2022 Year End Review

It’s been a busy year for the crew of Escapade. We have not blogged much, as we have been busy working on our new to us N47, learning her systems, fixing her up and just enjoying what cruising time we can get in while still working and dealing with life and loss after covid.

We brought Escapade home from Anacortes mid-January working weekends from January to April fixing up her up. As mentioned in previous blog posts, we added diesel heat, relocated the lithium batteries, changed lighting fixtures, experimented with stripping woodwork in preparation of eventually doing more refinishing in the salon and pilot house areas. We patterned and installed new carpet and aquamat floor coverings and had the pilot house cushions redone. We would have liked to do more before our first planned trip to Victoria, B.C to attend a Nordhavn Owners rendezvous, but if you are a boat owner, you know that boat repairs/upgrades never go as planned. Usually many wrenches are thrown your way and whatever timeframe you initially planned should really be doubled and sometimes triples.

Once back from our week long trip to Victoria, we tackled some larger projects. We stripped and refinished several large sections of wood work in the salon. These areas were previously treated and not even, as you could see flashing and brushstrokes. Using Total Boat water based products, we found through C-shel’s vlog on YouTube, we dove head first into this task. It was a dusty, messy project and we had to be really careful with sanding because of the thin veneer finish. The areas we worked on came out pretty good. We were not looking for 100% but good enough. Areas where we had to remove permanently fixed speakers still show screw markings even after being plugged and sanded but overall everything looks much better. We also stripped the back teak rail which had been painted white and was chipping. Although this will need to be regularly treated, we find the look more pleasing than that of the white oil based finish. We still have more woodwork to sand and refinish in the pilot house that we hope to get to in 2023.

When we purchased Escapade, only the right side burners of our Thermador stove worked and several of the oven buttons would error out when pushed. We considered replacing it with a new stove but since Thermadores are such good appliances we decided to try and have it repaired. After calling many repair companies, we finally found a service that would come to the boat, but we were told there were no guarantees due to the age of the appliance. It was surprising that many appliance repair shops refused to service our appliance because they are not insured for boats or RV’s. We didn’t even know that was a thing! We discovered that parts are no longer made for our 20-year old Thermadore, but as fate would have it, the one repairman that agreed to help us, had some old parts he was hanging on to that just happened to be for our Thermadore. We are happily cooking on 4 burners and have a fully functioning Convection/Oven!

The next projects consisted of the W/D replacement and dishwasher replacement. Again, original appliances and after alot of effort we couldn’t get either of these working and decided to go with new instead of repairing. We replaced the old stackable washer/dryer with a full-sized GE individual stack washer and dryer combo set We chose this particular model not only because it fit, but because it was a vented system and keeping moisture out of the interior is always a plus. We chose a Miele dishwasher after seeing the one on N4711 Amadeus who graciously gave us a tour of their boat when we were both tied up to the public dock at Bainbridge Island. It took over 6 months to get the dishwasher but it has been definitely worth the wait. We love both appliances and once we are living aboard full-time these creature comforts will surely make our lives a little easier! We have to give a big shout out to our good friend, Todd Mackey who helped us with these replacement projects.

In looking back at the first half of the year it seemed like we just worked, worked, worked, but we did get in a couple of fun weekends at a couple of our favorite local destinations and when we couldn’t leave the dock, we jut did staycations. We cruised to Gig Harbor anchoring with good friends, walking the dogs, visiting the local pet store and of course the Tides Tavern. We enjoyed dinghy cruises around the harbor while admiring the beautiful homes along the shoreline and weaving our way in and around marinas to look at boats. With the end of covid, we were finally able to go to the Kenny Chesney concert in June that was postponed from 2020. We moored in Bell Harbor as we have done in years past, but it was shocking and a little disconcerting to see the differences in Seattle before the pandemic occurred. The waterfront strip still had many tourist as the cruise ships are now back, but it was very obvious how covid, homelessness and the Summer of Love adversly has impacted the downtown area. Still, we walked the waterfront and had a great time at the concert.

