Puget Sound Challenge – Day 8

Posted by Ken Campbell April 6, 2009 0 Comment 477 views

When the fog is thick, there are times when it is not enough to stay within sight of shore. Crossings in the fog require some faith and a willingness to deprive the senses, the sense of sight, anyway. If you have a compass, you learn to rely on it to get you to the other side safely; if not, you must literally feel your way across the water, listening for the sounds of the shore, straining to catch a smell that holds the promise of land.

I left Suquamish in conditions like these. I couldn’t stay too close to shore, or I’d risk being pulled into Agate Pass, which was not where I wanted to go. As I paddled, though, the fog lifted slightly, and by the time I was halfway through the crossing, I could see both shores through the haze. There’s a pretty good life metaphor in here somewhere… something about how, if you advance in the direction that you have chosen, the way will become clearer as you go… I’ll give it some more thought.

This had been promised to be a blue sky day, with temperatures in the low 60’s. It did not disappoint. I was around the northern tip of Bainbridge Island and working my way south by the time the sky cleared completely, but the difference between this day and the days on the last leg of the trip was obvious from the start. Not a breath of wind, water flat and perfect.

I turned into Eagle Harbor in search of a burger. On the way in, I paddled past all the Washington State ferries that were taken out of service a couple of years back. They are moored here in Winslow, the larger ones bigger than the buildings in this small commuter town. They still look like they should be out there, plying the waters between here and Seattle, between Anacortes and Friday Harbor. Their problems lie below the waterline, where rust has weakened them past the point of seaworthiness. I don’t know where they’re going from here.

I got my burger at the Dock restaurant and was back on the water in short order. Back outside the harbor, a sailboat race was in full swing, colorful spinnakers blooming large as the boats headed down and around Blakeley Rocks, just south of Wislow. For a few minutes, I paddled in the company of porpoises, sleek, black dorsals rising and falling into the water ahead of me. I tried to get a picture of them but had limited success. As usual.

Around the south side of the island and into Rich Passage. I paddled against a slow current here, dodging the fish farms that acted as sea lion magnets on the northern part of the waterway, thn crossing over to the cove at Manchester State Park. Mary and Micah got there minutes after I did and it wasn’t long before we had camp set up, a cold beer in hand and a pot of chicken jambalaya on the stove. A very good day.

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