Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jarrell Cove, Lakebay Improvement Club

After two very enjoyable nights at Oro Bay on Anderson Island where we got skunked trying to catch crabs (only illegal females and not tasty Rock Crab; no male Dungeness, the prime catch of Puget Sound), we pulled out and headed north and west. We made a stop at Fair Harbor Marina in Grapeview where the very best marina gift shop in all of Puget Sound resides. As usual, Cathryn, who normally hates shopping, picked up a couple of items. Lynn and David re-joined us here, and after loading up the stuff they brought for 3 days, we headed south to Jarrell Cove on Hartstine Island, another perennial favorite.

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There are two docks in this State Park cove, and almost a dozen boats were at one dock, so we tied up to the other for more quiet and solitude. The small sailboat also parked nearby was unoccupied, so we had the dock to ourselves.

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The weather was mostly cloudy and a tad chilly, but with frequent, if brief, sun breaks.

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After dinner the four of us piled into the dinghy and went for an exploratory trip in the shallow, narrow coves nearby.

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The scenery was beautiful, the water shallow (our portable depth sounder got another workout), but the only wildlife was a blue heron and a couple of seals.

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The next morning we’d planned to travel to another favorite destination, Penrose State Park on Key Peninsula, but after checking tides, we realized the days’ unusual “minus 3.1 foot tide” would mean we’d be sitting in mud at the dock, if we could even get in. In our smaller boat in the past, we’ve had to wait for mid-tide to get in and out, and this boat has a 4-foot draft, so requires deeper water. So we headed for Filucy Bay instead, a new destination.

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The Lakebay Improvement Club at Filucy Bay has had a significant face-lift in the past 4 years, we learned. It would still be considered a “not fancy” marina, but it has wonderful new docks, gated security, wifi that actually reaches boats on the dock (not common at marinas) and an outdoor clubhouse facility with tables and chairs for enjoying sun or shade. The locals were friendly, and we were the only transient boaters there.

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Lakebay Improvement Club sits in a well-protected harbor, and we’re told on sunny days it has a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier, but we missed that in the clouds.

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We went for a walk and came upon the community cemetery, so spent half an hour wandering and reading headstones which date back as far as the first half of the 1800s to recent years, with lots of large family plots including many Scandinavians and former military folks.

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We never did figure out why one grave had an “Inukshuk” on it, a human-shaped cairn commonly built by Inuit First Nations people in eastern Canada, something we saw lots of and learned about while in Canadian waters during the year we spent traveling The Great Loop back east.

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Lynn provided delicious dinners both nights she and David were on the boat, and our good luck with weather held in that all the rain fell during the night while we were sleeping, or else when we were underway on the boat, so we were able to take lots of walks and sit outside for cocktail hour without getting wet.

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Sunday morning we cast off dock lines and headed north toward home, expecting a long day. We traveled close to shore near the Narrows Bridge in Tacoma to get a good look at the interesting Salmon Beach community where 75 or so homes are built over the water on pilings, and residents have to climb stairs or a switchback path up a steep bluff behind their homes to get to their car parking area, as there are no roads down to their homes.

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We were delighted to find the ebbing tide was with us almost all day, so this 7-knot boat (8mph) was traveling 13.9 mph as seen on the GPS below, with a maximum speed of 15.1 mph under The Narrows Bridge, way faster than we’ve seen her go before!  We actually ended the 44 mile journey for the day with an average speed of 10mph, a new record.

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We had a wonderful 6 days on the boat, and Lynn and David were terrific boat crew as always, helpful and easy-going.