May 7th, 2022… Esta Maravilloso Dia, Como No?

Sentinels guarding the Rainier Trail, Port Ludlow

Living on a boat, we occupy a curious space…. a juxtaposition.  A dividing line of separation. On one side we have temperate rain forest.  Even as secondary and tertiary growth it is nearly impenetrable.  Firs, cedar, hemlock, maple, alder, windfalls, salmon berry, devils club, ferns, moss, nurse logs, and thick layers of moist decomposing biomass make up the flora.  Mushrooms abound. 

And then there’s the odd bit of lichen…

Asphalt roads lead to gravel, then dirt and finally… foot trails that meander through it. Get off the trail at any point and lose your bearings, and it is next to impossible to make your way through it, or find your way back. Rain forests are like that… Humans have devised many ways to keep their bearings in these woods. Stone “ducks” are a common sight:

Take the left fork…

As for fauna, there are many black tail deer and few predators to control them. Oh, locally, there are coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and the occasional black bear that wanders out of the Olympic National Forest, just due West of Port Ludlow… but there are not as many compared to earlier times. The deer have taken up residence near human habitation. Port Townsend is literally overrun with them. The grazing on lawns and garden foliage is quite a draw, not to mention that within town limits hunting is not allowed. It is quite apparent that they clearly understand the arrangement and are thriving. The history of the Kaibob Plateau experiment should give some insight into where the deer population of Port Townsend is headed… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaibab_Plateau

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The Salish Sea and it’s many straits, fjords, harbors, bays, estuaries, and islands occupies the other side of our dividing line. Where the forest foliage controls the view on its side, open vistas abound on the other. Moving water is the rule. Whales, sea lions, river otters, 250 species of fish, sea birds, clams, eelgrass nurseries, crabs, kelp, invertebrates… the diversity is astounding. The cruising grounds are some of the finest in the world. All this is what draws us to the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

The view from Great Northern
Just another sunset…
The morning view from Burner Point looking towards Tala Point (Port Ludlow)
Reid Harbor,, Stuart Island on a “busy”, “crowded” 4th of July weekend
Great Northern at anchor, Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island
Blind Bay, Lopez Island
Lopez Sound looking North towards Spenser Spit
Great Northern in Todd Inlet, Vancouver Island
Rainier from the Gig Harbor light

These feeble surrogates are but a few depictions of the cruising grounds of the PNW. If you live up here, or can spend some time here, consider yourself one of the fortunate. The visual landscapes, biodiversity of the many ecological zones, and close at hand contact with flora and fauna shapes a venue awash with great explorative possibilities.

Our next adventures will be a continuance of seeking thither and yon for interesting locations, the people that inhabit them, and opportunities for personal growth and discovery. We will be leaving our home port within the next several weeks. We’re not transfixed on a particular calendar date, but are looking for a period of quiet weather.  The route we take is not important, but will be driven by favorable currents, appealing scenery, quiet anchorages, and the people we meet along the way.

The overarching strategy of our passages will be to reach the San Juan Islands, a place where we can thoroughly test all boating systems. If no insurmountable problems are discovered, then its off to Sidney to check into Canada.  We will spend some time in the Gulf Islands visiting favorite haunts and wend our way North.  Places that are calling to us:  Princess Louisa Inlet, Desolation Sound, and the Octopus Islands in the Discovery Island chain.  The Northern apex of our travels this season: the Broughton Archipelago.  Hope to see you out there or hear about your travels and discoveries…

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