It has been an unusual cruising season, the first since we moved to Port Ludlow. Moving brings on all sorts of activities that take precedence over getting out on the water for any length of time. Getting the house to where we want it involved some flooring upgrades, repurposing the home office to a third bedroom, getting rid of unneeded items left by the sellers, fencing an area for Moby, adding solar panels, and ensuring all systems are serviced and operational. The ongoing improvements will take us into next year and include the kitchen and great room upgrades, among other things, but we are getting to the bottom of the list of major items. Nonetheless, we managed to make time for some fun and interesting boating trips and healthily disengage from the demands of a new-to-us home.
The picturesque seaside town of Langley is on the southeastern shore of Whidbey Island. It offers visitors the opportunity to mill around the unique shops, tour the Langley Whale Center, and dine in quaint eateries ranging from take out pizza to fine Italian cuisine while enjoying the lovely views. But what typically draws us to Langley is the migration of the gray whales. Some of the whales take a detour from the Pacific Ocean to feast on the local shrimp for several months before continuing on to Alaska. A handful of whales have found the area suitable to stay year-round.
Bainbridge Island is a 30 minute ferry ride from Seattle and home to many commuters. The ferry terminal is in the heart of Bainbridge at the town of Winslow on Eagle Harbor. Several marinas and a public dock provide moorage for guest boaters. If there is no room on the docks, there is always a place to anchor in the harbor. As members of MBYC we have access to its outstation dock and that is where we tied up for the weekend. Winslow offers pubs, breweries, wine tasting, great restaurants, hiking trails, shopping, and grocery stores within easy walking distance from the docks. Moby especially likes easy access to shoreside facilities. An interesting and unfortunate historical event took place in Eagle Harbor. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, the US placed its Japanese residents, including US citizens, into internment camps in the name of national security. The Japanese people on Bainbridge Island were the first to be sent to the camps. There is now a memorial located at the former ferry dock where they were loaded and taken away. I blogged about it here and also wrote a short piece for the Waggoner Cruising Guide here.
The Covid pandemic gave us a brief respite this summer and we were fortunate to get a visit from our dear friends from Utah. One of the many activities was an overnight boat trip to Port Townsend. It is a short cruise from Port Ludlow through the Port Townsend Canal. We got a slip at Point Hudson marina located in the heart of downtown where we conveniently walked, shopped, ate, and enjoyed the great weather.
Semiahmoo and Blaine
I had not been to Semiahmoo or Blaine before by boat so when the Waggoner Cruising Guide wanted an article on the area, I immediately volunteered to go. Cathleen was not able to break away for enough time for the trip so I went on my own via the San Juan Islands. To read the Waggoner piece, click here.
Time for a Haulout
The last couple of trips consumed a lot more fuel than normal. The first cause to come to mind was the bottom and running gear fouled with barnacles or other growth. When Fiddler came out of the water I could see that fouling wasn’t the problem so I investigated further. I found that I could not turn the propellers using all of my weight. They should turn with little effort. Fortunately there are many vendors located in or near the boat yard and I had a couple of them come take a look. It turns out that the cutless bearings that the drive shafts pass through needed to be replaced. I also had the bottom painted and the running gear cleaned. After two weeks in the yard Fiddler was good as new. I had previously purchased three new batteries and cables to double the size of the house battery bank, so after we got home from the boat yard I installed the new batteries. The house bank is now 900 amp hours supplied by Firefly Oasis carbon foam batteries. Here is a link to the installation of the first three batteries.
Fresh from the boat yard, Fiddler was back to sipping fuel and gliding effortlessly through the water at 7.5 knots on our way to Alderbrook Resort at the southern end of Hood Canal. We stopped for the night halfway down Hood Canal, anchoring at Pleasant Harbor. We got the dinghy down and went to shore with Moby for a walk. There is only a marina and a state park dock in Pleasant Harbor so not much to do other than enjoy the serenity. We proceeded to Alderbrook the next morning and got a nice spot on their dock. The weather was as gorgeous as the resort and we enjoyed time in the sun. We walked all around and ordered from their restaurant to eat outside. On the way back home we stopped at Pleasant Harbor again. The new batteries are great!
I always want to get a sufficient supply of dungeness crab meat to make it through the winter. Port Ludlow Bay hasn’t been productive this season but I had heard good reports about Hunter Bay in the San Juan Islands. Naturally I had to go check it out. Alec came along with me and did most of the dropping and pulling pots. The trip across the strait was rougher than we expected, even leaving later in the day during a favorable weather window. Once we got into the islands and anchored in Hunter Bay, we set out two crab pots. Over the night and next two days we caught, cleaned, cooked, and vacuum packed nearly 7 pounds of meat. That will last us through the winter. Coming home across the strait it was foggy with no visibility, making for an adventure by itself. With radar, AIS, GPS, VHF lol radio, and a loud horn, we made it safely home.
I hosted at Blake Island State Marine Park twice this summer, each time for a week. The first week was in late June and the second in late September. The week in September was the most fun. Two other couples, each with their boats, joined us for three nights. We had happy hours and dinners. Moby and I worked as the park host (and assistant) most days while they hiked and otherwise had fun. After they left, our neighbors in Port Ludlow unexpectedly showed up. You never know who you will see at Blake. It is a very popular spot just eight miles from Seattle. When we lived in Bellevue, the trip from Elliott Bay Marina to Blake Island was about an hour. From Port Ludlow the trip is 4 hours, but worth it for sure.