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.