We went. We sailed. We anchored. We returned! Successful trip!
Elsa took great care of us on our first overnight trip. Being Labor Day weekend in Puget Sound, we experienced all of the different weather and being a new-to-us boat, we tried out many new systems. We are thrilled with how it all went.
Our trip started Wednesday as we left the dock just before noon.
We crossed Commencement Bay and went under the Tacoma Narrows bridge and then found some wind. Got that rail wet!
We had sun and good wind and the afternoon took us along to Penrose Point State Park. We found a buoy and set up our anchorage for our first night out. Mt. Rainier kindly photobombed our anchorage.
Coffee the next morning, and a quick trip ashore. It was raining but the forecast called for sun later. The park was empty so we plan on returning and checking out the other facilities.
We explored Carr Inlet at a slow pace. The sails were up but the wind was fickle so we motor-sailed as well. Michael pointed out a summer camp he attended as a kid, and the small island known as Dead Mans Island. It is actually called Cutts Island, but the childhood tales live on! Took Pitt Passage and had a fairly energetic ride through. Out the other side and the last leg took us to McMicken Island. Dropped the anchor for the first time and got familiar with our manual windlass.
Michael rowed around the island. The buoys on the other side were occupied so we were happy to have found a spot on the quieter side. In the middle of the night, Michael woke up and went on deck. He watched fishes and a seal swim in the bioluminescence! Magical!
The raising of the anchor produced a healthy kelp harvest!
We explored Case Inlet. We looked at all the marvelous houses along the waterfront. Even though Michael has been sailing in the sound for 25 years, these two trips were to places he had never been. As the afternoon got on, we decided to head for Boston Harbor and our DNR buoy. Elsa is too long for a spot at the dock at Boston Harbor, so it was very convenient that our trip through the DNR wait list happened so quickly. We hooked the buoy and went ashore.
The dock was hopping with the Friday night Beer-B-Q. We bought our dinners and sat down to listen to three youngsters play some awesome instrumental music. Dogs ran around. We met a young couple and their adorable new daughter. After several days of solitude, the hubbub was fun.
Us after 3 days on the boat.
The dock and the crowd.
We retired to the boat for a last night out.
It was raining and cold the next morning. Michael donned the rain gear and we putted back to Tacoma. Looking at the weather map later, we think we stayed under the only little squall out there for several hours. I made hot soup and hot tea for cold, wet Michael.
As we arrived back at Hylebos, the skies cleared and the sun came out!
Our ideas for addressing the boat systems mostly worked fine. The solar charger would’ve liked a lot more sun, but it did a good job keeping one cell phone charged. Not two. Some interior lights were hooked up to the 12V system but we didn’t want to mess with the starter battery. The icebox performed well and we ate yummy food. The bed is comfy although the ceiling is low. All the rigging worked well, but some roller furling is happening very soon as Michael isn’t keen on doing any more bowsprit gymnastics with the slowly shredding jib.
Overall, complete success. One highlight was our honor guard of wildlife. We saw porpoises a dozen different times. We saw many seals, an eagle and osprey. An otter casually drifted on his back, toes up, right by us. Good to see the fauna doing well.
We finalized our purchase of Elsa on June 28, and we are so pleased that we were able to do this trip so quickly thereafter. We now know we can do it, and are already talking about when we can get away again. South Puget Sound is quiet, uncrowded and as lovely as many boating spots to the north. Elsa will get us out for some more exploring!