It has been quite some time since I wrote and pushed out a blog post. The tragedy of the pandemic continues to stalk us. We’ve had a most unusual presidential election. The transfer of power to the new president this time around… was, to understate the facts on the ground, a bit rough around the edges. And at the inauguration, Bernie Sanders was duly noted wearing large, colorful wool mittens to keep his hands warm; A juxtaposition of local weather versus our shifting and warming climate…
Interesting times… interesting times… And… all the while the sea birds perch on their water born logs as they’ve done for millennia, gazing out to sea through the fog. Waiting. They are rather patient.
Our little troupe departed Port Ludlow on 12/6/2021; the start of our most recent epic voyage. In short order we passed the open maw of Hood Canal, transited through Admiralty Inlet, motored along the Eastern shore of Bainbridge Island where we were delighted to observe a large pod of Southern resident killer whales gambol in the wraith. Blake Island was the next milestone to pass, then we entered the notoriously, always North flowing Colvos Passage, pondering the Physics of how it do that. Exiting Colvos, we skimmed the edge of Dalco Passage and entered Gig Harbor; a 44 NM mile, 6 hour mid-winter passage. Phew! Our average speed was a bit slower than normal. We were going with the current, but there was a significant breeze blowing against the current which place a two foot plus chop in our face. How to deal with that: slow down. Simple. Effective. We were warm and cozy in the pilot house.
After anchoring we enjoyed a lovely warm evening. The engines, in their simplistic inefficiency, put out a lot of byproduct heat and it is captured by hydronic radiators located throughout the boat. Waste not, want not is the operative terminology here. We had a quiet, windless night. In the morning we met Adam of Pacific Inflatables at the Gig Harbor boat ramp and took possession of our new dinghy.
It is a 12’8″ Achilles RIB with a Weaver fold down helm. We’ve had this helm style before and specified it for our new skiff. It is comfortable and the seat and steering wheel / throttle fold to create a very low profile. The best part is that there is no console to jam your knees against so your appreciative legs have plenty of room to stretch out. It also leaves the bow area open for hauling groceries or for deploying and retrieving crab pots. Yum either way.
Our new “car” will be an excellent addition to our cruising fleet. It’s sea keeping and handling characteristics are wonderful…
After hoisting the skiff up to the flybridge deck and securing it, we weighed anchor and made our way back through Colvos Passage. This time, traveling with the physically implausible, but always flowing North current, we made good speed. We again passed Blake Island, dodged the odd ferry or three tending Vashon / Southworth, Bremerton / Seattle, Bainbridge / Seattle. It felt a bit like we were making our way through a ferry gauntlet to attain our quiet and secure anchorage location at Port Madison on the North end of Bainbridge Island. It was a 3 hour passage.
In the morning we weighed anchor and crept out of the bay and into the mist… er… fog. With our open array radar pinging shoreline, separation buoys, moving objects and their ilk, and our closed array radar sweeping for close in objects, we stealthily transited the North Puget Sound shipping lanes. As the fog diminished, with AIS, radar and Seattle vessel control on the VHF radio blabbing away about what dangerous objects were lurking about, we attained the relative safety of the South Whidby Island coastline. We gladly left the several tankers, freighters and rapidly moving military craft to their devices in the shipping lanes.
We wandered up the East coast of Whidby, and ten NM later we were safely tied up at the Langley Marina for the night. While walking about the village, we found there to be crow art just about everywhere we looked. There is a story… follow the link if you are interested: https://www.heraldnet.com/news/shes-the-curator-of-200-crows-at-the-goth-house-in-langley/ If not… kindly move on.
After a great take out pizza that we gorged on… we slipped into a post-postprandial coma and turned in for a quiet night. Next post coming soon: (Betcha just can’t wait) The Swinomish Channel, La Conner, and our final destination of Anacortes.