Day 23 overall, Day 16 afloat, Shearwater to Bottleneck Inlet

Blog Reader, Blog Reader, Blog Reader, this is vessel Domino with Tammy at the Blog.

Every day I say to myself “we could not possibly top yesterday” and then it happens! Something new and wonderful floats by, comes into view, swims near the boat or flies overhead. If there is such a thing as chicken soup for the soul this trip has actually been mine. It appears that we have both shed some weight but I don’t know how because we eat pretty well onboard and on shore trips! I have managed to set aside the stress of work and home life and I have granted myself permission to wake up and smell ALL the roses! I have never felt better and I can hardly wait to start each new day. Andrew is happier than I have ever seen him. I will have to ask his mother, when we pick her up in Juneau in just a few weeks, if I am seeing the childhood Andrew that she must have seen every time he got a new computer, took apart something to figure out how it worked or learned something interesting that helped him build the incredible store of knowledge that he has today! My husband is a really smart and cool guy but he is not a grease monkey and I know a Grease monkey when I see one since my family is full of them! This boat has encouraged him to embrace his inner motor head! My father and Skip Bradley would be proud of him! I can’t wait to talk to my friend Jan Bradley, when we get to phone service again, and tell her that Andrew is working in an engine room. This makes me happy but does create the problem of how big a bottle of SHOUT to purchase at the next marina stop! We are going to have to train Andrew to have one set of work/shop clothes that he uses only to work on the engine or he will really look like a grease monkey by the end of this trip!


For anyone who is thinking about trying the inside passage and feel that having some navigational, local knowledge assistance along the way would be wonderful. Maybe you also would like moral support, companionship and some boat mechanical expertise from capable and knowledgeable boaters? If so then STOP READING THIS BLOG and sign up for the Waggoner group trip next summer. We loved our Waggoner flotilla! Sam and Kevin the flotilla leaders were incredible and shared so much information along the way. They accessed the group early and made good choices along the way about teachable moments. They worked hard and worked together to empower each and every boater with the tools to make safe, practical decisions because this is a one way trip and we all have to make it back on our own! Many of us are also going on into Alaska to explore. Andrew and I both feel much more comfortable having traveled with Kevin and Sam. We have learned so much already and we are handling things well and in pretty short order. Not bad given that the first time we docked in Anacortes we came in diagonally and nearly took out Sam and the dock! Sam was there to help from day one and we have found him to be a wealth of knowledge regarding boats, maintenance and navigation. It is hard to imagine this trip without Kevin. They are sharing so much local knowledge regarding the waters, the marinas, the anchorages, the marine life and the local activities. Thankfully we have gotten much better at docking, anchoring and judging trip times thanks to Kevin, Sam and our two day boot camp with Captain Jack! Good thing too because we will be on our own in a week! Oh and Kevin of course taught me how crack a crab in half with my bare hands. Andrew said that it almost made him afraid!

We also learned a tremendous amount from our companion boaters! We know we still have a lot to learn but having a solid base we are now confident and comfortable building on that base. The group has been fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for better partners in a fleet. We thought about making this voyage alone but we are so glad that we hooked up with them for the first 20 days because the moral support has been invaluable and certainly made our families much happier that we were not entirely alone. We are only 5 boats but the group is so large in heart, humor and spirit that it feels like a much larger fleet. Andrew and I will remember their generous support, sense of adventure and patient manner. We thank you all!

We were just passed on the port side by the “Disney Wonder” Cruise ship. Man are those ships big when they come barring down at you in a channel and if you not carefully their wake could swamp your boat! Kitty would not be happy about that at all!

As you recall, Domino cruises at 6-7 NM an hour and today we travel approximately 8.5 hours give or take depending on the tides and currents. So we are learning to use our time aboard in ways that make us each happy. Patience, the little kitty, navigates herself to a sunny spot and then takes an appropriately long nap! Andrew and Tammy take shifts navigating. I like to use my off shift time to keep Andrew company, or keep kitty company and join her nap, I read and I write this blog. I brought things to do like drawing paper and water colors but somehow it always seems like more fun to watch out the windows and look for dolphins, whales and bears. I enjoying cooking on board and sometimes underway I get a head start on appetizers for cocktail hour or dinner. The captain also enjoys a warm lunch. Sometimes he gets fluffernutters! A fluffernutter is a standard peanut butter sandwich on white bread but you add a glob of white marshmallow fluff on top.

5:19- Waters were a little rough through Finlayson Channel. 5:57-We arrived in Bottleneck Inlet. We have passed several huge barges pulling all sorts of stuff including containers for trains and trucks. Amazing how the water in the channel can be a little rough and once you enter these protected coves the water becomes like glass. I can see why this would be a good storm shelter. The entrance to Bottleneck is hidden and you could almost miss it if you weren’t looking really hard. The trees at either shore have bent toward the other and the long shadows shade and hide the bend in the rocks and the turn into the cove. This is a good example of a mud bottom, easy anchorage and holds well.

The flotilla seems tired today so we all prepared dinner at home and did not hold a group happy hour. Andrew and I dropped my crab trap and then stopped by Sandy and Dale’s boat, the Yacht Shot and said hello. They were just finishing dinner and invited us to come aboard. Sandy fed us taco salad, (nice because now no work or dishes for me tonight). Andrew buzzed back over to the boat and grabbed the ice cream and chocolate sauce that we purchased in Shearwater. It appears that Dale is also a big fan of ice cream and loves to end his day with a big bowl of vanilla. He also likes nuts and treats in his ice cream so we all customized our sundaes! I just adore a big bowl of ice cream. I am a bit of purist though, I only like chocolate syrup sometimes but I really just love the vanilla all by itself! I am loving that freezer on the Domino because we can store all kinds of food, including ice cream and I don’t have to go to the store all the time.

Another great end to another wonderful day. I am so grateful for these days and I can hardly believe that we are only 16 days into this 109 day adventure.

This is Tammy on the vessel Domino signing off for the night, sweet dreams full of vanilla ice cream and 76 more wonderful days to explore. See you tomorrow on VHF channel 68.

  • Left Dock/Weighed anchor: Left the dock at 9:10 AM
  • Cruise Log: 51Nautical Miles
  • Weather Conditions: Mostly Sunny, winds from the northwest and under 15 kts.
  • Navigational Obstacles: “Disney Wonder” cruise ship in Seaforth channel.
  • Wildlife Sighting: Tiny little tourists all over the Disney Wonder cruise ship taking out picture. We must look like a toy for a bathtub from up there!
  • Arrived Dock/Dropped anchor: Arrived and dropped anchor 5:57PM
  • Slip for the night: $0
  • Time today Helm for TEA: 2.5 hrs
  • Time today Helm for ACA: 6 hrs
  • Lessons learned: Watch the wake on these big cruise ships and wave at the tourists so they get good pictures of us! These big ships are much faster than they appear.
  • Fun Meals underway: Fluffernutter and peanut butter sandwiches

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