Sept 17-Friday Harbor, San Juan Is., WA
Friday 9/17 2010
Sept 16 - Oct 06:
G-Dock, Slip #16, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA (long: 48º 32' 350" / lat: 123º 01' 000")
Anchor out around the San Juan Islands, duck into Friday Harbor whenever we needed or wanted to, and then on October 6th, cruise over to Anacortes, WA and our winter moorage. Here's what happened.
The fog banks rolled in and engulfed the harbor every single day, lingering until mid afternoon. For three days, we prepared for departure...oh, uh uh! When the fog finally relented, the rain took over and it poured buckets. The only place we went was walking (uphill, of course) into town. We went to Plan "B".
Stay put on G dock until we left for Anacortes. This worked out pretty well. We had front row seats to watch FH begin to change from a tourist town to a home town.
Sunset view from slip G16
Although G dock is transient moorage, we had one set of constant neighbors port side, Nick and Gail. Fourteen years ago they had traded life on land for sailing the inside passage and living aboard their boat, Destiny, perfecting the art of minimalist living for maximum adventure.
Because the ferry schedule determines so much of the island's life, the ferry traffic in the harbor became another way to tell time.
The full moon and the ferry.
Moonrise and Masts w/ Seagull
Lime Kiln Lighthouse, San Juan Is.
We brought our car up from Everett and had a chance to drive all over San Juan Island sightseeing.
Unfortunately, our season ended on a sad note. On October 4th, Cootie Garbonzo, our commodore, crew, and beloved cat companion passed away after a brief illness.
Two days later, I boarded the 1:15 ferry, taking the car to Anacortes. The day was spectacular and from the forward outside deck, I watched Rich and Norm navigate the Western Star out of Friday Harbor and onto her last cruising leg of the 2010 season. It was a great day to be out on the water.
I'll keep you posted. IES
Sept 16: Back to Friday Harbor
Thursday 9/16 2010
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA (long 48º 32' 350" / lat: 123º 01' 000")
Departed into the clearing fog at 11:55, arrived at G16 in Friday Harbor at 14:45. Traveled 22.2 miles.
We finally set out following in the wake of the mystery merrymakers, parting company when we headed for the US.
The Mystery Ship
The cruise back into the San Juan Islands was an amazing display of changing sky. Purple and gray clouds were punctuated with swaths of blue sky, creating a dramatic scene of light and dark.
The wind died down, the waves disappeared, and our passage through the smooth, dark water was like a scissor cutting through satin. Islands and boats played hide and seek among the transient fog banks; now you see them, now you don't. The word "surreal" came to mind.
And then, as we left Canadian waters behind, everything became something else. The wind picked up, the waves rippled around us, the threatening clouds fulfilled their promise, and a steady drizzle transformed everything into shades of soft, fuzzy gray.
This leg of the journey was the best sea-mammal spotting so far; a sea lion, a lone dolphin, and then a pod of striped dolphins. Good practice toward improving my wildlife photo skills from the deck of a moving boat in flat, drab light; a new direction in photography for me.
Rich contacted Nexus and we cleared customs while passing Flat Top Island, WA. This time there was no waiting for a slip at Friday Harbor. The season was coming to a close, bad weather was on the way, and we had our pick on G dock.
Sept 15: Lyall Harbour, Saturna Is, BC
Wednesday 9/15 2010
Lyall Harbour, Saturna Island, BC (long 48º 47" 840" / lat 123º 11' 308")
Departed Montegue Harbour at 11:50 on route to Irish Bay, Saturna Island, anchored at 13:45 in Lyall Harbour. Traveled 13.2 miles.
Irish Bay was too exposed to weather coming out of the SE. We moved on to our 2nd choice, which was more protected. We shared this anchorage with requent ferries using the dock just inside the mouth of the harbor and a mystery sailing ship. The ferries gave us long lazy rolling wakes and the mysterious schooner gave us an evening of music.
They had some kind of hootenanny, sit around the "campfire" and sing along up on deck for a good part of the night. When the evening mist turned to drizzle and the party moved below deck we were left with one question. Who were these guys? We never did find out.
The Mystery Ship
The next morning the fog was so thick you couldn't see where the anchor line met the water. Distant fog horns indicated the fogbank extended beyond the harbor entrance. We prepared for departure and waited about four hours for the visbility to improve.
Sept 13-14: Montegue Hbr, Galiano Is BC
Monday 9/13 2010
Montegue Harbour, Galiano Island, BC (long: 48º 53" 715" / lat: 123º 24' 233")
Departed Telegraph Harbour 10:55, tied up at buoy #18, Montegue Harbour at 13:25. Traveled 18 miles.
We left Thetis Island in gray weather with the promise of brighter skies in the direction we were headed. Oh uh uh! The gloom continued all the way to Princess Cove, Wallace Island, our first choice anchorage.
Drying reef off entrance to Princess Cove.
This was a great example of why we plan our daily route to include a least one alternate anchorage or port. Princess Cove was tight and crowded. The unfriendly skies held the promise of unpredictable weather.At the helm, Capt. Rich gave it the big thumbs down. We moved on to a more protected, less congested anchorage at Montegue Harbour.
1. The biggest cell phone challenge yet. Rich was checking out winter moorage possibilities and every other call had to be made while cruising the bay in the dingy, finding and staying with the ever elusive cell phone signal.
2. Success in securing covered, okay to live aboard winter moorage in Anacortes, WA (one of my favorite places), beginning Oct 6th for six months.
3. More hiking in the marine park.
4. Due to continuing bad weather further north, we made the decision to start heading back to the San Juan Islands.