Puget Sound, Washington USA

View of the lighthouse in Bay from Fort Worden

View of the lighthouse at Point Wilson from Fort Worden

We had a great time in Maple Bay and were super lucky with the weather. We anchored off of the Yacht Club which happened to be having their Opening Day that weekend. Many of the yachts had their flags up and we had ringside seats as the fleet sailed or motored past the Commodore’s launch which was also anchored in the bay. It was a fun and colourful event to celebrate the start of the yachting season.


Neil’s fair dinkum Aussie meat pies, pretty good tucker!

Before we left we invited our friends Carolina and Steve, Kyle and Joel on board. We had sailed them in French Polynesia and Hawai’i and had enjoyed many happy times with them while we were staying in Canoe Cove. Neil cooked his Aussie meat pies which were much appreciated and agreed to be fair dinkum pies.


The dock at Roche Harbor, San Juan Island

After leaving Maple Bay we re-entered the US at Roche Harbour on San Juan Island (there’s a map at the bottom!) It was a large anchorage surrounded by islands and very tranquil. Most of the houses there are part of a resort, some of the buildings date back to 1884 when the richest and largest deposit of lime in the Northwest was discovered there. You can still see the old lime kilns beside the dock and dotted around the island. The next day we sailed down the west coast of San Juan Island, hoping to see some orcas. There are said to be several resident pods in the area but sadly we didn’t spot any.


Water Street in Port Townsend, full of cafes and galleries

We had about 10kt of wind as we sailed across the infamous Juan de Fuca Strait, celebrated for its strong winds and ferocious currents. We had the wind on the nose but we managed to get the tides right so that we entered Puget Sound on the flood. We arrived in Port Townsend and tied up at the Point Hudson marina. The sail loft where our sails were originally made is here in Port Townsend, so what better place to get them checked over. Carol Hasse (the sailmaker) was delighted to see them and even more delighted with the very good condition that they were in after fifteen years hard work. We were too of course, there’s a little bit of preventative work to do but still a great outcome.

Carol and Alison in the sail loft of Hasse and Company

Carol and Alison in the sail loft of Hasse and Company

We really liked Port Townsend. It felt like a northern hemisphere equivalent of Nelson, New Zealand; a small town with an eclectic mix of skilled artisans, musicians and sea folk – apparently thriving. It was an amazing coincidence that a Wearable Art Show was taking place the weekend that we were in town. The concept of wearable art originated in Nelson thirty years ago and became so popular that the Show was moved to Wellington but the collection and the WOW Museum are still housed in Nelson.


Fantastic outfits at the Wearable Art Show in Fort Worden

As it happens Alison, the Stage Manager for the show, worked at the sail loft so we got tickets and went along. The outfits were made of everyday objects such as shells, keys and porcupine quills were clever, colourful and creative, some were witty, some were making a statement; it was a fascinating and fantastic performance.

After Port Townsend we sailed down to Bainbridge Island to visit our friends Brian and Mary-Alice who have a house there. We originally met them in Hawai’i but Brian also had his boat Shibui out on the hard in Canoe Cove so we spent many happy winter evenings together. It was great to see them again and enjoy their hospitality in Port Madison.


The lighthouse at the entrance to Gig Harbor

We joined them for a CCA (Cruising Club of America) 6-day cruise which was a great way to see the highlights of Puget Sound and meet some of the people who live there. We spent the first couple of nights at Brownsville and then Gig Harbour, both located on the Olympic Peninsula and about a two hour drive to Seattle. It is noticeable how much more densely populated the coastline is in the Puget Sound compared to further north in Canada. Gig Harbour was another pretty, tranquil bay surrounded by hills and houses.


The bridge at the mouth of the Thea Foss Waterway was raised for us

As we entered Tacoma at the southern end of the Puget Sound the bridge had to be lifted for us to pass under – a first for us! It was impressive to see the CCA fleet passing through. Tacoma is home to the Museum of Glass which currently has an exhibition called Into the Deep, it’s amazing how well glass perfectly captures the light and flow of the underwater world.


I wish Barnie and Fred were here

It is also the home of America’s Car Museum – what better place to check out muscle cars! Actually it has an amazing collection of over three thousand cars including a 1926 Duesenberg, the original Flintmobile and a hefty number of Chevvys and Studebakers. Neil loved it!

We’re off to Seattle next week, back in the big city!




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