Cascadian Cuisine 

Farm and Sea to Galley

On The Beach

A friend writes that Jupiter’s mariners remind him of characters portrayed in the book, On the Beach – survivors roaming to avoid contamination in a post-apocalyptic world.

Wandering restlessly aboard our little ship, aspirations for this venture are quite the opposite. An improvised progression along Washington waters exposes places, events and behaviors, obscured like shoreline pools, until low tide.

The natural world endures, Jupiter detours.

Sunrise at Sucia Island

Seaside populations of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands construct mansions and salty shacks, cabins and fishing huts close on to storm swept beaches and sloughing bluffs. Full frontal real-estate that has served since ancient times.

Jupiter, our homey float-house, perfectly weathers an unintended summer without complaint, unfixed from any shore.

In Our Wake: Eighty-Six Days

During the summer of 2020 Jupiter and her seafarers:

Navigated 675 nautical miles underway within Washington waters.
Hiked 179 miles on mountainsides and woodland trails.
Swung 58 nights on anchor, berthed 28 nights on 10 docks.
Enjoyed 68 sunny days, 12 with rain, and 6 of smoke and fog.
Explored 15 enchanting Washington marine parks.
Permeated 5,700 gallons of fresh water from salt.
Gutted 21 dozen local oysters, clams and mussels.
Trapped and boiled crabs a plenty.
Launched 7 new friendships.

To revisit our summer tracks click Find Jupiter on the website and zoom in to any time and place.

Knitting the Weather

The season’s project of registering the state of sea, sky and precipitation in fibre grows inexorably longer and warmer as the days shorten and cool.

The purpose is yet undecided, other than to spin a yarn of a summer well spent.

Some friends bring wildness to wilderness.

Ash and Fog

Smoke from western wildfires creates opportunities to practice radar skills.

The achromatic miasma of mid-September makes red skies of warning while smoky aerosols un-define the land, sea and sky.

South winds carry a clapperclaw offshore.

Turn Point obscured by ash and fog

The Throne of Jupiter

Provocative stories of a mysterious Throne of Jupiter are heard throughout summer, but these are neither explained, sought, nor found round Jupiter’s routings.

Now, on the antepenultimate shore day, friends reveal the arcanum: an architectural niche hidden in plain site, stoped into a limestone hillside and overgrown with climbing vines.

This rupellary folly incorporates a narrow bench, like a curved Medieval misericord set into musing masonry, meaningful to someone, noticed by few except those whose whispered secrets it remembers.

Everything Elsewhere

During seasons afloat we become fluent in littoral languages, making decisions based on moods of weather and winds, enabling daylight and dark to guide sleeping or leaping.

Natural forces shape time and place, and rule actions. We are content in relative isolation and complicit with the sea.

Returning now to land where man-managed constructs and contexts govern, we anticipate choices coerced by unnatural forces.


Smoked Chicken Liver Paté
with Fogged Fig Compote

Source fresh chicken livers from pasture raised chickens. A well smoked bacon adds great flavor to this preparation.

Dice smoked bacon and fry until crisp. Drain bacon, set aside, and save dripping.

In the same skillet, soften sweet onion in butter without browning. Season generously with smoked salt. Add more butter and fresh chicken livers, and poach gently in onion butter until brown outside, rosy in the centers. Scrape into a blender.

Deglaze the pan with sherry and pour into the mixer. Process until smooth and decant into ramekins. Seal tops with a thin layer of melted bacon fat, then refrigerate.

Return a little bacon dripping to the skillet and sauté chopped onion until golden. Add chopped fresh figs, a little honey, water, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until soft and amalgamated. Mash together with a fork and stir in the crisp smoked bacon. Mixture will thicken as it cools.

Scrape fat-top off paté and serve with compote on toast, crackers or croutons.


“It’s not the end of the world at all, it’s only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan’t be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.”

Nevil Shute ~ On the Beach, 1957

The Fifth Dimension

Traveling in consort with friends aboard their own boat adds a fifth dimension to any voyage.

In the course of a typical summer Jupiter hosts friends aboard, however Covid concerns complicate companionship. Tiring of our own company we are thrilled to cruise in tandem with new-found friends aboard Raven, their spanky new yacht.

Craig and Penny, the captivating couple whose trim vessel is being sea trialled, are habitants with local knowledge and contacts that enrich our week in delightful ways. Fine late summer weather adds buoyancy stirred by fellowship.

At commodious Reid Harbor on Stuart Island we anchor in sticky mud among an August-full of visiting vessels.

Ashore, we climb through steep Garry Oak savannah to the top of the island’s tip, Tiptop Hill. The summit offers international vistas of Salish Sea islands and serves as a landmark for mariners entering US waters from Canada, should such navigation again be permitted.

Cruising in file along the dry flank of Spieden Island, we spy a range of exotic wildlife. Decades ago animals were imported to Spieden from alien regions, and the island was promoted as hunting ground by Seattle taxidermists.

The end of that brief and bony business allowed the descendant beasts to thrive, carelessly wandering the golden veld among glacial erratics, deposited during the previous ice-age.

Double anchored at Double Island on our duet of boats, we lower two tenders to explore the west shore of West Sound, Orcas Island.

