Results 1 to 27 of 27

Thread: South Salish Fall Cruise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default South Salish Fall Cruise

    You get a little of everything in the South Salish Sea, but most of all you get solitude. There's a lot of water down there and the people are few and far between.
    My summer didn't involve nearly as much time on the water as I'd hoped and as the equinox slid by, I was desperate to go on one more cruise- and lucky to get four days to do it.




    My fall resolution was to start using the Beaufort Scale instead of knots. I like the descriptive nature of it versus my best guess as to the wind speed (which tends to be based more on how scared I feel, rather than the actual speed).

    I spent the first morning at a friend's house on the shore, watching squalls and rain blow past, biding my time until the small craft warning NOAA issued would expire. From their windows I noticed tree branches bend over and whitecaps break in the distance; the warm conversation seemed more inviting than the water. (Force 4 gusting to Force 5)


    By four o'clock, I realized that there were just three hours of daylight left and that if I didn't get out there, I would be stuck in the house for the night. I packed Row Bird, zipped up my drysuit, and headed for the ramp. A few minutes later, Bill arrived with his Joel White Shearwater, Muskrat, and we made a hasty plan to go with the wind, versus the original direction I'd conceived.

    We had about eight NM to get to our destination for the night and by the time we launched and two hours to get there. The wind had moderated some (F3-4) and we had a bailout plan if things got worse. I put two reefs in the sail and off we went. Pretty soon it became clear that the changing tide and the wind at work was going to create some interesting situations for us... notably that we'd do some surfing. Row Bird is an Arctic Tern and has few more planks than Muskrat, so while it was bumpy for me, I'm guessing it was a little sporty for Bill since he dropped sail and started rowing. A little while later, we hit a wind tunnel near a bridge and then it was my turn to take to the oars.

    At the half way mark, leaves and twigs in the distance were still moving and we were down to wavelets (Force 3)! The race for light was on and we sailed or rowed as the mood suited us, eventually ghosting into the anchorage right at sunset.



    There were a lot of big boats there and they were kind enough to offer us some dock space, right at the rear end of a cruiser that runs diesel as Bill discovered the next morning.


    I'll post a few more pictures of the trip over the next few days... I'm still processing them.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    And I stand partially corrected on the solitude... I see that we almost overlapped with Samantha's trip in this thread!
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,953

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Eagerly waiting for the rest of the story Bruce. And hoping that you will name names on anchorages and routes. I haven't spent a lot of time cruising the South Sound but would like to some day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    1,809

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    I will enjoy this also. Your beaufort scale endeavor is a good idea and has got me interested. So I opened a tab with a comparison chart and descriptions for my own reference. Thanks for the nudge.

    I second the request for place names.... where are you?

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,032

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Looking forward to more!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    I second the request for place names.... where are you?

    Jeff
    Putting out place names on the internet always brings up conflicting feelings for me. On the one hand, I'm always happy to show people around and go adventuring with them, even to some of my favorite spots, but on the other hand, I hate the way putting everything on the internet takes away all the mystery.

    I'll compromise by telling folks the names of the major stops that are pretty obvious and encourage you all to do go out on a journey of discovery yourselves...
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    So the journey started near Hope Island State Park about ten miles north of Olympia, the state capital- and for you Washingtonians, note that there are two Hope Islands. This is the southerly one, and in my humble opinion, this one can't be beat, but we'll get to that later.

    We headed north up a relatively narrow waterway called Pickering Passage. I don't have any pictures from that part of the voyage, because it was too bumpy to take my hands off the tiller to get out the camera. I love all the islands, passages, and inlets. The names are intriguing and each one has its own personality. There are also lots of tiny coves and bights that are fun to nose around in with a small boat. The shores here are spotted with houses and long stretches of conifer trees, cliffs, and cobble beaches. There are definitely less houses here than other places, but the wilderness is on the water, not so much ashore. Still there's a pastoral feel to Pickering that I like.

    Here's an image from a trip in that vicinity last year under much calmer conditions.


