With the difficulty of our trip over we planned out the trip back with a much better route, we shortened all our open water crossings as much as possible, mapped out extra fuel stops, even got a local to tell us the best passages to avoid too much wind.
And it helped.
We made really great time back, and had a much smoother ride as well. Our first major stop (other than a quick fuel-up), was Roche Harbor. This was our midway refuel stop and US Customs location. On the way down we saw seals, dolphins, and just about every bird imaginable. Roche Harbor itself was excellent. It looks like one of those classic movie harbors, with the little church, old hotel, but with 1000 times more boats. This also gave us a chance to pick up some hot food, which was some really nice fish and chips.
We then cruised through the San Juan Islands, Which were equally beautiful looking. That took us to Anacortes, and then through to the Swinomish cut, and past La Conner. This was great, the seas were smooth, we made wonderful time.
And then we hit the sandbar.
The south end of the cut our of La Conner goes through a shallow area, which is marked with several red and green pylons that extend out to several small islands. After these we turned out, and with the low tide, got stuck in the sand. As we now had some time to wait, We walked off the boat, and standing in the water, saw that the pylons extended out well past the island. Crap.
Fortunately for us, this was really soft sand, and an inspection of the boat showed no damage. (Thankfully I wasn’t driving this time.) We weren’t going all that fast, so the boat wasn’t stuck too bad. A few locals came by and, after taking pictures and laughing, told us that the area we were in was pretty much a parking lot of boats all summer. The tide was going up, and they said we should be unstuck in an hour. I thought that if it was so damn common for folks to get stuck, they could put a few more fucking markers out here, but hey, what am I thinking.
We finally floated off after about an hour, and made our way back into the channel. The going was easy, up until about Mukilteo, when the wind started picking up and things got choppy again. We slowed down a bit, but made it back to Shilshole to drop Yulia and the kids off in a half an hour or so. The rest of us then took the boat back to the Locks and towards the Marina, on the south end of Lake Washington.
We hit the locks at just the right time, and had no wait at all. It was dark by now, and we made a slow drive through the canals towards Lake Union. At night, the view on the ship canal is really amazing. You don’t appreciate this aspect of the city unless you see it from the water. The whole area is a no wake zone, so It was pretty slow going. We moved at basically a crawl all the way out past Husky Stadium, and under 520. After that we had the open lake.
And that was about the time we saw the lightning storm floating in.
It was off in the distance and we couldn’t hear the thunder yet. At this point, I had had enough. We picked up as much safe speed as we could (which wasn’t much) and got back to the Marina just before the rain. It took us a bit to unload and secure the boat. In the process one of the bags fell off the dock into the water. It got fished out before sinking, but we were so punch drunk at this point it could have spontaneously burst into flames and we wouldn’t have been surprised.
Driving back the lightning started, with at least one strike happening right next to us. Shook the whole car.
I’m sure there is some lesson or fortune cookie saying applicable here but fuck if I want to learn it.