Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Mt. Hood view from my kayak around Hayden Island on a Portland Oregon spring afternoon.

On those rare and special days when the thermometer hits 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the Pacific Northwest in April, it would be almost criminal to waste it. If a sunny spring day wasn’t enough of a lure, I’d finally indulged in the new-to-me kayak I’d lusted after for the past year, an Eddyline Skylark and could hardly wait to take her out on her maiden voyage.

Hayden Island’s party sandbar, open for business (even if Paradise Cafe is still shuttered for now).
Even with Covid-19, it’s easy to social distance and still be social when you’re on a kayak. It was a treat to experience what felt like a normal sunny Saturday, cruising past happy boaters and friendly floating home residents soaking up the sunshine while enjoying an evening cocktail on their riverside decks.
Alfonso’s Taco Truck, La Quebrada Taqueria,  our Hayden Island haute cuisine.
For a hot night out on the town for, us we go for comfort food, close at hand.
La Quebrada Taquera’s taco plate dinner—delish!
Alfonso’s meals fill our bellies without emptying our wallets. Mexican food anytime we want was what we missed most cruising, so we savor it all the more now.
Wayne, working away while I played, prepping Serendipity
for our summer escape. This is the last deck left to retore.
I felt a bit guilty about kayaking while Wayne worked, but I promised to work part-time at West Marine this summer to support our boat habit, so he’ll play this summer while I work. With luck, when Wayne completes his desk refinishing, if it rains after we leave our covered moorage, it will only rain outside the boat, not inside the boat. 
Geese poop on one of our restored decks.
Another less-than-glamorous aspect of life aboard a boat.
Older teak deck trawlers like ours are nicknamed “leaky teakys” for this reason. Most boat owners rectify this by ripping out the teak and replacing it with fiberglass. We have a soft spot for classic teak decks, so we’re bucking that trend with an alternative solution. It’s a tedious process that requires removing the grout between each plank, taking up the plank, pulling all the decking screws, rebedding them with epoxy, replacing the planks, regrouting, then applying cetol varnish over the finished decks.
We nearly hit a goose crossing the highway in downtown Portland last week. With so few cars on the road, it seems the geese don’t notice the difference between a sidewalk and a freeway these days.
Photo credit: JLS Photography Alaska
This time of year I’d normally be hitting the trails in the gorge to enjoy the spring wildflowers, but those trails are all closed, too narrow to allow sufficient social distancing.
Cool enough April for tulips to go out in a prolonged blaze of glory,
Lily of the Valley, still blooming in late April on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon.
These days, that means taking the time to appreciate what we have in our own backyards.
Azaleas on their way out as spring progresses. April, Portland Oregon.
Will my favorite Gorge trail, Tom Dick and Harry, be open before the wild rhododendrons are done blooming? All the more reason to enjoy the azaleas here and now.
White dogwood, a quintessential Pacific Northwest bloomer.
Will I see the bunchberries, those tiny dogwood family wildflowers that hug the ground? Meanwhile, their grander domestic cousins are putting on a lovely show.
Pink dogwoods, Hayden Island.
While I don’t know how long it will be before I can hike a trail on Mount Hood, the view from afar is still breathtaking. This view is part of my daily walk (except when I kayak instead).
Mt. Hood at dusk from Hayden Island.
In a little over a month, we’ll be able to enjoy even better vistas and more privacy, a worthwhile sacrifice in trading off ready access to unlimited fresh water and electricity. 

Location Location
Jantzen Bay Marina: home for another 6 weeks or so.
June 1st we’ll leave the marina to anchor off Sauvies Island for most of the summer. After that, who knows? We are all learning how to celebrate our good fortune by living one day at a time.

We’re also using this time to check in on our cruising friends, many of whom are not allowed to leave their boat, or if they are, only for groceries or medical emergencies. Will the welcome mat come back out to cruisers? We hope so, as our adventuring may be on hold, but we’re rarin’ to roam again.

We are all the more grateful for our February road trip to the California-Mexico border when traveling freely was taken for granted. I’ll post the final highlights of that trip soon.

For now? Stay safe. Be well. Embrace kindness.