June 23, 2017: Strawberries, cherries, and an anchoring buoy in Fossil Bay

Anacortes’ Friday morning presented us with morning-glory blue skies; we shared Morning Prayer, and Walt began to make phone calls regarding our bow thruster’s gear box and about having Braesail hauled out of the water to have the part installed. We learned that the gear box has to be shipped from Maryland, and should arrive next Tuesday or Wednesday. Meanwhile, we decided that we should try to find a place where we can anchor without fees (usually at least $1 per foot of boat length per night).

While Walt did some reading (he’s preparing to make a presentation and lead a discussion at one of his two liturgical studies conferences in Leuven, Belgium, in August) while I climbed the VERY steep ramp from the dock to the shore (tides are really low again!) and walked in a nice breeze to a stand selling fresh Washington strawberries and cherries–they are pricey but terrific! I returned with a sizeable bag of these tasty treats on which we could snack, and by about 1 pm we were out of the slip and on our way to Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island to try to find an unoccupied anchoring buoy. Currents were strong against us and the winds were too, so we motored, noting the many huge homes that line the shores of Anacortes and Guemes islands.

When we reached Eagle Harbor, however, we found that all the buoys were occupied (it is not a large harbor and we were hunting for space on a Friday prior to a hot, sunny weekend), so on we went to Matia Island, where we used to drop anchor or find a buoy when we were traveling on 27-ft. Sagres, which has a draft of only 3.5 ft. (Braesail’s draft is just under 7 ft.), and can anchor in snug little nooks. As we approached our favorite cove, I saw four seals napping on some rocks and waved to them, but, not surprisingly, they didn’t wave back. We were unable, sadly, to find a spot in either of Matia’s beautiful rock-lined anchorages or at the park dock because other boats were already in place or spaces were too small or too shallow to accommodate an ocean cruiser such as Braesail. We motored next to Sucia Island, which has several commodious bays, navigating on the way through numerous swirling “tide rips,” stretches of turbulent sea where two or more currents converge and confuse the surface water, and took the last buoy available in Fossil Bay at about 5:30 pm. A kind gentleman in an inflatable dinghy received our bow line and threaded it through the ring at the buoy’s top before I was able to grasp it with our boat hook, and thus we found a place in which we are able stay without charge for three days. Walt zipped away in Coracle to register our presence, and I did some reading and cleaning.

We had snacked on cherries during our journey and in the late afternoon enjoyed corn chips and tomato salsa in the sunny cockpit before catching up on email and taking short naps. A grilled salmon salad served as supper, and following the performance of my galley duties and some work on a blog post, we watched a “Father Brown” mystery on Walt’s smartphone somewhat after 10 pm as wine-red sunlight glowed in the northwest beyond the wooded hills surrounding the bay and trickled into the placid waters of the bay.

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