Posts Tagged With: San Juan Island

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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