A. J. WANDERLUST EXPLORES HOOD CANAL AND SOUTH SOUND – WASHINGTON STATE June 25 to 27, 2009
Although it has been almost eight months of A. J. Wanderlust being tied to a dock in Seattle, I am still unaccustomed to being a weekend and local Puget Sound sailor.My heart and mind dream of long passages and more diverse excursions.But at least this weekend will provide some break in the monotony.This weekend, Denny, Jackson and I will head to Hood Canal a new location for all of us.
It is 9:20 am on June 25th when we untie the dock lines.The sky is overcast and I hope the sun will soon appear.There is a seal in front of A. J. Wanderlust as she exist J-9 to a heavy south wind.With the south wind behind us at a reasonable force, we hoist sail immediately upon exiting the breakwater at Shilshole.“SF” mid channel buoy has a rider that lifts its head in acknowledgement as A. J. Wanderlust sails by; the rider is another seal.Soon, we pass Kingston and by noon are north of Point No Point.As the sun peaks thru heavy clouds, I call on the VHF and arrange for a bridge opening at 1:30 pm.Denny advocates that we must turn on A. J. Wanderlust’s engine at 12:30 pm just to be sure we will arrive on time for the bridge opening.
It is the first time either Denny or I have been down Hood Canal and so we carefully watch the buoys as enumerated in the Chart Book for Puget Sound.The Hood Canal Bridge slides open and A. J. Wanderlust passes thru the gap at 2 pm and safely on the other side, again sets her sails.By 3:30 pm, we are off of the Bangor facility and with binoculars can see four large black submarines dry docked at the facility.The south wind that accompanied us northbound in Admiralty Inlet has clocked to become a north wind here in Hood Canal, fortunately allowing us to continue to sail.With following winds and cool breezes, Jackson is sound asleep in the cockpit.I had been anxious to sail Hood Canal as I understood it offered brilliant vistas to the Olympic Mountains.But sadly, today, the mountains to starboard are obscured, with thick clouds sitting at their peaks.Hood Canal offers other interesting scenery, however, consisting of large, pretty houses lining the banks of the canal.A. J. Wanderlust journeys on to the end of Hood Canal, passing between Dewatto Bay and Liliwaup Bay.About 7 pm, we begin to motor-sail to assure arrival in daylight.It is 8 pm, when A. J. Wanderlust rounds the Great Bend and 9 pm when after some effort fighting wind and current, she is tied to a mooring buoy off Twanoh State Park.
After morning explorations ashore on June 26th, A. J. Wanderlust leaves Twanoh State Park for Pleasant Harbor.The mirror-like reflections cast by the Olympic Mountains in Hood Canal’s calm waters are beautiful but evidence the absence of wind.The day is warm and pretty day, graced with partly cloudy skies and smooth waters, with the surrounding Olympic Mountains in full view.Motoring quietly up Hood Canal, Denny and I laugh as we see Jackson wag his tail in his sleep. “Must be a good dream,” we comment.We arrive just after 6 pm to the state park float at Pleasant Harbor and head ashore to walk Jackson.A beautiful sunset blankets the harbor as we take A. J. Wanderlust to anchor for the evening. We could have stayed on the state park float but I have been too long tied to a dock and I want to have the peace of A. J. Wanderlust swaying under me as I sleep.
The crew of A. J. Wanderlust awakes early the morning of June 27th, intent to take the rubber dinghy up Dallywallips River to view the bird life.Denny and I have our eyes peeled for the difficult to find river entrance but accidently overshoot the entry by miles.The early morning dinghy ride across flat calm and quiet waters, becomes a three hour dinghy excursion in which the entrance to the Dallywallips River is only found two hours after high tide.Thus signifying, we are unable to venture forth into the river without the risk of becoming stranded until the next high tide.
Returning to Pleasant Harbor, we depart at 11 am with A. J. Wanderlust and by noon can see the Bangor naval facility.Passing Bangor, we suddenly hear a sickening thud.We have inadvertently hit a seal, probably sleeping on the surface.I swing A. J. Wanderlust in a wide ark.I do not have a plan, but believe that if we do find the injured creature, I can somehow transport it to medical aide.Seeing no blood in the water, Denny tries to convince me that the seal is fine, just with a bump on its head.But I wait for the seal to resurface, which he does not.My God, did we kill it I wonder?But there is nothing we can do and thus A. J. Wanderlust proceeds onward.
Again A. J. Wanderlust passes thru Hood Canal Bridge’s opening without event.North winds build throughout the day from 5 knots to eventually reach 17 knots near evening.Commencing at 4 pm, we are blessed with enough wind to sail, and all aboard enjoy a lovely couple hour sail wing on wing.As A. J. Wanderlust rounds Foulweather Bluff and returns to Admiralty Inlet, the parade of cruise ships commences.Holland America’s Amsterdam, Norwegian’s Star and the Golden Princess all pass in quick succession bound for Alaska.Many pleasure sailboats also dot the waters of Puget Sound as today as is a weekend day and blue skies fill Puget Sound.
Arriving back to J-dock in Shilshole Bay Marina, I am happy to see that my nemesis, the catamaran, is gone, making docking in a difficult north wind manageable.Over a rum and coke and pleasant memories, another long weekend excursion is put into the log book of A. J. Wanderlust.
Hood Canal Bridge in open position
Jackson enjoys a bone enroute to Hood Canal
Bangor Submarine Facility in Hood Canal
A. J. Wanderlust at Twanoh State Park
Mirror-like vistas in Hood Canal
Pleasant Harbor view from at anchor
Jackson doubts the humans will ever locate Dallywallips River this bright morning!