81, 82, and 83
A Quick Get-A-Way
Time alone, finally
Newport to Illahee Park
Sometimes everything just falls into place. Dawn finished up her jury
duty, I had a couple extra days off coming, and all three kids were gone
for the week having arranged camp and other accommodations on very short
notice. Faced with the choice of spending our quite time at home or on
the boat we chose to skip the pending house projects and hit the water.
We loaded and prepped the boat quickly on Thursday
morning (the mast is off, perhaps for the long term) and headed to the
Newport launch. This will be the first extended trip for us without the
kids (we do however have the dog along). The only thing we forgot to
grab was the camera.
The launch was deserted and we filled the dashboard of
the truck with parking coupons and headed out. It was a smooth and easy
passage across the lake to the locks where we slid up to the holding
wall at the head of the line. Shortly after arriving another Mac pulled
in behind (they had their mast). In no time we were loaded and made the
long trip down to a quite low tide.
From Shilshole we turned south tentatively headed for
Blake Island which was the closest park. Dawn and the dog retired below
for their second nap and I set the autopilot for the cruise across an
empty sound. As we drew near Blakely Rocks it began to rain and the wind
rose. Rather than bang away into the seas I elected to hang a right into
Rich Passage and head for our original choice of destination, Illahee
Park. Dawn awoke just as we were approaching the park.
There were a quite a bit of fishermen on the dock so
we decided to take a buoy. At first we hooked the north most one, but
Dawn felt it was too close to the dock so we moved down to the middle
one. There are 5 buoys here and they are all empty. While they are
exposed to the south and boat wakes, the ride seemed tolerable with only
The next task was the dinghy so the dog could get to
shore. I hooked up the pump and unrolled the dinghy on the bow. Opps,
something is not right. Where is the air floor? Apparently when we
cleaned it at the end of last season we pulled the floor and never put
it back. Dawn wanted to try it even without the floor. I inflated the
tubes and the boat is plenty firm and stable, but the vee bottom is
slack without the floor to push it down. With instructions not to step
on the bottom Dawn loaded up the dog and rowed to shore.
I filled the ballast and did some final cleanup and
organizing while they were gone. Time passed quickly and so quietly
without the kids and we decided to call it a night. While there was some
rolling, after dark all traffic and the wind died and the water was
mirror flat giving us a still, quiet night.
Rising late the next morning the only required task was to take Jessie
to the beach. Dawn rowed in and spent some time walking around the park.
Once they returned we considered our options. Should we move elsewhere?
Even though some of the rolling is back we decided to just hang out on
the buoy and do nothing at all. We whiled away the day resting and
enjoying the peace and quiet. The wind built quite a bit in the later
afternoon as it shifted North East making the ride more uncomfortable.
We were almost ready to head to the dock for a bit of shelter when
things eased just enough to make it tolerable. (I see rocker-stoppers in
Conditions were strange, usually when the wind climbs
the boat swings back and forth wildly at anchor or on a buoy. For
some reason we sat nose just slightly off the wind without any side to
side movement. There must be quite a unseen current running from
the north working against the board and rudders holding us in place.
We wrapped up the day with dinner and a movie then turned in. Just as
last night, everything died after dark and we were back to a glass
smooth sea. The boat sat so still in a fixed position that more than a
few times I wondered if we were somehow aground.
Illahee Park to Newport
We decided to get under way fairly early on Saturday headed for Port
Orchard marina. We’ve never stopped there and wanted to see some new
places. With ballast full and pulling the dinghy without a floor we made
our way at 6 knots south. The marina is just across from the naval base
at Bremerton. It’s a nice marina, but staying in the very industrial
area is not appealing. We entered and found space to tie up for a short
stop. There is a Chris Craft rendezvous going on here this weekend. With
everything secure we headed into get something to eat. We found a nice
restaurant with outdoor seating where we could have the dog with us.
Once we had dined we wandered through the Saturday farmers market. It
really was more of craft show than a food market.
Having had our fill of the land we boarded and headed
for home. The dinghy is now rolled back up on the bow and it was a
simple passage. Crossing in front of Elliot Bay the wind was up
with white caps. We still had our ballast in (a rare thing under power
for us) and the ride was quite comfortable at 4000 rpm and 9 knots.
Perhaps we’ll use ballast more often. I would have expected the
need to slow down to keep the boat from launching in these conditions.
Entering the lock area it appeared our timing was
perfect. They were just loading the small locks and it looked like we
would be set. However as we crept in it became clear there wasn’t going
to be room. The lock attendant thought we should be able to fit our bow
in between the two back boats and make the ride, but I didn’t see it.
The gap was not near big enough and there was no way they would have
been able to close the doors behind us. We elected to back out and wait
for the next trip.
We spent the next 30 minutes circling not wanting to
tie up at the mussel and barnacle covered wall during the very low tide.
There is Goodtime boat waiting along with quite a few other boats now.
The captain of the Goodtime indicated that he expected them to call him
first and that we should just follow him in. This is exactly what we
did. There was just room for us on the south side behind him. They put 4
other smaller boats rafted 2x2 behind him on the opposite wall. These
folks struggled with the instructions and we looked quite professional.
We were last out and made the 7 knot trip back to Lake
Washington. Once we were south of 520 we sped up, opened the valves, and
dumped our ballast as we made our way across the lake to the ramp.
Loading was quick and simple and in no time we were secured and on the
road. Not having the mast makes this so nice.
This turned out to be a very nice trip alone. We’ve
got a short list of boat tasks and are looking forward to a couple more
extended trips next month.