Destinations: Eagle Harbor’s easy life

Here’s our latest installment from Three Sheets guest columnist Jim Burgoyne of SalishSeaPilot.com… 

Looking across Puget Sound to Seattle from inside Wing Point at the entrance to Eagle Harbor. (Photo by Todd Stahlecker)

Eagle Harbor, etched into the eastern shore of Bainbridge Island and surrounded by the laidback resort community of Winslow, has got to be one of the “easiest” harbors in Puget Sound.

Easy to find anchorage with good holding or a secure berth; easy to provision with groceries and most anything you might need; easy to find a good cafe or restaurant; easy to go ashore and engage another cruiser in conversation. It is also easy to take a quick ferry ride across Puget Sound to Seattle where things are not quite so easy if you don’t know your way around.

It’s the sort of place you will often enter to drop an anchor because it’s much easier than going somewhere else, which says a lot because there are other easy anchorages nearby. The only stress coming or going is avoiding the ferry from Seattle.

It’s also easy to wait here. We’ve waited for parts and for crew. We’ve waited for things that were sent to Seattle, but decided to wait here and ferry over to collect them.

Chartlet from Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Puget Sound. Not to be used for navigation.

Eagle Harbor offers a lot of moorage choices. The Open Water Marina is a one-of-a-kind moorage area with buoys, linear ties and anchorage. It was established in 2010 to ensure other vessels had room to pass by on entering and leaving the harbor.

The anchorage has good holding in soft mud which gives more confidence if you must anchor on short scope when the anchorage is busy during the summer.

There are also three marinas with transient moorage and power up to 100 amps.

Waterfront walkway along the north shore of Eagle Harbor. (Photo by Joe Lourenco)

As well, there is the city dock with some 200 feet of moorage space, including dinghies. Most vessels on anchor, mooring buoys or linear ties come ashore by dinghy here.

However, that won’t be possible from May to October in 2017. The city dock and adjacent boat launch will be closed in a rebuilding project which will enlarge the dock and extend the launch ramp. City officials say there should be room on the nearby shore to beach dinghies while construction is underway.

Looking west across the Open Water Marina and into the shallows at the head of Eagle Harbor. (Photo by Fotoman1945)

Once ashore, provisions are a short walk, as is the ferry terminal and a chandlery at Winslow Wharf Marina. The main street with restaurants, cafes and oodles of gift shops runs along the harbor.

About a mile north is a public library with WiFi, and nearby is yet another supermarket and pharmacy, and other shops including an Ace Hardware.

The Winslow area is pleasant to explore on foot, with a highlight being waterfront trails from the ferry terminal to Strawberry Plant Park. For trail maps and information about sights farther afield, visit the tourist information office at 395 Winslow Way.

(Eagle Harbor is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Puget Sound.)

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One Response to Destinations: Eagle Harbor’s easy life

  1. Patrick
    Patrick January 25, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    I love Eagle Harbor but I would tend to disagree that it’s easy to find anchorage. There are many private mooring balls and permanent boats on the linear moorage, which, coupled with the traffic lane, has resulted in not much room left in the convenient depth areas. In the spring and summer those areas often already have a number of boats in them.

    The public dock is often full. I didn’t know it’s closing (temporarily) this summer. That’s good to know, as it will put additional pressure on the anchorage probably.

    I find Port Madison is easier to find anchorage in (despite many mooring balls there too), and three other nearby anchorages (Blake Is, Blakely, Manzanita) much easier to find a spot.

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