Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thursday, 3Aug2016: Fort Flagler

Weather:  Sunny and hot!  Winds:  Light.  Seas:  N/A

We were in no hurry, only chores awaited at home.  The sun was bright, the weather pleasant, the coffee fresh and a place to we did.

Fort Flagler was part of the 'triangle of fire' along with Fort Worden, near Port Townsend and where parts of "An Officer and a Gentleman" were filmed and Fort Casey, across Admiralty Inlet on Whidbey Island.

The Fort Flagler anchorage is just off a dock next to the Lower Campground, which is huge.  There were 6 mooring balls and the way the tidal current rips through, I wouldn't risk anchoring.  Walking the dogs in the morning, the current was with us and we just let it bring us to the dock.  The campground area has a small convenience store and a large open space.  The open space allowed us to carefully run the dogs off leash, particularly out onto a sand spit, which grew larger as the tide went out.  After a morning run (they need their exercise!), we rowed along the beach avoiding the current.

After a couple boat chores, we leashed the dogs and went for a long walk through the parks many shaded trails.  We thought to go to the main barracks area, but the place was larger than we thought and only made it to Battery Bankhead, about half way to the main facilities.  We then walked to the north shore trails and headed back to the boat...the dogs were exhausted - really.  The terriers were fine, it was our feet!  Something to work on....

Though the sun was not setting - its August and the sun doesn't set until 2100 - it was time for a sundowner once we got back to the boat.  The grill was fired up and a couple of burgers made.  After one more dog run on the spit, we just relaxed, reading and watching other boats coming into the anchorage.

All in all, a pleasant day and we will definitely come back!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wednesday, 3Aug2016: Poulsbo to Fort Flagler

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  S 5 becoming W 10kts.  Seas:  <1ft (except when it wasn't).

Departed Poulsbo with the ebb, motoring out Liberty Bay and through Agate Pass.  Made 9kts through Agate with the current!  Motored across Port Madison and into the Sound proper.  Managed a little sail northward under the main and screacher.

Winds picked up as we rounded Point No Point, as did the washing machine.  Stuck close to shore avoiding the largest of the churning.  Once through Skunk Band and past Foul Weather Bluff, the seas calmed and the west wind picked up.

Sailed upwind at 7kts through Oak Bay and the entrance to Port Townsend Canal.  Motored through the canal and then the remaining 3nm to Fort Flagler State Park.    The waterway to the park is wide, but the navigable channel narrow making motoring up the channel interesting and requiring attention to the markers.  Our back up plan was Mystery Bay State Park, further into the bay, but there was no need as six of the seven buoys were open and we selected the one with the most space around it, which was the one closest to the dock!

We very much enjoyed this park, to the point we stayed an extra day!

Tuesday, 2Aug2016: Poulsbo

Weather:  Predicted dicey with thunderstorms.  Winds:  Variable.  Seas:  N/A

Safely tucked into one of our favorite marinas, we decided to stay and wait out the predicted storms.  After watching the moms exercise class in the park, we ended up walking the dogs all over, exploring further than we had in the past, finding the Safeway and the businesses along/off Hwy 305.

While there was some rain in the day, it was not as bad a predicted.  For us, it is always worth a stop in Poulsbo just to go to Sluy's Bakery.  We got several tasty pastries, including a viking cup, and a loaf of their brod.

Monday, 1Aug2016: Des Moines to Poulsbo

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Variable, 0-10 kts.  Seas:  Flat

Departed around with the ebb and with no real destination, just headed north, just took it easy and thought we'd find some place towards the end of the day.  Sailed off and on with the main and screacher as the wind allowed, else, motor.

Made it to Blake Island around noon.  There were mooring buoys available, but it was too early to stop.  So, we pressed on.  Winds dictated we head towards the Rich Passage and Poulsbo became the obvious destination.  Saw a couple dive boats off the south end of Bainbridge Island apparently harvesting shellfish.  We then sailed between the salmon pens off the SE corner of Bainbridge.

Winds were fickle through here but we were able to sail through most of the pass.  Making the right hand turn at Point White, the winds became consistent and we had a nice broad reach making 7kts northbound to Keyport.  Motored past Keyport.  Once in Liberty Bay, southwest winds picked up and we sailed to the marina.

Once in the marina, there were plenty of slips.  Not wanting to fold, we searched a couple minutes looking a double wide open slip.  Thought we found one and set up for a port side tie.  Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, the slip was too narrow.  So, backed out and moved to another section where the slips were wide enough.  Pulled in and let the wind kiss us against the dock, holding us secure.

