We departed from Skyline Marina at about 10:30 on Thursday, Oct. 24, under thickly clouded skies and with a small tailwind. I steered Braesail nearly all the way, through ruffled water and some swirling rip currents, to Reid Harbor, part of beautiful Stuart Island Marine Park, one of my favorite places. We were greeted by some seals after catching a quick glimpse of a minke whale’s dorsal fin, and we found the large bay all but deserted. We tied up the boat at the dock beside the shore, and were pleased with the soothing, deep gray-green, damp-but-rain-free solitude! While Walt snoozed in the aft cabin, I napped on one of the comfortable lounge cushions in the cockpit where the air was cool and fresh and I could hear some very distinctive bird calls from the evergreen-lined shore. WONDERFUL! Supper, clean-up, reading, and some more videos depicting narrow-boating on English canals filled a relaxing evening.
The morning of Friday, October 25, dawned gray and drizzly after a showery night. We were happy to find no water in the pans we’d left below the usual leaky ceiling spots in the galley–had it rained enough to produce water drips? There was no telling at this point. As we spent a leisurely morning reading and catching up on email, a breeze rose and sent the clouds scurrying over the hilltops, and the brilliant sunshine that bathed the bay was most welcome after many overcast, soggy days!
After a soup lunch, we decided to try paddling around the harbor in the tandem kayak we’d borrowed from Anacortes Yacht Charters, since the waters were empty of other boating life, the weather was mild and windless, and the sea surface was smooth. Getting the kayak, heavy with accumulated rain water, down from the port deck rail and into the water was a little strenuous, but it didn’t take us long to bail out the water and to climb in and start off for the head of the bay. It was gorgeous out on the water, and we had on this, our first outing in a tandem kayak, a lovely time! The toughest part for me was getting OUT of the kayak and onto the dock!
While Walt slept following our hour-long paddle around the harbor, I had a good walk/climb from the dock up the steep ramp and then over the narrow neck of land separating Reid Harbor from adjacent Prevost Harbor. New green grass and moss and other tiny plants were spreading a velvet carpet over rocks and hillsides; mushrooms in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors were everywhere; sunlight was glittering on the water; and the breeze that had riffled the water as we concluded our kayaking expedition was breathing sweet accompaniments to the songs of the birds in the tree tops. I was loath to leave this enchanted place to return to the boat . . .
I rested in the cockpit as the sun slipped behind a hill and did some drowsing and reading while Walt made us a grilled shrimp dinner and the wind began to sigh and whistle in the rigging. Last night we fell asleep to the tapping and slapping of a percussion ensemble of little wavelets at Braesail’s stern, and tonight, a wind symphony appears to be on the bill.