Friday, April 18, 2014

On The Way to The San Juans, Tonight Hat Island

Bremerton Yacht Club to Hat (Gedney) Island

Distance traveled: 41.8 miles
Travel time:  5 hours

Yesterday in Olalla it rained cats and dogs, and the NOAA forecast for the next two days was "unsettled", leaving us uncertain whether we could make it to Anacortes in one day to meet up with friends who are joining us for a week in the San Juan Islands. So this morning we slipped our lines at 10am and headed north. What a great decision!

The water was flat, the sky was mostly sunny, and the solar heat through the windows on the flybridge left us driving the boat in short sleeves. Climate change may be a bad thing in many ways, but for boating in 2013 and 2014, it's been wonderful! We've had more dry, sunny weather than normal, while the rest of the country shivered and shoveled snow for the past 6 months.

When we bought this boat, the auto-pilot was more or less functional, but its' performance has deteriorated since then. We tested it today to see if we could live with it rather than replace it, and as it hunted for a proper heading, it swung through 70-degree shifts leaving the track below. We finally gave up and went back to hand-steering. New auto-pilot will be on the list of upgrades before this summer's six-week trip into Canadian waters.

We were astonished when the osprey below, with a fish in it's talons, flew within 5 feet of our flybridge windshield, circled around again with a gull in pursuit, then flew away. Spectacular!

As usual, there were large tow boats and some other traffic out, but clearly the summer boating season has not yet begun, despite the wonderful weather. We mostly had the water to ourselves.

We'd planned to spend the night in Kingston or Edmonds, but were getting such a boost from the out-going tide (hitting 12.9 mph briefly as we traveled Agate Pass; normal speed is approximately 8 mph), so we continued on to Hat (also called Gedney) Island west of Everett. We first came to Hat Island 13 years ago when a neighbor offered us a stay at their summer/weekend home on the island. We were enchanted then, and enchanted again today. The island is 1 mile by 1/2 mile, all privately owned, with a newly-rebuilt marina, 9-hole golf course, yacht/golf club, and private ferry.

We walked the shoreline adjacent to the marina and found this stump/trunk in which someone took the time to carve an eagle, baby bear, and Pooh-bear-like hind end! This is not a totem pole; rather a real tree stump!

While there are 200 homes on Hat Island, very few people live here full-time, and almost no roads are paved. The only access is by private ferry (foot traffic only), so if you want a car to travel from the marina to your home, you barge it over and leave it parked in the parking lot at the marina (with keys in the ignition, we're told). Not that anyone would want to steal these cars. Most of them are rusty and green with algae, looking like they've been sitting here, only occasionally used, for years. 

The afternoon was warm, so after tying up the boat, we sat on the bow in the sunshine for awhile. Later we had a glass of wine on the flybridge, admiring the distant mountains and flat water. We're told we somehow missed seeing the whales as we came into the marina this afternoon.

No comments: