Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Poulsbo to Oak Harbor

Keith at the helm, consulting his copilot. Note the blue skies. We were coming out of Poulsbo, headed north to the port of Everett.

Here's a close up of our copilot, Madam Erie. That's her basket beside the helm station. She's at her post every single morning, ready and willing to help manage the difficult task of sleeping through all the rough spots and of demanding belly rubs at critical navigational challenges. She's a true professional.
The Agate Passage bridge connects the Kitsap Peninsula and Bainbridge Island. It's a narrow passage and the currents can get pretty tough through here, but it's a walk in the park in comparison to some of the narrow spots we'll navigate further north. See our sails all still furled? See how smooth the water is? Yeah. Not a breath of wind.
This is coming into Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. You'll notice that just 24 hours after the photo above, we're back to slate skies and occasional rain. It's still pretty.
The town of Oak Harbor. It's tucked back up in a very shallow bay. Getting in is a bit dicey. The channel is narrow and dog legs a few times. In this gray, foggy weather, it's sometimes hard to see channel markers from far away and I like to see channel markers from far away. Really. Getting into harbor was a two person and binoculars navigation job. Bonus: Keith found a Chinese restaurant that delivered to the marina.

There are two channel markers in this photo - one red, one green. If you click on the photo, it may enlarge for you and make it easier to see them. We have to go between those channel markers. This is as we're leaving Oak Harbor the next morning. We'll take the red marker to port (we'll pass on the right hand side of the marker, taking it to our left). Cutting that marker means running aground on that point that seems so very far away from where the piling sticks up out of the water. We go slowly through here and watch the depth sounder to make certain we're keeping to the channel. This is habit, paranoia and best-practice. Our boat has dagger boards that will kick up if we touch bottom. Great feature - we go from drawing 6' of water to drawing 2'. But depending on what you 'touch' and on how fast you're going when you do it, you can damage the boat. Other sailboats with a fixed keel can do significant damage running aground. The lucky ones go aground in mud. The unlucky ones hit rock. And there's a saying about running aground. "There are those of us who have and those of us who will."

Next up (tomorrow, when I'm not falling asleep at my keyboard) photos from Cornet Bay, the aborted run on Deception Pass, and the diversion to Anacortes following the accidental inflation of my life vest.

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