We woke refreshed from sleep, pulled up anchor, and made our way out of Roche Harbor and through the San Juan Islands toward Anacortes. We were doing fine until suddenly the autopilot beeped, went into standby, and the boat turned hard to port. Crap!! What just happened?! We straightened the boat out and hand steered for a few minutes while I rebooted the autopilot. The autopilot control wouldn’t respond to any button presses and just showed “Version 15” on the screen. I disconnected and reconnected the cables on the back but same deal.
Luckily, I have to redundant ways to control the autopilot. The chartplotter can set it to Auto and Standby which seemed to work just fine. So the autopilot system was okay, just the control head in the cockpit wasn’t working. I also have a Raymarine S100 wireless remote that I added a few months ago and it also seemed to work just fine. So we re-enabled the autopilot and used the wireless remote to control it the rest of the day.
Out in Rosario strait, crossing from Blakely and Decatur Island to Guemes Channel we had a strange encounter with a boat that seemed to want to block us from crossing as it was heading southbound very slowly. Despite having the right of way (stand on vessel) we turned to maneuver around behind the boat. Once past we say that the boat was a Fish and Wildlife vessel and it was protecting the Orca Pod making its way south through the strait. We were well behind the pod so we proceeded across the channel until suddenly a l0ne Orca popped up 10 feet behind our boat (at least 500 yards from the rest of the pod). We cut the engine and floated while he swam past.
Seeing the Orca up close was awesome!
Once we were clear we continued on and made it to Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes just before 1pm. I transferred fuel from the main tank to the secondary again and then we stopped to pump out, moved to the fuel dock for 24 gallons of diesel, and then backed in to our slip for the Jeanneau Rendezvous.
s/v Laissez Faire arrived a little later and their boys and our girls started playing immediately. Minecraft PE of course!
Later, Morgan’s classmate/friend Sabrina and her family arrived in Anacortes to say hello, another awesome visit where the kids caught up, had fun, and the adults had a nice time. Sabrina and her family got to see the boat, the kids beds, and have a little bourbon.
Later we had a special dinner at West Marine for some shopping. We picked up the hammock hooks I had ordered to the store the prior week as well as some underwater LED lighting (for an upcoming project) and some sweet folding seats that will make it more comfortable in the cockpit.
Saturday, Devon’s parents, sister, the 4 kids cousins came up to visit for the middle of the day. They went to the park, we had lunch at Anthony’s Cabana, which had great $5 kids meals, and then we did some more cleaning and organizing. Later we got ready for dinner and walked four blocks to the cultural center. The rendezvous dinner was fun as usual with lots of swag, food, and wine. We shared our table with s/v Laissez Faire and the 8 of us had a great time. The kids won some fun prizes and even though we didn’t leave dinner until 10pm we let the kids play together after dinner till close to midnight. Bedtime was a disaster but oh well, they had fun and we won’t get to see them for a while.
In the meantime of all this, I disassembled the autopilot control head to find it full of water. After drying it out during the day it worked okay but I didn’t trust it. Marine Servicenter was awesome and let me borrow a demo Raymarine P70 from their electronics display which I finished installing around midnight. I had to splice some wires manually since no one had the Seatalk 3-way junction block handy but it all works great now. I went to bed super late but overall things were really good.