We disembark at lovely acreage under restoration by absent acquaintances of our boat friends.

On the grounds we encounter carvings honoring native legends. An old farmhouse with its restored gardens and orchard observes the chronicle of original homesteaders. Revering the past, the owners enrich the present.

Repositioning to Sucia Island in open channels, we prove engines spooled up with hulls lifted high probing speeds, rides and wakes.

Distance afoot is a daily essential, often accomplished as the sun descends its arc. The craggy wind-incised rocks and trails of Sucia Island fascinate and seduce.

Glacial erratics stand proud, and ribbons of aggregate pebbles swirled into sandstone, entombed for epochs, are revealed by dynamic forces of wind, water and salt.

Anchored in the narrow channel along South Finger Island, the rising Corn Moon overhangs our berth, vividly illuminating the rock-walled aisle. Each turn of tide overturns Jupiter’s tethered heading.

Like cobbles emerging from sandstone, more friendly accomplices surface into our conjoined cruise. Kathy and Chic, a dynamic and knowledgeable couple, are deeply embedded at their finger of rock that delineates the south side of Echo Bay.

They hew complex constructions from the island’s trees, every splinter of their own making.

A sawmill and cordless tools facilitate construction, one tree at a time.

The builders direct us to a reef outside Sucia’s embrace, where we locate a crash of Steller Sea Lions, massively muscled, posturing atop their chosen rock.

Growls and damp snorts thrum like ancient chanting. Harbor seals pack the lesser perches around this communal haul-out, seemingly ignorant of their nutritive appeal.

Our two inflatable tenders are dwarfed by amphibious behemoths who roll about us in the sea before shouldering themselves back ashore to bake and bark.

We land ourselves later at the float on tiny Matia Island to wander through first growth cedars protected inside a deep rock valley. Sunlight is dispersed through the impossibly tall trees, motes reaching down like light in remains of ancient abbeys.

Before sunset on this day of oversized fauna and flora, we convene at the dock of the finger of rock, sharing laughter, last light, and a potlatch of our own devising. Six erratics deposited at the edge of evening by enigmatic forces.

Traveling in consort with friends aboard their own boat adds a FIFTH dimension to cruising.


The FIRST dimension appears as your vessel initiates a heading off her moorings, and the SECOND is traced by her wanderings port and starboard. These are mariners’ only jurisdictions.

The sea, with all her tidal upheavals and wave rebellions, renders a THIRD dimension of heaving or foundering.

Time is the thief of seafarers, a FOURTH dimension of fixed and grim unwinding.

A FIFTH dimension is born of the variables and values of shipmates whose sorcery is the cogent miasma impacting all previous dimensions.

Echo Bay looking towards the Finger Islands and Matia Island

Sunset Salad

Roast, cool and peel golden beets. Remove the peel and pith from oranges. Slice beets and oranges into discs and interleave them in a round shallow plate.

Chop any remaining pieces and place in the middle of the circle. Crumble goat cheese atop the ring of beets and oranges, and mound microgreens in the center.

Whisk a tangy vinaigrette of olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a dab of mustard, seasoned to taste. Drizzle over the salad just before serving.


A Distant Island

Jupiter is Not Alone

Cruising the San Juan Islands in August presents challenges to voyagers longing for remote, unoccupied anchorages. The seasonal surge of cruising craft is compounded by Covid closure of Canadian waters to U.S. vessels, creating congestion throughout the archipelago.

After five days of intense indolence disporting the appealing and bustling resort marina and environs at Roche Harbor, Jupiter’s mariners search for solitude.

In route to Sucia Island, a popular holding ground, we are impressed with the suddenly seen, brooding sandstone headlands of Waldron Island. We divert to explore.

Waldron Island, resembling a Swedish halberd on charts, is hidden in plain sight – bypassed by most boats for reasons known to them and unknown to us.

With its finely honed cliff edge cleaving the waters, little or nothing of this enigmatic island is reported or recommended in cruising guides.

“It is sometimes best to go places where it does not always make sense.”

Rounding the striated looming headland on approach to broad Cowlitz Bay, we see not one cruising yacht. Winds are light. Depths of thirty feet offer convenience, and the sandy bottom security.

Anchored some distance off shore, we launch our tender, IO, and putter to the public landing. A modest float, nearly aground at low tide, is attached by a steep gangway to a wharf.

It is comforting to know that Waldron is a Nuclear Weapon and Drone Free Zone

This arrangement for moving from boat to land does not encourage incidental visits.

No Birds

A hooded and masked youth appears indifferent to our arrival, ratifying his mood with a grunt to our greeting. A fisherman next, rowing his skiff. Attempting amiability, we ask him about fishing.

“Look around, there are no birds here”, we are told, as if determined to deter uninvited ornithologists.

The Landing

At first there does not appear to be much of anything here, and whatever exists on the island is hidden from casual view.

A magnificent ancient Madrona tree overshadows the landing. Planted beneath is an open structure, equal parts Post Office and Community Center with mailboxes, library shelves, maps, and wood stove waiting for winter.

Mugs instead of mugshots adorn the walls at Waldron Island Post Office.

