The Pictorial Highlights of Our 2021 Cruising Destinations

11/24/21. Cider and beer achieve the perfect temperature on the back deck. It is so. The diesel stove is alight and filling the salon with a wonderful warmth and ambiance. In the bay and in the air outside the salon windows, there are loons, Canadian  geese, buffleheads, merganzers, pidgeon guillemots, arctic terns, harlequin ducks, scaups, goldeneye, western and eared greebes, gulls, and others soaring, swimming, fishing Aves going about their birdly endeavors… Can’t help but notice them. Active little bunch, they are. In juxtaposition to the cold beer and cider stored on the back deck, I noticed yesterday, on a walk about the village, that there were roses blooming. Go figure. Winter is just around the corner. No one told the roses…

11.26.21. The spring summer and fall seasons of 2021 have come and nearly gone by. Volumes of water sloshed under our keel during those months. We shared time with fellow cruisers and friends throughout the Salish Sea. Good times. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, delightfully spent with good friends at their home in Port Townsend. It was an avant guarde sort of meal. No menu. Finger food. Fresh hummus, crisp crackers and sliced vegetables, pot roast, roasted potatoes, steamed carrots, and gravy. Good wine was swilled and conversation blossomed. After its transit from GN, the pot roast and gravy were reheated on top of their kitchens wood burning stove. Our range of discussion was rather like word association football. A word is uttered and opinions fly. Of course being in our late 60’s and 70’s we did touch on health. Boy howdy, between the four of us, we could fill a small hospital ward. It is so. It was that kind of gathering. Delightful.

Winter is officially a few weeks away. We’ve already had several of our October / November wind events, accompanied by rain. At this time of year, boisterous weather generated in offshore waters, makes its way to us via the Strait of Juan de Fuca and around the Southern terminus of the Olympic mountains. In between the events, we experience glorious days of clear blue skies accompanied by crisp temperatures. This fall has been no exception to that pattern.

11.28.21 The Olympics stand shoulder to shoulder to our west. Silent and solemn sentinels, they have accepted and adapted their strategies to block severe weather from the Northwest and West from reaching Port Ludlow. First Nations peoples knew that Port Ludlow was a wonderful place to spend the summer, but not as good during the winter… because in the Fall and Winter, southerlies are the norm and they blow right up our collective pants legs. Modern peoples are not connected enough to weather patterns and topography to understand those seasonal relationships. Because of that, our marina was built on the North side of the bay. When SE, S, SW wind blows with enough force, there is enough fetch between the southern shore and northern shore to make for a bumpy ride in the outer marina. That’s where Great Northern resides. Last night was such a time. Wind 20 to 30 knots. Gusts in the 35 knot range. Wind chop in the two foot range. Great Northern spent a lot of the time rocking. Not that she rocks all that much, shes a heavy thing… but the outer dock we are attached to was rocking and flexing in creative, serpentine ways. GN is, of course, attached to that writhing beast. It rocks. GN rocks and dances about. It is a slow enough dance, but a dance none the less. It can be a long dance as well. That is the nature of things on a boat. It is nearly winter. The time of storms. We will have more semi-sleepless nights to look forward to. Imagine for a moment or two, your house, condo, apartment, cabin rocking about for 8 hours or so. Yes, you certainly get used to that movement, but the howling wind can be a bit unnerving. What if a cleat might pull out of the dock. That could start a casade… Not something most have to worry about. For the most part, it doesn’t worry us, but…

Enough of that… next up… the places we visited last cruising season:

But… let’s take a brief moment and look closely into a recent pre-cruising modification performed in early spring. This easily follows the concept that cruising about in a boat is nothing more than fixing boats in exotic locations, eh?:

