By Capt. Bill Pike
It makes sense to have a plan, even when loafing’s your priority. So, well before our departure, Hensel had put together a savvy itinerary based on his local knowledge of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, an itinerary that featured a Friday of touristy hot spots, a laid-back Saturday (with just two stops), and a leisurely return to Shilshole on Sunday.
I headed for our first destination—Port Ludlow, a settlement on the Olympic Peninsula, at 22 knots. The speed was a compromise. Sure, dialing ’er back to, say, 15 knots, might boost efficiency and save fuelish money. But the slo-mo mode would also burn too much daylight on the water, given our shoreside schedule. As it was, we covered the 26.2 nautical miles to Port Ludlow in about an hour.
“I’ll say one thing,” I opined as we arrived, my mind still on full crab-pot-buoy-avoidance alert, “I won’t be rammin’ around Puget Sound in the dark any time soon. Crab-pot central!”
Port Ludlow Marina (www.portludlowresort.com) was easy going by comparison. For example, while I neatened a stern spring after our tie-up, a friendly guy explained about otters—they poop on flemished lines, he advised. Then, when we hit the marina store to pay for a stay at the transient dock, Jane Richardson just smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it.” And finally, as the serenity of the place took hold, we got to enjoy our first real shot of weekend-style R&R, Hensel in an Adirondack chair, me ambling off to gawk at a totem pole.
The next stop, Port Townsend (some 19 nautical miles north through Admiralty Inlet), was where I gave the 46’s dockside maneuvering potential (See “Patrol Boat Poetry,” page 45) a real workout. Additionally, Hensel and I spent a few touristy hours here after wolfing Alaskan halibut sandwiches at Doc’s Marina Grill on Hudson Street.
“Nice boats,” I observed as we strolled the fragrant halls of the Northwest Maritime Center, hard by the harbor. Boatbuilding students here, under the tutelage of George Krewson of Cocoa, Florida, were working on Eastport Nesting Prams.
“Nice indeed,” said Krewson.
After Hensel and I beelined the 46 down to Port Hadlock (4 nautical miles south of Port Townsend) to check out the Ajax Café (www.ajaxcafe.com), as well as the wharf where Ajax chef Jon Luzadder gets “the freshest Dungeness crab in Washington,” I eased the 46 through the rocky Port Townsend Canal and then, once through, set out for Langley, on Whidbey Island, our stopping spot for the night.
“Cool!” I exclaimed as we came alongside. It was 7:30 pm at Langley’s Small Boat Harbor (www.langleywa.org/small-boat-harbor.html). We’d just finished a 30-nautical-mile, 22-knot run over washboardy, 2- to 3-foot seas. And get this! A cardboard sign on a sawhorse on the dock cheerily proclaimed: Reserved for Grand Banks.
More coolness was coming. After sampling the delights of Langley proper that evening, an experience that featured a French-inspired restaurant (Prima Bistro on First Street) and an antique cinema showing first-run films (The Clyde Theater, also on First Street) we paid what seemed like a pittance for the pleasure the next morning: $51 ($1/ft. moorage plus $5 for electricity). We just slipped the cash into a dropbox. The honor system!
Tourist cabins in Port Townsend