20
Dec
13

1st time in Pacific Northwest

We are here in Puget Sound for 2 reasons, to receive Calliste when she arrives on Maersk container ship CGM La Scala, and to decide if this is to be our next base camp.

The day after our arrival in Auburn (a outskirts town 30 mins drive from Seattle), we got ourselves connected to AT&T phone and internet. Then its getting straight down to business for preparing to receive Calliste. Oh my, the amount of “virtual paperwork” that had to be done before Calliste is transferred onto the ship that would bring her into Seattle …

Unfortunate for us, our shipping agent Martin Bencher based out of NJ was not connected to the ground here at Seattle. We find ourselves scrambling to get answers as to how things are done on the West Coast and the people to do those stuff. Questions like where to offload Calliste, how to bring her to where she would stay over winter, dry storage or on water mooring, where? How to deal with customs, how to get a customs broker, how much more money to pay to get her out to where we want her to be …?

So lost and not much faith left with the Martin Bencher group…. cos they appeared to be very unprepared for handling West Coast shipments. Fortunately, I dig up a email and that led to FB hook up with our previous shipping agent who help us ship our bowsprit material from NJ to Singapore. Thought we could hire her to help us out on this end, but shes not working in this business anymore… but she put us in contact with Sound brokerage for custom clearance and gave lots of good advice for how things are done… and she lives in Kent, just 20 mins drive from Auburn or Federal Way. Wow! She certainly knows the ground very well.

Our 1st rental car at Port Townsend Haven marina

Our 1st rental car at Port Townsend Haven marina

Having settled the initial paperwork, we only have to wait 3 weeks from Calliste to arrive… or we could say that we have 3 weeks to find the storage for Calliste and make arrangements for her to be brought there. Yeah… now its time for road trips and checking out the marinas and boat storage facilities. Its not just storage that we are looking for, also looking for a neighborhood that we feel comfortable to live in, whether on board Calliste or a apartment with easy access to amenities and access to Calliste. Suffice to say, we are looking for a quiet outskirts town that would suit my work commitments at Federal Way and supports of our boating lifestyle needs.

View from our room at Extended Stay America Federal Way

View from our room at Extended Stay America Federal Way

So anyway, our 1st week in Seattle saw us moving from a old truckers Inn in Auburn to the newly renovated and more comfy room in Extended Stay American on Federal Way. It definitely was a lot easier to find something that is more suitable when you are in the area and could check it out before committing to anything. .. and we got it for a good monthly rate too, plus we get a view of Mt Rainier from our window! Its all working out 🙂 I think they gave us long stayers the best room in the hotel.

Sunday market at Des Moines marina

Sunday market at Des Moines marina

Then there is the car rental… we couldnt decide to buy a old car or to keep renting compacts at $850 / 28 days… but we are only going to be here for 75 days, so buying and then later storing it until we return next year sounds like a lot of hassle… so I was motivated to scour the internet for better deals than Car rental America and guess what I found? America Car Rental!? Just jumbled up the name and viola, I got to a booking site that gave me a monthly deal from the 4 major rental car suppliers. In particular, we chose to rent a Ford Focus from Hertz who had a office 0.5mi walk from our ESA hotel! And it was $605 for the month! What a unexpected great deal and nice car from Hertz!

Food wagon with a real pizza stove at Des Moines marina

Food wagon with a real pizza stove at Des Moines marina

Mobile and Internet checked, a comfy temporary residence checked, rental car checked… Ok now we are settled in and ready for receiving Calliste. Next, we are on to “marina berth shopping”. Our 1st stop was Foss Harbor marina… but we were not impressed by the marina that is sandwiched by heavy industries, working port and city center of Tacoma… something more relax please…

Real Chinese food, also available in Des Moines marina

Real Chinese food, also available in Des Moines marina

Next stop Des Moines marina which is about the same distance from FW as it is from Foss Harbor… and I like it here immediately. Staff and resident boaters seemed more relaxed and friendly… and a Sunday market on the parking lot!

And last stop for the day, Shilshores Marina in Seattle… well… dun even ask me about it… besides being 25mi, it was maddening drive through Seattle to get there. But we still have to check out Gig Harbour, Port Orchard and Port Townsend before we firm up our choice.

 

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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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