We had a great week in Mexico cruising around La Paz and the next move was to ship the Anna to the Northwest. We got two quotes almost immediately at the Seattle Boat show from the vendors on site and we went with Seven Star. They were slightly more money but they had a great operation and were excellent to deal with. The rep whipped out the brochure showing them lifting a new 160 ft Italian minesweeper onto their freighter using the onboard cranes, so I figured they could handle Anna.
The Seven Star ship, Tramper, was to pull into the outer harbor area and someone had to take our boat to the ship at the appointed time and so they could hoist her aboard. We hired the broker, Shelly from La Paz Yacht Sales, to ferry her out and hand over the TIP and other government forms, bill of sale, and who knows what else to get Anna out of Mexico. Here she is about to be lifted.
After getting the genoa back on the furler and reattaching the backstay, we remembered most of what you need to do to run the boat again, and we left Victoria for Friday Harbor in perfect weather. The amazing thing about the boat leaving Mexico and arriving in Canada was the lack of anyone caring about our bill of sale, taxes, or looking into all the gear, food, medicine, and who knows what else on board. I shouldn't complain! At Friday Harbor the customs officer was a little more particular, but really just wanted to see the CG Documentation which we had, and wanted $27 for the sticker, but mostly she did not want Jan to step onto the dock until we cleared-- strict on that one! We were officially in the US! Our broker, Swiftsure, had another boat on the Tramper clearing at Friday Harbor, and they were not so lucky. US customs did not like the fact that this boat was still for sale, and they had some explaining to do, but eventually got through. We felt like pro's though, with our international boat dealings, and celebrated on land with a burger and a beer. Its truly amazing when things go as planned.
We left Friday harbor with a clear skies and a fair tide Sunday morning and motored toward Seattle in a flat calm. The end gets interesting though, finishing through the ship canal into Lake Union. After having successfully navigated 80 miles of Puget Sound we faced 3 draw bridges, the locks, and finally entering a tight fairway and a narrow slip. Our friends Lori and Terry Brady were at the slip to help us dock and they were needed, if you know what I mean. Here's their picture, probably certain we would crash. After docking without too much drama, we felt the best mix of relief and happiness. We have this great boat that we bought in Mexico 3 months earlier, sailed on in La Paz for a week, then shipped to Canada, and now we're tied up looking at the Seattle skyline. Somehow it all feels like way more than just buying a boat- OK--I'll just say it, Anna is part of the family. Its ok to cry a little as you read that last line...
Friday, November 6, 2015
Who knew the hardest part would be shoving off!?! There's actually a big difference between owning and hanging out on this boat and really going somewhere on her. Finally at 3:00 we untied the docklines and we actually made it to our destination per plan with only one driver error (corrected prior to running aground!) trying to stay in the long weird La Paz channel.
We had a great week cruising around Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida, Isla San Francisco, and Los Islotes, and were on our way back to Marina Palmira safely.
The last night at anchor we felt like such seasoned sailors having safely navigated this beautiful area. We tucked ourselves back into Bahia Balandra again anchoring in the same safe spot we had on night one, which protected us from the southerly Corumel winds before. A calm dinner and sunset were followed at 11:00 by the predicted Corumel, and we smugly scoffed at boats not as sheltered as we were. They'll learn in time.... but then what's this? At 2 AM we now get 15-20 knots from the North and we are taking this right from the open mouth of the bay, which soon becomes 3-5 foot swells and a lee shore! Welcome to cruising. The boat is rolling A LOT, no sleep, anchor watch, head visits, ready to scram, hoping we can up anchor in the dark if needed.... a long night. We left at dawn and got to our amazing slip by 10 AM and took a well deserved nap. I spite of that one rough night Anna performed perfectly and we can now relax and start getting her ready for shipment to Victoria on Seven Star in 2-3 weeks. Ironically, we do intend to sail her back to La Paz in 2017, but that's what this whole thing is about.
Anna is a center cockpit Norseman 447, hull number 53. She was launched in 1985 at the Ta Shing Shipyard in Taiwan ROC, just two short years after Jan and I were married in Newport Beach California. I've dreamed of owning a strong and capable cruising boat for a long, long time, and many plans have circled about for the last 30 years of how to pull off buying a boat like this, and then taking her on an extended cruise. Dreams can be the most powerful of motivators, and in March 2015 she became ours. Now the fun begins!