Thursday, February 26, 2009

Voyage #3: Port Madison

If you arrived here by searching for a chart, please see this page.

From Shilshole to Port Madison & back
5/15/1999 - 5/16/1999

Just a short little jaunt (4 miles across Puget Sound), but our first over-night at anchor in Eolian.

We pulled off the dock at about 11 AM in cool weather (50), without a hitch. I may actually be getting the feel for this. When we got out on the Sound, the wind was from the S at 10 kt, just as forecast. We engaged Otto (the autopilot) and unfurled the jib (really better done by two people), and then raised the mizzen for balance. This brought us to 3.8 - 4 kt on a perfect beam reach, with maybe 5 degrees of heel - perfect, tranquil sailing.

As we made our way across the shipping lanes, we were surprised as we were joined by 4 or 5 porpoises that zoomed back and forth across our bow and then back under to the quarter. They are FAST. And they look like one solid muscle. They know exactly when to open their blowholes to exhale/inhale - the blowholes were exposed above the water for only a fraction of a second, but that was long enough. Amazing, graceful, beautiful creatures.

Picking the Port Madison harbor out of the shoreline on the north of Bainbridge Island was a little tough, but there are no tricky shoals or rocks, so we made it OK. This is a very narrow bay that goes in southward for about 400 yards, then makes a sharp right turn to the west and goes the rest of a mile. We anchored in a little bight at the outside of the right turn, where the water was a little deeper - 14 feet.

We really had to pay attention to this, since at 23:00, there would be a -2 foot tide - that means that any charted depth of 8' or less would be insufficient at that time, when we would be sound asleep. So, the choice of anchorage was safely in 14 feet of water, which would be 10 or 12 feet at low tide.

Jane released the anchor, and for the first time since we have been aboard Eolian, she was at anchor. The bottom is sandy mud, and the Bruce anchor bit like a champ and never moved, even when the tide changed and we swung the other way. We let out about 75 feet of chain, which was probably excessive - we may have spent the night anchored to a pile of chain!

I put down the dinghy, and after a suitable liquid celebration, I rowed us to the back of the harbor and return (took about 2 hours). It is very narrow, and the back portion (charted depth of 6 feet is too shallow for us) is full of moorings. There was a sunk wood power boat that had just the end of its bow sticking out - kind of interesting to see something like that - and a little sobering too. It appears that people anchor everywhere in the harbor - there was no apparent traffic channel left open.

We slept like stones.

It was a little cool the next morning (no alarm clock!), so we ran the Dickinson heater for a while to take off the chill. But when I went to make espresso, I got a rude awakening. The #1 battery bank didn't have enough charge to run the espresso maker (thru the inverter). So, with no alternative, I started the generator and we recharged the batteries, made the espresso, and re-froze the holding plates in the refrigerator and freezer.

We raised anchor (the windless worked perfectly, and the washdown pump was just the ticket to keep from putting iodine-smelling mud into the chain locker). Note to self: It is better to not leave the hose nozzle laying on the dock box.

On the way back, we had the same 10 kt South breeze, and were able to reach back across the Sound. It was cooler, but still very enjoyable. Just outside Point Monroe, Jane sighted a grey whale - it blew twice, and gave us a view of its back and then disappeared. We briefly saw a couple of Orcas too - What a great weekend!

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