Boating in Seattle

mooring balls pnw bainbridge island

Boating in Seattle spending weekends on the boat

Scott and I live in Renton, which is about 40 minutes from Downtown Seattle. One great thing about mooring our boat, Kokomo at Elliott Bay Marina is we can go spend a night or two on the boat and feel like we are “getting away” from it all.

Seafair 2017

Seattle has had one of the driest and hottest summers in history and we wanted to be sure to take advantage of every nice weekend we could.  Seafair is our big summer celebration in Seattle.  The festival ends with the hydroplane races on Lake Washington and the Air Show that includes the Blue Angels.

For us to go to Lake Washington to see the races and air show, we would have to go through the Ballard Locks and during the summer time, this can take hours to get in and then hours to get out.

We decided to watch the air show from Elliott Bay and hope that the Blue Angels would make a few fly overs.

Scott and I took his sister Cherie and her family out for the day. Unfortunately, due to all of the smoke from the B.C. fires, Seattle was very smoggy and visibility was limited. Yet, we still all managed to have a good time.

When the Blue Angels flew out of Boeing Field, they first came right over us and then over the city. It happened so fast, I didn’t have a chance to take a photo.

Just when we thought they were gone and gone, they made one final flyover above us! That made the day perfect.  So if you are thinking about watching the Blue Angels on Elliott Bay, know that you won’t get to see them very close.

Where to go for an afternoon?

The following weekend, Scott and I invited our friends, Matt and AJ for a day on the water with dinner. That morning we woke up to 8mph winds and it was cold and cloudy. They were not scheduled to come down until 2pm and we were worried the weather would get worse. Luckily, the day got warmer and sunnier so the plan was still on.

I had remembered a few years ago that my sister took us over towards Bainbridge Island for lunch in a cove.  I found out it’s called Port Madison and we decided to zip over there for a visit.  It was a quick 20 minute boat ride going about 18 knots west.

Just as we approached the entrance to Port Madison, we saw a large pod of dolphins! They were so quick, that none of us captured a shot of them.

Port Madison is deep and we only went in about one quarter of the way, as it got very shallow, about 4′ deep. Yes, I know our draft is only 2’9″, but 4′ is shallow enough for me to be a bit freaked out! We turned around just before Treasure Island.

After we turned around, before Treasure Island it was nearly as bright, so the scenery was much better.

It does get very chilly going across the sound, even on a hot 90 degree day. We always end up bundled up after a few minutes on the water.

Once back into Elliott Bay, we had to wait for the one of the cruise ships to leave. We have two ships docked across from us and they leave around 4pm daily.

We finished the day relaxing on the boat and enjoying a fantastic dinner with Matt and AJ.

What to make for dinner?

Knowing that we were all going to be out boating all day, I didn’t want to come back and have to spend an hour prepping dinner in our small galley. Planning ahead, I decided to make my Chicken & Tortellini Salad with Grilled Artisan Bread. Another perfect weekend on #Kokomo!

Print Recipe
Chicken & Tortellini Pasta Salad Yum
This hearty chicken and tortellini pasta salad is perfect for a hungry crew on a hot day.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions. You can do this ahead of time and mix with a little bit of the dressing to keep it from sticking together. When ready to serve, mix all of the ingredients together, season with salt & pepper and serve chilled or at room temperature. Serve with grilled artisan bread.
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A Quick Boat Trip to Kingston – Boating Journey

ferries washington state

Visiting Kingston, a small quaint town just across from Edmonds & NW from Seattle

Visiting Kingston, which is in the state of Washington, not the UK. Why would I even mention that? That’s because as I was trying to find the phone number for the Port of Kingston Marina on google as we were approaching the port and the only one that kept popping up was in the UK! Luckily there’s a great app that we used all summer, DockWa that is like open table, but it’s for dock reservations! Super easy to use.

Scott and I planned a boating weekend with our close friend Randy and his girlfriend Meghann on our boat Kokomo. Originally, we were going to do a two night trip going to Edmonds first then Kingston. Unfortunately, like many marinas in the summer time, Edmonds was completely booked by a yacht club.  Instead, we decided to stay Friday night at our marina, do a cocktail cruise and then have dinner in Ballard.

We spent an hour before their arrival prepping the boat, making the beds and gassing up. One thing to remember in Washington when getting gas for your vessel is to save your receipts!  You pay road tax when you buy gas, but the state will reimburse you for that tax, since you are not driving on roads.  Here’s the scoop on Fuel Tax Refunds.

