Sunday, October 28, 2012

Salish Sea Ports
By Michael
VICTORIA, BC

Windy watches as the schooner Alcyone
motors past our stern. It seemed that
immaculately maintained wooden boats
like this one were a dime-a-dozen in Port
Townsend, home to the annual
Wooden Boat Festival.
To get to Victoria, we had to come up the relatively desolate Washington coast until we could make a right turn into the strait that separates the United States and Canada: the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where it dead ends, we could make a right (in a southerly direction) or a left (in a northerly direction). The former takes us south into the Puget Sound—a waterway that would take us down past Seattle to Olympia and other Washington towns. The latter, northerly route takes us into the Strait of Georgia—through the San Juan Islands and all the way up to Desolation Sound. These three interconnected coastal waterways of straits, sounds, and inlets are collectively referred to as the Salish Sea.

This is all new and exciting geography for the crew of Del Viento.
So we made a detour on our way to Victoria. We visited old friends and new friends in the three primary Washington “Port” towns: Port Angeles, Port Townsend, and Port Ludlow. All three are distinct and all three offer free, convenient anchorages.

Port Angeles (PA) is closest to the Pacific Ocean and may have the lowest crime rate of any town in America. When we jumped in the dinghy to meet our friend Jim for a trip up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, we grabbed our best binoculars and digital SLR with all the lenses—this place promised stunning views. We weren’t disappointed, but we didn’t take a single picture or scan the vistas with our binocs. Instead, we got up there and realized we left our expensive gear sitting on the public dock near the dinghy. Incredibly, when we returned hours later, both our camera and binoculars were sitting right where we left them.
Port Townsend (PT) is at the mouth of Puget Sound. She boasts Victorian homes and buildings along a picturesque main street, chandleries that cater to wooden boat aficionados, and she is home to world-class boat tradespeople like Carol Hasse and Brion Toss. Our friends John, Cindy, and their daughter Journey have their boat here on the hard, undergoing an extensive refit. Namaste is a sistership to Del Viento and will be soon joining us on the cruising trail.

Port Ludlow (PL) is a bit deeper into the Sound and there is little development visible from the water. In fact, there is no town with a main street, Port Ludlow is a bedroom community of homes nestled in the hillsides and a private marina. As we approached, we explored a narrow inlet nearby and the small, hidden bay it opened to. This protected body of water, about a thousand feet across, is surrounded by large and pricey homes.
--MR

Port Ludlow

Our friend John Orchanian with Del Viento's sistership, Namaste.
There were roughly a dozen Fuji 40s built.

Me, Jim, Windy, Don, Rich, Carol (Eleanor and Frances front).
Don and Jim and Rich and Carol were slip mates of mine
back in my Ventura, CA liveaboard days, on the first
Del Viento. Both couples were at our wedding. Rich
and Carol own a nice Swift 33 named Amadeus in PL.

Entering the "secret" inlet near Port Ludlow.
One thing I didn't know about Windy when I married her is that she is
horseshoe challenged. Note Jim filming. Having seen Windy throw
dozens of times, he thinks it is likely he'll get a video that will go
viral online and make him some money. What he and Don should
be doing is wearing helmets when Windy throws.

One of the cool things about Port Angeles is the Feiro Marine Life Center.
Here the girls are feeding kelp to sea urchins. This place has amazing
hands-on exhibits and learning stations.

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