Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mystery Bay, Marrowstone Island

August 4 - 7

On our first evening at anchor, the western wind howled through the bay reaching over 25 knots.  However, by nightfall it had fallen to a whisper, then disappeared, to present itself next morning from the south.  This pattern continued the three nights we stayed with varying wind intensities.  Puget Sound seems to act like a giant inlet pulling the cool air from Juan de Fuca in the afternoon/evening, and pushing the warm wind out in the morning.  You would think that on an especially hot day the wind would be intense, but that is not always the case, so we take it as it comes.

Lovely cloud patterns over Marrowstone Island

On our first full day at Mystery Bay we took the dinghy to shore to explore.  The small village of Norland, initially settled by Norwegians, is perched at the head of the bay, really only a general store now with scattered homes, cottages and small farms.  According to the state park host, Mystery Bay gets its name from a rather sordid past.  It was home for several generations of smugglers who, over time, illegally imported opium, people, booze and drugs.  The zigzagging entrance to the bay and shifting sands kept the whole place hidden and unapproachable.  Today no evidence remains of its shady past.

Abandoned barn in Norland

We went for a walk and came across Mystery Bay Farm which is home to a herd of goats.  The farmer makes pricy cheese and yoghurt available at the general store.  

The store itself is like something out of American Gothic – complete with wood stove, kitchen chairs, the smell of brewed coffee and, scattered around, every conceivable bit of brick-a-brack imaginable.

The next day we took the dinghy to the state park dock, determined to go for a good long hike.  We had noticed blackberries growing along the roads the day before so came prepared to pick some to go with the goat yoghurt we had bought.  It was a gorgeous, sunny, hot day and we enjoyed our walk down the dead-end Shwartz Road picking blackberries along the way, then on to the more promising East Beach Road.  On the eastern side of the island, we found a tiny county park with a few picnic tables.  On either side was an amazing, crumbling bluff-fronted sandy beach that ran all along Marrowstone Island.  

We couldn’t resist walking along, admiring the views of Admiralty Inlet and, but for a few dog walkers, having the place entirely to ourselves.  Unfortunately, the blackberries we had picked started to melt in my backpack and dripping purple juice down my back, making an interesting cleaning job when we got back to the boat.

On our final morning we woke to the first fog we have seen so far on our trip, but it was very wispy and by 9am it was gone. We enjoyed our three days in Mystery Bay and despite the guidebook warning that it was a busy place, we did not see much evidence of it – there was always plenty of room to anchor, room on the park mooring buoys and dock.  We sailed off the anchor into Kilisut Bay and gently sailed until we came to the shallow entrance, then motored through, sailing again across the channel to Port Townsend.

Ka'sala at anchor in Mystery Bay State Park - mooring buoys, pumpout station and docks in foreground

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