Goat Island Boat-In Camping
We launched my 12′ aluminum boat in La Conner fully loaded with way more weight than should have been in it. You can see a pic of it fully loaded below. We had fishing gear, crabbing gear including propane crab cookers, camping stuff and about 100lbs of firewood. It was only Cheryl and I and our dog brodie and it was a gorgeous calm sunny day so I knew we could motor slow down the Swinomish Channel even with the extra weight.
Backing down the steep ramp into the Puget Sound the boat hits the water, Cheryl held the rope and I pulled the trailer out. I parked then went to look at the boat and start the engine then I noticed the boat was leaking! Water was streaming in next to the plug at a rate that was way too fast for comfort. This was bad times to find this out since the boat was fully loaded and we were 70 miles from home with minimal tools and only one plug. So I panicked, pulled the boat out as fast as I could. 5 minutes later another boater shows up at the tiny ramp in La Conner, luckily he had some GOOP and that sealed the leaking plug insert within 10 minutes and we were good to go. Whew! Crisis averted we would soon be on our way to the island to hopefully secure the prime camping spot for Labor Day Weekend.
I had just installed a whale tail on the Suzuki 15hp motor that’s 5 extra hp than I had last time I went to Goat Island in this boat so I was curious if I would be able to plane out with about 600 lbs on gear and people in a 12′ boat. Idling out from the dock I let the motor warm up as we adjust things to balance the boat. Then the moment of truth, I twisted the tiller handle hard and brought the motor up to full throttle. Hesitating to rev as fast as usual we slowly sped up and eventually barely made it on plane! I was amazed, the motor could barely do it but it was doing it. We were going 4 times faster on plane that I would have to go if the boat couldn’t plane!