Seattle activities

This happened to be Hempfest in Seattle this weekend, which is held at the Seattle Sculpture Park along the waterfront.  This also brought out all kinds of fun people, including these rafting on large ruby ducky’s.

hempfest sculpture park

personal water floatation

hempfest seattle

While we attempted to enjoy some appetizers and a cocktail overlooking Downtown Seattle, it was nearly impossible as the wakes from other boats were sloshing us all over the place. I don’t recommend trying this!

Soon we turned back to our marina and the clouds were beginning to roll in. What a cool sunset and view they created.

sunset seattle boating

After we provisioned the boat, the four of us headed into Ballard for dinner.

dock carts provisioning

An evening in Ballard

We made reservations at Moshi Moshi Sushi and the food was fantastic! It’s located on Ballard Avenue in the heart of all things exciting! I used to live in Ballard from 1999 to 2002. Back then, there were only a handful of restaurants on Ballard Avenue. Now there is one every fifty feet it seems.

ballard avenue eateries bars

The four of us finished the night at one of our favorite old time stomping grounds, The Conor Byrne Irish Pub. They have live music and the bar is very old.  It was so fun going back and revisiting an old fav.

irish bar ballard seattle

Off to visit Kingston!

Since we couldn’t check into Kingston until 1pm, we had decided to wait  until the afternoon to leave.  Meghan and Randy arrived to our doc about 2pm and we set off soon after.

Soon after this video, we thought we were having engine trouble. We stopped, checked the props, all was good. We think the issue was we were having trouble getting the boat to plane out and it was struggling a bit.  After trying again, we were off and running!

The conditions were warm and sunny with winds coming from NNW at about 9mph. There were lots of sail boats taking advantage of the winds!

Turns out that Kingston is only about 12 nautical miles from Elliott Bay, so we arrived in about 30 minutes!  The marina is located around the corner from the Mukilteo-Kingston Ferry Dock.

We finally arrived (after just 30 minutes!)

Our friends Cory and Stacy were already at the marina on their boat Bold Adventure, a 37′ Larson. They were in slip 16 and we were in 18. So that worked out perfect for them to meet us.  It is a bit tricky entering the marina, because you don’t know at first which side of the dock to be on, but we figured it out quickly that the even numbered slips were on the inside.

As we approached our slip, we soon realized that the bow line was NOT THERE! What the??  Well, it was, but it had come loose from the railing and we obviously dragged it all the way from Seattle! That line could have gotten caught up in our prop.  Luckily, it was in perfect shape, so no damage done (or so we hope!)

We were ready to relax and have a beer now with Cory and Stacy.

The marina is quiet and the staff was super friendly.  After lunch, we decided to explore the town.

Visiting Kingston is an easy two block walk

Kingston is not very big. It has a few restaurants and shops along the main road, which leads to the ferry terminal. We stopped into a d’Vine wine bar and they were doing a wine tasting! Imagine that. LOL. We met with the owner and she was super friendly and it was fun to talk shop with her. The wines were from Long Cellars out of Woodinville and they were fantastic! We bought a bottle of the Faiken Red.

Just around the corner from d’Vine is Sweet Life Cakery and they specialize in cupcakes. Scott was in heaven and bought a half a dozen cupcakes, including a chocolate salted caramel cupcake.  I just now realized that I should have taken a photo of the cupcakes! Instead I was too excited about the “giant chair” right outside. In fact, these chairs are all over town! Here’s the back story about them.

Summer Concerts in the Cove

All summer long, Kingston has free concerts at the marina park which are sponsored by the Kingston Chamber of Commerce.  Saturday night, they had Sister Mercy a rhythm and blues band. They were fantastic! We brought a picnic dinner and sat on the lawn for a perfect evening!

Randy was generous to bring two phenomenal  bottles of wine, including the Caymus Select Cab and the Five Star Cellars Merlot. Both of which, were stunning wines and a true treat!

The marina is very quiet and we couldn’t have asked for a better night to relax and catch up with good friends.

The next morning, I made another frittata in my Good Times Xpress Redi Set Go Cooker! oven. I can’t imagine not having this on the boat! If you don’t have one, go get one today! I use it regularly to make omelets, frittatas and toast bagels when we are on the boat. There are tons of recipes that come with it too!

