December 23, 2006

At Anchor in Ipala

Hi Everyone!

We're on the move again after a wonderful stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Right now we're anchored in Ipala, just about 14 nautical miles South of Cabo Corrientes - just South of Banderas Bay. We left Paradise Village this morning at 630 AM and arrived just at 2 PM.

We launched our dingy and had a lovely lobster early dinner. Very tasty and very inexpensive. Just over $30 total for a 5 pound lobster grilled with garlic butter, which we split between us.

We delayed our departure a few days to see our very good friends, Lani Spund, June Lundstrom and Paul Rosenthal (we hadn't seen Paul in over 20 years!). They all were in town for a day on a cruise ship on a 7 day cruise from LA.

Tomorrow morning we're off to the Bahia de Chamela (Chamela Bay) - 50 nautical miles south of here. We'll meet up with Holly and Denis on their Perry 46 Catamaran "Tango" for Christmas. Two years ago, we were the only cruisers in Chamela for Christmas and it was wonderful with all the Mexican families, kids and Grandmas with home made tequila!

We'll give a full report in a few days.

Warmest Holiday Wishes to All!

Bill and Mary

December 12, 2006

Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

Hi Everyone!

We've been remiss at sending out an update as we've been so busy since we arrived here in Puerto Vallarta on November 14th.

The passage from Cabo San Lucas was quite uneventful. We cast off at 11 AM on Nov 12th, filled up at the fuel dock and headed out.

The remains of a tropical storm had left unsettled weather along our route, but nothing worrisome. We had no winds to speak of, with a few scattered rain clouds with distant thunder and lightning. Seas weren't too bad either. The second day all that cleared out. Unlike two years ago, we didn't have enough wind to sail so we had to motor sail the whole way.

We arrived in Paradise Village at 8 AM on the Nov 14th and pulled right into our assigned slip, E-44. This is way out at the end of the Resort and Marina (which ends at E-60). This is so far out, that locally it's referred to as "Tepic", after a town that's about 100 miles North of here.

It's actually quite pleasant down here - It's well protected, quiet, with no surge from the harbor entrance. The only disadvantages are that it's a quarter mile or more walk up the dock to the Yacht Club and the Cable TV signal mostly poops out before it get's here. We only get about a dozen, snowy channels of the 70 or so available (this is supposed to be fixed soon).

It is a good place to spot the alligators while sitting on the boat or exploring the canals beyond our dock. The mangrove trees make it look like a jungle, interspersed with lovely homes.

What is really eerie is going up the canal at night to to the "Fajita Republic" restaurant. It is totally dark except for maybe a distant light until reaching the restaurant. Just up from a dilapidated dock is the open air rustic dinning deck strung with cords of welcoming hanging lights. Good food and interesting ambiance.

The first week here was consumed with errands, boat chores and catching up with friends that we haven't seen in a while. Then off on Nov 20th, by plane, to Harrisburg PA to spend Thanksgiving with Mary's family. We had a great time visiting the family and cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The time went too fast though and soon we found ourselves back in PV.

Upon our return on Tuesday the November 28th, we joined Alice's Spanish class over at Estudio Cafe. We took the first 6 (of 10) lessons from her 2 years ago and were delighted to find that they were up to lesson 6 when we were able to rejoin. We've not missed a one since. The 10th and final lesson of her beginner series is tomorrow, Dec 13th.

Before we left for Thanksgiving, we were already organizing a trip to El Eden for a canopy tour on Nov 30th: Flying through the tree tops over a river on zip lines. So many other friends wanted to come too that we ended up with a group of 20. We had a blast zipping, eating and then sipping tequila at a local distillery. This was constructed using the old site of Schwarzenegger's Terminator movie.

The following Saturday, Dec 2nd, was the Chili Cook-off, one of our favorite events. We joined the team organized by Heidi and John on Raven. We did most of the cooking as Heidi was busy coordinating the decorations too. The team made a pirate ship out of cardboard as the team theme was "Queen Anne's Revenge - Blackbeard's favorite Chili". We re-used our pirate costumes that we had onboard for the event. I guess we were quite a site. Some of the local Mexicans were asking to pose with Bill and I and have their picture taken.

It was a great success! The team won both for best decoration and best Chili! Mary is already thinking of a possible theme for next year.

The following week we relaxed as Bill had come down with a scratchy throat. That means Bill on the computer and Mary making jewelry.

Last Saturday Nov 11th, we went over to the El Farol Restaurant in Jarretaderas (the village about 2 miles from here) with Anne and Charlie from Sunseeker to enjoy a classic Mexican holiday dish: Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce) see for a picture and recipe. It was quite delicious!

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is today, the 12th of December. The celebration of her day started on the Dec 1st and is continuing thru today.

There have been parades every day in the evening with floats, music, great costumes, dancing, and the locals families marching with candles. Plus all along the parade route to the church are street vendors selling all sorts of foods that we love to sample.

Hopefully we can get some of our pictures posted soon!

Warmest Regards to all for a Happy Holidays!

Bill and Mary

November 18, 2006

Ha-ha to Puerto Vallarta

Greetings everyone,

Let us just give you a wrap up of the Ha Ha. It was great fun, making new friend and seeing some old friends. There were over 600 Ha Ha participants so we never did meet everyone. But with Bill and I circulating separately we did meet a large number. In Turtle Bay we had a major pot luck and a good time to meet other cruisers. imagine a pot luck with 160 dishes.

One dramatic moment came when the crew of one boat attempted a beach landing in their dingy. It was instructional in how NOT to do a beach landing. The boat actually went vertical end over front with arms and legs flying. They were fine and even the salad for the pot luck survived. You can see a picture of this on 'Lectronic Latitude at:

Bahia Santa Maria was especially nice. The water was perfect for swimming. The surf was not too bad for landing the dingy. And the party was great. There's no village, just some fisherman's shacks. A super band from La Paz showed up with their amplifiers and a generator to power it. They were just asking for tips. They did well.

Also cooks and helpers arrived with lobster, shrimp, fish and all the trimmings, including lots of beer and ice for the party. They had to wait for low tide to be able to drive their trucks across the hard sand. We liked this bay so much that we were tempted to stay for a few more days. Some people did.

But we did push off for the last leg of the Ha Ha, to Cabo San Lucas. The wind was quite light so we motored the entire way, getting in just after dawn, as all the fishing boats came rushing out of the marina. Last time it was very noisy in the marina as the fishing boats left each morning. This time we were well positioned and did not have any of the noise. The same agricultural inspector as in 2004 came and was much more pleasant. She was only looking for beef. So we were fine. She didn't take any meat and I was able to keep the racks of lamb that we had. Hooray!

Cabo is very built up, and not a favorite of ours. Some call it Mexifornia. But we still had a good time. We had been getting lots of calls for information (which was fine) but by this time it was getting to be a bit too much. One morning we were getting ready to go up to the dock for breakfast and Bill hardly had time to get his pants on. Calls were coming in one after another. Our favorite restaurant in Cabo is NikSan (Japanese). We had excellent meals there. The first night it was a big gathering at Squid Row, lots of music and dancing. They even have the tables built extra strong for all the dancing done on top of tables. Somewhere around 11PM it just got too crowded so we returned to out floating home. All the other folks in our age group agreed that, while fun, we did not need to repeat that for several years.

The next day was another gathering at the beach with music, food drink and games. At this point we were saying good byes to some new friend and making arrangements to keep in touch or figure out where our paths would cross in the next few months.

It was all winding down now. The only thing left was the awards ceremony. Bill, along with Debbie from Sailor's Run, took a prize by popular demand for being on the radio the most. Bill also got a really great bottle of Tequila for running the radio net during the Ha-ha since the organizer's radio broke down. We came in third for our division. That may sound good but you must know the truth. For each division there is a first, a second and everyone else gets third.

The way to win is to sail all or most of the way but this was not so much a race as a rally.
The very next day we were ready ready ready to be on our way to Puerto Vallarta. To be continued...

Have a great weekend ya all,

Mary and Bill

November 5, 2006

Fish on!

Hi Everyone!

We're almost to Bahia Santa Maria and we caught our first fish! Actually two.

Just as we sat down for lunch we started across a seamount and caught 2 Dorado in 5 minutes. These are our first fish on this trip (we didn't really try until today).

The bigger was 42 inches and 18 pounds, the small 25 inches and about 12 pounds.

Fish in the freezer for dinner ;-}

Regards to all,
Mary and Bill

November 3, 2006

Bahia de Tortugas - Turtle Bay


We are happy boaters, smiling broadly with the sun shinning down on us in Turtle Bay.

When we left San Diego we were still bundled up. We also had a nice breeze once we past the Point Loma lighthouse. At the start we were only doing 4 to 5 knots with our spinnaker up. Past the light house it got to be more fun as we passed one boat after another...not that we are racers by any means...but that is still too much fun. Soon we found ourselves looking back at most of the fleet. We are the smallest boat in our division, so we figured the larger boats were far ahead.

We were moving right along with the spinnaker until after dark. Then the winds lightened so we choose to start the motor. We also planned to sleep (3 hours for Mary, then 3 for Bill) and we did not want to fly the spinnaker single handed. But as soon as possible in the morning we had the spinnaker flying again. Yahoo! As the wind shifted to directly behind us we changed our sail plan to wing on wing. This means having the main out as far as possible on one side and the jib on a pole out on the other side.

