We are fortunate to have access to a home on the water in Port Orchard, so we ventured out over the weekend for a sail with our friends and camping gear for a night in there. Grey Star held anchor while we camped, drove go karts, ate, drank, swam, paddled, crabbed etc etc. Perfect Pacific NW Summer!
Bored with our usual haunts, we planned a new adventure. Two nights in Tacoma and our first time/night on anchor in Quartermaster. We were able to book moorage with Foss Harbor Marina. A lovely marina, with guest slips for temporary moorage typically available when permanent residents are away. Nice bathrooms, showers, lounge area with patio and a little market with essentials. Walking distance to downtown Tacoma with lots of restaurant choices. Also short Uber ride to many Tacoma waterfront restaurants. A highlight was The Point Defiance Zoo. Pretty grounds, and lots of interesting animals. You are able to take the trolly or Uber as we did, and it's a short 5-10 minute drive.
After our two nights in Tacoma we were ready for a more picturesque nature setting. We set sail for a night on anchor in Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island. We read in our cruising guide of two spots for good anchorage at Dockton Park and Burton, all the way at the end of the passage. We were a bit unsure of which area would be best so we ended up choosing Burton all the way at the end. It was quite windy, 19k winds, but we did achieve successful anchorage around 2PM. Winds died down and we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful Vashon surroundings and peaceful harbor. Wind died down around dinner time. Upon arrival we noticed we were in a dense residential area. We needed to relieve our two whippets and after kayaking in to a nearby beach were greeted with a sign 'Please leave your address, and I will visit your home and have my dog poop in your yard.', so we started to get the impression visitors were not necessarily welcome on these beaches and are private property. However, all beaches are in fact public in Washington. There is a nearby private marina in the Burton area where we felt a bit more comfortable relieving our dogs. However, next time we would stay by the Dockton Park which had more space for public usage.
A weekend in Kingston is a quick easy way for us to get away, and there's enough there to make everyone happy. We left on a Saturday from Seattle around 12 and were there by 2ish. The public dock has online reservations which we tried for the 1st time and was successful, however you can just show up and slips are available. The Kingston harbor staff is especially helpful and friendly.
We hit up our favorites the first being Little City Candy Company. If you have not been, you need to go! Wonderful selection including homemade fudge, cult classic candy, and much more.
Kingston Ale House, impressive food and drinks for both adults and kids. They have a pretty deck out back for nicer days and lots of games to take to your table to play.
Henery Hardware Kingston,easy walking distance from the marina. We were able to find fishing poles and gear for the children and ourselves.
New this time - Westside Pizza, great for cheap, quick eats they have slices and whole pies. Grab and go, or eat in.
We were able to get out for a few days for Spring Break! Not much spring but it sure was a nice break. Nice and quite out on the water, no crowds at the marinas. There is something very pleasant about being out on the water with a gentle relaxing rain. We got a chance to explore Blake Island, hiking across the whole island and not seeing another human. We did see plenty of geese and raccoons though that kept our dogs, Kingston and Raleigh pulling hard on the leash. (my arms hurt after the hike) The ranger also told us that half the deer population left the island over the winter, he thinks they swam to nearby Vashon Island. After a few days on Blake, we stopped by Eagle harbor for some fine Mexican food and a trip to the kids favorite toystore (see Unicorn below). We also toured, but did not stay on, the new public dock which looks amazing. Fear of Gale force winds and small craft advisory sent us home a day early, where we stayed in our homeport at Elliott Bay for the afternoon soaking up the rays for Happy Hour. the storm did hit the next day though and we were glad we planned accordingly. The best part of the trip, as always, was spending time as a family.
It's amazing that just being together in a small confined space can do wonders for the heart and soul.
Hope Island is a sweet little spot to unwind. Completely uninhabited island with nice anchorage and few mooring buoys. we spend the night here and decompressed from the trip back down from Roche Harbor through Deception Pass. Sometimes is just nice to sit and eat crab.
I think we were quite nervous heading into Deception Pass from the stories we have heard. The extra caution paid off for us. We timed the tides down to the minute exactly right and had smooth conditions sailing through this beauty.
Our first trip to Roche Harbor on the Northwest side of San Juan Island proved to be well worth the travels. The marina is a well-run system of boats coming and going, and they certainly have the guest moorage system nailed for high capacity. We got a slip very close in on the outside with a great view of the Hotel. The whole area reminds me on a east coast summer camp meets Disneyland-from colors every night when the flag was taken down, to the whole set-up of the marina town. While there we hiked to the John S. McMillin Mausoleum-which was cool and spooky. We also spent time in the park, and of course the pool was amazing for the kids. While there we were also lucky enough to witness the eclipse and went out in the middle of the harbor in our dinghy to observe the awe.
Orcas Island's Deer Harbor quickly became a favorite for the family. Three simple reasons why. Pizza, fresh mini-doughnuts on the dock, and a swimming pool at the resort. We loved our time here, explored the beach, hiked the island and ate and drank. The marina store was close enough that Sport could run up and get more ice for our drinks by himself to earn extra dollars for ice cream. Big shouts out to the crew at the Marina for running a well organized and friendly place. We were also very excited to take the dinghy out in the harbor and drop the crab pot and come back smiling with our appetizers. Did I mention we ate really well here.deerharbor.org/
Friday Harbor was our first taste on the San Juan Islands and we loved every bite. After a very foggy trip across the straits from Port Townsend we made it! This was a first for us relying solely on navigation. We also experienced some fun current through Cattle Pass that made the trip, err interesting. Upon arriving at the marina and tying up, we immediately made happy hour happen and took some deep breaths and sat back at what we accomplished. phew, the stakes are high when you have precious cargo onboard. We found out the local San Juan County fair was going on over the weekend (love the 4H!) and decided to stay and sample what the island had to offer. While playing on the boat in the afternoon Unicorn Butterfly lost her scooter in the water below the slip. We decided to chalk it up as a loss. However when we returned from dinner we found it on the dock with a note from Friday Harbor's most famous resident Popeye (shown here in statue form). Thank you Popeye, we'll bring you some fish!
.Coming into harbor we ran across some nice 4' swells that added some adventure to our trip here, but otherwise had a great sail with nice winds and currents. We had not been north of Port Ludlow before and we were in for a treat. We rented bikes from PT Cyclery They did an excellent job outfitting our family of 4. (please look up and use this guy-they are off the main road but worth finding and are excellent, he even outfitted the kids with all-new helmets and let us keep them) and rode out to Fort Worden State Park. I will say it was a bit more hairy on the roads than expected for family biking, and if anything I would love if they built some bikes lanes/trails out here. Such a beautiful place to see by two wheels though. We did have constant stops to pick blackberries. Fort Worden has a great beach, and a quaint and fun little aquatic museum going. Totally worth seeing and spending a day. Sandy beach and there were lots of people swimming. Back in town the https://nwmaritime.org has a great facility and is totally cool to check out. Excellent food all-around. We loved Fiesta Mexican and had really good fish and chips on a tiny deck over the water at Rusty Anchor. Around the marina was beautiful for walking on the beach and seeing massive amounts of birds. On our departure day we woke up to heavy fog, and waited a few hours for it to lift...or so we thought.
2 adults, 2 children, 2 Whippets Sailing the Pacific NW seas.