Monthly Archives: September 2012

Back in Anacortes

Couldn’t blog the last couple of days – we were at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island, where it was actually remote enough that we got no signal on our cell phones. We stayed there two nights. I got some great pics that I’ll share when we get home. Now we’re back at Skyline Marina on Fidalgo Island where we started a week ago. The boat is mostly “tore down”, with just a bit more to do in the morning before Southern Star is hoisted back onto her trailer for the drive home. We’ll be cooking some hotdogs on the grill tonight before settling in to read and watching the sunset..
Like I said, more pics coming!!

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Getting Ready to Leave Friday Harbor for Rosario

We stayed two nights in Friday Harbor, and each day woke up to a heavy fog bank greying the skies and the Washington State Ferry boats blasting their fog horns as they came in and left their docks.
I cooked us a scrambled eggs with ham and cheese breakfast. We then spent most of the day hanging around the boat – Dave reading his book, and Stella doing some laundry and washing dishes.  She swears she was having fun. Honest.  You know you’re in a really good place if even those tasks are enjoyable!
Lunch was as expected – really good fish and chips at a small cafe that had seating on its roof up above the Ferry docks and gave a great view of all the ships coming and going. In the afternoon we walked all over town, window shopped, and enjoyed some ice cream cones. Dinner, on the other hand, was very unexpected.  We found a place called “Kung Fu Pizza” that served both pizza and Chinese food. Hmmm. Both were surprisingly good.  The day ended with reading and watching an old movie.  Fine, relaxing day.
I couldn’t believe it! Thursday morning we actually slept until 9:45!  I must finally be relaxing a bit! The body clock is finally getting switched over to island time. The morning started off very foggy again, but it’s beginning to burn off, which is good – because they have a 1pm checkout time. We’re disappinted that we didn’t see Popeye the harbor seal at all yesterday or today. He’s such a cute fellow, but you can tell he has only one good eye.  The little statue of him in the park area even has one eye painted kind of silver.

Well, we can see a ways now, so it’s time to get moving on. On to Rosario.

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Finally moved on … to Friday Harbor

I know we didn’t blog anything yesterday.  Sorry about that, but we were tied up with a bunch of new friends.  We ran into another MacGregor owning couple (from Canada, eh?) whom we met at Port Orchard at the Blue Water Yachts Rendezvous.  Talk about a small world.

Grace and Peter pulled into the slip directly across from us.  Grace had given Stella a lot of great ideas on how to outfit the cabin of the boat, so Stella was thrilled to show her how she had used all those ideas.  Grace had a few new things to show Stella as well.  A good time catching up.  The picture at right is Peter and Grace with their dog Drake.  The boat on the left edge of the picture is their OverTime – a MacGregor 26M that they run without the mast as a pure motor boat.  That’s what Peter says, anyway.  Personally, I think he just lost the mast somewhere between here and Canada.

We enjoyed dinner with them, at least until the flag lowering ceremony where Grace almost made us stand to salute the Canadian flag.  🙂  Dave and Peter had quite the discussion about Apple (they own an iPad, iPhone, iWhatever) versus Microsoft, and how much they think we need to catch up. We’re hoping they’ll see the light some day and come over from the dark side.

We also ran into a couple that stopped and asked us if we knew Ray from Blue Water Yachts and if Southern Star was one of the boats he sold.  We said yes, that he did our demo sail, so he was a big part of our buying Southern Star.  Tom and Carolyn had a gorgeous larger sailboat (a Panda 40 named Moon Shadow) and invited us on board to visit for a while where we chatted over a glass of fine wine.  They were just celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary!  Congrats!!!  They’ve been around the world ( by accident, they claim!)  What a sweet couple – we hope we run into them again sometime soon, but as far as they roam, it might be a while!

One of the neatest things about sailing is what a tight community it is and how easy it is to make new friends.

