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First Days of Cruising

by Asailof2hearts

At anchor in Port Ludlow, WA

These first days of cruising life have been full of adjustments. No more schedules: trying to get everything done that was on the to-do list before we left the dock. It was REALLY good to get to Port Ludlow and then stay at anchor for several days. No place we had to be. We released the “schedule” we were on that we were going to head straight up to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and get to Neah Bay so we could immediately make the turn and head to San Francisco.

The weather wasn’t looking good to stay on that schedule. So when the couple that planned to make the trip with us elected not to go a few days before we were leaving the dock, partly because of the uncertainty of the schedule and their jobs, we relaxed.

We realized how tired we were, and that resting up was what we needed so we could continue with just us.

There are still plenty of opportunities for relationship building between Mary and I. We still have plenty of emotion, and we both have our fears. Almost everything we’re doing right now is an “FFT” (F@*kin’ First Time). That’s a term I learned from Brene Brown. FFT’s really mess you up unless, or even when, you take a moment to acknowledge it is an FFT and then give each other some grace for the emotions and triggers that can come up.

So, not having a “home” to go back to, no dock space that we can call home. Everything we own is on this 46 foot sailboat. It’s a paradigm shift.

We stayed at anchor in Port Ludlow for 3 nights. We made a plan for getting out to Neah Bay, watching the weather in the Strait of Juan de Fuca so we could transit in decent conditions. We elected to get around Point Wilson, the point at the corner of the Strait and the entrance to the Puget Sound and go to Sequim Bay.

There can be nasty rip tides at Point Wilson, so we picked a time when the tide change would mean it wouldn’t be too rough. As we motored north, we saw the USCG escorting a nuclear submarine south toward Hood Canal and the Bangor base. The Coasties swooped over to confirm we needed to stay on our current course and stay away. Sure thing.

We made it to Sequim Bay and docked at John Wayne Marina. The marina has an interesting history. It was built with a donation from the estate of John Wayne, who enjoyed anchoring here on one of his yachts.

Tied up at John Wayne Marina in Sequim Bay

We decided we’d provision here, instead of Port Angeles. The town of Sequim is about 2.5 miles form the marina. We elected to walk to the QFC and back. We checked on a taxi/Uber/Lyft, and it was going to be $20 one way. Uh, no. It was a nice walk, but a long way to shlep our groceries. We were tired when we got back to the boat.

After two nights in Sequim Bay, we had an opening to head west through the Strait. Our original plan was to refuel in Neah Bay, however we checked the Makah website, and learned the Makahs had closed the marina and fuel dock to non-residents due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. That meant we needed to top off the diesel in Port Angeles. We left the marina at sunrise, rounded the Dungeness Spit and pulled into Port Angeles and filled up. Then we continued on to Neah Bay, arriving at dusk.

The trip west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca was uneventful. We were against a current, but the conditions were otherwise calm.

The anchoring is great in Neah Bay, we settled on a spot and dropped the anchor. We are really loving our new 85 lb. Mantus anchor. It has set easily every time so far, and held well. We ended up staying in Neah Bay for four nights, waiting for good weather to make the left turn. Our last two nights, the wind was blowing 20-25 kt and it was cold. The anchor held fine. But, we were ready to get going.

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