Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cruising the Pacific Northwest... rain or shine (Cruise Log #1)

 "Our home away from home!"
The name puzzles some people,
until they see the French flag attached to the mast...

Ahoy, Mateys!

We are off, floating about on the salty and frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest, a summer tradition for this family (and many others around us, judging from the number of boats docked at local marinas.) 

My faithful readers already know the crew (minus the Yellow Dog, who stayed home with a house guest.) I am happy to introduce our new sailboat, "Pardon my French." You may remember when we said goodbye to her predecessor, Mistral, in the spring. "Pardon my French" rocks. She is 20 years old, but you would not know it. Le Husband has spent many hours making her look good. She is his new mistress, one I approve of. We have enough room to store all our gear, and can finally go to bed without actually crawling in... Preparing for a three-week cruise was no small feat, as all of you with boats, RVs, vacation homes, realize. It took a few trips to the marina to bring it all on board.

Essentials... such as French wine...

We made it in time, though, and took off as planned on Saturday morning. The weather has been a bit off these past few days, chillier than normal, while the sun plays hide-and-seek with us (and the clouds.)

We will be gone for three weeks; dock or anchor out in quaint coves and harbors; shower on the boat or at local marinas (the campers among you know what a hurried and drafty experience that can be...) We will cook dinner on board often - grilling is always a popular option - and will make the most of restaurants we can walk to from the boat when we are too tired or too rained out to figure out what's left in the fridge. If we are lucky, we might be able to catch crab, served that evening with aioli and lemon. 

The weather may or may not cooperate. This is the Pacific Northwest, folks, not the Mediterranean. Today, in the charming town of Port Townsend, it was so damp and chilly everyone was wearing their finest fleece apparel and rain gear... 

Summer fashion in the Pacific Northwest - no kidding!

We will enjoy exploring; revisiting old favorites; or discovering new islands as we make our way North in Canadian waters. Nature will be everywhere around us, mesmerizing...

Port Ludlow, WA

Port Ludlow, WA
(American Frog Photography)

We will enjoy meeting the locals; the two and the four-legged ones...

Pirates everywhere: We are in good company!

There will be a lot of time for relaxing, reading or playing... 

Junior, practicing the "Vessel-Assist style docking"
(you don't know what it is? Neither did I until he showed me...) 

The crazy French skipper enjoying the best seat in the house!

My trusted sidekick [the Panasonic Lumix LX5] and I will spend hours shooting away: There are so many photo opportunities just a few feet away from the boat...

So far so good... well... except for that torrential downpour tonight (we survived, and I am typing this story comfortably tucked in bed, with the heater on...) 

Oh, and this morning, we had our first mutiny on board when our hard-headed dinghy (a French-made Zodiac,) decided to leave us and head South on its own. If the skipper had not spotted  the stubborn skiff, drifting away in the surf... 

It took ten minutes to capture the little rascal - a good opportunity to practice our "man overboard drill,"  as the male sailors reminded me...

- Dinghy: "Let me go. I REFUSE to go North. The sun is shining South!"
- Moi: "As if!"

We will be fine, and log in the [nautical] miles, until we return home, tanned [I brought spray on self-tanner - just in case] and rested. We are lucky, and we know it. Happy July, wherever you may be!

We feel safe: The Sea Gods and Captain Haddock are watching over us!

A bientôt.

All photos unless otherwise noted by French Girl in Seattle.
Please do not use without permission.

For Marie. 


  1. Everything seems to be perfect, maybe so far with the exception of the weather. Of course the comparison with your recent Mediterranean experience... :-)

  2. Your pictures remind me of what a absolutely beautiful area the northwest is. It looks like you are having a great time. I hope you get more sunshine and warmer weather for the rest of your time on the sea. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

  3. v i love getting this little glimpse into life aboard your vessel-she is a beaut...your husband did a GREAT job and my most favorite part is the runaway dingy- i really dig the free spiritedness of anyone or safe- have fun- keep us posted-LOVE IT!! OVER AND OUT!

  4. Bon voyage, Veronique. I hope you have a lovely time and that the weather brings more fair than foul. I think I see some sun in the forecast this week, so hopefully you've got smooth sailing to look forward to. Have fun!

  5. What great adventures you are having on your beautiful boat. Pictures are fantastic, especially got a laugh at the bench and chairs in front of the "coors sign".

  6. J'adore cette photo, avec la brume sur les montagnes.. (soupir).Voyager sous la protection conjuguée du drapeau pirate, du pavillon niçois ET du capitaine Haddock, ça met toutes les chances de votre côté! ;o)
    je trouve le mauvais temps tres photogenique, mais je souhaite quand même que le soleil vienne vous saluer un peu, ça serait surement plus agreable pour vous. Je constate que la-bas,comme ici, les bancs sont toujours dans des endroits fabuleux..

    J'attends la suite avec impatience!

  7. What a lovely boat! I'm always impressed at how cleverly marine designers create storage spaces.

    Now I'm wondering...does the Zodiac still speak with a French accent? ;-) (oh, and if your boat is Pardon My French, perhaps the skiff should be Zut Alors! or Sacré Bleu!)

  8. Love the boat and all the photos you took. Looks like a great time.

  9. What a beautiful part of the country to go sailing and I love your boat. A little too cold there for this island girl, but I would love to visit sometime.

  10. LOVE! I love sailing and after my recent 8-week road trip along all of coastal Oregon....appreciate this even more. I'm not from a rainy part of the country--but learned to 'go with the flow' and look forward to the sparkling freshness 'apres le deluge.'

    Junior is so adorable--what great all around memories and skills he is acquiring. Thanks for taking us along!

  11. Thank you all, my friends! Online time is limited due to busy vacation schedule AND inconsistent WiFi access. I appreciate each and every one of your comments, as always. We have made our way into the San Juan islands and are docked in a deep, fjord-like cove in Rosario, on Orcas Island. The sun has finally made a much anticipated appearance, and it is starting to get warm! Yeah! More good news: The stubborn French Zodiac has not tried to secede again since its last failed attempt. Thanks to Alison's suggestion, the skiff has been renamed: "Zut Alors!" -- Talk to you soon, from an island somewhere. Headed into the Canadian Gulf Islands tomorrow morning.

  12. Oh,what a beauty. Clever name! Have a wonderful adventure. Safe travels.......Sarah

  13. Sounds amazing so far! And beautiful pictures as always...have a wonderful 3 weeks, and I can't wait to hear more!

  14. Have a wonderful trip - looks amazing

  15. It's so much fun to be on a boat. How lucky you have your own to take off on whenever you want. And maybe those clouds are a good thing, keeping you from getting scorched.

  16. Bonjour Véronique or should I say Ahoy there! I'm finally back from my wonderful trip and looking forward to catching up with yours. As always your photos are stunning and Pardon my French is certainly a beautiful boat with a very well-stocked fridge too.


Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle