Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Big Sail 2011 – Part 2

Previously I mentioned the sailing part of the adventure and the goal of reaching the Lats & Atts NW Cruiser’s Party in Friday Harbor.  This post is about the rest of the story, enjoying San Juan Island.   Holly had driven up with Diane who’d later join us in the sail back home.  But on Sunday, when all the pirates where shaking off Saturday night’s music and grog, we decided to explore the Island since we had wheels, something rare on a sailing adventure.

San Juan Island is only about 12 x 6 miles, similar to Vashon in size, but very different in land use.  The summer climate makes for drier conditions and it seems farming, especially hay, is a big crop.  San Juan seems to be more of a true working, rural area as opposed to Vashon which is more of a suburb of the big cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Bremerton.  As we drove across the Island to Roach Harbor, we came across a winery with a camel as a neighbor and very scenic views.  After a picnic at the winery, we continued to Roach Harbor and toured the sculpture garden there.  It was interesting and there really were some that I liked.  Usually, what is considered art to some always begs the question in my alleged mind, “but, is it art?”

Roach Harbor has changed considerably in the 25+ years since I’ve been there.  New, so-called modernistic condos now climb the hill behind the once quaint harbor.  To give you an idea of how they look, go to any new Public Housing development as they appear to be designed by the same architect. But really, the Public Housing projects have even more design elements such as porches with gingerbread and railing and offset front walls as opposed to the single front of these (I’m sure) very expensive condos at the Harbor.   This in addition to the newly paved roads with lots for sale (and no houses) that now ring the harbor, really set us on edge.

Also, what once was a quaint little moorage is now 5x larger along with the boats that call this home.  Huge, multi-million dollar yachts litter the dock spaces including New Zealand’s America’s Cup entry from a few years ago, complete with her support boats.  I just had to take a picture of this 1950’s speed boat, which you usually see one wherever you find a fleet of yachts.  I included a picture of a 1952 locally built 'Skagit' that looks like a boater's version of a restored '56 Chevy.

We left Roach Harbor somewhat gobsmacked and stopped at a Lavender Farm on the way back to the boat.  At least that was refreshing instead of the in-your-face unbridled development of Roach Harbor.

Another evening of fine Island wine and great food prepared us for our separate journeys back home, John, Diane and me on the Seafeather and Holly in the van with Honey, the (now) Sea Dog.  A great weekend for Holly, and great week for me.