Friday, July 27, 2012

Encyclopedia on Puget Sound

I have received information from Pat Moynihan who is the Skipper of PASHA, an Albin 25, berthed at Deception Pass.

Take a look at this helpful and informative online encyclopedia about everything Puget Sound.
Puget Sound Encyclopedia

I will post a link also at the bottom of the blog.
Thanks Pat.

Headed Home and Putting AIS to Work

26 July 2012 Thursday

I am underway by 0810 hrs and it seems all the boats are sleeping. Today is overcast and somewhat foggy along the distant shores of my home port, which is 6nm away. I pick up my Iphone and find my saved site:  It shows a tug and barge headed south to Olympia. In about 10 minutes I can see it emerge into view. I like having access to the AIS with my phone. His course will cross my course at 90 degrees. As I get closer the tug has slowed down and is in a circular holding pattern off Johnson Point. I alter my course to starboard and take the barge's stern to port and stay off his route. All is good and I'm in my slip in short time.

After tying up, I hear a repetitive "bark-bark" of a young harbor seal pup. I get on the dock and see him in the water. I kneel on the dock and reply,"bark-bark". He swims over to me in a frenzy. I am face to face with this pup and as he swims around I can see he is small, about 20 inches long and still has some remaining strands of umbilical cord on him. So he must be maybe 2 days old and I learn his mother is out fishing for a couple of hours at a time. The pup is sucking up nutrients from the crustaceans on the hull of the boat next to mine. I also learn that begin feeding on the bottom after a few days. I look out at the log boom to see any mother seals hanging out. There is one but she is not interested in this pup. I notice another pup lying on the log boom and he is dead.

Grandparents and Boating

I am still writing about my time on Mc Mickin Island, but wanted to post a separate posting on the Yankee with Jim and Marcia. They had their 12 year old grand daughter with them. I had rowed over to see them that afternoon after they had arrived. Marcia and Emily were working on a project so I inquired about it.
They were drawing on pieces of driftwood. Then Marcia told me they use a magnifying glass to burn in the drawing. I was totally amazed. Hot Stuff.

Another favorite thing they do is buy bandana scarves, grommets, and fabric paint from Jo'Ann's Material Store. Each child paints what they want on their flag and then fly's it when under way. Grandmother Marcia likes for the children to write in a journal every day and depending on their ages have chores to do. This year Emily had to  make a meal,and pump up the inflatable kayaks. Emily showed me her journal which was filled with photos of the driftwood and the flags from when she was younger. Grandpa Jim was in charge of the boating and I watched them venture off in the dinghy and kayaks numerous times. It is wonderful that they    are devoting so much time to mold their grandchildren and are giving  them many varied adventures. They were returning this grand-daughter in another day and picking up 2 others for the next round. It was thrilling to see. They made quite an impression on me, so I'm hoping to meet them again.

Yankee at McMicken Island

Layover at McMickin

25 July 2012 Wednesday

I am glad I rejoiced in having McMickin to myself because today was not a work day for people. The sky was cloudless, the sun shinning and I am forced to share this special island. The boats began to show up in the morning and I noticed Yankee, the Ranger from Jarrell's cove, coming in to get the last buoy.

I was involved in relocating my toilet paper roll and, as usual, when you move things it sets off a series of happenings. I have never been happy with where the previous owner had placed the TP Bracket. He rarely cruised her to far reaching destinations and at age 88 he usually day boated.  After 12 years of inconvenient reaching for it, today out of the blue, I move it. I don't think I had ever thought to move it. It has never been on my "to do" list. So then, I had to move my tooth brush holder, which caused the rim on the plexiglass shelf to become disconnected. My simple project now held me captive in the head area for over an hour. Now, I can easily reach the TP, but for the remainder of the trip I find myself, unconsciously reaching to the old spot.
My brain needs time to reorganize itself.

After that I decided I needed some fresh air, so Pashmina and I went for a row around the island. At the point, I spotted a very smart skiff coming in and they were waving at me.  It turns out we had spoken at Hope Island while they were kayaking. I was so impressed with their boat, green hulled, bristol brightwork. Steve and his wife, Jeannie were out for a day cruise. Steve had built the boat about 10 years ago and stated he had  revamped the bow line some last year. Take a look at this article about the design.

What a cute boat. Later, Steve wrote me an email and I share his kind comment about my blog, and adventures."Your adventures and careful way you go about your journeys are truly in the spirit of discovery.  Loved hearing your connections to Puget's explorations"
 Its comments like this that gives me great happiness knowing that my adventures and stories impact people's lives and brings them joy. Thanks Steve for the thoughtful note.

I continued around the island, stopping to talk with folks on a Grand Banks who had caught about 100 pounds of kelp on their anchor. What a mess that was. There were people swimming around the island, people playing freesby on the tombola and I stopped to take a close up the largest erratic rock on McMickin.

