Sheltering on the Boat in Puget Sound

As the pandemic rolled on into late spring, the urge to get off the dock started building. Educator John Shedd said it best, “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.”

The week after Memorial Day some parts of the state with low virus numbers started to loosen the stay home restrictions. That included a lot of the counties on the West side of Puget Sound. We realized that if we, mostly, kept out of Seattle we’d be able to anchor out off semi-open towns, and even get dock space if we needed to come ashore to shop for supplies.

So on May 27th, Endless Song hoisted her new swallowtail banner and left her harbor in Anacortes. Since the US/Canadian Border is closed to non-essential travel, we decides it was time to explore a little deeper into the Sound Puget Sound below the Tacoma Narrows.

First we went to the south end of Lopez Island for a night, and then it was a quiet crossing of the straight of Juan de Fuca.

Anytime I can stand up here it’s been quiet on the Strait of Juan de Fuca

We passed Port Townsend, but rather than our usual stay at Point Hudson we crossed the Bay and wound our way for the first time into the tricky entrance to Mystery Bay. There are two state marine parks inside here and we wanted to see them.

After a lovely night at anchor in Mystery Bay, we took of to push through Admiralty Inlet into Puget Sound. We sailed down to Port Madison at the North end of Bainbridge Island for another quiet night. Weather through this period was a little drippy, but hey, it’s the NW. This is what we get in spring. We woke up realizing that is was just a short hop across to Shilshole in Seattle, and they were open. We knew it was a chance to see Christian so we dashed across for a night.

We had a lovely Saturday afternoon at the dock at Shilshole catching up with Christian. We were only interrupted by an alarm on all of our phones noting Seattle was undergoing a riot and that a curfew of 5pm had been declared. This was the start of the protests of police killing in Minneapolis. Clearly, it was time for Christian to go home and for us to get the heck back to the other side of Puget Sound.

We sailed in the morning for Poulsbo, one of our favorite anchorages. Liberty Bay is a lovely place to park. The bottom is a uniform 15 feet for miles, with good holding. You can just motor in with your garbage and as Kitsap County was in stage 2 of re-opening we were able to sit, distanced, in the outside garden of Valhol Brewery and have our first draft brew in three months. Mmmmm.

On this trip we made a habit of looking for new places to anchor. South of Poulsbo we had never sailed through the Port Washington Narrows to Dyes Inlet and Silverdale. What we discovered is that it’s a bit loud and industrial. OK, live and learn. If there’s an event we want to attend in Silverdale, sure. Otherwise, meh. Off to Blakely Harbor on Bainbridge Island for a few nights of looking at the Seattle skyline, then Winslow to resupply and do laundry. Bainbridge Island/Winslow is a great stop with a super city dock. The grocery is just uphill, and the laundry just a few more steps around the corner.

The other benefit of Winslow is that Christian could swing by on his way home from Portland for a few hours of chat and food. This is becoming a good habit.

After Winslow, we sailed south for a few days at anchor in Gig Harbor, a favorite spot. Then we sailed through the Tacoma Narrows and on to Penrose Point State Park…off the Lakebay Marina for a few days of waiting out the rain. After two days there it was time for the state capitol, Olympia and the head of Budd Inlet. We approached in rain, taking time out for fuel and pumpout, before we finally found a spot on Percival Landing…just steps from downtown and resupply at the local market. Olympia also had a killer farmers market that was operating with Virus Rules in place. It was easy to resupply with fresh vegetables and meats of all kinds.

After a weekend in Olympia, we took off for a loop of Hope Island State Park, and a final landing on a buoy at Jerrill Cove State Marine Park. Karin’s cousin Mike and his wife Karla live on the cove, as does Karin’s Aunt Shirley. Even better, Mike and Karla’s granddaughters Lyra and Etta Rose were “in residence” with G-ma, and G-paw. We finally got to meet them in person after years of following Liesel, their mom, on Instagram and watching them grow up. They’re great! Sitting for hours chatting with Shirley, Mike, and Karla was also fun. Great to catch up on everything. We need to sail back here, clearly.

After that it was a long reach down Case Inlet to Anderson Island and Oro Bay. This is a sweet little anchorage tucked in right across the way from the Nisqually Flats. Think of it as the bend at the end of Puget Sound. The skies were clearing nicely and the views of Mount Rainier were fabulous.

After a few days there, we decided to pop through the Narrows to the North to Quartermaster Harbor at the South end of Vashon Island. It’s a great protected anchorage, but man it’s gotten developed. There were speedboats, jet skis, sailors, power yachts galore. There were even two unlimited light hydroplanes that came out to practice. It was busy.

David and Gyung called and they are hanging with Noelle for a few weeks, and were up at Blakley Harbor, heading for Poulsbo. So after one night at Quartermaster, we pulled up the anchor and headed for Poulsbo. It was a blast seeing Noelle, whom we last ran into in Tampa in January. We distanced as we could in the cockpit, staying in our 6 foot corners. But we still had a blast BBQing out on the hook with friends.

The next day we went in for a night at Poulsbo Marina. Power, Water, resupply. They were all nice to have. Taking off again for Winslow/Bainbridge Island we decided it was time to resupply and prep for heading North. It was also Christian’s 39th birthday. He and Kim came over for dinner they next day.

We took off to the North the next day and made it all the way up the inside route to Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. Just past Coupville, out toward the Captiain Whidbey Inn, there’s a lovely cove that makes for a comfortable anchorage. Tucked in close to land you’re sheltered from the winds coming down the Straight of Juan de Fuca, which is just on the other side of the landmass, probably only really about a mile away.

Motoring North, we stopped in for a night at Hope Island State Marine Park. It’s just inside Deception Pass at the North end of Whidbey Island. From here you can see the backside of Fidalgo Island and Mount Erie, which is basically Anacortes. In the morning it was just a quick motor through the Swinomish Channel and La Connor and we were back in Anacortes.

Boat projects, medical exams, dental check ups and some RV repairs will take our time in July. Then we hope to go to the Camas County Fair in Idaho in late July. But stay tuned. Covid 19 seems to have a mind of its own and doesn’t think much of our “plans.”

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