Learning to Sail on Puget Sound

Author: Traveler's Pen

Tags: Washington

Just over a week ago, I went on my third annual visit to my best friend.  A few years ago, her family moved to Port Townsend, Washington.  It's been hard not having her just down the street; but my trips to see her have always been a blast.

I awoke early on July 8, 2012, and gathered my bags before my mother, sister, and I headed to the train station.  The train ride from Portland to Seattle is about four hours; and even though the ride is scenic, I was glad I brought a book.

When we arrived in Seattle, we got a quick look at the Space Needle before we boarded a ferry with my best friend and her parents.  After the ferry dropped us off at Bainbridge Island, they drove us the rest of the way to their home in Port Townsend.

One of the things I like most about Port Townsend is its diversity of natural places.  You have beaches, forests, and mountains all within a day’s travel.  It’s a small, quaint coastal community with a vibrant art scene and tons of interesting shops in town that are full of adventure.  There are quite a few historic homes and buildings too.  It’s so close to nature still that deer have been seen walking down Main Street!  Port Townsend is known for its Wooden Boat Festival; and there are several nice docks in town.  If you’re lucky, you might even see one of the larger boats being pulled out of the water to be worked on in the ship yard.  

What was special about this trip was that my sister came along too.  Probably the highlight of the trip, for both my sister and I, was when my best friend’s dad took us sailing in their wonderful 22 foot sail boat.   Puget Sound is a lovely place.  We’ve seen bald eagles, seals, and even a king fisher bird while sailing there.  My friend’s dad taught us the basics of the ropes, which way “port” and “starboard” was, and even let us sail the boat!  There’s something so peaceful about being out there on the water, feeling the wind as you use it to steer the boat.  My friend’s dad was a great teacher.  He said we both did really well, especially my younger sister who’d never done it before.  (I’ve steered the sail boat once before on another trip.)  While I was in control of the rudder, I had to pass a buoy safely.  At first, I was nervous, but it wasn’t that hard, you just have to pay attention to where you are.  We also took turns “trimming the sail” (pulling it in) to keep it from “luffing” (flapping wildly in the wind) and “coming about” (turning in the wind.)

One issue we dealt with on this trip though was money for food.  (My sister and I have certain diets for health reasons.)  I brought plenty of money to feed two people for a week at home, but forgot to take into account the fact that things are more expensive up there.  So next year, I plan to bring enough money for souvenirs too, instead of having to spend it all on food.  So that was a lesson learned.

Between the mountain hikes, the rocky beaches, sailing, and good friends, it was a memorable experience for my sister and I; and we can’t wait for next year!