The noble and proficient Master At Arms is always available to provide tactical and moral support regardless of the mission. He’s helping the Captain install a new galley faucet. Beady eyed isn’t he… searching for intruders…
6/9/21. Five hours after departing Port Ludlow, we found ourselves drawn to Hunter Bay on Lopez Island. It was our first spring anchorage. It was empty. The sun was out. There was a gentle breeze. Glorious. Day 2, friends arrive. We saw their boat depart Anacortes on AIS and called them. We mentioned we were anchored in Hunter Bay. An hour later they steamed into the Bay and anchored. Why not? So we got in the skiff and went over for a chat. As we were chatting, the third boat in the anchorage, a late arrival last evening, started to make preparations to leave. We went over in the skiff, convinced them to stay (it was easy) and come to an early evening dinner with the rest of us.. They did… and we are now cruising companions. That is the way it works…
In case you have inquisitive tendencies… the red upside down triangle is where we anchored for a few days, recouping from our arduous passage across the Strait…
The view from Hunter Bay up Lopez Sound. Ethereal, isn’t it… We motored up the bay and anchored to the left of the Island you can see on the right. The next morning after the fog cleared:
We motored past Leo’s Rock. What’s in a name we say? Who was Leo? The captain of a vessel that hit it? The name of the boat that hit it? Or just a future fantasy that expected a dog named Leo to motor past it… and wonder. Hard tellin’, isnt it? Lots of history flows past your eyes every day up here.
Leo didn’t really care about all that. It was after all, just another stupid rock! He was recovering from “brain” surgery and had other important matters to deal with, as in: ” Just get this dang thing offa me and I’ll be a sweet little thaing”. His inner thoughts are nicely expressed aren’t they? Patience, resolution, revenge…
Collar removed. Stitches intact. Ready for travel. Dinghy? Stand up paddle board? Who cares… just get me off this boat! He is in his travel sack. We don’t put him there, he just gets in it and gives us a look…
6/19/21. Back to civilization for a few days. Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. One of the thriving metropoli that are part of the San Juan Archipelago. Great grocery and restaurants,, brewery, whale museum, shops… it has it all. You can see GN resting on the outer dock watching the cruise ship depart.
Being a metropolis and all, one picture cannot possibly tell the whole story. Ferries are an emblematic symbol of the Salish Sea and have plied the waters officially since 1951. Before that, dugout canoes, sailing ships, steam ships and every type of boat imaginable have been used to ferry people around from the cities and towns to the most distant outpost.
6/20/21. What better thing to do than enjoy a few San Juan Brewery IPAs on the sundeck of the brewery. Leo looks less than thrilled, eh? Actually, that’s his intruder alert look… another dog had the temerity to enter his personal sun deck space.
This Western Tiger Swallowtail decided it was much easier to hitch a ride from Friday Harbor to Garrison Bay on GN instead of wasting energy flying… why not?
6/24/21, Garrison Bay just before sunset. One of our favorite anchorages… It has good holding and is safe in most wind conditions. British Camp was built in the 1800s and is now a State Park. Great trails, pear trees, place for geese to hang..
From one of the trails, a view of British Camp in Garrison Bay, San Juan Island.
6/25/21. Garrison Bay. Another lovely sunset. One of a slew…
Happy Dog. Hiking on a a British Camp trail.
One of the trails out of British Camp leads to the top of Young Hill, named for one of the officers stationed at the garrison.
And on a clear day you can see Sidney BC in the distance and Canadian warships making their way down Haro Strait.
6.28.21. Next stop, Blind Bay Shaw, Island . A delightful bay to spend time lollygagging… We visited Blind Bay several times over the season. It has a centralish location in the islands. There is a great grocery store nearby on Orcas Island just a short dinghy ride across Harney Channel. Good holding ground for the anchor, and reasonable wind protection.
Boathouse Cider Works, Orcas Island. Just a short dinghy ride from Blind Bay.
7.2.21. Next stop: Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island. The view from the Erickson Farm on the shore of Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island.
What are these?
The Girls… up close and personal.
Up close and more personal. So… you might be pondering… just what are these furry beasts?

Yaks I say… American yaks. These 3 have English names to boot… and are part of the American Yak Conservancy don’t cha know. Once native to the Himalayas, they no longer appear only in Asia. While there were only about 600 yaks in North America 30 years ago, the continent is now home to at least 5,000 registered yaks. They are quite docile, highly trainable, and are apparently very good at adapting to differing environments. In fact in Chimicum, a few miles from where we winter, it is possible to buy Yak cheese and other products… Who knew that there were yaks lurking about.

Prevost Harbor State Park Dock
Reid Harbor, Stuart Island. We did not stay in Reid this season, but hiked there from Prevost to see how crowded it was on July 3rd. Well… not very crowded, eh?
We hiked out to the Turn Point Lighthouse on the western end of Stuart Island… hopped in the dinghy, landed at the Prevost Public Pier, walked past the Erickson farm and yaks, to the very tip of Turn Point. There is a light house at the end of a dirt road. It is quite a hike out and back. Yaks both ways…
As we were leaving Stuart Island, we left Prevost and did a counter-clockwise rotation around the West end of the island. That took us past the Turn Point Lighthouse. This is the view from the sea from the North looking South. Haro Strait is to the right. We were on our way back to Garrison Bay. Why not?
Back in Garrison Bay for a few days to rest up after all the hiking, resting, reading, cooking, eating, sipping wine and slumbering in our gently rocking movable platform home…

That gets us from May through early July. That is all for now. Hope you enjoyed some of this, we certainly did and are looking forward to our next cruising season in 2022…

Blair, Les, and Leo

6 thoughts on “The Pictorial Highlights of Our 2021 Cruising Destinations

  1. So fun to review our travels!
    On Sun, Nov 28, 2021, 5:41 PM Northwest Boating Travels With Blair, Les, and Leo wrote:
    > frabl posted: ” 11/24/21. Cider and beer achieve the perfect temperature > on the back deck. It is so. The diesel stove is alight and filling the > salon with a wonderful warmth and ambiance. In the bay and in the air > outside the salon windows, there are loons, Canadia” >


  2. Thanks Blair for sharing this wonderful adventure. It’s breathtaking!PS how’s the back?❤🤗Elaine Sent from my Galaxy


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