Wow! This was great. We were flying right along over 8 knots. That's good. We stayed with that through the night and into the morning. Only when we were ready to pass between Isla Cedros and Isla Benito did we pull the main in and drop the jib. This made it possible for us to change course as needed more easily. To our surprise, this was the only place where we could see other Ha Ha boats on our radar. During the night we did cross paths with cruise ships and fishing boats.

Night sailing is special in it's own way, the moon on the water and the brilliant starts (particularly after the moon sets) are majestic sights that most of us urban dwellers don't usually see. Sailing along with the phosphorescent glow of the boat's wake are simply fantastic.

As we approached Turtle Bay the sun came out and we could shed our coats. Ah. After we passed the finish line we still had more than an hour to go to the anchorage. There were only a handful of boats in the bay at this time. It certainly felt good once we were anchored, even if we were a little short on sleep. We actually managed the night shifts better this time. We tried to get a little nap during the day, which helped. Also the seas were more gentle than when we did the Ha Ha in 2004.

The beach and the palapas called to us. So did all the children on the dock vying for our attention to "watch" our dinghy. They watched and we went to the nearest little restaurant for a lunch of pesce con mojo de ajo y cerveza fria (fish in garlic sauce and cold beer). Yum! There we met and joined the folks from a couple of other boats who arrived before us.

We got right into the swing of things, seeing friends, meeting new boaters, checking out the town. Once Bill's expertise was know, we were swamped with calls for help with radios and VHF etc. Luckily there was another boater that actually fixes radios for a living. So he helped some folks too. Last night the folks on Salt Whistle shared margaritas and their fresh catch of tuna with us, after Bill helped them with their radio. They were the Cave Clan at the "kick off" party.

Interestingly Profligate's Marine Radio was acting up, so Bill volunteered (or got drafted, depending on how you look at it) into being net control for the HaHa Fleet. All the expertise available was not able to fix their radio in Turtle Bay, so Bill is now officially net control for the Marine SSB net for the rest of the Haha. If you have a radio and are interested in listening in, it's at 4.146 Mhz (Marine 4A) at 730AM PST.

This will be our last day in Turtle Bay. The plan is for a pot luck beach party. Can you picture over 700 people on this beach, lots of food tables, music and local Mexican beer concesiones.

Warmest Regards to all,
Mary and Bill

October 30, 2006

Start of the Ha-ha

Hi Everyone!

What a wonderful day.

It's a bit cooler today than it's been for a while, but we got off to a great start this morning at 11:00 AM PST on the Baja Ha-ha. Next Stop, Bahia de Tortugas - Turtle Bay. At the present rate of progress, we should arrive around the middle of the day on Wednesday.

We left the Silver Gate Yacht Club Guest Dock this morning at 9:15 AM and made our way out to the start area. We arrived a bit early, so we motored around as the fleet gathered. There were 183 sign ups for this years rally and around 160 started. We'll have a better number tomorrow or so.

The start with this many boats is always a little hectic, so we held back from the crowd until after the start. After all it's a cruisers' rally and not really a race.

We were better prepared today than ever before and got our spinnaker up just at the start. The winds were light so we only were doing 5 knots or so for the first hour. Then the winds picked up (to around 15 knots maximum) and our speed picked up to. We have consistently averaged around 7.5 knots. We've even had periods in excess of 8!

It's now approaching sunset and winds are starting to diminish and move aft, so we're slowing down to under 7. We'll see how this holds and figure out what to do as we approach nightfall.

During the day we worked our way by most of the fleet and are now among the front 10% of the boats. We think, it's hard to figure as the boats have spread out all over the place.

We've had an occasional dolphin playing around the boat and have had an overall wonderful day.

That's the news from Raptor Dance - off the coast of Baja just off Ensenada.

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

October 29, 2006

Ha-Ha Tomorrow!

Hi Everyone!

We just posted pictures of some of our highlights for the month of October on our website at

It's been a very busy 2 1/2 weeks since we got to San Diego. We ran innumerable boat errands, shopped till we dropped and generally got everything ship shape.

We had a lovely stay on the guest dock of the Silver Gate Yacht Club on Shelter Island. The members and staff were extremely friendly and the food in their dining room was outstanding.

Also, on October 21st we drove up to Upland California for Bill's 40th high school reunion. We saw lots of old friends. Six of the folks at the reunion went to the same elementary, middle and high schools. 5 of them were even with Bill in Kindergarten!

Today was the kickoff party for the rally to Mexico, the Baja Ha-ha see and we leave the dock tomorrow at 9AM for Mexico!

We'll post position reports a few times a day, so you can follow our progress via the position reporter link on our website or directly at:

We won't be able to check our "" email for the next few weeks, so use this, our address to contact us.

Remember, please don't REPLY to this address. Send us a NEW Message!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

October 12, 2006

Dolphins at Dawn!

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick update on the news from Raptor Dance.

We had a great time the last two weeks over on Catalina Island. We met many new friends who will be going on the Ha-ha and had an interesting time at Buccaneer days. We'll report more fully in a later post.

We left Avalon Harbor just before midnight for the run over to San Diego. It was a quiet night with a just past full moon. It was a beautiful passage.

Then at dawn, we were greeted with many Dolphins playing around the boat. They've been coming and going for over an hour.

We'll be arriving at the Silver Gate Yacht Club in San Diego on Shelter Island around 10:30 AM this morning and are looking forward to seeing all our local family and friends.

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

October 1, 2006

Catalina Island - Cat Harbor

Hi Everyone!

We had a wonderful week in Marina del Rey visiting with my Dad, Sam; Brother, Bob and Sister-in-law, Stephanie. We stayed at my old stomping ground, the California Yacht Club. We saw a few of my old friends, but there are a lot of new faces at the club. It was 1992 when I moved North and stopped being a club regular.

We left Marina del Rey on Friday the 29th at 10:15 AM and motored out of Santa Monica Bay in Fog and 1 to 2 mile visibility and light winds. After we passed Palos Verdes the skies cleared and we had a wonderful close reach over to the Catalina Isthmus. Again, as on our 2004 trip, this was one of the best "sails" of our trip down the coast.

We tied up at mooring G2 at the Isthmus, got out the dingy and went in to Doug's for a famous "Buffalo Milk". They're much richer than I remembered (from 15 years ago!) so we switched to beer.

The anchorage was so rolly all night that we got up at 11 PM and rigged the "Flopper Stopper". This is the first time we've used it in all our cruising so it took about an hour to figure out, rig up and deploy.

Our Flopper Stopper is an aluminum contraption 2' x 3' consisting of a frame and one way flaps. Hung off the end of our spinnaker pole, off the side of our boat, completely submerged, it acts like a one way valve. When we roll to that side of the boat, the flaps open and the water flows through. When the boat starts to roll the other way, the flaps shut and the whole think acts like a sea anchor, damping the roll. It works pretty well, we were able to sleep the rest of the night.

Enough with this nonsense! Saturday morning we talked with the Harbor Patrol and switched to mooring N1 in Cat Harbor. We're less than a mile from our original mooring, but it's absolutely flat water.

Oh, for those not familiar with Catalina Island, we did have to motor around to the other side of Catalina as Cat Harbor is on the South side of the Island and Isthmus Harbor is on the North. We left at 9:15 AM from the Isthmus and were moored in Cat Harbor by 1130. We went around the West End of Catalina for short passage of 15 nautical miles.

Cat Harbor is wonderful and quiet as it's on the "back side" of Catalina. It gets very little traffic as most folks stay on the side closest to the mainland. It's only about a 1/2 mile walk from the Cat Harbor dingy dock to Isthmus Harbor, so we can still easily get to the little store, restaurant and Doug's Harbor Reef Bar.

We're going to stay here until Monday the Oct 9th, when we'll move to Avalon, then on to San Diego the morning of the 12th. We plan to do a lot of hiking up in the hills and go diving while we're here.

This coming weekend (Oct 7th) is buccaneer days at the Isthmus. It should be very interesting... We have our "2nd string" pirate costumes at the ready (we're saving our best ones for the Ha-ha kickoff party).

That's the latest from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards to all,
Bill and Mary

September 21, 2006

Santa Barbara and Channel Islands Harbor

Hi everyone!

After arriving safely in Santa Barbara on Monday, Sept 11th, we got caught up in the social whirlwind, meeting some of this year's Ha-Ha cruisers.

Our trip down was uneventful. The most difficult part was at 10PM, trying to see all the channel markers as we left Morro Bay. We had fog almost the entire way. Going around Point Conception was remarkable only because the sun was shinning brightly as it rose. That did not last long. The fog retuned.

I managed to sleep some on the way down. Bill did not do as well. It was rather amusing seeing him later in the day in that "fun stage" of sleep deprivation. Being an expert in sleep deprivation from my years in the OR, I recognized what was going on with him and let him enjoy it.

Santa Barbara was an enjoyable place for us. The town is so accessible from the marina. We mainly walked but shuttles were available to the marina and up and down State Street, the main street through old town.

There is a wonderful farmers' market on Tuesdays with all sorts of vegetables and fruits, even Dragon fruit, flowers and grass-fed beef. The aromas of the basil, mint, cilantro, etc. mingled with the Spanish guitar being played in the background.

State Street is lined with restaurants and shops. These feet stop at all the interesting shops. But that's not where I made my purchases. That I reserved for Sarah's gems. Sarah and Darrell, our dock neighbor's from Alameda, were in Santa Barbara too. Sarah makes beautiful one of a kind jewelry. See for just some of her work.

We even had a little fun trying out the Segways at the local dealership see We have seen some power boats with them ready to go on the stern. But they are still to big for our boat. Fun and easy though. What a great way to get around if you lived in town!

