Boatbuilding Blog

June 16, 2013

Dueling Tablets

Filed under: Hardware, Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 1:08 pm

While in Victoria I found a RAM mount, so I screwed it to the dash so I could put both tablets up at once. That’s a Microsoft Surface Pro on the left, running Coastal Explorer, and my iPad on the right running Navionics . Coastal Explorer has a lot more features, but is kind of complex to learn, and the touch-screen interface is poor. Navionics has Active Captain built in, which I like and use a lot. The two systems complement each other, but having too many screens is kind of distracting. The Surface Pro doesn’t have a 12 volt charger, so I needed to run my inverter most of the time, and doesn’t have a built-in GPS, so that’s another wire running on the dash. The iPad looks odd because it’s wrapped in an OtterBox case. I used the iPad for almost all my navigation on this trip, and wrote blog entries and watched movies on the Surface tablet. With a 12 volt charger and a Bluetooth GPS, the Pro would be a good choice for a single computer.


Home (Day 29-30)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 12:52 pm

I spent Wednesday night in Watmough Bay, on the South end of Lopez Island, and crossed the Straights in the morning. Calm and sunny in the middle, so I anchored in the lee of the sand bar off the end of Smith Island and watched the Cormorants and Rhinoceros Auklets for a couple of hours waiting for the tide to be favorable into Admiralty Inlet.
Watmough Bay

I tied up at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center dock to walk to town, but the sign said I’d need to pay $12, so I went on and anchored in front of town instead, rowed to shore and walked to uptown to buy groceries. Then I went on to Mats Mats bay for the night.Port Townsend Marine Science Center

I ran into one of my favorites at Port Townsend – the schooner Adventuress, out for a day sail.
schooner Adventuress

While in town I checked in at the Wooden Boat Center and found a bunch of people building Scamp sailboats. I’d like to make one some day. They are fine little ships.
Building Scamps

Here’s a panorama of Mats Mats bay. Despite all the boats anchored, I think I was the only person on board that night. This would be a great place to leave a boat if you had to go away for a week or two – completely protected and out of the way. You could walk to Port Ludlow and catch a bus to Seattle. Getting in is a little scary, but if you avoid Klas Rocks and follow the range markers on the way in, it’s not dangerous. At a medium tide I didn’t see any depths less than 14 feet. (Links to a very large picture.)Mats Mats

Coming into the small locks. I was home at my slip in Kenmore at 4 PM. I spent 30 days on the water on this trip.

My last track from the SPOT tracker.

June 12, 2013

Back to the US (Day 27 –28)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 3:34 am

I left Victoria early on Monday and crossed Haro Striaght on a nice calm day. I motored slowly up the south side of San Juan Island looking for Orcas, but no luck. Customs in Roche Harbor was uneventful. I had a nice lunch there and went to Jones Island where I anchored out for the night. I rowed around the point and beached the dinghy and walked the trails in the evening. Tuesday has been a lot of slow meandering around the Wasp Islands, gas in Deer harbor, and now a late lunch in the Orcas Hotel at the ferry dock, where I am now. They have Alaskan Amber and wifi – the two necessities for blogging.

Tonight I’ll anchor in Alex Bay on the rocky south end of Lopez Island and, if the weather holds,  cross the Straights of Juan De Fuca to Port Townsend in the morning. My trip is almost over.

Before crossing Haro Straight I stopped for coffee in Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria, and found this nice garden. The beds of flowers are raised up so you don’t have to bend over too far to sniff them.

Surrounded by white plastic in Roche harbor.

Jones Island evening.

Orcas Hotel. The view from my seat as I type.

Victoria (Days 24 – 26)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 3:20 am

I was tired when I got to Victoria on Friday afternoon, so I bought moorage at the government wharf right in front of the Empress Hotel. I was going to anchor out in Esquimalt (esk-WEE-malt)  Harbor. I walked around West Victoria all Friday afternoon, and then Meryll showed up with her bicycle on the Coho (Black Ball) ferry on Saturday afternoon. We walked through Chinatown and had a nice Japanese dinner that evening. Sunday morning we biked all over the neighborhoods south of the inner harbor. Meryll dropped a Loonie into the hat of the Plaster Man, and he scared her by stepping down and giving her a hug. Then we took a dinghy ride around the harbor, and she caught the 7:30 sailing back to Port Angeles to go to work the next day. The weather was sunny and windy each day we were there.

