A Summer Trip in South Puget Sound

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We were able to get away from the dock Thursday afternoon July 20th and head out and around Point Defiance, through the Narrows and up Wollochet Bay to the TYC outstation. There was only one other boat at the dock and that was Roger and Sue Williams and we tied up across from them on the outside. The reason for the South Sound trip was twofold as we had not spent much time in the South Sound for quite awhile, and I had open heart surgery two months ago and was still in the process of recovery. Helios was really dirty because of the construction going on both sides of the marina, so Saturday after breakfast it was time to breakout the hoses, brushes and buckets. Linda did most of the work, but I did a great job supervising and rinsing the cabin top and deck. The Williams left early in the afternoon and we had the place to ourselves. We decided rather than dirty our BBQ we would walk up and use one of the club’s to cook our hamburgers for dinner. We settled in with Linda reading and me watching some of the shows we have on remote hard drives. We have one 3TB with about 150 movies, and the other 5TB is TV shows that we have purchased the entire seasons. I started with season 3 of NCIS. The following day was put to a vote and we decided to stay another day, and devoted the day to small projects. There were a lot of small things since Helios basically sat at her mooring for 6 months while I replaced the hot water heater and then the preparation work for the surgery and the surgery itself had taken up the last 3 months. I changed the electrical plug by the salon table from a standard two plug arrangement to one plug and two USB slots. This works well so we can keep charging phones, tablets, kindles and a plug for the computer. We try to get our work done in the morning and relax in the afternoon. The temperature is in the high 80’s and we got to try out our sun shades, which lower the temperature in the cockpit. If you look at the picture at the top of the page, you can see them on the starboard side of the cockpit. We had three more boats come in during the day, so there is quite a bit more activity on the dock. We’ve decided to head to Jarrell’s Cove State Marine Park tomorrow.

Our grandson showed up the next morning after we had coffee and breakfast to bring a couple of packages that had been delivered to the house, one was a new raw water pump for the starboard engine, since the seals on the present one a leaking a little. I don’t think I will change it out while we are on vacation, as it will be a good project to do when I change engine oil. After Paxton left we got things ready and headed out of Wollochet to Jarrell’s Cove. We were hoping to sail, but the surface was flat calm and the wind on the meter never got to five. We headed to Balch Passage between McNeil and Anderson Islands. We rounded Devils Head and headed up Case Inlet, past Herron and McMicken Islands. We rounded the top of Hartstine Island and went down Pickering Passage to Jarrell's Cove. We had a choice of mooring buoys and it was an easy hook up with no wind or current to deal with. After we got settled in, we spent a quiet evening reading in the cockpit until it was too dark. The next morning after coffee and breakfast we lowered the dinghy and motored over to the State Marine Park dock and walked up to pay for last night and today on the mooring buoy. The dock now has power and two powerboats that had kids and dogs were tied up. It is only $15 a night to use the mooring buoy, which makes for an inexpensive and secure anchorage for the night. After paying we took the dinghy out into Pickering Passage to look at scenery, plus I wanted a closer look at the private marina for property owners on Hartstine. We went down far enough to see the bridge from the mainland to the island and then returned to Helios. Later in the day we motored the dinghy over to the dock to pay for a third night. I was catching up on my sailing magazines that had been accumulating over the last few months. Linda was waxing one small section at a time in the morning before it got to hot. I was doing some calculations on the efficiency of our new refrigeration system and the amount of power we were getting from the solar panels to recharge our house battery bank. I figured out we are using about 35 amps to run the refrigeration system for a 24 hour period, and this is the main user of battery power. Our solar panels during maximum exposure time, 10-2, were putting in 25 amps per hour, so I didn’t have a need to run the engines or generator to charge batteries. I started up the generator to heat hot water so we could take showers. The hot water system is on 110 volts, so it is the generator or shore power. I’ll complete working on the heating system when we get back and that will allow us to heat hot water without running the generator, using a system like your car.

After three nights at one marine park we moved on to another, McMicken Island, which is located next to Hartstine Island in Case Inlet. We didn’t have enough wind to sail so we decided to motor up Case Inlet running the watermaker to a couple of hours to fill the water tank. We got to McMicken and found one boat on one of the four mooring buoys and no boats anchored. We took the mooring buoy farthest from the folks already there and from the spit that extends to Hartstine at low tide. After laying around for a while we lowered the dinghy and went to the beach to pay for our two nights.


 We kept hearing eagles while sitting in the cockpit and with a little binocular work a nest was spotted high in a fir tree on the island. We watched mom and dad bring food to son/daughter and the youngster always wanting more. We think the young one will be flying soon as it will climb to the edge of the nest and tryout its wings. Our second day was the worst weather we had on the trip with the temperature only getting to 70 and the cloud cover burning off at four in the afternoon. We accomplished a lot of reading with a couple of naps. We had halibut filets with corn for dinner and some cookies later before heading to bed.