The best part was all the people we met. The last time we saw Pat, a single hander, was in Port Angeles, Washington. Stan, who we met in Monterey, arrived before us. Carl, Yvette, Joel and Kyle on Liberty came in the next day. Sarah and Darrell unfortunately were not continuing south with us yet. We spent some time getting to know Richard and Andrea, Flamenco dancers on Saete. They are planning on performing to finance their journey to Spain.

Then Richard, Karen and Richard (their son), on Chessie, arrived and docked by us just in time for us to convince them to do the Baja Ha-ha with us. No sooner had they pulled out than Chere with Charles and Cathy pulled in...friends made in last month in Alameda.

Now my memory is being challenged with all the names. I know I am forgetting some of them already. And to think there are 182 boats signed up for the Ha-ha all with at least 2 folks on board and many with 4 or more!

Down the road we'll get to spend more time with Mark, his wife and little 2 year old girl on Southern Star. Same with Mike Moorehouse and his wife who were busy with boat projects. We had been expecting Robyn and Chris with their boat Robyn's Nest (nice cozy name)for a couple of days. So we were happy to see them pull in.

The biggest surprise came from some buddies that we met on the 2004 Ha Ha. We kept extending our time in Santa Barbara for a couple more days. We were having too good of a time. It was a good thing. Rob and Shannon were bringing their new 1990 Angel 56 Pilot House Motor Yacht down to Mexico in a hurry. So they were not making many stops in order to get Rob back to work on Sunday. So into Santa Barbara they come with Rob and Shannon, Craig and Barbara (who sold their boat Capella) and Roger and Mona (who also sold their boat Cherokee Eagle). What a sight for sore eyes! They looked jubilant but a little tired as they/we all toasted to "cheating death again" done on arrival to each destination. John and Kay Semon of Semonship (their boat is docked in Santa Barbara) drove down to make our group complete.

Santa Barbara held one more surprise for us...a wind shift that brought fine ash down on us and the entire area. It came from the fires roaring away up near Magic Mountain. That lasted for two days. Then the wind shifted again to blow it in the opposite direction. It was a pain to be scrubbing it off the boat. At least we could hose down and scrub the boat. It's not so easy for the home owners.

We finally broke our ties to Santa Barbara and moved on a short distance to the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, Channel Island Harbor, Oxnard. It's a nice club, complete with pool, Jacuzzi, bar and restaurant. Here we met up with Len and Norma, also friends from the 2004 Ha-ha. What a kick! We definitely had some laughs getting together.

Tonight we are having dinner with Don Anderson and his wife, Joan, from Summer Passage, a Valiant 47 see:

Don is the famous and most helpful weatherman for cruisers, especially in Mexico. He not only gives the weather projections but helps all the cruisers learn what to expect and how to anticipate the weather. We'll report back on this later.
Our next stops:

Sept 22 - arrive in Marina del Rey - California Yacht Club

Sept 28 - leave Marina del Rey for Catalina

Oct 16 - arrive in San Diego - Silver Gate Yacht Club

Let us know if you would like to come visit us or go day sailing!
That's all for now from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill

September 11, 2006

Rounding Pt. Conception

Hi Everyone!

We rounded Pt. Conception at 7 AM - Just 1 hour ago - and are anticipating arriving in Santa Barbara around 2 PM.

We left Morro Bay just after 10 PM last night (we couldn't sleep so we decided to leave early).

The hardest part of this 103 mile passage was leaving the harbor! The lights going out the Morro Bay channel were washed out by the street lights up by the big power plant at the head of the bay. Once we turned the corner and headed out the main channel - it was a bit easier - but it was nerve racking until we passed the breakwater. The moon wasn't fully up yet and it was overcast so there wasn't very much background light.

A few hours later, it was much brighter as the moon was higher in the sky - even though it was still overcast. We had no trouble at all on the difficult parts of this passage (between Morro Bay and Pt. Conception).

Interestingly the winds were light and it was a dead downwind run the whole way. We motored as the winds were too light to sail.

The strongest winds were off Pt. Arguello where it was briefly blowing 18 knots. Otherwise it was 8 to 12 knots the whole way.

Off Pt. Conception it was only blowing 4 knots! Quite a change from 2 years ago when it was blowing 25 to 30. OK, 2 years ago we rounded at the peak wind time at 4 PM in the afternoon and today we rounded at sunrise.

Right now we're motoring up Santa Barbara Channel with 1 to 2 knots wind...

We're officially in warm weather! Halfway between Pt. Arguello and Pt. Conception (10 miles apart) the overcast and fog lifted, the moon and stars came out and we saw a beautiful sunrise over Pt. Conception. This was our first observable sunrise since leaving the bay area. All the other mornings were foggy and overcast.

It's now noticeably warming up! It's time to stow the dorkey hats and long undies. If the weather is anything like our cruise 2 years ago, we won't need them again!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

September 10, 2006

Leaving Morro Bay

Hi everyone!

We've had a relaxed 10 days, getting back in the swing of cruising, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Heading to the sunshine.

It's really great that we have so much less stress than our first time down the coast. We're enjoying this a lot more and worrying a lot less.

We also posted some pictures of the start of our cruise at

If you've been following along with our position reports via the "Position Reporter" link on our website or directly at You'll see that we've been progressing down the coast and are now in Morro Bay. Our latest position is the blue balloon. Be sure to click on it then zoom in with the "+" button and click the "Satellite" button for a view from space.

We Anchored in Half Moon Bay until Labor Day, the 4th, which was also our 8th wedding anniversary. Over the weekend we were joined by Jim and Sheila Goetsch on the Valiant 42 "Aurora" and Ed and Cornelia Gould on the Valiant 42 "A Cappella". Our friends Kim and Trish Casey on "Cheers" anchored not far away. We all had a lovely dinner Friday night at the local brew pub before things started getting crazy on Saturday.

It was an interesting sight with 3 Valiants rafted in a row. At one point a lady started taking lots of pictures of our boats. It turns out that she was from Scanmar - the company that makes Monitor wind vanes. Since all three of us have them it was an interesting picture. I'm sure we'll probably end up in one of their brochures in the future.

Saturday, was a literal boat parade with the majority of the boats arriving. There were literally hundreds of boats moored in Half Moon Bay, with 5 yacht clubs having major parties, BBQs, Pot Lucks, etc. Everyone had a great time.

We've started meeting many more cruising couples heading down the Mexico. Many will also be doing the Baja Ha-ha rally see We'll talk more about some of the folks we meet along the way as we spend more time with them.

After most folks left on the 8th, we pulled into a slip in the Marina. Bruce Bongar, Karen Friday - of "Berkut" the Waterline 46 and Gordon and Vlasta Hanson of the Valiant 40 "Far Country" joined us for a great fish lunch in Princeton Seafood right in the Marina.

We left Half Moon Bay on Tuesday, the 5th at 630 AM on the 63 nautical mile trip to Monterey. It was totally uneventful, with little or no wind until we started crossing Monterey Bay. Then we benefited from a 15 knot tailwind that sped us along. We arrived in Monterey around 300 PM, in time for the Tuesday farmers' market.

On Wednesday, we re-visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is one of the best aquaria in the world. They have a new juvenile Great White Shark in their open ocean tank. The only one in captivity. see

On Thursday, we hiked up the hill to the Whole Foods and cleaned them out of Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Chocolate see This is our favorite and we now have a good stash in our chocolate locker. After lunching at Abalonetti Seafood Trattoria we retired to the boat to tidy up and retire early for the next leg of our trip.

We got up at midnight, Friday morning Sept 8th and left at 1220 PM on our 104 nautical mile leg to Morro Bay. It was a little lumpy with light winds until we passed Pt. Sur, then the seas calmed with just a 6 foot swell. As usual, what little wind we had was on the nose until we rounded Point Piedras Blancas, then the wind shifted to a close reach. We arrived in Morro Bay at 4 PM and tied up at the Morro Bay Yacht Club.

When we arrived, the dock was full, so we were asked to raft up to another boat. The owner of the boat stuck here head out of the hatch and said "They can't raft here" with a gleam in her eye. It turned out that we rafted next to Sarah and Daryl Erickson - our ex-neighbors from 2004 in Paradise Village in Alameda!

Since the club was having races on Saturday and Sunday and they have a small dock, we had to move to a mooring on Saturday morning.

That night we dined at the home of our friends John and Kay Semon of the Beneteau 473 "Semonship", who we met and befriended on the 2004 Ha-ha. We had a lovely dinner of BBQed Salmon. On Saturday, they joined us on Raptor Dance for a dinner of Roasted Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin and our first game of "Mexican Train" dominoes on this cruise.

Here in Morro Bay we also met the folks on the Peterson 46 "Liberty" Carl and Yvette Nichols and their sons Joel 12 and Kyle 11. They're from Friday Harbor, WA. They're going to join us today for a BBQ lunch on Raptor Dance along with Chris and Robyn Parker from the Island Packet 35 "Robyn's Nest".

Carl and Yvette were kind enough to let us use their dingy, so we didn't have to get ours out. After the BBQ, we'll wind down and get ready to leave again at midnight tonight (Monday morning, Sept 11th) for Santa Barbara.

