Next stop on our first adventure to the San Juan Islands was Reid Harbor. When looking at how to exit Roche and head towards Stuart Island just north of us where Reid Harbor was located, we noted there were two exit points from Roche. In looking at the charts, and chatting with others, we were advised that really the route was to take the West side of Pearl Island as it was wider and deeper. So after pumping out at the dock, topping off our water tanks, and grabbing a six pack of beer from the store we took off to our next destination.
We headed through the narrow passage past the island and then I paused while Keith went down below to double check the charts and I scoped out the area looking for navigational markers. When we looked at the chart we knew there were several dangerous areas to cross in a sailboat, with a draft of nearly 7 and a half feet, places where a small powerboat might be able to cross, so just following what others were doing would quickly get us in trouble. In addition, we were hand navigating because our tablet required internet (that wasn’t available) and we haven’t upgraded our onboard navigation yet. So we pulled out the binoculars and started searching for the buoys – one green over red and one all green. Once we spotted these we were able to determine we had plenty of room to play around and we unfurled the sails for some light air sailing.
Looking around we saw friends aboard the powerboat Rebecca Rose off in the distance and headed off that direction but as we were making no more than 3 knots and they were chugging along at 5 or so, they left us in the dust fairly quickly. After a bit we tacked over and started to watch for the entrance to the harbor and the small islands on the right side of the entrance. We had Loren on the bow with binoculars looking around, partially to keep him entertained but also to spot for logs in the water. We kept seeing very large ones (half the length of a telephone pole) floating around and didn’t want to encounter one directly. As we passed by the entrance to scope it out, we were excited to see fellow member Steve coming out of John’s Pass. He had headed out earlier then everyone from Roche to enjoy some sailing and it was a fun to be syncing up with him once more as we headed into the harbor entrance. Once within we could see that there was one primary float off to the side and several mooring balls that were available. The majority of the other club members were on the free float but there were a few folks who had grabbed mooring balls as well. Keith and I opted to do that since the dock was full.
Putting Resa on a mooring is 1000 times easier than the Spindrift was with a lower freeboard and more ability to back straight with a fin keel vs a full keel, plus no dolphin striker to get in the way…it was seriously easy and helped me appreciate the boat even more. Once on the mooring we quickly threw the kayak overboard and Loren was off again exploring the area, the beach and visiting with the other members from the club. Keith and I meanwhile made some lunch and were soon joined by Steve who offered a ride over to shore to pay our overnight fee. I went off to shore to do that while Keith straightened up the boat. Once the necessities were done we headed back and hung out in the cockpit in the warm sun and enjoyed a beer chatting and sharing stories. We had decided to go for a hike on the island, with Steve and fellow member Bill, to check out the islands schoolhouse which we were advised was really interesting. So around 4 when the heat of the day had died down a bit we headed back to shore, picking up Bill and collecting Loren from the float and set off into the woods for a short mile or so trek up the island.
The walk was pretty straight forward, navigating the trail and steps over to a county road on the island that went straight to the schoolhouse. Loren was absolutely fascinated with all the old cars parked near the beach at the end of the road, likely used by locals to get supplies from boats to homes as there are no services on the island at all. When nearly to the school, we found a swing that Loren enjoyed and refused to leave, so we continued our trek to the school house while he remained to swing. Once we arrived at the schoolhouse we found that the school is now actually shuttered, there are no more school age children on the island. We did enjoy perusing the library, which was open for anyone to check out books and also the one room schoolhouse that was setup with a bunch of historical displays of the island, the families that grew up there, the teachers in the past who had taught there, etc. It was a fascinating display and reminded us how rugged and challenging it would have been to be an early explorer of the area and even more so a female during that time. Most women had families of 5 or 6 children, and spent all their time providing for their families from dawn to dusk. We purchased a history of Stuart Island book from the library, affording us more opportunity to read about the island when time allowed and then we headed back to the boat. After the lengthy trek we all decided that calling it an early night was the best course of action so we said goodnight to Bill at and our taxi driver Steve and I whipped up some food for dinner before crawling into bed with my new book to read.
In the middle of the night, the wind came up and we had to pop on deck to tie down a few flapping lines, and halyards but otherwise it was a quiet night. In the morning, with a free spot on the float we dropped our mooring line and headed over to say goodbye to the crew from the club. They were going to continue on to Deer Harbor and then Friday Harbor before they headed back to PA while we were heading home to get Loren back to school and me back to work after a short hiatus. Plus, we’d left Mason in charge of Elliot back at the home front and we knew there was a limit to how long they would hold out.
After saying our goodbyes – we headed out about 10AM in the morning knowing we were going up against a small tide but still making good time, averaging between 5-6knots while we headed back towards Discovery Island. With little wind we were relegated to motoring along until we passed the island and cleared the primary shipping lane. The wind came up just enough where Keith and I determined a little light air sailing (and a reprieve from the noise of the engine) would be enjoyable. So we sailed along at bout 3-4knots and I read aloud from the books we had purchased on our trip, one about Stuart Island and one about the San Juan Islands. I read through the history of Roche Harbor and we enjoyed the sun, the light air and the escape from reality. Soon the wind, as Keith had anticipated, turned off completely and we furled the jib and motored the remaining way home pulling into our slip at 5PM. Wrapping up a fun three days and our first excursion on Resa.
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.