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Anchor Down, Hope Island

When we woke up this morning, I knew at once we were swinging on our anchor. I knew this because the sun was shining and a square of it swung across the cabin top above our bunk in a graceful arc. At anchor feels nothing like being tied to a static dock. Here, the boat dances always, even if just tiny little steps at a time. Her bow bobs gently up and down in the wind waves, she swings slowly one way, then the other, gliding with the currents. Out here, there is always, always motion.

We spent the better part of the past week putting Wondertime back together: re-stitched headsails on, rigging tightened and tuned, cotter pins in, toys put away below. We cleared the cockpit of the piles of clutter that had gathered the past seven months we’ve been tied to the steadily unmoving dock. The forecast this weekend is for temperatures in the low 50s, light winds, partially sunny and only a few rain showers. It’s the best weather we’ve had since October: time to sail.

Yesterday, Friday, we loaded groceries onboard, took down our Shade(rain) Tree cockpit cover, tied the dinghy to the stern, piled sail covers in the shower, started the diesel and — the most difficult part of any trip — tossed the docklines aboard. We reversed out of our slip and found ourselves doing what had seemed impossible with the boat is such disarray just last week: floating free. Out in the inlet, once clear of the shoals, we hoisted our new Lee main and mizzen sails for the first time. We only had about 5 knots of wind ruffling down from the north but with only the mainsail up, Wondertime heeled a bit and was already sailing.

Engine off, we glide along under low clouds and fog. We are sailing at 2.5 knots through heavy mist; soon the water builds up on the sails and booms and it is not long before it feels like a full-on rain to us. It does not matter though: it feels so good to be moving towards our destination with free wind. We huddle under our dodger, coming out only to tack a few times. Holly naps cozily below and Leah and Xena are snug in their cockpit nest of pillows and blankets. I escape below to boil water for hot cocoa.

Three hours later we are just south of Boston Harbor, 4 miles as the crow flies from Olympia. We are soaked and cold and hungry but are giddy with having made our way under sail. The sails are rolled in and flaked and we make our last mile under power to Hope Island. As we come upon our favorite beach, Michael readies the shiny new Rocna anchor at the bow. I slow the boat, neutral, then reverse and he drops our virgin anchor into the murky green sea. We slowly drift backward and the Rocna grabs immediately (and immediately we are in love; we are used to dragging backward for meters before our CQRs finally set).

We tidy up on deck, put out our cockpit anchor light, then go below for our regularly scheduled Friday pizza and movie. Afterwards, we tuck the girls into their beds and talk about our plans to hike and explore our favorite island the next day; despite their reverberating excitement they fall asleep the second we turn out the light. At home, at Hope Island.


  1. Herbster says:

    That is a great report. It is April and we are chomping on the bit. This morn we cast off, heading north, 37 degrees, that’s the temp not the heading. Ayeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  2. Gretchen Lippert says:

    Beautifully written! We’ve anchored at Hope Island as well, and had a great time. Very snug and cozy-feeling.

  3. is it possible, Washington has 2 Hope Island State Parks. Is Wondertime all the way north, na.

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Herb! Oh, I wish it was the one up by Deception but we were at the south sound Hope. Report and photos coming soon! 🙂

  4. We love Hope Island except the part about no dogs being allowed on shore. We especially loved watching the tugs hauling logs to Shelton.