Nearby rest remains of a doorless van, where well-aired packages are collected and left.

The Road

Dusty and rusting vehicles with out-of-date plates line the wharf end of a gravel lane leading in the only direction. The road is completely overcast by tall cedars and fir, tunneling through forests and past rustic homesteads and meadows, obscured by ferrel thickets.

A man appears, nodding towards us on a reciprocal course.

Another stops his vintage truck with an overstuffed causeuse in back and a blue-eyed elfin daughter in front. He predicts our visits to the farm-stand, the community noticeboard and the schoolhouse down the distant way as if prophetic. Soon discovered, these are the only landmarks.

The girl stares, assessing aliens in her midst.

Along the road

Landmarks

We visit these community cornerstones in the dusty silence that blankets the inland, hearing our own footfalls on gravel. With no ferry service, few vehicles, no public electricity, water, or sewer service there is little to disturb Waldron.

The Schoolhouse serves the island’s children through eighth grade.
The state of Washington designates it “Remote and Necessary.”

An honor system governs island life.

Eighty residents are said to reside here, with the summer population exploding to two hundred. Vegetable farms sell produce off island, but this is undeniably commercial and tourist free territory.

Waldron Community Notice Board: Land of Goat’s Milk & Honey

Many Anchorages One Boat

A placid night, alone and well-hooked, breaks into day. A tight circumnavigation to find additional Waldron anchorages is completed aboard IO.

We relocate Jupiter around Sand Point to the island’s north side and find good holding at Severson Bay with a fine view of islands, mountains and the deep currents of heavy shipping routes to Canadian Ports.

A humpback whale rolls and blows abaft our boat in the early evening, close enough for a nodding acquaintance with Jupiter.

Birds Aplenty

Kayaks carry us ashore for a morning’s caper of tidal beaches, cliffs and rocks. Despite warnings to the contrary, abundant birds are found at Waldron: gulls, kingfishers, bank swallows, geese, cormorants, guillemots, herons and eagles make the isle home.

It is said that the geology of Waldron is as different from the rest of the San Juans as the culture.

A vacant Coast Guard mooring was Jupiter’s only neighbor at Severson Bay.

Moderation

Waldron Island seems to be a place of few factors for few people. Trespassing signs are unnecessary and no fences are built. Modesty and privacy are at home here, secrets kept close. Matters that normally involve human interaction are accomplished largely without it.

Social distancing has been convention on this island long before the term was broadcast, and relies heavily on individual moderation. Love of the land and of the sea unites lives of simple stillness.


Spicy Spot Prawns with Mango

A generous friend shared the bounty of his Spot Prawn trap with Jupiter. These beauties are inherently buttery and sweet, and want for nothing more than a thin glaze of spice.

In a small saucepan stir together equal parts tamari, honey and water. Add a teaspoon of sesame oil, and rice vinegar, gochujang paste, minced garlic, pepper and honey to taste. Stir occasionally and simmer gently to thicken. Let cool.

Meanwhile, shell prawns, and double skewer into short racks for the grill.

Dice ripe mango and red onion. Douse with fresh lime juice and stir in cilantro or micro-greens. Let flavors meld.

Paint the prawns with the sauce and grill over medium heat just until bronzing. Serve hot with mango salad.


“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

H.D. Thoreaux
~ On Waldron Pond

Food Chain

Inspired by the legendary 60’s hit single, Chain of Foods, we explore the ways gastronomy governs life aboard Jupiter.

Chain, chain, chain
Chain, chain, chain
Chain of foods…

Aretha Franklin, 1967

Following the Food Chain

Itineraries are carefully managed to enable provisioning long before any want or need is imagined. The best fisheries, farmers and markets are researched and charted, arrivals timed for their openings. No source of littoral freshness, firmness or fineness is too remote by sea or too far by foot. Appetites are whetted prospecting for victuals at every port.

Dining on The Hard

Eateries ashore, while never necessary, are occasionally attended out of curiosity for inspiration, by reputation, or during dishwashing strikes. No-one eats better or with more butter than mariners aboard m/v Jupiter.

Wave Top Crops

Our flybridge farm of micro-greens, three crops in rotation, are harvested in conjunction with celestial observations; or possibly not. These floccose salads appear abreast, allover, asunder and astride dishes at every banquet and nosh regardless of the subastral season.

The Table is Set

Jupiter affords three distinct messes, inevitably dictated by weather: the Flybridge Café for sunny breakfasts or casual lunches with a view; the Pilothouse Bistro for savory knife and fork feeds and the hypaethral Cockpit Cantina where sapid meals and moshing music meet the madness below the waterline in our midst.

The Galley

Jupiter’s galley is ajar within the pilothouse, convenient to the helmstation and quite small. The chef, like the Pacific Octopus can clutch everything and forge anything from collected cookware and foraged provisions tucked away in hidden drawers, lockers and reefers.

Hot meals are prepared under way in every sea way. Neither waves, nor chop on a blustery day dissuade the master-mariner-gourmet.


