Monday, August 15, 2011

Through Deception Pass at Slack

We got up early to catch low water slack at Deception Pass on our cruise back to Bellingham. This is the other major route from the Puget Sound to northern cruising waters. Because the seas are compressed as they rush through the pass, the current gets very dramatic.

At max flood or ebb, it can exceed 8 knots. That's enough to create whirlpools, eddies, waves, and lots of speed. In short, dangerous waters. But at slack, it can be safely navigated. Thankfully there are tables to tell you when to go and when to wait.

The water at La Conner wasn't at slack yet, so we had a bit of current on our departure, but nothing unsafe. The weather was overcast like the previous morning, but not cold. As we exited Swinomish Channel, it narrowed and passed between higher rock walls.

It is at this point that silt buildup is more problematic. The center of the channel through the drying flats of Skagit Bay is well marked, but at low tide extra caution needs to be taken, especially by sailboats with deep keels.

We got to the Deception Pass area about half an hour early for slack water. We stopped near Skagit Island outside Similk Bay and floated in the calm seas to pass the time. There is one moorage float left, but it sure looked close to the island shore in the low tide.

Once we made it under the bridge we noticed several small boats and lots of people on shore fishing. They were waiting for low slack to catch some of the salmon running through the pass as well.

We dropped a line using Wayne's downrigger. Hope they had better luck than we did. -- Margy


  1. Margy, your cruises look so relaxing. I think when I feel overwhelmed with the garden work, I will visit here and float along with you. Just beautiful.

  2. Come out and give us a look-see sometime Lorie. It's a great part of the world. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy