Sunday, June 14, 2009

To Stuart Island with friends

We ventured off after dinner on a Thursday night headed for our favorite stomping grounds in Reid Harbor, Stuart Island. From experience we know it is a two hour motor from our slip in Friday Harbor to anchor in Reid Harbor, and wishing to arrive before it was too dark, we left at 7:30. There was no wind to speak of and so we motored up San Juan Channel, but for a change of pace, we went up Spieden Channel to the west of Spieden rather than through the Cactus Islands east.

As always, this trip, even motoring, is magnificent. Spieden is a real jewel and the waters around it teem with life. We arrived at Reid during an amazing sunset and decided to use the state park dock for the first time since we were meeting colleagues from the San Juan Preservation Trust there the next day to do a hike with members of our organization.

It is strange to be on a dock, and a little unsettling, compared to the freedom and safety of being at anchor.

The next day we had the morning free and so I went for a run around the state park trails while the boys climbed trees and tossed rocks. There is nothing more satisfying to me as a parent than seeing my boys run wild and free around a natural area, creating games and being adventurous. This gave Amy some nice time to herself.

Folks arrived a little later on and we went for our hike up to a spectacular spot on Stuart that is not accessible to the public. The land is privately owned and we had special permission due to our work with landowners in the area for conservation easements and other preserves we own outright. The day was glorious and the views out of this world.

After a long, rugged and invigorating hike, we were back to Reid Harbor and saying goodbye to everyone who had to head home. We were staying another night. Our friends Kathleen and Chad and their son Evan were coming back to join us and before too long they had dropped folks off at Roche Harbor and come back with goodies. They have a very cute power boat named "Scout" that takes them wherever they want to go in style. It is just big enough for the three of them but can still be put on a trailer easily.

We had a fantastic night with great food and roasting smores. The boys were boys and had the run of the place pretty much. Elliott is quite good at rowing now and so is trusted to go just about anywhere. In the morning the boys went off to the other side of the isthmus, completely out of sight and sound. This made Kathleen and Chad a little nervous about Evan, but Elliott is a good big brother to any little kid and though he is only 8, he is quite responsible. They came back happy and healthy.

We wrestled with whether to hike out to the lighthouse as we love to do, or to take the day to sail down the west side of San Juan and up through Cattle Pass. We decided to sail, as there seemed to be good wind, but when we got out to Henry Island what little wind there was blew right onto our nose. We still enjoyed a great trip along Henry and down San Juan past Lime Kiln and False Bay. Right on time, as we turned into Cattle Pass to head home, the wind came up and we got to broad reach all the way home at good speed. There was a steady 10 with occasional gusts to 15, and that was enough to keep us above 5 knots SOG.

Home safe and sound after another incredible trip aboard Aeolus.

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