Rolling north on the 55

Cruising north the weather was beautiful.  So we had to do some pilothouse, flybridge and cockpit karaoke.  And spontaneous dance parties with dogs.  “Rolling on a 55…pretty girl by my side…”  Oh geez, Luke Bryan, sorry for butchering your song.  At any rate, July started out with sunshine and warm weather, lulling us into believing that summer had arrived in the Pacific Northwest.  Summer, a beautiful time of year that gives Seattleites courage to face the gloom of winter.  Apparently this year, despite its sunny start, we are having Jan-uly.  As I write, we’re sitting in Farewell Harbor, in the Broughtons, watching it rain.  Hello?  Summer?

So we are really behind on this blog.  Cruising and not working takes up lots of time.  Seriously.  How did we ever have time to work?  To catch us up, we’ll do a run through the first part of the month of July.  A next post will talk about the later half so as not to go on forever and ever here.

On July 1, we left Seattle and went to Port Townsend to meet with Rich Barnes, who is a Simrad guru.  We’ve had a few odd quirks with our new autopilots and an afternoon with Rich resolved all of this.  While there we were so fortunate to meet a blog reader, Wayne, who came over to say hello!  We love that.  Always nice to see that there are actual humans reading this long-winded narrative.

Kevin, about 30 minutes after leaving Shilshole, our home marina for the last three years – this really was the first day of the rest of our lives.
Port Townsend shops


Red Rover in Port Townsend
Historic Port Townsend

Early the next morning we scooted across the Strait of Juan de Fuca in yes, the rain.  But it wasn’t July 4th yet, so by PNW regulations, it was still winter.  So rain was ok.  After a quick fuel-top-off stop at Friday Harbor we rounded the corner to Roche Harbor where we met our friends Shawn and Elizabeth (yes, THE Shawn and Elizabeth of YouTube fame) on their lovely vessel, Freedom, a Nordhavn 43.  We even had a brief sighting of Tom and Linda on N57 Set Free, but they were heading south and home to responsibility.

Fun ahead!

With a plan in place to have the absolute best fireworks viewing location, we rafted with Freedom by the entrance to the inner harbor.  For those of you aghast at this decision, we did each have an anchor down to secure our combined hefty 190,000 pounds of trawler.  And of course two shore ties to ensure we didn’t do chain macrame. The holiday was fabulous with attendance at the Roche Harbor wine tasting event, a dog birthday party aboard MV Freedom (miss the video?  no worries – see it here), a trip over to Westcott Bay Oyster Farm, beverages, dinghy cruises, dog swimming and more.  As always, Roche Harbor puts on an unforgettable holiday.

Red Rover and Freedom, buds just hanging around.



Shawn, Mr. Sully and Senor Max
Shawn, Elizabeth, Sandy and Mr. Sully

During this fabulous fest, we learned that our house batteries were toast.  Good times.  So, we arranged for Kelton, son of Darren who runs Kevin’s company and who generally keeps our lives going for us (thank you Darren!), to pick up eight new 8D batteries at Fisheries Supply in Seattle and run them up to Anacortes for us.  Shawn and Elizabeth were kind enough to come to Anacortes with us and the day after the 4th was spent installing new batteries in Red Rover.  They each weigh 163 lbs.  Helping install new batteries = real friendship!

An expensive pile of batteries.
The amazing breakfast brought to us by Shawn and Elizabeth after playing, “if you were on Below Deck, what would your guest preference list be?”  Nailed it.

After saying goodbye to Shawn, Elizabeth, Mr. Sully and Sandy, we headed back into the islands and spent a lovely evening swinging on the anchor in Reid Harbor at Stuart Island.  And in the morning, we were off to British Columbia!


As we were intent on reaching the Broughtons early in our summer cruising we moved through the Gulf Islands swiftly.  We spent a night in Ganges on Saltspring Island, where, despite the presence of our old friend, rain, we had fun wandering the town.  From Ganges we pushed through the islands and Dodd Narrows to Nanaimo for a night.  Intent on de-hypering our dogs (well, especially the puppy) we walked all around the town, capturing 8 miles of steps on the FitBit.

Poet’s Cove
Fun cafe in Ganges.
Funny fellow boater who hopped into my photo.  The ice cream was delicious though…


Play us a little tune Kevin!  Ganges sidewalk “art.”
American tourist dogs.
At 54 pounds, Zoe needs a little help getting in the shot…
Docked with the seaplanes.