You may recall that in 2004, we were dreading this section of the coast as our next leg takes us around Point Conception, "The Cape Horn of the Pacific Coast". It turns out that there are lot's of "Cape Horn's of ""X""" around. Just like the rapids in the Northwest - with due diligence and care, proper planning and due respect given to the weather, these rounding can delightfully boring. Our Valiant is a sea worthy boat that is capable of handling almost anything, so with our cautious nature, we have much less concern than in 2004.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

September 1, 2006

Pillar Point Harbor - Half Moon Bay

Hello everyone -

Well, we did it. We cast off at 945 AM yesterday, Thursday, August 31, 2006 and set off for Pillar Point Harbor at Half Moon Bay.

As is always the case, boat chores were left unfinished on the list - we may get to them on our way...... or not. We've still got some minor items undone from our departure in 2004 ;-}

We had a little wind during our passage - on the nose, so we motored. Opposing swells from our beam made the ride lumpy so we were both nibbling a bit of crystallized ginger. Interestingly, when we left in 2004, this was also the only leg of our voyage where we felt a little off.

We arrived at Pillar Point Harbor around 330 PM and stopped a the fuel dock to top off. This harbor has the lowest fuel prices on the coast by at least 50 cents a gallon.

We then proceeded to anchor, not happy with our first spot (too close to some mooring buoys) we moved and found a lovely spot with no other boats or buoys within at least 150 feet of our position at the end of 100 feet of chain (i.e. the nearest boat is at least 250 feet from our anchor).

We have a Bushnell Yardage Pro 1000 LASER range finder that we use to keep track of other boats, rocks, buoys, etc. at anchor. This is a handy gadget used primarily by golfers to measure the distance to the pin. Unlike marine accessories, this item was pretty inexpensive, just over $100.

That will change in the next few days though as lots of other boats arrive for the holiday weekend. At least 4 Yacht Clubs are coming in and lots of others as well for the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club BBQ. We'll report back on the festivities later.

We've already seen our first set of friends arrive, Dan and Eileen Ulum on their Valiant 42 Naussica pulled in just as we were sitting down to dinner (we had Beef Zinfandel with pasta and broccoli). We didn't know they were going to be here so it was a very pleasant surprise.

There are also two other boats here flying this year's Baja Ha-ha burgee, so we'll go say hi once we get the dingy out later this morning.

Pillar Point Harbor is just as we remember it before. The huge anchorage is very calm and quiet - except for the "HOOOO.............HOOOO............" of the entrance horn (Bill says he feels like Horton the Elephant) and the occasional sound of the gulls. When anchoring here, we made sure to be upwind of the major gull nesting spots on the breakwater as downwind you get bad aroma.

You can see the satellite picture of this harbor is great detail by going to the "Position Reporter" link on our website - clicking on our latest position, the "Satellite" button and zooming in (the "+" button).

It was overcast late yesterday afternoon. This morning it's foggy and looks like a great misty picture. We should get some sun later today.

We've got the heater on this morning and are wearing socks! But we're heading South!

We hope you all are well and will enjoy this wonderful holiday (in the US) weekend.

Warmest Regards to all,
Bill and Mary

August 25, 2006

Almost Ready to Go!

Hi Everyone -

It's been over a month since you last heard from us as we've been totally consumed with all the work needed to resume cruising. In an effort to bring you up to date we've summarized what we've been doing and our plans. This posting is a bit long - so skip over the parts that you may find uninteresting.

Some new folks have joined our mailing list since we left the Pacific Northwest, so I just want to remind everyone that we love to hear from you all! Please however, don't forward messages to us or use attachments.

Just send us what you have typed! Also, please don't "reply" to these messages unless you delete our original message from your email. It's much better just to type and send us a new message.


Our tentative cruising outline is, and will remain, cast in Jello - we're trying not to have a "schedule" to keep. However, we would like to visit with those of you who live along our route, so let us know if you are nearby any of our destinations and let's get together!

You can always see our latest position (updated at least daily - when we move) by following the "Find our Current Position on Position Reporter" link on our website at

We're planning to cast off on Thursday, Aug 31. We may spend Thursday and Friday in South Beach in San Francisco, but that's still undecided, we may just go straight to Half Moon Bay.

We will spend Labor Day Weekend in Half Moon Bay. Three Yacht Clubs (Oakland YC, Sausalito YC and Berkeley YC) are cruising down the coast for a BBQ at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, we have lot's of friends who belong to these clubs and it will be a great time for us to visit with everyone.

On Monday, Sept 4th, down the coast we'll go to Monterey Harbor. This is one of our favorite stops on the Central Coast. They have a great Farmers' Market on Tuesdays and we're members of the wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium, so we'll be sure to check out any new exhibits.

Around Sept 7th or 8th, we'll continue on to Morro Bay where we'll visit with our friends, John and Kay Semon of the Beneteau 473, "Semonship".

Continuing on, We'll head to Santa Barbara for a few days. The Northern Channel Islands and either Ventura or Channel Island Marina to visit with Len and Norma Brownlow of the Olsen 40, "Hangover" and Don and Joan Anderson of the Valiant 47, "Summer Passage" - but more famously - the fantastic volunteer weather forecaster for Mexico, Central America and Pacific cruisers.

Then it's on to Marina del Rey and the Southern Channel Islands. We'll visit with our family and spend some time at the Islands.

We're planning on arriving in San Diego on October 16th, in time to finish getting ready for Mexico. If we can arrange it, we'll get our Retirement FM-3 Mexico Visas in San Diego (otherwise we'll get them in Puerto Vallarta). We'll also visit with family, visit the Zoo and enjoy San Diego.

On October 21st, we'll drive up to Upland for Bill's 40th Chaffey High School Reunion.

On October 29th, the Baja Ha-ha activities start and at 11:00 AM on the 30th, we'll cross the Ha-ha starting line, and on to Mexico. We'll stop briefly in Turtle Bay, Bahia Santa Maria and Cabo San Lucas, then on to Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta where we'll arrive around the 15th of November.

Once we get Raptor Dance snug and settled in to Paradise Village, we'll return to spend the holidays with our family before continuing on with our cruise.

CHORES COMPLETED (non-sailors, skip over the geeky details):

This has been a very busy (and $) time for us. Here's a partial list of what we've been up to (and why we haven't had a lot of time to visit friends, socialize, etc.).

New Roof - Our vacation house roof was worn out. Since we won't be home in the rainy season and we wanted to avoid problems, we re-roofed and added ventilation so the new roof will last longer. We used Home Depot to do the roof as we really liked their warranty and we think they'll be around to honor it. They did a great job on the roof but just need to fix the poor gutter install before we leave.

Solar Panels - We had a framework fabricated above our Bimini and added two 130 Watt Kyrocera solar panels and a Blue Sky Energy 2000E MPPT charge controller. These are working very well so far. Since they've been installed we haven't had to run our battery charger at all! We'll see how they do cruising. KKMI did the metal work and West Marine/Maritime Electronics in Point Richmond did the installation. We obtained the panels and controller from Hotwire Enterprises

Rig maintenance and upgrade - We had our Leisurefurl in boom mail sail furler serviced and we added a Dutchman 750 Boom Brake to replace the Valiant Preventer System. The preventer system caused undue wear on the gooseneck bearing when the sail back winded. Consultation with the top riggers and our sailing coach led to the conclusion that we should convert over to the boom brake to minimize rig wear and potential damage in an accidental jibe. JP Boatworks in Sausalito did the Leisurefurl work and Glenn Hanson in Alameda installed the Boom Brake

Canvas Work - Mary spent many hours on the sewing machine creating fantastic new covers for our mainsail, life raft, jerry cans and hatches. She also whipped up pirate shirts to augment our costumes (for the many costume parties along the way), made some additional storage sacks and altered many of our clothes as we've lost a lot of weight.

New Inverter/Charger - Our Statpower Inverter (old unit sold on eBay) and Pro Mariner battery charger (which died coming down from the Washington in June) were replaced with a new Magnum Energy MS2812 pure sine wave inverter/charger.

Sails - Our sails were serviced by Quantum Sails. They also added chafe patches to the main, mended some minor tears and replaced the webbing at the heads of our Genoa and Staysail with new, stronger, more robust Spectra webbing (so we won't have a repeat of the failure we had at the Banderas Bay Regatta in 2004).

Deck work - we changed our life raft cradle from the Valiant model to the standard Switlik cradle (our liferaft is a Switlik SAR-6), It was too difficult to get the life raft in and out of the Valiant cradle and we didn't want to have to rely on adrenaline to get it out of the cradle if we needed to launch it. We also mounted new pad eyes on deck to tie down our 3 Jerry cans. For the last 2 years we had them tied down with webbing running from the mast to the life raft cradle and these new pad eyes make for a much more tidy installation. Putting in new deck fixtures is lots of work as we needed to remove the cabin head liner to access the underside of the deck, seal the holes and bed everything properly. We did all this ourselves.

Skills improvement - We went out with a sailing coach, Roy Haslup of J-World San Francisco, to improve some of our techniques. We practiced safety maneuvers, such as the "Quick Stop" Man Overboard procedure (which is much easier than it sounds from the written descriptions of it) and spend quite a bit of time practicing jibing the spinnaker. We previously (and will still mostly) jib by putting the spinnaker back in its sock, moving it to the other side and re-deploying it.

Misc. Tasks - We also had our Outboard and main engine serviced, the bottom cleaned, had our B&G wind instruments fixed, worked on the electronics wiring, replaced the hard drive on our laptop and restored all the software, worked on the boat detailing and did a myriad of other small tasks.

Whew! It's been a lot of work, but now we're ready to head off!

Bill and Mary

June 29, 2006

Since our Return...