    That first night, Bill slept in the Cascadia Marine Trail campsite at Jarrel Cove State Park. I anchored out in a cove adjacent to the park. When I pulled up the anchor it had huge chunks of mud stuck on it and writhing worms coming out. Way cool!
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,187

    Default

    I look forward to hearing more, Bruce, especially whether or not you survived to tell the tale!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Alex

    "“He was unfamiliar with the sea and did not like it much: it was a place that made you cold and wet and sick” " Nevil Shute, Trustee From the Toolroom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,953

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Thanks for orienting us to locations Bruce. No need to give away all of the secret hideaways but it's nice to know generally where you are.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    1,283

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Sounds like another great trip in an area I haven't explored (I'm in St. Helens...not too far). And I'm excited to hear about someone cruising in a Shearwater! I'd love to hear if Bill's done any modifications to his to adapt the rowing position from standard...I'm finding the seat/oarlock position too close for my taste but am eager to do some day outings with it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Olympia, WA USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Thanks for sharing info about your trip. We have the same taste in small boat adventures!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    The night was so calm, that when I awoke in the middle of the night, I wondered if I had gone aground. A few hours later, the condensation on my cockpit tent had gotten pretty heavy and big cold drops, randomly plopped on me as I lay on the floorboards. I pulled the sail over my head and got a little more shut eye.

    I should note that we're basically moving clockwise around Harstine Island, starting on the south end. We'd covered 8NM on the first afternoon, getting to the north end. Today's forecast was for sun and light winds and I didn't expect to do any better, especially in a two hour window. The forecast for the Salish Sea or on the weather radio "Puget Sound" which covers a 70 mile stretch is maddeningly general. The most common one seems to be for "5-10 knots, one foot seas." I think this really means they don't know what the wind will do. It is never consistently good down here, but if you're willing to strike and set your rig five or ten times a day, you'll manage to sail about half the time, even if you're just crawling ahead- you're still sailing at least. And when its calm, the rowing is just fine.

    We had a loose plan to meet up with the Sail & Oar© Crew (Eric, Dan, Tim) from Seattle around 10am near Joemma State Park (roughly in the four o'clock position relative to Harstine Island), about 8NM away. Despite waking up before dawn, I still wasn't really ready to leave, but groggily took to the oars and followed Bill. The water was mirror calm, with just the occasional ripple (I still remembered to think Beaufort Scale - Force 1). It's pretty common to get a gentle land breeze in the morning here that dies away in an hour or so the leaves you hopeful, but definitely in the doldrums for a few hours, before the stronger, more typical afternoon breeze fills in.

    We got that morning breeze by the time I'd warmed up from rowing. It was slower than rowing, but the allure of making a turtle-like, 4NM crossing towards Joemma under sail beat the idea of rowing that far. We spotted a few seals and harbor porpoises, but otherwise we were all alone out there. By the time we met up with the other crew, the air was still. Real still.

    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise













    Few more shots of the last days of Summer, light air sailing and camping out on the hook off Anderson Island, WA, south Puget Sound

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    We had a hard time deciding where to go.


    But nobody was in a rush to get there.



    So many possibilities. Little bay, big bay, open shore, sand spit... the one thing that wasn't an option was a pub, which made some members of our party sad. Through a combination of luck and entropy we ended up at the sand spit, with a nice murky lagoon behind us. I still think we had a pretty good time on the beach, looking out at the smooth, sunny water. (Note that our uniform is a green shirt, brim hat, and tan pants.)



    It got dark around 7:15pm and we all went to anchor out. And then suddenly, after kind of a long day of mostly still air, the wind started blowing right onto the beach.

    The boats bobbed up and down, perhaps a little more than was desirable. I figured it would calm down later in the night and settled in to read my book.


    There were a good variety of cockpit tents. I call mine the caterpillar because it is so long and green (you can see it in the last picture in the earlier post), covering the whole boat.

    Dan had the classic tent. And Tim had the sleek, simple, dare I say minimalist tent.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by Otter99 View Post
    So as it got dark, I started to wonder if I could sleep with the waves coming in, mostly consistently, but every now and then I could feel a longer one roll along the hull. I don't get seasick easily, so I wasn't worried about that, but I'm not getting any younger and I just don't sleep so well, especially when the conditions aren't calm.

