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erps 04-21-2010 01:54 PM

La Conner, Swinomish Channel shallow spot
Swinomish Channel keeps silting up from the nearby Skagit River. The south end of the channel, just west of Goat Island is 6 feet deep at a zero local tide, so it's becoming unnavigable for sailboats at minus tides. We strayed to the north side of the channel last month. The current was eroding that mud bank and I was sounding it out to see if it might be a little deeper over there. NOT. 5.5 deep on a zero tide and we draw and even six. It made for an interesting afternoon. Nikko started touching high muddy spots. We had a strong current going with us and the boat kept punching through one little mud hill after another until it came to a stop. I centered the helm and we sat there for some time, then the rudder caught a little current swirl and the current caught the rudder and turned the boat 90' so we were portside to the current and the boat leaned over. We were down below solving soduko puzzles at the time and the wife started letting me know that she was not satisfied with our current situation. Here's a short video of the current boiling under the boat.

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blt2ski 04-21-2010 05:19 PM

I have a friend with a Peterson Islander 40, he draws close to 8', he always has issues going thru the channel up there. He has bottomed out more than once from what I understand in that part of the channel.

So needless to say, when we went thru there 3 yrs ago, spouse was totally freaked! we draw 5.5' and doing so mid tide did not worry me, but her......oh boy!


tager 04-21-2010 05:28 PM

I touched bottom once up there. It is a sketchy channel. The current flow is perpindicular to the channel, and it is narrow, silty, shallow, and long.

Next time I will try to take it at high tide. I only draw 4.5 ft.

Apparently dredging it doesn't get budgeted that often, so the depth is inconsistent.

Stillraining 05-03-2010 01:54 PM

Well at least you stayed upright..:D

Appears to me the problem is allowing that little bit of slit laden Skagit river flow entering the navigation channel just west of Goat island...Looks like the USCOE needs to shut that flow off with some additional sea wall.

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