122, 123, 124, 125
5/22/2009 - 5/25/2009
Memorial Day Weekend
A Spectacular Springtime Trip
Des Moines Marina
We left the house about 2:30 pm, just Dawn and I with
the boat. It's handy to have an 18 year old to leave home with his
brothers. There was a bit of traffic, but we made it to Des Moines
around 3:15. Since this is a sling launch there isn't much prep to
do and we were in the water tied up at our slip by 3:45. We then
raised the mast and put up all the canvas. It was quite relaxing
with just the two of us around for this, no kids or dogs to take care
Around 6:30 we zipped up the boat and walked over to
Red Robin for dinner. We both had Fish and Chips which were OK but
a bit greasy. The only thing everyone should avoid is the
Watermelon Margarita which Dawn said was terrible as she sent it back to
exchange for a beer. We called the boys with a final list of
things to bring when they come down tomorrow and then strolled back to
It's a quiet night and we decided to turn in early
after a busy day. Thankfully the nearly constant air traffic to
SeaTac slowed up later in the evening.
Des Moines Marina to Cutts Island
We awoke to a very low tide and a near vertical dock
ramp at 9:30. We're really down in a fishbowl here. We just
had a light breakfast and then got to the one chore left, inflating and
cleaning the dinghy. The new foot pump we got last year but never
used proved to be a great choice. The main chamber inflated the
boat very quickly, and the special high pressure chamber brought the air
floor up to a nice board stiff pressure, something the old normal pump
never could do. With that done and a final bit of cleanup we are
ready for the crowd to arrive. We paid the bill for the night,
only $19, and got an extra bag of ice for the drinks we will no doubt
need with 6 people on board.
The kids arrived just after 11:30, Sam drove the van
down with his brother Nick and Mike as well as his girlfriend Elizabeth.
He also brought the two dogs.
We departed the marina at 11:50 and turned south for
the Tacoma Narrows taking advantage of a flood current that would help
us almost all the way to our destination. As we rounded Point
Defiance we hit quite a confused and rough patch of water but were soon
into the main flow getting a 3+ knot push south under the bridge.
We then were faced with a dilemma, should we take the
safe rout around the bottom of Fox Island adding 4 miles to our trip or
go through Hale Passage. The bridge at the upper end of Hale
passage is charted at 31 ft vertical clearance in the center. We
need 36 ft to get under with the mast up. The tide however was
still very low, the chartplotter said the tide at the bridge was at only
2 ft on it's way to a high of over 13 ft. Since the charted bridge
heights are at high water that should give us an extra 10-11 ft on the
charted 31 ft making for plenty of clearance. We decided to hang a
right early and chance Hale Passage.
As we approached the bridge we slowed some but could
go too slow as the current was still giving us a 2 knot push. I
unzipped the canvas for a better view and aimed for just right of center
to avoid the navigation light hanging down in the very center of the
bridge. All eyes were aloft as the moment of truth arrived.
Nick felt we were well clear, Elizabeth said there was no way we would
make it under. Trusting in the math, we passed under with at least
8' clearance according to Nick and were safely on the other side.
From there is was a short trip out the narrow channel
and up to Cutts Island. We took the empty 3rd mooring buoy up
along the east side of the small island. After a snack I rowed the
boys and Eli to the beach in the dinghy and returned to the boat for a
All the buoys are full of boats and new arrivals are
starting to anchor. There are a lot of day users of the island
coming and going in ski boats and jet skis. It's a busy place.
A little before 5 the boats on the buoys further north
left and we decided to move up the line. These are more along the
long spit than the island and get us further away from the racket and
traffic ashore. As Dawn and I were on the bow getting secured to
the new buoy, Jessie who was tied with her leash to the steering
pedestal decided she just couldn't stand being away from Dawn. She
climbed up along side the dodger and some how managed to loose here
footing and fall off the boat. This put her half way in the drink
dangling from her collar between the boat and the dinghy which was tied
up along side. I heard the splashing and quickly jumped down into
the dinghy and rescued her. She was only wet up to here chest, and
we decided that from now on she would be better off un-tethered wearing
her life jacket. At least then if she falls off she would just be
bobbing in the water instead of hanging from her collar.
At 6 the shore crew was ready to come back so we
started the grill for Dawn to cook hamburgers then I rowed to shore with
the dogs and picked everyone up. After dinner everyone retired to
different corners of the boat to nap and read.
Just past 8 all was quiet so Dawn and I slipped away
with the dogs to shore for a final walk. They ran on the beach as
the sun set, and to make up for missing out on her turn in the water
just before we we climbing back into the dinghy Jenny decided she had to
cool down by laying down in the water leaving us with another wet dog to
Back on board Nick was awake to help, but everyone
else was asleep. No one seemed to have much energy for anything,
so we set things up for the night and all turned in. Nick and Mike
are both in the cockpit, Sam and Elizabeth are in the aft berth with all
the bags down the center blocking the low part, and Dawn and I are in
the extended vee berth. There's plenty of room for 6 to sleep in a
Mac. We didn't even have to put the table down. We were all
lights out at 10:30.
Cutts Island to Kopachuck State Park
We woke at 10:30 and the traffic to the island is
already building. We decided to for a different place for the day
to escape the party zone. At 11:00 I released the bow from the
buoy and we turned south. We plan to look at Kopachuck and if
necessary Penrose Point. Barely 10 minutes later we were to the
two empty buoys off Kopachuck. They sit only 25' off the shelf in
15' of water at the now -4' low tide. We liked what we saw and
tied up to the north buoy.