Hi everyone!

When we last reported on June 12th, we were 58 miles out anticipating an 8 PM arrival. At that time the weather was foggy with a few mile visibility.

As we approached the Golden Gate, the skies cleared. The bridge was glorious in the early evening sun as we reentered San Francisco Bay after an almost 2 year absence.

We found our old slip at Mariner Square in Alameda waiting for us and we docked at 8:30 pm (we had an ebb tide in the bay slowing us down). Gosh, things have changed at Mariner Square.

We left to move to Marina Village in 2003 in the midst of seismic retrofitting of the Alameda tunnels that run under the marina. Everything was torn up. It was still like that when we left the bay in September 2004.

Now, almost everything was rebuilt and upgraded. There's a waterfront park that's quite nice, a Sr. living residence and a boat dry storage building. The Marina office has nice shower, restroom and laundry facilities. The only area that hasn't been completed is the old foundation of Larry and Della's Restaurant, near Chevy's, that burned down in 2002. I think that they're still haggling with permits over this rebuild.

We cleaned up the boat that night and said our good-bye's to Bob and Jerry who headed off. The next day we returned to our vacation home in Sonoma and started coordinating all the work to be done on Raptor Dance while we're in the bay.

Since then, We've been busy with lots of chores:

We've given the boat a thorough cleaning. This was quite involved as we had a lot of rust particles on deck from a fishing boat that was undergoing a lot of grinding up wind from where we were docked. We still have some detailing left to do. We're doing this job ourselves as the folks we previously used quoted us $900+ for the job.

We also polished all the stainless using the wonderful "Miracle Cloth" that was recommended in a recent edition of Practical Sailor. It made the job much easier.

We had our dead battery charger and modified sine wave inverter replaced with a new Magnum Energy MS2812 pure sine wave Inverter/Charger. This was a tough project as the old units had to be removed and the new put in their place on the far side of the engine room. Alan Mcdonell from Boat Guys in Alameda spend two days wrestling the units in and out. I really like this unit as it already provides noticeably better results (e.g. less radio interference, it runs the microwave at full power, it has a bigger charger, etc.).

Yesterday we motored to Point Richmond and back to drop off our 4 sails at Quantum Sails for service. They're 6 years old and need a thorough going over.

We still have more chores to do and I'll report on those later.

We hope to get all this stuff done so we can have some fun days sailing on the bay before we leave to head South towards the end of August.

Mary and I want to wish you all a happy 4th of July weekend (US folks), Canada Day (North of the boarder) or just a happy summer weekend (everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere)!

Bill and Mary

June 12, 2006

ETA Mariner Square, Alameda - 8 PM

Hi Everyone!

If you've been watching our progress on Position Reporter (see our homepage or go directly there via ), you're aware that we're making much better time than we anticipated from Crescent City.

We're now just off Bodega Bay (where Alfred Hitchcock shot his movie "The Birds" - no sign though of Tippie Hedron!) and we've been making between 7.8 and 8.0 knots.

We should be entering the Golden Gate around 6:30 PM tonight, Monday, June 12th and we should be at our temporary home at Mariner Square Marina in Alameda around 8:00 PM.

Thanks to the hospitality of Bill Joos at Valiant West, we'll be in the same slip we used to occupy before we moved to Marina Village (during the seismic retrofit of the Alameda Tunnels), a year before we left on our voyage in September 2004.

We'll be there for the next month or two until we resume cruising by heading down to Southern California and then back to Mexico. Right now we're scheduled to arrive in Paradise Village in Nuevo Villarta, Nayarit, Mexico approximately November 15th.

During the trip south, we've accumulated a number of maintenance items and will be attending to those while we're in the Bay. Also, this coming weekend is the Summer Sailstice and we're planning to participate.

It's been a VERY quiet trip (except for the engine), so far, from Crescent City. Off Cape Mendocino, one of the most feared spots on the Pacific Coast south of Alaska, we did raise the main - but didn't have enough wind to turn off the engine ;-{

All in all, we've been a motor boat on this leg. Right now is flat calm with nary a ripple on the seas, in light fog, with variable visibility (right now it's about 1 mile).

Except for tweaking the autopilot to say on course and watching for other traffic on the Radar, the Automatic Ship Identification (AIS) system and visually there's not much to do. So Jerry's standing watch, Bob is finishing up his book, "The Da Vinci Code", Mary's tiding up and I'm typing you all this message.

According to the GPS and Chart Plotter, we're 58 miles and 7 hours 45 minutes from the slip.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 11, 2006

Departed Crescent City - We're once again on our way

Hi Everyone!

We cast off the dock lines this morning at 645AM and left Crescent City Harbor. We left on a rising tide as the harbor is shallow and we didn't want to get stuck for long if we ran aground. As it was we saw water as shallow at 8 feet on our way out - that's only 1' 9" more than the depth of the keel!

Once out of the harbor, we raised the main and guess what... The wind's on our nose again! The forecast is for 10 to 15 knot North West winds, which would be behind us - but right now the winds are about 4 knots from the South West! At least it's not slowing us down much as we motor sail down the coast.

We should pass Cape Mendocino somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00 this evening. Cape Mendocino can be pretty rough, but the forecast is for benign conditions as we pass. Right now we're heading South West but will turn South East after rounding the cape.

We should arrive at the Golden Gate sometime late Monday night. We're attempting to get there during the flood tide. At 2 AM Tuesday morning the tide turns to ebb and we would have to fight a current on our nose of 6 knots if we arrive later than that.

More on our progress later.

All in all, we had a relaxing time in Crescent City after we got all our boat chores done. There are some nice seafood restaurants in the Harbor, the best being "The Chart Room". Note, this is not part of a chain of restaurants, it's a local place. "The Grotto" restaurant was also pretty good, but the best dish was the Crab Louis at the Chart Room.

Other than boat chores, walking about, eating and visiting the Internet Coffee House, we watched a few movies. Moby Dick with Gregory Peck our choice for Friday night and last night we watched Perfect Storm (I would have preferred Captain Ron!).

That's the news from Raptor Dance.

Regards to all,
Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 10, 2006

Weather Window looks good for a Sunday Morning Departure from Crescent City

Hi Everyone!

It looks like the winds are lightening and we have a favorable weather window starting tomorrow morning, Sunday the 11th. We'll leave here probably around 8 AM on a raising tide and are anticipating passing through the Golden Gate very early Tuesday morning.

We've been busy here in Crescent City waiting for our weather window to continue South.

When we were out bouncing around a few maintenance items came up. The most fun was the furling line on our main sail.

We were double reefed, heading on a deep broad reach and had the boom held in place firm with our preventer. Coming down one wave the main was back winded in 30 knots of wind - good thing we had the preventer on or we would have accidentally jibed. The furling line was taking the pressure and the stopper stripped the Dacron cover from the Spectra core. This kept the stopper from holding the line so enough of the sail unrolled to drape the main across the stays. I had to go forward, engage the furling ratchet on the Leisurefurl's drum, insert a winch handle and manually re-furl the main. Of course, I was clipped on with a harness to our Jacklines. This cleaned things up. No big deal, but exciting at the time.

When we got into Crescent City we replaced the line with a replacement. We basically have enough spare line on board to replace all the running rigging at least once.

Did I mention that the head also was clogged? Fortunately it was the overboard thru hull that clogged, so we could still use the head into the holding tank. So when we got in I used our "Blast it Out" ( ) to clear it. I also replaced the Joker valve, which probably contributed to the problem.

Also, the battery charger died, but we're able to charge the batteries off the engine alternator. Just to keep things topped off, I bought a small charger at the local Crescent City marine chandlery and hooked it into one of the auxiliary power sockets on board (these sockets used to be called cigarette lighter outlets).

We have a new charger and inverter from Magnum Energy awaiting installation when we return to SF Bay. We also got word that our Solar Panels that we ordered at the boat show are in and ready to be shipped to us. So this should help us when we continue our cruising in August.

All is well on board and our next report will be at sea. Keep an eye on our position reporter to follow our progress.

Regards to all,
Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 9, 2006

Crescent City CA

Hi Everyone!

We're safe and sound in Crescent City waiting for the winds to lift before we continue on.

We arrived at 4 AM Thursday morning. The winds were building and we decided not to push too hard. The winds were already up to 30 knots and forecast to have gusts over 40. Seas were building too!

Anyway, Crescent City is a lovely little town with a pleasant marina mostly with fishing boats. There's a great chandlery near by for any items we need. Town is a short mile walk away.

We're in "The Coffee Corner" right now having our espresso's (Bob) , cappuccinos (Bill and Mary) and Raspberry smoothy (Jerry). And, of course, using their wireless Internet connection. Since it's a mile walk, this will probably be the only time we're on while here.

The Weather is forecast to lighten Sunday, if so, we're resume our voyage. We're about a 40 hour sail from the Golden Gate - so just under 2 days to go, once we cast off.

That's the news from Crescent City.

Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 7, 2006

Off the Brandon OR (South of Coos Bay) - Past the Halfway mark

Hello Everyone!

We past the half way mark this morning at about 10 AM. We motor sailed all night as the we were sailing dead downwind and the wind strength wasn't sufficient to get much speed sailing.

This morning, at about the half way mark, the wind picked up a bit and we're now sailing "wing on wing". This configuration is when we have the main on one side of the boat (starboard in this case) and the Jib on the other side (Port). To hold the Jib stable, we're using our Spinnaker Pole attached to the jib sheet.

