Friday, September 4, 2009

Destination: Stuart Island, San Juan Islands

If you arrived here by searching for a chart, please see this page.
Stuart Island is the westernmost of the San Juan Islands. All the land and islands visible to the west from Turn Point (the white building with the red roof is the Turn Point lighthouse) are Canada. Part (but not all) of Stuart is a State Marine Park. But all of it is lovely. There are two major anchorages - Prevost Harbor on the North side, and Reid Harbor on the South side. Both harbors are absolutely great anchorages. But watch out for a tide rip which forms just outside of Prevost - we got caught in it once... it is, umm, very strong.

When last we were there, in the summer of 2006, we were anchored in Reid Harbor. It was hot. Jane wanted to walk out to the Turn Point lighthouse, but I was reluctant because I thought that the county roads shown on the chart and maps would be blacktopped and uncomfortably hot in the sun.

Ha! Here is a typical view of a county road on Stuart. There are a few cars on the island, but licensing apparently is kind of lax. Most residents seem to drive quads. What would you do with a car here anyway? Remember, there is no ferry, so any gas you need, you would have to bring in yourself... Apparently, cars never leave the island.

So, we did the walk. We found the one-room school on the island which handles the local kids - 6 at that time. (And they were advertising to try to get more.) The school has a really neat fund-raising idea - they have a "Treasure Chest" set out, with tee shirts, hats, etc... souvenirs of Stuart Island and the San Juans. It is a pirate motif, and a lot of the gear is too. The really neat part is that the whole thing is on the honor system. Completely. You take an item, and it comes with an IOU that says what amount you are supposed to mail to the school. I love island life.

In the most idyllic, bucolic view I have ever seen, there is a farm on the North side of the island, just above Prevost Harbor with a view of Mount Baker.

Can you imagine living here?

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