Sea Eagle anchored in the distance behind Eaglet, the dingy at Hope Island.
Hope Island State Park is a well-hidden, nearly unknown, jewel deep into southern Puget Sound. Named after one of the sailors of the Wilkes Expedition in 1841, it is only accessible by boat and is covered with lush, old growth forests that are easily accessible via a 1.5 mile loop trail. It is one of the most beautiful and truly peaceful spots for dropping the anchor and in my opinion is better than Sucia Iasland in the San Juans.
There are two state maintained mooring buoys along the Southeast side of the island and three more along the West side. Sea Eagle is (of course) much too big for the buoys, so we just drop the hook in the small current lee created on the South side of the island and enjoy the amazing beauty of the island.
An old stump that reminded me of the Loch Ness Monster
There is an old homestead on the island, complete with cabin, wind-mill driven water pump, and old orchid, friendly deer and lots of old farming implements, still rusting away in the fields where they were abandoned. Get to the island before noon and you are likely to have the entire place to yourselves. There are a few campsites and it’s quite common to see large groups of kayaks in the afternoon, but few stay long since open fires are banned on the island to protect the old growth forests.
Old farm equipment left out in the fields of Hope Island.
Pileated Woodpecker on Hope Island
Sea Eagle at a very peaceful anchorage.
The Spring Tides were upon us with afternoon lows predicted below minus two feet (after a 14′ high) and 80° sunshine in the forecast. I decided Sea Eagle was up for a challenge named Hammersley Inlet, which was originally named Big Skookum (meaning troubled waters).
The shallow, twisting waterway is full of drying shoals and boiling currents that eventually lead to Shelton, Washington. Sea Eagle’s six foot draft and slow, trawler speeds make it a very interesting bit of water to transit, but I grew up on the inlet and was well aware of the location of the shifting sand bars and shoals.
The house that I grew up in on Hammersley Inlet.
We had a very pleasant cruise up past my boyhood home, spotting deer and fox feeding along the shoreline and marveled at how much it had changed in the decades since I’d lived there.
On the way out, we spotted a large number of boaters that were learning important life lessons about the Spring Tides. Several were beached, high and dry, as the falling tides caught the owner’s unaware.
Falling Tides caught this boater by surprise.
We also spotted a sailboat that was aground in some very shallow water. They had a long wait, sitting alone in the middle of the bay, until the tides came back in and re-floated their boat. We could see that they weren’t too happy with their situation.
We also spotted quite a few beached and abandoned boats along Squaxin Passage. It’s sad to see those derelict vessels.
Same high and dry boat a few hours later.
Hammersley Inlet Entrance