After a great 4 hour sail the first day, we've pretty much been motoring almost the whole time. Our sail right now is a welcome respite.

With 16 knots of wind, we're making between 7.5 and 8 knots of speed over the ground (as measured by the GPS - the nearest ground is about 6000 feet straight down!).

All is well on Raptor Dance: Jerry and Mary are doing dishes, I'm (Bill) typing this note on the computer and Bob is keeping watch.

We rotate watches every three hours with 1 person on each. This is great as you have 3 on and 9 off - ample time to sleep, read, whatever.

Commanders Weather says we might see more boisterous conditions off Cape Mendocino, but nothing major and no where near what the boat and crew can't easily handle. so far the winds and seas have been substantially lower than forecast and we're hopeful that that trend will continue.

We've been seeing loads of hump back whales and dolphins the last few days. They're always welcome visitors.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 6, 2006

Oregon Coast - Looking for wind.

Hi everyone,

Yesterday after our long slog out the Straights of Juan de Fuca, we turned the corner at Tatoosh Island at 3:30 PM.

Finally the wind was not dead on our nose. We raised sails at 4:00 PM and by 4:30 we had the Monitor wind vane hooked up a steering the boat. Under sail the boat quieted down and just moved! Using no electricity or other technology (the Monitor is a totally mechanical steering "computer"), we were on course, happily zipping along at over 8 knots.

We were on a close reach until 6PM when we turned to port (left) again and headed South to parallel the coast. Our speed was in the 7 knot range with a really nice ride while we had dinner (Garlic and Thyme Roast Chicken, Asparagus with a Balsamic Glaze and a Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf).

Around sunset the wind died - to less than 12 knots (from behind making our apparent wind less than 6 knots) - with 4 foot swells - so we furled the Jib and Staysail and motor sailed with the main up.

We still had enough wind to push us along and maintain 8 knots until this morning when the wind died further. Right now (9 AM PDT, Tuesday June 6th) we're off the Oregon Coast - 40 miles due west of the Columbia River Bar - and we only have 2 knots of wind.

More wind is forecast and we hope to get more sailing in.

It's great having Bob and Jerry along as it means that Mary and I can get lots more sleep than we did on our long passages in Mexico. We're doing 3 hour shifts, so everyone is on 3 and off 9 - plenty of time for sleep!

It's time to fire up the Genset, cool down the fridge and desalinate some more water. We'll report further later today.

Be sure and check out our position reports, we've been filing 3 or 4 per day - see the "And Find our Current Position on Position Reporter" link on our website or go directly to:

That's the news from here!

Warmest Regards,
Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 5, 2006

Enroute Report - Off Neah Bay in the Straights of Juan de Fuca

Hi Everyone!

Bob Hinden and Jerry Stadulis arrived yesterday and we had a lovely Bon Voyage dinner with Jerry's wife Cory and daughter Emily at Michaels restaurant in Port Angeles.

We all turned in early so we could get up at 4:00 AM and cast off just before 5. Twilight up at this latitude starts at 3:40 AM with sunrise at 5:18 AM - so we had plenty of light when we cast off. As we rounded the end of Ediz Hook, exiting Port Angeles harbor - we entered the Straights of Juan de Fuca.

Oh great, lumpy seas with a 15 knot plus head wind. Ho hum... here we go again. At least it's not as bad as we've seen off Monterey.

We had the wind opposing the current unit around 8 - with an ebb tide and a West wind. This always creates a lumpy situation. It slowed us down considerably. Our normal 7 knot cruise was reduced to 5.

Around 8, the tide went slack and we picked up speed - even without the current pushing us. The seas also flattened. Our speed didn't last though as a flood current on our nose and increasing winds slow us way down to a low of 4.5 knots at one point. Over the last hour (11:30 to 12:30) we've only progressed 4.7 nautical miles.

The sun came out around 10 (it was overcast this morning) and it's a beautiful day with relatively flat seas in spite of an 18 knot headwind and adverse current. So no problems... Even if we're only doing 4.6 knots as I look at the GPS.

We should be well out of the Straights by 5 and well offshore by sunset at 9:13 PM tonight. Twilight will last until 10:50 PM and the moon will be up until 2:19 PM so we'll have ample light for most of the night.

Around sunset we'll make the final turn to the south on our route - from there it's 458 miles to Cape Mendocino.

As of right now - 1:00 PM we have 637 miles to go to the Golden Gate.

More later along the way.

Bill, Mary, Bob and Jerry

June 3, 2006

Southbound Preparations

Hi Everyone!

It's been a busy week since our last message.

After Pender Harbour, we motored back to Vancouver and spend a lovely 5 days across from Granville Island in False Creek. We again moored at the False Creek Yacht Club.

It was quite frustrating seeing all the great produce and meats at the Granville Farmers Market as we couldn't take any of these wonderful items across the boarder into the states.

Besides boat chores, we managed to spend Saturday, May 27th at "Eat Vancouver" sponsored by a number of local restaurants and Food TV Canada. It was quite interesting and we discovered a very nice local Mexican Restaurant where we had lunch on Monday "The Mouse and The Bean", quite yummy.

On Tuesday May 30th, we crossed back across the boarder and spend two nights in Friday Harbor. We had a favorable current which had us exceeding 12 kph at times, getting us into Friday Harbor 2 hours early. We hit the local markets to start our provisioning and visited with Bill's high school friend Candy Bowers.

On Thursday, June 1st, we crossed the Straights of Juan de Fuca and arrived at Port Angeles in thick fog. It's a good thing we have GPS and Radar, we needed them to get safely into the harbor as the visibility was only about 100 feet!

We never did see what all those large blips on the radar were since we gave them at least 1000 feet clearance. Only one tiny 20 foot Boston Whaler style became visible for a few minutes and the swallowed by the fog again. When we arrived at the breakwater, we saw it on radar long before we could see it with our eyes. And when we did, it just looked like a slightly darker shadow. We continued on until we suddenly saw a wall in front of us, quickly turned and slowed down. This was the entrance to the marina which we couldn't see until we were on top of it, literally.

Since then we've been getting all our boat chores done, minor repairs, provisioning, cooking, etc. getting ready to head back to San Francisco. The dock is loaded with local fishermen and other boats getting ready to head out to Hawaii or San Francisco. Everyone has been exceedingly friendly. There is even a pair of dock ducks that make their rounds several times a day. It's curious. The ducks walk the docks. We have yet to see them in the water.

The passage is planned at just over 750 miles and it should take us between 5 and 6 non-stop days to make it. We'll have two crew along. This is a first for us as it's always been just the two of us since we left California in September of 2004.

Bob Hinden and Jerry Stadulis are the two fellows coming with us. Bob and his wife Maryann own the Valiant 42 "Acacia". Jerry and his wife Cory are having Valiant 50 #114 built in Texas (very exciting construction should start soon!).

Bob and Jerry arrive tomorrow, Sunday and weather permitting we'll cast off around 5 AM on Monday.

We're using a weather forecasting and routing service "Commanders' Weather" for our trip planning. They provide great briefings and en-route updates.

Right now they're forecasting favorable conditions (mostly 15 to 20 from behind us) until we get to Cape Mendocino. Then it may be a bit "strong" 30 to 35 knots pushing us. We'll decide if we're going to go for it or pull into Eureka, CA (before the cape) when we get closer and get the latest update.

You can follow along as we'll be sending out email updates periodically reporting on our passage and we'll also update our position reports - probably at least twice a day.

You can access our position reports via our homepage or by using this link:

The Blue Balloon is our latest position. You can also click on any of the balloons to see our Course and Speed (if we're away from the dock), text comments from us and the date and time (in UTC, commonly inaccurately called Greenwich Mean Time, to convert to Pacific Daylight Time subtract 7 hours - subtract 4 for the east coast, etc.).

While we're out, we won't have regular email - but will be checking winlink and sailmail. Remember we love hearing from you, but please only send messages of a few paragraphs with no attachments.

We have many other stories to share about our last week getting ready, but we'll do that in later installments. Coming soon! "The mystery of the Shredded Charmin"

Warmest Regards to all!
Bill and Mary

May 23, 2006

Up Jervis Inlet to Egmont, the Skookumchuck Rapids and Princess Louisa

See the pictures for this part of our voyage at

Hello Everyone!

We're back from from Princess Louisa and it was well worth visiting. It's a beautiful Fjord with peaks rising to over 8000 feet and with spectacular waterfalls all around. At the head of the bay is the largest of them all, Chatterbox Falls. It was good to be there early in the season while the falls were at their fullest.

We left Pender Harbour on May 18th and had a quiet motor up Agamemnon Channel to Egmont. We docked at the Egmont Marina Resort which is located partway up the Jervis Inlet near the Skookumchuck Rapids.

The Backeddy Marine Pub at the marina is famous for it's Skookumchuck burger. It's huge! We split one. It's very tasty and we recommend it highly. It's probably the best burger we've had in Canada.

We then hiked about 4 miles (each way) from the marina to Skookumchuck Rapids. The path through the park was lovely, winding through the cedar and pine trees, lush ferns and mushrooms.

The rapids join the Sechelt Inlet to the Jervis Inlet and the sea. A whole lot of water passes through them on every tide. These are claimed to be the wildest navigable rapids in the world. On a peak day, the currents in the rapids exceed 16 knots, With 8 foot overfalls.

At peak current, the rapids are used by white water kayakers even surfers! see

At slack, you might see a tug with barges or log booms going through. Some pretty large vessels also traverse at slack.

