The Voyage of Krogen 42 Sea Waltz: Waltzing Through The San Juan Islands — Clara and Bill Blanding, Alexandria, VA • Photos by Robin Roberts
The tacos are ready
first day’s destination was an anchorage in Hunter Bay on Lopez Island
where we were to meet Curtis and Chris Oswalt aboard their Krogen 42', Chug.
But first we had to cross the dreaded Strait of Juan de Fuca. I was
worried about the crossing because we would be near the end of its
80-mile fetch with exposure to the westerly winds and waves, and more
importantly we were scheduled to arrive at the Strait in the afternoon.
Its waters can be an easy ride, a tortuous slog, or down right
dangerous depending on conditions. Even in good weather, most cruising
boaters try to plan a swift crossing in the early morning when the
waters are generally calmest.
Fortunately, the morning winds
were predicted at 10-15 knots with one- to two-foot waves and,
completely contrary to norm, easing in the afternoon. With that bit of
good news my fear eased and we cruised past our bailout options. In the
meantime, we settled into a routine as we watched the scenery and
marveled at the rip tides, eddies and changing currents. Jim and I kept
an eye on our course both electronically and with paper charts. I also
performed engine room checks (a nice warm space compared to the 62
degrees outside, reminding us why we wanted a pilot house). In the
meantime Clara and Robin made lunch–the first time we were ever able to
cook on a moving boat–that was instantly consumed with exclamations of
“good, good!” Ah, the simple pleasures of cruising life!
lunch we entered the Strait and made our 18NM passage across with light
wind, barely one- to two-foot waves and a current mostly to our
advantage. We finally entered Rosario Strait and made our way through
Lopez Pass. In the San Juans numerous channels and passes surround the
islands. These offer access to almost every island leading to coves and
quiet bays for anchoring, or towns and settlements for shopping,
dining, and entertainment. As we wove our way past the rocky entrance
into Hunter Bay, we spotted Chug already anchored and made VHF contact. To my total surprise I heard, “Sea Waltz,
rig for starboard rafting.” Rafting! We’ve never rafted before, what do
I do and how do I do it? Without a care or concern, Clara and Jim went
off to lay out the fenders and ready the lines while Robin, sensing my
panic, stayed with me in the pilothouse. As we slowly approached, Robin
calmly leaned over and whispered, “Nothing to it, go very slow and be
careful of her stern as she swings around the anchor.” I took a deep
breath and created a visual plan in my mind of how to make it work. And
work it did!
We nestled effortlessly right alongside Chug
and as lines were affixed I started breathing again. Almost 60NM and
9.5 hours later, our first day of trawler cruising was over. What a
great start to our trip! It was made even better by Chris and Curtis
who had their famous taco dinner waiting for us. We dined amid the
beautiful sunset in Hunter Bay. We officially celebrated our first
night on Sea Waltz, sharing a champagne toast and a short waltz
on our foredeck amid the company of old and new friends. A happy smile
emerged as Clara and I drifted off to sleep.