Sunday, July 15, 2018

Puget Sound Shake Down Cruise

Puget Sound Shake Down Cruise

Day sailing is one thing but cruising is a wholenuther ball game. the rest of the Seattle family would be off to their annual pilgrimage to Orcas Island for the Summer Solstice. So we planned a 10 day shake down cruise to nearby Seattle destinations to make the cruise a chance to get to know SNOWBALL better and to relearn how to work together as a double handed crew. We have completed all the renovations on SNOWBALL and so giving the various systems a cruise check close to our home port of now Seattle is a way to make sure we are not to far from home if we need to return to home base. Also it was an opportunity to learn more about the ports that are just 3- 7 hours sail from Seattle.  We chose five ports that would be part of this learning curve. Our First destination was Brownsville.

This screen shot from our iPad shows the Puget Sound destinations marked with the pink dots. This is from the AquaMap app which has replaced our previous backup app Garmin Blue Chart. This relatively new app is quickly becoming the favorite replacement for Garmin blue Chart. So the SouthEast mark is Shilshole, our home marina. Then we sail to Brownsville the Southwest mark, then just to the NW to Poulsbo. Next South Whidby Island - Langly, then up to Oak Harbor on the North end of Whidby Island, then back down to Edmonds, and finally return to Shilshole.

Brownsville
6/16/18 Shilshole to Brownsville 1045 hr-14:06, 14Km 15-20 N Sunny tides: H 0634 L 1339  Notes:arrived Madison Bay11:30 waited till 12:30 to transit Agate Pass 1-2 kt ebb tide, 2.5-3.5 speed through pass at 1800 rpm $27 per night + elec

The Admiral asked "Why do you want to go to Brownsville". well for two reasons, one being is that it is not to far away and it would be the easiest port to dock in. We had both been to this port before when we were shopping for boats and I even sailed out of the marina when we were doing a seatrial on an older Catalina 36. I knew that no matter what the currents or tide were doing, we could safely navigate in and out of the marina. No reason to cause any anxiety on our first stop.
The goal is to be this happy 10 days from now.

Here is a closer look at the chart showing Agate Pass with Madison Bay to the North and Port Orchard to the South. The pink dot marker is Brownsville.

Fresh winds were out so plenty of sailboats taking advantage on this blue sky day as we cross over to Madison Bay.

We arrived earlier than we thought at the entrance to Agate Pass. On this day there were near record tides due to the close proximity of the full moon and summer solstice. We waited for an hour along with four other vessels in Madison Bay for the current to calm before attempting the pass. Lesson: Do not arrive early to a pass requiring favorable currents.

Entering the pass the waters are confused and small eddies are everywhere.

Once we got past this area the lumpiness calmed down.
Bainbridge Island is on the left and the eastern shore of the Olympic Peninsula on the right. 

We were lucky to make 3-3.5 kts facing at least a 2 knot ebb tide 30 minutes before slack..

Stay in the middle, water is getting low.

With the Olympics in the background we emerge from the pass to calm waters and not much wind.

Brownsville has a long line of outer docks for guest slips. It is a first come first served basis. We called in advance just to make sure there would not be any large cruising groups coming to the marina. Keyport was our backup if there were no slips available. But as it turned out there were several to pick from.

Walking nearly straight up is the result of the record low tides.


At high tide there is a Bay back there.

The Daily Stop is one of two choices for provisions, just a short walk.

There is a small park just above the port for a scenic view and a fire pit to keep warm on cooler days.

The evening high tide brought the ramps near level.

We stopped in at the marina store before departing for Poulsbo and they made a great Fathers Day breakfast sandwich complete with orange slices!

Off to Poulsbo
Poulsbo
6.17.18 Brownsville to Poulsbo 1200-13:38hrs 5.8 Km. Sunny N 10-25 tides:H 07:30 L 14:29 notes: motored in N winds
This would be our second time to sail into Liberty Bay. The first time was during a short shake down cruise on our previous vessel Wandering Star with our volunteer crew Buzz and Terry. from Austin. This time is different as we are much more familiar with the surrounding region. Fathers Day weekend in Poulsbo is a popular day for boats in Liberty Bay. So we would be entering the bay when more than we thought would be leaving.Since we sould be entering during a record low tide we wanted to stay in the channel that runs along the North shore where all the marinas are located. So we also had to navigate through lots of recreational vessels just coming and going from Liberty Bay Marina, Poulsbo Yacht Club, and the Port of Poulsbo as well as the very full anchorage near Poulsbo. This was this disorganized chaos of vessels just out to enjoy boating on the Bay as well as vessels departing the anchorage and a bit of commercial traffic as well. I knew we would have just one good shot at getting into our assigned slip since the depths were just 8' and anything beyond that was risky.


Poulsbo is just around the corner to Liberty Bay, about 1.5 hour away.You do have to navigate past a Submarine research base at slow speed and watch out for small military craft.
Nearing the caution zone near the submarine base, These two guys just cleared and obviously the 3 kt. zone was not fun for them.

