Saturday, July 27, 2013

2013 Summer Cruise Part 2

July 24

The good weather continues in Vancouver, so we spend the morning giving Spirit a good fresh water wash down.  After getting a map we headed out on foot to the corner of Burrard and Hastings Streets, looking for a food truck featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network.  We found the truck, “Fresh, Local & Wild” right where it was supposed to be and ordered both the seafood poutine and the chicken fried oyster sandwich.  The tuck had a little table on the back deck, so we sat there and watched the action.  The food was good, but definitely food truck style, nothing fancy.

Returning to the boat Patrick made another Costco run before just relaxing in the sunshine.  We fixed chicken Caesar salads for dinner, eating on the flybridge.


July 25

We departed Quayside Marina at 0740 under sunny skies and calm winds.  As we headed out Burrard Inlet the seas increased, due to the winds further north, although we had only 0-10 knots off wind, the seas caused a lot of pitching and the salt spray wiped out the washing from the day before.  The seas finally calmed down as we entered Welcome Passage and passed by Smuggler Cove.  Entering Pender Harbor under sunny skies, with no wind we anchored in Gerrans Bay, even though there was lots of room in Garden Bay.  After launching the tender we cruised around the harbor looking for boats we knew, but the marinas all had empty space and we found no one.

We fired up the barbeque and had grilled steak and a kale salad for dinner and then took another cruise in the tender until dusk. We stowed the tender back on deck so we could get an early departure in the morning before the winds picked up.


July 26

We departed Gerrans Bay at 0730, but the winds beat us.  Malaspina Strait was windy and rough, with winds as high as 27 knots.  We put even more salt on Spirit as we slogged north against the ebb tide.  The seas and wind finally calmed down after 4 hours in the lee of Harwood Island.  The wind and waves increased as we rounded the southwest tip of Cortes Island, with the wind opposing the tide.  More spray and salt for about thirty minutes, and then we were in the lee of Marina Island.  By 1445 we were anchored in 50 feet of water in Gorge Harbor.  The wind is gusting out of the northwest to 29 knots and it is at least 10 degrees cooler than yesterday.  Sunny weather this time of year typically has these brisk northwest winds, especially in the afternoon.

July 27

In order to make high slack water at Yuculta Rapids and Gillard Passage we pulled the anchor at 0500.  The wind was down to 10 knots so it was easy.  We had an easy cruise to Dent Island Lodge, arriving at 0900 and initially docking in a temporary slip across the dock from the Boeing corporate yacht “Daedalus”.  Shortly after we arrived a helo landed just astern of us on the dock to pick up clients for sightseeing.  We then spent the morning cleaning the salt off the boat and moving to another slip at low slack in the afternoon.  Dinner this evening will be at the Rapids Grill, with the Tapas menu prepared in front of us by the chef.
Spirit looks tiny at the end of the dock across from Daedalus


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Birthday in Denmark and Norwegian Cousins

June 25, 2013

This morning we depart for Denmark, via Frankfurt, on Lufthansa Airlines to attend a birthday celebration for Lisa Marx. Lisa owns a cabin on the east coast of Denmark, in the town of Hou. Miriam and I will land in Copenhagen about 1530 local time and then drive to Nyborg for the evening.  We are staying at the Nyborg Strand Best Western, also on the water. The next morning we will drive about four hours to the cabin

July 11
Landing in Frankfurt we had to clear customs and immigration rather than being treated as transit passengers.  It was a good thing we had not purchased duty free liquids since we could not have brought them back through security.  We the had to walk between terminals, a process that consumed about 45 minutes.  Arriving at Terminal A we found the Lufthansa lounge, which was so crowded with people that we had to sit at a table for about 30 minutes before finding seats in separate areas.
The connecting flight to Copenhagen was actually an SAS flight, and SAS had eliminated business class two weeks before, so we had coach seating.  At least we did not have to pay for beverages like the passengers further back in the plane.
Landing in Copenhagen we collected our luggage and found the car rental counter and picked up a nearly new Hyundai i30 diesel. The exit for the motorway was easy to find, but after getting down the road about ten kilometers we ran into a miles long traffic jam.  A trip that should have taken less than two hours, even for us, took three hours.
Our Google map directions were good and the Hotel Nyborg Strand was very good.  By the time we got to the hotel we were both tired and elected to eat at the hotel bistro, which had a buffet dinner of roast beef, etc.  After dinner Patrick walked into town to look for a new Danish SIM card for the phone to make local calls cheaper.  It was took late, so that task had to wait for the next morning.