During the first half of July, we didn’t do much cruising, but the last week of July we started our two-week vacation. Our plans included crusing to Vancouver, BC, Canada, Todd Inlet, Brentwood Bay and then back to the San Juans. We departed Tacoma and made our way to Port Townsend. As fate would have it, our slip was right next to Tacoma Power Squadron friends we hadn’t seen since before the pandemic! It was great getting in a visit and catching up. Port Townsend ins’t that great for dogs, it took us a bit to get to a beach with some grass but it was a good place to stop for one night while making our way north. The next day we departed early and made our way to Pender Harbor where we anchored for the night. It had been years since we visited Poets Cove. We took a walk around Poets Cove, let the dogs play on the little beach and then a short dinghy cruise around the bay. The weather was warm and people were swimming in the bay. We could have stayed anchored at Pender Island for several days, it was just that pleasant, but we had to move on as our sights were set upon crossing the Straight of Georgia for the first time and making our way to Vancouver, BC. Canada.

The crossing to Vancouver went pretty smooth considering we have a new boat and are trying to get familiar with and learn how all her systems function, how she reacts in different seas, along with just cruising in unfamiliar territory. Sometimes this can be nerveracking but mostly exciting! We arrived in Vacnouver on the last day of B.C days so the beaches and waterways were jam packed with people and boats everywhere. We made our way to the Quayside Marina in False Creek. Originally we planned to anchor in False Creek, but not knowing how much room there might be. We decided to grab some dockside moorage. We only spent a couple days in Vancouver, but it was enough to see the famous Granville Market and eperience all that False Creek has to offer.

Leaving Vancouver was probably the worse seas we encountered the entire trip. The seas were a choppy 5ft and coming at pretty short intervals. As fate would have it, our stabalizers went out. Escapade did fine but the crew wasn’t as happy, especially the three fur-babies. The Captain later called ABTrac who walked him through various fixes for the stablizers, and he was able to get them back up and running. Turns out a wire had come loose! We made our way to Brentwood Bay Marina for an overnight stay before heading in to anchor in Tod Inlet. The last time we were in this neck of the woods, we had our 40 ft. Nordhavn so we moored off a morring ball in the Buchart Gardens bay. This time around we actually went further into the inlet and found a lovely little spot to anchor in. The water was 70 degrees and the weather was perfect. We swam, hiked, dinghy’d and kayaked. After the bustle of a big city, this was just wwhat we needed to relax.

The following week we headed to Roche Harbor where we met our Selene boating buddies. Roche is one of our favorite San Juan stops. It affords great boat watching, people watching, shopping and off leash dog parks for our 3 dogs. We love the fresh fish market and often purchase clams to steam. After leaving Roche Harbor, we anchored at Prevost Harbor and hiked to the famous lighthouse. We didn’t see any orcas, but on the way back we did get to see some Yaks! Since these giant creatures are not native to this area it was quite the unexpected sight to see on Stuart Island. From Stuart Island we spent a couple days at Spencer Spit and then Coupeville before heading back home. Summer vacations always go by way too quickly!

Our next cruise took us back to Bainbrindge Island for a couple of days where we anchored in Eagle Harbor and then over to Bell Harbor Marina for a night so we could attend a Mariners baseball game. We were able to get in some walks and kayaking on our fairly new BOTE kayak while in Eagle harbor. Its a great little kayak that fits 2 humas and 3 medium sized dogs comfortably.

While at Bell Harbor, we decided to try out the Lime Scooters that you see all over the city. The scooters turned out to be easier to use than we expected and within no time we were at Safeco Field for the Mariners game. It wasn’t long thereafter that we decided to purchase our own Segway scooters to keep on Escapade. No more Ubering for us!

With summer coming to an end, we had to have some repairs done before the cold weather and rain. When we purchased Escapade both sides of her stack had severly chipped gel coat. There was also yellowing of gel coat in a few areas that looked as if repairs were done, but the gel coat wasn’t quite a good match. Caulking in several areas of the flybringe and stack were also in bad shape and needed replaced. We lucked out and were able to get the repairs done and what a difference, these areas are like night and day to look at now!

To our surprise we were blessed with an Indian summer and September was still presenting us with mild weather. We took advantage of this and headed to Tacoma to test out those new scooters we previously mentioned. Utilizing reciproal moorage at the Tacoma Yacht Club we had a great weekend. We walked the dogs to Owen’s beach which was recently remodeled and updated. We scooted all the way to Northern Fish Company and enjoyed a really good clam chowder and fresh fish lunch. This is one of our favorite local haunts. We love the proximity to Pt. Defiance park and the Rustin Waterway.