Just passed the submarine base is Keyport. this was on our backup plan in case Brownsville was full. We have a friend that plays in a Jazz Band every Friday evening here in a restaurant, some day we will come back just to hear him play.

The inlet to Liberty Bay, The Admiral keeps me centered so we do not run aground as we are near low tide coming in.


There was a 70' vessel docked on the T head that we had to navigate past and make a sharp turn to starboard to get in the 1st slip. With 15-20 kt winds on our stern we had to come in on reverse to slid into the 30' slip without the bow hitting the dock! We made it. With our 5'-6" draft there was only about 2' under our keel at this record low tide. That is why they put us on Dock F on the last slip out. 8' of water may scare some but we sailed for years in Corpus Christi Bay!

Check out the low tide and how high the pilings are!

We visited the Poulsbo Aquarium, I really liked the 10 armed star fish.

See that lady down there? She must have been out collecting some clams, she got into mud up to her knees though.

Yesterday all the slips were full, we came in when everyone else was leaving, It got pretty interesting at we neared the Port. 

There is a great trail that starts here and goes along a board walk to a small park at the end of the trail.


The white building is Longship Marine. It is an awesome marine consignment store. I actually have sold a lot of gear through them that we could no longer use. These stores are a dying bread in the Pacific Northwest and that is sad, so fun to go through and just look at the wide assortment of marine gear.


Our friend had a poster on the marina's poster board.

Sons of Norway building. I am sure there are good times in there. Viking parties.

This little museum is very cool.

When we visited our friends from Texas in Eagle Harbor a few weeks back, John, who is from Croatia told us a story of cooking Lutefish. They had these pictures in the museum so I sent these to him. 

Here is how you make it, I'm NOT interested, would you eat it?

Viking Beer in Poulsbo.



Remember that piling at Low tide, here is one at High tide!


Port of South Whidby - Langly
6.19.18 Poulsbo to Port of South Whidby 0800 - 1400 31.6 Km. tides: H0949 L1616 Notes: Motored sailed in favorable current.

Sailing to Port of South Whidby - Langley puts you right at the intersection of Possession Sound and Admiralty Inlet where two very large bodies of water converge. This area is a very popular recreational fishing area and where at certain times of year you  can see Gray and other whales feeding. the area is just over 8 miles at the widest point and over 700' deep in the deepest. We did not see any whales here but you never know since unusual visitors have been visiting Puget Sound for awhile now and they say it is due to climate change.
The night before any passage the Admiral and I sync our electronic charts with the paper and cruising guides. Keeps us on the same page during the trip.

This is the Clinton Ferry, any time you are crossing a ferry channel you need to make sure you keep your eyes on the arriving and departing ferries. They move about 20 knots and so best to just wait at a distance since they go by quick anyways.

Plenty of moving hazards on Puget Sound. Lot of it comes from trees washing down the river systems and the log booms that regularly navigate through all of Puget Sound. The wildlife assist in identifying the logs sometimes. It gets harder when the wind and waves pick up. 

Entering Saratoga Passage

Camino Island on the right where the waters of thee Port of Susan meet Saratoga Passage and Posssion Sound.

A great view of the Cascades over the top of Camino Island.

This little Marina, the Port of South Whidby gets very busy in the Summer Season which started the weekend after we departed. the town of Langley is a popular cruising destination just a short walk up the hill from the Port.

The Dock master gratefully met us on the dock to help us tie up in the hardest dock top get in or out of. I was very careful going in since there are no plan B's. 

Securely tied up with a huge break water wall to our port and the gang way ramp just off our bow.

Cheated Death one more time!

Getting out of here will be even more fun.



Turns out that Langley has there own phone company. Local calls are free.


The Bunnies are everywhere and they have become a political controversy in Langley



It's a Small World!

There is a great walking trail just below the town of Langley

See: https://youtu.be/PWbSedJLKxM

The tides will be back to normal by tomorrow


Hello Chicago?

What is the history behind this bell?

If my sister ever comes to visit I'm sailing here up here to visit this artsy glass shop. for about $100 This guy will teach you haw to create and blow your own piece. She will love it.


The port has changed over the last 200 years.

I was very glad to find a beer here in the local grocery from my favorite PNW Brewery, Boundary Bay in Bellingham. The first Scotch Ale I have had but it wont be the last.

We will have to enlist the crew of this big trawler behind us when we leave in the morning.



Langley is one of those towns that you want to come back to visit at different times of the year. The reviews say the port is so busy during the short summer season that they never turn vessels away they just raft them up together to get them all in. That's a little more party than I want to attend but the summer season is relatively short up here. The local cruisers usually get out and going in September when all the visitors have gone back home. 
Our Shake down cruise has gone great so far even backing out of our little space turned out to be no big deal in calm wind and little current. The dock master and the couple behind us were all standing by to help. I will continue this blog in Part II of the Shake down cruise soon to be posted.