Preparations for a New Year
There have been a handful of times we’ve waited out a storm while tucked into some comfy cove. As the storm blows through, the gusts of wind pull on the anchor chain and the boat swings. Sometimes a gust will blow so hard it yanks the boat with a big shake. As the storm rages, we shelter at anchor and watch the wind speed. We check to make sure the anchor holds. We wait. We watch. We play cards. We bake cookies. We ride out the storm.
Eventually the wind calms, and the skies begin to clear. This past year has felt like one long storm that won’t ever let up. At times we’ve wondered if our figurative anchor would hold. But now there are days where it feels like the storm is just beginning to ease and the skies are starting to clear. Sure, there are still big gusts out there that can blow us around but that won’t stop us from planning for this new year.
Our 2021 season is scheduled to begin on April 22 with our sold-out northbound Learn to Cruise from our home port in Bellingham to Ketchikan. As we look ahead we’re excited to once again see we have a busy season in front of us. Over the last few months, we’ve been working on lots of big and small projects. Jeffrey recently completed a realignment of the engine and replaced a couple of bearings on the thrust shaft. Next month, we will be hauling out and we plan to have a new rudder installed, so in some ways it all seems normal. But the virus is still with us and it’s still a consideration as we plan for the new season.
We are updating our COVID-19 policies regarding vaccinations, travel to the boat, hotel stays, deposits, and reservations. We’re hoping that vaccines will be widely available so that people who want to travel with us can be vaccinated. Nevertheless, we might have to fall back on the COVID-19 policies we put into place for the 2020 season, which we found to be effective. Because the situation continues to change rapidly we will continue to keep you informed.
In the meantime, we will continue to prepare for 2021 and we look forward to seeing you in the near future.
Four days in the San Juan Islands
Early spring is one of my favorite times in the Pacific Northwest. It a time where the wildflowers brighten up the landscape in the already beautiful San Juan Islands, and of course the David B is back out on the water. Our first cruise in 2016 was a 4-day trip that started on April 28th. Within a couple of hours of being underway we came a cross a small pod of killer whales near Point Lawrence on Orcas Island. We stopped and watched the whales for a short while. There were no other boats around and we knew it was a rare treat to get to watch these endangered animals without their usual compliment of boats. Since the whales were going the opposite direction from us we didn’t watch them for long, but it felt nice to stop, admire them, and then leave them to continue on their way.
We anchored at Sucia Island and spent the rest of the afternoon on a walk to Fossil Bay. It’s one of my favorite spots in the San Juan Islands. I love the trail and looking for fossils. In early spring the icing on the cake is getting to see the wildflowers. My favorites are the Sea Blush which paint the rocky slopes and bluffs of the San Juan Islands a beautiful pink. Later, when we returned to the boat, I made a salmon dinner with pearl couscous, green beans and some sautéed mushrooms for our first night’s dinner.
The next morning while I made coffee, I listened to the lovely dawn chorus of songbirds. After breakfast, we kayaked across Echo Bay to Ewing Cove. A couple of seals cautiously followed us. I like to think that seals have sense of timing when it comes to having their pictures taken. Just when you get your camera ready, they lift their noses to the sky, close their nostrils and slip silently under water.
Later, we raised the anchor and made way for Garrison Bay. In Spieden Channel we got to watch a big Stellers sea lion fishing. When we anchored, I stayed on the boat to make fresh pasta and a creamy spinach pesto for dinner, while everyone else when ashore to tour English Camp.
On the third day of the cruise, we hauled up the anchor and went the short distance to Roche Harbor. We spent a couple hours there, and then got back underway and cruised to Hunter Bay at Lopez Island. We had some pretty amazing weather. It was easily in the mid-70s with lots of sunshine. We anchored in the early evening and had happy hour on deck. I made Butter-Lime Halibut for dinner.
I always try to make the last day of every trip special and part of that is to make my favorite pastries — croissants and pain au chocolat. In the early morning I watched the sunrise from my galley window while I rolled out the croissant dough, and felth the warmth of the wood cookstove take the chill out of the morning air. I shaped
each croissant, and thought about them baking in the oven as I brushed them with milk and cream. I thought about pulling them out of the oven when they are just the right dark golden color. Then I thought about how much each croissant or pain au chocolat would be enjoyed by our guests as they come up from their cabins, one-by-one for a cup of French press coffee and a warm buttery croissant.
To work off the croissants we ate for breakfast, we went for a nice walk on Lopez Island. There wasn’t really a destination– just strolling conversation, but we did end up at a small general store. We poked around and read the bulletin board of fliers showing the services, concerts, and goings-on on Lopez before we headed back to the boat.
Just before lunch we got underway and headed back to Bellingham. It was four beautiful days in the islands and a truly wonderful way to begin a new season.