There was only one way to go now – North, back up the Hood Canal. It took us two long days of travel to get all the way down here, and we would have two long ones to make the return voyage. After another stop at Potlatch State Park for a final shower, we were back on the water for a 22 nautical mile back up Hood Canal. At least the wind was not scheduled to blow directly in our face during the trip. In fact, it turned out not to blow much at all, so we motored for seven-plus hours for the day – our longest stretch of motoring to date. We were tempted to raise the main sail once, but it was stacked and packed away again pretty quickly as the wind didn’t justify it up. Good practice in the end. Unfortunately, this long stretch of motoring has put us over 50% of our travel-time on the motor. We really prefer to sail, but we have heard a 50/50 is normal for the Puget Sound where the wind is unable to run free thanks to all the islands and landmasses around.
While we wait “down below” for some rain to pass through, I thought I’d start a little series showing the interior of Meriwether. Considering how much time we spend down here, I’m surprised at how few photos I’ve taken/shared. Here you’ll start to experience the full-fledged ridiculousness of boater terms. Some are necessary. But when it comes to interiors, there are already so many perfectly good words that are just as applicable!
Rested from the long sail, Kerri and I (Moose too) motored the two miles to our final destination in Hood Canal – the tiny town of Union, Washington. Union is located on the southern shores of the “Great Bend” in the canal. The marina area consisted of only a market-slash-trinket store, a Mexican-food joint, and a small country store across the street. Not much else nearby without a fair distance walking. The tiny marina here allowed us the opportunity to pump out our black-tank and fill both our water and fuel tanks. It was during this process that we got first wind on the hospitality of the locals, who were oddly excited to see such a large boat this far down the canal.
After the nine hour day of sailing to get here there was only one thing left to do… nothing. Well, first Moose had to go ashore, then to the nothing. We didn’t even prepare any substantial meal, just poured a tall glass of Saki (who am I kidding, we drank the whole damn bottle) and sat out in the cockpit to enjoy the sunset together. Then off to bed for some much needed rest. The waves and wind didn’t even matter, we slept hard.
Instead of sticking around Seabeck for the weekend we left on Saturday – late morning, because Kerri’s necessary three hours in bed on her phone each morning can not be skipped. We were to continue south down Hood Canal to other adventures. There wasn’t really anything to do in Seabeck anyway, so the decision was easy. Plus, there were a few stops along the way further down Hood Canal that we thought we could overnight at to break up the sail into manageable chunks.
Seabeck Bay was a well placed location for us to stop after a long day of motoring. There is a private marina in the bay, but we chose to stay at anchor not far outside of the marina-proper. At the far end of the bay was a nice shore in which Moose could get out and stretch his legs each day, although a fair dinghy ride away. The closer shore, at the marina, had a general store and a pizza place as well as some spiritual retreat across the street. Two of the three sounded handy for our stay. Kerri also saw that a whiskey distillery was noted on the map nearby, but they seemed to have closed down some time ago. I pretty sure it was the only reason Kerri even wanted to come to Seabeck.
It has become a normal thing for us to not figure out where we are going next week until the eleventh hour. Following the rendezvous, there we were again, in the same situation. It wasn’t until the very night before our departure, after talking with some locals in the laundry, that the decision was made to go further south – down Hood Canal.
Hood Canal is a natural fjord running about 60 nautical miles, forming the western side of the greater Puget Sound, and nestled at the foot of the great Olympic National Park. We were told that very few boaters – in comparison – make their was down the canal, a good selling point if you ask me. The locals also pointed out a few nice places to anchor, eat, and play along the route. Kerri and I committed to the voyage, setting out at 11 am the following morning (Monday).
What happens when you find out that the legendary designer of your 40 year old boat is not only alive, but spends his time right down the road from you… and is having a meetup with dozens of other boat owners? You go to the party, right? Well yeah!
Some weeks back Kerri found a Bob Perry fan page on Facebook and joined. Not only is it an active discussion group, Bob himself is a daily partaker of the community. Also, there is an annual rendezvous (I really hate trying to spell that word) in Port Ludlow each year and we would be near enough to seriously consider dropping in. I think we both felt a little uncomfortable with the idea to begin with, as we are so new to this whole thing, but after meeting some other sailing couples recently we were desperate to go see other like-boats to get ideas and advice about our own.
We were off to Port Ludlow where we had a slip reserved and packages were already in route for a week of projects on Meriwether. The sail was pretty straight forward; loop around Marrowstone Island and head south to Ludlow. The tide/current would be in our favor – or so the information said – so the day would be smooth sailing with nature providing us a push from behind. The wind, however, wasn’t going to play nice that day – blowing pretty much exactly from the direction we needed to go, meaning we would spend the day close-hauled (1) – as usual.
Normally Kerri and I go out of our way to avoid returning to the same place we have already been. In my experiences, a return trip is never as good as the first and – even worse – ruins the memory of the first. We make some exceptions, but by a general rule we try not to go back too often. After our day sail Kerri suggested we return to Flagler and Mystery for the work week. Our planned destination was no longer looking so great so we called an audible and returned. It was safe. It was easy. It was right there… literally we were right beside the entrance to the bay.