Very Tight Fit at Arrabella’s Marina.
We pulled into Gig Harbor on a busy Friday Afternoon and found the Public Dock was full up, with no space for a larger boat. I thought about anchoring in the harbor, which was very busy, but didn’t trust the anchor windlass and it’s completely depleted battery. I called Arabella’s Landing on the phone and asked if they had room for a 51′ boat that was 16.5′ wide. They said, “sure, slip B-1 is all the way inside and against the main dock.” I should have known better than to trust the dock girls without checking it myself.
Getting into the inner part of the marina was tight and tricky due to large boats double stacked on the end ties (both sides), but we slipped in and motored down to the main dock and the first slip. Our slip-mate was a very cute Lord Nelson Tug, but that left me very little room to squeeze Sea Eagle into the open space. In fact, there wasn’t actually room for fenders on both side of the boat. I squeezed in past the pilings and hydrants, then kept the N47 hard against the main dock as she was walked forward. We fit, sort of, so secured the boat and cracked open an adult beverage after dicking around with trying to get power for about an hour or so (turned out the pedestal was wired wrong and dead).
I wasn’t sure who was more anxious, the dock crew or our Tug neighbors!
It wasn’t until later that evening that it hit me, how the heck am I going to get out of the slip with zero room to maneuver? The wind came up that night and was gusting so bad the next day, we decided to stay an extra day in hopes that it would die down. It didn’t, so we wound up leaving at first light on Sunday, using what can only be described as a zero-clearance, high-alert, departure. I backed out all the way to the end ties, before spinning the boat and making my getaway. Thank God for Good Thrusters!
The moral of the story is (and I know better), don’t accept a slip that puts your boat and/or crew in danger. Doh!!
Sea Eagle on the end tie at Poulsbo Marina.
Getting back to my Scandinavian roots, I decided to cruise on up to Poulsbo and spend a couple of days exploring the “Little Norway on the Fjord”. I can’t think of a better place for a boater to enjoy an eclectic mix of great food, waterfront entertainment and interesting culture. They take their Norwegian and Seafaring heritage very seriously in Poulsbo!
Agate Pass was interesting, with the current ripping along with us at about five knots, which was then tempered by the long, SLOW speed, no wake zone enforced by the Navy at Keyport prior to entering Liberty Bay. One of the nice things about a trawler is there’s never any reason to be in hurry.
The Marine Science Center at Poulsbo
We had a bit of a mix-up on arrival after I called the marina and they said, “oh, just tie up in any slip on E dock.” Turns out the biggest slips they had are only 40′ long and Sea Eagle was just too big for a narrow 40′ slip (they were a fun challenge with a brisk breeze blowing). The end ties were marked as reserved, but I found out that was just to keep the small boats from tying up there and moved out to a very comfortable end tie.
Thor’s Hammer and Needle
We had lunch overlooking the marina and explored the fascinating shops along Front Street. Be sure to check out the Marina Market which boasts of a Licorice Shrine with over 350 licorices, 500+ Craft Beers, and 350 top quality chocolates (I believe them). The marina manager pointed us in the right direction for the best food in Poulsbo and I have to agree with her wholeheartedly. We had an amazing dinner at Sogno di Vino and don’t forget to stop off at Sluys Bakery in the morning for fresh doughnuts and pastries! Mmmmmmm!
On our last day in Poulsbo, we stopped by Thor’s Hammer and Needle, which is an interesting experience. Fortunately, what happens in Poulsbo, stays in Poulsbo….
Totem pole marks the point at the Port Ludlow Inn.
I had heard from several friends about what a wonderful time they had at Port Ludlow (probably at the resort), so as we were headed south down Admiralty Inlet, we made the right turn and headed for Port Ludlow. Finding a place to tie up at the marina wasn’t a challenge at all, but for larger boats like Sea Eagle, you’re pretty much stuck on the outside of the breakwater.
The marina itself was quaint and the staff and locals were very friendly. I had to really laugh at the power pedestal we plugged into, which had obviously been pulled off a time or two and repaired with duct tape and plumbers tape. When I joked about the condition with the Marina Manager, she laughingly replied, “yeah, running a marina would be easy, if it wasn’t for the boaters!”
Sea Eagle on the Breakwater at the Port Ludlow Marina.
It wasn’t until dinner time that we realized what a jewel was hidden away here, at the entrance to Hood Canal. The chef at the Fireside Restaurant is the real deal. We had dinner out on the portico, overlooking the marina and the food was exquisite! Melt in your mouth scrumptious and a big, happy smile that just won’t go away, best describes the food.
The wait staff also did an outstanding job. One of the best meals I’ve had in years, so you know I’ll be back for more.
You should try it! 😉
Orca Whale spouting off of Kellett Bluff.
The girls wanted to see some whales, so we headed down Haro Straight for Kellett Bluff, which is a favorite hangout for Orcas. The current was running hard against us and the winds funneling between the San Juan and Gulf Islands made it a bit choppy, but it didn’t take long for me to find a couple of pods of Orcas cavorting in the water.
I slowed the boat down to a crawl and allowed the current to carry us slowly past the whales, which are used to being herded by whale watching boats, so ignored us completely while we marveled at their grace and beauty. After about thirty minutes of joy and listing to lots of OMG from the girls, I turned south and headed for the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
I spotted another pod of Orcas off of Lime Kiln point, so we stopped again briefly for some Ooohs and Aaaahs, before continuing South.
Normally, the Straits of Juan de Fuca can be a bit of a challenge with large swells from the Pacific Ocean and steep wind waves that pack up on an ebb current, but once south of San Juan Island, we found flat calm seas and hazy visibility. We also found lots of dolphins, porpoises and whales.
A Minke Whale rolls right next to Sea Eagle
We had a couple of Minke Whales surface right next to the boat, which is always exciting for both the captain and the crew. One of the advantages of the whisper-quiet, four-blade propeller on Sea Eagle is that it turns so slowly there is almost no vibration and wildlife rarely even know the boat is there until right next to them.
What a great way to spend a Saturday!