Maiden Voyage

We have owned Escapade since December but until recently have only spent a few short weekends on her whilst transiting to have work done or staycations at our dock. Nothing that could really be considered a true “maiden voyage” or journey. So when it was time to head north to Victoria BC, Canada for the Nordhavn Owners Rendezvous a cruise that would total approximately 200 nautical miles, after 2 years of lockdown, we felt this could be called Escapade’s maiden voyage under our command.

Our first stop was in Seattle and Bell Harbor Marina where we were being joined by the Mike’s, brother and his wife visiting from New Orleans. We don’t go to Seattle much due to the fallout from the riots (AKA Summer of Love), closed businesses, homeless and crazies but it was good to see that the cruise ships were back and tourism to Alaska is resuming. It appears that the City is trying to revitalize that area and make improvements. We went to the Crab Pot for a seafood boil and Manny’s Pale Ale an old favorite from past visits.

In the morning we departed at about 8:00am to catch the tide with a destination set for Langley, WA. The weather was pretty crummy, overcast and choppy seas with on and off again rain showers. Of course this is nothing that a Nordhavn 47 couldn’t handle but it was disappointing for our guests. We were really hoping they could experience a beautiful Pacific Northwest spring day! Once we arrived in Langley, we were greeted by a very friendly dock master who gave our pups cookies, helped us tie up and suggested we eat at the Saltwater Oyster and Seafood House in town. We walked into town, shopped at the wonderful STAR general store which has just about anything you could need/want and then some! We then made our way to the Spyhop Brew Pub where we watched the Kentucky Derby while having a brew. That was quite the race! The long shot horse, Rich Strike with 80-1 odds pulled off the win to everyone’s surprise. On our way back to the boat we found the Saltwater Seafood and Oyster restaurant that was recommended and put our name on the 1.5 hour waitlist. Although the wait was long, the restaurant hostess was very accommodating and said she would call us when our table was ready and wait for us to walk back from the marina which was about a 10-minute walk. Back at the boat we dried out a bit from walking in the on/off again down pours and warmed up with a cocktail. DInner did not disappointe, the food was delicious, atmosphere relaxed and easy and service excellent. We would highly recommend this to anyone and look forward to returning for another meal!

The next day we departed Langley and made our way to LaConner, WA via the Swinomish Channel. Several boater friends warned us to be careful going through the Southside of the slough due to shoaling. We made sure to arrive in that area at high tide but even so, we registered depths of 4ft. under the keel and had to carefully follow the channel markers. Shallow depths and low bridges always make the 1st mate a little nervous! The weather improved so Pete and Linda were able to enjoy the slow ride through the slough and interesting sights. Once docked, we wondered through the bustling little town of LaConner and we walked along the boardwalk admiring the various restaurants and shops. We found a great field for the pups to stretch their legs and run off-leash and enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. More good friends joined us for dinner at Nell Thorne Restaurant. We had another mouth watering meal featuring sustainable foods, from local farms in the area.

The next morning we departed for Anacortes, WA where we were dropping off Pete and Linda who were flying home to Lafayette, NO. We were pleasantly surprised that the airporter shuttle picked up just blocks away from Cap Sante Marina. After saying our good byes, for a visit that ended far too soon, we wandered to the West Marine store for parts and the local pet store, where of course we had to buy treats for the fur-babies. Cap Sante is a fabulous marina, the off-leash dog park and trails are great if you have dogs or even if you just want to stroll and there are several stores including a good sized West Marine, within walking distance. That evening we had dinner at the Anthony’s directly in front of the Marina with a local friend from Anacortes.

Tuesday morning we set off to cross the Straight of Juan de Fuca with sights set on Victoria for the 2022 Nordhavn Owners Rendezvous. We had relatively calm seas and Escapade performed great. Although just 1-2 knots of current doesn’t seem like much, until you factor in that we travel at 7 knots and current can help or hinder the time your trip takes. After cruising on our 40 Nordhavn at an average of 6 knots per hour, our 7-8 knots on Escapade are a treat! Of course, we are burning more diesel to push the extra weight, somethings are worth it! Upon arrival to Victoria, BC, Canada we had a smooth check in through customs and proceeded to the Victoria Harbour International Marina. Typically this marina only caters to yachts 65 feet and larger, however with so many Nordhavn’s in attendance, our group almost took up the entire marina. Earlier in the week we had been assigned a slip that we would pull right into, behind a larger Nordhavn on our starboard, and just tie up. Well, the slip assignments had to be changed due to a superyacht holding over so we were directed to stern in med tie to another 475 Nordhavn, Freya. Without cameras or a stern thruster, something the captain had on our previous vessell and help from the staff, we were the last 47′ squeezed in sideways in a 65’ft slip. So if you want to know how many 47′ Nordhavns can fit in a 65ft. slip, it would be 4 (four)! We were fortunate to share 100 amp power amongst us by connecting several 30 amp power cords together.

The Nordhavn Owners Rendezvous was filled with classes, activities and socials that kept us extremely busy the entire week. For a volunteer organized rendezvous, the event was really well organized and well attended. Nordhavn owners from all over came for this event by boat, car and airplane! There were 67 boats represented, 48 in attendance and 16 different models of Nordhavns. We made new friends, visited with old friends, shared stories and enjoyed the comraderie of like minded people with a love for the ocean and boating.

We did manage to break away for a few hours each day and enjoyed the wonderful walkability of the area around the marina. In addition to an easy walk into downtown Victoria, there were scenic walking trails all along the shoreline, it was easy to get the pups out for walks and the area was very dog friendly, something really important when you have fur-babies.. We made sure to visit the infamous Empress Hotel for high tea. If you have never been, it is definitely an enjoyable bucket list type of experience where you are served a perfectly brewed cup of tea, along with finger sandwiches and pastries while listening to a pianist and enjoying the beautiful ambiance of the hotel while listening to a live pianist. We also visited some local art shops where we fell in love with a native carving of three orcas that we arranged with the very accommodating shop owner to have darkened and shipped home to us. Once we repair some of the woodwork on Escapade, we have jut the spot for this piece!

Early Sunday morning we departed Victoria and made our way across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We had a wonderful cruise all the way to Bainbridge Island, no wind and flat seas. We tied up to the public dock adjacent another N47, MV Amadeus, and we made some new friends. Its always so great to meet like minded cruisers and a bonus when its the same make and model boat! We toured each others boats, comparing the small differences and we admired all the upgrades that Amadeus had that our boat doesn’t. It gives us lots of ideas for the future! Bainbridge Island is always a pleasure to visit and a great 1/2 way point to break up the long journey home.

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