We timed our Deception Pass State Park departure to have almost no current in the pass. We had stayed an extra night at the dock to let the bad weather outside subside and found nice calm sea conditions on the other side.
We set our bow towards Flagler State Park, to continue tour as many State Parks before leaving the region for good.
We have an annual pass, making our stays "free" now, and we particularly enjoy parks with public docks, as they make our walks ashore much easier than being at anchor or on a buoy.
We had intended for Flagler to be an quick overnighter before continuing our cruise South, but found a really nice and pleasant place. A large wooded section extends across the peninsula and is littered with old military installations, including an old fort guarding the entrance to Puget Sound.
The dock was probably where we experienced the most current while being moored ever. Since we navigated all the way to Idaho on the Columbia and then the Snake rivers, that is saying something about what we found.
Docking was an interesting experience: I wasn't 100% sure the dock would provide us sufficient depths, so I approached very gingerly, nosing the boat into the 4 knot current. I couldn't let the bow fall one way or another, so maneuvered slowly side ways as I approached the dock, keeping an eye on the sounder.
Once I got the boat close, Di stepped ashore: I was still running the engine at a slow ahead speed, just to keep level and not go back. She grabbed our forward spring, making the rest of the maneuver much easier.
Strong tidal current going out.
Despite looking shallow -the shore side of the dock is barely in 4 feet of water at low tide- we had plenty of depth on the channel side of the dock, never less than 16 feet. We put plenty of fenders, and added an extra mooring line at the stern.
The park caters to RVs, with the usual toilets/shower amenities, easy garbage disposal and even a small shop that doubles up as a small cafe. What else can a long term cruiser need?
So we stayed our maximum 3 nights, going for long and frequents walks ashore. We grabbed a few burgers at the cafe, and basic groceries like eggs and bread.
With the clock slowly ticking for my trip to France, it was time to continue our way towards Neah Bay for the jump to Astoria. Next stop: Sequim Bay State Park.
We set off in beautiful weather, keeping good distance from Protection Island and its birds' nests. The island is designated as a federally protected National Wildlife Refuge, and is where about 70% of the birds in the the San Juan islands nest. We had a full spectacle of birds and wildlife, but however hard we looked through our binoculars, we didn't get to see any local tufted puffins like I was hoping for.
The entrance to Sequim Bay is a narrow channel through a sandbar. Nothing too difficult, but you must navigate it accurately to avoid running aground.
Towards the end of the bay rests Sequim Bay State Park. It is very protected from all types of weather, and supposedly sits in the "rain shadow" of the mountains. Considering how green everything was, I am not sure how protective this rain shadow really is, but it does make for beautiful nature.
Unfortunately we found that the dock had been closed, so we moored on a buoy instead, and used the tender for our runs ashore.
The park is mostly an RV park since the dock closure. We were the only boat there for the length of our stay, just like at Flagler. The joys of cruising out of season.
The RV pads are deep inside the forest on the side of a steep hill and embankment. Although the park isn't large, it still provides nice nature walks and a nice bike path. Best of all, close to the water and away from the highway, the park is a very tranquil, quiet and relaxing place.
We've been away from Anacortes marina and "off the grid" for quite a while now, yet we still maintain all the comforts of home. Automated generator runs mean our batteries remain full and well maintained. The water maker keeps our tanks full, even with regular washing machine uses. Most importantly Di can prepare delicious waffles. All is well on board!