Sailing Mango

Blakely Harbor, In Which I Broke My Toe

Several years ago I had a pair of Vibram Five Finger toe shoes. Basically a water shoe with individual slots for your toes. I felt like a frog, and they were great. Small boulders and very small walls were no match for the traction of my tenacious toes. Until one day, while walking a trail on Sucia Island, I broke a toe.

It felt like a painful stub on a rock, but I heard and felt the pop, and I dared not look at it at the time. Instead I focused on getting back to the boat. I was alone on Mango Jr, our 20 foot Kent Ranger in the San Juan Islands. Naturally on the way back, I stubbed it again, this time on a particularly upright root. It's the second hit that really hurts. Out went the VFFs, and I stuck to more sensible foot wear from then on out.

And so it was with a jaded history of fancy free toes that this past week I went barefoot on our boat while happily swinging on the hook in Blakely Harbor. We were not working the boat, no sailing, no motoring, just enjoying paradise with no swell or waves. I stepped from the side deck onto the cockpit cushion, and from there to the sole of the cockpit. On the way down to the sole, my right pinky toe caught on the soft cushion. There it was was, a familiar sound, not too dissimilar from cracking your knuckles, like an old not-friend you haven't seen in a while, startling you in an unlikely place. Upon a close inspection, there was a small, yet distinct bulge that did not exist on my other toe.

Well, how do you treat a broken pinky toe? I dunno. I just put some shoes on and that was that. Four days later there isn't much pain, never was, but there is a fair amount black and blue. The swelling has dropped, and I suspect the contours of my poor toe have a new normal.

On the second day of our Barkley Harbor lay-about, friends of ours who often charter their boat came in from Seattle with guests for the sunset. Blakely Harbor is just across Puget Sound from Seattle and offers a wonderful view of the city. We waved and chatted, and it was nice to see them again. We left the next morning for Blake Island, a solid hour away from Blakely, and picked up a mooring ball, on the first try. That was a first for us. I believe we were engine off, beer in hand faster than we have ever been.

Sometime in the afternoon our friends from the day before called. They had wisely decided they did not in fact want to clean their house as planned, but instead motored out to us and had us over for dinner. We dined on excellent day old charter food and some curried tofu I whipped up, just for occasions such as these.

Alas, we had chosen the East side of the island, which is exposed to a fair amount of sound traffic, and we rolled significantly every five to fifteen minutes. We did not sleep well, and moved to the West side shortly after coffee the next morning.

In the afternoon, A and I set out for much needed ice cream at Tillicum Village. On our way back from our successful venture, we stumbled across a family of black tailed deer. The little fawns scampered right up to us, about five feet away, then headed for the bush. Mom, and presumably Dad, where a bit more skeptical, but without aggression watched us for a bit, then headed off into the woods as well. It was magical.

The ladies stayed on the boat. Kristen was a bit sad to have missed the cuties ashore, but earlier that day we were all having a "boat day". Probably due to not sleeping well, or maybe it was all the dishes we had to do, but for whatever reason we were not getting along. There was a lot of frustration, and a few of us were near tears. When A and I returned, with ice cream to spare, we were all feeling much better, and agreed that the space had been much needed. I guess we won't move ashore after all.

So after three days in Liberty Bay and Poulsbo, starting on Friday July 1st, a day in Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island, two days in Barkely Harbor, and another two days off of Blake Island, we are back at Shilshole. E starts her week long camp tomorrow, so we will be here until about the 18th. Then we are off, heading North. That's all we really know for sure.

During this next week we will verify the solar panel mounts I have devised, try to fix our fuel leaks, get our dinghy motor repaired, pick up our newly serviced life raft and fire extinguishers, buy a new to us storm anchor, and a myriad of other little "this and that". Living the dream!