After wrapping up Sunday’s Junior sailing program, Erika and I headed home to quickly pack for a daytrip to Crescent Bay aboard Resa. Although it was one o’clock in the afternoon I should not have described our pre-departure as quick or rushed because, after all, it was Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. In the end it turned out to be a great day trip and quite a contrast with our last trip west (see Sailing to Seiku: A “non-stop” adventure out West, PAYC’s March newsletter or at www.sailingsteadfast.com/the-captains-blog).
As the crow flies Crescent Bay is approximately 10 nautical miles from the port angeles marina. But because we have to sail around Ediz Hook the trip is closer to 16, nearly the same distance from the hook to Victoria’s harbor entrance. In reality, when plotting the actual departure and arrival points, Victoria and Sequim Bay are each five nautical miles further away than Crescent Bay. Therefore, this trip west makes for a great alternative to the busier bays. And when I say “busier”, it's an unfair comparison, we were the only boat in Crescent that day. Plus, at this time anyway, Canada is still closed, canceling just the thought of traveling to Victoria now. Among our standard galley stores, we added a fresh salad, some sandwiches and a couple extra snacks for the passage. We departed PA marina by 230pm, getting Resa up to a comfortable speed, slicing the glassy sea at seven knots. And because of dumb luck, the strait was ebbing 0.5 to 1.0 knots, eventually increasing our over the ground speed beyond eight knots/hr. We made Crescent Bay, under power, in a timely two hours, fifteen minutes.
After arrival, we began exploring the depths just east of the small peninsula that once was the town of Port Crescent. The "town" was developed in the 1890’s to support the westward expansion of the timber industry and its affiliated ship traffic. I understand the settlement eventually burned to the ground, 2 hotels and 2 saloons, ending its moment in time. We set the hook in about 30 feet of water, keeping the rocky reef, the beach, and a lonesome A-framed house off to our stern. It was a quiet anchorage amongst a picture postcard pacific northwest setting. Erika, Loren and I pulled out the picnic food, enjoying the scenic locale as we ate. Within the hour a light westerly filled in, swinging Resa’s stern toward Tongue Point/Striped Peak, about a mile away.
Leaving Loren to relax on deck (his choice) to enjoy his latest dragon/fantasy book, Erika and I launched the kayak and SUP to explore the western point of the bay and its extensive forest of bull kelp. Growing on a very shallow rocky reef inside and around Port Crescent Rock, the kelp forest and, by luck, hundreds of visiting sea nettle flowing in and out of the forest made for an amazing side excursion. I could have watched the jellies pulsating through the ribbons of algae for hours. With a bit of “already??” I noticed Erika heading back to the boat. My attention fell on the fresh breeze filling the bay, beckoning me to join it on it's journey East. I happily paddled for Resa and prepared to get underway.
By 8pm we weighed anchor, motored north and out of Crescent Bay. We soon turned to wind, hoisted the main and set a course back to PA. A spinnaker ride along the Olympics would have been epic for the conditions but I had left it home, bummer. Instead, Erika and I hoisted Resa’s blue nylon asymmetrical sail and poled it out opposite the main, sailing wing on wing all the way home. It worked out great, averaging 6.5 knots of boat speed. The sun didn’t set for another hour and a half allowing us clear views of our watery surroundings. But the real show started after sunset. The sun’s rays actually lingered until close to 11pm (nautical twilight), but from 930pm (sunset) until our arrival in PA around 1030pm, the northwestern evening sky displayed bursts and streaks of reds and oranges. As the colors faded, we rounded Ediz Hook, struck the sails and motored the remaining two miles home and, officially, into summer, completing our sail-stice to Crescent Bay - Keith Dahlin
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA/US sailing certified instructor.