Our next stop was Hidden Cove. Unlike the destinations we often seek, this cove was surrounded on all sides by homes… big beautiful homes. But there was still a peacefulness about place and we found room to anchor near a community park and dock. There was just enough breeze to entice John to set Zephyr up for a sail after our quick shore excursion with Sadie.
Before continuing I have to share a bit about Zephyr. This beautiful cedar-strip dinghy was painstakingly designed by John. He’s long dreamed of building one and dared to build our first in the Edensaw Challenge at the Wooden Boat Show festival in Port Townsend. There’s a lot of story behind this boat that I’m hoping John will share in a guest post soon, but as it turned out… for the sake of quality… we did not complete it there. Many more hours, days, weeks and months went into the completion of this beauty, and it didn’t stop there. He’s a sailor at heart, and that meant building a mast, boom, dagger board and rudder for his baby as well! Let it be known that these were completed during the insanity of purging my father’s property as well as our own in a matter of a few months!
And I happily peddled after him in my kayak! (Which I’ve yet to name btw. Best suggestion so far is Gypsy, which is rather fitting.)
The next morning, before getting underway, I was enticed to exercise my way around the cove yet again. And then this happened! Not my first boat rescue with my kayak, but the first time rescuing our own boat! My bad. ? I soft tied the dinghy thinking we were about to hoist her up on the davits, but we ended up hauling the kayak up first. Got it all strapped down and we turned around just in time to see Zephyr slip free and start floating away! We’ve never dumped the kayak in the water so quickly, and I’ve never been less careful getting in. Sans my pedals I went tearing after the little Zephyr, scolding her all the way back home. ???
From Hidden Cove we traveled north along the east side of Whidbey Island. We anchored in Langley Harbor long enough to go ashore to stroll around the quaint little town of Langley. With a fair distance yet to go we moved on toward Coupeville, where we had to anchor in the dark. (Just as I discovered in my motorhome, arriving at our destination before dark is really the best plan.) As usual John lowered the dinghy to the water and rowed Sadie ashore. This time to the town dock which I couldn’t even see from Summer Breeze. (The man clearly has far better night vision than I!)
The next morning we rowed back in to meet a dear old friend of mine, Carrell… who I had not seen in many years… for breakfast. It was absolutely delightful to see her, and do some catching up, but it was all too brief a visit so Carrell offered to pick me up the following day and drive me around to run some errands. After her departure John and I strolled around the equally quaint little town of Coupeville before heading across the bay to Oak Harbor.
Before getting underway we noticed quite a number of sailboats in the bay and realized it was Whidbey Island Race Week. There were quite a number of boats, and many of them flying colorful spinnakers (a favorite photo op for me!) so we stuck around for a bit before crossing over to Oak Harbor where we were told there were no slips available. We figured that after a few days of partying and sailing some of these sailors would be anxious to get on home leaving empty slips in the wake. We were right. After going out and throwing our own sail up (yep… singular… one of the joys of a Nonsuch… just one big-ass sail!) we came back to find several empty slips.
On the way in John noticed a group of little kids, from youth sailing program, squirreling around in a fleet of Optimists. He gets such a kick out of seeing the youngsters out there, and I admit they are always a joy to watch, sometimes bouncing off of each other like bumper cars! No fear!
As promised Carrell came and picked me up for some grocery shopping and a little more catch-up time! Our favorite destinations are the quiet places where we can anchor and go ashore to enjoy the nature that surrounds us, but seeing Carrell made this bay at Whidbey Island a special stop for me. (Note- we do find ourselves heading into a marina every three or four days to restock groceries, gas up, dump tanks, do laundry, and take real showers.)
Next stop… Hope Island State Park. We were able to tie up to one of four or five mooring buoys on the north side of the island. It’s a pretty and peaceful spot with a view of several other surrounding islands, but after returning from a shore break with Sadie John reported that there wasn’t much to see or do ashore. Instead of bothering with that I dropped my kayak in the water and we set out together… me yakin’ and John rowing with Sadie in Zephyr. (Since finding comfort in her life vest Sadie LOVES the dinghy and lays right down on a slip-free mat we put in the bow.) We had some fun racing each other for a bit, and then settled into a slower pace to enjoy the scenery. Not a minute after I said to John, “This is the kind of place we’d see otters.” We saw otters!
In the morning we set out yet again for Cornet Bay on the north end of Whidbey Island, just inside Deception Pass. Here we found a state dock that we could moor at for free with our Washington State Marine Park pass. (This pass, different than a regular state park pass, is also good for the mooring buoys in state park locations.)
Once settled we went for a hike to Hoypus Point and then back through the woods, which was quite lovely. We ran into a Douglas Squirrel, which I’m quite partial to since I made friends with one that frequented our yard in Olympia, and enjoyed feeding him peanuts from my hand on a regular basis. I actually stood there for a good five minutes interacting with this little cutie, who seemed to have an awful lot to say. How cool would it be to understand animal languages?
Here’s why I’m so partial to the adorable little Douglas Squirrels… Click on link to clip of- My buddy Dougie!
Corney Bay hiking trail
We’d just gotten back to the boat when we heard some intense hollering and cussing coming from the boat ramp and looked across to see a guy standing on the dock by his truck and trailer… watching his big powerboat float away. Since I already had my kayak in the water I jumped aboard and went to his aid. Funny… when I got over there his boat was already caught up in the eel grass near shore and he said from the dock, “You’ll won’t be able to get it out with that.” With a little giggle as I peddled past while muttering to myself, “This ain’t my first rodeo.” I think what I said out loud was something more like, “I’ve got this.” I grabbed the bow line and pretty much backed the boat out of the grasses like you would back a horse out of a trailer by the halter, then turned it toward the dock and used both peddles and paddle to drag her back to the dock. In the process another boater cruised up to assist. I was working too hard to laugh when I heard the guy on the dock wave him off saying, “She’s got this!” So yeah… I have to admit to feeling a bit smug as I handed the guy his bow line. John, from our dock, thought to grab a few shots…
That afternoon we took a long hike out to and across Deception Pass Bridge. I’ve always been fascinated by this tall bridge and the fast moving water beneath, and have always wanted to experience it from the water, which we did… the following morning. During slack tide we made our way out and back before heading to La Conner for the night and then north up Swinomish Channel and out of the Puget Sound. Sadie couldn’t have cared less.