After a speedy Inside Passage transit coming south this year, we returned to our old haunts in Port Angeles, Washington. We’ve spent quite a bit of time there now, between outfitting CELESTE prior to our first departure for Alaska back in 2014 and then last winter living aboard and giving our floating home the TLC she needed after her journey to the far north. So it felt a little like coming home again. Seth and I caught up with some good friends and had a great party on CELESTE with them. We restocked our provisions, had dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, and replayed two major parts of our previous Port Angeles lives: boat work and hiking.
CELESTE’s head (that’s nautical-speak for toilet) had been annoying us for years… but we hadn’t yet done anything about it because we had other, rather more pressing projects (like waterproofing the hull and replacing the rigging). This time, though, we decided to tackle it.
The problem with it had gotten worse and we’d run out of spare parts. Because it was an odd brand – not the standard Jabsco – finding new spare parts was going to be difficult. And we kind of hated the over-engineered design anyway. So we rented a car, drove to the marine store in Port Townsend, and bought a new, simple, easy-to-fix-in-the-future Jabsco. We thought installing it would be no drama, but of course that’s never the case with boats….
So we spent the following day hoofing it (no more rental car) all over Port Angeles to find the appropriate hoses to modify CELESTE’s plumbing.
Hoses and connectors finally located and another long day spent fighting everything into place, and we had a wonderful new, smoothly functioning head! Yay! It’s been everything we thought it would be – a huge improvement in quality of life.
Fortunately we also got in a gorgeous hike in the Olympic Mountains, an area I’ve really come to love during the time we’ve spent in Port Angeles.
We thought we’d hiked pretty much all of the day-hikes already, but we managed to find one we’d overlooked previously: a lovely 4-hour loop down to an emerald-colored lake and back up about 2,500 feet to a ridge with stunning views. We were lucky to have perfect weather and splashes of brilliant fall color.
We knew from last year that we really couldn’t linger in Port Angeles if we actually wanted to get further south before the weather turned, so we headed down the Strait of Juan de Fuca on September 28, which happily was a nice calm day, not blowing strong from the west like it usually does in the Strait. The rule of thumb is that if you round Cape Flattery (the northwestern tip of Washington State) by October 1, you’ll have decent weather for the passage to California, so that was our goal!