Puget Sound Challenge – Day 5

Posted by Ken Campbell March 26, 2009 0 Comment 598 views

After taking the second day of this leg off, more or less, I couldn’t complain that I wasn’t rested. I woke up at my beachside camp on the Toandos Peninsula just before dawn and I was underway within the hour. Even though the wind was still blowing, it hadn’t picked up to the speed of the day before yet and I was able to negotiate my way around the end of the peninsula, staying close to the beach, until I got back into the main channel of Hood Canal.

Once I finally rounded the bend at Hazel Point, I could see clear up to Thorndyke Bay. The sky was fast moving, leaden clouds, scudding northward with the wind. The gusts were at my back now and although the conditions were lumpy and erratic, the surfing wasn’t bad. I crossed into the center of the canal, cutting off the wide bay to the west. Off in the distance, I could see the sub wharves at Bangor.

There was a sub on the move, and he was headed in my direction. The huge black tube was half out of the water, flanked on either side by large tenders. Rounding out the entourage were a couple of fast attack boats, buzzing around the edges of the operation. It was one of these that approached me.

“Are you all right?” shouted the skipper from the wheelhouse. His mates, a pair of young recruits who couldn’t have been too far out of high school, stood on the aft deck, their M-16’s slung from their shoulders. One of them was taking my picture with his cell phone. The other one waved.

“I’m fine,” I answered. “I’m just trying to stay out of your way.” The skipper just looked me over as I was talking, as if he were sure he was speaking to an escaped mental patient or some other, even stranger, form of incompetent.

“I just want to make clear, sir,” he called back. “I need to know if you are good to go.”

“Good to go, sir. Yes, sir.”

And they were off, unsure of exactly what they had seen, but satisfied that I didn’t represent any serious threat. The sub continued south past me and vanished around the point, and I made for the beach directly across from the main Bangor docks. There’s a little guard post building just above the sand there, and I carried some snacks and my chart inside, just to get out of the wind.

I had to wait for another sub to jockey around for a while before I felt like it was worth going back out. The plan was to cross the canal fairly soon… this was its narrowest point for a long ways and with the way the wind was howling, I thought it might be nice to be in a position to get out of the wind, if only for a bit. I got back out into the main run of the channel again, in the bucking waves, sitting down this time, using the kayak paddle.

I was thinking about getting to Kitsap Memorial State Park for lunch. Missed it somehow. I must not have been looking hard enough… the surfing was really good. I was flying once I got accross and traded paddles once more. With a steady but less powerful wind at my back, I got up to speed easily. Every little swell gave me a ride and the shoreline zipped past.

I did come ashore just after the Hood Canal Bridge, at Salsbury Point County Park. The water hadn’t been turned on yet so I couldn’t replenish my bottles, but it was a good lunch stop. The skies cleared at the sun shone brightly. It almost seemed hot. I got back on the board and headed toward Foulweather Bluff, way off in the distance.

Of course, the weather didn’t last. In the end, I got blown into shore at a private resort called Shorewood, almost directly across from Point Hannon. I was unable to keep the board out and away from shallow water, so I brought it in and called it a day. I found a spot on the lawn above the beach that was tucked in out of the wind (and mostly hidden from view), and pitched the tent. An eagle swooped low above me and landed in the tree on the other side of the grass. Tonight, this was home.

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