Sunday, March 9, 2014

Layover Day & Into the San Juan Islands

Friday:  a No-Travel Day

Saturday:   Distance traveled:  41.5 statute miles
                 Travel Time:  5 hours 14 minutes

We planned to leave La Conner on Saturday, but the day's forecast called for lots of rain and gale force winds in the area we intended to travel, so we sat tight instead. It was great to go for a morning jog in the alluvial plain of the Skagit Valley, meaning no hills, on which we hate running at home.

The rest of the day was spent on boat chores. This boat is named "Next To Me", the name of "our song" , and the same name as our Great Loop boat. When we sold that boat to Jack and Sara, we got their permission to remove the Name Boards, so mounted them on both sides of this new-to-us boat. We added the name on the boat's transom, but the dinghy mounted on the swim step completely obscures that one, so we've been meaning to put it on the bottom of the dinghy so boats coming up behind us can call us on the radio by name if needed. We used our yacht club buddy Jeff's dinghy to access our dinghy bottom to do the job.

Finally that job is off The List! Just in case you think Cathryn did all the work, and Bob was just standing around taking photos, let it be known that Bob spent an hour cleaning the bilge, a truly fun task, while Cathryn was showing Jeff the wonders of "Active Captain". But cleaning the bilge doesn't make for good photos.

Our yacht club buddy Jeff (who came on board for beers the prior night) had to climb his mast this morning to retrieved  his portable anchor light. We were impressed how quickly he assembled what we think of as "mountain climbing gear" (prussiks, climbing harness and rope/line) and scrambled up!

Yesterday afternoon a 43-foot DeFever "Gray Hawk" owned by Canadians Bob and Marilyn, pulled into the dock opposite from us, and after introductions, they invited Jeff and us to join them for cocktail hour.

Bob and Marilyn are both good cooks: we had hot-out-of-the-pan sauteed garlic mushrooms followed by hot-out-of-the-oven homemade cinnamon rolls to go with our drinks: yum! Bob and Marilyn live on their boat full-time for 6 months each year, still doing consulting work part-time, mostly by computer and traveling, so not tied to an office, and they live in Saskatchewan the rest of the year. Nice folks and an enjoyable visit.

Sunday dawned cloudy and calm, and we got a slightly late start due to Daylight Savings Time, meaning we slept past 7am. So at 8:45 we said goodbye to Jeff, Bob and Marilyn and headed north and west, winding our way through the San Juan Islands. We've been here every August since 2005 except for the year we were away on the Great Loop, and it's a beautiful, busy area in summer months. By contrast, there are very few boats this time of year.

We've never seen a Washington State Ferry on the hard before, but that's what this is. Guess they've gotta do their out-of-the-water maintenance somewhere, sometime!

The color in this photo didn't turn out quite right, as this is Speiden Island below, a small, pretty, uninhabited island we've circumnavigated many times, and which always has brown grass in August, but today was green!

The sky stayed mostly gloomy, but the water was calm except for Rosario Strait which had 3-4 foot swells for about an hour of our journey.

We arrived in Roche Harbor mid-afternoon, had our pick of empty 75-foot slips (for our 40-foot boat) and found only 50-amp electrical service, while our "tiny" boat (by Roche Harbor standards) is equipped with 30 amp electricity. There are zillions of multi-million dollar boats parked nearby, and new-ish 100+ foot boats are common.

There's a U.S. Customs Office here in Roche Harbor, so we stopped to purchase our 2014 U.S. Re-Entry decal, which we'll need later in the week when we return from Victoria, Canada.

After dinner we went for a walk around Roche Harbor, enjoying the longer daylight hours and public art.

This is a picturesque "village" on a beautiful remote island.

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