Hmm. An island approximately 10 miles long and five miles wide with 53 miles of shoreline, two excellent harbors, and an enviable mid-Puget Sound location just a 35-minute ferry crossing from Seattle. If that doesn’t sound like a nirvana for boaters, marinas, and private docks, I don’t know what does. Mind you, I’m no expert on boating since thousands of rides on jumbo commuter ferries aren’t exactly qualifying. I will also admit that I don’t have a natural aptitude for sailing. Before I moved here from Southern
California in 1988, I met my future in-laws on their sailboat and, during our short voyage, untied a knot thinking I was doing the captain a favor. Unfortunately, it was the rope – or maybe they call those things lines? – that secured the mainsail, so we soon had a bit of temporary mayhem on our hands. Needless to say I didn’t cop out to that goof to my future father-in-law for quite some time! But hey, what I do know about boats from living on Bainbridge Island for 34 years is that they are very photogenic and aren’t
camera-shy – so let’s forge ahead with this month’s offerings.
The above image, taken near Waterfront Park on the north side of Eagle Harbor, is a
perfect example of why you had better be up at the crack of dawn if you want flat and
glassy waters with great reflections. While I am normally a cloudaholic, this time the
blue skies and their reflection in Eagle Harbor made for a flattering composition.
So why is the sea usually so much calmer in the morning? The obvious answer is the absence of wind. A slightly more scientific explanation – emphasis on “slightly” – is that wind is created by differences in the air temperatures of land and a body of water. As the earth heats up during the day, the hot air rises and pulls the cooler air from the water to replace the rising air – thus causing wind. Close to daybreak, however, the earth has cooled about all that it’s going to cool – so since the land and the sea have a
more similar temperature, there is much less air movement. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it until somebody corrects me.
The above image, also taken on the north side of Eagle Harbor but this time near the iconic Pegasus Building, is another example of early morning calm waters. It also features a decent portion of Winslow Wharf Marina, which was established in 1982 and is one of five private shore-based marinas in the harbor. (If I’ve got my facts right, the other four are Harbour Marina, which is adjacent to the Harbor Public House aka The Pub, and three on the south side of the harbor – Eagle Harbor Marina, Eagledale Moorings, and Williamson Landing.) With 238 slips, Winslow Wharf Marina is the harbor’s largest and consequently has the most liveaboards. Its liveaboard limit of 50, I am informed, is consistently met and maintains an extensive waitlist.
In the background of the photo there are several boats untethered to any dock. Eagle Harbor happens to be the home to Washington’s only open water mooring and anchoring area, which was formally established by COBI in 2010 and comprises 600,000 square feet of moorage. Its official name is the Dave Ullin Open Water Marina in honor of the man recognized by COBI as “the public face of the liveaboard community.”
Let’s temporarily relocate to Port Madison, a deep water bay in the northeastern corner of the island. The side image was shot from the new dock at Hidden Cove Park right around sunrise (hence, the placid waters). In comparison to the flotilla always present at the Winslow Wharf Marina, the lone sailboat with diverting colors provides a stark but
Time for some quick trivia about Port Madison. In May 1836, Congress authorized an exploring and surveying expedition of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands. Known as the Wilkes Expedition, they surveyed the bay on May 10, 1841 and named it for James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. Thirteen years later, an entrepreneur named George Meigs built a lumber mill near the shore – and Port Madison soon became a booming mill town and eventually the first county seat in Kitsap County. Sadly, after an economic depression in the 1890’s closed the mill, the seat was relocated and Port Madison became a ghost town.
Nowadays, Port Madison is an attractive residential area and popular destination for boaters. The Seattle Yacht Club, founded in 1892 and one of the country’s most active and long-established yacht clubs, has an outstation in Port Madison, while the local Port Madison Yacht Club has been promoting family sailing since 1956.
We return to Eagle Harbor for the above image, which portrays the usual logjam at
Winslow Wharf Marina from a different angle. This shot, taken late in the day, is proof
that mornings don’t have a monopoly on calm waters. So why was the wind absent this
late October afternoon? Sorry, but I’ve already exhausted my limited meteorological
knowledge and have absolutely no clue.
I must admit that I am puzzled by how the hundreds of slips in the Eagle Harbor marinas always seem so filled with sailboats. Don’t their owners ever go sailing? If a labor shortage is the reason – and if you happen to own one of them – I’d be happy to be your deckhand free of charge in return for a sailing. But whatever you do, don’t put me in charge of the knots.
So we’ve progressed time-wise from photos taken at the crack of dawn to a shot taken
in the late afternoon – to the above image captured after sunset in the early evening.
Those with a keen eye may recognize that the vantage point for this particular shot was
the outdoor deck at The Pub – specifically, the table right next to the railing with an unobstructed view of the harbor. (I know from past experience that you need to arrive early and wait patiently before this prime table becomes available.) If the marina(s) look especially congested, that’s because it was the Labor Day weekend with a lot of out-of-towners. If you look closely, you’ll see that the masts and ropes – though aren’t they called lines? – aren’t tack sharp. That’s because I used a slow, two-second shutter speed since there wasn’t much ambient light. This accentuated the slight movement in the water, which in turn caused the sailboats to sway ever so slightly – but just enough to keep my camera from freezing the masts and their ropes. For this reason, the title “(Almost) Calm” seemed appropriate.
“QUIET MORNING II”
Our sextet of images ends with one more shot from Eagle Harbor. I sometimes use sepia tones with the hope of accomplishing what I call an “aged photo” look. While the contemporary sailboats may disqualify it from having a “turn-of-the-century” look, the fact of the matter is that Bainbridge Island does have a very interesting history – and at least in my mind, this photo makes me think of the island in the late 19th century when Port Blakely was the home of one of the largest ship-building companies on the entire west coast. Which reminds me, I need to visit our local historical museum on Erickson Avenue for another refresher course!
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NEXT MONTH: We will be taking a detour and going off-island next month! The choices
include Lake Quinault and Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula, and Cannon Beach
on the Oregon coast. Final determination to be made later!
Island Images Volume #5
Island Images Volume #4
Island Images Volume #3
Island Images Volume #2
Island Images with Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh
ABOUT ANDREW BERGH: Local artist Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh is a long-time Bainbridge Islander (33+ years), whose successful transition from law to photography began in 2010. After displaying his unique and evocative images at different venues, including the Bainbridge Island Studio Tours, the Saturday Farmers Market, and various local businesses, Andy took the big plunge in September 2018 when he opened his own gallery – Bergh Images – in downtown Winslow. His prints are offered in different mediums, including metal, canvas, and fine art acrylic prints; matted prints; and custom-framed black and white prints. Andy has an online presence at https://berghimages.com/, which also features his entertaining travel blog. The gallery is open every day but Monday, with Andy and his wife Carol regularly participating in the monthly First Friday Art Walks sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association.
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