Friday Harbor to Kingston
05 October 2013 | Kingston Harbor, WA
Mabrouka has several Friday Harbor to Seattle transits under her keel and we stirred ourselves and got underway on Saturday morning with little ado. I'd planned Friday's transit to arrive in the San Juans with the engine running on fumes, though, so we made a stop at the gas dock before actually departing the harbor. Motoring out through San Juan Channel, I thought I'd spotted some whale spouts along the shore of Lopez Island, but never confirmed it and could only conclude I'd seen waves crashing on the rocks or seals playing with their breakfast.
An hour or so later I found myself breaking up the dead-calm boredom of the day's Straits of Juan de Fuca transit by raising the mizzen and (finally) rigging it with lines in its reefing points. Until I get my autopilot repaired or replaced, such distractions result in Crazy Ivan zig-zags in my course. Don't worry, I only allow myself this foolishness out in the great beyond where there's nothing and no one to run into. It wasn't long after, just west of Partridge Shoal, that I'm pretty sure I was visited by a False Orca. I never got a clear enough view to see any skin markings, but it was only a single animal with a scimitar-shaped dorsal fin that was too big for a humpback and too small for an Orca. It's solitary transit and the size of the fin convinced me it wasn't a lone female Orca, thus my conclusion it was it's rare pelagic cousin from Pacific waters.
The wind started to fill in with a northerly breeze just south of Point Wilson Light, so the mizzen was joined aloft by the main and the gennaker for a run down Admiralty Inlet. Flying the gennaker is still a little bit of a learning experience for me, especially when running dead down wind. Unlike a true spinnaker, a gennaker is really a reaching sail and would rather collapse when it's blanketed by the main sail. After some frustration in trying to get it to fly with varying reaching angles, I finally decided to try a wing-and-wing approach like I do with the genny. Ta da! It worked, and I enjoyed a couple of hours running before the wind until the currents betrayed me just north of Point No Point.
After that it was a motor through the dusk to Kingston and a hoped-for reciprocal slip for the night. No such luck on the reciprocal, though, and the harbor was full with some yacht club's weekend gathering, so I had to poach a spot at the farthest reaches of the dock. After getting tied up, I turned on my deck lights so that I could secure Mabrouka for the night without tripping over my own two feet. That also lit up the bright red sign on the dock that said, "Reserved - Foresman." I really didn't feel like moving at that late hour and was pretty sure there were no other spots big enough for us. Seeing another boat already occupying half of Foresman's spot, I rationalized that his/her boat was out and about and decided to risk a stay. My bet's pay off was confirmed the next morning by the dock master and all was well that ended well.