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Ballard Sailor

July Cruise Day 5

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July PNW Cruise Day 5
Pleasant Harbor to Twanoh State Park.

Our morning started with a calm sail around the bay by Jennifer and MacIntosh in the El Toro, winds were light but they had a great time. The Winds had petered out by the time we decided to leave in the Vanadis so we took another tour of the harbor under motor. What a great little harbor, Marina’s all along the North side, one with boat house’s that they rent out for the night, fuel dock and plenty of guest moorage if anyone wants to show up and have power. There is a boat ramp at the head of the bay and private docks along the south side.

What little wind there was in Pleasant Harbor looked great compared to what we found on the outside.

Glass everywhere we looked as we turned south towards our planned afternoon stop at the Hoodsport city dock. The Olympics where out on the starboard side and we spent some time trying to figure out which was which. There reflections on the calm water where amazing.

As the wind started to build we put up the .5oz chute and started our sail south after about an hour of motoring. The sun shining, wind at our backs, the Canal to ourselves once again, besides one small dinghy we ran across. Soon the wind built to more than the .5oz chute could handle so we pulled her in and realized we could still do 6 knots under main only. Perfect! less trimming. As we came into the Hoodsport dock, dropping the mainsail and firing up the diesel, we realized the wind and seas had built to a point that tying up at their exposed dock was not a prudent idea.

We spun a circle, put the mainsail back up and headed further south to the state park we wanted to stay at for the night, Potlach. But once we arrived we realized that with the strong northerly blowing the buoy’s at Potlach where just as exposed as the dock in Hoodsport so we swung a left and headed up the hook at the end of the Canal towards Twanoh state park. The theory was that if the northerly was still blowing up there that there wasn’t enough fetch for it to build any seas to buffet us while on the park buoy, and Twanoh has a dock!

So off we reached towards the east, passing by the city of Union on the way. Looks like they have a nice guest moorage setup and fuel dock. But don’t approach Union from directly West as it’s really shallow (we found out). Funny story here; the depth sounder on Vanadis has the trick of all of a sudden going from say 60ft to 5ft when your not looking. I figure it’s a sensitivity issue, that it’s picking up temperature layers in the water below us, but I can’t find anything in the instructions to adjust it. So as we are sailing over towards Union I glance at the depth and it’s jumping between 6 and 7 feet. For a few minutes I ignore and look back, it still say’s 6 to 7 feet. So now I’m starting to feel a little nervous about the reading, as we are at the southern hook of the Hood Canal, so I grab the chart - sure enough there is a big flat spot to the west of Union. In comes the Mainsail as we start reaching north towards deeper water. We never touched bottom but it did give me a rise and reminded me to pay more attention to the charts and don’t rely on the finicky depth sounder too much.

After passing Union and getting under the bluffs we decided it was time to start motor sailing. The hours where getting on the day, the wind was crapping out and the dog really wanted off the boat for some time on the beach. We motored for about an hour before arriving at Twanoh state park; as everything else has been on the Hood Canal, the place was empty, not a buoy taken and one old fishing boat at the dock. We looked at the tide chart did some quick mental calculations and figured the tide was almost high and we would need about 17’ of water below us to not be aground in the morning at the low tide. As we came around the point the Northerly started blowing again in the 15 to 18 knot range but as we figured there was no waves. We motored in towards the dock and as we where getting blown off by the northerly I looked down and realized there was only 10 feet of water there, not enough for the morning low tide even if we could make a good approach in the breeze.
Off to the buoy’s we went, found one with plenty of water below us, (after a little issue with the boat hook, they float you know...) and then took MacIntosh ashore for some swimming and cool down time, it’s 80 degrees here!

Once we get up to the pay station and read their rules, warnings and signs we notice one in the corner that say’s something to the tune of “if you tie to the dock you will be aground at low tide,” that would have been good information for them to put on the website! After walking around the park in through the huge shade trees, swimming the dog and exploring the trails and campsites we realize this is a really cool park, one we’d love to visit again the future.

Updated 12-23-2011 at 09:44 AM by Ballard Sailor

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Tales From the PNW , Pacific Northwest Cruise 2010