Location 🔘 🔘 🔘 🔘 🔘

Food 🔘 🔘 🔘 🔘 🔘

Service 🔘 ⚪️ ⚪️ ⚪️ ⚪️

Value 🔘 ⚪️ ⚪️ ⚪️ ⚪️

I’ve been dining at the Pilothouse Café for many years and consider the location impossibly convenient when exploring the Pacific Northwest on a boat.

The food is inventive and chef uses only the finest healthy local and seasonal ingredients prepared with proficiency. The farm and sea to table menu changes daily and offers abundant opportunities to sample seafood, meat, and vegetable offerings perfectly prepared, seasoned and sauced. Presentation of dishes is artful and consistently delights diners.

The service in this restaurant is, however, dreadful, or non existent. Patrons are required to enter the kitchen and serve themselves or each other. Additionally, after the meal, they are obliged to wash-up and dry their plates and all the greasy pots and saucepans in the kitchen.

Appealing cuisine followed by appalling scutwork!

Also, the food is expensive as sin considering fuel consumed moving this fat floating diner all around the Pacific Ocean.

Trip Advisor Restaurant Expert Level 25

Crabby Benedict

The Catch

This recipe is dependent on catching Dungeness Crab.

Bait your crab pot using fresh organic chicken parts, or lacking those, one artisanal bratwurst. Soak the pot in 8 fathoms of water for one complete tide cycle, about 12 hours + 25 minutes. When the weather turns wet, pull your pot and find at least 4 immense crabs convening inside.

Return the pot with crabs to the ship. Heat a sizable cauldron of heavily salted water to a rapid boil and prepare to butcher.

Stun the crabs with a wooden club, remove the apron and carapace. Rip off the knuckles and legs and retain. Overboard the remnants.

Boil the crab legs in shell for about 8 minutes. Drain, and cool in an ice bath. Once cooled, crack and carefully pick all the leg meat. 4 Dungeness yield 6 cups of densely packed meat, about 3 hours.

The Recipe

ROAST TOMATOES:
Slice tomatoes in half horizontally. Lightly oil the cut side with olive oil and roast at a low temperature for 3-4 hours until concentrated, soft and jammy. Cool to room temperature.

HOLLANDAISE:
Bring a stick of butter to a bubbling simmer without browning. In a warm bowl whisk two egg yolks with a splash of water. Whisking fiercely, ease the butter into the yolks drop by drop at first, then in a painfully slow drizzle. When sauce is emulsified and thickened add lemon juice, paprika and seasoning to taste. Cover with plastic wrap on the surface and keep gently warm until serving time.

BUILD-A-BENEDICT:
▶️ Prepare a salad from two cups of crab, finely chopped green onion and bell pepper, lightly bound with mayonnaise and lemon, seasoned to taste.
▶️ Toast and butter 4 half English Muffins and top with roasted tomatoes.
▶️ Divide the crab salad atop the tomatoes forming a hollow with a spoon.
▶️ Loosely poach fresh eggs and settle them aboard the crab.
▶️ Ladle an abundance of homemade hollandaise over the egg. Garnish with greens.


NorthWest Side Story

In 1792 Captain George Vancouver failed to discover the Swinomish Channel because it was not constructed until 1937.

The Swinomish waterway was conceived to facilitate marine commerce by connecting the natural sloughs and marshes of the Skagit River estuary with engineered channels. The new canal joined Padilla Bay and Skagit Bay to provide an alternative, protected avenue from the Straits of Juan de Fuca into Puget Sound.

On paper charts the channel appears narrow and constricted indicating that Jupiter may need to diet before transit. Electronic charts, however, work navigational miracles; if more sea room is desired, just zoom in. Thus zoomed we are emboldened to traverse this curious waterway from south to north.

We anchor overnight and part of the next day south of Hope island in Skagit Bay where outré currents have us over-floating our anchor in puzzling ways, and the chop far exceeds that typically begat by the light winds.

The currents in the bay run swift, cold and confusing. Emerging from the Pacific at Deception Pass, and pouring up from Puget Sound, tides collide like amorphous street gangs from some NorthWest Side Story. Jets and Sharks circle and lunge in the dim glacial neighborhoods of muckle and slew.

Menacing F-16s, eager to join some rumble, thunder low overhead bristling with weaponry on final approach to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Timing passage into the Swinomish requires study and patience, particularly if the destination is the port at La Conner, a few miles north of the channel entry from Skagit Bay.

We consult times of tides, customs of currents, and ambiguous advice in pilots and guides, staging our departure for best advantage.

Owing to the salty river coursing past the La Conner waterfront Jupiter must arrive there at or near slack water. And, in order to find 60′ of reserved space along the dock, we should arrive on the afternoon slack.

Bizarrely, at La Conner, slack water occurs sometime between 2½ and 4 hours after high or low tide there, leaving much to instinct or blind luck.

Much entertainment can be had on the waterfront observing skippers attempting to land vessels on the dock during periods of rapid flow.

Boats delineate the linear town of La Conner. Rainbow Bridge, now painted orange, spans the waterway.

Jupiter completes the hour-long passage to La Conner on a rising tide without experiencing shoaling or other dire hazards forecast in cruising guides. We make an uneventful landing at our assigned float and quietly tie up, disappointing everyone pretending not to watch.

