If one closely monitors the weather during Winter in Puget Sound and is prepared to hop on the boat when a clear day presents itself, some marvelous outings can be had. Except for the occasional commercial ship traffic, the Sound is empty and peaceful. The fair weather boaters are nowhere to be seen and are at home watching football or skiing up in the Cascade Mountains. Often there is no one to reply to radio checks. It can be quite chilly and dank but we fire up the propane furnace in the cabin and Inga makes us a pot of tea while we go out and explore.
The rewards are numerous — gorgeous sunsets, seals, schools of dolphins, calm water and the tranquility that can’t be beat. But timing is everything — when the Winter weather does kick in, it is not to be trifled with. Even the huge Washington State ferries get tossed around and in our boat, as competent and sturdy as it is, the fun quickly evaporates and a grim, white knuckled outing makes one wish you were tied up safely at the dock listening to the weather broadcast while drinking red wine. At times, we’ve left Des Moines on calm waters only to return hours later and have to battle just to get back into the marina while thinking we need a much bigger boat. Getting flipped over into the hypothermic water while waiting for help to arrive is something one wants to avoid at all costs so we continue to attend Power Squadron seamanship courses, make sure we are stocked with all the necessary safety gear and plan constantly before heading out. But as you can see from the photos, it’s totally worth it. — Scott Bruce Duncan */:-)