I ordered this Williams TurboJet 325 in early May, was told I’d get it in July, expected it in August and received it today in October. Long lead times and slow shipping is typical in today’s boating industry, unfortunately. Because of the delay, we had to get a temporary tender to use during the summer, which worked well.
I wanted a jet tender because we will carry it on the swim platform and a jet tender doesn’t have an outboard engine. An outboard requires that you lift it up and put it down when you put it on and off the lift and is so bulky that it is in the way when you walk on and off the boat. No propeller seems safer for the kids to use and if we pull them on tubes or skis. Plus, it’s fun!
Jet tenders have their downsides, though. Destroying a jet engine is far more expensive than a replacing an outboard engine so you have to be more careful with them. While there’s no propeller to damage by hitting things, the jet engine can suck things (sand, gravel/rocks, plants, plastic bags, etc) into them and damage the engine. So you have to be careful where you drive it, avoiding shallow water and not running aground with the engine on. You also have to flush them out, especially when used in salt water, after every use (although I guess you should also flush an outboard engine too).
I played with it for an hour in Lake Union and it is fun. I’m still in the engine break-in period, which is either 5 hours or 10 hours depending on which part of the Williams manual you read, so I can’t go over 6,000rpms (!) which kept me at 7mph max. That’s fine for no-wake zone of Lake Union where the speed limit is 7 knots. I can tell it can really go, top speed is supposedly 48mph, and steering is very responsive — turns so quickly that it could throw you out. It’s essentially a jet ski. And it can rotate within its own length which is very handy for docking.
For the last couple official days of summer, I decided to take the boat out into Puget Sound for a couple nights by myself. I’ve single-handed the boat myself in Lake Union several times using the Yacht Controller to take it out of the slip and then put it back and am able to do it reliably and without much stress, so I wanted a little more of a challenge. The Locks, especially the large lock, require multiple people to handle the lines so going through them by myself felt like it would be a personal accomplishment and one that I would enjoy.
The kids left for school and then I got packed and ready to go. After a quick stop for a few more groceries at Pete’s Market on the way to the marina, I was on the boat taking the covers off the windows at 10:09am, prepared my dock lines for the locks, checked the engine room, booted the Raymarine displays, etc. I left the slip at 10:35am, fairly quick for me!, and got to the Locks just after 11am. There were three boats already there, including Liv Jack, another SYC member and whose tender Eva drove on July 4th in Roche Harbor.
While entering the locks, I stood in the center of the bow driving the boat into the lock with the remote. The locks crew must’ve realized I was using a remote because he asked “Are you alone?” When I confirmed it, he yelled to the other crew that I’m doing it by myself and the crew member on the wall yelled to me that they’d help me with the stern line. I’ve heard stories about how rude and gruff they are but they have always been pleasant and friendly to us.
I steered the boat into position, went back to the stern where the crew member was holding out a boat hook for me to put the line on. She put it around the bollard and I secured it to the boat’s stern cleat. Then I made my way quickly to the bow again to lasso the bollard, which I did after one failed attempt. I had to adjust both lines a little to make the boat stay parallel to the wall while the other boats entered the lock behind me, but all in all, it wasn’t as difficult or as stressful as I expected it to be.
I took the 5 miles to Bainbridge slowly at 10 knots/hour just to enjoy the short trip. I got to the SYC outstation in Eagle Harbor just after 1pm and was happy to find the 100-foot end tie empty, which is great because it’s the only place our 60’ boat can dock there. If it wasn’t available, I’d have to anchor out in the bay, something else I’ve never done by myself.
After docking, I sprayed the windows down with Salt-Off and rinsed them, did some other minor cleaning, unpacked my suitcase and by 4pm I walked to Harbour Public House for an early dinner before the Steelers game. I really like that place, friendly casual atmosphere, great view of the marina, old school pub, mussels and salmon fish & chips was good. I was outed as a Steelers fan by the guy at the next table — Seahawks fans don’t like the Steelers because they still believe the Steelers paid the refs to beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL — despite putting a jacket over my Steelers shirt.
After dinner, I walked back along the boardwalk to the marina and to the boat where I watched the Steelers game on Thursday Night Football. The Steelers lost to the Browns.
Summer felt over when I woke up and it was cold and cloudy all morning. The sun came out in the afternoon and the evening was nice and warm.
Aside from some window washing, I relaxed all day, barely even stepping off the boat, listening to music and reading the day away. Oddly enough, Chris Wyman and Mark Putnam stopped by the boat on Chris’ boat on their way out to go fishing that evening. I still don’t know how they knew I was there, they claimed they saw the boat on the dock and went to check it out and it turned out to be me. But they seemed to know it was our boat and I was on it and that Gay wasn’t on it.
