Monday, August 11, 2014

Back in the US

We reluctantly bid farewell to Canada and headed across the border to Roche Harbor to check back into the US. It's always strange to re-enter the US here after we've grown accustomed to Canada. Somehow American culture seems really in-your-face in Roche Harbor and it's a bit of a shock after six weeks of sailing the waters of BC. We stayed only long enough to check in, refuel and grab a few groceries before we wound our way through the narrow waterways of Mosquito Pass to Garrison Bay and picturesque English Camp on San Juan Island. This spot was occupied by the English during the Pig War, a war where the only loss of life was a pig who met its fate as a side of bacon during a boundary dispute. Unsure whom San Juan Island belonged to due to confusion over which strait was the established boundary, the English and Americans remained in a standoff on the island until the border dispute was resolved peacefully. The English really picked quite a lovely spot to spend twelve years during the "war". We spent the following day checking out the living history at English Camp where we played a rousing game of graces before hiking to the top of Young Hill. After dinner we paddled into shore at sunset for a summer solstice hike. The following morning, after much debate as to whether to spend another night here (since we loved it so much and there were more trails to explore) or leave, we opted to leave when we discovered that the orcas were nearby. As we entered Haro Strait we saw a mass of boats which could only mean one thing, orcas! We made our way out and joined the mob scene, slowly drifting in the direction of the orcas. We watched them from afar like all the other boats and realized that we had been spoiled. In the past we have seen them in the distance while under sail. When we heaved-to to watch them they came closer and closer until they swam under our boat. The boys even peered down into a giant orca eye as it turned sideways and looked up at them from beneath our boat.

We spent the next couple of nights in Griffin Bay where we sat out a day of rain which allowed us to rest and catch up on school and work. We spent the next day, no big surprise here, hiking. Then we were off to our final stop in the islands, Watmough Bay. This is where we celebrated Jason's birthday in a very similar fashion as Mother's Day a month earlier. After our day of hiking, we watched as a family of otters worked their way back and forth through the water gathering and eating their dinner. It was super cool to watch them so close and for so long. After our dinner and birthday strawberry shortcake we were roused from the boat by shouts from the beach. The boys and Jason witnessed as a man danced around on the beach naked yelling "woohoo! I'm enjoying my nakedness!" His mortified family appeared to be trying to retreat away from him by climbing higher up the rocks that flank the beach. Thank you, Naked Man, for supplying us with weird memories for Jason's birthday.

The next day we had a wonderful sail as we crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca, beating into 20-25 knot winds. Once in Port Townsend, we happily settled into the tea shop for tea and scones with clotted cream. The next day we made the final leap and arrived back in Seattle suntanned (even our surf-huahua's fur was sun-bleached) and relaxed. We settled back into our slip and spent the next week in Seattle while Jason worked. Over the week we managed to sneak out for a couple of gorgeous sunset sails after work. At the end of the week we finally climbed into the car and headed home after nine ridiculously gorgeous weeks on the boat. We'll miss you Marinero, thanks for keeping us safe and happy on our latest adventure.

Click here for photos.
Click here for a video of crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca.