Friday, July 13, 2012

An Early Departure From Hammersley Inlet

12 July 2012 Thursday

The SW wind is blowing more this morning and with the waves getting white-capped, I decide an early departure is in order. I don't mind being slowed by the bucking tide, as I am in no hurry. On my way out of Oakland Bay I discover the tug and barge is taking on a payload of gravel. The gravel is coming through a long chute up the mountain and descends over the highway and into the barge.

As I turn to port and take the inlet outwards, the wind is blowing very cold air. I slow down, get my fleece on and close all the flaps. While I have my track back on my handheld GPS, I want to have the inbound route on the chart plotter, so I select the date and presto it appears like magic. Then I can retrace my course and have it blown up and easier to see. This inlet winds like a river and while not too deep, there was a point on my starboard that was whirling in rip tides, slowing me to 3.9 k. and the depth was over 100 ft. At any rate it is lovely, with its little inlets, coves, tree lined forest, manicured lawn, and rugged cliffs, Cape Horn.

With this wind blowing I want to get a good buoy at Hope Island. I always hope for the best, and just like that all 5 buoys are empty, so I select one on the east side which is in the lee of the land and I have a view of Mt. Rainier. I put out another 1/2 inch buoy line on the bow as the wind will get worse as the day goes on.  Rather do it now, than after dark, is another one of my mantras. I take some extra time to sort my anchor line and while it is on the deck I put in some footage markers that Two Tall donated. Thanks again and again for all the goodies.

Sunset looks interesting tonight.

At 2245 hrs, I am warm in my bunk reading and I hear a familiar rumble of a big engine. I, flash back to being on Shatoosh on the Multnomah Channel, off the Columbia River. It is the nightly sound of the tug and gravel barge going to Portland. I had no idea one would be zooming past Hope Island in the dark of night. I had my anchor light on, but the 40 footer nearer the passage didn't have any lights on. I went into the cockpit and there he was, a big tug with a barge in tow. Unlike the Multonomah tugs this one is really clipping along. I know what is coming, so retreat to the cabin and grab my mug of tea and hold on; first comes the bow wake of the tug, then the bow wake of the barge, then the stern on the barge. Rolling, rolling and more rolling, as the wakes pound her beam. Shatoosh quickly snaps back to take on another blow. She is a trooper and we make a great team.Whew, glad that is over and nothing got flipped out of its place. There is nothing like a peaceful night of the water. With that under our belt, I am going to sleep, but then there is that wind blowing outside and the waves lapping against the hull.. I am not at all disturbed by it and am fast asleep in less than 15 seconds.

day's run 10nm