Shakedown Cruise

The days are getting nice and long – we have over 16 hours of daylight now (still increasing by about 5 minutes per day), and folks in town are feeling pretty perky!  The many gardeners are happily digging in the dirt, and piles of soil and fertilizer and peat are vanishing from the hardware store.  Spring also means band concerts and the annual spring dance recital.  These performances are guaranteed to put a smile on your face as all the hard work and hours of practice come to fruition.  The bands have improved so much since the holiday concerts, and the students are happy to show off their new skills.  The dancers – aged 3 to 18 – delighted and dazzled us for over 2 hours!

We love our community and friends here but we’re cruisers at heart, and cruisers need to cruise.It has been a long winter tied to the dock, and there’s no better sound than the engines firing up to take us out for some adventures.  No matter how many systems we check ahead of time, nothing beats a good shakedown cruise to make sure everything is in good working order.  It’s much easier to make repairs at our home dock than it is to do it in some remote spot.

We were blessed with three glorious days of perfect weather for a little trip to the aptly named Ideal Cove, about 16 nm from town.  We waved at the Steller sea lions that love to drape themselves all over the buoys – groaning and napping and playing King of the Mountain.We didn’t see any whales on our way there, but we did see some nice bergy bits from the nearby Le Conte Glacier.In addition to stunning views of the Coastal Mountains from the cove……another attraction is the crabbing!Jim put his pots out and got 22 keepers over two days.  Of course, all that “free” food requires quite a lot of work to clean, cook, and pick.  The result was about 15 cups of picked crab, and the secret is to freeze it in milk.  When you want to use it, just let the milk drain away but don’t rinse the crab meat. 

While Jim was crabbing I was kayaking, and managed to get closer to some of the creatures we had been watching from the boat.  I found one of the river otters eating something under a big rock……and I’m happy to report that the black bears we saw were all healthy looking, even a little rolly-polly.Eagles, mergansers, buffleheads, bonaparte gulls, teeter-tails, and sandpipers kept us company, along with an occasional visit from a harbor seal.  It was a perfect way to test the boat’s systems (and stock the freezer), and to re-learn the different pace of life away from town.The boat ran well – we only had to replace a salt water washdown pump (which we suspected was wonky), and I had to dive under the boat and clean off the depth sounders.  Now it’s time to fill up the fuel tanks and cast off the lines for the summer!