Goal number 1 was to install and try out our new solar array. Salish Aire originally came to us with solar panels installed which were a really BIG selling point especially to Clarice as her dream has always been quiet anchorages with NO GENERATOR NOISE. We knew when we bought the boat that the panels were likely at or near the end of their life but recognized that at least we had a solar infrastructure in place (controller, wiring, etc.). With some repairs we have managed to get the old panels to limp along but when we met John (AKA "Solar Guru") at http://www.rainshadowsolar.com/ while visiting Orcas Island a couple of months ago he supported our belief that it was time to change out the panels. He also indicated that whomever had installed the panels had put in an excellent ("way ahead of its time") solar controller that was well worth keeping. He recommended very high-end panels by Sunpower company ( https://us.sunpower.com/solar-panels-technology/x-series-solar-panels/ ) because of their higher watt density, tolerance for heat variation as we plan to travel from upper latitudes to lower latitudes in the future, ability to continue power production while partially shaded, and general durability.
|New Sunpower Solar Panels (we mounted then 18" above deck to allow for storage under them)|
We were able to meet up with John and install the panels between Thursday and Friday so our plan was to find a nice anchorage and see what happened.
Our initial plan was to go to Ft. Flagler State Park ( http://parks.state.wa.us/508/Fort-Flagler ) but while we were underway Clarice did some research and asked if we should instead travel down Hood Canal (not really a canal but rather a natural fjord in the Puget Sound section of the Salish Sea) to Pleasant Harbor where the guidebook indicated we could anchor out and pay a fee to the marina ( http://pleasantharbormarina.com/ ) to use their pool and hot tub. The guidebook turned out to be outdated in its information as the marina has not been able to address legal concerns related to making their hot tub and pool public. They did offer that for a minimum $35 moorage fee (normal fee $1.50/ft = $69 for Salish Aire or the $35 minimum for our dingy) we could use the facilities. One of the few things I have really missed after moving aboard is having a hot tub. I have some minor neural damage in my spine that irritates my legs frequently and heat seems to be the best medicine. With this in mind we decided our "Father's Day Splurge" would be to pay $35 for the dingy. Clarice got to talking with the proprietor who asked if we were yacht club members. In the end we were able to use our reciprocal moorage for $5/day and enjoyed their very nice facilities (including a live concert Saturday evening).
|Hood Canal looking South with Bangor Naval Submarine Base on the west shore|
We had clouds for most of the weekend with some rain and thundershowers but despite the less than ideal solar conditions we were able to "make" 1.2 kw yesterday and to replace losses from our overnight power use!! Woohoo, this gives us hope that we should be able to sit an anchor without using our generator for purposes other than watermaking and using the washer/dryer.
|Solar Controller showing panels are actually making power|
Clarice did make a lovely breakfast for Father's Day while we were underway. She discovered a waffle bar maker that makes waffles in a form where they can be dipped if one chooses to eat them that way. She then added homemade strawberry jam and dark amber maple syrup that our daughter buys us direct from a farm near her home in Ontario.
|Father's Day Breakfast (the string from the lantern keeps in from swinging under way, a chrome screw hides the hole in the table when the eye screw is removed)|
|Hood Canal Floating Bridge looking from the south (it had just closed after opening for a sailboat but we fit under the Eastern High-rise section so we don't require it to open much to the appreciation of the folks in cars)|