I was up at 7 to make coffee and we decided to leave sometime after nine for Olympia and the Swantown TYC outstation. We were in no rush and were tied up and power on a little after noon. We dropped the dinghy and with shopping bags and a list motored over to the Percival Landing dock next to the Olympia Yacht Club and walked to the Bayview Thriftway 2 blocks away. We restocked and loaded up the dinghy and headed back to Helios. Linda's niece, Teri, and her significant other, Kevin are going to stop by to see Helios. They arrived a little after 4 and we visited until almost 9, and agreed to meet at the Farmers Market tomorrow at 11. We awoke to flat water and bright sunshine at 7, for coffee. We discussed different stops for our remaining days with consideration given to the fact that the temperature will probably be in the 90's, with Oro Bay, Cutts Island and back to Wollochet being the first choices. We left a little after 10:30 to walk over to the Farmer's Market to meet up with Teri and Kevin. Linda had an anchor as I needed to stop to catch my breath every so often, but made it. After the market we went to Budd Bay Cafe for lunch, and then walked down to see their 26' Columbia sailboat. They gave us a ride back to the marina, which was much appreciated by me. Linda and I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and relaxing, watching the activity from the boat launch. We are the only TYC boat here at the outstation.


A late morning and after coffee and breakfast it was time to fill the water tank and get ready to leave and go to Oro Bay. We motored out of Budd Inlet as the wind was here and there and ripping at 2 to 3 knots. We left at high tide so the ebb pulled us through Dana Passage, and helped as we came across the southern end of Anderson Island and to Oro Bay. We were surprised to see that we were the only boat. We tied up on the east side, (inside), of the long dock facing out towards the bay. We walked up to sign in and turn the power on. Linda put up our sun screens on the port side, which lowered the temperature in the cockpit. We relaxed, read and listened to music. Our dinner was a fresh salad with ingredients from the Farmer's Market in Olympia, with some chicken that I had barbequed and vacuumed sealed and frozen prior to leaving on our trip. We sat in the cockpit until after sunset and it cooled enough that inside was more comfortable. The following day the bright sun had us up by seven for coffee and breakfast. We were thinking about where to go next and made the decision to spend tonight and tomorrow night here in Oro Bay, and then move to Wollochet Bay. The reason being we would have power to run the A/C with the temperature in the high 90's. Linda waxed the blinds over the salon windows, and we took a walk to get me some exercise and breathing a little hard. We continue to be the only boat here. We put up the sun shades for the afternoon and settled into the cockpit. We had dinner in the cockpit and moved inside when it became too dark to read. On Tuesday, the sun had us up and drinking coffee by seven. After breakfast Linda started on her project for the day, which is waxing the cockpit's smooth surfaces. I took the garbage up and did some walking then returned to telephone conference my quarterly board meeting with Trillium. We moved to the cockpit to avoid most of the heat during the afternoon. Randy and Lana Wright came in mid afternoon, so we now have two boats at Oro Bay. Linda put up the sun shades on the port side of the cockpit and they reduce the temperature quite a lot. The wind was mainly thermal and kept us pushed up against the dock, but nothing that was too bad. The sun would rise on the starboard hull and set on the port hull.

I remembered to pull the shade across my hatch in the stateroom so it remained a little darker in the morning, and I didn't get up until 7:30 to make coffee. After breakfast Linda wants to wax the deck and then we will probably leave a little after one. As Linda was cleaning up after her waxing project Lester and Linda Dent came in on Home Run. I helped them tie up and then it was time for us to get ready to depart for Wollochet. The north wind has brought smoke from the British Columbia forest fires. We were not able to see the Narrows Bridge until turning into Hale Passage. The Bakers were the only boat at the dock and they were about midpoint on the outside. We backed in on the inside and took the end tie. Tim Reding on Satisfaction came in shortly after us and tied up across from us. We got settled in with the sun screens up to help cool down the cockpit. Later we moved to the tramps and visited across the dock with Tim until dinner. Once again we sat in the cockpit until it was too dark to read and we moved inside. We were up a little later, but Linda had a conference phone meeting, that lasted from 8:00 to 9:30. It was another beautiful day although the temperature was forecasted to exceed 90. Linda waxed the steps before the heat got too bad. We were joined at the dock by another sailboat, Laff'n Gecko, with Devere and Billie Lindt on board. I visited with Devere for a while. They are staying until Monday. In the early evening Tim Reding left for Penrose after taking a tour of Helios. A little later Mary Dianne came in with Jerry and Mary Esser. Their 48' Nordic will provide a good wave dampener from the small boats racing past. I did run the A/C in the early evening to take the salon temperature from 85* to 75*. We were up for coffee a little after seven. After breakfast I showered and Linda thought she would polish stainless for a change of pace. By the time noon arrived we had settled in the shade. For my daily exercise I hauled the garbage and recycle stuff up to the dumpster, and only had to stop twice to catch my breath. We had one boat leave, the Bakers, and Ryan aboard Galactica came in. Linda had texted Donna Moran, and made arrangements for Dan to pick us up at the gate at 4:30. We had a great time at their A/C house catching up on what they had been doing and their families. We are looking forward to living in Arizona in the winter, so we can stay in touch with them. Dan dropped us off around 8:30, and it was comfortable enough to sit outside for a while before heading inside for the night. When we came down another boat had come in, it was Mike Warter on his Oceanus 411. We were up at 7:30 to another beautiful day. After coffee and breakfast Linda wanted to spend an hour working on the stainless on the starboard side. I took a walk before breakfast to the clubhouse to flip the switch, which turned the wifi on. We spent the afternoon reading and listening to music, along with watching the activity on the dock, which is full, except behind us. We had dinner a little after seven and then sat in the cockpit and watched the sun go down. We did go up to the bow seat and tramps just before sunset. We put away our sun screens and closed the hatches. We were up by 7:00 for coffee and discussed leaving around 10:30-11:00 to catch the last of the ebb through the Narrows. We have a bunch of stuff to unload when we get back to our slip. We were back by 1:00 and had everything unloaded and back home by 3:00. It was a very relaxing trip.