Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Story of a Fox

We are presently house-sitting for friends, whose homes are on the west side of San Juan Island. We've stayed in this locale before, for our longest-held-San Juan Island friend. We expected grand sunrises and sunsets, watching ships out on the Strait, and bird watching.

We NEVER expected the sight we saw yesterday.

Luckily, both Al and I were standing at the kitchen sink when I looked out the window and didn't recognize what I saw. 'WHAT is THAT?!' It looked like a rather large dog nosing around under the bushes. I looked to the road, thinking to see a neighbor out for a walk, even though it was snowing and had been all day. But there was no human in sight. Hmm. 

OH! It's got a big bushy TAIL! But I was confused. I know there are red fox on the island, especially on the southern end, but this was BIG, and BLACK! I ran for my camera.

Al saw him and said 'He's caught something! I think it's a bunny!' We saw him toss it in the air, and then begin munching.

Al was now watching through binoculars. Gosh he looks big.

Here he comes! It's a bird! (Looks like a robin)
He trotted up toward the house, and we thought he was going under the deck, but he came out on the west end of the house and made a beeline for some low bushes, deeply covered in snow. 'He's burying it! Look at that!'

He didn't dig with his paws. He 'nosed' the snow over the bird.

Then he turned at looked at us...'That's mine!'

And he trotted away, continuing his rounds.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Followers of the blog may be wondering WHAT we have been doing!? I (Kristi) haven't made a post since the end of October! Though that's more recently than I thought it had been. We came back into the US from Canada in September, after all.

So, what's been going on?

Well, I did start a business. I am now an independent distributor for SeneGence International. Their premier product is LipSense, but they have skin care and other cosmetics as well.
Same day, with product.
You can see why I call my facebook group 'Better With Lipstick!'

A recent photo

This year we are further back on the breakwater, which gives us a view of Mt. Baker. We so enjoy watching this changing view. Here are a couple shots, just hours apart.

Mt. Baker with a small example of altocumulus lenticularis.

USS Enterprise stopping by?

We also got a new camera! I've been having fun learning how to use it. Here are some of the first shots I took, getting an idea how the 60X optical zoom works. The next 4 photos were taken from the same spot, on First Street in Friday Harbor, near the courthouse.
No zoom. *I* know where Viking Star is, but YOU probably can't tell.

There she is!

JUST the boat.

And at full zoom, just the ANCHOR!
I think I am going to have some fun with this camera! (Nikon CoolPix B700) In fact the following photos got lots of viewing on my facebook page. This is the November Super Moon, taken the morning of 11-14-16 as the moon was setting.

Calm wind allowed the fog to hang, but made for more steady photography.

I was a bit surprised the fog made little difference, with the zoom.

Full zoom. WOW! Look at that texture on the rim!

And then, just some more fun with the camera....

The November 30 sunset silhouettes a house above the port.

December 4, quarter moon.

And one of my favorite photos in a long time, taken January 11, 2017.
Moonrise. Mt Baker. And a horned grebe in the foreground.

We had a grand time visiting friends and family, as always, in the Portland area over the holidays. All the sharing included a virus that we can't blame on the grandkids this year. When we returned to Friday Harbor, Al got the local version also. We are back to our usual 'in port' activities: surfing the internet, testing coffee shops (two new ones this year!), visiting with friends, and soon again housesitting. 

Viking Star and we will be leaving the dock mid-March, and we will begin having more adventures worthy of more frequent blog posts. We ALSO got a kayak for Christmas! So I am sure we will have stories that involve it through the cruising season.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Welcome to the `Cost to Cruise Blog'

Yes, we have been so neglectful of the blog these past months - two posts in two months...  Shameful.

Promise, will work to get another post or two out this week.  Short:  Kristi and I are in the Portland area for Christmas, holding up from the snow and ice...  Have some thoughts on the dehumidifier we are trying out, have made lots of progress on the 3rd generation of the open source Alternator Regulator.  Plus we are ALL going on a diet - Kristi, myself, boat...   So, maybe some things to add..

Till then, here is November's costs:

Viking Star Cost - November 2016

Moorage caught up with us mostly from the deposit at Friday Harbor.  Maintenance/Upgrades is negative this month due to a check we deposited from the surplus seller  (Some rope, an unused anchor - more to say when talking about Diets).  Transportation is high as we took TWO auto trips down to Portland, and of course personal represents the access to internet / shopping after the summer...

