On Thursday July 11, Jill, Joanne, Mike and Henry Warner departed Bainbridge Island for our six day boating vacation. The first stop was a night-over at Port Townsend, WA. The afternoon before departure, Mike and Henry Warner rowed out to our moored boat Marathon to provision the boat for the six day trip. The women were evidently worried that we might be shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, as we had a enough food for a month-long voyage. It took Mike and I four round trips in the rowboat to get all our gear and food stowed.
We were underway about 9:00 AM. Rather than heading up the inside passage on the west side of Bainbridge Island, we decided to try going south from Pleasant Beach, then up the east side of Bainbridge, as it looked to be a slightly more direct course to Port Townsend. The Puget Sound waters were relatively calm and the journey was uneventful. We saw what we thought were several porpoises cavorting about, but were not totally sure what we were seeing. I had read an article not too long ago stating that harbor porpoises were being commonly sighted in Puget Sound after having been rare for many years, so that might have been them.
We arrived at Port Townsend about 3:00 PM, checked into the the marina, then we visited the US Customs office to coordinate our return trip from Victoria. We made an appointment with Jeff, the sole Customs staff at Port Townsend, for approximately 2:00 PM on Monday, July 15. Jeff spotted my Boston University cap and asked my connection. I told him that we had a daughter at BU Medical School. He responded that he has a son who just graduated from BU and who was heading to medical school in Philadelphia. So that whole exchange broke the ice and we had a friendly chat.
We spent a pleasant afternoon wandering Port Townsend’s main street, then headed back to the boat for happy hour. Later we had a light dinner at Doc’s Marina, which is the sister restaurant of an establishment on Bainbridge Island of the same name that we frequently eat at.
After a rough crossing of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, we arrived in the Victoria Harbor about 2:00 PM. We pulled up to the Canadian Customs dock and I called the contact number. We were at a gated dock and I was expecting that someone would buzz me in to fill out the necessary paperwork. Nope. I was asked the names and birth-dates of everyone on board and asked if I had anything to declare. I replied that we had two dogs with us. The agent replied no problem then asked if we had any alcohol on board. I replied that we did, but that we were aware of the Canadian limits. With that we were welcomed to Victoria by the agent. I had been expecting someone to at least walk down to the boat to make a visual inspection and perhaps validate the dogs’ vaccination paperwork, which we read was an entry requirement. But nothing of the sort happened, so we were ready to start our Canadian stay!
We spent the remainder of Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday exploring the city on foot and just hanging-out on the boat. The weather was marvelous and the harbor is gorgeous. There are numerous places to eat and lots of shopping. We were moored virtually at the base of the stately Empress Hotel. We capped-off the Friday evening Happy Hour with a delicious snack of fresh clams and mussels that we purchased at the local market and cooked on the boat in a beer broth.
On Sunday afternoon we were treated to the sight of the super-yacht Invictus (210 feet) which arrived and docked just a few piers away from our berth. According to what we could find out by searching the Internet and talking to some seemingly knowledgeable bystanders, the Invictus is undergoing final sea trials in preparation for hand-off to its new “American family” owner. According to one blog, the speculation is that the the new owner is Jim Sinegal of the Costco fortune. This is one impressive boat! According to the Victoria marina posted rates, all yachts over 200 feet in length are charged $5.10 per foot per night, so this boat is costing someone over $1,000 per night to be docked at the marina. However, this is chickenfeed for the new boat owner. According to the published specs, the Invictus has berths for 22 crew members and the fuel tanks hold over 51,00 gallons of fuel. This means to fill the tanks just once costs approximately $250,000. This amount is considerably higher than the net worth of the average American family. It must be nice to be rich!
Monday morning we departed Victoria about 7:30 AM under crystal-clear skies and light winds. We had dutifully been checking the wind forecast for the Straight of Juan de Fuca crossing, as small craft warnings had been in effect through Sunday evening. The crossing was smooth and uneventful. We made it to Port Townsend about 1:00 PM, well in advance of our 2:00 PM US Customs appointment. Jeff, the Customs agent was able to process us in without any delay, however. We then headed south via the Port Townsend Canal for the hour and half trip to Port Ludlow for our last night’s stay on the boat.
The picture posted here was taken several hours after our arrival. The mirror-like water belies the ferocious winds we encountered while docking. We actually had a rather difficult time entering our slip and it took all three “deck hands” to fend-off the boat.
We had a leisurely start to the Tuesday morning, then headed home. We stopped at the Brownsville marina to refuel. By the time we reached our Bainbridge Island mooring buoy and hauled all our gear and leftovers back to the house, it was late afternoon. Mike and Joanne left to catch the ferry home. We all agreed that we had had a fabulous time and we are all looking forward to our next trip together!