A kind of weird day. This is the last day of our 84-day adventure. We had a bit of time in the morning as the tide was low dockside and we wanted to have a few more feet of water under the boat to take off. We had planned to get coffee at the pier café but for one reason or another they didn’t open. So we walked up the street to the Little Red Hen Bakery and got some wonderful breakfast sandwiches and morning beverages. By the time our sandwiches were ready the boat behind us had left, which gave us the option of leaving without further awaiting the tide.
The trip down to Seattle as really nice, meaning smooth and calm, and we had some decent lock karma and, after a fuel up and pump out, easily settled into the home slip.
Spent a wonderful morning walking around La Conner so we could see the shops while they were open. Started off the stroll by stopping by the Reclamation Candle Company & Coffee Bar. Tonia saw they had sipping chocolate and we try it out! Good but still doesn’t compare to Barista Steve’s!
After the chocolate fix we continued to stroll around and check out the local shops. La Conner has a lot of local artists and shops. In one of the shops an artist was painting Italian landscapes on stone tablets. He was from Italy and we talked to him for a bit about towns we’ve visited and he knew all of them. If we had a house, we may have considered commissioning a piece but it just seemed a little heavy and bulky for the boat.
We finished up our outing by visiting the Museum of Northwest Art. They have a lot of very cool displays featuring artists of the area.
We casted the lines and took the short journey over to Coupeville. Our first time there but highly recommended by Steve and Barbara. We didn’t know if we would be able to get dock space or have to anchor so we called the marina about an hour out and they said there was a slip for us. Perfect!
Coupeville is a pretty little town in the middle of Whidbey Island.
Since we did a short trip we had a good amount to explore. We started by grabbing some food at Ciao Food and Wine. Then Tonia and Emily checked out some of the shops and I met back up with them after dropping by the boat.
Then I made the girls trek up to the Penn Cove Brewery and Taproom for a nice beverage. After the food and libations were taken care of we decided the night wasn’t over yet. One of the things to do in Coupeville is to go to the Sunnyside Cemetery. It was relatively close(ish) so we decided to trek over after the brewery. The walk was on back roads in the middle of nowhere. So I sent a few texts to Boris and Mayli about Tonia and Emily taking me to the cemetery and if they didn’t hear from me they knew what happened. The cemetery turned out to be pretty interesting with a lot of history of the area and its settlers.
There was more hiking to be done on Sucia so we loaded up in the dinghy and headed to shore. Today’s hike was the one out to Ewing Cove. It’s a great little hike that takes you to the northeast point of the island. Tonia was on the lookout for starfish as always and we found a good one. Along with other various wildlife. We got a little picture happy again so here you go…
After the hike we cast off and headed to La Conner. We decided on that path so we could go on the inside of Whidbey and check out at least two more destinations before we call the trip to an end. Had a nice cheese plate on route – from the Salt Spring Island Cheese factory of course!
Upon arriving at La Conner we took a look at options and found there was space on the Swinomish Yacht Club reciprocal dock so we headed to it. The dock master and his wife happened to be there preparing their boat for an upcoming holiday weekend cruise with their club so they helped us dock and we chatted with them for a while. They asked if we saw Docktails while in Alaska and we reported that had happy hour with them multiple times. I had forgotten that Tessa was a Past Commodore of Swinomish YC.
After settling in we made reservations at Nell Thorne and Waterfront Bistro and headed into town. After a bit of wandering around downtown, it was time for dinner and it was delicious!
The previous day we promised Mayli & Boris’ son Michael that we would hike with him to explore the China Caves. This is something we had done with him a few years ago and it’s still his favorite thing in the San Juan Islands. We set of from Fossil Bay and hiked over to Shallow Bay. Once there, we traversed the shore rocks to the China Caves because it was low tide. We had a great time climbing around and squeezing thru all the areas.
Once we were able to extract Michael from the caves, we headed back to the dock so we could feed them lunch and say bon voyage to Ships N Giggles. They needed to travel back for work or school or some nonsense like that.
