Approaching Halloween in the San Juan Islands means solitude and open waters. During the work week we spent at Sucia (now our third time visiting this island) we did see a couple other boats anchor in Echo Bay, about a kilometer away. No boats joined us in Ewing Cove with it’s mooring balls placed in a narrow body of water embraced by Sucia Island, Ewing Island, and Cluster Islands on three sides. A small quiet beach was less than a quarter mile away for Moose to run a few times a day.
Returning from the BVI trip took more than 36 hours of ferries, taxis, planes, and airports. We were already exhausted from the week at play, but after the travel back we were just zombies. I knew I would need multiple days to recover, mentally and physically, but life would put me right back to work once we arrived back in Washington; from the daily chores of normal life (laundry, groceries, etc) to having to bring the van back to storage (involving a 30 minute Lyft ride), to making the time for some fixes on the boat that were put off ’till we were in port. We only had a four day window before we were to get back out on the water. I wasn’t alone in the pain and suffering. Kerri went straight back to long days behind the laptop to catch up on work after her first week off in… well, ever.
One of the wonderful things about a vacation (something I hadn’t had in a loooooong time) is the perspective it brings when you come back home. I came back with a lot of affirmation about the choices we’ve made—on our boat, on our current cruising grounds.
My days in the BVIs were generally spent waking before the sunrise to start the every important infusion of caffeine while sitting in the boat’s cockpit enjoying the view, and a little peace and quiet. Others would wake, rise, and join me over the course of the next hour or so. Even Kerri would rise at a reasonable hour, but only after her necessary in-bed coffee. Galley Captain Laura was often the one to cook breakfast for the whole crew, which we were all very grateful for. It was hot down there, even in the mornings, and with the burners going I could only imagine. By the end of the sunrise it was hot enough to start panting. For the majority of us, the first thing to do was jump into the water each morning to cool down. By 8 am it was a necessity. Eventually we would clean up, make contact with the other boat to decide on a day-destination, and head out to said destination.
Even those fortunate enough to live a nomadic life, like us, need a vacation from the daily grind. An extreme change of scenery and days without the normal work schedule to refresh the soul from time to time – right? When a plan to charter a boat in the BVIs for a week was plopped in our lap we went for it. There was a need for another boat, and skipper, so we were called upon to fill in. This allowed seven couples – most of whom we know from our RV days – to spread across two boats for a week of playing in the sun in the British Virgin Islands.
Before leaving Bellingham at the end of May – literally, the day before – we finally got our solar install finished on Meriwether. It took so long as we waited to have a frame built for the panels to be mounted on to. It was something that I was originally going to do myself, but once I started dropping a few brain cells on the task I realized it would be a waste. Not only would it not be as good as if the pros did the job, we would end up having the pros do it soon after anyway because of my shoddy work. Kerri and I agreed, why spend the money twice – right?
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.