The day was cool and cloudy but the clouds cleared and it warmed up in the afternoon. I grilled a steak on the flybridge barbecue, baked steak fries in the oven, added some horseradish and that was my dinner. I watched a movie and went to bed. It was nice quiet day for me.
I woke up to a sunny day, made coffee and scrambled eggs and grilled sausage patties for breakfast. By 11:30am I was pushing off the dock and was at the locks before 1pm. I had to wait 3 hours before I could get through the lock because I had to wait for the small lock, since I was by myself, and charters, even empty ones, kept going in front of me. This locking was more smooth than the first time. I put both lines on quickly and watched the 3 guys on the sailboat behind me struggle with their lines. I got back to our slip at about 5pm, closed up the boat and went directly to Hudson’s soccer game at Magnuson to catch the second half. They won again, 2-1. They’re a really skilled team that is fun to watch.
After a week-long strike by the teacher’s union, school has begun. Havana is going to her second year at Garfield in 10th grade, Hudson is starting his first year at Garfield in 9th grade and Eva is finally out of Stevens Elementary and into 6th grade at Meany.
We planned to go up to Whidbey Island as a family but Havana didn’t want to go. So it was to be just the four of us. Then Hudson invited his friends, Bowie and Penn, at the last minute. Havana stayed home alone (!) one night and then she spent the next night at Jamison’s house. Sunday morning we left the marina and arrived at Langley by 1:30pm. After we anchored I was on the flybridge and started to hear Coast Guard reports over the VHF radio of a boat-to-boat collision and a search for survivors in Mutiny Bay, just on the other side of the island from where we were anchored. It turned out to be a seaplane crash, one of the worst plane crashes in Washington history with all 9 passengers, including a 22-month old kid, and the pilot killed. 😢 Sep 10, 2022 Update: all the identities were made public, two bodies have been recovered and the wreckage may have been located.
We dropped our crab pots and a few hours later had dozens of crabs but all but two were either female or too small. We tried two more times but both were much less successful. But we had enough crab to make a dip.
Penn started school on Tuesday so we took him to the Port of Everett – the largest public marina on the west coast I learned – Monday afternoon where his dad picked him up. Then we took the boat to Kingston to find a full marina. We quickly anchored in the bay and rushed to town to have dinner at Kingston Ale House before they closed.
The next morning I took the tender into town and got a lot of crepes and took them back to the boat for breakfast.
The trip I’ve been dreading for two years of Covid delays finally arrived… I know what late August on the east coast is like: heat, humidity and mosquitoes. We don’t have these problems in Seattle so I was not looking forward to them but I was wrong —the weather turned out to be comfortable and mosquitoes weren’t noticeable. Air-conditioning was still necessary for the end of the trip when we got to Manhattan. We took a red-eye on jetBlue Mint, my favorite domestic way to fly, to JFK, landed after 4am east coast time (1am to us), picked up the rental car, a massive Ford Expedition, and drove 2+ hours to our Airbnb in Livingston Manor where we all took a 2-3 hour nap that gave us a reset to get us over jet lag. Eric’s “bachelor party” was at The Arnold House just steps from our Airbnb. Our kids came with us and then Eric, Steve, Jimmy, Nikki, Jacques, Peter, Cindy and her boyfriend, Ben, arrived and we had cocktails and a nice dinner on the deck.
Friday morning, we took the kids to several stores in Liberty to buy some food for snacks, ice and all the beverages for the wedding. The kids helped us fill cart after cart with cases of water, sodas, mixers, etc. The back of the Expedition was full, it’s a good thing we rented such a big car. We dropped all of it at the wedding site, Timberlake West, took our Covid tests, checked into our cabin that we shared with our London friends, Mark and Lee and their kids, Henry and George. We went back to our Airbnb to change for the barbecue dinner that night. Havana recognized Clementine, the daughter of friends of Gay’s from college who live in New York, who she first met 2 years ago at Camp Orkila. Small world! They spent the weekend hanging out together.
We spent the morning and afternoon at the camp where the kids raced Go Karts, went to the pool, canoed in the lake, etc.
After cocktail hour the ceremony started and Eric and Sandi were finally married. Dancing and dinner followed. And then more dancing. Gay gave a fantastic toast to Eric & Sandi right after the mothers of the grooms.