Jarrell's Cove to McMickin Island

Tuesday 24 July 2012
An interesting old wooden boat that I had seen in a Shelton boathouse pulls in with her new owner.
El Mistico

I depart and cruise around the north shore of Harstene Island and reach McMickin Island. I spot an interesting boat anchored near shore, so cruise by and speak briefly with the skipper. He built her out of marine plywood, she is 34 feet long and he trailers her. Last year he added the sails.There are 3 boats there but all depart leaving me with my favorite island all to my self.

The tide is ebbing and Pashmina is champing at the bit, so off we go to see what jewels we can find on the tombola(the land spit between Harstene and McMickin Islands). The sandollars look like gold doubloons and I feel as though I have found a buried treasure.

The purple ones are alive.
Today, I can walk from McMickin Island to Harstene Island on the tombola. This view is on my way back.
the white speck in the water, off to the left, is Shatoosh and Pashmina is hidden on the snaking tombola. 

These starfish remind me of my great nieces.
Georgia says she is a big girl now.

Flora was jumping with joy, as she played in the sprinkler.

There is nothing like an island, to play and have fun.

Waiting For Weather to Change

My departure is delayed by violent thunderstorms, but I'm off on Sunday 22 July at 1325 hrs. The weather looks promising, seas are flat, no wind and I have a plan. I want to revisit Totten Inlet and explore Little Skookum Inlet in Pashmina, but will stay over tonight at Hope Island which will allow a easy run to Totten Monday morning. There is a building south westerly breeze which perks up some drifting sailboats. This will make Hope island a little windy.

I swing around to the west side and there is an empty buoy waiting for me. The tide and the wind are against each other and I pick up the buoy and see an immediate problem arising. The buoy is twisting and my line becomes caught under the frame and tire. It takes me 45 minutes of tackling this from several angles After all this, my biceps are exhausted. I change my plans and head up Pickering Passage and seek refuge at Jarrell's Cove where I know it will be calm. By 1730 hrs all the boats are gone and only 2 boats are there for a quiet evening. I am asleep before dark.

Monday, 23 July, The wind is still blowing so I plan to stay put and later in the day a nice sailboat that was at Hope pulls in and docks next to me. Yankee is a  Ranger 37 and is 40 years old. She is in Bristol condition and a seasoned veteran of many Vancouver Island Circumnavigations and BC explorations. Humm, just the couple I need to speak with. I feel Like Captain Vancouver meeting Captain Gray and getting the inside scoop on the location to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This time I am confirming my plans for navigating through the Gulf Islands and crossing the Strait of Georgia for my trip to Princess Louisa Inlet next year. Divine orchestrations from afar always providing me with just what I need. Thanks Jim and Marcia, our visit was just perfect. They are interested in the history of the Discovery and the Chatham when the boats departed Puget Sound and headed north to explore and chart the waters of BC. Another of Captain Vancouver's amazing accomplishments.It is fun being with people who are interested and excited about the maritime history of the Salish Sea.

I take Pashmina out to row up the other inlet in Jarrell's cove. It is an interesting inlet and surprisingly deep. I am going up it at low tide and see about a dozen kingfishers, herons and a raccoon on the shore. But, just like Puget discovered, all inlets in the south sound end in mud. I return to see Yankee and Shatoosh enjoying the peaceful end of the dock.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

AIS monitoring

I have posted an AIS(Automatic Information System) link at the bottom of this blog. I had been in the habit of checking this when I was on the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean last summer. Since I became aware of the tug the other night I thought I should take a peek from time to time to monitor traffic in the local area. You can go to your local area and see traffic.

When you see a vessel just click on it and you will get a photo of the ship and all of it's details. It shows the course, its track where it is coming from and its destination.

For example: The tug Vulcan is approaching Hope Island 2219 hrs, from Olympia. This was his course the other night by Hope Island when he rocked us crazy. Tonight he is traveling at 1.9 k.

What is This Strange Plant?

This is what was growing on the oyster mounds in Chapman Cove.

I called Too Tall to see if he has seen the recent postings of this flower and to tell him I am wanting to identify it. He asks numerous questions and I go back to my initial impression. It seemed to look like a carpet of moss, rather than wild flowers. After settling on this possibility, I find starry moss, but that wasn't it. So I typed in yellow star moss and bingo I have a match.

Yellow Star Moss or Campylium stellatum. It seems Menzies had noticed them in British Columbia.
Photo Google Images

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Final Leg Home

13 July 2012: Friday

The morning is overcast again, the wind died down during the night and at 1000hrs, I slip the lines off the buoy and head for my marina.  I am at the end of the ebb tide, but will time myself to get back on the flood so later in the day I can haul all the bags at near high tide. That ways the ramp won't be so steep. I have lots of time to spare, as I will meet a friend for early dinner in a nearby town.

I'm liking the new depth sounder, so take off the old one and mount the new one permanently. I keep the old cable routed to the dash, so if I ever need to hook up the old one, I can do it in minutes.

