More on that later. But first…

We pointed Impromptu south intending to sample just a bit of the Hood Canal. This rather large body of water is surprisingly boring from a boater’s perspective. How come? Because it’s a glacier-carved valley, the walls are steep and the water deep. This means there are few coves and few shallow spots for anchoring. Way down at the south end is a nice resort, Alderbrook, but it’s a long haul to get there and is easily reached by car.

We were bound for Pleasant Harbor – great name, eh? This small, well-sheltered spot on the western shore gave us a chance to cruise under the Hood Canal bridge and past the Bangor nuclear submarine facility.

If you think I took pictures of Bangor, think again. Everything that passes by is monitored to such a degree that they probably know what I had for breakfast. Yesterday.

Pleasant Harbor was, well, pleasant. Our fellow boaters were extremely friendly, the harbor attractive, the docks in first-rate condition and the homemade pizza excellent.

But there was nothing much to do. I don’t mean to sound negative, just stating a fact. Normally at a place like this there would be trails to walk, back roads to cycle, maybe beaches to comb. Nope, nope and kind of.

We took a two mile dinghy ride north along the coast to Dosewallips State Park to have a look around. By the way, it’s Doe-see-wallips, not Dose-wallips like I’ve always said.

We found a typical state park, rather a nice one actually, with lots of space for picnicking and camping. Also, a large estuary leading to a gigantic crescent beach suitable for clam digging and swimming (in warm weather).

Later, we followed the Dosewallips river back to its mouth where we had left our dinghy.

“Yes, yes”, you say, “but what about the federal offense?”

As we were preparing to leave Pleasant Harbor, we spotted a seal that had just given birth to a pup. And by “just” I mean with the hour. You can see the afterbirth still trailing behind her in the photos.

The little guy was amazing. He looked just like a tiny version of Mom and set about swimming and exploring immediately.

One might wonder why seals like birthing in marinas. This is the second newborn we’ve seen in a month. All I know is that getting the pup out of the water from time-to-time seems to be important. Perhaps docks are an attractive place for this since seals seem to wind up there.

This time things went a little off-script. The baby came around to the back of Impromptu and decided that our swim step is where he really wanted to be. Sadly for him the space was already occupied by our dinghy. After a while bobbing around looking cute as a kitten, he and Mom wandered off down the fairway. That’s the channel between docks for you lubbers.

We decided that this was a good time to make our exit before baby seal decided to make a second attempt at the swim step. As we prepared to back slowly out of our slip with fellow boaters acting as seal spotters, an officious marina employee told me, “It’s a federal offense…” The rest of her VERY IMPORTANT warning remains a mystery.

“…to purée a baby seal with your propeller”?
“…to pet a newborn seal”?
“…to feed leftover pizza to a seal”?

We’ll never know.


  1. What a great story! The seal pics were cool.
    Just a FYI for the next time you decide to wander down the Canal, there is a place further down called Hama Hama Farm. Don’t know if they have a dock there, but they farm oysters & clams.
    Some of the best oysters I have ever had!
    Check it out sometime, even by auto!

  2. Sorry Dennis, the oyster and clam thing would be wasted on
    Steve! Do you remember the type of Oysters?

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