May 26, 2017: Up the mast and into the mud

Morning was scattering glittering crystals of sunlight across the waters of Filucy Bay when we rose after a night during which we’d sensed not even the slightest motion of peaceful Braesail as she slept at anchor. The lack of wind and wave action led us to decide that Walt should take this opportunity to haul me about 30 ft. up the mast in a little sling (“bosun’s chair”), using a power winch grinder, so that I could thread a thin piece of rope over a pulley and thus replace a halyard that had snapped in a recent windstorm, sending the Bellingham Yacht Club’s official burgee (little flag) onto the deck (we need to fly this burgee when visiting other yacht club’s facilities in order to obtain reciprocal docking and other privileges, thus saving a good deal of money). Up I went, clinging to the mast with one hand; I actually enjoyed the view over the bay! I replaced the broken line, and Walt carefully let me down to the deck: the day’s first adventure!

(Bellingham Yacht Club burgee (with the star) and Moody Owners’ burgee)

We raised our mud-caked anchor at about 11 am and began motoring out of the bay shortly after Walt accidentally dropped overboard a small shackle (clip) from the lines that raise and lower Coracle from the stern of the boat. He called a store at a tiny marina not far away on the Key Peninsula, and the proprietor thought he had something that might work. We were approaching the dock at about noon and I had all the lines and fenders at the ready and was preparing to step off the boat when we came to an abrupt halt: the tide was VERY low, and our keel had encountered thick mud very near the dock: we were well and truly grounded. All Walt’s efforts with the engine in forward and in reverse and with the right and left bow thrusters did no good, and a friendly power boater, to whom we tossed a bow line to see if he could provide some towing power, found that his engine was simply too small to move our 33,000-lb vessel. Enjoying a meal while waiting for the tide to come in and lift us out of the mud seemed the only sensible course of action, so we relaxed, munched our sandwiches, and watched a hungry heron looking for lunch at the edge of the water (such spindly, spidery creatures they are, but their darting bills are lightning fast!). By about 2 pm the water level had risen sufficiently to allow us to back gently away from our temporary “moorage,” and we were soon on our way again: Adventure Number Two! As the saying goes, “There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground and those who will.”


We motored along Harstine Island after leaving the Key Peninsula, admiring its thickly wooded shores below which smooth, sandy beaches sparkled in the afternoon sun; being treated to a great views of the Olympic Mountains, decked out in their blue-and-white uniforms, passing in stately procession; and watching for floating logs and twigs upon some of which sea gulls hitched rides. We arrived at Jarrell Cove State Park and docked briefly at the holding tank pump-out station, where I busied myself with the boat’s “breast line” and so forgot to attach the bow line to a dock cleat, and the bow of the boat began to drift out of our reach–fortunately, Walt was able to grab the line, and the “honey removal” operation was successful: Adventure Number Three!

We motored deep into the lovely cove and I was able to catch a mooring buoy with our boat hook and maneuver a bow line through the ring at its top so that we could attach the bow of the boat to the buoy via a deck cleat. By about 4:30 pm, Braesail was secure and we were able to take showers in the aft cabin’s head and then enjoy a very warm, serene late afternoon and evening that included a supper of salmon fillets and time for me to read, write, and practice my knot-tying. Enough adventures for ONE day!

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