Friday, September 19, 2014

Long lost love

I forgot how much I loved being on the boat on the West Coast.  The fun of meeting people in marinas...having a glass of wine while anchored in a quiet bay...watching the stunning sunsets...spotting seals inquisitively checking us out...and exploring cities and seaside towns.  It has been 11 years since we cruised the Pacific NW, but it all came back to me in the last couple of weeks, and it's even better than I remembered.

After a couple of false starts leaving Idaho due to truck troubles, our friend Randy Cardon came to the rescue and leant us his truck so we were able to pull the boat to Anacortes and test the boat on the ocean.  We are keeping it at Skyline Marine Center which is about 90 minutes from Brad and Anette's place in Redmond, Washington and hopefully they will be able to use the boat as well.  The marina hauls the boat in and out and stores it in a huge storage facility which is just what we wanted.

There is Roger on the dock looking as the boat is lowered into the water
Tied up for the night as we stocked up on provisions. 
First night looking out the port hole
Brad, Anette and Magnus came and spent a wonderful afternoon with us on the boat.

Magnus is a great boater!

Magnus peering through the port hole

Brad made a fort in the lower berth to keep Magnus contained during his naptime....he was glad to get sprung.
Anette relaxing on the bow
The new GPS might have been tricky to install, but it was fantastic to use.  So much bigger and higher tech than the one on our last boat!

"Ra Ra" and Magnus walking on the dock.
Anacortes is known as the Gateway to the San Juan Islands, and sure enough, in a little more than an hour, we were anchored in our favorite spot, Reid Harbour.
A map of where we cruised

The reflections make everything doubly beautiful
We then headed into the Gulf Islands, and cruised to Nanaimo to meet up with dear friends: Barb and Rob Perry, and Jodi and Paul Ikert.  Both couples have been friends with us for more than 25 years and we laughed as we all remembered the "lean years" when we had young families.  Although we don't see each other often, we all picked up like we were still living in Midnapore.

There were laughs galore as we cruised to Pirate's Bay for a BBQ

Paul:  Retired policeman, lifelong funny man

Jodi, Paul, and Barb in front, with Roger and Rob in the back

Tres amigas:  Heather, Jodi and Barb

"Picture Perfect" walk around Nanaimo!  Really...there is this huge frame in the park!
Barb and Rob cruise around the Gulf Islands a lot, so we asked for a good anchoring spot to go to on our way to Victoria.  They recommended Glenthorne Passage on Prevost Island, and we had a fabulous time there.
Barb said we would see a beautiful sunset there --- and she was right.

Morning in Glenthorne Passage.  The seals were camera shy, but were fun to watch.
Neither Roger nor I had been to Victoria, BC since we were kids.  After spending 2 nights there, it is now one of our favorite spots to moor in an urban area.  It was was was fantastic.
Coming into Victoria Harbour with the Empress Hotel on the left and the parliament buildings on the right.

Parliament Buildings
Despite being one of the smallest boats, we had a perfect berth at the end of the main dock.
The waterfront is vibrant with buskers, night markets, great restaurants, parks, and we had fun watching the tour boats and water taxis cruise by us and all the huge yachts in the marina.  No matter how big your yacht is, it will always be trumped by a bigger one, so it's a game you just can't win, although many men try. 

The parliament buildings look like a castle at night

There was a chalk art festival taking place the weekend we were there with artists from all over the U.S. and Canada

People pay big bucks to stay at the Empress and have a room overlooking the marina.  This time we were in the marina looking up at the Empress!  (and we only paid $60 a night for the berth)
We left Victoria and headed back to the San Juan Islands.  We cleared customs at Roche Harbour, and then continued on to Friday Harbour.
After clearing customs, we picked up a pound of huge spot shrimp to have for happy hour

Moored at Friday Harbour

Friday Harbour is a great little village to walk around
Our last night on the water was back at Reid Harbour where Roger tried to catch some crabs.  He caught lots, but they were just under the legal limit, so he let them go. 
Roger laughing because he knows he will be back in the spring when the crabs are bigger
It was time to pull the boat back out and get it ready for winter. 

This test trip was a huge success.  The boat worked well...the weather was perfect....the radar and GPS kept us off the rocks....we had great times with family and friends...and the Captain didn't make the First Mate walk the plank.

"Vacation: a period of travel and relaxation when you take twice the clothes and half the money you need."
                                            ~Author Unknown

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