2015 September Commodore’s Column: “The Salish Sea and Beyond”

Sept 2The June title for this column was “Let’s Go Cruising!” and now Port Townsend Yacht Club members are in the midst of one of the finest cruising summers in recent memory. PTYC boaters have been experiencing the Pacific Northwest cruising waters at their near b
est, a few storms and some fog notwithstanding.

The ’Round Whidbey” Cruise, creatively captained by Dale and Susie Moses, marked the beginning of the summer cruise season and was attended all or in part by boats crewed by the Cholvins, the Schefstroms, the Baillargeons, Steve Froggett and the Oliveiras, the Madingers, the Moseses, the Sidles, Mike & Sandy Smith, the Sniders, the Thurstons, the Walshes and the Williamses. Ports of call included Langley, Oak Harbor, La Conner and Anacortes. The highlights were many, but the Oak Harbor Yacht Club’s invitation to join them for their club’s “Burn Your Own Meat” night was one of the best! They were very friendly and hospitable and enjoyed showing us around their beautifully renovated clubhouse. Great job Dale and Susie!

Meanwhile, adventurous PTYC members Joe and Beth Burson and Alan and Cathy Lapat cruised together north to Alaska going as far north as Sitka.

Bill and Karen Bloemker, Jack Hensel and Barb, and Rick and Sandi Rezinas cruised to the Broughtons together, while Bill Rothert and Macy Galbreath adventured later to The Broughtons.

Those of us not going north enjoyed the annual July 4th cruise to Reid Harbor, Stuart Island, in the San Juans. This cruise was very well attended (17 boats at last count) and enjoyed several more wonderful gatherings on the float in the middle of the harbor. Many hikes were taken to the schoolhouse and the Turn Point Lighthouse. The always interesting and entertaining July 4th decorated dinghies and people parade was fun and as usual appreciated by all the other boats in the harbor as we paraded by them with horns blaring and music playing. Carl Sidle made his famous Alaskan Amber pancakes and sausages for breakfast to the delight of everyone. The July 4th dinner on the dock included potluck dishes galore and All American hot dogs with all the trimmings. Happy Hour was signaled by cannon fire from aboard Tom and Val Thurston’s TATSU! That was a new event and even slightly appreciated by the always alert State Park rangers!

The end of July brought the Port Ludlow cruise captained by Fleet Captain Duane (El Duano) and Houlton Madinger and crew Fred and Ilona Bell and Jess and Mary Schefstrom.. This popular cruise was planned to coincide with the Port Ludlow Days Festival by the Bay celebration, an extra treat for our cruisers. There was a fair with music arts and crafts and food. The last night was capped by “Oohs and Ahs” to a prolonged fireworks show. A little rain did not dampen our spirits as Port Ludlow Marina provided a large tent for approximately 50 members and guests, some of whom drove down for the event, to join us for the BBQ and potluck.

Late August is the time for our traditional cruise to beautifully renovated Pleasant Harbor Marina. The cruise was captained by Fred and Ilona Bell and Michael and Jane Asbury. Seven boats arrived a day early and enjoyed a congenial dinner of pizza and beer in the marina’s rooftop patio, complete with gas fireplace and big screen TV. On Friday evening the group enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres on the dock followed by the usual camaraderie After dinner a few of us went to the rooftop patio to take in the Seahawks game against the KC Chiefs on the big screen. Saturday morning, many of us went aboard the Schooner Merrie Ellen for an hour long guided tour and interesting history lesson of the ship courtesy of Captain John Holter, his wife, Jill, and crew. PTYC member Bruce Klock was instrumental in arranging the tour of the Merrie Ellen for us. Thanks Bruce! Saturday evening the pool and BBQ area were reserved for the PTYC cruisers to use for a BBQ and potluck event. The gathered crowd of boaters numbered over 50 folks who sang Happy Birthday to Glenn Hellman. This was followed by a trio concert performed by the guitars of Harry Dudley and John Oliveira, and Muriel Powers on autoharp. They also entertained the group by singing a few numbers as well. What a nice venue and “pleasant” time! Pleasant Harbor Marina has done a beautiful job of making our stay enjoyable! Sunday morning began with a breakfast on the dock provided by Fred and Ilona and Michael and Jane. After breakfast many boats began to depart for home ports while, a few others set course for a further cruise to Alderbrook Resort Marina on down near the end of the Hood Canal.

A beautiful, albeit a somewhat smoky morning, due to windborne smoke from the fires in Eastern Washington, greeted the small group of PTYC cruisers as they cast off for the 24 mile passage to Alderbrook Resort Marina. Partial views of the Olympic Mountains were enjoyed and the Hood Canal waters were flat calm. The boats, in our group were: TATSU, SUNSET, DISCOVERY, LAZY L, VITA E BELLA, CELTIC SUN, ROUNDABOUT and NORTHERN SAGE. Sunday evening everyone gathered on the fantail of NORTHERN SAGE and enjoyed potluck and great conversation, including stories of humorous events from several in the group. We learned to watch for slugs in your salad and not to visit the gas station restroom while your tank is filling! The group also enjoyed the arrival and departure of a private helicopter at the Bill and Melinda Gates compound a mere 200 yards away! Many cameras and binoculars were focused on the event. We also were witness to a wedding on the grounds of the resort. Never a dull moment!

PTYC is a fun group of cruisers with many members who have decades of both professional and recreational sailing and cruising under their belts, AND they are very generous with their knowledge and more than willing to help anyone who asks. So, when your calendar allows, consider taking advantage of joining the next cruise and participate in the fun!

May the frost never afflict your spuds.”                                            Gerry Walsh, Commodore