We also moved the boat from Fossil Bay over to Echo Bay and took up one of the linear ties. We did this because the upcoming low tide over night was going to be a foot lower at Fossil Bay and we didn’t really want to risk the already shallow water by the dock. Plus, Echo Bay is a bit more central to hiking the other half of the island.
After the short trip we decided to take another afternoon hike. We had never done the trail on the other side of Shallow Bay that went by the Lawson Bluff so that was the choice for the hike. It was a beautiful hike and we found some more climbing spots for Michael for future trips. We also got a bit camera happy so…
Tonia was thrilled to spend this time with her sister Emily and so happy she could make the trip out.
We started the day by finding a new crew member camped out on our kayak. A seal decided that flipping our kayak over made a great resting place.
In the morning we did the Turn Point Lighthouse hike before boating to Sucia. Boris and Mayli also joined in the fun. Partway into the hike is the Teacherage Museum so we checked that out. Also nearby is the honor-system treasure chest that had Stuart Islands t-shirts and gear for sale. Pretty neat. The hike to lighthouse leads you past the grass airport and then you arrive to a beautiful view of Boundary Pass and Canada in the distance, which was full circle as we passed this lighthouse coming back into the states.
Tonia and Emily decided to hike around and see a beach so I hitched a ride with Boris and Mayli. We found out that their dinghy fuel tank was not 5 gallons but 3. Therefore, we ran out of gas on the voyage back to the boats. Since we didn’t know how long it would be for Tonia and Emily, we called Steve and he came to the rescue and towed us back. Tonia and Emily got back before Steve arrived and laughed at us as they passed.
Once back we said our goodbyes to the Tyee cruise and prepared to travel back to Sucia. Emily had never been, so we wanted to go over and show her the splendor of the island. We also convinced Boris and Mayli to extend their vacation and stay just one more day.
We broke up the five-boat raft, and after we got all the anchors up, we motored over. Boris does not like to travel slow, so they jetted over and found that there was enough dock space for us in Fossil Bay. I was a bit concerned with the dock because the water in that area was just not that deep. After consulting the depth and tide predications, we determined that we were good for the evening and settled in.
With Emily aboard, we departed Bellingham and motored to Reid Harbor at Stuart Island to rejoin the Tyee Yacht Club San Jaundering cruise for two nights. As we passed Sucia we met up with Boris and Mayli on their boat Ships N Giggles. We cruised over and set the anchor. Ships N Giggles dropped their crab pots and came up to raft.
Tom Tidyman came over to join us and we spent a wonderful evening playing the card game Pirate Fluxx. Can you say ARRR?
August 28, 2021
The Tyee fleet came in throughout the day. We had already planned to add two more boats to our raft. When Coda and Symphony (Laughing Loon) got close enough to radio in, we started the preparation. Boris and I put together the stern anchor and he dinghied out to pull the boats into position and dropped the anchor. Tom decided that he couldn’t miss out on the fun so he brought over his boat Alexandra to join the part. Below is the final raft.
The rest of the day was spent checking crab traps and relaxing on the boat. Tonia and Emily also went onto Stuart Island for a nice hike. They scoped out the first part of the hike we planned for tomorrow, including the Stuart Island School Teacherage Museum, and had two encounters with otters, one under the dock and another that peaked around the trail at them and then took off to the water with its mate. And they met a mother and daughter taking their boat cat ashore for some nature time!
The Tyee group had a progressive boat happy hour that concluded a wonderful day in the islands!
We got up early and made our way over to Bellingham – a side trip to pick up Tonia’s sister Emily. It’s also the first fuel dock we’ll be pulling into since leaving Ketchikan.
The trip over was short and other than routing around tug traffic was nice.
Pulling into Squalicum Harbor we got right onto the fuel dock and took on 479 gallons. This is about 50 more than we used on the trip up to Alaska but that was justified given the additional five days of cruising we did in the Broughtons and Desolation.
