After spending the work week at James Island, we left to return to our home port of Bellingham. The weather would do little to assist on our day of travel. With only a slight breeze from the South, we were – once again – left with no choice but to motor. On the plus side, the tides were flooding in creating a fair current that we would ride nearly the entire 18 miles. At some points our speed-over-land would exceed 8 knots, which is seriously moving in a sailboat. We arrived in Bellingham after just more than 3 hours on the water. We pulled into a slip directly adjacent to our old one for a three week stay (for the boat anyway).
Of course, this has been our luck lately; two days of winds too strong, followed by a day of no wind at all. It was that day – before the start of the work week – that we had to get to our next destination. So once again we motored. This has become the norm since we sailed to the bottom of Hood Canal. That was a great day of sailing, but it also happens to be our last proper day of sailing. Since then we are lucky to get an hour here and there during our weekly move. Motoring is not very fun. It’s damn boring in fact. Like driving down a dead straight Interstate at 45 miles per hour – except we move at 5 MPH, ugh.
Forced to move after three days on the ball (damn rules) we used up an evening to make the one hour motor into the embrace of Orcas Island. Half way up East Sound – a peninsula of water surrounded by the land of Orcas on three sides – is a ritzy resort that Kerri chose for a few nights. Rosario Resort & Spa is now off-season, making the marina fees quite affordable. Free showers, beautiful grounds for Moose to explore, and of course the Moran Mansion with a fine restaurant and bar to visit were all on the books. No less than three times did we take part in a cocktail or two sitting at the fireplace in the lounge. Kerri intentionally took no photographs inside the lounge, choosing to live in the moment instead, and I followed suit.
After making it through Deception Pass with our lives intact we completed the day of sailing (of mostly motoring) to get up to Shaw Island in the center of the San Juan National Monument. Our target was Blind Bay – on the north side of Shaw Island – where we arrived just fine. We poked around looking for a spot that called out to us, but nothing did. We ended up taking a mooring ball on a small island at the mouth of the bay – Blind Island State Marine Park.
Ah, how the weather has changed. Just two weeks ago the summer season was still alive and kicking. In Everett we hunkered down to avoid a big one-day storm which brought thunder and lightning. It sprinkled the entire sail up to Oak Harbor. In Oak Harbor we hunkered down to avoid a day of 30+ knot winds – which we both feel we are not wanting just yet. And now, on the weekend we leave Oak Harbor to return back to the San Juan Islands, the weather wasn’t going to play nice either. Rain and moderate winds were the forecast. At least with our new foul weather gear we are prepared to head out in some mild rain.
It wasn’t ideal, but we would have to get use too it eventually. Living in the pacific north west means it will rain. A lot. We’ve bee lucky that during this summer it has not rained much at all, but this weekend we had little choice but to sail in not-ideal conditions. To bypass the worst of the weather coming in the afternoon, we left Everett before the sun rose. That is right, Kerri got up before the sun! We even had to turn on the tri-color navigation lights it was still so dark out. The traffic on the Snohomish River – our only way out of Everett – was like rush hour traffic. Fishing boat after fishing boat, all stacked nose to tail on their way out to open waters.
On a calm morning we moved Meriwether to the north guest docks in Everett Marina to use the pump-out. There is even a small park on this side of the marina. Moose would surely enjoy some grass and bushes during his walks. We also had better access to the restaurant and distillery that we wanted to visit during the week. Allow me to emphasize the distillery. It was also a much prettier part of the marina – being newly built and all – to call home for the remainder of our stay.
We have an affliction. It is the nomad blood in us, as well as years of practice. It is a simple one, but one that can either lead to adventure or heartache. Not only do we have a very difficult time staying in one place for more than a week or two (a standard nomad issue), but the affliction demands that we take a different route/road/waterway than the one we took before. This leads me to our current predicament; go north the way we came from – past Port Townsend and across the Strait of Juan De Fuca on the western side of Whidbey – or go out of our way (nearly twice the mileage) to sail up the eastern side of Whidbey Island along a route we had not already done? Yeah… the long way it is.
The town of Port Gamble was about a half mile away, accessible by a dinghy ride to the boat launch. It’s a historic lumber town dating back to the mid 1800’s, though the lumber mill shut down in 1995, after 142 years of operation. Today – still owned by the mill – the town has been preserved, designated a National Historic Landmark, and is still quite active as a tourist destination.
After only a single night’s stay we would leave Pleasant Harbor, knowing we would have hours of motoring (and no sailing) in our day. Kerri even got out of bed at a respectable hour so we can get started early in the day – like so many sailors do around here – but the fog would keep us in the harbor. We figured if one could not see the exit channel at all, it is best to stay put. Which we did. For a few hours. Until the fog seemed to be clearing, at which time we made a break for it.