Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sucia Island Rendezvous, Epilogue

We waited in Fossil Bay for the winds to come up, which never really happened. Fluky and unpredictable, some boats had a breeze to waft them home and others resorted to oars.

The small group that stayed on to continue sailing for another week set off on Monday morning on a promising lift which soon dissipated into a dead calm. This was to be the default for several days.

The post Rendezvous tour turned out to be a circumnavigation of Orcas Island. First to Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island, which is a Washington State park with permanent moorings and plenty of trails onshore to explore.

The next stop was Deer Harbor on Orcas Island for showers, hamburgers and fish 'n chips. My shower was supposed to last for seven minutes but it never stopped. Pure heaven after sitting in the sun on a calm sea for a week.

The last stop was Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island, headed for Anacortes. Lynn, in Katie Mae had peeled off to head for Port Townsend earlier that day and there were only three boats left, the Mother Ship (Baba 30, Gretel II), Jamie's Wayward Lass and me, in Saga. Eagle Harbor is an inviting primitive anchorage on a state preserve. I've often passed it but never stopped. Now I know why. The recreational traffic in Bellingham Channel churned up a confused sea that lashed the anchorage all evening.

Katie Mae had an uneventful trip home, as Lynn reported later:

" I parted company and headed down San Juan Channel; made it as far as Fisherman Bay.
Motoring in, I stopped to admire a 5.5 meter in the outer harbor, and the crew offered me a mooring to hang on overnight, very thoughtful."

"Went in to the Islander marina and had beer and fish tacos, and the ladies at the next table were having way too much fun and pulled me in to their movie -- ah, civilization!"

"Thought I'd make it across the Strait to Port Townsend the next day (Friday), but the weather scared me off -- I kept seeing the lightening ground strikes and looking at the cans of gasoline in the cockpit and, and... went back to Watmough Bay, Lopez Island. Saturday morning the thunder had stopped so -- off again. Thick fog in Rosario Strait, but I figured it would clear up."

"It didn't."

"Socked in, with visibility up to 1/4 mile and down to 100 yards all the way to Partridge Point, Whidbey Island; never had a whiff of Smith Island. I was motoring in three foot current waves for the first part; barely making way through the water, but getting 7 to 8 knots over the ground in roughly the right direction. Once in a while I stopped the motor and listened for engines, hearing one at one point. It faded pretty quickly though, and there were no actual incidents."

"Made it to Point Wilson [Port Townsend] in a shade under four hours; not bad for my pretty slow boat (slow pretty boat?) and very glad and grateful for a safe and happy trip."

Jamie Orr, in Wayward Lass, was the last man standing. He headed west in his Chebacco and home to Victoria, BC from Anacortes:

  "I almost got caught in fog in Rosario Strait, but it wandered off up Guemes Channel instead - although at one point a ferry about a quarter mile south was totally invisible. Once inside the islands I decided to try to reach Deer Harbor, Orcas Island for fuel, they close at 7:00 sharp. I made it with only minutes to spare, in fact, after I'd pumped my gas and went up to pay for it, they wouldn't let me in, saying they were closed! Unfortunately they figured things out and let me pay after all."

"I stopped for the night at Jones Island where the thunderstorm that had followed me from Rosario Strait finally caught up and dumped a few gallons of rain in the bilge before passing on."

"I'd had no wind all the way and nothing was changed at 4:30 next morning when I hauled up the anchor. But the tide was helping to the tune of up to 2 1/2 knots down Haro Strait so it was a quick ride home."

So ends Sucia Island Rendezvous 2012. There is a lot more in the telling, but you will have to come along and see for yourself. The written word does not do justice to the beauty of being becalmed under a mossy granite ledge with eagles wheeling and crying overhead while Doll's porpoises feed playfully on herring under your keel. Time is of no consequence and minutes pass into hours unremarked.

In case you missed them, there are more photos on Doryman's Flickr site.

Back home now and it's another life. Some good news for small boat enthusiasts coming up - please stay tuned!

1 comment:

jp huza said...

Sounded like a great adventure. Glad you could break away to take it in. Welcome back.