This July I finally made it to one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier boating destinations – Princess Louisa Inlet. Sheltered by Fjord-like mountains, the idyllic location is beautiful and tranquil.
The facilities, while remote, are well maintained. There’s a ranger’s station and home, though we didn’t see that person during our short stay. We were lucky to have found space on the dock, which only provides about 300′ of useful space. Were we forced to anchor a long stern line would have been needed to secure the KAYLA and keep is aligned in one direction.
The Falls, themselves, are nice, but not remarkable. They’re not at all very large. If you look up into the mountains that surround the small inlet you’ll see numerous smaller falls appearing hundreds and thousands of feet up. These, to me, were more impressive, and beautiful.
My father and I visited Princess Louisa Inlet for the first time last week. Our transit through Malibu Rapids went extremely well and was stress-free, thanks to some planning.
Since it was our first time there we approached it with an abundance of caution. Slack time, for the day we planned to enter the Inlet, was going to be at 16:30, based upon tide readings from Point Atkinson.
We arrived early and was waiting when some other boats that we had passed earlier in the day showed up and decided to head in to the “rapids” 90 minutes before slack.
They reported calm water and mild current, so we followed them in and found the conditions similarly non-eventful.
Every boater is likely to one day run aground, foul a prop and hit a dock a little too hard. This week I got to check-off one of those by getting a line wrapped around my port prop / pod after what was, otherwise, an awesome day of swimming in Andrew’s Bay on Lake Washington.
So, what happened? Well – long story short – we were out for an extended period of time and, well, nature called for Kayla. For some reason, dogs don’t seem to want to pee in the lake, perhaps worried that it will compromise the quality of swimming for everyone else.
Kayla ended up relieving herself on the bench seat in the aft area of the boat. No biggee. Everything is water and puppy pee proof. However, there happened to be a line on the bench, wrapped in a nice coil, that I felt needed to be rinsed off. So, I threw it overboard to clean in the lake. Guess what I forgot to pull up before enabling the engine and pulling up anchor? Yep – that line!
Luckily, the engine did not stall. Cathia and I were able to swim under the boat and cut the line, though not completely. Neither of us would make very good pearl divers. So, some of the line remained on the prop – stuck between, and on, the two props on the port drive (yes, there are two counter-rotating props on each drive).
It wasn’t possible for us to detangle it better. But, the engines started. And, we were able to head out toward our marina. At higher RPMs I felt a vibration I didn’t much like. No one else could feel it, but I did. And, I wasn’t willing to risk further damage, no matter how unlikely.
We limped back from Seward Park to Kirkland at 7 knots. It was actually quite delightful. The next day I hired a diver to jump down and detangle the line. At $150 for two hours of work I thought it would easily be worth it. Took Chris, the diver, about four minutes! Still, worth it. I couldn’t have done it myself.
So, all is good and, hopefully, that’s the last time something like that happens. At least, it’s likely to be the last time it happens because of something stupid I did.
I was recently invited to present a short, 50 minute course at a recent Sea Skills event organized by the Seattle Chapter of the United States Sail & Power Squadron. Drawing upon my interests and background as a volunteer Firefighter and EMT, I produced the presentation linked below.
Providing useful emergency assistance while on the water mostly takes common sense and some very basic skills.
If you have questions, suggestions, or corrections, please reach out to me.
Here’s a not-so-subtle reminder about the laws of physics as they apply to boats. I’m guess the captain of the Police boat was new or severely disoriented with regard to where the dock and other boats were situated.
Here’s a quick tip for satisfying your boating curiosity and, if necessary, shedding light on a problem you may, one day, encounter underway (such has hitting a dead-head with a prop, fouling an anchor line, or worse!).
It has to do with observing the underside, or keel, of your boat, and doing so while (1) remaining perfectly dry and (2) not having to haul your boat out to a trailer or dry-dock.
This past Seafair Sunday I decided to experiment with a GoPro HERO3 HD camera by attaching it to a utility pole and submersing it at the stern of the MV LAIKA. What I received was a pleasant surprise and, for me, a rare glimpse into observing our two Mercury I/O drives in action.
If you’ve watched any extreme sports these past few years (skiing, motocross, base jumping, etc.) or broadcast TV personalities reporting from inside a car, you’ve likely experienced footage from the amazing GoPRO (or similar) camera. This class of small digital cameras are fitted with incredibly wide angle, relatively fast, fixed-focus lenses. They deliver stunning HD quality video.
While floating 200 feet above the bottom of Lake Washington, just North of the I90 bridge, I decided to attach my HERO3 camera to a utility pole and submerse it under water. The brief video below demonstrates the clarity and quality of the captured footage. You’ll see our port-side engine, swim deck and one of the trim tabs. The starboard engine can be seen briefly.
If you’re familiar with the MV LAIKA you’ll know it’s outfitted with Mercury’s Axius computerized drive system. That’s why the props were occasionally spinning. The GPS-controlled “Skyhook” electronic anchoring system was running and the boat was attempting to keep its position. Note – it’s incredibly dangerous to be anywhere near the engines when this system is running and we would never allow anyone to enter the water while it’s on. Actually, as policy goes aboard our boat – no one gets into the water or near the swim deck when the engines are on and the keys are even physically connected to the console.
To date I’ve used GoPro cameras to capture bike riding adventures, skiing and, now, the keel of our boat. They’re fun to use and you’ll find numerous uses for them – some entertaining and some very practical.
GoPro cameras start at $199 (you can pick them up online or at Best Buy) and current models use micro SD cards for storage. A 32GB class 10 card runs around $24 and can store hours and hours of 1080p HD footage.