Poulsbo’s muddy bottom

One of my favourite restaurants in Poulsbo is Mor Mor. The kitchen is inspired but not too hoity-toity to make you fish and chips or a burger if that’s your leaning, and if garlic parmesan fries or lobster ravioli are more to your liking, well, they’ve got a moderately-priced French rosé to pair with that. And that’s just what I was quaffing, the Admiral across from me with her Pinot Gris, sitting outside in a warm August sunset, when a squawking went round the corner, with the words: “broke anchor– Awesome– return to your vessel immediately.” The culprit turned out to be– not a piratical parrot– but the local constabulary, who were touring the town with their public address cars, seeking to roust the skipper of the m/v “Awesome” out of whatever tavern had given him succor from the heat. To no avail, apparently, because they made the rounds several times.

The local at the table next to us commented dryly, “The police don’t have much to do around here.” I was actually rather impressed that they had chosen this particular pastime, in the supposed absence of other Kitsap Kapers, since I had already been entertained that very afternoon by two separate stories of Poulsbo liveaboards whose boats had suffered damage while at anchor. Our own vessel was anchored in that mooring field. I was grateful that the police were thus engaged.

We wove the dinghy back to Selah, (The Admiral always asks if she “should ‘drive’.” The day I accept you should watch your scuppers.) and there they were, a tiny police launch, blue lights aflash, holding a large motor vessel at station.

Hospitable place.

And just the right distance from Seattle, I told myself later, as we rounded Selah into the southern end of Agate Pass, bound north. When we first purchased our boat, the man who sold us the vessel suggested a trip up here. It’s just the right amount of challenge for a first trip: A little current timing, a tight passage, some crossing of commercial lanes, a bit of close reaching, and some great food at journey’s end. No wonder so many love it. The Seattle Sail and Power Squadron was doing a rendezvous there this weekend.

We take the grandkids, who never fail to be both impressed and impressive at Sluys’ Bakery, boldly choosing the huge Viking donut that sits so fetchingly in the lower portion of the display case, and managing to get (most of it) into their mouth before we can get our latte order in at Hot Shots Java across the street.

But what’s with the water?

The water color of Liberty Bay

The locals say it’s Red Tide, but it’s more brownish, and bubbles with pungent aroma from the depths of the bay. The smell is bad enough to conjure up the conjecture of what so many liveaboards are doing with their waste and why the Port of Poulsbo’s pump-out station looks younger than its age.

We have been to Poulsbo a number of times over the past few years, but never has the water been so foul and uninviting. It’s everything that the town is not. I sincerely hope that it is temporary. Perhaps someone have some insight as to the cause and the remedy.

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6 Responses to Poulsbo’s muddy bottom

  1. Last week there were days that the water of Liberty Bay was almost a tropical blue. Some days the water in the marina is filled with sludge, and other days you can see the growth on the pilings, alllll the way down. So it’s not the liveaboards causing the mess, it’s something that occurs naturally, and not often.

    M/V Awesome wasn’t the only one to lose their grip (it hit at least one sailboat on its journey east), M/V Here’s To Ya dragged on top of the S/V Artic Loon (they managed to push it away) and then it headed for me. I was yanking up my anchor when the owners of the powerboat came to the “rescue” so I didn’t have to pull up and move.

    • I’m glad it was just an off day for the water, Courtney. Sorry to hear that other boats got hit. Here’s To Ya took on a new meaning, I guess. I get worried about leaving Selah on the hook in Liberty Bay with so many inattentive transients, but we share your aversion to tying up on land when we’re away from our own marina.

  2. Jim Lussier says:

    Here in Olympia, the whole bay doesn’t get enough ‘flush’ so it is copper brown most of teh summer, like June – Sep. On the hot days it smells so bad it will curl your nose hairs. ALl part of nature we are told, ALgae Bl;oom is what they call it. I think it will be better in the less populated, warmer climates…

    • jonathan says:

      That is exactly what happens in Poulsbo, Zooplankton bloom with not enough tide cycle. The Poulsbo Marina just got a brand new Pumpout that gets a lot of work, so just because it is new, does not mean liveaboards are polluting the bay.

  3. jonathan says:

    It’s Zooplankton

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