Birthday Celebrants

Breakfast was included in the room rate, so after a large breakfast we drove into the town center, purchased the SIM card and walked around to look at Nyborg Castle before heading further up the motorway.  The drive to Lisa and Ted Marx's cabin took about three hours plus a lunch stop at a new McDonald's before we got to Aalborg. We had no problem finding the cabin, again the directions were good. We arrived at the cabin to find Alan and Tenille there with their two children. Ted and Lisa were in Aalborg picking up other guests from the airport and train station. We settled into the assigned cabin, three down the road from the party site and then explored the area a little bit.  The town of Hou has a marina, several restaurants, a pub, grocery store, gas station, etc., but is mostly vacation homes. The entire area is designated a vacation district and year round residents are few, having to own the property for at least seven years before they can apply to live in the residence year round.
Ted and Lisa had purchased a large tent, bigger than their cabin, for the party festivities.  Everyone who was already there gathered at 7PM for a smorbrod buffet and copious quantities of aquavit for each "Skol". Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

June 28

Breakfast was on our own from items we had purchased the day before at the store, Chinese, fruit, sausage, bread. After breakfast we headed up to Skagen, accompanied by John Steele, the son of David and Joanne Steele, neighbors of Ted and Lisa in Kirkland. The drive was scenic, about 1 1/2 hours, out to Geren, the tip of the Jutland peninsula. The walk out to the meeting point of the Skageratt and Kattegat was about a mile, along sand beaches.  The rain held off, but the wind was intense. Patrick stood in the water at the junction of the two seas.
By the time we got back to the car the sun had peeked out so we found a parking space in Skagen, wandered the pedestrian streets and finally sat down to an al fresco lunch of Danish style sandwiches. 

Windmill in Dronningen, Denmark
By the time we returned to Hou, the dinner menu had been decided, BBQ beef, so we all gathered again in the tent and started the aquavit ritual again, after a round of cocktails.  The party went on past midnight, still twilight, as people chatted and reconnected.  By this time Randi and Stewart Mackay, fellow cruisers from our 2008 transatlantic cruise, had arrived.  Neighbors also showed up, and we had about 30 people, family, friends, and neighbors.
Voergard Castle

June 29

Miriam and Svein Fammestad at Lavik

Hjordis Fammestad

Sail away drinks on ferry

Little Mermaid

Guards at Ameliaborg Castle

Danish royal Crown

Danish Sceptre

Guard at Amielaborg Palace

Gefieon Scuplture
Today was party day for Lisa, celebrating her 70th birthday, a big event in Denmark. The festivities started at 3 PM and ended well after midnight, after a delicious traditional Danish meal catered by a local firm. The food was delicious, starting with the traditional pickled herring, smoked salmon, shrimp, asparagus, and assorted condiments, all washed down with aquavit and "skills".
The evening was quite exciting as the wind came up, very gusty, and the tent started to come unglued from the ground. Several of us helped Ted drive bigger stakes in and tie more lines to the trees.  A candle chandelier slang so violently that we could have been at a performance of "Phantom of the Opera".
Perhaps the entertainment highlight of the trip was the dance on the table tops to the Abba music from "Mama Mia"

June 30

Everyone was moving slowly the next day, but several of us headed into Aalborg to see the sights and to see where Lisa grew up.  We capped the journey with a meal at the "Irish Pub" before returning to Hou in the late afternoon.  We reheated the food left over from the night before and had a repeat dinner, without the wind or dancing. Many of us called it quits early!

July 1

We met Randi and Stewart in the morning and drove to Hals in search of breakfast, finding a bakery with a small cafe attached.  After coffee and Danish we walked around the Hals harbor area scouting for a place for dinner.  On the way back we stopped and photographed a windmill.  Later in the afternoon we headed to Dronninglund to a "Slot" or castle and then a stop at a thatched roof pub in Hou. Dinner was at the "Havkatten" restaurant in Hals, a kind of farewell to Lisa as most of the guests were leaving the next day sometime, leaving just Ted and Lisa and their kids and grand kids in Hou

July 2

We set the alarm for 0530 to allow time for quick showers and coffee before starting the drive to Frederickshavn and the day ferry to Oslo.  We allowed enough time to stop at Voersgard Slot, fuel the rental car and turn it in and still make the 1000 ferry departure, on the Stena Saga. We had booked a stateroom for the day, so we could take a nap. Meals were and issue since the charge card readers were not working and we did not have enough local currency to buy food. The purser gave us chits for sandwiches and coffee, so it worked out OK. The debarkation was a zoo, with hundreds of kids and families as crowding for the gangway. The hotel was about one kilometer from the port and we walked that slowly, wheeling our luggage behind us.  After checking into the Raddison Blu hotel, near the train station we walked up Karl Johans Stras and ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe in Oslo for a good dinner before walking back and getting a decent night's sleep.

