Tuesday, September 13. Anacortes Yacht Charters, Anacortes, Washington.
On another beautiful day we cruised Anacortes for last minute supplies and crab permits, had a long brunch poring over our San Juans flip chart.
We checked in with Anacortes Yacht Charters at 4PM, where we would receive an orientation, meet our check-out skipper and, of course, meet Gretel II our 30 foot Baba full -keel sailboat. The orientation was a DVD with many dos and dont’s. Most words of caution involved navigating areas with shallow reefs, rocks and where extra low tides occur. I realized as “crew” I needed to be extra diligent about keeping my eyes peeled during low tides and low light.
Bass and I retrieved our key from the office and went down to the docks to see Gretel II, our home for the next 10 days. I had listened to Bass and our friend Doug talk often about good sailboat design and the beauty of some old school features like canoe sterns, lapstrake hulls and teak decks. But I was not prepared for how beautiful Gretel II was in person. Even a landlubber would note the innate beauty of this boat. She looked elegant yet solid and capable. The cockpit was very oval shaped and roomy with the wheel in the middle and teak decked lazerettes. We went below and found a small, functional galley and very roomy salon. The V-berth was a concern as AYC had assured us a 6’ 4” person could sleep comfortably. However, a friend who had been in the San Jauns earlier in the summer stopped by AYC to check out Gretel II and thought the V-berth would be short. To our relief the V-berth worked great. It was the head which could benefit from a few more square inches.
As we were looking around, Chris, our skipper came down to greet us. Chris was a pleasant guy who gave us inside information on what to see this first time around in the San Juans. He covered the engine, sails, head, bilge pump and in a déjà vu moment, could not work the on board navigation system and GPS. I looked at Bass and his fingers were twitching. I know this twitch. He does the same thing when painfully watching me type. I knew Bass wanted to reach over Chris’s shoulder and hit the correct sequence of buttons. After briefly discussing our sailing experience, the conversation turned to Chris’s passion, racing sailboats. He also mentioned that he always drops his hook and never uses a mooring ball. Sufficiently intimidated, it was finally time for Bass to show his mad skills and motor out of the slip and into the harbor. We were both pretty nervous and many live aboards turned their attention to us as we left the marina on our “test drive”. They knew we were chartering and with much shadenfreude looked on as we slicked the test drive [Bass: this test drive was made more challenging by the fact that Chris was in a hurry and kept reaching over and bumping up the throttle, which I would then bump back down, which Chris would bump up etc. etc.]. Chris was satisfied with Bass’s performance and our sailing knowledge. He left and we went to our favorite bar in Anacortes, the Brown Lantern.
We slept that night in the marina on Gretel II. It was a quiet, peaceful night.