One of the few places on our list in the San Juan’s that we had not yet visited was Doe Bay. We were told months ago about the resort here, with a great restaurant and hot springs to die for. Since we had recently decided to end our 2019 sailing season the following week, we didn’t want to head further away from Bellingham (where Meriwether will spend the winter) and when we were about to leave Fisherman’s Bay with no other place to go, we finally put Doe Bay in the game.
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.
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.
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.
Seabeck Bay was a well placed location for us to stop after a long day of motoring. There is a private marina in the bay, but we chose to stay at anchor not far outside of the marina-proper. At the far end of the bay was a nice shore in which Moose could get out and stretch his legs each day, although a fair dinghy ride away. The closer shore, at the marina, had a general store and a pizza place as well as some spiritual retreat across the street. Two of the three sounded handy for our stay. Kerri also saw that a whiskey distillery was noted on the map nearby, but they seemed to have closed down some time ago. I pretty sure it was the only reason Kerri even wanted to come to Seabeck.
Normally Kerri and I go out of our way to avoid returning to the same place we have already been. In my experiences, a return trip is never as good as the first and – even worse – ruins the memory of the first. We make some exceptions, but by a general rule we try not to go back too often. After our day sail Kerri suggested we return to Flagler and Mystery for the work week. Our planned destination was no longer looking so great so we called an audible and returned. It was safe. It was easy. It was right there… literally we were right beside the entrance to the bay.
Leaving the sheltered waters of Mystery Bay we had only a few mile journey across the Port Townsend Bay to get to our next week’s destination. Everything went smoothly this time with calm seas and a mild breeze. A few minutes before arriving I called in on the VHF radio to verify our place was open. It was. With some trepidation we slipped through the break walls and successfully parked Meriwether on the first try with no issues at all. Yea, this is easy when there is little to no wind. We thanked the two gentlemen that helped us tie up and paused to take stock of where we were.
The big day was finally here. We would have to cross the Strait of Juan De Fuca to get to our next area of destinations (we had a couple stops planned over there). In the week leading up to this day there had been a fair amount of concern about this sail. The strait can be bi-polar with heavy winds and crazy currents. It would also be the longest sail we would undertake, at over 30 miles. The weather forecast for the weekend showed a good opportunity to make the crossing without getting the worst of it. We would even have the current in our favor during our sail. Moons were aligned.
After a week spent in a marina we were both ready to get back out and away from everyone. Not that there is such a thing in July in the San Juan’s, but at least we could only have a dozen neighbors instead of a hundred. The destination for the work week was only a few nautical miles away, just on the other side of Lopez Island. As is usual for us, the wind would not bother to play nice on the day we left. We did get a small amount of sailing in early, but within a mile it had died off and we were the only boat on the water with sails up. So, the sails were lowered and the motor started for the final three quarters of the trip. Once we neared a half mile from our destination, the wind made sure to return in force just to spite us. What the hell wind… What. The. Hell?