October 28-29, 2019: Enjoying Roche Harbor

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McMillan’s Restaurant at Roche Harbor. Unfortunately closed the day we were there.

We left the Cadboro Bay docks at half-past noon on Monday, Oct. 28, in crisp, clear weather, and motored uneventfully in steady 10 mph winds over rippling, sapphire seas. I took Braesail’s helm until we neared our destination of Roche Harbor on the northern end of San Juan Island, at which point Walt, who’d made us a sandwich lunch, took over and guided us to the guest dock, where we had an EASY landing. By the time he had registered Braesail and attached shore power, it was almost 3 pm. While Walt had his usual afternoon snooze, I walked up to the shore, browsed the general store, admired the small formal gardens in front of the hotel, found the public restrooms, and enjoyed the excellent afternoon light that was causing the amber, gold, and crimson leaves that still remained on the deciduous trees to glow like tiny lamps.
The sun had warmed Braesail’s cockpit and made it a great place for napping, so as Walt was rising and preparing supper, I caught up on some of the sleep I’d missed the previous night because I couldn’t shut off my brain. At 6 pm, we heard the chimes ringing from the little white chapel on the shore across from our mooring location, and these were followed by 10 minutes of recorded carillon music—quite lovely! A huge castle-like mansion on the hilltop above old lime kilns, the shore-side hotel, the little church, and other buildings around the harbor were soon edged in lights, and, following a beautiful orange-and-strawberry cotton-candy sunset, they produced an enchanting, fairy-tale effect as winds rose to rock us to sleep.

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Can you believe it? Uncrowded visitor docks at Roche Harbor. Braesail is right in the center.

Tuesday, October 29, was another dazzlingly sunny, slightly-shivery day. After a morning of reading and taking care of e-mail, Walt and I spent nearly two hours walking some three miles along the forested roads near Roche Harbor, stopping at the hilltop chapel above the marina (what a terrific view one has from the entry!), visiting the lovely gift shop in the Hotel de Haro and enjoying coffee by the fire in its comfortable lobby, reading the informational signage about the resort’s history of limestone quarrying and shipping, and delighting in the fresh air and sunshine. Supper preparations in Braesail’s galley were accompanied by the chapel’s 6 pm chimes, bell-peal, and seasonal bell music (“Autumn Leaves,” “Shine on, Harvest Moon,” etc.), and we enjoyed a peaceful evening of reading, listening to music, and watching videos as the sun sank into the tranquil sea and the lights outlining the harbor’s structures began to twinkle beneath the gaze of the winking stars.

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