Construction noise greeted us along with the sun, and after a pancake breakfast and Morning Prayer (our daily devotional time during which we read psalms, canticles, portions of Scripture, prayers, and portions of the writings of the “Early Christian Church Fathers”) we left Point Defiance at 11 am, having filled up our 250-gallon water tank at the dock. There being plenty of sunshine but almost no wind, we began motoring south once again toward McNeil Island, Anderson Island, and the Key Peninsula that dangles from the base of the Kitsap Peninsula. Along the shores, tree-clad bluffs with pebbly beach toes and mansion-crowned heads stood at attention in their brush-green uniforms between the long ochre scars left by landslides. By noon, we had reached the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, under which one passes carefully at slack tide in order to avoid strong currents and dangerous eddies and whirlpools.
As we traveled, I looked at tide tables and cruising guides as well as the shoreline scenery. We passed the unhappy, fortress-like McNeil Island Corrections Center (closed in 2011) where notable criminals such as Charles Manson and Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” were held, and arrived at wide and beautiful Filucy Bay on the southeast side of the Key Peninsula at about 1:30. Here we anchored, after a sandwich lunch, and were happy to confirm that the equipment involved in that procedure (power windless with remote control, LONG chain, etc.) went smoothly. Braesail floated lazily for some while on the mirror-smooth water, and we relaxed and enjoyed a bird-song serenades, snacked on guacamole and corn chips, and then decided that it was time for me to learn to lower our inflatable dinghy, Coracle, into the water, attach the 32-lb. 2.3 hp outboard motor to its stern, start said motor, and steer the craft around the bay. This we did, worried though I was at every step in the process that I would somehow slip, fall into the cold water, dump the dinghy, drop the $900 motor into the drink, run into some object, and/or generally make some sort of mess. None of these fears were realized (WHEW!!), though nothing seemed very easy, and Walt (exasperated but remarkably patient) and I did enjoy motoring around the small marina at Longbranch, maneuvering our “tender” (in “boat-speak,” a small boat towed or carried by a yacht) at different speeds and doing donuts and figure-eights around buoys, and finally returning to Braesail’s welcoming swimming platform to clamber aboard and make supper. We consumed juicy grilled sausages and various veggies while sitting at the little fold-down table in the cockpit on a lovely summery evening while watching small fish leap and somersault above the gray-blue waters reposing beneath Mt. Rainier’s majestic gaze.
I spent some time practicing my knot-tying (bowline and cleat hitch) after supper clean-up, worked on this blog post, and looked forward to a perfectly placid night.