    After checking my position relative to the other boats and shore, strangely, I feel right asleep. There were two boats to the north and one to the south. When I woke up for a late night pee, I noticed that there were two to the south and only one to the north. Had someone dragged in the night?

    Dan reported that after I fell asleep, the tide had dropped enough that Tim was hitting bottom (he had the misfortune of finding a sandbar) and he moved. Apparently, I was so out of it, that late in the night I was almost aground too, but I didn't notice. I know I woke up twice and saw that I was facing different directions, but never noted the depth. Go figure. Tells you something about the subconscious.

    With the long night and drifts of fog, my cockpit tent was pretty damp. Although my sleeping bag was dry, big drips started to fall on me again by around 4:30am. I couldn't figure out if there was any way to have prevented it, so once again, I simply pulled the sail over me and drifted in and out of sleep until around 5:30 when I'd had enough. Pulled up anchor and went exploring.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Lexington, MA
    Posts
    250

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Oh - you're a tease.
    But I'm hooked.
    Almost everything about boats involves so much more time and money than one anticipates that rational and accurate planning will deter even starting. Ian McColgin

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Rowing in the dark is magical. You feel as much as you see. It's dark in this part of the sea, but not pitch black. The last of a full moon was out and with drifts of fog revealing lighter and darker places, the houses in the area were pretty easy to ignore.


    A few miles in the sun started to peek out between two islands. (It was better in person.)

    I got to one of the bays we had contemplated vistiing and found that it was more exposed than I expected and it was mostly ringed by houses.

    I drifted back into the wider, more exposed water and cooked some breakfast without anyone watching me.

    As I neared a headland known for wind and current, I pulled in the oars and let the boat drift in a localized gyre.



    This translucent bucket fascinated me, in part because it was non sequitur, in part because of how it hung in the water, like it belonged there. It too was drifting, but even though the air was still and we were less than a boat length away, it was clearly moving to a different current than I was. In a few minutes we were hundred of feet apart. (Yes, I know I should have picked it up.) Pale, ghost-like jellies pulsed by, partially moving on their own within the currents. A motorboat, pushed past us, as always in a hurry to get someplace and missing out on the details.

    This was my third day out and I had to make a decision about when to go through the final tidal gate of the trip to get back to my starting point. (For those of you from tide-less places, there are certain narrow areas where the water rushes in and out a few times a day, stopping a human powered boat from making it through, just like a gate.) Would I spend another night on the more open waters, or head towards home, having an easy final day?

    A breeze decided that for me. Although barely a force two, it was blowing perfectly so that I could sail a downwind or broad reach towards the gate and at the rate it was going, I'd make it there in about two hours, just as the flood was starting. It had been about fourteen hours since I'd talked to anyone, when the wind had just about died and along came Bill, but more quickly under oars.

    "Hullo," he called out. Not too loud really, but breaking the silence it still came as a surprise.

    I dropped sail and rowed along with him chatting as we went. Since I had a new place I wanted to explore, it was nice to have a buddy suddenly appear. There are certain kinds of discoveries that are more memorable when someone is there to share them, and this turned out to be one of them.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,032

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Bruce,

    aren't you aware that we are in the age of binge viewing? This one post per day nonsense has got to stop!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Bruce,

    aren't you aware that we are in the age of binge viewing? This one post per day nonsense has got to stop!

    Tom
    Well, I'm too busy watching Jagular Goes to Cuba and Off-Center Harbor season 2 that I can't make my own posts...

    And you know being a writer, I have this thing about emulating those comics and stories that used to appear the daily newspaper that kept you coming back...

    But on a more serious note, I do intend to spend the time to wrap this post up in one go this weekend. See you on Sunday.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    The south Salish is a transition place between rock, sand, and mud. The further north you go, the more rock you get. Here as you head south you get mud. Glorious stinky, life giving mud. There is so much life in the mud, it makes for good anchoring, and its kind when your hull hits it.

    There are lots of pockets too small for a big boat, but plenty interesting to explore and even spend the night on a small boat, like this one.

    When we arrived, there were several native fishers setting seine nets to catch returning salmon. The rising tide pushed us right around them into this particular pocket.

    From the outside, you can barely see it is there, but once you get in, there's more that meets the eye. This particular bay doesn't go dry, hence there are beds of sand dollars (that's the purple-ish items in the foreground) in about a foot of water at low tide. It's like being in a tiny aquarium made just for you.



