Posts Tagged With: San Juans

And the trip sadly comes to an end…

Sorry for the delay, I’m finally catching up on the last bit of our trip and posting a last few of the pictures.

We left Friday Harbor on Thursday at noon after the fog lifted. We sailed through the Upright Channel south of Shaw Island and into the East Sound of Orcas Island on our way to Rosario. The fog was still present to our south, making a very striking background against which we saw other sailboats and the Washington Ferry.

Rosario itself is a resort that used to be a mansion for the Moran family that built its fortune by starting a Seattle waterfront ship repair business that served the miners of the Yukon Gold Rush and later a became a major ship yard at the turn of the 20th century. It was sold to the Rheem family (of water heater and heat pump fame) in 1938. Supposedly the ghost of his wife still haunts the place.  In 1960 it was sold to a Seattle individual who turned it into the resort it is today.

It was clear that fall was coming on – the leaves of some of the trees were getting quite brilliant in their reds, yellows, and oranges. Sad that summer was ending, but it was quite a gorgeous show that autumn made for her entrance.  It was the first time it really got cool enough for us to want to put up the complete cockpit enclosure, so we got to try that out for the first time.  It kept it quite cozy, even when we were motoring along.

In the evenings there we enjoyed some fine meals, played some Scrabble in their lounge, and Stella watched “Young Frankenstein” on her tablet.  For some reason she has to watch that movie every time we go on vacation.  I’m not sure what that says…  🙂

What a wonderfully relaxing vacation!  We cannot wait to get back out on the water for a trip like this again.  We’re torn about whether or not to put her back in the water right away so we can sail Lake Washington on the weekends, or leave her on the trailer so we can take long weekends trailering her back up to the islands again soon!  Decisions, decisions!

I’ll close the blog for now (until our next trip) with a final few pictures.  Thanks for reading!

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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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In the water in Anacortes

Well, we made the two hour drive to Anacortes, and arrived at the Skyline Marina on Fidalgo Island.  They were pretty busy, but they still got to Southern Star fairly quickly. They loaded her up on their “Monorail” sling crane and lowered her into the water.  I’m not sure, but she looked a little scared hanging 20′ up in the air.  Or maybe that was Stella looking scared.

Once she was in the water, we motored her over to the slip in which we’ll spend the night. We stepped the mast and got all her rigging all set up.

Then it was supper time.  We drove into town and had some truly excellent pizza at the Pizza Factory that our friends Mark and Dorothy would have appreciated.

We also took a scenic drive on the loop drive through Washington Park.  What gorgeous scenery.  Here are a few pictures of the incredible view from there.

Dave at the water’s edge on Burrows Bay.

Stella enjoying the late afternoon sun over the bay

And Southern Star at sunset waiting for us to come back to spend the night on her.

Oh, and for you geeks out there, this was written on a Windows 8 tablet tethered to my Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone.

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Hello friends! Welcome to our Southern Star Adventure log

This blog is to track our adventures in our MacGregor 26M sailboat Southern Star.  We bought her from Blue Water Yachts in March of 2012 and immediately started sailing her around Lake Washington from her home slip at Newport Yacht Basin.

The MacGregor 26M can pull a water skier!Southern Star is a “powersailer”, meaning that she can both sail along with the breeze or scoot along at a pretty good clip when the wind is not cooperating.  Check out this picture – she’s hauling a skier!

We fell in love with sailing years ago, when we sailed on an America’s Cup class yacht in San Francisco bay on a “three hour tour”.  Fortunately no visits to Gilligan or the Skipper on that trip! We took some basic sailing classes back in ’98 (ASA 101) in Illinois on the Andiamo.  We vacationed on Kentucky Lake a few years later on a Hunter 31 and loved it.  Now we finally have our own to go out in any time we please.

San Juan IslandsIn September 2012, we plan on taking 10 days to take her to the San Juan Islands and explore the many marinas, coves, anchorages and bays.

Picture of San Juan Islands by Robert Demar Photography

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