We left Hat Island for the Oak Harbor Marina on Whidbey Island at round 9:30 am on Saturday, Oct. 19, after showing a fellow boater (a fan of Moody sailboats whose wife and son I’d met after my hike up and down the hill on Friday) around Braesail (he loved her!). As we motored, rain fell and woolly heaps of low clouds descended to obscure distant landmarks. The winds built and were soon lashing the sea with gusts over 30 mph, and I had the job of wiping condensation off the windscreens to give Walt, steering the boat manually because the autopilot had been functioning only intermittently for some days, some limited views of our surroundings. With such aids as radar, AIS, the chart plotter, the compass, and other assistive technologies, AND two pairs of eyes, we were not in any real danger, since almost no other vessels had ventured out on this rather nasty day!
Upon our arrival in the marina, we found that spitting rain and whistling winds made docking and tying up the boat a rather soggy and unpleasant task (I was very happy that my cold had finally dissolved into occasional coughs and snuffles!), so we relaxed, dried off, and warmed up for a bit before walking a good distance to the Oak Harbor Yacht Club’s reception room to sample some wine. We had a lovely chat with the lady at the bar, the only other person present on a storm-whipped day. Walt then decided to walk 1½ miles along the bluff above the waterfront and past the delightful downtown shops and boutiques to a grocery store to purchase a few items, and we were fortunate enough to make the trip without the company of showers. Walt’s knees began to register objections to the excursion, however, and so we requested a Lyft back to the Oak Harbor Marina with our groceries. Valuable exercise, and good preparation for a good night’s rest!
The morning of Sunday, Oct. 20, found us walking the half-mile (about half of the journey uphill) to St. Stephen’s, the local Episcopal church. We enjoyed the worship and tasty coffee hour treats, and became acquainted with their substitute organist and with the new rector and his wife (a highly skilled vocalist), who gave us a ride back to the marina and enjoyed a tour of Braesail. The cool, rainy afternoon proved to be a very good one for reading, writing, napping, and drinking tea!