As I move through my chores, I realize how happy I am to clean Shatoosh and Pashmina. They have performed so well, and I am so grateful to have them in my life, that I am taking great delight in scrubbing, polishing and drying all their parts from the bilge to the engine and from the hardtop to the swim platform. All seems in good shape. Thanks again, my little friends.

Here are a few pictures that did not get posted earlier.
salmon stuffed with seafood

Sand Collars

Sunset over Olympics

What's Wrong With This  Picture?
A big boat tied to a little buoy and
A little boat tied to a big rock.
Don't Rock my Boat

This has been a week filled with Adventures for certain. I have had a wonderful time, hope you have enjoyed it, too.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hammersley Inlet: Lt Peter Puget Didn't Explore This But Hira Does

I left Jarrell's Cove early to catch the flooding tide into Hammersley Inlet. Before I departed I had to get a picture of what I believe is an old Williard Pilothouse Sloop. Now I do like this.

Hammersley Inlet is the narrowest of all the inlets in Puget Sound. Al and Kristi stated they bucked a rather stiff tide of 3k going in and coming out. So, armed with that information, I had planned on going with the flood and coming out on the ebb.
The entrance to the inlet has a dog leg to port, so that is why Puget didn't go in.

I was throttling back but still going 7.3k. There are considerable shoaling so I was paying close attention to the depth sounder and chart. I'm liking the new sounder and being able to see the bottom contours is really helpful. I like the looks and feel of this inlet. While there are houses on both sides they are not gigantic and overpowering. It seems more simple and relaxed.

Shelton is an old lumber town and is about a mile from the marina. The marina is filled to the brim with boat houses and some slips for sailboats. The guest dock seems jammed in between them and this was not where I wanted to be. Farther into the inlet is a large, Oakland Bay, which dries at low and minus tides. The chart depths are 1/2,  1 and 2 fathoms, so again I precede slowly and with caution. I find an area on a peninsula, where there are no houses that joins an adjacent cove. This looks just like the place I have been looking for. Solitude, no boats, houses or people.
Hammersley Inlet

Chapman Cove

I put out my small lunch anchor off the stern and have a bite to eat. I have an hour before the tide turns. I jump in Pashmina and off we go. This place is so beautiful. The whole shore is lined with really healthy madrona trees.There is not a lot of debris on shore. It looks as though no ones comes here.

Then I found a lagoon within Chapman Cove. There lots of oyster shells everywhere. There are several large piles of them on shore and interestingly, they have become "nurse-logs" in a sense, and for some strange reason all these small,delicate yellow-golden flowers have created a carpet on the mounds. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

I return to Shatoosh and decide that I will stay overnight. I pull up my lunch anchor and move out to deeper (18 ft) of water and set my new Bruce anchor. It is after 9 pm and I have moved through the low tide and now I am back up to 17 ft. I will have to wait  until tomorrow afternoon for the ebb tide, but I am happy as a lark and can explore more tomorrow. I found a goldmine.
1.5 hr rowing Pashmina
Days Run 16nm
Total 55nm.


Rendezvous With Viking Star

I spent the night at McMicken Island after leaving Eagle Island with plans of joining up with the Viking Star. They had spent the night at Jarrell's Cove, so we converged courses in the northern section of Pickering Passage and headed for the small dock at Allyn. The tide was at the beginning to ebb and the waters are shallow in upper Case inlet. 
Viking Star

Shatoosh and Pashmina Along Side of Viking Star
Photo by Kristi

After docking we amble into the small town and grab a famous burger at Big Bubbas.The highlight for me was the chain saw art work and school. My favorite is the bears sitting around the campfire roasting marshmellows.

How cute is this?

Hira's new friends

A Young Man of the Sea

An Old Man of the Sea

The dock is rather run down, water and pumpout not working, so we decide to venture on, as a SE wind is picking up. I am taking role as lead boat so pull into Stretch Island to check out their buoys and sea conditions. The point keeps these buoys in flat water with a SE wind, so we decide to stay.

small lagoon on Stretch Isl St Park

A Clean Water Line

I take Al and Kristi ashore in Pashmina. This is her biggest load so far, but we make it to shore and back without problems. The state park in on a small point and they don't encourage walking on the beach on private property, so after beach coaming we head back to our boats and have an easy small meal, which hit the spot. We share favorite places we have gone in these waters and have a few in common. It is nice to share boating experiences with others who cruise many miles. Thanks Viking Star, I will try to get to Blake later this summer while you are the dock hosts.

Take a look at their blog, at blogs I follow, at the bottom of the page.

After they depart the next afternoon, I have a few hours to kill until I meet a friend at Fair Harbor Marina, so I clean the waterline. After visiting with my friend, I take off at 1700 hrs. and go to Jarrell's Cove. I stop and pump out my holding tank and then take a nice space on the dock near a Ranger 25 Tug, named Hoku Kai. The couple was very nice and soon will be heading to Desolation Sound in BC, so it will be nice to hear about their trip.

This was a nice get together with some recent and new friends. I look forward to meeting more local boaters.