La Conner, found its French definite article in the initials of Louisa Ann Conner, wife of an early settler. Once a minor 19th century trading post, after it was endowed by engineers with the Swinomish Channel in 1937, it became a minor 20th century trading post.

A good meal of mussels and clams ashore and a promenade in Old Town prepared us for a quiet night alongside the unquiet waters. Next morning Jupiter nudges her bow easily into the falling tidal stream, northbound.

During the 7 mile passage into Padilla Bay views of tidy waterside homes give way to sprawling tidal flats with gulls, bald eagles and vast numbers of blue heron, lined up shoreside while a fishy buffet moves past like sushi on a conveyor belt.

The immense oil refinery at Anacortes and its fleet of petroleum tankers soon dominate the view, and we are through. The Swinomish Channel washes out in our wake.


“To live fully, one must be free, but to be free, one must give up security. Therefore, to live one must be ready to die. How’s that for a paradox?”

Tom Robbins, resident of La Conner.
~ Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

NorthWest UpSide Apple Muffins

The apple is the official state fruit of Washington, and almost 70% of U.S. apples grown for fresh consumption originate here.

Heat the oven to 375°f.

Peel, core and slice three apples and combine in a skillet with 4oz each of butter and brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Simmer until apples begin to soften and are coated in a thick caramel. Distribute fruit and sauce evenly amongst muffin cups.

In a mixing bowl whisk together two cups flour, ¾ cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl mix until smooth a stick of melted butter with 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, and ¾ cup sour cream. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold together into a thick batter. Mete out evenly into the muffin cups atop the caramelized apples.

Bake until the muffins are slightly puffed and firm, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before turning out upside down with the caramelized apples on top.


This handsome Bull Kelp found us at anchor in Skagit Bay where currents wrapped it onto Jupiter’s starboard rudder.



Logs

Baited by rumors of a famed Farmers Market, we are reeled in and landed at the Port of Olympia where we make our ultimate southing in Puget’s sound.

We find a berth with a view on the seawall at Swantown Marina named by a muddled ornithologist for the large numbers of geese resident in the port.

Within our prospect is Weyerhaeuser’s vast log marshalling yard, defying the reality that many trees yet stand in Washington State.

Olympia’s working waterfront, legislated at the State Capitol Building which looms over all, is a port brokering many large things; this per the Port of Olympia Compendia.

Exporting logs and lumber to China for construction; cattle, specifically heifers for Vietnam’s child nutrition goal of one glass of milk per day; military and humanitarian apparatus wherever merited; automobiles to Asia; heavy steel pipes, sheets and wire coils in unimaginable sizes to tiny countries.

Importing gold ore from Europe for processing into jewelry of unimaginable sizes, windmill blades from Brazil, automobiles from Asia, ceramic proppant from China for fracking, and premium organic grain from Turkey to feed heifers before export to Vietnam.

All we can see from our berth is logs.

Logging aboard Jupiter is also serious business, and many types of logs are fastidiously maintained.

Ships Log

Our traditional Ships Log is a manuscript register of each day’s navigation including times, distances, locations, notes on sightings or shenanigans encountered. We collect basic meteorological observations which appear routinely dull except when they are not. Occasionally fascinating, sometimes even alarming.

We record trip times, averages, fuel consumption, as well as water rendered fresh by our reverse osmosis plant, and remaining boat fuel. Faults with equipment and service performed on board is fully documented.

There has only been one day – June 20th, 2020, during Jupiter’s eight year chronicle when everything aboard this vessel performed perfectly. We are normally satisfied to quote our sage boat broker “many thing work!”

Judgement of harbors and anchorages is freely opined, and crew confessions are carefully crafted.

Engine Logs

Our two Caterpillar C12 engines utilize helm instruments that display current trip and lifetime data. Presently our port engine trip log is unavailable and the totals screen reports corrupted or missing information.

Photo Log

We photograph everything, boat parts, whole boats, mariners with bad haircuts, destinations and locations, sunrise and storms, seafoods and latitudes. Our cloud storage now holds over 15,000 images from Jupiter’s wanderings. A rare few appear in Jupiter’s Way

The B(oat)LOG

This blog is our choice way, since 2018, of recording and sharing some of the adventures of Jupiter and her crew. At year’s end the blog is bound into a printed volume, and shelved for accumulation of dust.

Aside from the shipboard journey, blogging is our chief form of entertainment, particularly the amusement of one another with ideas that cannot be published.

Garmin inReach

A small but powerful satellite communicator quietly occupies a corner window of the pilot house and provides a record of Jupiter’s track and a real time look at current location at the Find Jupiter tab on the website.

This little handheld can send and receive texts, acquire marine weather reports, and transmit an SOS.

Navionics App Recordings

A chart record of each day’s voyage is made using a Navionics Marine App on an iPad, and this image is saved as a dated photo providing an overall perspective.

It is simple to select a navigational or sonar chart and to add a satellite overlay or any annotations.

Knitting The Weather Log

A project underway this summer aims to register the weather and sea conditions during the cruise. At day’s end three rows are woven with color and texture coded yarns to log the sea state, sky state and precipitation.

Yarn key for marine weather knitting. Running out of “calm” wool!

