After entering the intimate waterways behind Bainbridge Island thru Agate Pass, you have many choices for a final destination. One of our favorites is Poulsbo, on Liberty Bay.
When moving South after exiting Agate Pass, there will be a temptation to go down the "visual middle" of the waterway. Don't give in to the temptation - the shoal extending East from just North of Bolin Point reaches nearly to the middle of the channel. It is marked with a buoy, which all sailboats should stay east of. You don't want to crowd Bolin Point too much either.
Turning North again, you make your way up the narrowing channel to Keyport and past the Navy Research Center. The first time you do this you will be wondering whether you might have made a mistake, because the entrance to Liberty Bay is not really visible until you make the final turn to port. But it is there, right under the two power line towers (which you can see from quite a ways out).
Once thru the narow opening, Liberty Bay opens before you, looking every bit like a big lake. There are three major marinas on the East side of the bay - the Southern two are private and the Northern-most is the Port of Poulsbo. There are no depth surprises - the depth changes gradually from 35-40 feet down to 8 feet off of the Port of Poulsbo marina. We usually anchor just outside the marina breakwater, right where the numeral 8 on the chart segment indicates 8 feet of water, a short dinghy ride to shore.
Poulsbo wears its Scandinavian heritage like a badge. And it LOOKS Scandinavian - from the white spire of the Lutheran Church on the hill above the town, the brightly painted houses marching up the hill in a jumble, to the winding narrow streets in downtown, it could actually be Fauske, Norway, where I spent most of a summer (for my job) in 1976.
In the city park at the shoreline there is a huge rock that the retreating glacier which carved Puget Sound dropped like a forgotten gum wrapper. Little kids have been scaling this rock for, I suspect, thousands of years. The park is delightful.
We make a tradition of visiting Sheila's Bayside Cafe to fortify ourselves with a hearty (they don't serve any other kind) breakfast before we hit the shops. There are dozens of them: little shops and galleries and antique stores, all tastefully drawing you in to feast your eyes (or yourself... at the bakery, or the little shop on the Southern end of Main Street that stocks about a hundred different kinds of licorice - if it isn't too soon after Sheila's). We especially enjoy the used book store, are rarely escape there without at least a couple of books.
Fuel at the Port marina is a bargain, but you need to practice your "Captain Ron" docking maneuver to tie up to the fuel dock.
Despite the huge size of Liberty Bay, it is very crowded on July 3rd every year, when Poulsbo holds its July 4th celebration. No, that is not a typo - they do it a day early so you can enjoy both this one and one of the Seattle fireworks displays the next night too. Good community planning, I think.
When we go to bed at anchor, the chimes in the church tower drifting over the water lull us to sleep.