The decommissioned 323 foot, Canadian Navel Destroyer, HMCS Chaudiere, was sunk for wreck diving in the Sechelt inlet, so it traversed the rapids to meet its fate. We don't know if that was the largest vessel to traverse the rapids, but we wonder how they got her through!

The rapids are also a popular site for expert SCUBA divers to do a "drift" dive. Too cold for us!

In the language of the local First Nation's tribe, Skookum means "big" or "strong" and chuck means "body of water" - it lives up to it's name. I guess that applies to the burger too, only with a different kind of chuck - ground chuck that is.

We visited on a day when the ebb through the rapids was a wimpy 12.5 knots at peak with 4 foot overfalls. We took lots of pictures and put the best on the website.

It was most interesting and we were glad that we didn't have to pass through those rapids. The pictures do not express how powerful the rapids looked in person. We could see how much deeper the whirlpools were from the surrounding water. We know how they are able to nudge the boat one way or the other when the flow is almost slack. So these would not have given a nudge but a mighty shove.

On the 19th we were joined in Egmont by Jim and Marilyn Ming on their Valiant 40, Coyote Moon. We buddy boated with them the next few days.

Both boats left the Saturday May 20th for the 31 nautical mile trip up Jervis Inlet to Malibu Rapids, the gateway to Princess Louisa Inlet. We planned our trip to traverse Malibu Rapids during the period with the smallest tidal differences to avoid any problems. We were rewarded with a delightfully boring passage through. We were in awe though as we watched a large motor yacht, we think it was between 120 and 150 feet follow us through the rapids.

We were looking forward to our trip up Jarvis Inlet, hoping for that warm clear weather that we had the previous week. The weather turned on the 20th however and our passage up Jervis was marked by fog and rain showers. It wasn't entirely disappointing. The fog, mist and low clouds around the cliffs looked like something out of a movie. We could picture a crew on their boat venturing into this scene on some important quest. We entered Princess Louisa with clouds unfortunately blocking the view.

We continued inside Princess Louisa for the 4 nautical miles up to the head of the Inlet to the park docks at the base of Chatterbox Falls. We were fortunate as the only space left that we'd fit into was right up front, facing the falls. Many of the other boaters were on the dock helping tie up the newly arriving boats. There was not an obvious space for Coyote Moon but some of the other boats retied closer together making room. Very nice of them.

In clearing weather, we hiked up the short trail to the base of the falls. It encouraged us to climb further but there was no route to do that.

Sunday dawned much brighter and only partly cloudy unveiling the magnificence of the valley. Picture Yosemite Valley, but much narrower and just as tall, with dozens of waterfalls cascading down the sides, uncrowded with only a few visitors in boats in the sea covering the valley floor, and you may get a sense for the majesty of Princess Louisa Inlet.

All in all it was a beautiful place. There's not a lot of places to hike though as the only other trail is a rock scramble up a slippery path to an abandoned trappers cabin up the side of the fjord.

So 24 hours in Princess Louisa was sufficient for us. John Mills, the owner of the Egmont Marina Resort commented before we left that "Princess Louisa is the kind of place where two hours is too long and two weeks isn't long enough". We agree.

We left on the high slack on Sunday the 21st with Coyote Moon and made our way back to the Garden Bay Hotel and Resort in Pender Harbour. Underway the weather first turned great! We were back to shorts and T-shirts - then it started to turn cold and rainy.

Just as we were pulling into Pender, it got really gusty and rainy. Jim and Marilyn saw 30+ knot winds on the nose right before they pulled in. We were a mile and 10 minutes ahead and didn't see anything nearly that bad.

We've been here in Pender since, waiting for the rain and winds to abate. 30 knots from the South East was forecast for the last two days - and that would be no fun as that's on our nose as we head to False Creek in Vancouver, our next stop.

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 24th, the winds are forecast to ease. We're planning to leave early tomorrow morning to make the 46 nautical mile passage to False Creek.

That's the news as we snuggle on board Raptor Dance, keeping warm on a rainy and cold day.

Bill and Mary

May 17, 2006

What a Difference a Year Makes!

In May 2005 when we arrived in Canada it was cold and rainy. We didn't see the sun until late July.

This year - it's been dry since we got here. The last few days it's been so warm and sunny that we're even wearing shorts!

Tomorrow we leave the Garden Bay Hotel and Marina in Pender Harbour for Egmont on our way to Princess Louisa. We'll be in Egmont for 2 nights then off to Princess Louisa.

NOTE - for the next 6 days or so we will have NO connectivity. No Internet (shudder), No Cell Phones, Nada! When we're in Princess Louisa itself, our Iridium most likely won't work due to the high surrounding mountains. We'll try our Winlink SSB, but it might not be able to get out either.

Yesterday, the weather was fantastic for our 5 hour passage from Gibson's Landing to Pender. We had light and variable winds, but we were actually able to sail for about an hour! With the engine off! Hooray!

It was so warm that we were in shorts. It was a lovely passage. We need more days like this so we can get the moss off the sails (yes, we had a few tinges of green on an edge that hadn't seen the light of day for more than 6 months).

We will give you all a full report on Princess Louisa when we emerge.

Warmest Regards to all!
Bill and Mary

May 15, 2006

Changes to our Website and Web log

We just wanted to let you know about some of the changes we've made to our website and web log (Blog).

1. We've added news feeds
We now send out an RSS Feed of the information we post on our web log. If you use My Yahoo or My AOL you don't need to do anything technical other than click on the appropriate button below to add our feed to one of your news pages. If you have something else that processes RSS you can click the leftmost button below and walk through the dialog to add us to your news reader!

Subscribe to the Raptor Dance RSS Feed Add Raptor Dance feed to My Yahoo Add Raptor Dance feed to My AOL

We've also put these buttons on the Blog and on our homepage.

If you prefer an ATOM feed, you can use the URL

2. We have segregated our content

We've got a pretty broad audience who read our stuff. We also have folks who are on limited bandwidth connections via Sailmail, Winlink and Satellite Phones. So we'll keep our emails pretty much general interest, non-technical and text only. We'll continue to post pictures on our website.

What we have added (based on lot's of requests) is a more technical look at "how we did it". Electronics, boat gear, gadgets and generally technoid stuff we'll post only on our web log (with links from our website). You can just check our web log at if you're interested - but I recommend signing up for the news feed so you'll find out about things new on the Blog when they're posted.

3. Ads?

Yes, we've put some ads on the site. Who knows, if enough folks click on the links we might make a few bucks. We'll keep then innocuous. If they bother you, let me (Bill) know. If you see something interesting to you. Please visit the advertiser.

4. Indices

We've added some additional indices to make past articles easier to find (e.g. Recipes, Web Log Contents, Recommendations, etc.). We've updated the quick links on our homepage and also the table of contents of the BLOG.

5. Position Reporter

We've added a new mapping resource so you can find us. It's called "Position Reporter" and it's linked into the position reports we file. Click on the "Find our Current Position on Position Reporter" link on our homepage to access this map. It uses Google maps so you can zoom, pan, see the view of where we are from satellite photos, and lots more.

Our latest position is shown by a blue balloon. Prior locations are shown in green. If you move your mouse over on of the balloons, you should get a popup of the date and time we were there. If you click on the balloon, you should get a popup with more information on the location.

If you want to know how we do all this, see "About Position Reporting" link in our homepage Quick Links.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to make our stuff more usable - drop me an email!

AIS Update - Nobeltec's AIS 100 Receiver with VNS 8.1.2000

I thought you might be interested in our experiences so far with Nobeltec's Visual Navigation Suite 8.1.2000 (the latest patch level) and their Single Channel AIS 100 Receiver.

Installation was pretty easy - running the cable to our antenna arch was fun of course. The 4' Shakespeare VHF Antenna we're using is now occupying the last of our 6 mounts. Hmmm - this confirms that I'm a technoid geek if I've used all 6 mounts (2 GPSs, a CARD, Iridium antenna and Sirius Satellite Radio antenna take up the other 5 mounts).

Connections to the unit were 12V, the VHF Antenna and a serial port to the computer. Fortunately I have a permanently installed USB hub with unused ports and an extra serial to USB adapter on board. The Serial Port on the AIS 100 outputs NMEA-0183 formatted sentences at 38.5 kbps, so we really could not multiplex into our 4.8 kbps NMEA multiplexer system.

Firing everything up - It worked out of the box. See for a screen shot.

We're up in Gibson's Landing, across Howe Sound from Vancouver today and I've counted 34 targets that I'm tracking. It's really interesting as you have a lot of information about many of the vessels - e.g. destination, cargo, etc.

Overall, the system works OK.... Mostly....

VNS 8.1.2000 Crashes a lot - it seems to suffer from memory problems and freezes up every few hours and requires restarting. So far Nobeltec support hasn't answered my emails. I'll try calling them later (you really don't want to try to reach them on Monday mornings). I've already followed some of their advice to no avail.

The basic problem with this current set up is that VNS and the AIS 100 don't show all the targets! Also, targets that should remain visible disappear from time to time. The disappearing targets are often closer to us than other targets that remain and often within physical line of site. So, I don't think it's a problem with VHF reception. Some of the disappearing targets are quite close and a possible collision hazard. My theory is that this is due to the fact that the AIS 100 is a single channel receiver, the disappearing target ships' transponders have switched to the other AIS Channel. To try to continue displaying these targets, I have raised the AIS/ARPA Timeout value in VNS to 600 seconds (10 minutes). This didn't seem to noticeably change behavior.

If you have other thoughts about what might be going on, drop me a note!

