Dockton to Illahee SP

It has been a week and 2 days since we left our Marina. We spent the first night at Dockton County Park in Quartermaster Harbor, not far from our home port. With not much daylight left we decided to slip the dock lines and get outta dodge!

The morning we woke in Dockton we discovered we hadn’t put out enough scope so we drug anchor and our stern was uncomfortably close to the boat behind us. Luckily there wasn’t anyone on board to scold us.

We sailed, then motored when the wind died down to Blake Island the next afternoon, a place we dearly love. Good fishing, crabbing and now we learn the clamming is excellent as well. There are lots of hiking options and the scenery is beautiful. We spent 2 days unwinding from the madness of the prior week before heading further north.

Port Orchard is a happening little port. So many things to spend money on too. There is a little beer joint called the Swimdeck we love going to which has good beer and the food is decent, with live music 6 nights a week. We put away a plate of pan-fried oysters, spring salad and sourdough bread. We are a bit disconcerted to find they are moving far away from the center of town. I really hope they survive because there is quite a bit of activity on the waterfront and they are moving away from it. I don’t think the move will do them any favors but what do I know?

We tied up to the marina while there and took advantage of all those things they offer such as water, power, showers and laundry; plus a good walk all over town made for good sleeping! Port Orchard is right across the channel from the Bremerton Naval Shipyard so each day we were treated to First Call and the Star Spangled Banner in the morning and Taps with the lowering of the flag at night. With three ferries coming and going all night there was no shortage of wakes rolling through, bouncing our boat up and down.

After a couple of nights and dropping too much $ we moved on to Illahee State Park where we spent only $1.50 on showers. The WA marine parks are about the best deal in the state as far as camping goes. $160 bought an annual moorage pass which means we can use any state park buoy or float available. During the week it isn’t too difficult to find a spot but we have learned to be where we want to be for the weekend by no later than Friday morning if not Thursday afternoon. As summer commences the traffic is bound to pickup but for now we’ve been fairly lucky.

Illahee SP has about zero protection from wakes but the fishing was awesome. Kevin learned to shuck oysters which were plentiful and brought in several flounder and I learned how to cook them both thanks to online recipes! I must say, fresh oysters are SO MUCH better than those smoked canned things.

We met Ben Tate who has been living on his sailboat for the past 5 years and shared some of the things he’s learned about living off the sea. He taught us about using tube worms for bait, how to shuck oysters, and dig clams. He is also a tremendous artist and spent hours teaching me about pen and ink drawing. He gave me some courage to put a pen to paper anyway. We shared our meals with him and later marvel at the amazing people we meet out here.


7 thoughts on “Dockton to Illahee SP

  1. Talking from the opposite coast, I see so many similarities in the coastline and towns. I have a year or two to go, then I will post the same type of story for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you follow They have an excellent post today you might enjoy. I would love to see the east coast especially up north. Look forward to reading about your adventures!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Is Ben from Harstine Island? He looks like someone we met at the farmer’s market there. It’s a good one — worth the walk from Jarrell Cove!


    1. I don’t know that he’s from anywhere. He just bops around the Puget Sound. No state ID… Just a birth certificate.


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