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On the eighth day of Christmas….

17 Dec

…two raccoons gave to us…a munched upon gingerbread house.

Who knew!? We have never seen raccoons on the dock, let alone inside our enclosure. We leave stuff in our enclosure all the time, and never (until now) has a creature been stirring. Somehow the delicious scent of Madi’s gummybear gingerbread house was too much to resist.

Abby woke us all at 4am with her clarion barks to warn us of visitors. Pa in his kerchief and ma in her cap peaked out the window and saw two raccoons sneaking the gingerbread house out through our enclosure rain flap.

This morning, we present the evidence. They left the cookie bits, and all but one lone gummybear are gone.

Carnage on the deck

Carnage on the dock

Lost gummybear in the cockpit

The empty cardboard foundation


12 Jul

Watching these tiny guys never gets old…

Poor osprey

14 May

Driving along tonight we saw a crowd gathered around a large injured bird.

Sad thing landed…


...on this...


...with this in its talons to complete the circuit.

While waiting for wildlife rescue, who was on the way, the bird had many sympathetic onlookers and well-wishers.



We wish you a speedy recovery unfortunate hunter.

A smelting we will go

1 Mar

Okay, not really. People go on about how good they are to eat, but they are so tiny that you need so many before you can really do anything with them. Hence, you need smelt dipping nets (no poles for this). Plus, I have a thing about eating a whole fish – scales, bones and all. I’ll leave them for the rest of you.

But, it is that time of year. The water in our marina and along the shoreline were thick with these little silver guys. Never heard of smelt? These guys are tiny fish come up river to spawn and then die. In this process, they swim along the surface and are very visible to lots of predators. We even saw some sea lions, who don’t usually come this far up river.


Geese doing some smelting of their own





Shoreline all silvery from dead smelt


New life

12 Sep

To celebrate Friday, we wanted to share these photos of our neighbors.



They better hurry up and grow before winter!

Fried egg jellyfish

11 Jul

In the Chesapeake where we started out with Tango, we were plagued (mostly in the spring) with sea nettle jellyfish. As the bay has gotten warmer and more polluted, the sea nettle blooms have gotten so bad that a new industry developed, that of expensive “nettle nets.” These pop-out inflatable circular nets trail behind your boat or from shore, so you can swim safely and not get stung. Robin used to cruise craigslist looking for a good used nettle net, as they can be quite pricey. She never did find one, but after we left the Chesapeake, we didn’t ever see too many jellyfish, so she let that one go.

That is until we sailed down to Seattle…

We had no idea that jellyfish were such a problem in the Puget Sound as well. Here in the Elliott Bay marina, we see so many jellyfish every time we walk the dock to shore. Finally, we took some time to look up what they were, and to find out if their stingers are painful (a very important girl question). We found out that most are fried egg (or egg yolk) jellyfish. Guess these guys are wimpy in the world of stinging tentacles and many small creatures will ride on their bells and steal food. The bad boys around here are the lion’s mane jellyfish. They look very similar, but apparently have more pink in them.


Whoever we have floating around us, fried egg or lion’s mane, it’s cured the girls of wanting to even dip a toe in the water. Not sure they will let Max get more than ankle deep either…next girl question…can they sting through fur?

I love google and wikipedia for these rabbit trail question sessions!

You otter watch out…

28 Jun

So many otter puns…

These guys are very cute, but I am glad they weren’t romping around on our boat, chewing on our lines and peeing on the deck.

Apparently there is a pack (herd, group, pod?) that live in the Port Hadlock marina and routinely play on a few of the boats. Correct terminology is a romp of otters…awesome! The annoying rodent repelling noisemaker on our neighbor’s boat makes more sense now!





Palm Warbler: a cautionary tale

23 Apr

Quietly sailing along on a sunny day, Tango headed north on the Atlantic towards Fort Lauderdale when a small warbler landed on the port stern stanchion. All the boaty crew oohed and aahed. Robin grabbed a camera.


How cute…a stowaway!

Mr./Ms. Warbler seemed pretty exhausted. The evidence? It it quietly sat through a girl cooing session, a Max stare down, and a photo shoot. After several minutes, Mr./Ms. Warbler decided that it had had enough and needed to fly off.


Max is prepping…if only we had known

Snap! Max jumped up like that warbler was a tennis ball and snatched it right out of the air! He really didn’t mean to catch a bird, and immediately dropped the poor stowaway and began gacking on a few feathers. Guess that wasn’t what he thought he was getting. Too late for poor birdie, though.


The girls laid it on a soft bed in a box where it panted for a while

Madi and Peyton lovingly hovered and watched over Mr./Ms. Warbler. Peyton got online and figured out what kind of a bird it was, and that it was probably migrating north from an everglade. After about an hour we all realized it chest wasn’t rising or falling and its eyes weren’t blinking. Hoping it was only stunned, we kept a close eye on it until we got to dock downtown on the New River. Sadly, no miracle reanimation.


Rest in peace poor Palm Warbler…how briefly we knew you

Beware, all small and feathery stowaways who resemble tennis balls.

Iguana Sunday

13 Apr


Probably the most unusual dinghy hitchhiker we have seen…

Sombrero Reef

23 Mar

Light winds and quiet waves made for a great day to sail out to Sombrero Reef lighthouse to do a bit of snorkeling with Uncle Jim. Andy and Robin lazily slept in, so we got a late start and weren’t sure we’d get a mooring ball out at the lighthouse. Because it’s a reef, it’s illegal to anchor out there, and mooring balls are in high demand. Fortunately a sailboat left right as we pulled up into the field!

Even though the waves had died down, the visibility was still low so we didn’t see much of the reef because of the milkiness of the calcium carbonate silt. We still had fun watching the yellow snapper swirl around for cracker bits, and the girls did their usual crazy diving board jumps off the bow. We even spotted a few sea turtles cruising around eating jellyfish.

Max on the lookout

Max on the lookout for a mooring ball…or more chicken

Sombrero lighthouse

Sombrero lighthouse…built in 1858

Sailing is rough

Sailing is rough without candy

Sea turtle spotters

Sea turtle spotters

Come in Andy, the water's great!

Come on in Andy, the water’s great!