This project was inspired by women in occupied territory during WWII who sat in train stations, appearing innocent, but observing enemy troop movements and knitting coded patterns into scarves. These were ultimately sent to MI6 for decoding.

Sleeping Like a Log

Of all this information, only the smallest fraction ever finds a function, but to the keen and curious mariner it seems pertinent and necessary. When all that is done, we sleep well… like logs.


Capitol Clams

Our fresh manila clams were harvested in Little Skookum Inlet in the nether reaches of South Puget Sound on the morning that we met them, and sold to us by their growers at the Olympia Farmers’ Market.

Soak clams in fresh water for about half an hour to stimulate them to void any sand and grit from their shells.

Add two cups of chicken stock to a large pot, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile chop an abundance of garlic and some sweet onion, and sauté until soft in butter. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce by half, then add chicken stock and cream, and season well with black pepper, hot pepper flakes and white miso. Hold at a very low simmer until clams are cooked.

Lift clams out of fresh water by hand, leaving behind all silt, and transfer into pot with stock. Cover and keep stock at sufficient boil to produce ample steam until all clam shells have opened. Pour some of the resulting liquid into the cream sauce and stir to combine.

Place opened clams into warm bowls and generously ladle sauce over them. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve with wedges of lime and warm bread.


Gig Harbor Gig

Jupiter, with two lazy laggards aboard, is not keeping pace with Captain George Vancouver.

During May and June of 1792, Vancouver and his speed surveyors accomplished the coastal reckoning of the entirety of what is now Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Lieutenant Peter Puget completed mapping the inner reaches of the sound in just eight days, and Captain Vancouver rewarded his industry by bestowing Puget’s name upon the waterways.

Jupiter has arrived at Gig Harbor, an attractive salty suburb of Tacoma at Kitsap, the Great Peninsula across the Tacoma Narrows bridge. The moniker derives from a ship’s gig; a light, narrow boat, that could cross the bar into the protected harbor.

Moorage for transient vessels is currently unavailable at Gig Harbor marinas due to Covid concerns, but Jupiter finds an ideal position, swinging lazily on anchor in the center of the harbor at the confluence of marine traffic and aestival activity.

From morning until dark a lively variety of small water-craft plies this concourse: Hobie cats, row boats, skulls, sailing dinghies, canoes, out-rigger canoes, canoe sprints, kayaks, pedal-boards and paddle boards in a chaotic convergence with every manner of powered vessel. At times the panorama of so many people, and their dogs, sitting and standing on the velvety waters suggests a sunny Sunday at the town park.

Seals, unfazed by all, graze throughout the bay. A squadron of geese strafes the harbor repeatedly, and gulls wheel and cry.

Docks and boathouses filled with fleets of inert white yachts, often used as seasonal float-homes, and attractive homes with private floats, ring the protected bay. Yacht clubs from Seattle, Tacoma and elsewhere retain harbor outstation moorage for their members’ boats.

Days of intense sunshine, warm temperatures, and light airs have enticed throngs to this aqueous commons. Tides during this lunar cycle range fifteen feet, but the only harbor effect is the appearance of a larger or smaller shore-line.


Harbor Tomatoes on Salted Yogurt

This preparation of blistered tomatoes melting into cold yogurt evokes the disparate sunburnt watercraft atop the cool and briny sea of Gig Harbor; a metaphor for a savoury impossibility tasted alone.

Preheat the oven to its highest setting. Put flavorful and colorful cherry tomatoes into a skillet just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Peel rind off half a lemon in large strips then slice into thin slivers. Thinly slice two or three garlic cloves. Toss garlic and zest into tomatoes, along with less than a teaspoon of brown sugar. Bathe all in a generous puddle of quality olive oil and season lavishly with hot pepper flakes. Roast until beginning to char.

While tomatoes cook, flavor whole yogurt with smoked salt and finely grated lemon rind. Return to fridge while flavors meld.

Ladle hot tomatoes and olive oil over cold yogurt. Provide a spoon, or fresh bread to mop up sauces.


Most residents of the Puget Sound country will readily agree that Vancouver himself was a prophet as well as a eulogist when he wrote:

To describe the beauties of the region, will on some future occasion, be a very grateful task to the pen of a skillful panegyrist. The serenity of the climate, the innumerable pleasing landscapes, and the abundant fertility that unassisted nature puts forth, require only to be enriched by the industry of man with villages, mansions, cottages, and other buildings, to render it the most lovely country that can be imagined; whilst the labour of the inhabitants would be amply rewarded, in the bounties which nature seems ready to bestow on cultivation.

Bern Anderson – The Life and Voyages of Captain George Vancouver. 1960
Sunset on anchor in Gig Harbor

Boomers & Bivalves

After passing Port Townsend in May, 1792, Captain George Vancouver proceeded to explore the first long inlet he espied, and anointed it “Hood’s Channel” in honor of Admiral Lord Samuel Hood.

The Captain surveyed south with crews in two longboats far enough to confirm the fjord’s terminus. On charts he abbreviated the name to “Hood’s Canal”, which ambiguity has confused mariners ever since.

