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Summer 2001 Seattle to Alaska by Hasty Outrigger Canoe.

Copyright 2001 Tim Anderson
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I spent a week or so working on the canoe in my friend John Rawlings' boathouse. Farewell dinner. Charlotte the Canadian guitarist at the restaurant took our picture. I had hopes for her and John, but a short discussion of Canadian women authors convinced him it would never work.

Putting the canoe in the water.
Departed John's dock in Keyport by Poulsbo 3pm 7-1-01 sunday.N47* 42.239' W122* 37.540'
A bit southwest of Seattle.

My first campsite.
At 12:30pm I was pulled up on the beach at N47* 50.405' W122* 30.456 and ready to camp. Came into shore in the dark with much early moonlight. 3-4" waves on gravel. 6ft wide then 10ft sand with driftwood logs. Then dense scrub on a steep hillside. I'm between Kingston and the end of the Kitsap peninsula. I came about 27 miles, not counting tacking in 9.5 hrs. that's ~3mph made good mostly beating into the wind, and I was becalmed a couple of times, and stopped onshore at a beach just s. of Edmonds once. Good sign. I'll get there. Ate nothing yesterday and wasn't really hungry. I guess I'll make some oatmeal now. Be nice if my tourist map showed magnetic north. Sighting on the S. end of Whidby island with compass disagrees with gps 10*-15*?

Passing Kingston a ferry put its spotlight on me for a long time. They were passing astern of me 100yds or so. The glare bothered me. It was bright enough to cast shadows on my boat. Eventually I turned my flashlight on them and waved an arm "turn off the light", but no change. When the ferry was gone, the spotlight remained. What!? The moon!

Galaxies of blue luminescence swirled around my leeboard. The water is full of life. I heard powerboats a long way off. I'd forgotten they were so loud. I'm not so worried about boat collisions now. Especially collisions with the moon.

I dragged the boat a couple of feet above the water. Where is high tide? Is it going or coming? I needed to sleep. Was dozing at helm. Judging from seaweed on the beach this was high tide. I spread my poncho and sleeping bag on the sand, using lifejacket as mattress. Tied the canoe to a log. Stripped and spread my wet gear on logs. Went to sleep. Whenever the sound of the waves changed I jerked awake and checked the tide. It advanced a foot or so, then retreated.

Zori I made for Nina when hiking in the Olympics. Her boots got soaked this spring in the Berkshires. When they dried they shrank and no longer fit right. After a while the pain was too much. She hiked out 12 miles in bare feet, then socks, then socks and zori. Now I'm taking them apart. I learned to make these in Japan as a kid.

This morning woke at 7:30. Sun was bright and hot. Tide was 100yds out and retreating. Walked out and looked at the rocks. Little crabs and fish scuttled in the tide pools. The rocks were covered with barnacles. Some very large. I've heard you can eat those. Anemone were in the sand and marks of clam spouts. Saw a big red crab hiding under a log in a tide pool. Went back for bag and neoprene gloves. Caught him or it. In English you're he, she, or it. If you have no sex you aren't a person but a thing. Easy to catch. John says the bigger a crab is the slower it moves. Gave detailed examples from his crab fishing days in Alaska. On the way back I caught another that had burrowed into the wet sand. I boiled some water and dropped one in. It didn't jump out or move fast. Just waved its legs for awhile. Started eating it while the next one cooked. They were just as big as could fit in my pot. Hit the pieces with a rock to break it and used a claw to pick+suck the meat out. The water-log crab was even better. Sweet. Took a long time to eat them. So much segmented and armored anatomy. Then dumped oatmeal in the hot water. Put honey, olive oil, cocoa on top. Very good. But I'm already full of crab. Now it's noon. Snowcapped peaks of the cascade range ring the eastern horizon over the water. Others of the Olympics are over the bluff behind me. Boats pass in the distance. A breeze has come up and the tide is coming back in. Got hot in the sun. Moved into the shade. Felt good to be hot after the cold feet sailing last night. As I slept soft things fell on my face. White flowers from that shrub behind me? In the morning it turned out to be fuzzy caterpillars. Army worms? And their droppings. In the tree was a sound of chewing.