July 3

After a great buffet breakfast at the hotel we walked the short distance to the central train station and boarded the 0805 train to Bergen.  The weather cooperated until we got to Geilo, one of the ski areas near the crest of the route and then the rain started, continuing all the way into Bergen. We had rain and sun as we met up with Svein and Hjordis.  The train was 30 minutes late due to signal problems on the track between I Voss and Bergen.

We arrived at Svein and Bibi's house without incident and settled in. Bibi is still at their summer house in Alicante, Spain, so Svein cooked salmon for dinner and we spent the evening catching up on the seven years since our last visit.

July 4

We spent Independnce Day exploring Miriam's roots in the Eksingindalen Valley, visiting the town of Lavik, the continuing over the mountains to Voss and back into Bergen.
Stopping in Bergen we shopped and toured the market at the harbor and the shops in Bryggen before heading up the hill to Liv and Knut Midtun's house high above the city. We had dinner looking out over Bergen and the harbor as the rain increased and the wind howled. Dinner was peel and eat shrimp, to make open faced sandwiches with lettuce, etc.  White wine was served and later we moved to the living room for coffe, cookies and chocolates.  Conversation continued to past 9:30 and then we headed back to Svein's house for the night.  Liv and Knut presented us with a copy of the "Bergen Cookbook" authored by their son, Sjur, this time in English.

After we got back to Svein's house we tried to call Bibi in Alicante, Spain, but by then it was too late.  We finally called it quits about midnight.

July 5

After breakfast we were able to call Bibi on Skype and had a good video conference before heading to "Konnyborg" with Hjordis.  After Bloody Mary's Patrick walked in the local area while Miriam and Hjordis caught up on their lives.  Later in the evening Svein came by from his cabin a few hundred yards away and we had a delicious cod dinner cooked by Hjordis.  Conversation continued until nearly 1 AM, and it was still light enough to read outside. Without blinds on the windows, the bedroom was light all night long.

July 6

The sun finally appeared, with nearly clear skies and mild temperatures as we relaxed at the house.  There is a good view of hills, trees and Fammestad Pond through 270 degrees.  After a brunch of mushroom omelets and toast we drove north to the ferry landing at Fedje, but decided to just drive around the group of islands rather than take the ferry in windy conditions.  We arrived back at Svein's house about 6 PM and had a delicious dinner of elk, potatoes, creamed peas and mixed vegetables before looking at Svein's pictures from his races in Ethiopia and their cruise in Arabia, including Dubai and Oman. Svein is involved in charity work helping children in Ethiopia after seeing the need and poverty on his trips there.

July 7

The sunny weather disappeared overnight and it was raining when we awoke.  After breakfast we headed to the Bergen train station to catch the return train to Oslo.  with the rain, we expected the photo opportunities to be few, although the weather in Oslo is supposed To be nice. The train we are on is not nearly as nice as the one we took to get to Bergen.

Checking in to the Radisson, into a room on the 19th floor, we stowed our luggage and headed into town to Aker Brygge, where we looked for the restaurant that we had the delicious soup seven years ago..  We ended up having a glass of wine at Olivia Restaurant, the same place we had stopped seven years ago.  We could not find the delicious parsnip soup we had sampled on that same trip.  The quay was crowded with people enjoying the sun, certainly an alive place on a sunny day.

Walking back into town in the sun we ended up back at the Hard Rock Cafe, this time outside, where we had another good meal before heading back to the hotel in the, by now, warm day.
July 8

Arising later than normal, we headed downstairs to another great breakfast buffet and then walked to the new Oslo opera house, where you can walk on the roof, up sloping ramps.  The building looks like it is coming up out of the sea.  There was massive construction going on all around, as the entire area is being upgraded.  We walked through the shops when they opened, but found nothing we needed to take home.  Checking out of the hotel at 1300, we walked to the DFDS ferry, about one kilometer away, only to find out that check-in started at 1500, contrary to what the hotel front desk had indicated.  Patrick walked back and found sandwiches for lunch, which we ate while waiting for then ship to be available for boarding.
The ship was a pleasant surprise, well maintained, and like a cruise ship.  Our stateroom was adequate, and we we quickly made reservations for both dinner and breakfast.  Reservations were required, but the good news was that we could stay in the staterooms until we docked at Copenhagen.
After boarding, we headed up to Deck 10 for a sail-away drink in the sun, along with hundreds of other passengers.  We had a great time until the wind got cool as we headed down Oslo Fjord.  We stopped at duty free and shopped for something to share in Copenhagen with Ted and Lisa the next day, and also Emmett and Laurie Sullivan, who would arrive the day after that.
At 1900 we headed to the Explorer Steakhouse and had a very good meal, with ribeye steaks, cooked perfectly, along with a bottle of Australian CSM wine.  Following dinner, we headed back to the stateroom and folded out the bunks for a good night's sleep.