The long inlet is not, of course, a canal but rather a glacial fjord, and to paradolians it plainly resembles a large intestine on the charts, with tiny Gamble Bay as the appendix.

Leaving alimentary school musings behind, Team Jupiter follows Vancouver’s progress 228 years later and, along the way, surveys objects both dangerous and delicious.

Passing under the high western span of the Hood Canal floating bridge Jupiter makes easy way until confronted with Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, the largest nuclear submarine base on the west coast. Yellow markers for the exclusion zone buffering the service yards warn us to give this place a wide berth.

Three trident ballistic missile subs are in port. These “boomers”, in onomatopoeic naval jargon, are accompanied at dock by support vessels. Unleashed in the water are small, armed guard-boats shuttling impatiently inside the floating perimeter like vicious dogs.

A billboard, large enough to read at a remarkable distance announces…

WARNING
U.S. NAVY RESTRICTED AREA
KEEP OUT
USE OF FORCE AUTHORIZED

Our binoculars are burning into a military drama more fantastical than fiction.

The fairwater planes are the first visual evidence that a submarine lies nearby. These behemoth Ohio Class nuclear fueled ships are 560′ in length and carry a crew of 150 for tours of up to three months. Each has two rotating crews and is capable of carrying twenty-four ballistic or cruise missiles.

Leaving the Navy in our wake, the southern reaches of the Hood offer us tranquility, and we relish two quiet days ashore at Alderbrook Resort in the Skokomish Valley. We trek miles on trails and bathe in the ancient forests.

Sleep is deep and pacific moored to Alderbrook’s generous dock, free from cold-war threats.

The Hood Canal is an epicenter of bivalve aquaculture, and as we navigate its length we pass manifold floating oyster farms and tidal clam beds.

Having previously relished the lush oysters of Quilcene Bay, we determined to visit the source while heading north. The inlet lies adjunct to Dabob Bay, another dynamic naval operations area just a 30mm gunshot from the Kitsap sub base.

As we round into Dabob, yellow lights flash ashore, and red lights on Naval ships. Exercises are clearly underway. Hailing Naval Range Control on the VHF, we are authorized passage hard on the western shore, and thanked for our communication.

Beyond the Hood Canal Bridge we pass our trinity of previous ports of call. Abreast the west side of intriguing Naval Magazine Indian Island, the logistics backbone of the Pacific Navy fleet, we are again in military domain.

Here, southbound martial vessels are required to check their armaments at the door to Puget Sound before proceeding into the populous environs of Bremerton and Seattle. Here, northbound, is where they are re-armed, fueled and provisioned before dispatch on patrols.

At the wharf where nuclear war-heads and other munitions are transferred, we photograph the nimble attack submarine, USS Seawolf.

Soon we enter enigmatic Kilisut Harbor through its shallow circuitous entrance. This lake-like haven lies slender and protected between Indian and Marrowstone islands.

Indian Island, in spite of its martial role, is also a rich nature conservation area.

Marrowstone is a quiet residential island with Fort Flagler State Park at its northern tip. It lends its particularly fitting name to another local oyster in our sights.

Halfway down Marrowstone indents Mystery Bay, which name derives from prohibition smuggling. We find Marrowstone Island Shellfish and the Norland General Store, where large fresh oysters can be harvested from a cooler for a modest sum.

The bay and its businesses appear much as they did sixty years ago.


Fresh Grilled Marrowstone Oysters

Gather oysters from a local source and keep on ice until the grill is very hot.

Meanwhile, prepare a dipping sauce of mayonnaise mixed with sufficient lemon juice and smoked paprika to make it exciting to the tongue. Warm your favorite bread.

Place oysters on the grate, cupped-shell-side down and cover with a grill lid. Heat until the shells open (you will hear them popping, no need to peek), five or ten minutes depending on size. Remove from grill and snap off the top shell at the hinge, leaving the oyster and its juice in place. Drizzle with sauce and eat warm from the shell.

Note: Oyster shells do not open wide like clams or mussels. When popped they are ready to eat.

Fresh grilled oysters served with sauce, pan de bono and local Marrowstone wine.

Bedfellows

Nearby in the channel

Where the shark boats sleep,

Lie the oysters awake

All breathing the deep.

Water over-washes both secret beasts.

Some are for war,

Others for feasts.

Poems from Puget Sound
Sen Yu, ed. 1988, University of Washington
Jupiter at anchor off Naval Magazine Indian Island

Passing Port to Port


In 1792 Captain George Vancouver embarked on the greatest marine survey of all time; California to Alaska. In May he entered the waters of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound.

Vancouver was a wacko and a loathed disciplinarian, but also a disciplined prospector of coastal geography. His two ships, Discovery and Chatham, were manned by competent officers and sailors, hard driven in the pursuit of accuracy, at a pace that seems impossible.

Jupiter, without prior planning, appears now to be following in George Vancouver’s wake, beginning in Port Townsend at the gateway to Admiralty Inlet.

Port Townsend

Geographically convenient at the intersection of land and sea, Port Townsend’s growth was thwarted when expectation for a 19th century rail terminus was side-tracked. The great guns at nearby Fort Worden boomed in defense of Admiralty Inlet during two wars.

