Monday, July 26, 2010

#51 Start of Puget Sound Cruise: Coupeville

On Saturday the college boys left. Alex readied the boat for the next set of guests. The Watkins arrived on Sunday along with Pat ready for the cruise down Puget Sound. The crew met with local fishing expert Jay Field to get the latest tips. Jay rigged up several "guaranteed salmon" tackle for our poles. We checked the propane supply to insure we had enough cooking gas for all that salmon soon to be jumping into our frying pans. And by the way, Willie prepared some tasty fried salmon last week. Fried salmon is grrrreat!

On Monday we had decided to check out La Conner, Washington. It entailed cruising into the shallow Swinomish Channel. Our transit coincided with a -1 foot tide and unfortunately the Wild Blue would stick to the bottom at this extreme low tide. So instead we opted to skip La Conner and head for Coupeville on Whitbey Island's eastern shore via Deception Pass. We departed at 9AM to make slack current in the notorious Pass at 10:30.

Just outside of Anacortes, a replica sailing ship cruised by. I though I could see Captain Vancouver aboard, but he to was a replica.

The Deception Pass bridge of almost 1000 feet connects north Whitbey Island to Fidalgo Island and Anacortes. It was built in 1935. The currents in the pass reach double digit speed, causing watercraft to transit at or near slack current.

We timed it correctly and passed under the Bridge near slack, along with scores of other boats crossing the Pass. Soon we were in the calm waters of Skagit Bay making our way south. While operating a boat equipped with a VHF radio, the boating regulations require that the radio be turned on and tuned to Channel 16, the marine calling and distress frequency. We have 6 marine VHF radios aboard Wild Blue, 3 fixed mounted and 3 hand helds. At least one radio is always tuned to Channel 16 with the volume up. Sometimes the chatter and squelch noise becomes annoying. At other times a distress call captures our attention. When that happens we turn up the volume and listen closely. Just as we entered Skagit Bay, a loud distress call had us glued to the radio.

"U S Coast Guard, U S Coast Guard, this is sailing vessel Whiskers calling, Whiskers, over!" blared loudly through the speaker. The fact that the voice was clear and loud meant the call was local to us. "Vessel calling, this is Coast Guard Port Angeles, over." The captain of Whiskers continued the radio call, describing his situation. His boat had run aground in the Swinomish Channel near Skagit Bay. Just ahead we could see Whiskers aground in the Channel. We were compelled to come to his aid, except for the fact that the Wild Blue would run aground too, we would have aided him. Luckily there were two smaller vessels in the area that did come to his aid. Later we heard via the radio that he had been pulled free. It's a good thing we decided to visit La Conner another day!

Sailing vessel "Whiskers" (on left hand side of photo) aground in the Swinomish Channel.

We continued south down the east side of Whitbey Island, the longest and largest island in Washington State. We eventually entered Penn Cove and anchored near the south side just off the Coupeville public dock and pier. We tendered ashore and enjoyed lunch on the pier and an ice cream ashore. Later we rode the free bus to Oak Harbor and saw the sights. Tomorrow we head for Everett, WA.

At anchor off Coupeville, Washington with Mt. Baker in the background.

These Coupeville birds aren't put off by us tourists. This one gives us the evil eye while feeding her young on the other side of the knot hole.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful site! I have been visiting various blogs for my dissertation research and found contents about coupeville. Cruising has become a major part of the tourism industry. Thanks a lot...