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Old 09-30-2012
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Re: Puget Sound vs Lake Washington

Luke- going under the bridges if you don't need them to open is a piece of cake, if there is a big boat coming thru just wait until they are clear. You can see both ends at Mountlake so you can just go when nothing is coming your way and you'll easily be past the bridge before anything big can get in your way. I would plan on motoring your first time, I've see small boats sail through but the wind needs to be just right. Once you are familiar with it you can decide if you want to challenge yourself by sailing all or part of it. Don't worry too much about opening Fremont, it's good experience and really easy. Wait until you are almost right at the bridge and give a good prolonged (4 seconds minimum) blast and then a short one. The bridge will normally give a return signal of either a long and short meaning that they will open soon, or five short meaning you are going to have to wait a while. Even milling around waiting is usually interesting, good practice keeping the boat in one spot or making tight circles while watching the kayakers and power boats go by. Once you see how easy it is to get to the locks you'll be wanting to take the next step and get to the "big" water. Locking through is easy too, post another thread when you are ready for advice on that.
One more thing- the trip from Kirkland to Lk Union is probably going to take you a couple of hours (at least), allow plenty of time to get there, do some exploring and back before dark (it's getting dark really early now, darn it).
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