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A hole in the water full of money

Valley Forum

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(This is the third installment in the retirement odyssey of Sonomans Pam and Mark Gibson.)

There’s an old saying and, sadly, it’s true. Boats are holes in the water you pour money down.

When you cruise in San Francisco Bay, the Delta or even out the Golden Gate, you generally go from marina to marina or yacht club to yacht club where there’s shore power. That’s how you avoid knowing that your under-the-counter, side-by-side refrigerator and freezer don’t work well when they have to feed off a battery.

After three days of anchoring out, we noticed slushy ice and a drip on the bottom of the freezer. Our units are well insulated, and food was still cold. But it wouldn’t be if we kept anchoring out for three more days, as was the plan.

I remember when we had a sailboat with an ice box and you kept block ice in it to keep things cold. Your food came in a can and the icebox was for cold drinks and fresh vegetables.

Oh, we are so spoiled living in Sonoma. We wouldn’t think of eating out of a can.

So it’s in to a harbor so Mark can either fix it or hire someone to do it. Kaching!

Fortunately, the rest of the trip has gone well. When we left Olympia, we anchored out in Longbranch, a quiet, protected bay with a spectacular view of Mt. Ranier. Next was lively Gig Harbor and busy Poulsbo. No problems noticed because these were quick, overnight stays on the way to Port Townsend Boat Haven. We ran into Bay Area friends Kickson, Carolyn and Zack Meyers, who were there buying a sailboat. Small world.

From there, we cruised to Anacortes to have dinghy davits installed (things that tie the small boat to the back of the swim step).

The next three nights were in the Causeway Floats with shore power, in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, but I won’t go into what we saw and did there. Kathleen Hill has a nice guidebook you can read.

The next two nights were spent hanging off a public mooring ball in Sidney Spit, off the Straits of Haro. Then on to my favorite place so far, Tod Inlet at the back door of Butchart Gardens, a place that looks like a postcard photo with quiet waters and very tall trees all around.

We’ll not be visiting the gardens on this leg of the trip, unless there’s a bus from Tsehum Harbor where the boatyards are. Once the repair is made, it’s off to the rest of the Gulf Islands for the next two weeks.

Then across the Straits of Georgia to Vancouver.

And just in case, there’s a new ice chest in the stern.

  • Robert Piazza

    Pam, as retired navy, I am enjoying your travel log!
    Remember, the 2nd happiest day in a boat owners life is the day he sells it!