Let’s Have Some Fun

Pleasure boating. We subscribe to this. If the weather or sea conditions or something about Fiddler cause anxiety or preclude having a good time, we don’t go. I closely watch the marine weather and keep Fiddler in ship shape. When including friends, good food, and activities in the mix, the pleasure factor in greatly enhanced. This two week trip had all of these stars in alignment. The weather was great, the sea was calm, Fiddler was up to the task, and friends, good food, and fun activities topped it all off.

Onboard Professional Chef

That sounds extremely pretentious. But it is true. Our good friend Diane, owner of Diane’s Market Kitchen in Pike Place Market, loves to go boating. We invited her to join us at the MBYC cruise to Roche Harbor, a weekend event with our yacht club friends. That also sounds pretentious, but this is an all-volunteer club that likes to go boating. We joined to meet like-minded boaters, to volunteer, and to enjoy occasional social events like this cruise. But Diane insisted on preparing all of our meals that were not provided at the event. We had no choice but to feast on kobe steak, salmon, and unbelievably mouth watering salads.

Our first night was at Deception Pass State Marine Park
On the way to Roche Harbor we passed under the Deception Pass Bridge

The MBYC rendezvous was fun as always. There were two boat renaming ceremonies with champagne, a pet parade, the largest crab contest, beer, wine, more beer, and a tour of the Roche Harbor Resort from an MBYC member who is the grandson of the previous owner of the resort. Every night there is a flag lowering ceremony at the marina. On the last night of our group cruise, the MBYC officers participated in the ceremony and then jumped in the water. That might have become a tradition since it is the second year they jumped in. Chef Diane had to return to Seattle and flew back on a Kenmore Air seaplane, leaving us to fend for our own meals.

Buddy Boating in British Columbia

Boaters are typically easy to talk with. We talk about our boats, anchors, electronics, and boat trips, to name a few topics that we all have in common. But occasionally we meet boaters that offer a little more than that commonality and are just plain fun to be around. We have friends like that at MBYC. We also recently met a couple while Dale was the marine park host at Blake Island State Marine Park this summer. They live in California but keep their boat in Seattle and happened to be anchored near Roche Harbor. After the MBYC festivities ended, we paired up with them and ventured north. The first night we went all of four miles to Reid Harbor on Stuart Island, one of my favorite anchorages with kayaking, hikes, and crabbing. I’m not going to describe our whisky driven, midnight ride to check the crab traps, except to say that we had appropriate lighting on the dinghy.

And then there was this. Several boats from the MBYC event also went to Reid Harbor. It’s a big harbor and we were anchored on the opposite side from them and were napping. Suddenly we are awakened, hearing our names being called. Not only did they raft their big boats together, but they tied their dinghies together, showing up on our swim step seeking beer. More fun than Christmas carolers. If only we had a spare case on ice to hand out. Next time.

Beer-seeking boaters (is that redundant?)

On to Canada and Montague Harbor. We cleared customs before leaving Reid Harbor, a very easy process with the Nexus trusted traveler card. Montague Harbor is in the Gulf Islands and a very popular anchorage. One of the reasons for its popularity is the Hummingbird Inn Pub Bus.

Obligatory courtesy flag
Anchored in busy Montague Harbor
The famous party bus

The bus stops every hour at a nearby intersection within easy walking distance from the anchorage and provides transportation to the pub. It’s not just transportation though. It’s a party. When you step aboard, the driver hands out percussion instruments such as tambourines and shakers. Then the driver plays classic rock music while we all keep the beat and sing along.  At the back of the bus is space for hula hooping. Cathleen entertained us with her hula hooping skills.fullsizeoutput_3930fullsizeoutput_392f

The pub food was good and then we followed the same routine on the way back. Everyone that goes to Montague Harbor should do this at least once. You won’t forget it.

Next we ventured back into civilization at Sidney, BC, on Vancouver Island. We especially wanted to visit the Thursday Street Market for some fresh produce.

Sidney has everything. We all stocked up on food and wine, ate at a very nice restaurant, had happy hours, walked the shoreline, and soaked up the heavenly views.

Rush and Susan from MBYC joined us for one of the happy hours. I don’t remember everything we talked about, but what I do remember is the wait person bringing us the bill and saying there is no rush. I’ve never seen such a quick group response to correct that mistake. Our three days and two nights in Sidney were great fun. Unfortunately, our boating buddies had to return to Seattle and to their j-o-b-s. That four letter word wreaks havoc on boating.

Back in the USA

We went on to Port Browning for a night where we had dinner with the couple that introduced us to MBYC, then back to the USA.  We stopped momentarily at Echo Bay on Sucia Island but it was way too windy and bouncy at anchor. We moved to Prevost Harbor for the night where it was dead calm and just as scenic. There is always a protected anchorage in the San Juan Islands regardless of the direction of the wind.

Prevost Harbor provided us a brief and welcome respite from socializing, especially since we are introverts. With our mental batteries charged, we went to the marina in Deer Harbor where we were met by MBYC’ers and another happy hour. I also dropped a couple of crab pots and was richly rewarded.

At the dock in Deer Harbor
One of two full pots

We crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca and stopped at Port Ludlow for more mental battery recharging before heading back to Seattle.

A really calm crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca
A calm and very scenic anchorage in Port Ludlow

These two weeks rank among the top pleasure boating weeks ever. Here is our track.fullsizeoutput_3935

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