As the miles under Pendana’s keel increase, we have decided that it is now time to get some preventative maintenance done, a few bits and pieces fixed, as well as – drum roll please – an interior remodel/refresh. As such, we are headed for the boating mecca of the world, Seattle, Washington. Ok, ok, so that may be a slight exaggeration but it is home to, I am told, the best football team in the world the mighty Seahawks for those who have an interest in such things. GO SEAHAWKS!
Before leaving Victoria, I was able to have TopNotch give Pendana a much needed wax. What these guys do with wax has to be seen to be believed. Honestly I could not be happier with the result. Emil’s passion for boating (the owner of TopNotch) started at a young age. Growing up in Victoria he had always dreamed of sailing the world. Once he turned twenty-one he managed to find himself working on some of the world’s finest super yachts, cruising the Caribbean, Mediterranean and New England in the USA. There is no doubt Emil has spent lots of time with a buffer and, I must say he is surgical in his approach and application which delivers the results the most discerning owner could ever wish to see. Thank you Emil, a truly Top Notch job!
With Pendana all ready to go, getting to Seattle as planned was not a straight forward affair. Washington State and the Victoria/Vancouver area of British Columbia was in for a triple header of storms, each progressively worse than the one before and each building in strength. This unfortunately delayed our departure by a few days as the seas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound can really pick up. Photo below experienced by fellow Nordhavn owner, Ken Williams aboard San Souci on a trip through the Aleutian Islands.
While waiting for the storms to pass in the relative safety of Victoria Harbour, I decided it would be a good time to upgrade my navigation software to Nobletec TZ Navigator. This is a reasonable upgrade from Nobletec TZ Odyssey and provides a few features that I really like. In particular, the instant answer of when to depart a location to arrive at a given destination on high tide, or the best time to leave to achieve the faster passage given wind and currents etc are all important factors to consider when passage planning. All in all, a worthwhile upgrade and I am pleased to report that the software upgrade went without a hitch and that all data inputs appeared to be talking to each other, that was, until we left the dock.
With the nasty weather system finally passed we were finally able to depart Victoria for Seattle, via Port Angeles where we planned to clear US Customs. Once we had departed we noticed that our GPS data feed was coming on for twenty seconds then going off for about the same period of time. On off, on off, it continued. Once outside Victoria Harbour and into open water I had a quick call with tech support from Nobletec, as I had a strong feeling that the problem was simply an IO conflict. Once confirmed by Nobletec, I quickly went into the settings and moved the AIS feed, as instructed, to a different COM port and bingo, problem solved.
With the GPS data feed fixed there was one more item on my list to do en route to Seattle which was to swing Pendana’s compass. Our Furuno fluxgate rate compensated compass provides heading data to our navigation software and, if I am honest, I should have done this when we were in Prince William Sound. Clearly the view from the southern hemisphere (last time we swung our compass) to the northern hemisphere is very different. The further north we travelled the more my heading would skew in the wrong direction to the actual direction of travel. I am glad to report that with Bianca’s help (need little hands to get into tight spaces) the compass has been swung and finally, Pendana is heading in the right direction once again!
Over the past few months I have been meeting with a number of boating companies in both Seattle and Vancouver to decide where best to take Pendana to have her needs looked after. Look, the reality is, I have trust issues when it comes to whom I let work on Pendana. Some may say I go a little crazy while others would totally agree with my approach. In either case, I don’t let idiots work on our boat, or folks who are not passionate about what they do. I have even been known to ask workers to leave the boat if I feel they are not up to scratch. Bottom line is when your family’s lives are at stake, it’s imperative that one gets absolutely the right people on board.
After much discussion, investigation, time and effort, I have decided to have the beautiful Pendana looked after by Pacific Yacht Management (“PYM”) in Seattle. It’s safe to say that PYM have a stellar reputation and are more than capable of looking after Pendana, whom, I might add, is a tiny little boat in comparison to the boats these guys usually look after.
PYM won my business based on a few salient points: Firstly, they actually wanted my business which is always a good sign and a lot more than can be said for some I’ve been in contact with. PYM’s numbers made complete and total sense unlike one quote I received for a wax and polish job for US$27,000.00 and, no, this wasn’t a typo as I actually called the company in question thinking the same. Finally, PYM was very responsive in doing what they said they would do, when they said they would do it. As such, both Claire and I have complete faith in their ability to deliver the work on time and on budget and we look forward to getting the jobs done and dusted. During this process, due to the interior remodel work, we will be moving into a furnished home in Seattle as trying to live on the boat during this time would be next to impossible for all.