Later in the afternoon we finally said goodbye to Roche Harbor and made the hour and a half trip down the east coast of San Juan Island to Friday Harbor.  Not a “resort” like Roche, but a fine marina up against a really nice little town.  We were greeted by the resident harbor seal that we learned was named Popeye.

After pulling into our slip, we walked into town and had a great lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall barbeque place.  We spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the other shops around their little downtown area, and then enjoyed a drink at a little place on top of a building on the hillside where we had a spectacular view of the harbor and the ferries coming and going.

We’re back at the boat for the evening, where we’ll make our dinner, read a bit, and then hit the sack in preparation for another day.

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What a wonderful day at Roche Harbor

We started our day with a fine breakfast at the Lime Kiln Café.  We followed that up with a nice long walk along the piers simply taking in the beautiful scenery – both the boats of all shapes and sizes, and nature.  We browsed the “Company Store” (a general grocery) and the Gift Shop.  We wanted to go by the Marine store, but it was closed, despite all the signs saying “Open 7 Days”.  Lunch was delicious clam chowder.  While we intended to go out boating this afternoon, there was no wind, and we decided we were more interested in just relaxing instead.  So we sat around enjoying a gorgeous clear blue sky, read our books, and then went over the AfterGlow Spa for a relaxing massage.  We concluded the day with a delicious lobster dinner at their more formal restaurant.  We watched their sundown flag lowering ceremony, where they make a pretty big deal about lowering their Roche Harbor pennant, the Washington state flag, and the national flags of Canada, Great Britain, and of course, the United States.  They even fire off a cannon (which always makes Stella jump!) right before they play Taps.  The final curtain was one of the prettiest sunsets we’ve seen since Jamaica.

Here are just a few pictures of this beautiful place.  We highly recommend that any of you come up this way by ferry/car or boat and spend a day or longer in this idyllic spot.

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Day 2 Roche Harbor

I know we said we’d go to Sucia Island on day 1, but we decided to go on to Roche Harbor over on San Juan Island.  We didn’t decide until later in the day, so we really took the scenic route around the north end of Orcas Island.  The scenery of course, was still gorgeous.

We left Skyline marina around 10am after cooking some scrambled eggs down in the galley for breakfast.  As we passed around Fidalgo Head we saw an otter, but didn’t really get a good picture of it.

Going north we had fantastic views of Mt Baker still covered with snow up high.

We crossed Rosario Straight and headed for Lawrence Point on Orcas Island to make the turn to the northwest towards Sucia Island.  One thing that really surprised us was the “tide rips” that tried to take Southern Star for a spin when we crossed them.  We guess that they are the result of different currents that were split as they go around the islands and rejoin.  It’s pretty turbulent.  Southern Star handled them like a pro though!

Stella kept herself quite busy every now and then taking Southern Star’s wheel, but mostly in keeping our appetite at bay.  Every now and then she’d disappear below, and resurface with cheese sticks, or a sandwich, or just a refill on our ice water. We never really got to do any sailing today, the wind was either totally calm, or directly in front of us, and we’d have to do so much tacking to get where we wanted to go, it would have been after dark that we arrived.  So we chose to motor today.

At one point as we approached the end of Orcas Island, we passed Turtleback Mountain. To be totally honest, it looks to me like a Volkswagon Beetle ran over the turtle as it tried to make its climb up the mountain side.

Finally, we crossed the San Juan channel, and approached San Juan Island. Going around the northern point of the island we finally entered the harbor and radioed to the harbor master for a slip to spend the night.

Roche Harbor is a charming little village, that feels like you go back in time as you cross the bridge from the docks to the town.  There are a couple little stores, a few restaurants, and an old chapel that plays its bells several times a day. At the Madrona Grill, Stella had what she swears was the best quesadilla she’s ever had – stuffed with crab, cheese, and artichoke.  Trust me, Stella has had her share of quesadillas, so she knows of what she speaks!

I’ll share a few pictures of Roche Harbor tomorrow.  We need to relax and settle down and read a bit before bed.

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