Our original plan was to head from Joemma Park to Des Moines. However, we had favorable currents that moved us along at 10-12 knots, which was about 4 knots faster than our normal stately pace. So, we were past the Tacoma Narrows Bridge by late morning. We decided to call our friends Mark and Karen Bryant who live on Bainbridge Island and see if they were planning to be home. As it turned out, they were having some friends over for a 4th of July dinner and we were invited to tie up on their dock and join them. We arrived to Eagle Harbor around 2 pm, but the tide was too low to approach their dock immediately, so we found a temporarily anchoring location and while we waited for the tide to rise, I baked some cookies to take to the party. We got to their dock about 4 pm and had no difficulty with the approach or depth at the dock. However, we knew we would have to leave by 10 am the next morning to avoid getting stuck in the mud.
We had a nice afternoon and evening. Karen and Mark are excellent hosts and always have great food. Mark made pulled pork and a friend Dave had several barbeques going with spare ribs. Many of the women brought salads (Chinese cabbage salad, potato salad, etc.) There were about 12 people there for dinner. They have a nice yard and plenty of outdoor seating. While it wasn’t quite as warm as the previous few days, it was pleasant when wearing a long sleeve shirt. Prince was able to run around with a few other well behaved dogs on the property and so he seemed happy not to have a long evening walk. When the sun went down, several of the neighbors on the harbor had private fireworks displays we could watch from the lawn. Then we enjoyed a nice beachside fire and the company of a few of the last guests who remained.
We left Bremerton on Sunday and made our way north to Poulsbo which is on the Kitsap Peninsula. You can easily reach Poulsbo by car if you take a ferry to Bainbridge Island and travel north over the Agate Pass Bridge. The trip by ferry and car would take about 1.5 hours. There is no ferry that lands at Poulsbo, so boat traffic is mostly limited to pleasure craft and small commercial boats such as fishing boats and small tow boats. The town is extremely quaint. It was originally settled by some Norwegians and has retained the Norwegian atmosphere. The largest building in town is the Sons of Norway recreation and meeting hall. Lovely planters hang from the street lamps and the most popular stores are the numerous bakeries, gift shops and galleries. There are also numerous eateries which are open for lunch and dinner. Many of the store fronts have lovely gingerbread wood embellishments or window paintings that enhance the Scandanavian theme.
We decided to live/work on our boat in Poulsbo for the next 4 days. It had all of the services we might need (e.g., grocery stores, banks, postal and courier services) within walking distance and had excellent wi-fi internet connection and cell phone services. There were also some very good parks directly up the ramp from the marina and a great boardwalk to extent our stroll and let Prince get a good dog walk and “sniffy” experience. On a couple of evenings, we also extent our walk to explore some parks further afield. One of the best finds was the Fish Park which was at the head of the bay. This park is a restoration project aimed at enhancing a salmon creek (Dogfish Creek) and providing some nice gravel walkways and boardwalks through meadows and woodlands. The park is relatively small, but with the nicely meandering paths, one can get a good stroll while enjoying some excellent educational signs that discuss the restoration efforts and the enhancement of the native plants.
More photos at this link –
Bremerton is accessible by an hour long ferry ride from downtown Seattle. The ferry travels back and forth on a frequent basis and some people even live in Bremerton and commute to work in Seattle. Bremerton is also well known as the U.S. Navy Shipyard for Puget Sound and for many years seemed to be a favorite location to “mothball” old navy ships. That has changed in recent years and a new marina opened there this spring.
We decided to leave on Saturday morning and head to Bremerton for a short stay. Since it was relatively close to Seattle, we stopped on the way at Blake Island for a walk. Blake Island is entirely a state park, accessible only by small tour boat or private boat. There are several mooring buoys that small boats can use to tie up to, which avoids hassles that would be associated with putting out an anchor. This is also more environmentally friendly, since for each anchor that gets set on the mud bottom with the associated chain or rope, marine life on the bottom can be disturbed. Over the course of many years, this can be quite detrimental. Blake Island has some primitive campsites (i.e., no power or water), picnic areas, and several miles of hiking trails through wooded areas. We thought a walk on Blake Island would provide a nice excursion for Prince who had been limited to urban walks on a leash for a couple of weeks. We were fortunate to find a nice mooring buoy that was vacant and it didn’t take too long to off-load our dinghy and get its outboard motor running.
The trip to shore was relatively easy and we had a very nice 1.5 hour walk through the woodlands. However, when we returned to our dinghy, we found that the falling tide had left it about 20 feet from the waterline. Some nice young men who were camping on shore helped us move the dinghy closer to the waterline, but we were not able to get it in the water immediately without getting extremely wet feet (in very cold Puget Sound saltwater). So, knowing that the tide was almost at its lowest stage, we decided just to enjoy a relaxing break sitting on a large dead tree by the beach until the tide would again float our dinghy. Our wait was only about 1.5 hours. Unfortunately, we found that our attempts to refloat our dinghy had resulted in some damage to one of the pontoons that keep our commuter craft afloat. It wasn’t serious enough to prevent our return to the boat and within a short time we re-stowed our dinghy and continued on our way to Bremerton.
At Bremerton, we found some guest moorage easily (being a somewhat cloudy and cool Saturday) and soon we three were off to explore the environs of the small city. Unfortunately, the city is going through substantial waterfront road construction. This has severely limited car and foot traffic. In addition, the loss of many jobs from the navy shipyard has negatively impacted the local economy. Many downtown shops were empty and the streets were dusty and grimy. It seemed that the majority of pedestrians were either other boaters or people heading for the ferry terminal to catch a ride to Seattle.
We made the best of our stay in Bremerton and found the lovely Fountain Park near the ferry terminal and an excellent city park that had terrific grassy areas and large trees that provided an convenient escape for the squirrels who chastised Prince when he attempted to chase them. We also enjoyed a nice seafood dinner at Anthony’s restaurant which overlooked the harbor. Bremerton also had the requisite Starbucks coffee shop so we could get a hot coffee to enjoy during our early morning dog walk.
Based on the limited redeeming features of Bremerton, we limited our stay to just one night. After a simple Sunday breakfast, we untied our lines and made our way up the west side of Bainbridge Island.