It took over 4 hours, twice as long as to get there, to drive back to Manhattan due to traffic. Ugh! I can’t complain about Seattle traffic! We dropped Hudson and our luggage at our apartment in Midtown and me and the girls dropped the car off at Avis and walked through Grand Central station and back to the apartment. Another of Gay’s friends from college, Ned Baldwin, owns Houseman, a restaurant in SoHo. We had a great dinner there. Mike Florio, who I recognized from football TV. was there too and I saw him as he was walking out but I wasn’t quick enough to stop him to meet him. Too bad for him.
We would have liked to go to Barney Greengrass for bagels as we did on our 2019 trip to NYC but it wasn’t convenient so we went toEss-a-bagelinstead and it was great. We spent a couple hours at Spyscape which was interesting and educational but the Batman/Gotham thing was weird and confusing.
We took the subway to Chelsea and walked around, stopped for a late lunch at Pastis. We ordered a feast of random things to introduce the kids to new foods. We ordered pate de campagne, steak tartare, salade niçoise, a croque madame sandwich, a cheese plate and a lobster salad. Eva had mac & cheese. 😏 The kids are getting much better at trying new things. I didn’t know about any of these things, much less eat any of them, until I was well into my 20s or 30s. Little Island was just a few blocks away so we walked the trail to the top and down again. Then some window shopping on our way back to the apartment to get cleaned up for dinner. Manhattan is hot, muggy and dirty (and loud!). We had dinner at Gramercy Tavern and the kids had their first tasting menu meal. Everything was perfect but I don’t think all the kids liked everything. We all did 15,000 steps!
Time to go home, we packed up and took an Uber to Brooklyn to meet Eric, Eric’s mom, Sandi, Mark, Lee, Henry and George at Eric and Sandi’s house they are renovating to see the progress.
Then we all had brunch and then ice cream before we Uber’d to JFK. After a 2.5 hour delay, we arrived in Seattle after 9pm.
All of us plus Hannah, Megan and Emmarie took the boat to Poulsbo on Thursday, Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island on Friday, picked up Jon at Elliot Bay Marina on Saturday and then to Port Madison on Bainbridge Island for Saturday night.
Thursday was Megan’s birthday so we could celebrate it with her while Jon was still on his 10-day rafting trip in Idaho. She and Emmarie met us at the marina in Lake Union at 1pm, we were on our way by 1:30pm, to the locks by 2pm, an hour and a half wait and then through the large lock by 4pm – the locks are unpredictable. We went across the Sound to Agate Pass quickly at 24 knots and then took it slowly all the way to Poulsbo. Docked sometime after 5pm, settled in, walked around Poulsbo and to dinner at The Loft which was great.
Friday morning, Gay and I waited in line at the popular Sluy’s Bakery to get pastries, including the best lefse I’ve ever had. After noon, we cruised to Eagle Harbor and found an empty dock at SYC’s outstation. Havana and Hannah immediately went into town and Gay, Megan and I walked around Winslow before picking up some stuff at The Chandlery. Hudson and I took the tender out around Eagle Harbor before we all went to dinner at The Harbor Public House which I just loved for its old charm.
Saturday morning, Gay, Megan and some of the kids went to the market for groceries before we took off to go get Jon at Elliot Bay Marina. We docked right next to Hodor (Game of Thrones reference!), Jon got aboard and we went to Port Madison, another SYC outstation. We barbecued burgers on the boat while the Steelers-Seahawks preseason game was on, had dinner and played games with the kids after dinner.
It’s the dreaded Seafair weekend and for the first time ever I went to see it. Gay and Havana are in Spokane and Eva is at Iris’ birthday party, so Hudson and I took Keston, Justin and Bowie out in the Azimut amongst the throng of boats.
A college friend of Gay’s unexpectedly died a few months ago and the “Celebration of Life” service was coincidentally scheduled on our anniversary date on Vashon Island at Vashon Field & Pond, This would only be our second return to Vashon — Kelly’s wedding was the first — since we moved in 2011. So we took the opportunity to also celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary.
In 2004, our rehearsal dinner was at The Hardware Store Restaurant. so we made a reservation there for brunch and invited our Vashon friends. Several have since moved off the island but John & Deborah and Heather showed up and we were able to catch up on the past 11 years.
Hudson stayed home at a friend’s house for the weekend and Gay, Havana, Eva and I took the boat to Vashon Island today, only our second time we’d been back to Vashon since we moved in 2011. We anchored in Quartermaster Harbor and had friends Suzy, Wendy, Serene & Dave to the boat for dinner.