Well, it has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks for us!
We reached Squalicum Harbor and the Lady of the Sea in the early afternoon of the 2nd and I immediately began the process of de-winterizing her and familiarizing myself with the unique quirks that makes each vessel different. Lauren and Nora got settled in and enjoyed finding places for all her books and toys. After getting the fresh water system going and putting Nora to bed, Lauren and I shared a toast to the first step of our journey and then snuggled into the captain's quarters.
The next day my folks arrived and my dad started helping with getting systems going. Over the next couple of days we worked on figuring out the fuel, black water, electrical, and steering systems. We replaced the autopilot with a new Garmin, installed the VHF and radar, and got starlink set up to provide internet access while cruising. The Lady of the Sea was hauled out at SeaView boatyard there in Bellingham for a fresh coat of paint, new zincs, and a prop polishing.
The rest of the crew arrived while work was underway; Lauren's mom and brother along with his wife and 7 month old son. Everyone pitched in to get the Lady of the Sea ready for our trip up, but when we looked at the weather forecast there were repeated 50+ mph storms hitting along the Alaska and Canadian coasts. Our day of departure passed as we waited for a break in the storms, but this April has been unusually bad, and even in the protection of the inside passage, high winds can make for a uncomfortable and dangerous trip.
Eventually we came to the decision to postpone our journey, and instead decided to take a 3-day shakedown trip into the San Juan Islands. It was wonderful to be able to have her out on the water and we all enjoyed our little adventure. The San Juan's are beautiful. Not as spectacular as Kachemak Bay in my opinion, although I might be a little biased, but definitely a wonderful place to spend a few days. A lot of the docks and shops were still closed, but we did some fishing and managed to find a few great spots, especially Little Soucia Island and the James Island Marine Park. We also didn't see much wildlife or any whales, but did spot some sea lions hauled out on the rocks.
In the end the trip was wonderful, if a little bittersweet. I am planning on heading down again next month when the weather will hopefully cooperate a bit more. I'll try to share some of the trip planning and stopping points we plan to make in a post before then.