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Re: Agate Passage and Rich Passage questions
I'd suggest trying them at 2 knots the first time, then increasing perhaps 1 knot faster each time to find your own comfort limits. Agate Pass can get quite fast, it peaked at 4.9 knots in the last half hour.
Like erps I enjoy using the current to help me, but it depends on the exact pass too and what else is nearby. Agate is pretty straightforward, just watch for the shallower bits on the west side. Rich Passage is wider but twisty with rocks which means you'd probably want to avoid full currents. If you are going in higher currents be careful of eddy lines, crossing them will turn the boat in a hurry.
The timing of those two passes can make it tricky to try and do a full loop in one day. Next weekend would work, the neep tides are weak. If you go through Rich Passage at 9am you'd want to get to Agate sometime between 2 and 4pm. That gives you lots of time to explore and stop somewhere for lunch.
Going against the current can be made a lot more tolerable by finding the back eddys and staying inside those. For example in Rich Passage on the ebb the current should stay to the eastern side of Rich Passage and there is likely a back eddy running up the western side between Orchard Pt and Wautauge Beach. I don't know this for sure, just a guess.
During the flood on a spring tide week you can find a big eddy line coming off of Meadow Point just north of Shilshole Marina.
Deepzoom.com is a very good website for visualizing currents around here.
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