We bought our boat in Olympia, Washington and needed to bring it up to Lake Union in Seattle. A 24 nm trip that took about 8 hours. We brought along our broker who served as Captain and general hand-holder for the trip. He took us out of the boathouse in Olympia and through the Ballard Locks and into our home slip, but for everything in between, the boat was in our hands.
We had a quarter mile visibility for the first 4 hours of the trip. They say ignorance is bliss and that certainly applied to this situation. We probably should have waited for the fog to clear, but we were so excited – and our Captain assured us we’d be fine, so off we went. We were indeed fine as we had working radar and a working horn (which we used a couple of times signal oncoming boats that we saw on the radar). We’ve since learned that you are supposed to signal every two minutes in that type of fog. We’ve also since learned that we learn something new on every.single.trip.
The fog made the first half of the trip ethereal and otherworldly. It was so quiet except for the drone of the engine and an occasional horn. You couldn’t tell the difference between water or sky. It was wild to see the blip of a boat on the radar off in the distance and then watch the shadow pass by – only seeing the details of the boat as you passed each other. The first 4 hours passed by slowly at 4 knots. The fog lifted by the time we got to the Tacoma Narrows to reveal a gorgeous, bluebird day.
We pinched ourselves throughout the whole trip – seeing Mt. Rainier and then our beautiful city in the distance. Entering the Ballard Locks was completely surreal as going to the locks with visiting friends is a terrific and fascinating tourist activity here in Seattle; and now here we were – on the water in our boat, being watched over by tourists and good friends who came to see us come home.
We’ve now been through the locks a total of 19 times. Every single time we learn something new. This first time was at the same time exhilarating and supremely nerve wracking – especially for Steven for whom it took several tries to get his line around a bollard with a captive audience watching! They’d collectively sigh in defeat every time he missed, but gave him a nice rousing cheer once he finally got the line on.
Once through the locks and the shipping canal, we turned south into Lake Union and I caught a glimpse of the very top of Rainier past the city, then the skyline and finally, the Space Needle — I was out on the bow jumping up and down at this point. Nevermind the fact that I still to this day (and certainly that day), pinch myself that we get to live in Seattle, but now I was pulling into Lake Union on.our.boat. It was unreal.