OK, there it is.  Year looks a little high, over out in the 20s target.  Will have more on that when I review the total year after December.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cost to Cruise Sept and Oct 2016

In my prior post I shared our belief that "Cities make our wallets thin and our bellies fat".  Well here in September and October we can see that trend continue:

In September we  largely were traveling down Canada to get back into the USA, guess we did not spend too much time at The Bus on Saturna Island.  And we largely eat the boat down in preparation for the border crossing.  Though September was not too bad cost wise, we sure made up for it in October!  During that month we not only restocked the boat after entering the USA, but also meet up with several friends and my Son came to spend a month with us.   We visited several ports along the way and dined out A LOT.  All told, a wonderful month - just hard on the wallet.  Now November finds us back in Friday Harbor for the Winter - will need to see how that shapes up...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Last Day of Cruising, 2016

It was worth it waiting out the rain in Keyport, because Friday was a beautiful day on the water!

We woke up early so we could ride as much of the ebb as possible, with our probable destination being Port Ludlow.  But did you wish us 'fair winds and following seas'? That is what we had, so we kept going, hoping for Friday Harbor!

Just around lunchtime we realized we needed to time our arrival at Cattle Pass and kicked it into 'Pirate Mode', running at 2000 rpms to make it in time for the slack. We got there on the dot!

We left just before sunrise, and this was our last view of Seattle as we exited Agate Passage and headed north.
L to R, sunrise, downtown Seattle, Mt. Rainier. 

All was well. It was a smooth ride, but for swells sent out from cargo ships heading down the Sound.
As we head onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the seas are still following us.

Ah! Ahead, the San Juan Islands! I can identify Lummi, James, Mt. Constitution and Turtleback Mt.
 I can see the brown hills of American Camp on San Juan Island.
 The closer we get, the rougher the water. The winds are more easterly here, and the waves are more broadside -- not the most comfortable on Viking Star...

Turtleback Mt is growing!

I am paging through our chart book, and my Dad's name pops out at me. He is with us!

Mom is too. Among my small treasures is the egg I gave her for Christmas one year long ago, made from Mt. St. Helens ash.Over the past two years it has become a gauge -- if it remains upright on its stand, we HAVE to say we've had smooth sailing.  Today that's what we get!

Cattle Point Lighthouse marks our entrance into the San Juan Islands.

Approaching Friday Harbor, there are feathers in the sky.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Big Pile of Poo

I am a farm girl. And as such, I can identify all kinds of sh*t. Cows, pigs, horses, chickens. Dogs and cats. Mice and rats.

As a liveaboard boater we see mainly the droppings from gulls and ravens, and can easily recognize otter droppings.

This summer, we learned about bear scat.

And this week, we experienced seal doodoo.

Wednesday we moved from the Port of Poulsbo Marina  just down the way to the public dock at Keyport WA. There is a fabulous museum (http://www.navalunderseamuseum.org/) that Al wanted to show to his son Michael, who is visiting us.

We pulled up to the dock and set our lines, but we had to be very careful where we stepped. There were two very LARGE piles of poo on the dock. We speculated. A dog? That would have had to have been a huge Great Dane! I thought a seal or sea lion.

I handed Al the bucket, but he handed it right back and asked for the hose. He said he'd need some pressure for this job. Whoo-eeeee! It didn't smell fishy, but it sure was unpleasant!

That night I heard a 'ker-SPLASH' in the night. When morning came, Al said he'd heard a couple of snorts. As daylight arrived we looked to the dock to see what kind of visitors we had. Yup, seals! There were 9-11 of them, as they came and went, looking nervous at any loud noise (construction noise began before 8AM). They looked curious when I opened the door to say hello and ask for photos.

They really are cute.  Good thing! Because there was a fresh deposit too.

Looks like this one has put in a good store for winter!

Itch, itch, itch!!!

Ah, satisfaction.
(I can almost convince myself this is a cat in the 'loaf' position.)

There's always one ...

Supreme relaxation!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Our 'Home' in the Mid-Sound

Blake Island is a 'must stop' when we are in the Puget Sound. The nature is wonderful, and so are the rangers! We were very pleased to learn that a ranger we met last time has earned a full-time position on the island, and is a great assistant to the head ranger.

We stopped for a night on our 'down-Sound' trip, and on our way 'up', we spent another 4 nights. Here are a few shots from this latest visit:

A seiner fishing off the shore, lit by the setting sun.

Blake Island is often in the flight path for SEATAC.

Downtown Seattle is peeking from behind Alki Point while waves lap at Blake Island.

What is this red stuff? Is it vegetation? Or an egg case from sea animal?
 All I know is it made an appealing nest for some pebbles.

The ever-present deer. This time there were 4-5 that rarely left the little grove near the campground.
 We even had a chance to do some volunteer hosting duties! There were a couple of school groups that came for lunch and the show at Tillicum Village, and we helped supervise the kids (protect the wildlife, haha) when there was free time before their boat returned to Seattle.

Pretty clouds!

And a closer look at the seiner and its tender.