July 9

After showers we headed to the Blue Riband Restaurant on board for a extensive buffet breakfast before landing in Copenhagen.  The disembarkation process was much less frenetic than on Stena Lines in Oslo, and we began the walk to the Admiral Hotel.  It was a lot dirtier than we expected, but we saw the Little Mermaid along the way, and th day was pleasant.  When we finally arrived at the hotel, the room was not ready, so we stored the bags, had something to drink and still managed to make the changing of the guard at Ameliaborg Palace, just a few minutes from the hotel.  We then headed to the Marble Church and Rosenborg Palace before heading back to the hotel to see if our room was ready.  It was not, so we waited another 45 minutes and the checked into a delightful room on then fifth floor, with expose beams from the hotel's former life as a warehouse along the water.  Ted and Lisa arrived shortly after and we all headed, via subway, to Klampenborg for dinner at a restaurant in the local amusement park.  We all piled into a horse drawn carriage for the drive to the restaurant.  After dinner we heade by taxi back to the hotel for drinks and conversation to finish the evening.

July 10

Dinner at Tivoli
After another good buffet breakfast, we all headed to the cruise ship terminal, via taxi. The taxi driver did not know where to go, and it was a frustrating journey.  Arriving at the Holland America ship, "Eurodam", we were given visitor passes and escorted on board, where we met Emmett and Laurie, who had just completed a ten day cruise in the Baltic.  After touring the ship we had a good lunch on the Lido Deck before disembarking and heading out on a city tour arranged for all of us.  The tour included many of the places we had already seen, but with a guide and entrance to the museums and palaces.  By late afternoon we were finished, and after cocktails in Ted and Lisa's room we took taxis to Tivoli Gardens for dinner at "Groften" restaurant followed by a walk through the park.  Everyone was pretty tired, so after a final nightcap we headed to bed for a 0430 waked and trip to the airport.

July 11

Check-in was easy, and we used the express lanes through security and had a bite to eat in the SAS lounge before boarding the flight to Frankfurt.  The flight was early, but not " business class", it was crowded.  Transfer was lengthy, with long walks and lines at  immigration, so we arrived at the Seattle flight just minutes before boarding began.  The Lufthansa plane was old and not what we expected, but the crew was pleasant and we managed to catch a few hours of sleep before finally arriving back home in Seattle.

2013 Summer Cruise Part 1

July 22, 2013

The cruise begins with a sea trial to check out a “stumble” in the Cummins QSL9 engine which has bothered us for several months since it occurs at the engine RPM that we wanted to cruise at.  We have been in discussions with Cummins Northwest since spring and they had replaced the harmonic damper and taken some data from the engine computer.  Today’s sea trial was focused on injectors, sensors and also checked out the engine mounts.  What was decided is that we just happened to pick an RPM/load combination that coincides with a timing shift point for emissions control.  So, the solution is just to avoid that RPM.  Cummins also updated the ECM firmware to the latest revision.
By 1030 we completed the sea trial and after a final run to West Marine we cast off again under sunny skies at 1225.  By 1520 we were anchored in Echo Bay, Sucia Island, between two tall ships, “Lady Washington” and “Hawaiian Chief”.  Later, the schooner “Adventuress” also arrived and anchored a short distance away.  After launching the tender, we visited two other boats also anchored, and enjoyed the warm weather and views of the tall ships.
Lady Washington

SchoonerAdventuress in Echo Bay

July 23, 2013
We pulled the anchor at 0705 and headed out of Echo Bay northbound for Vancouver.  Although the wind was light, the current was more than 2.5 knots against us.  The Strait of Georgia was clear, but there was fog near Rosario Straits behind us.
We pulled into the customs dock in False Creek at 1345, about one hour slower than last year due to the current.  After waiting until 1415, we headed to Quayside Marina at the foot of Yaletown and tied up.  We found there is a Costco just six blocks away, so we finished up the provisioning bothe there and at the BC Liquor store two blocks away.  The weather is glorious, high of 80 and clear skies.

After provisioning we headed up to “La Provence” restaurant at the head of the dock and had fresh oysters and cocktails, as well as several small plates (Piquillo peppers stuffed with Saltspring Island goat cheese) and Gnocchi (sautéed crispy with pepper, arugula and green beans).  The weather is still warm at 2100.