The marina was closed for the hour early!  However, there were quiet a few people on the dock and we were able to get the bathroom codes.  There was also a USCG cutter on maneuvers from Bangor tied to the end of the dock.  The crew was pleasant to talk to and they offered a tour...which was politely declined - I'd spent enough time on naval vessels.

A pleasant evening!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

28-31July2016: Des Moines

Weather:  Sunny and hot.  Winds:  Light.  Seas:  N/A

While under the SeaTac airport's flight path, we found Des Moines to be a clean and pleasant place.  Met quiet a few friendly people on the docks and were able to run the dogs up and down the docks - they need their exercise!

We were there in the midst of the Pokemon Go craze and there were a ton of people in the park around the marina, all of whom seemed intent on having a good time.  I asked one if they called themselves pokemonsters or pokemobsters.  She responded with, "Well, I'm Italian so it must be pokemobsters!"  Another guy who was out enjoying the afternoon with friends said both would apply!

With most of the day taken up with a swim meet at the King County Aquatics Center, we really did not have much chance for seeing any local events or enjoy a local restaurant.  We were surprised by a 'farmer's market' in the park on Saturday morning.  We've found most of these markets are more craft fair than farmer's market and this one was no exception.  A local bakery was setting up their stall and I hoped to get a sticky bun before we had to go to the aquatics center.  The person behind the counter said they have them, but would not sell any before 1000.  Since it was only 0830...well, I guess they were confident they would sell and did not want to be bothered by us.  Move along, nothing to see here.

The one big exception to the above paragraph was a Don Gregorios Taco Truck.  Parked in the lot above the marina, it was excellent, easy and a great price.  Further, the two ladies running the truck were gregarious and made me smile.  My opinion:  Worth the stop!

Thursday, 28July2016: Dockton to Des Moines

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light.  Seas:  Flat.

We needed to get to Des Moine and headed out around 1000 after walking the dogs and a pleasant breakfast.  With so little wind, we motored the distance.  The flood tide was against us, but we found a back eddy along the beach on the SE side of Maury Island.  The nice thing about motoring close to shore is being able to take in the wildlife along the beach and see the houses up close and personal.  Definitely helps to break up the monotony.

Much to our surprise, we came across the annual tribal canoe journey as they rounded Maury Island's east and south side, as they rounded Robinson Point.  Quite a parade of canoes.  See here and here for photos and story.

From Robinson Point, it is a short, 2nm jaunt across the Puget Sound to Des Moines.  The marina seemed a little tight, probably because of all the time tied to Freestyle in Gig Harbor and the openness of Dockton.  I'd talked with the marina staff and they were not expecting a crowd and they gave us the go ahead to leave Strider spread.  This may also have contributed!

Des Moines advertises the least expensive fuel in the area and there was a short line for the fuel dock. So, instead of jockeying around in the fairway and generally clogging up the place, we found an open slip a the head of the nearest dock and rested there on a spring line.  There was a little confusion when it was our turn for the fuel dock and the other boat backed off...turns out, they were Sparties!  Once fueled, we backed off the fuel dock and almost directly into our chosen slip.  Quite painless!

Wednesday, 27July2016: Gig Harbor to Dockton

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat

Basically another lazy day, relaxing in Gig Harbor...until:

MM had made a social engagement with local friends for an afternoon sail so our raft off with Freestyle ended.  Around 1600, Freestyle and Strider motored out of the harbor and sailed around in the light winds off Point Defiance.  While Freestyle had main and genoa up, we went with the screacher only.  It quickly became evident the advantages a light boat has over a heavy boat.  While the Oceanus 45 seems to be a fast boat in moderate to heavy winds, Strider sailed circles around Freestyle.

After an hour or so, we split off and headed north into Quartermaster Harbor.  We continued sailing up into the entrance, then motored to Dockton, taking an outside slip unfolded.

Unlike the last time we came to the county park, the place was nearly empty, only about six boats.  All was pretty quiet until later in the evening when, what looked like a group of local high school football players came and started jumping off the facility's roof into the clear water below.  About a 16ft plunge into about 15ft of water.  Along with the boys, other local kids came for a evening stroll on the docks.

This is a nice place for a couple days with plenty of room to walk the dogs and a quiet atmosphere.  A pleasant evening!