A Week and 4 Parks

We left a week ago yesterday and it seems like a lifetime. Most everything has gone smoothly. There have been a few bumps in the road but as long as the coffee and tea hold out, life is good!

Penrose Point State Park

We arrived at here last Wednesday and spent 5 days hiking and enjoying the area. When we arrived, a greeting committee of 2 swallows came out to welcome us. They chattered and sang finally settling on our mast-head. One perched on our wind indicator which turned round and round while she sang. They stayed for about 30-40 minutes and it was pretty enchanting!

We hiked to shore that evening and bought an annual WA Marine Park Moorage Permit so now we can catch any available mooring buoy at any WA State Marine Park (and there are quite a few). The buoys are chained to a 500-lb concrete block which in turn is chained to a 2000-lb concrete block so there’s a lot of confidence we won’t be dragging.

Thursday we explored the park and it’s trails, found the showers, checked out the campground and dock. We went to see the dock purposefully at low tide and discovered it was in just 4 feet of water. We had thought about mooring here but our keel is 3’8″ so it doesn’t leave us with a lot of room for comfort. We do have a wide keel but it’s not meant to sit on the ground! But the park has 8 mooring buoys and lots of places to anchor.

On our return to the boat we checked out the day use area where there is a long sand spit that extends way out past the point and becomes dry at low tide. We met a couple coming back in with 2 buckets and we just had to go talk with them and see what was in those buckets. They had been out catching rock crab with their hands and had reached their limit of 6 each! We questioned them about techniques and they shared what they did with us. Kevin’s excitement was huge when he realized he didn’t necessarily need a crab-pot to catch these guys! We met another young man doing the same thing and while the couple were using tongs, this guy was using his hands. Now Kevin’s imagination was really fired up and he was ready to go huntin’ crab!

Before heading back to the boat we came across a DNR guy in the parking lot in possession of 2 buckets of comfiscated clams he was giving away. Happily we took a horse clam and geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck) for clam chowder! We watched youtube video’s on how to clean and fix them and had the best clam chowder ever!

Penrose has lots of huge trees, knobby trees, trees growing out of trees and the shoreline collects a lot of seaweed. When we first arrived there was a mat of green seaweed with what looked like plastic caught up in it. But later talking with the ranger, she told us it’s a type of white seaweed.

Saturday we went into the little bay to visit the Marina there and buy ice and refill our water tank. They have a spartan store and high prices but the water was free and tasted good which made it all worth it.

Our buoy had little protection from the north and east and every night a brisk wind came up and tossed us around until well after midnight. In fact after this happened several days in a row, it seems sailing in the evening is the thing to do, at least here in Carr Inlet.

Kopachuck & Cutts Island State Park

Monday we sailed and motored over to Kopachuck late in the afternoon and caught one of the 2 mooring buoys. We cautiously hiked it’s trails after reading the park has quite a bit of poison oak. As we are both recovering from a bout of this nasty business it’s high on my priority list NOT to get anymore. It took some of the fun out of it for Kevin when I insisted he wash thoroughly back at the boat.

A couple weeks ago we downloaded a Geocache app on our phone. Every time we go somewhere new, we check out our map to see if there are any Geocache locations nearby. Kopachuck had 1, so the next day we went to shore, hiked all the trails in the park and found the cache! It’s a fun activity and gets you out there in the woods!

We moved on to Cutts Island SP, the park adjacent to Kopachuck which is a very small piece of land that juts up from the water and the top is covered in tall twisty red Madrone trees… and lots of poison oak! After hiking to the top and carefully picking our way along the trails and snapping some photos, we moved on back down Carr Inlet and went through Pitt Passage, a narrow, shallow channel which showed 12′ of water on our depth meter at one point. It was low tide when we went through so we would be going with the current.

We downloaded “Skipper“, an app by TrailBehind in which waypoints can be created and works as a chart plotter. (We have used it with a success, however having limited use so far I hesitate to endorse it. Perhaps I can give my thoughts on it after using it for awhile.) Coming through Pitt, Kevin created waypoints and steered from point to point watching his depth-meter religiously. We made it through just fine which gives us confidence to go through some of these smaller passages in the South Sound.

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