Friday, May 20, 2011

Anacortes to Sucia Island Marine State Park

Leaving Anacortes. Our joke was that we'd fixed the heater (with the dealer's help) and thus ensured weather that would mean we didn't need it. Nice theory. Evenings are chilly. We've been using the heater pretty religiously. It's a thing of beauty. Once Keith and Doug from Scan Marine chased down the problem (we were sucking air into the fuel supply - had to eliminate that), the heater began performing brilliantly. It really *does* heat the boat to a nice, toasty temp.

Sucia and Matia Islands off the starboard bow. It was a gorgeous day, but the incoming tide was running fast and hard. At one point, crossing Rosario Straight, I went from being in 300 feet of water to being in 50. And rip tide had the water white capping in just that spot. I spun the wheel, turning nose to tail and took us out the way we'd come in - I assumed I'd found a reef and needed to get off of it. The only problem was that when I turned around, we were nose into the current, and we were standing still in relation to the shore of Orcas Island...this is a bad thing. I opened the throttle and flat got us out of there. So much for fuel economy. After that shot of adrenaline, we made it around Lawrence Point on Orcas and started up the northeast side of the island, taking Clark Islands Park off starboard. More swirly currents. Saw porpoise feeding in the rip tides between Clark Island and Orcas. Again, I was in 300 feet of water, when suddenly, I had 14 feet showing on the depth sounder in the midst of the rip. It bounced down to 24 feet. Then up to 12. Then to 33 feet.  I had the pod of porpoise underneath my boat, screwing with me. They tired of the game and peeled off as I left the churning current.

We by passed Fossil Bay in favor of secluded Fox Cove. The beach in this photo is from the boat after we'd tied up to a mooring buoy. Campsites line the shore, though few people were there mid week. The cove has four mooring buoys, but save for the fishing boats that came through the cove en route to where ever, we had it to ourselves. Fox cove is on the south western side of Sucia and is protected from the open water of Boundary Pass by Little Sucia Island.

The north shore of Fox Cove, golden in the early evening sunshine.

The view past Little Sucia into Boundary Pass. That smudge on the horizon is Canada.  Well. One of the Gulf Islands, anyway. We watched the BC ferry pass, as well as huge commercial cargo ships, and were glad we had the protection of that little island to break up the wakes. The park has no lights. The nights were brilliant and clear. The moon rise that first night looked like something out of a horror show. The eastern horizon turned dusty orange. Then the orb of the nearly full moon, distorted by layer upon layer of atmosphere to twice its normal size, edged into the sky. If my camera wouldn't have reduced it to a simple bright patch of sky, I'd have attempted a photo. But a night shot? From a boat? Yeah. That wasn't going to happen. Sorry. I deeply regret not being able to capture a truly eerie photo from that moon rise.

This is a photo from the next morning. It's a cave. *The* cave where a pair of river otters were nesting. We watched them all morning. They'd tumble out of the cave and spill into the water, hunting fish and clams. Then they'd climb up on the rocks and rub their faces against the stone while their tails s-curved back and forth. It was a great show and we hated to disturb them by getting the dinghy down, but we both really wanted to go ashore to explore. The otters didn't actually seem to mind, even if they steered clear of us as we rowed into the beach.

Next up: More geology than you'll ever want.

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  1. you describe the moon rise well, though - I can nearly see it!

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