Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 6:59 PM
To: Sam Devlin
Subject: Warrior Delivery
Well, I have finally put a few words together to describe our voyage home. We both enjoyed meeting you and your family. The little boat is a real joy and we thank you for allowing us to own her.
Robert & Carol
The Voyage of Warrior
This a short story of the delivery of the Devlin “Godzilli” Tug from Olympia to Victoria. The trip started Friday Jan. 13 from West Bay in Budd Inlet on a high tide and clearing skies, we had to wait a while for the morning fog to dissipate. The excitement of running a new boat is always an adventure in itself, but to travel in an unknown region is also thrilling.
Southern Puget Sound on calm waters is very pleasant indeed, especially in winter time. Up thru Dana Passage and onto Drayton Passage without seeing any other vessels on this fine day. But wait, who is this towing a large barge heading to the north end of little Eagle Island? We spy the Tug Hercules and decide to give her the courtesy of a wide berth. The south side of Eagle Island becomes our new course, the race is on. Can our little tug out pace the much larger tow boat? We do manage to overtake and pass her, but I think she slowed to have a look and a bit of a laugh at our scurrying little boat!
We now pass Toliva Shoal and get our first glimpse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Wow, what an impressive sight all shrouded in fog. As we pass underneath, I take just a few pictures of the interesting twin suspension bridges. Now navigation is very easy going up Colvos Passage in bright sunshine, is this really a January winter in the Seattle area? We now bypass Eagle Harbor and around President Point to arrive at our destination of Kingston for the evening. Well it is 4:45pm and the Office closes at 5:00pm, talk about lucky timing to secure a berth for the night. A long day on the water and time for some much needed rest, off of the boat of course, as we do not have the accommodations of a larger vessel.
Saturday is an early start to fuel the boat and catch the high tide to take us north towards home. So, what exactly is a Small Craft Advisory and what do 3' to 5' seas really look like? Well, let me tell you, in a 17' little tug, it is a totally different from any other boat I have been on. I throttle back to 3900rpm at 6.5 knots (GPS SOG) and decide to go for it (without Carol's permission). I manage to keep the huge swells on my stern quarter and surf down the waves at 10.5 knots. It is a long and quiet trip as I try not to say anything to get Carol upset. After a few long hours of surfing around Point No Point and Foulweather Bluff (great name in these conditions) we arrive in Oak Bay. Wouldn't you know it, now the wind decides to head directly towards us and we struggle to windward in 2' seas which of course are now crashing over our little bows! I have decided to head for the Port Townsend Canal to try to get out of this insane weather. With the tide behind us we transit the canal at 9.5 knots in flat calm, what a wonderful and relaxing change.
What can I say about the abrupt change that we now encounter, without using foul language! The seas are 3' to 4' and the wind is driving them directly at us at an alarming rate! Every second wave is now going over the top of our wheelhouse. A lot of fun with the manual windshield wiper. After what seems like days we arrive at Port Townsend Boat Haven and surprise the Fuel Dock Lady with our appearance on such a crazy day. At this time the Ferries were operating but, I did not see any other pleasure boats out in these conditions. Talk about a tough little boat we have acquired and to go thru such abuse on her maiden voyage. We motor on to Port Hudson Marina to get berth-age for the evening and to our surprise our tug is immediately recognized by the Marina Lady as a Devlin Tug. Sam Devlin is a well known person in these areas.
Sunday sees us off at 08:30am to catch the high slack at Point Wilson. After all the stories that I have heard about the rough tide rips in this location, I am truly amazed as it is now flat calm! Off in the distance our visibility is hampered by a curtain of white. As we motor on past Dallas Bank towards the shipping lanes, we become more aware of a distinct change in the weather. What is January in the middle of Juan de Fuca Straight without a snowstorm? Our vision is now hampered by snow and very low clouds. Best to keep a watchful eye all around for freighters in the mist. Half way across to Constance Bank we see a break in the skies and decide to follow another tug and barge towards our destination, Victoria. The seas decide that seeing that we are so close to home that they should decide to act up. In order to get to our next way point I have to tack thru 2' choppy waves which again spill over our bows. By the time we arrive at Brotchie Ledge we are again doing 9.0 knots and passing the tug Sovereign as she makes her way into the harbour.
We are finally home and slowly motor towards the Customs Dock to announce our arrival and pay our taxes to become a legal Canadian Vessel. The trip has been amazing in a number of ways. We have now transited the length of Puget Sound and crossed the Straight in a Devlin Tug which was designed and built for somewhat protected waters. Carol and myself now understand the meaning of weather advisories for small craft and look forward to more adventures in calmer conditions. Our little boat, built by Sam Devlin and his family is perfect for any type of travel in all reasonable conditions over any length of time. In all she is a comfortable and handy little mode of transportation very well suited to our needs. So, avast me mateys and should you see us in your travels swing by and give a shout to “Warrior”.
Robert & Carol Turner
West Bay, Esquimalt
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