The beach is pretty busy with campers and day
visitors, but the boat traffic and noise is much reduced from the party
at Cutts. Another plus is there are shore facilities just up from
We then got to cooking a late breakfast. I had
to refill the stove alcohol, but soon we had a nice breakfast of bacon,
hash browns and scrambled eggs. Mikes been fishing with the jig
setup and having good luck with small bait fish.
A little before 1 pm we piled in the dinghy, all 6 of
us and the 2 dogs, and made the short row to shore. Once everyone
was dropped off I went back to the boat to do the dishes and cleanup.
It's 3 pm and there is no sign of the shore detail on
the beach. There is so much traffic going by on the way to the
party back on Cutts island that I decided to set a stern anchor towards
the beach to keep our bow pointed toward the boat wakes. I took
the Danforth out to max rode in the dinghy and dropped it nearly
perpendicular to shore. I then led the rode to the aft port cleat.
The anchor set well and we now have a good angle head on to the passing
wakes so we are not getting any side rolling. Time for a beer.
Just past 4:00 Sam called on Elizabeth's phone, which
I answered, saying they were ready for a pickup. They had been
down the beach around the point all this time building a fort and a
swing. Unlike the main beach here, there were no people down around
the point. We made another full dinghy run with a longer row this
time as it is nearly high tide.
All of us retired to different comfy areas, Eli and Mike
began fishing. Dawn mixed some rum drinks and we all relaxed in
the perfect weather. It's a very comfortable temperature even in
the sun, and there is a light breeze. The parade of boat traffic
continues to and from Cutts Island. There must be a neighborhood
block party this afternoon for every waterfront house within 5 miles.
The beach is packed and the spit is wall to wall boats and people.
We're very glad we relocated.
We started the two marinated flank steaks on the grill
at 5:50. They came out great and we had a wonderful dinner of
flank steak, hashbrowns, fruit and veggies. With all 6 of us
gathered around the table below talking and eating it was a perfect
boat meal. Once done we cranked up the new stereo and kicked back.
The wind is up around 8 pm, but the stern anchor has
stopped all swinging and keeps the bow to the waves giving us a good
ride. I expect it to calm down later tonight in an hour or so when
the sun sets. We cleaned up the dishes and then settled in to
watch a movie on the newly installed 3rd version of our entertainment
center. Before we started, Dawn and I decided we better make one
more trip to shore with the dogs. It was dusk when we returned and
put the dinghy in it's towing position. We delayed showtime
further while Sam cooked up the Jiffy Pop on the stove, then we started
"Transformers" on the boat theater. We managed to find enough
places for all 6 of us to comfortably watch the movie.
We wrapped up the show at 11:40 pm and were all in our
bunks by midnight.
Kopachuck State Park to Des Moines Marina
We awoke to yet another gorgeous day. Breakfast
was simple cereal and oatmeal followed by a short trip to shore with the
dogs. Mike took to fishing and made the catch of the trip, a very
large flounder. Sam did the duties of pulling up the shore anchor
with the dinghy and soon we were ready to head back north.
We've had the ballast full since Saturday afternoon so
we planned on a easy pace back to the marina. We want to catch
some ebb current help in the narrows so we set the boat loose from the
buoy just past 10:30.
The tide was low and going lower so we decide to use
Hale passage again at it will be about 2' when we get to the bridge.
Dawn is at the helm and the kids are all below watching "Lord of the
Rings - Two Towers". I watched closer as we passed under the
bridge and we had an easy 5-6' clearance.
Things got a bit rougher as we rounded Point Fosdick
and turned north in the narrows. We're getting good push from the
current, but all the traffic running parallel to us is giving Dawn a
handful at the helm. Once under the bridge she had had enough and
turned the steering duty over to me.
There was a real traffic jam just off Point Defiance
and the wakes combined with the swirling current made things really
rough. Even with ballast in we launched the boat one time off a
particularly steep powerboat wake. From there we crossed over to
the south end of Vashon Island and made our way north in calmer waters.
As we passed Piner Point on Maury Island we rolled the throttle forward
to 4500 rpm and 14 knots to get a nice bow high attitude and dump the
ballast. As we approached Maury Robinson Point were were empty and
doing a nice 17 knots. We quickly crossed over to the Des Moines
We followed some traffic in and managed to find an open
slip next to the fuel dock. It took another 15 minutes for the
kids to finish up the movie, and then we collected up their stuff and
they headed up the ramp (steep again as it is a -4 low tide again) to the
van. Once they were on their way we returned to the boat to get
ready for loading it on the trailer. I pulled the dinghy out and
Dawn cleaned it up while I stowed canvas. Then we both quickly and
easily lowered and stowed the mast. After a few more tasks we were
ready to load.
I went up to the parking lot and got the truck in
position on the pier then went back to the boat and drove it over to the
sling loading area. In no time the boat was making the long lift
up to the pier and being set nicely on the trailer. We then
cleaned up the lines and headed to home. Sam was gone taking
Elizabeth home when we backed the boat into the driveway under the wires
at 3:30 pm and had a nice peaceful end to a great Memorial Day weekend