Wednesday, December 29, 2010

August - September 2010

We had the unique and wonderful privilege to host our close friends' wedding aboard Pearl on August 14. It was the hottest day of the year (of course!) so the bride and groom opted for shorts and t-shirts instead of the planned white flowing dress and tux (our kind of wedding!).
Sydney and Annie "hosted" the buffet line.

The bride, Cathy, and groom, Steve pictured here with Steve's mom, MaryAnn.

Our summer trip... sorry about the delay posting it!

On our 3rd, yes 3rd (we are so blessed) trip north we had a wonderful and up close encounter with a couple of orcas at Hein Bank in the Straits of Juan De Fuca. Usually they travel in larger pods, but I guess this one was a rebel.
Salty usually gets the royal treatment while we are on longer passages.

We arrived in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, and explored the grounds.

Bob, the kids, and Salty loved running down the hill at Roche Harbor.

After Roche Harbor we slowly worked our way over to Anacortes so Bob could get to work. Shari and the girls stayed in Anacortes for a few days and had some fun checking out the local park and town area. We were blown away by how many deer were roaming around the neighborhoods near the marina.

Okay all you hosers...We're in Canada now, eh?
Once Bob got home from his trip, we readied ourselves to go to Canada. Our first stop was Bedwell Harbor. Bob and the girls had a blast playing in the local resort pool while Shari kayaked down the harbor to a cool local grocery store.

The next day we moved onto Winter Cove on Saturna Island. We did some hiking and dinghy trips while there.

The picture above and below are of us dinghying from Winter Cove to Lyall Harbor, where we walked a ways to the local grocery store.

After Winter Cove we motor-sailed to Montague Harbor on Galiano Island. At one point, Shari noticed a funny sound behind us. Looking back, she saw that the kayak was swamped and about to go under (we had been towing it behind us)! Yikes. We stopped the boat as quickly as we could and sent Bob to bail out the kayak. Once it was light enough, we hauled it aboard. Never a dull moment!

Once we got into Montague Harbor, which is very large and spacious to anchor in, we were taken aback by how extraordinarily full it was. It was almost impossible to find space to anchor. It was Labor Day weekend, but we didn't think it was that big of a deal in Canada-I guess we were wrong! Luckily we found a spot to anchor near the entrance and got a pretty good bite with the anchor. Now wouldn't you just know it, just after sunset the wind really piped up and was blowing a good 30 knots. Now, normally this wouldn't be anything to worry about, but we were packed in there like sardines! We were alongside and behind huge (50-70ft) power boats that were swinging like Marmaduke's tail when he's anticipating a big juicy bone. Luckily, everybody held just fine through the night.

The next morning we made our yearly visit to the bakery boat at Montague. It's an old tug boat that used to be a ferry and is now the owner's home and business.

We also made a visit to the Hummingbird pub via the "pub bus". We had the added pleasure of visiting with our next moored neighbors, Rick and Ada. We all had a good time and headed back to our boats for a good night's sleep.

A trip to Canada would not be complete without a stay at Wallace Island. The hiking here is fantastic as well as the history.

We stayed in Connover Cove on Wallace Island for the first time. It's very shallow but the tides were acceptable for us to stay there this time.

After Wallace, we made our way to a new anchorage at DeCourcy Island. It's named Pirate's Cove and some awesome cruiser made a treasure chest that all cruisers can give to or receive from when they visit the island.
In the cove there are numerous sandstone caves carved out along the shore. We decided to spend happy hour in one where we enjoyed a bottle of wine (the kids got their own sodas), and enjoyed watching the tide creep up along with the many hermit crabs, and other creatures. We decided it would be fun to have our own hermit crab races, so we each picked one out of the water, placed it at the starting line and watched them race down to the water. Simple fun for simple people I guess!

We left Pirate's Cove the next day and headed through Dodds Narrows to Nanaimo. We anchored in Mark Bay at Newcastle Island. We love this island! It has wonderful hiking, sandy beaches, and many grassy areas to run and play. While playing at the beach, the rain began to fall...and didn't stop for 3 days! We thought this would be a good time to try out our reciprocal moorage privledges at Nanaimo Yacht Club. They were wonderful there. We were able to do a bunch of laundry and some additional grocery shopping.

The rain let up and it was time for us to head out. We anchored in another new bay, Clam Bay, which is between Thetis and Kuper Island. There is wonderful long beach there that we found all sorts of unique treasures (shells and beach glass). The next morning we were very excited to get back to the beach. As we dinghied to shore, Sydney noticed a bee. Once on shore we all soon had bees buzzing about. Well, I think we must have removed something sacred from the island, because the curse of the bees was upon us! The bees were becoming uncomfortably aggressive and we decided it was time to leave! Of all times for the outboard to not cooperate, this was not it, but, wouldn't you know, that's not how things work. So, here's Bob trying to start the motor and the girls screaming. I'm sure if anyone was watching us they would have gotten a good laugh! We were pretty panicked to get in the dinghy and be gone! It wasn't too hard to convince ourselves it was time to move on. So, south we traveled to Todd Inlet.

On our way to Todd Inlet (right behind Butchart Gardens), we had a gorgeous passage through Stuart channel.
We all went for a walk, including the dog, once we were properly anchored. It was a beautiful day and decided to check out the Butchart Gardens. They even let dogs in-gotta love that! It was stunning there! Our favorites were the sunken garden(pictured below) as well as the Japanese garden and Rose Garden.

Bob and the girls under the rose bush arch in the rose garden.

The next day we caught the bus (double decker!) into Victoria.
Most of our day in Victoria was consumed by our visit to the Natural History Museum. Definitely the best museum any of us have ever visited.
Pictured below is Bob and Salty coming back from their walk on shore in Todd Inlet. I'm not sure if you can see all the white dots in the water, but the whole inlet was filled with jellyfish! It was pretty cool! We hope to visit this anchorage again. It was absolutely beautiful here.

It wasn't long before we had to start working our way home. It's always wonderful to enter back into the U.S.. Everything is sooooo expensive in Canada! We checked back into the U.S. at Friday Harbor and stayed there for a couple of days while some undesirable weather followed us. Before long we were very ready to get out of the "city" and back to nature. We motored over to Cypress Island, one of our favorites in the San Juans. We had the beach to ourselves! We finally made a campfire (that we had promised to do with the girls all summer!). The girls filled their bellies with hot dogs and roasted marshmallows.
One of our very favorite hikes is to Eagle Cliff on Cypress Island. It is such an amazing view of the islands.

After 2 nights at Cypress we headed down the Swinomish Channel to La Conner. Fortunately, we had no "log" incidents this year (see La Conner 2009 if you don't know what we're talking about here)

From La Conner, we cruised down to Langley Harbor on Whidbey Isalnd. We enjoyed 2 fun nights there and then headed to Shilshole Marina in Seattle to see our friends there. We had a wonderful time visiting and before long it was time to head home. We are so thankful for a memorable and safe summer. We already can't wait until next summer arrives.