    And further back, there are big trees, and even shade. (Note Bill and Muskrat in the left center of photo.)

    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    There must have been two knots of water flowing over about two feet of water into the bay when we tried to leave. I scraped my oars on the bottom more times than I'd care to admit, but it was a fair price to pay. When we came out, we were lucky to see a rare site for the Salish: dolphins. Not harbor porpoises like we commonly see, but actual bottlenose dolphins. Apparently there are a couple of them that have wandered up from California. Way cool. Never would have noticed them if we weren't rowing and looking behind us.

    From there it was about three miles back to the launch ramp. Hope Island State Park was about a mile from the ramp, and as I approached it, I couldn't decide if I should stay out for another night, or get home. I think it was the mile thing. So close to the end, it seemed silly to stop, but then I thought, I've got six months of day trips, darkness, and indoor time ahead. Why not stay?

    Bill had to get home, but I decided to spend the night at Hope.

    The charts don't show it, but currents rush all around the island, which makes sleeping aboard kind of bumpy. I usually set an anchor buddy off the stern and drag an anchor/rode ashore off the bow, then let the boat dry down at low tide. I sleep in the marine trail campground there.

    Hope isn't that far from the bedroom communities of Olympia, but the island is a gem. Old growth forest, a lumpy trail that winds through different types trees, and zillions of huckleberries in the fall. It really feels like some kind of link between land and sea. And I especially like that you'll find families camping out there in the summer. They come in canoes, double kayaks, and occasionally even in a rowboat.



    But that night, it was just me. For $12, I had the entire island to myself.

    When I awoke in the morning, the air was dead still, the sun was just starting to light up the mountains in the east. I made breakfast on the beach and enjoyed every minute of the changing light.



    I knew I'd made the right decision to spend the extra night.

    The End.
    Last edited by Bruce Bateau; 10-06-2018 at 07:28 PM.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Olympia, WA, USA
    Posts
    2,251

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    From the outside, you can barely see it is there, but once you get in, there's more that meets the eye.
    That is a fantastic little hidey-hole, isn't it? At high tide I've sailed Bucephalus (3'4" draft) wa-ay back in there, taking care not to catch her topsail in the overhanging trees. It's an exciting and beautiful bit of exploring. There's another such place closer to Olympia, on the east side of Budd Inlet, if you ever sail south from Hope Island. I think you might enjoy it, too.

    Thank you for the narrative!

    Alex

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,953

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Fantastic! Every time I read one of these sail and oar narratives I want to outfit the whitehall for cruising and head out. No sails though...

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Fantastic! Every time I read one of these sail and oar narratives I want to outfit the whitehall for cruising and head out. No sails though...
    Sails are just for fun. Oars are where it's at. Let's go!
    Last edited by Bruce Bateau; 10-07-2018 at 01:51 PM.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,032

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    The more I do this, the more I realize that I'll sail when the wind is favorable enough (from a close reach to a run), but I much prefer rowing to a long dead beat to windward. Faster, drier, quieter, calmer. On days when I have to make miles despite unfavorable winds, I'm usually rowing.

    But mostly, instead of a dead beat to windward, I'm liable to pick a new destination entirely.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,953

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bateau View Post
    Sails are just for fun. Oars are where it's at. Let's go!
    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    The more I do this, the more I realize that I'll sail when the wind is favorable enough (from a close reach to a run), but I much prefer rowing to a long dead beat to windward. Faster, drier, quieter, calmer. On days when I have to make miles despite unfavorable winds, I'm usually rowing.

    But mostly, instead of a dead beat to windward, I'm liable to pick a new destination entirely.

    Tom
    Bruce and Tom, good to hear that oars-only is a viable option for camp cruising. Now I'm even more motivated! Of course I have rather too many boat projects as it is right now... Still, something to work toward.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Zbigit
    Posts
    1,186

    Default Re: South Salish Fall Cruise

    Jarrell Cove!....love the cove, in fact love the whole Case Inlet. We've been to Joemma beach many times.
    Last edited by Alan H; 10-09-2018 at 07:15 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •