearby. Tula got her outboard off the dinghy for Ryan to look at some more before he and McKenna (two of the Tula crew) head back home, they’ll spend the night in Lund before they catch the bus tomorrow morning and then Ann and Bryan will meet up with us again. Rocketeers are all alone for the day, Griffin and I walk around on one of the old logging roads for a while. It’s already really hot out so we head back to the boat for a swim. I found a hiding spot by hanging the hammock under the sprit, no one found me for a long time and when Griffin finally did he had a good freak out. Later in the afternoon we went back to the lake, I rowed and the boys took our little Zod. More peaceful at the lake with only a few other people there. Back at the boat Mom had made a rice noodle salad with grilled beef and told Griffin stories about her childhood that were very sweet.

Left Teakerne to find a little spot just outside of Laura cove where there were a few other boats instead of totally packed like Laura. Mom’s ribs are still really sore so she’s taking it pretty easy and slept late. Quiet morning except for the water maker, Canadian Google told us to put a wee touch of grease in a port on the Clark pump and it’s all better. We almost anchored on top of a rock, somehow the lighter spot in the water looked like a cloud of algae more than a rock, wrong. The other boats in the bay were Tori from Swiftsure Yachts who Greg works with a bunch, a small trawler who chatted me up during stern tying and used to race their J30 against the Mara, and a little sailboat with a SYC burgee- I think we chose the right place. The Tula arrived and got tied up, we used their stern tie too to keep us away from the rock. Lots more swimming, during which I chatted with Tori. She was working on her outboard, turned out the carb was full of crap and we re-built it on the RS garage door. Turns out her brother and family are flying up soon and could bring Cleo, we’ll see- seems too good to be true. Tacos for dinner and an amazing sunset, I go out for a row and hear the concert from Laura Cove, no wonder it was so crazy packed in there.

I’ll finish transferring the rest of the trip from the log book soon, check out the projects page to see what we’re up to.

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