Figure it takes the other guy about two days to wind down from the pressures of the fast lane. So give yourself two hours on the ferry, from Anacortes to Friday Harbor [1984.] You'll be there in plenty of time to grab some groceries and find your little sailboat.
Stoke your boilers at any of the local eateries, and head out. Early afternoon ought to find you bucking the flood from Turn Island––so go with it instead and drift to Jones Island. Either of these marine parks is all you need for a couple of days' cruising (close by), good hiking and scenery, rocky bluffs and gravelly beaches, birds galore, and good fishing around the kelp and rock piles. Deer, too––some calico––native and exotic crosses from those that used to be on Safari (Spieden) Island only a two-hour swim away.
|Sucia Island Group, 1940s. |
Photograph by Clyde Banks Studio
Click to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
While you're lying in the moss you're wondering where those other boats out there are going. Well, unlike you, they're late, making up for lost time, maybe headed for Sucia for the night and then over to Sidney or Bedwell Harbour, and then to Nanaimo or Telegraph Harbour. Tighter than a drumhead. Hurry, hurry.
Meantime, you begin wondering what kind of moss you're lying in. Kind of spongy and aromatic; close up it looks like a tiny jungle. The more you gaze into it the more you see––about a dozen different kinds in this one little spot. And mushrooms, lichens, and algae, the place is alive with stuff you never noticed before. There must be books about this that you can read to find out more. You resolve then and there to learn more about this natural world around you.
The sun goes behind the clouds. A breeze makes the firs sigh, and it gets cooler. It makes you hungry, so go check the boat, gather some firewood, and cook up some soup.
The boat's okay, high enough up on the beach to be there when you want it tomorrow. The high tide will just wet the transom, judging from the last high tide's line of drift. Not that you're in a hurry to leave. You might just figure on staying put for a few days. Besides, there's more to see and do right here underfoot than you really ever imagined. Amazing, what you miss when you're not in tune with where you are.
You begin to wonder if with a little help from books and experience you could learn to live out here in the open. Off the land, so to speak. Maybe try it for a few weeks in the summer, just for openers.
|Cruising in the San Juan Islands, WA.|
Click image to enlarge.
Undated original from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
If the wind dies how far could you go with the tide? Now you're getting into it. Maybe to Turn Island, six miles away; six hours with a knot of current, even sooner with a little tail wind.
How about that? Turn Island in time for sunset!"
Dustrude, John, happy mariner of the San Juan Island Archipelago, with home port of Friday Harbor.
The Art of Winding Down. San Juan Islands Almanac. Vol. 11, 1984.