Duane, Dawn,
Sam, Nick, and Mike
(Jessy and Jenny)

Home Up Family Pictures Music



Logbook Day 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 of.

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 the boat. 

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 relaxing afternoon. 

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 deal with.

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 the beach.

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 breakwater entrance. 

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 trip.  


















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