Memorial Day Mystery Bay Cruise
We had a nice showing for the 2021 Mystery Bay Cruise. This year we also did a fair amount of pre-planning with Puget Sound Sailing Club. In all we had 9 CYC boats, 6 PSCC boats and 2 that were members of both. Almost all attendees were fully vaccinated!
Many of the PSCC boats and a couple of ours traveled northbound on Friday to Port Ludlow for a leisurely overnight. High tides were very early morning and late evening, making for a limited window of exiting and entering Kilisut Harbor – the access to Mystery Bay.
Several CYC boats attempted a coordinated departure from Meadow Point on Saturday morning, but some of us straggled out and missed the 10AM rendezvous. Nevertheless, we sailed upwind in a nice breeze but against a strong flood for 2-4 hours (depending on the boat) before switching on the iron sail. While under wind power, 2 whale-watching boats were spotted just north of Edmonds which was a dead giveaway for a pod of Orcas that were frolicking nearby. Sure enough, they put on quite a show for about ½ hr before we sailed out of view.
Part of the flotilla went west through the Port Townsend Ship Canal while others took to the east side of Marrowstone. The westerly boats had a 4 knot flood pushing against them, so it was slow going, but that was OK, because there had been a minus tide shortly before, and it was very shallow. They had to be really careful following the channel. Maggie May noted the channel seemed have shifted a bit from the charted position. Still, the westerly boats arrived sooner to the top end of Marrowstone Island, but then chose to hole up around Port Townsend while waiting for the tide to rise to traverse the shallow and winding route into the harbor.
There was a strong side current pushing and pulling boats as they entered the bending and narrow channels of the harbor, and at least a couple of newbies fell into the wrong path briefly. The rising tide was a relief and got them back on course quickly. New members aboard Pert were the first to arrive at Mystery Bay around 3 pm. By 7 pm, all boats had arrived and most rafted up in 3 anchored rafts: a large CYC raft of 8, a smaller PSCC raft of 6, a 2 boat CYC raft, and ‘Pert’ found a mooring ball near the park. The main CYC raft anchored alternating bow to stern, with 3 anchors to the East and 3 anchors to the West to make a very stable raft. Describing the configuration, and suggesting how to set the anchor, back in, and throw a mooring line to the raft was really challenging on the VHF! We were not so practiced at this kind of maneuvering. Some boats discovered unexpected anchor winch issues, and some had backing upwind while anchoring issues. None of us have much practice doing this stuff so it is tough for everyone! However, lots of neutral gears, with slow speeds, along with some roving fenders, with lots of volunteer hands ultimately led to success. Even the most professionally operated boat set the anchor twice, and took plenty of time coming alongside the raft very gently. Paya gave us an inspiring demonstration of boat handling! With vaccines under our belts, many were able to do some boat hopping and socializing before dark.
Sunday morning we met at the park to walk over to the Mystery Bay Goat Farm tour. This is about the 8th time CYC has scheduled a visit to the farm, and this time we were joined by a handful of PSSC sailors, making us quite a large group. The family’s eldest daughter, now 12, has lead a portion of the tour since she was about 7. It was fun to see her, and now her younger brother proudly explaining the workings of the farm. There were about eight 2 month old goats that were adorable endured a lot of petting and attention! Chris spotted a Halberg Rassey sailboat in a neighboring field, and had to ask why it was there! The owner had moved on to a new boat or other pastimes and was keeping it as more of a memento than anything else was the story. OK, that was not supposed to be part of the tour. Several of us bought cheeses and yogurt and other random items from the kids at the farm.
The tractor parade almost didn’t happen… The goat farm had heard that it was happening which they passed on to us, but the rest of town hadn’t gotten the memo! One neighbor had just learned about it the night before and showed up with a tractor that she had lovingly decorated with flowers, another noticed our group of 20 standing around and ran up to get their hand crank tractor, and the goat farm brought out theirs. So there were 3 tractors in the parade - a ghost of previous years… And the goat farm’s bucket loader gave all the kids (and Andy) a ride high up in the air. We clapped and hollered for the show they put on for us! Thank you Racheal, Scott, Cora, and Quint for welcoming us to Nordland. We look forward to the reopening of the store, and the return of the ‘big’ tractor parade we always enjoy. If you are so moved, the Nordland Store (that normally organizes the parade) is doing a gofundme fundraiser to help get the store back up and running. HERE IS THE LINK.
At 5 PM we had a dinghy & kayak race from the park dock around the PSCC raft, and back. The race was officiated by Steve and Elsie from PSSC and was a lot longer than it seemed for those of us furiously rowing around the course. Scott & Kristen took the prize for the paddles class in their double kayak. One of theirs took the prize for the rowing class, moving almost as fast as the last paddler, and John and Sue got the award for persistence. Much fun, and no protests!
After the race, we shared happy hour at the park dock where PSCC and CYC crews socialized an some ate dinner. Finally, a few folks gathered for an evening fire in the picnic area.
To avoid the worst of the 4 knot ebb tide in Admiralty Inlet, we decided to break up the big raft at 7:15 AM Sunday morning. In beautiful sunshine we got this started on time, but ran into some snags. Literally anchor snags! Wind Dancer pulled up Serendipity’s chain, and did Second Sun grapple Water Music’s chain too ? So we departed a bit later than planned… But we had an impressive chain of boats winding out through the channel into Port Townsend Bay! It was fun to have all the boats in a kind of impromptu yacht club commodore sail-pass formation!
Wind Dancer followed Jubilado across Admiralty Inlet to Whidbey Island at Bush Point to avoid the heavier current in the center and West side of the channel. The scenery was new to us, and fun to see. After Double Bluff we headed across to the Kitsap Peninsula side South of Foul Weather Bluff to follow the 50 and 30 foot beach contours - again avoiding the main current. We arrived in Shilshole about 3 PM to find several of the boats waiting turns at the pump outs. This was not exactly supposed to be one of the planned rendezvous activities, but stuff happens.
s/v Those Guys