Monthly: May 2012

21 May


Fetch; The Jardstroms.


May 19.

Dan took me to friends of theirs, Arnold and Janice Jardstrom. In driving over he told me Arnold is a successful fisherman as well as a hunter and has this huge log house somewhere in the trees. He apparently started as a teenager rowing to catch fish and worked his way up to make a good living from it. We get to this nice and good sized log house and saw Arnold walking around, just as his wife came home as well.


Log House of Arnold and Janice


They invited us in and I couldn’t believe my eyes, there were game trophies everywhere on the walls. All kinds of goats, deer, caribou, elk, moose, bear skins etc. It looked like a museum. The house inside was beautiful with tall vaulted ceilings, a huge stone fireplace and big pavers on the floors. Tall windows showed trees all around the house. The animal heads were amazingly alive looking as far as their posture, their eyes etc. Apparently he has traveled all over the world to ‘take’ the game as it’s called and collected many awards for doing so. Russia, Siberia, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Switzerland, Arctic Circle etc. etc. Not a cheap hobby, but as a successful fisherman he had time and recourses to arrange for his extraordinary hunting trips, always searching for the biggest animals. Animals, he said that are past their prime and don’t necessarily breed anymore but make good trophies, because they are old and big. The carcass that stays behind apparently gets fully used for its meat and such and a good chunk of the steep fees often goes toward conservation of wildlife.




Arnold, Janice and my host Dan








20 May


Pocket Yacht Palooza



The first annual Pocket Yacht Palooza was held along the Port Townsend waterfront at the Northwest Maritime Center yesterday. This informal, old-fashioned boat show open to all types of small craft was well attended and there were more than 50 boats exhibiting. The Palooza also served as the kickoff for the week-long Small Craft Skills Academy course that begins today. Photos below by Pocket Yachter Marty Loken. See more photos here —Eds

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19 May


Fetch; Visit with Dan and Mary Phy.


May 16 – May 18.

The last couple of days I’ve kind of laid low. I’ve been enjoying the hospitality of Dan and Mary Phy. Mary kept making one fantastic meal after another in between taking care of a sick friend, getting exercise and taking care of her horse. She is an active woman.


Dan and Mary Phy


Phy's house


Dan, who is normally very active as well, was operated on his knee the day after I arrived, so he spend most of his time with his right leg on a chair. Friday he felt good enough to get in the car and let me drive him around a bit. We went and looked at his almost new Montgomery 15 (M15), which has a deeper fixed keel than the stock M15. His version is built lighter, has more sail and has ballast lower than the stock boats. It’s pretty fast in comparison. The manufacturer talked him into going along with this experiential version, which can be undone if it proves unsatisfactory.


Dan's deeper keel version of M15


We browsed through Fort Bragg a little and visited his friend Jim Kirwan. Jim has a stock M15 and he and Dan have taken trips together for years, either in one or both boats. Jim is in his late seventies, but it hasn’t slowed him down much. He invited me to join him coming Sunday to go salmon fishing, weather permitting.


Dan and Jim


Jim's M15


On one of my daytrips I walked around Lake Cleone in the MacKerricher Park. It’s a small lagoon just inside some dunes and has a beautiful board walk through the marsh. One of the first birds I saw, that was new to me was an Ibis (White-Face Ibis). I was blown away by seeing such an, for me exotic bird up close. He was wading in about 6” of water poking his curved beak deep down in the water looking for food. I guess by feel, he once in a while picked up something from between roots of the plants. He had beautiful shades of red, brown and bronze on his back and one could approach him quite close to take photographs.






Ibis and Mallard


Blue Heron



board walk




Besides Blue Herons and Egrets there was a Green Heron as well, but I couldn’t get a decent picture if him, because he was very shy. It’s a very pretty small heron, that’s actually more blue than green. I was able to get some nice shots of Blackbirds.






One gull had a fishhook right through his upper beak. The poor thing didn’t look happy at all. An onlooker tried to catch him to rid him from the hook, but wasn’t able to get close enough.


Gull with hook


At the beach



Another trip took me to the boat basin in town. There were some nice funky docks and buildings down there. I had a short chat with a boat builder named Howard Makela. He was second or third generation boat builder and in the past many fish boats were built in that shop. It had a railway from the water right into the building, which was pretty cool I thought.


Harbor in Ford Bragg



Howard Makela's boat shop









16 May


Fetch: fog on Humboldt Bay


Tuesday May 15.

It was high tide early in the day and since Fetch was already in the water I got under way in short order. It was pretty foggy, so I made an GPS exercise out of it. I sailed down to the South Bay in a light wind. Once on the bay I tried to follow some channels with the GPS and subtle differences on the water surface confirmed the location of the shallows. As soon as I decided to head back the wind picked up. I tacked out of a narrow channel and even had to put in one reef. It was fun to quickly put in a reef during one short tack across the channel.


foggy day



fog lifting on South Bay


pelicans on breakwater


Near the breakwaters the wind was very light, just like yesterday. Tacking back against the current in light wind proved futile, so I turned on the iron horse and went back to the ramp. I stopped by Tony, but he was out. Had a good lunch at the marina restaurant and went back on the road. I called Dan Phy, who lives in Fort Bragg, to tell him I may stay one more night in a park before I made it to his house. I helped Dan build his Scamp in the Maritime Center in Port Townsend about a year and a half ago and he had invited me to stay a few nights.

I spend some time in the redwood forests, but didn’t feel like hanging around. So I hit the road again. I got off the 101 and onto highway 1, which hugs the coast to Fort Bragg. That road is one steep curvy son of a gun! Up and down with tight hairpin turns at times. I got the hang of though and had a good time. Just as I had praised my van for doing such a marvelous job under those conditions while pulling a boat, I noticed a burning smell and the brakes felt funny. I pulled off and saw to my grief that both front wheels where spewing smoke! I felt bad, I had overdone it, my poor little van was hurting! After waiting a while I carefully started going again, this time taking it much slower.


jolly painted house along the way



I got out of the mountains and onto the coastal section and finally got phone reception again to notify Dan, who wasn’t expecting me till the next day. I got there around 8 and we emptied a bottle of wine. His wife Mary got back home a little later and we all had a nice chat before hitting the sack. I got their guest house all to myself with a real bed with sheets!