Wind blows boat ashore, threatens to steal power

An unmanned, Camano Island-based sailboat ran aground early Monday morning just north of Mariner’s Cove on northern Whidbey Island.

The boat, which was anchored at Utsalady Bay, broke free and drifted across Saratoga Passage and eventually ran aground near piles of driftwood near Waterford Place. No one was aboard the boat when it drifted over to Whidbey Island.

“It steered itself toward Whidbey Island knowing Whidbey is a better island,” quipped Capt. John Aydelotte with Marine Services, a Cornet Bay business that pulled the boat from shore Tuesday morning.

It isn’t clear when the boat ran aground. Marv Koorn, chief of North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said the first reports about the boat came in Monday morning.

Koorn said fire district personnel tried to free the boat Monday, however, the weather and sea conditions prevented them from finishing their work. He said the heavy seas and the 30-knot winds could have caused his rescue boat to run aground as well.

“It’s not good to put two boats at risk,” Aydelotte said.

Workers waited until Tuesday morning to try to pull the boat free. They started at approximately 8:30 when the weather was calm. Eventually they freed the boat and towed it to Cornet Bay.

Aydelotte said there didn’t appear to be any visible damage to the boat and it wasn’t taking on any water.

Monday was a blustery day on Whidbey. Wind gusts to 43 mph caused lights to flicker and resulted in minor power outages around the island, as well as numerous reports of falling trees and branches.

The most activity was within the area covered by Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue. Firefighters responded to four calls and all of them were related to trees in the power lines. Volunteers responded to calls near Shangri La Shores, Lagoon Point and Greenbank. They secured the area while work crews removed the trees, said Joe Biller, Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue chief.

Firefighters from the Oak Harbor Fire Department and North Whidbey Fire and Rescue each responded to one call. Both calls, one on Crosby Road and the other on Madrona Way, were also trees in the power lines.

A spokesperson for Puget Sound Energy said there were scattered power outages throughout Whidbey Island because of the high winds.

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