Threading the usual chaos on the harbor on the way in.

A pretty decent parking spot.

Meryll bought me some cedar carvings for the Coot. We talked to the artist, Clarence David Charlie II. They are loons instead of Coots, but no one carves Coots.

Parliament buildings. Meryll took this picture.

Meryll looking cute with her parasol on the dinghy.

Montague, Roche Harbor, to Victoria (Days 20-23)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 3:02 am

Playing with the self-timer on a calm day.

Bumblebee wants to be a hummingbird when he grows up.

Montague Harbor has a pure white beach made of shells washed out of an ancient shell midden.

Artsy shot at Montague harbor.

I rode 10 miles to the ferry terminal on Galliano. I’ve  really enjoyed having the bile on this trip.

A lot of these posters around the island.

I got a nice parking spot in Roche Harbor. I listened to the singers in the cafe right above me.

June 3, 2013


Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 11:30 pm

I could imagine living in Nanaimo. It’s a real city (second-largest on Vancouver Island, after Victoria), but feels very accessible, with lots of restaurants and little stores. It’s also got an amazing waterfront and some great parks. It reminds me of an upscale Bellingham.  I’ve spent two nights here. Today I rode my bike all around town, which is very hilly.

I thought these guys were pulling me over as I entered the harbor, but they went on past. my favorite colors!

They are giving me the eyeball on the way past.

Newcastle Island is a beautiful park, and protects the harbor on the North. The city in the background.

They used to quarry grindstones here (as well as coal, which gave the island it’s name). Some remnants.

The harbor has a row-up floating pub.

I found some old totem poles rotting away quietly in a park.

An eagle holding a fish.

I ended the day with a salad and a burger, and a beer.

Princess Louisa Inlet

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 11:27 pm

Princess Louisa Inlet is about 4 miles long, ringed by snow-capped mountains, and is very beautiful. It’s also a real pain to get to. It’s at the end of a 32-mile long fjord, with no safe anchorage anywhere along the way. To get in the inlet, you have to go through a narrow, twisty rapids, which are only safe to traverse at slack tide. The night before, I stayed at a marina right on the waterway, with 4 knot currents passing under the boat all night. It sounded like I was on a river. I woke at 4 AM to make the 5-hour trip so I could catch the 10 AM slack. I passed a single boat the whole trip up, and there were almost no houses on the way. It was spooky in the rain and fog of early morning.


The mountains on the way in were snow-covered, and waterfalls fell a thousand feet into the salt water.

This was the only sunlight I saw in 3 days.

The passage through the rapids was uneventful, and then I realized the long trip was worth it.DSC_0077



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The view from the dock, with Chatterbox Falls in the background. I hung out for a while with Clark and Nina on the beautiful 42’ trimaran that Clark built.

There were waterfalls everywhere, tumbling vertically down the cliffs.
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I played with the self-timer on the long trip back.

And then I played with making panoramas.


This marked day 17 and the northern-most portion of my trip. From here I head south down the Vancouver side of the Straights of Georgia, and get home in two weeks.

Up the Coast from Vancouver

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 11:24 pm

There was a long trip up the coast from Howe Sound, and I stayed in Smuggler’s cove that night.



Smuggler’s Cove.




AIS WatchMate Anchor Alarm

Filed under: Hardware — tomlarkin @ 11:22 pm

I bought the AIS to let me know what the ships around me were up to, and it works well for that, but on this trip I’ve been anchoring out almost every night and have been using the anchor alarm function. It’s given me real peace of mind each night. For instance, it was very windy last night and this morning, gusting to 30 knots, and hovering around 20 much of the time.  There are boats all around me in the Nanaimo anchorage just south of Newcastle Island, and I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t drag into them.

This picture shows two days of being anchored in the same place. The outer circle shows the range I can swing before the alarm goes off, in this case 150 feet diameter.. The dots are GPS positions of the boat, taken every few minutes. The inner set of dots were after I anchored, when the breeze was mild. I let out about 90 feet of line because the depth was around 25 feet.  Around 2 AM the wind picked up and I increased my scope about 30 feet for better holding – which is the cluster of dots further away from the center of the circle, where the anchor is. If I had dragged about 20 feet, the alarm would have gone off.

You can tell two things from this picture – the wind is from the NNE, and the Coot swings back and forth about 30% in the wind.