Working full-time as the only person in an accounting office, my days off are limited to the weekends. So with a Friday off and a Monday holiday, trip planning got underway for our first "official" voyage. Where to go? We wanted one day of travel, one day of enjoying where we went, and one day of travel returning, with one extra day in the mix in case of bad weather. Should we take Cloud Nine to the San Juans and join the flotilla of all the other boats doing the same? Or should we head to Edmonds to show her off to Jerry's son. Showing off won handidly, and we made plans to make our way to either Kingston or Edmonds for the long weekend. We had hoped to leave Friday, but changing the engine oil and other "servicing" took up our day and we headed out early Saturday. A beautiful, clear day for cruising, albeit a little hazy due to the warm weather we finally were enjoying in NW Washington.
East of Sequim is Protection Island, a National Wildlife Refuge. This juvenile eagle was proof positive of the "wildlife" in abundance around the island. We giggled that even with our binoculars, it was tough to read the "stay 200 yds away" sign until we were well within the 200 yards. So we took some pictures and got back out of the way.
Seals were very vocal about our infringing on their sunbathing. They, too, were enjoying summer finally arriving in the Puget Sound.
We we made our way east down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, boats were aplenty, all out enjoying the amazing weather. Days like this are the exception in the Puget Sound, so many were taking advantage, including this wooden sail boat out of Port Townsend, with a large group out on a tour. Mt. Baker in all his glory standing out. I wish it had not been so hazy that day. This would have been a great picture.
We made our way down the Admiralty Inlet and across the shipping lanes just in time to watch two cruise ships making their way north out of Seattle.
As Kingston was fully booked, we called into Edmonds marina and found we could moor in the space of one of their tenants who had vacated for the weekend. At $60+ per night, we knew this would not become a "regular" in our list of marinas to visit, but instead a special treat. "Active" is the understatement for this marina. The guest moorage was filled with small pleasure craft, rafted together, and out early in the morning to gather their haul of fish. Watching the boats maneuvering through the marina and out the breakwater was sometimes like cars merging on a busy freeway. Add to this the ferry traveling back and forth between Edmonds and Kingston, we enjoyed all of the activity.
The marina facilities are quite nice with each dock locked and their bathrooms and showers clean. Having an Anthony's Restaurant at the marina was a plus for us, as we always enjoy partaking in a platter of their famous fish and chips!
On our return trip back to Sequim, we found out the hard way about the Point Wilson rips. While we had ventured through this area three times before without incidence, this day we learned to respect all the warnings posted in many a cruising book about the dangers of this area. In the early pages of the Waggoner Cruising Guide they warn of the Point Wilson rips with a passage that reads:
One of the more frustrating pieces of water we face in
the Northwest is the infamous Point Wilson tide rip just
off Port Townsend. The rip usually (but not always)
forms on an ebb tide. The patch of rough water
can extend several miles north and west of Point Wilson....
They watched a white power boat enter the far side of the rip.
The boat was about 40 feet long. Once in it was trapped.
It rolled and plunged taking water up to the flybridge.
The longer it was in the rip the bigger the rip became.
Rolling and crashing, the boat had no choice but to carry on.
The bow lifted out of the crest and disappeared in the troughs,
burying in the waves ahead. Eventually, the boat got through.
It was as if this passage was written while watching Cloud Nine roll and plunge that day through these waters, for reading this section after we returned, it described exactly how it felt going through these waters that day. We had ignored the Coast Guard warnings of gale force winds in the east Strait because we could neither feel nor observe the evidence of winds. We even stopped in Port Townsend to check at the marina for reports of bad weather around the corner in the strait. There were none. We also ignored the fact that we were going to be more than two hours past slack tide when we reached the area, and the tide would be on an ebb. Nevertheless, we were in bad water that we hadn't seen and no way out but to continue through it. While our nerves suffered greatly that day, it became clear that Cloud Nine had not suffered at all. Returning to the Sequim Bay, and calmer waters, we idled in the Bay for a minute to survey the damage, which we found to be non-existent. She had come through far better than us, and our confidence grew in her ability to take us safely on our passages to come.