Fort Flagler

When we came to the boat, it was covered in ash. The rain had not yet washed it clean. Our fingers turned gray as we readied her to leave the slip. I was still glum from saying goodbye to the dogs- even leaving for a week renders me slightly heartbroken.

The air was congested with mist and drizzle, the horizon painted in grays and blues, with the slate cutouts of forested islands before us, and dove and lavender land further on. The water was the color of lead. We left quietly, yawning, wishing for sun.

After turning past Whidbey Island we were running before a wind strong enough that we flew the new spinnaker. It is patterned in primary colors: red, yellow,a nd blue. It glowed from behind, even in the faint light, as I feasted my eyes on its brightness. The boat loped along at over 7 knots, the spinnaker full as a parachute. T got a sharp blow on his thumb trying to wrestle the sail, which luckily didn’t break it, but tore off his skin and left his nail a deep purple.

Eventually the wind died, and we were back to the droning hum of the motor pushing us forward. We got a mooring buoy at Fort Flagler, got into the dinghy, and realized that something was wrong with the motor; it died when shifted. In bursts and starts, we lurched to the dinghy dock and hiked through a forest of trailers to reach the path to the fort.

Fort Flagler is an old coastal defense battery from the early 1900s. The enormous mortars and shells are long gone, but many of the structures are still standing, including the huge cement-and-iron fort. One passes small doors leading to rooms marked “Tool Room” and “Power Room” in paint, and there is a long dark tunnel- which we lit with our cell phones- called the “Powder Room”, which makes me think of 1930s ladies bickering and applying makeup, not something hidden and explosive. The acoustics are amazing- we must gather the choir to sing there.

T went to bed early, and I gorged on cheese and caramel popcorn and finished Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca”. That narrator! That twist! I didn’t realize they’d toned it down for the Hitchock film. I’m dying to read more du Maurier.

A peaceful sleep and an early start. The sun is shining and its reflection glitters on the water. Huge container ships dwarf us, out of Marseilles and Manila. We passed a herd of glossy, lolling seals, flopping across the beach and rolling in the water. I told T I want to be reincarnated as a seal. He pointed out that if I live a righteous life, I should be reincarnated as a human. I must seek out some kind of salty wickedness that would render sealhood a certainty.

We cross the straits today, and must moor at Friday Harbor for T can fix the dinghy engine. Also, we cannot anchor because I cannot handle the anchor chain and T’s grip is weakened from his injured thumb.

The horizon of the straits is flat and neverending. Seabirds preen and flutter. Here’s hoping for some wind.

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