Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In a San Juan Frame of Mind

Shilshole Sunset
In 1997 we berthed Eolian in Seattle because I had just gotten a job with the University of Washington.  Later, we moved her from the Fairview Marina on the south end of Lake Union out to Shilshole when a slip became available there, in 1999.  We've been there ever since - for 15 years - the longest time we have ever lived in any one place, ever.  Now that I just said that, I realize that's a pretty big indictment of our apparently nomadic lifestyle.

But in any case, we are now retired.  The need for a living space convenient to work is over.  As one of the many life changes that occur with the end of work, out of the blue Jane contacted the Port of Bellingham wondering if there were any slips available suitable for Eolian...  the wait list was five years long.  Then she tried the Port of Anacortes, asking for 50' slips (Eolian is 52' overall, without the dinghy hanging from the davits - maybe we could squeeze in...) - ten year wait list.

Then something completely surprising happened.  The helpful guy at the Port of Anacortes asked if we might be interested in a 57' slip.  They had nine available.

Wait - what??!

Yup - not only was there a slip big enough to take Eolian, with the dinghy, but we could have our choice of nine!  And these are brand new docks.  And the slips are eight feet wider than those at Shilshole.  And the Port supplies free WiFi. And it's cheaper than Shilshole. And finally, Anacortes is the gateway to the San Juans - just a hop, skip and a jump across Rosario Strait.

Cruising in the San Juan Islands has always been a life objective for us, ever since our first visit in 1977, aboard our little Cal 21, Deja Vu.  While berthed in Seattle, we've made it to the Islands several times over the years, but it is always a journey, if you know what I mean.  And for years we had our names on the waitlists at Friday Harbor and Anacortes, hoping for an opening (and the opportunity to work remotely, which sadly never appeared).

So, yeah, we took a slip at Anacortes.  We have it now.  And we have given notice to Shilshole - our time there ends 5/31.

I know it's not the same, but I feel a little of that footloose and fancy free feeling that world cruisers get when they are about to cut the docklines.  But without the anxiety of whether we have covered everything on the boat prep list.  We could go to Anacortes today.  Or next week.  Or after Memorial Day.  Or we could leave Shilshole at the end of the month and arrive in Anacortes at some indeterminate time further in the future. 

We will miss all of our favorite anchorages - Port Madison, Eagle Harbor, Poulsbo, etc.  And we will miss all of our friends on the docks at Shilshole, old and new.  But I trust that we will see our Seattle friends up in the Islands, because they are a popular Seattle destination.  And that we will make new friends in Anacortes.

It's a time of leaving, and a time of arriving.  It's sad.  It's exciting!

Sunset in Parks Bay, San Juan Islands


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