September 28, 2017: A tropical afternoon

No fog around Anacortes in the morning! WHEW!

Walt and I prepared to leave the yacht club marina on Thursday morning as sunshine poured from clear skies and drenched land and water in buttery warmth. Walt topped up the water tanks and I took more trash and recycling up to the bins on shore, and we were motoring away before 10 am with minimal winds, as usual. We traveled near a major shipping lane, and watched tug boats towing barges and gigantic cargo ships churning through the water, passed near Washington State ferries, many of whose passengers were standing out on the decks enjoying the warm weather, and encountered a number of huge motor yachts over whose foamy wakes we bounced. Military exercises, involving live ammunition, were being performed in the vicinity of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station as we traveled along, and various aircraft thundered low overhead, circling and returning to base. It was quite hot in the cockpit where the sun shone through the plastic side curtains and windscreen, but the wind outside, generated mostly by our motoring, was very cool and refreshing, and, when I needed to escape the heat, I sat on an outer edge of cockpit next to an open side curtain “window” and let the breeze blow through my hair.

At about 2 pm, we approached Port Townsend, about 40 miles northwest of Seattle at the extreme northeastern end of the Olympic Peninsula, not far from the state park at Ft. Flagler where our Moody owners’ rendezvous had been held in mid-June. Walt had made sandwiches for an on-the-go lunch, and we discussed paying for overnight moorage at the yacht club or going on to Port Ludlow, about two hours to the south. I suggested that we continue on our journey, and this we did, arriving at the attractive harbor and marina at about 4 pm. There was space at the Port Ludlow Yacht Club’s reciprocal dock (there had been none in Port Townsend), where we could tie up and pay only $5.00 for shore power instead of having to pay $1.00 or more per foot of boat length. When we stopped our southward journey and turned west into the harbor, the almost-chilly breeze suddenly became surprisingly warm and “tropical,” and we docked in very summer-like conditions, with a 10-kt. breeze that had sprung up shortly before our arrival blowing Braesail away from the dock and making it necessary for Walt to approach our landing spot at relatively high speed. I slipped off the side with the dock lines and we managed to tie the boat securely within a short time. Walt found his way to the marina store on the shore to register and pay our overnight fee, and I straightened up the saloon and galley.

By the time Walt returned, it was time for his usual nap, and I rested in the cockpit, marveling at an afternoon high of nearly 85 degrees on a late-September day! The shores around the harbor are wooded, and I could see well-kept houses here and there. A handsome inn and a collection of new buildings (condos?) stand near the yacht club’s facilities building, accessible by a bridge across a large pond, and I could see a path leading to a circular grassy area surrounded by rose bushes and containing some benches and an imposing totem pole near the point overlooking the sea.

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Totem pole overlooking the Port Ludlow harbor

After “happy hour” and a delicious dinner of steak, rice, and pear/lettuce salad, Walt and I worked on our usual reading, research, and writing projects, and wondered if the predicted radical weather change (rising winds and highs in the mid-60s) would occur. We’d decided to spend Friday in Port Ludlow, and rain and gusty winds would therefore not pose a problem. So it’s oatmeal-raisin cookies, tea, and off to bed now . . .

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