Before moving from the boat and into land based accommodation we would need to get through our very first set of locks. The Ballard Locks awaited our arrival and, as such, we decided to hit the locks close to high tide on 18th October after our run from Port Angeles. A great video on how to go through the locks can be foundHERE.
While I was confident that we could manage our first locks on our own, common sense prevailed and thank God it did. As this was our first run through the Ballard Locks, or any lock for that matter, I asked Jeff Sanson from PYM if he could spare someone to help with the transit. Jeff agreed it would be a good idea and, as such, Mike Devol would be joining us for the run through. It was arranged that we would collect Mike from the fuel dock at Shilshole Marina and on our arrival to the dock to collect Mike and to our complete surprise, Don Stabbert was also there to help with our transit to ensure it was without incident. Honestly, the small locks are very tight with maybe 4ft on either side of Pendana and without the help from Don and Mike things could have had a very different outcome – for the worse. Once through the locks we were quickly tied up at the lovely SBMC – and what a delightful marina it is!
Just as a side note: Don and Sharry Stabbert, our dock buddies from Hawaii, are headed back to Hawaii from Seattle WA shortly. If you are interested you can follow along on their blog as they are planning to blog from sea while underway. Their website can be found HERE
I must say it is fantastic being in Seattle but it is also a little sad that we are no longer in Victoria as Ship Point Marina was beautiful and so was Victoria. That being said, however, like so many marinas the internet at Ship Point Marina was rubbish. I will say this again; providing high speed wireless internet to boaters is not an option in this day and age and the sooner marinas around the world realise this, the better. I can say that the folks who own Salmon Bay Marine Centre (“SBMC”) understand this. SBMC provide super-fast wireless internet (40-50mbs), CCTV security, massive twelve foot wide docks, grey and black water pump out on each dock, two secure car parking spots per boat, full gym facilities on site, a climbing wall, every power option imaginable to plug your vessel into and electric golf buggies/ATVs to help move heavy items from the car to the boat or visa versa. What a delight it is to see a marina being managed and operated by people who do the most they can do for boat owners rather than the least. Although, it, it must be noted that I am not sure I will get much use from the climbing wall!
Something that doesn’t have much sparkle about it at the moment, unlike Pendana, is the weather. I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about the weather but I feel that it is a subject that simply can no longer be ignored. As time marches on, so does our approach to our first winter in two years. This relentless approach, (a little like a colonoscopy appointment, to my mind) is simply unavoidable. As the days shorten and the temperatures decrease at an alarming rate, a little like the British Pound, I am forced to seek advice on how best to handle the impending winter that lies ahead.
After discussing the alarming temperatures with some locals, only to be laughed at and told to “man up”, I was forced to consult the only friend I had left on the subject, Prof Google. I can tell you that I didn’t much like what Prof Google had to say.
Six months under 51f/15c. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo that can’t be right! Five months equals twenty one weeks of cold, wet, damp almost inhumane conditions that will no doubt cause this blog and my musing to take on a decidedly depressed tone. Look, there is always hope, I am told the planet is warming so maybe, just maybe, we will dodge a bullet and my Hawaiian shorts won’t have to be packed away.
Five months with no shorts is the equivalent to five months without chocolate, i.e. neither much appeals but then again, I should stop whining and enjoy the time we have in Seattle and the time having Pendana looked after at PYM. We have, after all, survived two winters while living in Geneva, Switzerland so if we can survive that, then maybe, just maybe, we can survive and flourish here in Seattle. Someone once said, “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass but, rather learning how to dance in the rain”. If that is the case then I had better get some lessons!
Anyway, it’s now time get focused as there are cars to rent, house keys to collect, super-fast Wi-Fi to be consumed and jobs on Pendana’s list to be finalised. I plan to do a two-part blog series on the upgrades and remodel as things progress. Needless to say, there will be changes made, so it’s now time to officially say goodbye to Pendana’s honey/gold colour scheme as things around here are about to change. More to come soon!