Uh Ho, Not again!

We planned to leave Kingston soon after breakfast as we knew we had a couple of hours of cleaning to do when we returned.  Unfortunately, when we started the port side engine we heard a terrible sound so we shut the engine off. Uh ho! Not again. Scott opened the engine door and we tried starting it again. Watching it, the serpentine belt was not moving. Great. This was the same engine we had to replace the power steering pump on during our trip to the San Juan Islands. Scott determined that the belt just wasn’t tight enough, so after a few adjustments we gave it another shot and Voila! We were in business once again. Whew!

We left Kingston during low tide and the channel was about 11 feet deep.  However, some folks in the bay were not so lucky and were grounded until high tide came back.

Now that we know Kingston is so close to Seattle, we’ll plan a few more trips to visit Kingston.

Once back at Elliott Bay, we spent a couple of hours cleaning the inside and out. It is amazing how nice it looks when it is cleaned! As I was cleaning the back end, I had my sunglasses on my head and suddenly they fell off into the darkness of the marina below. Always an adventure when we are on #KokomoSeattle

Lessons learned on this trip:
  • Make sure all of your lines are secured, even after you leave the marina
  • Don’t wear your sunglasses on your head when working on your boat

 

Boating with our Golden Retriever Mac – Boating Journey

golden retriever begging for food

Boating  Dogs

Boating dogs are everywhere, but boating with a senior dog is not as easy as you think. When we bought the boat, we just assumed that our 14 year old golden retriever, Mac would love the boat as much as we do. We bought him a life vest and quickly found out on day one that he didn’t even want to get on the boat.

golden retriever life vest dog

There are many books about sailors and their travels with their beloved fur kids. We also knew many of them had challenges traveling long distances with their pets, but that was because they couldn’t go potty on land.  Come to find out, Mac just doesn’t like new environments at his age.

Mac has been healthy his entire life, but when he turned 14 in April 2017 he really began to slow down. Walks could only be on flat surfaces and this is because he has some nerve damage in his spine.  Unfortunately, our boat is about a quarter of a mile from the parking lot.

golden retriever boat dock

Scott and I found out early on, that since the walk is so long, that the dock has become Mac’s potty area. At his age, he poops a lot (TMI) and we always have doggy bags.  We know the importance of dock etiquette and we will use a bucket with water to clean up after him.

Sometimes he makes it all the way to the main land and Elliott Bay Marina is super dog friendly. They have potty stations everywhere and almost all of the dock dogs are super friendly.

golden retriever boating dog

On the boat, Mac makes himself at home, especially when we are docked. He socializes with everyone and of course begs for food.

golden retriever begging for food

golden retriever begging

And the cockpit table is just his height! Nothing gets passed Mac.  There are two harbor seals that used to taunt another dock dog, Chuck. He sadly passed away in July 2017 and now they have been coming down to our dock. Maybe they are looking for Mac?

Day trips with Mac

When we do go out on the water for a day trip, Mac does not like it. Perhaps it’s the movement or the sounds of the engines.  The first time, he jumped up on the cockpit cushions and I was worried he would try to jump out.

senior boating dog

After that, we started putting him down in the cabin for his security.  He finally found refuge in the aft berth.  The first time we put him down there, we didn’t think he would go under there and when he did, he had climbed over the barbecue and cooler to get there! Boating dogs has a cool ring to it, but it’s not Mac that’s for sure.

senior dog aft berth

The tough part for Mac is the steepness of the stairs down to the cabin. He needs help up and down.  He likes to sit in the entry way while I’m prepping food in hopes, I will help him down. But as you know, our galley is so small that there is not room for both of us!

golden retriever senior dog boating

At 14 years old (April 2017) it’s difficult to resist his sweet sugar face and I usually always help him down and work around him.

boating dog sweet golden retriever face

When we are relaxing on the deck, he usually ends of sleeping the entire time.  Notice how much hair is on the carpet! We did buy a Bissell Vacuum and it works great (I will share that info on another post), but we do bring our Dyson vacuum from home every few weeks to really clean the carpet.

sleeping old dog boat

As Mac gets older on the boat

Knowing that Mac doesn’t like to travel in the boat, we leave him with a sitter when we stay overnight outside of Elliott Bay. We know he doesn’t have much time left with us due to his declining health and we want to make sure that every moment he’s on the boat, he’s happy and comfortable.