The afternoon was spent preparing for Emily to arrive and getting some projects completed. We walked up to the grocery store and stopped at Goods Local Brews on the way. Tonia found a good blackberry ginger cider that she liked made by the Bellingham Cider Company. After getting the groceries we took a Lyft back to the boat and started getting cleaned up.
The day went spectacularly until an incoming boat tried to take off our bow rail. Unfortunately, Tonia had just showered, and I was in the shower when the boat arrived….so don a quick robe and shorts and we popped up to the bow to witness the other boat still ramming our rail. They were just about a foot too short for the slip in front of us while there was a whole huge space behind us. Wish they would have gone where they would have fit. When we arrived, the dock was full but as the boats cleared out the dock was wide open and had large spaces as you can see below, so we didn’t worry about it.
Shortly after the drama ended, Emily arrived and it was time for dinner. We trekked over to Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill for their last reservation slot of the night and a lovely welcome meal.
Here are a couple random pictures from the “hike” to the store:
The day has finally arrived to head back to the US. But the trip isn’t over yet! We’re going to spend another few days in the San Juan Islands for the Tyee Yacht Club’s San Juandering cruise.
The trip from Ganges across Boundary Pass was nice and smooth. We crossed over the border as we were passing the Turn Point Lighthouse and submitted our paperwork via the CBP Roam app. Having already done it going into Alaska, we now had our verified traveler and decal info readily available. The border officer called us within a few minutes and cleared us to enter without having to go to Friday Harbor. Yay! So we changed course and headed directly to Echo Bay at Sucia Island.
The evening was grand. It was awesome catching up with all the Tyee members that we usually see throughout the summer. For some reason we didn’t get many pictures that day but here is one of us anchored in Echo Bay.
And, finally, we were treated to a nice colorful sunset.
Rest day! Steve has had us on a tight schedule to get back so he can see his new grandson (not yet born) but the schedule allowed for a stopover day in Ganges.
The first order of business was transportation. We headed up to the marina parking lot and conveniently there is a car/scooter rental business there. And we were lucky. The scooters were rented out later in the day but we could get in just before that reservation. We filled out the paperwork, fitted ourselves for the designer helmets, and took a practice lap in front of the staff to prove we were scooter worthy. I’m wondering how many people wreck them doing the practice?
Off we went. We decided the first stop was going to be almost the furthest away and it had cheese. We zoomed towards the Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm Shop. Zooming may be a stretch. Should have described it as putted towards. Back to the cheese. The Salt Spring Farm shop is a wonderful place. Why? You get to see, and pet, goats and they have cheese!
About the cheese, they make wonderful cheese from, you probably guessed it by now, goats’ milk. You can tour around their property, check out the goats, and get some free samples. And then of course buy some cheese for the trek home. Hope they don’t get to picky about cheese when we cross the border tomorrow. Bonus! Steve got the call from his daughter while we were eating cheese: his grandson was born earlier that morning!
After we had some delicious cheese we headed down the road to the Ruckle Provincial Park. It’s a large park on the south end of the island that was donated but still keeps active farms so they have a wide range of animals for your viewing pleasure. We arrived right as the cattle were fed so it was awesome to see them eating and playing with the hay.
Our time was almost up on the scooters so we started making the way back to the marina. We made one last stop before town at the Ciderworks. They had so many options we didn’t know what to choose so we went with a flight. As with all beverage flights there are good and there are not-as-good but it is was a fun time and a nice location with a great view!
The weather looked good so we had made the decision to get up very early and make the long run down to Ganges so we could spend a day on Salt Spring Island before heading back to the States. And a long day it was. The longest of the trip in fact. We clocked in 13.86 hours and traveled 108.24 nautical miles. Phew…. but a very smooth ride minus a few ferry wakes!
After settling in at the Salt Spring Marina, we headed up to Moby’s Pub for a small bite to eat. We were joined by our fellow Tyee members Todd and Andrea. It was great to see them and see more boaters expanding their season up to Canada.