...and sometimes other things

Departure 2024

One of the harder skills to learn is when to stay and when to go.

In order to finish a day’s boating successfully, you need to have weather you can navigate and enough water under the hull to keep you afloat. Yesterday we had neither. It wasn’t the “atmospheric river” rainstorm so breathlessly reported by every Seattle TV weatherperson, after all boats are made to get wet. But winds high enough to keep a cruise ship from docking in Seattle seemed like something best avoided.

As you may know, the height of high tides and the depth of low ones varies by moon phase. We are currently in a period of extremely low tides. Low enough to dictate when we leave our home dock, low enough to preclude some routes.

In short, Port Madison to Anacortes, which should have been straightforward, turned out to be kind of a hassle. But in the end, it was less of a hassle than I expected.

The major cause for concern was reports of wind speeds gusting up to 40 miles per hour. While not hurricane class, a wind that high can mess you up. A lot has to do with whether the wind is blowing the same direction the current is flowing or against it. The bad case is “against”, which boaters call “wind against wave.” Depending on the wind speed and flow rate, you can wind up with some really large, nasty waves. Your direction of travel plays into it, of course. Hitting a ten foot wave head-on is bumpy. Having it hit the side of your boat can be catastrophic.

We decided that we would set out this morning and check the actual as opposed to forecasted conditions. If we didn’t like what we found, we would go home and try again tomorrow.

Things looked grey but promising in Allens Cove. In the end, we did find a few 30 MPH gusts, but it didn’t matter because both the current and the wind were headed directly north, as were we.

In fact, we wound up ahead of schedule and were able to transit Deception Pass this afternoon rather than tomorrow morning. (You have to go through close to “slack water” when the current is not flowing strongly in either direction. By tradition dating back to Fiona Bean, Mary Anne piloted us through the Pass.

Another hour of travel brought us to Skyline Marina. This is where we berthed Fiona Bean, Impromptu, and Étude until we moved to Bainbridge. The fellow who leased space to us for all three boats kindly offered an unused slip for the evening.

It was fun to revisit Skyline and see familiar sights. We’re off to the annual Nordic Tugs rendezvous in Anacortes tomorrow.

Remember: You can follow along our route.

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