We’ve decided that since we can’t have a long cruise this summer (BOOO!!!) we will do long weekends exploring south Puget Sound. As a rule, south sound is less crowded than the northern area and there are a lot of quiet areas to anchor, even if most of them are surrounded by houses. Our engine, Hiram, got all the pent up energy out of his system on this trip, although we actually got plenty of sailing in as well. That’s kind of unusual in the south sound. We’ll take it!
So off we went to the lovely little Jarrell Cove on the north end of Harstine Island. We took off on Thursday evening, figuring we’d take advantage of the currents for a head start down to the island. We had an ulterior motive: to visit good friends Rose and Gary Benz, see their cute little Vivacity 20, Mudduck, and convince Rose to cook dinner for us.
The last time we were in Jarrell Cove was so long ago I’d have to do math to figure it out. You know how I feel about math. We had just sold our Catalina 27 to a woman who lived on Harstine Island and had docked the boat at a small private marina there. We had some boat stuff to bring her so decided to make the trek. Aboard our new-to-us Cal34, it took us an entire long day to get there. It seemed like such a long way.
After spending two nights in Rosedale catching our breath and doing a few boat projects, we had a nice downwind sail up Case Inlet to the northern shore of Stretch Island for a night, hoping to go ashore and walk a bit. Okay. I’m just going to say this: waste of time. There is a park on Stretch Island but perhaps the island is named for what a ‘stretch’ it is to say that this park is anything but a small beach, surrounded by – you guessed it- houses. Can you tell I’m ready for a little anchor time in the wilds of Canada? We anchored in front of a houseless sandy bluff and didn’t even get off the boat. Should have just gone directly to Jarrell Cove. Next time.
The wind shifted for us overnight, and we sailed into Jarrell Cove the following day, looking for a place to anchor. Perhaps my memory is bad, but it seems to me like we anchored out last time we were there. This time there were no places to anchor inside the cove, which was filled with mooring balls from the state park, as well as private mooring balls. We decided to pick up a ball, as it would be good practice.
The last time we tried this on Galapagos it was at James Island in the San Juans. The boat was new to us and I was filled with anxiety about the closeness of rocky cliffs. Mike was filled with anxiety about my anxiety. It was windy. We tried a couple of times, then bailed on the whole project instead of stopping, calming Amy G. Dala down, and coming up with another plan. It was dead disappointing and we felt like mooring ball failures.
This time was way different! We had at least two plans before we even started. I helmed the boat, Mike lay flat on the deck just by the cockpit, and we picked it up on the first pass. Take THAT people on the nice Beneteau hoping for dinner and a show! Nothing to see here except a pretty boat! Go back to your previously scheduled drinking party. We high fived and I was so excited I posted to Facebook.
We hooked up with Rose and Gary and prepared for a fun-filled afternoon and evening kayaking, showing off Galapagos, looking at boats, and visiting. The thing about Rose and Gary is that they like little boats. They like them so much that they own at least 10 of them, including that cute little twin keel Vivacity, 6 kayaks, a minto, a double kayak, and a zodiac. They are our heroes. In retirement, they live a life we aspire to live. They are in a great community of people who do things together and support each other, have a wonderful place on the water where they can launch their little boats anytime they want to, and they have huge his and hers workshops where they can putter around and make lovely things. Seriously, if Harstine Island were not in the south sound (read: not enough sunshine, winters too long and dark for us) we would consider retiring there.
We spent a completely quiet night on the mooring ball and awoke to brilliant sunshine for our motorboat ride back home. It’s sure hard to leave when the day is so pretty and warm and the cockpit is so comfortable. No wind, but we continue to be amazed at how fast this boat goes compared to our Cal34. We left Jarrell Cove at noon and arrived back in our slip by 4:30. Whaaatt?? Of course, timing is everything through the narrows, but still, we were pushing 10 knots with a lift of about 2 knots from current. Not bad at all! I guess size really does matter.
Back in Tacoma three friends waited on the dock, having seen us coming. I sure appreciate it when people run to help, just in case we need it. It makes my docking anxiety go way down. When was the last time we got that kind of help with stuff at home? I’m staring at the rocks that need cementing around that pond in my yard. I don’t see anyone at my front door here with big smiles on their faces, arms outstretched to catch bags of mortar …just saying. Our marina is pretty great.