October was the start to fall/winter boating. Escapade is just as comfortable to cruise in during the winter months as in the summer. With our diesel heater and heat pumps, once the boat is warmed up, it is cozy and comfortable. Winter crusing is also great for getting into places like Blake Island or on public docks that are always jam packed in the summer months. We do anchor in winter months, but with the three dogs, it means donning the fould weather gear (for humans and doggos) to dighy ashore. The dogs don’t mind winter cruising, but they could do without the slush suits and rain jackets which help keep them clean and dry.

Our first winter outing was back to Pt. Defiance with our boating buddies on their 53 ft. Selene. We had signed up for a 5k Halloween Run with one of our close friends who drove up from the Washington coast to join us. We also reacquainted with past neighbors from when we lived in Maple Valley, WA who recently moved to the Pt. Defiance area from Port Ludlow. We had not seen them in many years so it was good to catch up.

Our next cruise in mid November, we headed to Poulsbo for the 1st mate’s birthday. We took some extra time off work so we could go somewhere a little further than what our short weekends allow at an average of 6knots. The weather while cold was not too rainy, and the seas were fairly calm. Jenna was even able to work a jigsaw puzzle while underway. Once in Poulsbo we had our pick of slips and settled in. It is somewhat amaing that each time we visit a marina, even though we may have been there many times prior, we always discover something new and interesting. This time, we were intrigued by a time capsal that will not be opened until 2086. We surely won’t be on this earth when it is opened, but it gets one thinking about how much things have and will change. We also discovered an off-leash neighborhood dog park not far from the marina, surely a new favorite we will come back to.

Jenna splurged and we enjoyed a malt and milkshake for her birthday at the Green Light diner and later that evening had a really nice dinner at Sogno Di Vino. The Seahawks happened to be playing Tampa Bay in Germany on Jenna’s birthday so we faithfully arose at 6:00am to watch the game. Its just too bad the hawks didn’t pull out a Win.

Poulsbo in November is beautiful. The fall foilage is still fairly vibrant and because it was so close to Christmas, the town was showing their Christmas spirit which just adds to the charm of the little Norway feel. We window shopped, visited the local marine store, walked the docks and enjoyed this quaint little waterfront town.

For years we had wanted to spend a Thanksgiving on our boat at Blake Island. It wasn’t until this year we could actually make that happen. With the passing of Jenna’s Mother and our son all grown up, there wasn’t much keeping us to perform the traditional Thanksgiving family dinner. Escapade having all the creature comforts of home and a great galley that we were going to be put to the test! Of course our good friends joined us and in total we had 6 humans and 6 dogs aboard two vessels. We cooked the traditional turkey dinner in our Thermadore oven with all the fixings. Stuffing, sweet potatoes, greenbean casserole and pumpkin, apple and pecan pie! YUM!

We hiked around and through the island and made good use of one ot the huts with a firepit one night. The deer came out in the evenings to graze and the views from Blake Island at high tide did not disappoint. Our bucketlist cruise for Thanksgiving was successfully fullfilled and now we have very different Thanksgiving memories to look back on.

The end of the year is now upon us. Its December and the weather is most definitely cold, wet and rainy. But we don’t let that deter us at all. We pull on the rain gear and heavy coats and cruise to Gig Harbor for another years’ lighted boat parade and then to Foss Seaport for the Tacoma Yacht Club Lighted boat parade. We decorated Escapade, put up our little tree and added the new ornament we purchased from the glass museum while visiting Dock Street. Then we prepared to ring in the new year. Kingston was our destination for New Year’s this time as we promised Ray, the harbormaster, we would come and see his holiday lights. Wow, what a great job! Thousands upon thousands of lights lit up the common areas of the marina to create a christmas nautical wonderland. I cannot imagine the time it takes to put this type of display together. Ray is one of the best harbormasters we have encountered and he truly loves his job as evidenced by the work he puts into this marina. If you have never been to Kingston around the Christmas, it is worth the trip.

Unfortunately while on a walk we let the dogs run in a nearby field and Roux started limping after a chase with Piper. We hoped it was just a sprain or cramp, but after days of seeing her limp around, we knew something more was going on. Once we were back, we got the news that she had blown her ACL and would need surgery which also meant, no boating for 6-8 weeks! So it looks like 2023 will be the year we start off cruising in March. In the meantime we will work on boat projects and watch Youtube videos of everyone else’s weekly adventures and nurse Roux back to health so we can start boating again soon.

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