Scott and I had another golden retriever, Maggie and we said goodbye to her Memorial Day weekend in 2014.  We just are not ready to say goodbye to Mac quite yet, but we also will make sure that we are not selfish this time. Maggie lived about six months too long. Mac deserves nothing but love and comfort in his final months and we will make sure of that.

Cheers,  Scott, Ally and Mac

golden retriever boat owners

 

 

 

Prepping dinner in a small galley

kale beet salad

Galleys are much smaller than kitchens!

Galleys are kitchens on a boat. One thing you will learn very quickly on a boat our size, is that there is NOT a lot of room to make any kind of gourmet meals.  I love to cook and entertain, and I couldn’t wait to do that on our boat. Soon I realized things had to be very simple and pre-planned.
This is our “Kitchen”, which has a microwave, two burner stove top and fridge.

We have some cupboards and three drawers for utensils.

utensil drawer boat

With limited space, I’m always looking for efficient kitchen gadgets to make prepping dinner easier. One of my all-time favorite tools is my Mueller Onion Chopper . It’s fast, no mess and easy cleanup! Here’s a quick demo:

If you want to try it out yourself – ORDER YOUR CHOPPER HERE!

Local Shopping

Elliott Bay Marina, is located just down the road from Whole Foods and Wild Salmon Seafood Market at Fisherman’s terminal (great FRESH fish daily!)

We bought a Magma Cabo Adventurer Series Charcoal Grill that fits perfectly on the side of the boat and I’m amazed as to how much food we can cook on it.

Last week we bought “marbled salmon“, which I had never had before from Wild Salmon and it was fantastic! Because it has a higher oil factor, it stays moist when you grill it.  The grill does have larger grates, so we typically will use our lava stone or foil to keep things cleaner.

Since we are buying super fresh fish, you only need a few spices on hand. We simply used garlic salt, Italian seasoning and pepper with some olive oil for this salmon.

galley cooking grill

Pair it with a pasta and green salad, which you can make ahead and you have the perfect dinner for hot weather!
tasty kale galley salad
Sweet Chopped Kale Salad

 

premade pasta salad galley
Pesto Pasta Salad
Many  weekends, we’ll go down and stay on the boat on Fridays. Since we work on Fridays, we don’t have time to prep for dinner. That’s when we will swing by Alberton’s grocery store (they have the best fried chicken) and buy their six piece chicken dinner with the side dishes. It transports easy and there’s no cleanup!
take out dinner for galley
If you are searching for ideas, two of my favorite cookbooks for the galley are The One-Pan Galley Gourmet : Simple Cooking on Boats and Six Ingredients or Less. Simple and perfect for a boat!
galley cooking recipes
When in doubt and it’s a hot day, you can always fall back on a fresh tomato salad with mozzarella! It only has four ingredients and tons of flavor!
galley heirloom salad
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad

Desserts

For those who know me well, I personally don’t eat desserts, nor do I make them. But when you are entertaining guests, dessert is a must. With limited fridge space and no oven, what’s a good idea for dessert? I love to serve different kinds of chocolates. Super easy and delicious!

chocolate bars & bark

Scott and I haven’t been entertaining that much this summer on the boat, since we have such a great restaurant at the marina, Maggie Bluffs. But as Fall arrives, we’ll be spending more time on it and we’ll share some of the great recipes with you!
Cheers, Scott and Ally #Kokomo

Recipes

Print Recipe
Sweet Chopped Kale Salad with Roasted Beets Yum
The sweetness of the poppy seed dressing combined with tangy roasted beets is a perfect salad for summer time!
kale beet salad
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
kale beet salad
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the ingredients today with the dried cranberries and poppy seed dressing the salad kit comes with. Serve immediately.
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Print Recipe
Pesto Pasta Salad Yum
This pasta salad can be served chilled or at room temperature and is perfect for a hot summer day.
zippy basil pasta salads
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
zippy basil pasta salads
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature. We transferred the pasta salad to a ziplock bag for easy storage in our small fridge and it kept perfect for the next two days!
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Print Recipe
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad Yum
This heirloom tomato summer salad only uses four ingredients and is perfect for boating!
summer salads
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
summer salads
Instructions
  1. Mix and blend all of the vinaigrette dressing. Then add 1/4 cup of the dressing to salad. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Let sit for 15 minutes and serve at room temperature.
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