Hooray for Birthdays!

Sheesh. My birthday was almost a month ago. I’m running behind on my blogging!

When we left Canal Boat Yard we headed down the Washington Ship Canal to moor for the weekend at the Yatch Masters dock. Since we arrived late in the afternoon on Friday, they generously let us stay at their primo-located dock while they were closed for the weekend. It had awesome views of the Fremont and Aurora Bridges. We were just down the street from Gas Works Park, a stones throw from the cool Fremont District, and a short walk to Nik’s favorite boating store, Fisheries Supply.

My good friend, JC, was is town from Portland and invited us to a BBQ. Her friends, Anna and Travis, just built a snazzy new deck (with an outdoor sound system) in their awesome backyard. They invited friends over to celebrate! We were so happy for the social time and a chance to make new friends. The food and cocktails were great with homemade bitters and dishes made with veggies from their abundant garden. Both Anna and Travis are motorcycle enthusiasts and recently got back from a ride from Redding all the way down to Big Sur. Anna’s originally from Santa Rosa so we’re hoping they’ll come to visit next time they are down our way.

Once the chickens were put to bed, Nik took a few laps around their snug yard on their 50cc Honda. Weaving around their fruit trees he was like a little kid with a new toy. He invited me for a ride, but I declined.

We sat chatting until late, warmed by cocktails and a cozy campfire. Thankfully we got a ride back to the boat with our new friends, Jeff and Katie, so we didn’t need to mess with late night Seattle buses.

Early the next morning we woke for the mile (or two?…felt like a million) walk around Lake Union to begin our next adventure.

For my 31st birthday, Nik booked a ride on the historic steamboat, the Virginia V (pronounced “5”). Her wooden hull is classic 1920’s. She has a bunch of friendly volunteers maintaining her beauty and helping her run smoothly. The Virginia V was built in 1921 and was one of many wooden steam-powered passenger vessels operating in the Puget Sound. They were known as the “Mosquito Fleet” because they were so numerous. The Virginia V is one of only two of the remaining fleet members still operating. We first saw her at the Wooden Boats Festival in early July. She is mooored at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle’s Lake Union and has a regal and purposeful air about her. Being run strictly by volunteers, the Virginia V only has an average of one public cruise scheduled a month. It can also be rented for special events.

I admire the volunteers so much. The engine team gets there 3 hours early to start up the engine and get the water all steamy. Two volunteers really stood out. A great couple named Nina and Doug. They are two of the certified engineers operating the bustling steam engine. They are passionate about wooden boats, super knowledgable, and extremely friendly. When we talked with them they were in the process of buying their own wooden boat. I hope the survey worked out and they are enjoying the summer with, as Nina put it, “their new boat baby.”

It was great cruising around on a historic boat. Everyone was taking photos as we floated by and going through the locks was really neat.

Once on Bainbridge Island, we walked around the shops, went to their free art museum, and ate another delicious meal at Hitchcock. I again ordered the bone marrow, tasty tender porkchops with polenta, and their signature martini. I’m obviously on quite the omnivore kick!

Heading back to Seattle on the Virginia V, the super moon rose up above us as we waited for a huge gravel barge to make its way through the locks. The air was mildly breezy and the moon looked amazing. We passed by and waved to our boat, Carmana, pointing her out to Doug as we chatted on the fore deck. Once back at the Virginia V’s dock, we wished we could have been dropped off as we set out for the long trek back to the boat.

A wonderful end to an eventful and memorable birthday weekend. Special thanks to JC for inviting us, Travis and Anna for their hospitality, Nik for planning a special birthday, and the volunteers of the Virginia V for their dedication and commitment to maintaining a beautiful historic vessel for the public to enjoy.

We forgot our camera, so we took photos with Nik’s phone. They came out nice though.


It was a pleasant walk to the dock. 


A chilly foggy morning on the dock.


Steamboats are all the rage! 


Not “V”…. “five!” …and definitely not two.


Some of the Virginia V’s neighbors at the Center for Wooden Boats’ dock.


A steam toot!


From Canal level…


…to Sound level! 


Locking thru!



Enjoying my birthday cocktail.


At the Bainbridge Harbor dock.


She’s ready for a party!



View from the pilot house.




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