Tues 7-3-01 wake up at 8am N48* 00.561' W122*41.454' Landed to camp 9pm yesterday, sailed since 3 or so. Some good wind yesterday. Sailed and slept on proa tack with sheet tied and tiller wedged. Outrigger flying. It held a course like a riwuit(marshallese toy sailing canoe). Was slowly passed by a big yacht with beautiful smooth sails. He tacked off and I sailed into a big bay with many strange currents. Rows of drifting seaweed, little haystack waves like a river flowing this way here, that way there. Areas of choppy snappy waves, sharp lines between one area and another. A container ship passed and the wake remained. Stayed in one place, 3ft breaking waves. Broke over the deck sideways. I wasn't ready but the boat was fine. I'd gotten a late start, 2-3-4pm, I don't know, then calm and just drifting in these rivers of current. Mountains all around in the distance. Later on I got cold, felt fragile and put on more gear, fleece hat,
shorty wetsuit, bib rainpants, fleece jacket, goretex jacket over lifejacket, mickeymouse boots over wool socks. The wind and waves picked up to whitecaps, some big ships passed with wakes.
I sailed behind this island to camp and it got calm. Had to paddle to shore.

Flocks of birds flew by or got up out of the water and flew. Looked like hawks but flew like ducks. Hopping around me now on the beach are little shrimp-like insects. Springtails? Snapping sound like a bowl of rice crispies. One busily walks an inch or two while slowly drawing its tail under it, then snap! flicks its tail and hops about three inches. I try to catch it. It does the same thing four times, speeding up a little. Then it curls up into a ball and I pick it up. I walked to the nearest house to ask permission to camp. John there said sure, thanks for asking. He's a stage actor for a living. Must be doing well, he owns this end of the island. Nice deck+house festooned with driftwood and buoys. A pretty whitehall on beach wheels he built from pygmy boat kit.
This is a moon snail. It was a football-sized glob of mucous-meat in the mud. When I picked it up it started squirting water and somehow fit its whole body into this shell. I simmered it in a little water. It was chewy and tasted like a Japanese delicacy.
Put down sticks to make my own marine railway across the rocky tide flat. Launched 12:30pm fought current and sailed.

Strong head winds and currents today, didn't get far. 9:15pm just got to end of island. Will sleep here in Flagler state park campground. Need sheet camcleat, push tiller, way to cant rig to windward. Doubled up front aka, shortened ama-side stay, shaved and greased mast foot. Wish I'd brought the ratchet block. N48* 05.795' W122* 43.202'
Whitecaps and roaring wind coming around the point, then suddenly fog. All the ferries and boats were blowing foghorns to each other in the fog to avoid collisions. I kept my whistle in my mouth and decided not to go to Port Townsend, where there was a foghorn concert going on.
7-5-01 Thurs
Night of 7-3 added yoke and tiller lines to rudder then yesterday worked on boat in morning. Added camcleat for sheet, thole-cords and riggers for oars. Ate hamburger and bought $4 placemat chart of San Juans. Sailed 12:30. Mast raked to windward. Helped some. Skinny oars work great. At the bottom of the stroke it feels like hitting something hard. Whole stroke very solid actually. 2" wide blades would have been plenty. Yachty couple stopped to chat. Man with many years sunburn face. They knew proas.
He: "Hey, go see Russell Brown. He's in Port Townsend. Besides, it's going to blow 35 and get nasty in the strait."
Which it did.
It's hard to take pictures of wind. Also hard to get up the nerve to try when there's so much going on. There were many whitecaps and nice waves, but apparently they weren't splashing at the instant my camera got done thinking. I think maybe it gets confused by motion.
Notice my sail is rigged a little full for beating in such strong winds.

12:30-3pm sailed across to Ebeye's landing N48* 09.459' W122* 40.408' Very strong wind, everything worked great but the sail. Well behaved but I think it's too loose and baggy. No matter how hard it blew I only went one speed- 2-3mph. Easy to control though. So camped by ferry landing in little campground,
made "canoe ladder" of driftwood and pulled canoe up. Took ferry to Pt.Townsend.
Very rough. Boat rolled and threw spray to the top deck.
Sea looked great. Whitecaps and waves. I was just in that!

Seagull on pilings at Pt. Townsend ferry terminal
Folk art in Port Townsend
What to do today?

Asked a guy on the street, "Do you happen to know a guy here named Russell Brown?"
He: "Why do you ask?"
He was Russell. Small town. Talked boats and life for a bit. He showed me his tornado catamaran and gave me directions to nice places on my chart. I went to a party he was planning to go to later, but had to leave early to catch the last ferry back.

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