Thursday, October 27, 2011


We arrived in Coupeville, Penn Cove, Whidby Island in the early afternoon yesterday.

We had hoped for a certain spot on the dock after reading how waters get quite shallow at a zero tide there, and the tide last night was a minus 2.3 feet. But on arrival, we found a sailboat not so generously parked in the MIDDLE of the dock, with his long dinghy strung behind and also tied to the dock. (Viking Star, as a general rule never takes the middle of a dock. Of course, if the dock is small, we will take the WHOLE dock, but we don't like to do that either, if there is another choice.) There was not room in front of him OR behind him. Now, being a sailboat, if he was concerned about depths for himself, he would have docked at the very end and side-tied his dinghy.

There would be plenty of water until 9PM, so we tied between the main dock and the fuel dock, and went exploring.  The Local Grown store on the pier had espresso, local jams and sauces and chocolates, and wi-fi. There was a gift shop, and a small marine life exhibit in the foyer. A lunchtime cafe was at that time closed.

We walked the short Front Street and spotted several eateries, clothing stores, gift shops, and professional offices.  There were public restrooms at the Visitor's Center. The library was another block up the hill.  It is brand new, opening just last February.  We spent a pleasant hour reading local newspapers and perusing the shelves.

We returned to the boat. After speaking to the harbormaster further about the water levels on the night's tide, we got permission to move to the fuel dock, which we were told had even more water than our desired spot on the dock. We moved over without incident, prepared dinner, and settled in to watch some ME TV (Memorable Entertainment).

Al had the depth finder turned on, and we were dropping like an elevator! At a zero tide we were told there is 8 feet off the fuel dock.  We draw 4.5 feet, add 2.3 feet that the tide would drop below zero, and we needed 6.8 feet, minimum, to avoid setting on the mud.

The pilings were growing, the ramp getting steeper and steeper, and soon we were looking to shore BELOW the harbor store!  Al poled the water off the side of the boat--6 and a half feet! And there would be at least another foot to go!  He hoped that the 8 feet had been measured a bit further out, where Viking Star's keel was positioned.

Well, we didn't feel a bump in the night. YAY! But that was close!

This morning, Al slept in after his fitful night. Then we got moving and went back to the Knead and Feed, a bakery restaurant, and split a wonderful orange sweet roll, and then gorged on the humongous plates full of food that our friendly servers brought.  We had been asked if we wanted the full order, or half, and we made a mistake.  We should have split the breakfast too!

We had fun chatting with our server, and another couple at the next table, who had sailed to Alaska and back 30 years ago.

On our way back to the boat, I stopped to take a picture of this wooden wheel, and a man walking his border collie stopped to tell us a bit of history.  This is 'the new wheel', and the old one is in the museum now. Another couple driving by stopped to tell us to 'give it a spin! It's supposed to be good luck!' So Al gave it a whirl.

Halloween is coming, so how appropriate to post pictures of the skeletons at the marine life display!

The complete skeleton of a juvenile male grey whale

Samson, the stellar sea lion

Samson's profile, scary!

And to finish up with some wise words from Chief Seattle....

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