We have been having the time of our lives cruising in the San Juan Islands! The beauty is beyond description. We have been blessed with wonderful weather for the most part - sunny skies, mild temperatures, and wind between 10 and 20 knots almost every day. What more could a sailor ask for?
One day we were out sailing in Rosario straight heading for Anacortes on a grocery run. Jan has been working hard to get the hang of running the boat. She has taken to calling herself "sailor girl". I think she has come to the conclusion that steering the boat is not as easy as it looks. But she is picking it up quickly and doing well. I can see the confidence building in her every day. That being said, she still struggles with running with a quartering wind. Every 5 minutes or so she exclaims "I don't like this". To which I reply "it's good practice"... but that doesn't seem to help. Anyway, as we were sailing along I noticed a big black fin come up out of the water. Then a few others. Orca! I no sooner got the word out of my mouth and Jan drops the wheel and heads to the rail. Okay, I guess I am taking over here.
We first saw a group of 5 or 6 whales about a quarter mile away heading away from us. Jan ran to get the camera while I kept an eye on them. They were just pretty much swimming along heading south. Jan is snapping away on the camera when I spotted another group of 5 or 6, farther south and also swimming away. I am doing my normal scan for traffic and obstructions when I notice yet another group of 5 or 6, but this group was to the north of us and heading our way. So I stopped the boat and we waited. Sure enough, they came right up on us. And as luck would have it, they were doing more than just swimming along - they were coming up out of the water, splashing and having a great time! It was just a lot of fun... Jan ended up taking 418 pictures! I had the speed shutter set on the camera and she just held the button down. Here are a few shots...
We came back down south this past week heading for Kingston. They have a huge 4th of July bash so it was a great excuse to come "home" to visit with our Kingston family. We had a wonderful ride down from Lopez Island and anchored up in Port Ludlow. We aren't sure if Port Ludlow has gone downhill or our standards have gone up, but we were not so happy to be there. In any event, we stayed for a couple of nights to relax. We had a great breeze on the lay day so we went out for an afternoon sail - really nice - full sun and a good strong breeze to keep the boat moving and keep us cool. As we came back into the harbor we saw an eagle on top of the totem pole at the entrance to the harbor. He kept a close eye on us as we sailed by.
Eagles seem to have amazing eyesight! There are a lot of them in the San Juan Islands. I have sat and watched them quite a bit. They soar over the water at least 500 feet up. When they spot a fish (or whatever) near the surface of the water they come careening down (tumbling really) until they are 30 feet or so over the water. Then they level out, swoop down, and snatch their lunch right out of the water. It is really an amazing sight to watch. "Death from above" as they say on Avatar.
After 2 nights at Port Ludlow we headed for Kingston. Once again we had a nice breeze and sailed most of the way. The wind finally died out at Point Nopoint so we fired up the iron genoa and motored the rest of the way. We can not pass a lighthouse without Jan pulling the camera out. Here is a shot of the lighthouse at Point Nopoint (strange name, I know).
We got to Kingston 2 days ahead of our reservation for a slip at the dock. So we anchored out. Oh my gosh! Let it be known - Kingston is NOT a good anchorage! There is no problem with finding a place to drop the hook, and the holding is great, but the ship and ferry traffic make it by far the roughest anchorage we have ever stayed in. 5:00AM on the first morning we were woken to the boat rolling violently. We had the boat rigged for anchoring, not sailing, so we had stuff flying all over the place. We both jumped out of bed - I ran for the cockpit where I had a 5 gallon jug of water flying back and forth taking out everything in its path. Jan ran for the galley where we had dishes, bottles, and everything else flying around. It continued for what seemed like an eternity, but finally stopped. I guess we are up now.. no sense in trying to go back to sleep after that. So we set about securing the boat like we would for offshore passage. Then throughout the day, every hour or so, here comes another set. Once we had the boat secured it wasn't too big of a deal, but my gosh! Then to top it off, at 10:30AM Bob and Dave from the Port show up in the port boat. I think they were planning on giving us a wake up call as they did circles around out boat at a speed that ensured the biggest wake possible. What they didn't know is their wake was nothing compared to what we had been going through. Seriously, it was really GREAT to be back home and have them come out to welcome us!!! We road it out for 2 nights and then went ashore.
We have a lot to do while in Kingston. Dave brought our car down for us so we gathered our stuff and headed off to town. First stop was the bank. While we are standing in the teller line I realized that I had a really bad case of sea legs and was starting to feel seasick. It was by far the worst I have ever felt. All that rolling and pitching was like 2 days on the ocean and we weren't ready to be standing on solid ground just yet.
That's it for now - I will post some pictures from the festivities tomorrow before we leave.