Today, well preserved Victorian districts attract tourists and fortify residents, many of whom are migrants escaping urban clatter. This is a peaceful place of human scale homes with evergreen gardens. Wooden boat building ties town to sea in lively and creative ways.

We wandered many miles through the neighborhoods in watery sunshine, and out to Fort Worden, now a state park, its expansive parade grounds encircled with regimental military housing, hidden gun emplacements, and dejected Thomas Point Light.

Port Ludlow

Whatever past haunted Port Ludlow has been entirely eradicated by planned residential development of bayside condominiums and cul-de-sac homes strung together by rustic trails and discreet roadways. A resort inn and marina define the commercial waterfront, and the bay provides abundant anchorage in a pleasing natural harbor.

A quest for eggs was fulfilled at the gas station market, paradoxically the only vendor of provender for those lacking wheeled conveyance. We spent the Fourth of July at anchor here, within earshot of the arrhythmic popping of haphazard pyrotechnics along the shore, their pricks of pointless light eclipsed by the lucent plenilune rising.

Port Gamble

The old lumber mill, which previously ruined this bucolic perspective of Port Gamble, is now gone.

If you wish to view an early 19th century New England coastal village visit Port Gamble. An old company mill town is now a charming company hamlet of attractive cafés and gift shops. Removal of the defunct mill was completed last year and now a magnificent waterfront site lies awake at night in fear of development.

In a warp of circumstance fibre-artisans flock from afar, hooked on the inspirational kneedle-craft and quilting shops that knit this community together. We observed a socially-distant cabal of crones weaving yarns in the loom of the water towers. These were originally installed to blanket the mill with water in case of fire.



Spangled Strawberry Spoon Cake

When fresh strawberries are abundant lightly mash a generous handful together with a little brown sugar and allow to macerate overnight.

At sunrise heat an oven to medium. Melt a stick of butter and whisk in by hand an additional ⅓ cup brown sugar, ½ cup tepid milk, and a teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup flour combined with 1 teaspoon of baking powder and whisk on until smooth. Transfer batter to a buttered baking dish, filling every corner. Pour the macerated fruit over the batter, and add a few extra quartered berries.

Bake for almost half an hour while making coffee and admiring the calm at first light. Allow to rest before serving with cream, for breakfast.


Ports and Passing Port to Port

U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rule 14 states that: “Unless otherwise agreed, when two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision, each shall alter her course to starboard so that each shall pass to the port side of the other.”

Maritime explorers, like George Vancouver, routinely called newly discovered inlets and bays “Ports”, and named them to flatter royalty or Admiralty superiors, or to honor crew members, friends, lovers, and sometimes even dogs.

To The Lighthouse

An advantage of living aboard at sea is the occasional ability to quit the vessel and explore a remote shore on foot.

Stuart Island in the northern San Juans lies disturbingly close to the forbidden Canadian Border, and Jupiter is anchored here in commodious Prevost Harbour where access to the Stuart Island Marine State Park is easily attained by navigating our tender to a trailhead float.

The park occupies a large portion of the island and offers several miles of woodland trails with onward connections to quiet country roads. The hilly, rocky terrain is deeply forested with immense ancient Redcedars and Bigleaf Maples. Multi-formed Madronas thrive on rocky shoreline hills, leaning out like littoral voyeurs.

Everything now appears in bloom, and the shadowy forest floor lights up with inflorescence. Tree trunks rise straight and bare to a high flung canopy that filters the sky, containing serenity within.

There are sundry points of interest along our rustic path, including the community’s tiny historic school house, now a library, adjacent to the one room “Teacherage” where enlisted educators resided, now an evocative micro-museum. There is a grass field airstrip so steep and narrow as to prohibit all but the most adept pilots wearing sure-footed leggy aircraft.

Best of all, and three and a half miles distant from our trailhead, is the Turn Point Light Station. The now automated light and fog signals are sighted to guide mariners, but also to keep a weather eye trained on our country’s turbulent water border using a robust array of video cameras and sensors.

“Walking away the hasty morning dew, mossy stone-stepping gloom with skies crowded with mistakes of our making, we squandered them a second time, tempered with bitterness, insouciance, and the sea-ware of sorcery soured, making charts for no one’s compass rose. Is it now the seasoned few who recover odes of predilection for destinations of archipelagos and oceans dirempt? They have had their visions.”

Virginia Woolf ~ To The Lighthouse

Jupiter’s Jentacular Eggs

Heat the oven to 350°. Blanch a small bunch of fresh spinach until tender, drain and squeeze out water. Chop a cooked sausage or two into small pieces, and the spinach, a handful of chives and any tender veggies. Whisk several eggs together with a little cream and season well with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and sriracha or other warming sauce to taste. Grate sharp cheddar, preferably smoked.

Stir the spinach into the egg mixture along with half the grated cheese. Fill well-greased or non-stick muffin cups half full with chopped sausage, chives and veggies then ladle egg mixture into each cup until nearly full. Top with remaining grated cheese.

Bake until puffed and golden, about twenty-five minutes. Eggs will begin to settle as soon as they leave the oven, but they keep well for several days, easily reheated. Serve with fresh micro-greens drizzled with balsamic vinegar.


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