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Ballard Sailor

July Cruise Day 22

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July PNW Cruise Day 22
Oak Harbor to Anacortes

Friday dawned Sunny, no fog and light winds for our trip back up the inside of Whidbey Island. But this time we are going through the Slough, the inside passage through Laconner coming out just east of Anacortes. The predicted -1.4ft tide today kept us from taking the more direct route out Deception pass so opted to arrive at the entrance of the slough just after slack water and head through. As we started to turn the corner out of the channel into the dredged slough the depth got shallower, as you’d expect due to the dredging only digging in for a depth of approximately 7ft at 0 tide. So a -1.4 tide I was expecting 5.5 feet minimum at 9am, we arrived at 10:30 figuring there would be something like 6.5 feet over the muddy bottom, just enough water for the ‘Vanadis’ to make it through. No luck, as we turned the corner the depth continued to get shallower, 6ft, 5.8ft, 5.2ft, bow going down, 4.6ft, leaning sideways....guess it hasn’t been dredged in awhile...And then I looked up and saw two sailboats stuck in the middle of the entrance just ahead. I figure they must have gotten there before slack water and have been stuck for a bit, there wasn’t even close to enough water to make it as far as they had.

Fortunately for us the current was pushing strong out of the slough and I was able to let the bow fall around and the current drug us back out to deeper water so we didn’t have to wait out the tide, what turned out to be 2.5 hours, while getting bounced around by power boat waves aground in the mud. Why is it that Power boats never slow down and reduce their wake when passing a sailboat aground. I felt so sorry for the two boats aground in the middle of the slough. Power boats would go by them at 7 knots in 3ft of water, digging their transoms in and creating a huge wake bouncing the grounded boats on their keels. Different mindset on some power boats...

Once out in the deeper water I found a spot on the beach I thought would be high enough for us to get through once the water level reached it and we waited and watched. By 12:30pm the water had reached my spot so it was time to try. Wouldn’t you know the minute I turned in the large sailboat aground turned their bow towards us, free of the mud they slowly motored out. Just enough water to get through the entrance, 6.5ft, we entered the deeper channel and started motoring to the 90* corner just ahead. I looked atJennifer and said “this is where we alway’s fear a log boom coming around the corner at taking up a good part of the channel, he he.”

‘Pull & Be Damned’. Perfect name for the side tug helping guide the log boom around the corner and forcing us into shallow water again making me worry we’d be aground any moment. But fortunately the water never got below 8ft, even with boats passing the log boom on the opposite side. Good stuff, what’s next?

This house on the rock bluff above the corner has always impressed me, they must have a great view and always have some boat traffic below them to watch. From now on the slough is deep, (relatively deep 16ft) and has a good width, but the current alway’s flows south, against us, at about 1.25 knots - some oddity about the man made channel.

A short motor through some “S” bends while enjoying the front yards of the houses along the slough you come to the city of LaConner with it’s old buildings, Maritime history and, once again, Mt. Baker showing up in the background of this picturesque little town. No time for us to stop this time as we’re now 2.5 hours behind schedule for our planned arrival in Anacortes. Our destination for tonight was chosen because of a band we like playing the Cap Sante Marina that evening, Deadwood Revival. We had seen them at Fort Flagler earlier in the our trip and had promised them a sail on the bay before the show. We didn’t make it into the marina early enough to do any of the provisioning we had planned but we made it in time to see the band waving at us from the beach, greeting the late arriving sailors in grand fashion, it’s hard to keep a tight schedule out on the water...

With their dog ‘Cosmo’ in tow, we headed back out on the bay for an afternoon sail. The winds where perfect at about 8 knots for the daysail and hopefully we gave our friends a new and fun experience and made up for them getting up early and making it to Anacortes for our late arrival. As we chatted about our lives and history out the water, Jason and Jennifer came to realize they both where at the same music show in Philly back in the late 80’s, small world, it really is. If you just take a moment to talk with people, listen and explore with the conversation it’s amazing how many parallels or crossing of paths you can find.

We ended the evening with dinner at the Anacortes Yacht Club with our friends, the Schwenks, and then wandered over to the band playing on the grass next to our dock. With the sun setting in the West, Deadwood jammed away to a large crowed that all seemed to enjoy the great show. Worth all the effort to get there, thanks Deadwood and AYC!

Updated 12-23-2011 at 09:36 AM by Ballard Sailor

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Tales From the PNW , Pacific Northwest Cruise 2010