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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor is one of my favorite marinas.

With Gale Warnings in the Straits and strong winds buffeting the boats, the flotilla moved to Roche Harbor in order to transfer passengers ashore. I waited until mid-day, hoping the winds would abate, but alas they were still very strong when the dock lines were dropped and we headed out.

It’s only five miles from Reid Harbor to Roche Harbor and the short exposure to the howling winds in Haro Strait was easy for Sea Eagle to take in stride. Once we entered the harbor and called the always accommodating Roche Harbor staff, the entertainment began. The harbormaster quickly found a slip for us on the funky, older guest docks, which stack boats two-at-a-time in long, narrow berths and we had no trouble docking the boat against the 25+ knot wind gusts. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for many of our dock neighbors.

Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor

The staff at the marina had their hands full, but did an outstanding job helping inexperienced boaters dock in the breezy conditions. The tall, narrow berths proved challenging for many, with little room for error, but many a gallant effort by the marina staff kept the boats from bashing and there was only moderate yelling/screaming involved. I know I shouldn’t consider that entertainment, but some times you just can’t help but watch….

The girls went off to the swimming pool, which they tell me is an outstanding (and free) facility, while I caught up on some boat maintenance and cleaning chores while water was readily available.

For dinner, we made Pizza’s on the BBQ, using garlic Naan bread, pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni and cashews. It proved to be an excellent meal and we had many requests for more and guests wanting to know how the heck we cooked a pizza on the grill.

BBQ Pizza.  Who knew?

BBQ Pizza. Who knew?

Nordhavn 47, Sea Eagle on the float at Reid Harbor.

Sea Eagle on the float at Reid Harbor.

With strong winds in the forecast, we decided to tuck into Reid Harbor on Stuart Island for a few days. Timing our arrival near noon, we found space on the two floats for all three boats (Sea Eagle, Searinity and Sea Ya). It’s always a lot of fun to tie up on the floating docks. You meet lots of interesting boaters that are also tied to the dock, but there is no access from shore, so it becomes a small floating community.

Sea Eagle is Raided by the Pirates of the San Jaun's, in search of chocolate covered almonds!

Sea Eagle is Raided by the Pirates of the San Jaun’s, in search of chocolate covered almonds!

There were several Tollycrafts and Ranger Tugs also on the floats. We see a lot of Ranger Tugs out and about now. I’m thinking they are selling like hot cakes to new boaters.

I don’t think I even had the engine turned off before I heard the request to launch the kayaks. The girls were really enjoying them and returned later as “pirates” to raid Sea Eagle. Oh My! 😉

The calm before the storm.

The calm before the storm.

We also launched the dingy and hiked up the long hill to the old one-room school and museum. The history of the island and the school house is really fascinating. Lots of characters and hardy souls in the past that settled Stuart Island. I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the Reverend Ted Leche’s Chapel, the once fast and famous Speeder, that sank in Reid Harbor. Ted was definitely one of island’s infamous “characters”! I had located the wreck of the Speeder in 2008, but wasn’t able to positively identify it until 2012.

As forecast, the winds whipped up strongly the following day, but Reid Harbor is very protected and we enjoyed our beautiful surroundings immensely.

The girls check out the local wildlife.

The girls check out the local wildlife.

Sea Eagle Anchored in Fossil Bay.

Sea Eagle Anchored in Fossil Bay.

Fossil Bay is one of the most popular anchorages at Sucia Island, in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. I had always shied away from anchoring there due to the very shallow depths (about one fathom) throughout the bay. Mike Japhet (Serenity) talked me into giving it a try and I’m very glad that I did.

Sea Eagle was anchored at the head of the bay, and at a low tide that was just above zero, I was showing two feet of depth on the fathometer. For those of you that cruise the Bahamas, you’re thinking, “heck, that’s plenty of water”, but I’m used to our deep NorthWest waters and was a little concerned. Fortunately, we didn’t bump and spent two days on the hook in a very idyllic setting.

Sea Eagle crew learning how to paddle kayaks

Sea Eagle crew learning how to paddle kayaks

We also splashed a pair of new (to us) kayaks and the crew thoroughly enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of Sucia Island.

The US Coast Guard showed up as well and I was very surprised to see them walking around on shore and questioning boaters. I’m not sure what or who they were looking for, but they seemed very serious, even following us in the dingy almost all the way over to Matia Island before deciding that we weren’t worth bothering.

Sunset over Fossil Bay from the flybridge

Sunset over Fossil Bay from the flybridge

Pacific High (N47) and Paradise Found (N60) at Friday Harbor.

Pacific High (N47) and Paradise Found (N60) at Friday Harbor.

For the Fourth of July (independence day), we cruised up to Friday Harbor to enjoy the fireworks and the live music at the Marina. Provisioning at King’s Market is always a joy. The music was awesome and the fireworks were spectacular. We could also see the fireworks over at Fisherman’s Bay and they waited until Friday Harbor finished before starting their display. So it was a two-for!

On Sunday a pair of Nordhavns showed up on the breakwater. Pacific High (another Nordhavn 47, without the flybridge, owned by Marc Vanderbilt ) and Paradise Found ( a new Nordhavn 60). Both boats were beautiful.

Friday Harbor Fireworks