Tuesday, September 18, 2018: On the shore and off again

Looking out Braesail’s port lights in the morning, we could see a few straggling clouds being chased from the sky by a pack of energetic sunbeams. I showered while Walt prepared another fine breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and bacon, and after we had spent some time writing, reading, and finally lowering Coracle into the water at Braesail’s stern (the repair of the drainage plug that Walt had made would do for the time being, but would need to be “done right” later), we found it sunny and warm enough to make an excursion to the shore at English Camp an inviting possibility. Walt transported Joy and me to the dinghy dock at about 11:45 am and returned to his studies on the boat, while we ladies took the short trail to the beautiful site of the old British encampment. We passed pear trees laden with ripening fruit (hanging well above deer-snacking level) near an expansive meadow,  walked among and peered into the buildings that remain on the site, made our way through the formal garden in which some rust colored dahlias still bloomed, strolled beneath the purportedly largest maple trees in the world in the shade of their gigantic leaves,

Garrison Bay Maple Trees September 2018 sm
The world’s largest maple trees (we’re told) in English Camp on Garrison Bay

hiked part of the way up the trail to the officers’ quarters high on the hillsides above meadow,

Garrison Bay overview September 2018
Joy looks at the formal garden while Lorelette climbs part of the way up the trail toward the officers’ quarters to take this picture

and finally returned to the ramp to the dock. Walt picked us up and back we zoomed to Braesail for a lunch of quesadillas before we set out for MacKaye Harbor on the southwestern shore of Lopez Island at about 1:30 pm.

During the three-hour motoring journey to the huge harbor, we observed relatively dry and barren bluffs bordering San Juan Island’s western shores, topped with VERY large homes, and were able to glimpse the misty blue Olympic Mountains, a veiled Mt. Rainier in the distance, floating “on” the sea like a phantom island, and the snowy summit of Mt. Baker sitting on a platter of creamy clouds. By about 5 pm, we had dropped the anchor, with a white clam shell still clinging to one side, and had fortified ourselves with chips and dips. The breeze was too cool to make lounging on the fore deck comfortable, so I rested in the cockpit and watched the scenes on the shores of MacKaye Harbor slip by as Braesail swung on her anchor: a wide beach, a wooded outcropping, houses, a private marina.

Before and after an excellent steak dinner, I worked on blog posts, and then Walt, Joy, and I played a fine game of Hearts, which Joy was thrilled to win (Walt is the long-standing champion). We ate the tiny cornmeal muffins I had baked after supper as a late-evening snack, and by the time we were tucked into our gently swaying beds, the stars were hidden under cloud blankets–goodnight, sleep tight, tiny twinklers!


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