Puppy?  Oh we forgot to mention Maximo Jeffries, aka Max.  Max joined the crew of Red Rover in early June.  He is a 7.5 pound rescue puppy from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and he appears to be a mix of many different kinds of dog.  We simply say “Mexican Street Dog” when asked “what kind of dog is that?”  Max is doing a good job of adapting to life on a boat and falls asleep immediately upon turning the engines on.  Good boy Max.


With good weather forecasted for the Strait of Georgia we were up with the sun with the bow pointed to Campbell River.


The dogs and I enjoyed some sun in the cockpit out in the Strait of Georgia. 

The rain DID NOT visit with us in our long day cruise, nor did the wind, and we arrived Campbell River in the hot sun of the late afternoon.  The current coming into the Discovery Harbour Marina was a little exciting. With our headsets on, I suggested to Kevin that he might want to turn so we didn’t hit the breakwater. To which he said, “I am aware of this, thank you.”  The boat was crabbing severely in the super strong current, other boats were coming in and out and things looked a little bleak.  But all was well in the end.  We spent two nights in Campbell River, did some provisioning, waited out a wind storm and worked on boat projects.  While I perused the aisles of the grocery store (I had to ask how to unlock the grocery cart…why was the cart locked?) Kevin did some magical work on the boat.  He added a 24V charger to the bow thruster/windlass battery bank so it could be isolated via an ACR (automatic charging relay) unless the battery banks truly needed to be combined.  This keeps our Xantrex battery “fuel gauge” accurate. The good folks at Ocean Pacific even brought the charger in overnight from Vancouver.  See?  Magic.  Everyone in Campbell River was super nice, helpful and friendly.  We enjoyed our time there.


The nice folks at Ocean Pacific were super helpful, plus how cool is this building? It also has a First Nation information and gift shop.


Fam photo.  One member not following direction.
Zoe waits for our table at Beach Fire Brewing, an awesome local brewery recommended by Jeff and Suzie on N46 Irene.
Everyone in the Brewery wanted to talk with Max. And Zoe too of course.
Kevin had to take a photo…

On July 11, we left Campbell River in the afternoon to hit Seymour Narrows at slack.  The current can run 16 knots on the flood and 14 knots on the ebb in Seymour Narrows and even the cruise ships wait for slack tide to proceed.  We were heading north, so we grabbed the ebb tide (Seymour ebbs north) and cruised up Johnstone Strait, a body of water that is intimidating for many.  We had heard all about how terrible Johnstone Strait could be, and thankfully, it was fantastic.  Sun, smooth water and light winds.  We even drove on the flybridge for a few hours!

Heading through Seymour Narrows.
Johnstone Strait
Incoming squall.
Oh yes, our long-lost friend, rain.
Cheesy grin at Port Harvey.

Late in the day the rain came back.  Of course.  But it simply created some beautiful misty vistas for our entrance to the Broughtons area.  We had arrived!







12 thoughts on “Rolling north on the 55

  1. Born on the West Coast of Canada and 25 years of Navy time on the water. I love your blog and your story. Eat my heart out!! God Speed and Safe Home!

  2. Great blog. Glad you are having a wonderful adventure. Love reading about it and seeing your pictures! Safe travels

  3. We are following you just dealing with a lot of wind so for now stuck in the gulf islands. Thanks for the we3sther chat today. Great pictures and text today!

  4. We are tracking you on a AAA map of BC. Grammy would have loved tracking your trip.

    1. Did you see the tracker on the home page of our site? You can see where we are in fairly real time. It would have been fun to share this with Gram for sure!

  5. You don’t realize how significant the size difference is between Nordhavns till you see them side by side. The 55 dwarfs the 43. I’d love to be on either right now though, rain or not!

    1. It was funny to see them side by side! The 43 is a fabulous boat and MV Freedom is simply gorgeous. 🙂 I would love any Nordhavn myself. But super happy to have Ol Red. She’s a great girl! Even in the rain!

    1. Hi Bob – We will research Lithium the next time. Replacement of the batteries was a surprise project and we didn’t have time to do proper research/planning this time. It is not a direct replacement process unfortunately (at least right now)…

Leave a Reply