I'm thinking that single channel AIS receivers may be of much less value than believed (I played with using the worthless word, but I'm still think it has some value). We'll most certainly upgrade to a 2 channel receiver when prices come down.

Princess Louisa Bound

Hi Everyone!

We’re on our way to Princess Louisa! We should arrive there on Saturday May 20th.

Princess Louisa Inlet is reported to have the most fantastic scenery in the entire Pacific Northwest, it’s a must not miss. It’s reachable only by boat or float plane. The water in the inlet is over 1,000 feet deep and is surrounded by 5,000 to 8,000 foot mountains, carved by ancient glaciers.

Earle Stanley Gardiner wrote in his Log of a Landlubber:
“There is a calm tranquility which stretches from the smooth surface of the reflecting waters straight up to infinity. The deep calm of eternal silence is only disturbed by the muffled roar of throbbing waterfall as they plunge down from sheer cliffs. There is no scenery in the world that can beat it. Not that I’ve seen the rest of the world, I don’t need to. I’ve seen Princess Louisa Inlet.”

We’ll have our reports and photos when we get back out around the 24th or so.

For more info about Princess Louisa see:

Today, May 15th, we’re back at the Gibson’s Landing Marina across Howe Sound from the city of Vancouver.

Yesterday, we left Ganges at 8:55 AM heading for Porlier Pass. We had an adverse current of over 2 knots so we had to increase our normal engine RPMs from 2250 to 2500 to make the pass at the 11:47 AM slack tide.

Porlier Pass is one of the more boisterous passes – particularly during Spring Tides (around the time of the full and new moons). For example, at 8:12 AM the tide would have been 5.5 knots on our nose. At 2:56 PM the tide would have been 8.6 Knots on our tail!

Up here, there appears to be a pecking order for passes. Up to fairly boisterous, their called “Passes”. The really hairy ones are called “Rapids”. Passes can have whirlpools and currents exceeding 9 knots. Rapids can also have overfalls, big standing waves and currents up to 14+ knots – they’re generally much more turbulent than Passes. These are our observations, I haven’t found specific definitions of the difference.

We traversed quite a few rapids last year and many passes. It turns our they’re really no big deal – as long as you traverse them at or close to slack current. The allowable timing varies – some rapids have a navigable window of as little as 15 minutes.

On Saturday (May 20th), we’ll be heading through Malibu Rapids, which guards the entrance to Princess Louisa. The tricky part of this one is timing your arrival as it’s 32 miles from the nearest safe place to spend the night – Egmont Marina. This is also a pretty hairy set of rapids – e.g. the sailing instructions say “Wait until the surf created by the overfall subsides entirely” before proceeding through. The rapids also have a dogleg turn in the middle, it’s narrow and you can’t see the other end when you start through – so a call on the radio announcing your intentions is a really good idea.

OK, back to our yesterday’s passage: Our timing was pretty good, we were going to arrive at the pass a few minutes early – but then the RCMP came by in a fast Zodiac and picked us to do a “Customs Check”. This is the first time we’ve been boarded in the 5+ years we’ve owned Raptor Dance. As we had been in Canada since March 24th and had our paperwork (and flags) in order, the check only took 10 minutes. The RCMP members (apparently they’re not called “officers”, at least on our copy of the “Custom Check Sheet” they left with us.

We still got to Porlier Pass within a few minutes of slack, so all was well.

We then forereached across the Straights of Georgia motor sailing with 20 knot headwinds arriving in Gibson’s Landing at 3:35 PM.

We’ll be here until tomorrow morning, then up to Pender Harbour for 2 nights, the Egmont for 2 nights then up to Princess Louisa.

I’ll wrap up for now, but I’ll send another message in a little while on what else we’ve been up to since we got back to cruising.

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

March 29, 2006

We've Changed Our Web Hosting and Domain Registrar

We moved from "SBC/Yahoo" to "1and1" a very highly rated service. You don't have to do anything different, the changes were all on our end.

We did this to improve our capabilities and lower our costs.

Yahoo's web service level was reasonable, but their customer service was poor and their prices were too high. We're saving more than half the cost of running our site by switching. Also their tools are a bit better.

Click the link below to find out about their offerings or Contact me via email if you'd like to why we switched in more detail.

Note - Our BLOG remains with Google's We're very happy with this service.

see: for more info

March 24, 2006

Whitecaps and Dorkey Hats

Today's theme is Whitecaps and Dorkey Hats...

We got to arrived in Seattle Wednesday night, March 15th as planned. The rest of our time in Seattle was spent wrapping up the boat maintenance with the various repair folk. Since we arrived in October, we had 4 separate teams working on different systems. So our week was taken up by checking out all the work and finishing up the final tasks.

Finally we had some time to see our friends, Chris and Julie on Kona Trader who were over at Bell Harbor Marina - about 2 miles from Lake Union. We also got a few hours to visit Pike Place Market and do something besides shopping for boat parts.

Wednesday the 22nd, Charlie Stillman from Discovery Yachts came along with us as we "locked through" and headed back to salt water for the first time since mid-October. Of course, it rained off and on most of the day.

That evening friends from Powell River came over to our slip at Shilshole Marina, just outside the locks, still in Seattle. Bonnie and Wilf Rennecke were in town visiting family and we had a nice dinner at Anthony's Homeport - a nice seafood restaurant right near the Marina. Bonnie and Wilf have a Baba 40 "Warlord". We met them last summer at the "Perry Design Rendezvous North" (Bob Perry designed both their boat and ours) that they organized in refuge cove in Desolation Sound.

The weather forecast was for gale force winds on Thursday, so we delayed our departure to Friday.

This morning (Friday) we checked the weather and it looked a little better. The wind was at least forecast to be behind us for a change, so we went for it! Just as we were about to depart a squall dumped on us and we almost decided to wait another day. But if we waited, the wind was forecast to be on our nose! Fooey!

After the squall passed, we cast off with rays of sunshine peeking out from the clouds. It was a bumpy ride most of the way, but with a staysail only up we were able to make really good time. At times we were hitting 9+ knots. It was windy and cold though and we did get dumped on by 2 or 3 squalls as we headed up Puget Sound.

The strongest winds were around the headlands along the way at "Point no Point" and "Point Wilson".

Our records was broken... In 6 years of sailing on Raptor Dance, today was the first day we actually needed and wore our foul weather gear. We didn't wear it all day though... Thus the theme for today. Here's what we looked like shortly before putting on the foulies:

Note the Dorkey Hats...

They do keep your ears warm though!

The second picture shows Mary, modeling our foul weather attire as we passed Point Wilson. Note the whitecaps in the background.

We were doing fine until we entered the Straights of Juan de Fuca. Then the wind increased and we had a really bouncy half hour or so until the wind died totally!

Off came the foulies and back to normal attire.

Then the wind shifted to the west and was back on our nose! The forecast wind shift hit a day early!

So slogging into the 25 knot winds for the last 14 miles took much longer. As the tides were with us and opposing the wind, the seas got even lumpier! Good thing we have such a solid boat! These Valiants are delightful!

Anyway, we got into Victoria safe and sound at 445 PM after a lumpy, but otherwise uneventful day.

We're going to hang out here until Tuesday or Wednesday, then head up to Sidney. We'll park the boat and probably head back to the house around April 1. We'll fly back and resume our cruise the end of April, when the weather warms up a bit more.

We'll probably take Kenmore Air to get back to our car... Woopie! We'll get to ride a seaplane!

That's the news from Raptor Dance. Drop us a line and let us know how your doing. We have wireless Internet at the dock in front of the Empress Hotel!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

March 13, 2006

Back Underway

Hello everyone!
It's been a while since we last emailed.
We've been off the boat at our Vacation home in Sonoma County California catching up on home chores.  Some minor repairs, replaced the oven and range hood, remodeled the old closet where the furnace used to be, reworked some of the kitchen cabinets and generally getting the house ready to leave again!
We've also updated our website and changed our web hosting and domain registrar.  You don't have to do anything different, just go to as always. 
Note though if you have any bookmarks, links, etc. that go to, you need to change them to go to!
We changed the layout of our website.  Some of the new things we've added include a list of "Quick Links" on the homepage to make it easier to get around and a database containing our Recipes!  Go take a look.  Let me know what you think!
We are planning to drive up to Seattle to get back onboard in two days on Wednesday, March 15th.  We'll stay in Seattle on Lake Union for about a week, going back out the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks on Tuesday or Wednesday, March 21 or 22 see:
We will overnight in Shilshole Marina or Bell Marina before heading back to Victoria and Sidney (route to be determined, based on who's around to visit with!).
We're planning on docking Raptor Dance in Port Sidney Marina for the month of April and heading back to Sonoma for a good part of April.  Since we'll have left or Jeep at Lake Union, we will come back via either the Victoria Clipper or Kenmore Air http://www.Kenmore and drive the jeep back.  Later in April we'll fly right into Victoria Airport, which is actually in Sidney.
In May we're planning to hit the highlights we missed last year, including Princess Louisa Inlet.  We'll also visit some old favorites.
In June, we're planning to leave around June 6 to 8, weather permitting, and sail nonstop to San Francisco Bay.  We're signed up with Commanders' Weather to maximize the probability of leaving during a good weather window.  We'll most likely leave from Port Angeles in Washington.
We're planning to take two crew with us as this should be about a 6 day passage.  We have two "probable" crew members, but they're not yet 100% certain they can make it.
That's the news from here.  We'll update you next when we leave Lake Union.
Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary