Salted Honey Caramels Instead of Cake

We woke up to a bit of rain and decided to leave the batwing battened down and head into town for breakfast. That’s one of the joys of camping at this county park, Friday Harbor is just 20 minutes away.

The Rocky Bay Cafe on Spring Street proved to be a great choice. Everyone was masked and respectful. The staff were cheerful and engaging. They were looking forward to a cafe staff trip to Las Vegas the next day. Kind of cool!

I had eggs benedict over hash browns (I almost always have eggs benedict if it’s an option) and Bill had eggs, bacon, and toast. The food was good and the coffee hot and frequently refilled. We sat at a window seat and watched the soft rain. Warm and comfortable.

The rain dropped to a mist and we headed to the farmers’ market. We picked up a really nice map outside Coldwell banker on our way.

What a great market! Vegetables, meat, foraged food, bakery items, artisans, and live music. San Juan Island Sea Salt, Cady Davis Creations, San Juan Silk (Mary Sly), and Inspired Earth Tea got our custom, but we loved it all.

Cady Davis Creation Bill bought me for my birthday. Cady found the beach glass on Brown Island, just across from Friday Harbor.

Westside Preserve

After spending some time in town, we headed back to the west side of the island. We walked around the Westside Preserve and parked at Limekiln Point State Park.

Limekiln Point and Deadman Bay

Of course we looked for whales, but we looked while we walked the third-mile trail to Deadman Bay. It’s a nice trail right along the headland. Deadman Bay is beautiful–a sheltered sunny spot on this unexpectedly fine fall day. (some of our camping neighbors let us know that they had big hiking plans, but took a three-hour nap on the beach here instead.)

We walked back from Deadman Bay and continued on past the lighthouse. All the while keeping our eyes out for whale.

We didn’t spot whale, but our camp neighbors saw a pod heading north just off the county park. (We had great camp neighbors, including a UW professor who studies raptors in the Amazon and teaches classes about crows–Hi Ursula! Hi Todd!)

English camp

After lunching on toasted ham and cheese sandwiches back at Brave Horatio, we headed to the north end of the island and English Camp. Totally different situation from American Camp. This end of the island is low and forested. English Camp is on the beach meadow of Garrison Bay and the adjoining uplands. Garrison bay has only a narrow opening connecting it to the rest of the Salish Sea. From Haro Straight you take Mosquito Pass and the small opening into Horseshoe Bay, turning before Bell Point into Garrison Bay.

It’s a pretty idyllic place, beautiful and bountiful.

The emphasis on disputes between colonizers and the ever larger houses on the island remind me that I am on the traditional lands and waters of the Coast Salish people, including Lummi, Saanich, Samish, Semiahmoo, Songhee, Sooke, and Swinomish. These nations, current and historic, care for and harvest this land. I honor their inherent, aboriginal and treaty rights passed down through generations.

Roche Harbor

I guess Sarah and I used a bit more propane than I thought on our Ozette Lake adventure. Our chubby little tank ran out at lunch. We had several smaller bottles, but decided to see if we could fill chubby back up. We took a detour to Roche Harbor.

I love the road to Roche Harbor. I love the airstrip where planes share space with geese. I love the sculpture garden. I do not love Roche Harbor. It’s a bit too twee, a bit too privileged, a bit too buttoned up. As an antidote, it also has some nifty history and art.

We poked into the Company Store and they explained how to get our propane fill (meet guy by the old generator plant and pay down at the fuel dock). Don’t plan to buy hardware here–they have lots of wine though.

Evening at the park

San Juan County Park is a beautiful place to camp. Site 10 is just off the high meadow. Their is a tiny beach just below us accessed by a path just around the corner. On the other side of the meadow is a trail out to the point of the larger, but still small, bay. Beautiful.

The weather moved between mist and clear so we started a campfire. We’d picked up some drier wood at a stand outside the park so tonight’s fire was easier to start and didn’t need attention every few minutes. We opened some wine enjoyed the flames while we waited for coals.

We grilled our dinner of steak and asparagus over beautiful coals. A couple of asparagus spears leapt into the fire, but we had lots, so no worries. We ate in the dark warmed by the fire. In lieu of a birthday cake, we enjoyed San Juan Island Se Salt honey caramels purchased at the Farmers Market this morning.

Beautiful day! Beautiful evening!

Brave Horatio’s first ferry ride!

Sarah and Erik gave us a gift certificate for whale watching–not last Christmas, but the one before. I was in school, we wanted to upgrade to an all day adventure, and I consistently forget to check my email. So almost two years went by and we opted for the more easily scheduled half- day trip.

We were excited to get it all figured out.

Maya’s Legacy is on San Juan Island. They leave from either Friday Harbor or Snug Harbor, depending on the tour,  the weather,  and the whales.

The people at Maya’s were wonderful. First they scheduled a second trip for the Sunday we wanted. Then they quickly called back letting us know they could make it into an all day trip. Perfect!

We started planning.

Bill scheduled our ferry and I reserved our campsite.

Bill had a Pinniped show at the Olympia Farmer’s Market on Friday, so we left earlyish on Saturday, lattes in hand.

I continue to be pleased with our habit of getting Brave Horatio ready for the next trip each time we return. I also like my decision to designate some clothes as teardrop clothes and keep them ready to go in my little cabinet. This time I swapped out some shorts and swapped in more tights and some rain gear. Quick and easy.

Bill continues to pack his side for each trip. Works for him.

Coffee and Anacortes exploration

Traffic was light and we got to Anacortes with time to spare. We’d never looked around before so we got another coffee and cruised.

Nothing like Penguin Coffee on your way to watch whales!

We found a Farmer’s Market and a parking spot by city hall. There are full body portraits of past mayors on the wall by the sidewalk. I’ve never seen that before. A little history right in your face. Kind of neat.

Note the portraits of Anacortes Mayors painted on the building wall. Maybe that’s a judge above the entryway?

We walked through the market. I recommend it if you’re up that way. Looked like lots of good prepared food, veg, cider and art.

Bill spotted a boat. It was a BIG boat and pretty well hidden behind a building. Of course he knew it. (Bill is really interested in boats, particularly work boats). The WT Preston is a steam powered paddle-wheel snagboat. She pulled snags and other debris from the Puget Sound (Olympia to Blaine) from 1929-1981. She’s enjoying a land based retirement as part of the Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center.

We spent an enjoyable few minutes in this small-but-nice museum and I left with a new book–Bijaboji is Betty Lowman Carey’s account of her solo trip from Anacortes to Ketchican rowing her dugout canoe. Betty was 22 when she made this trip in 1937. Perfect for this trip.

On the ferry

Brave Horatio on his first ferry ride. Windy, windy, windy…but once on island, the weather turned kind.

Spot 10 is one of the few at San Juan County Park that is not strictly tent only. It turned out to be a beautiful spot, to one side of the big meadow that overlooks the water. There’s a path from the meadow to a sweet little beach. (The larger, but still small kayak-launch cove is down the hill and around the corner. It’s a small park.)

I found out later that my niece and grand-niblings camp here every August with a couple other families. They love this park and I understand why.

The only new gear we had were a couple collapsible canvas buckets we thought might make nice reusable trash and recycle bins and help reduce our reliance on plastic.

San Juan Island has so much art!

On the way to San Juan Park we passed by Kevin Roth’s sculptures. These little houses made from cement mixers are too marvelous. I wanted to be six again and move in.

Kevin Roth Sculptures
Fine art in a cement mixer turned goldfish house!

San Juan Sculpture Garden

We drove to Roche Harbor and walked around the San Juan Sculpture garden. Another wonderful surprise on this beautiful island. The sculptures ranged from joyous to whimsical to contemplatively beautiful. Slowly spinning the five prayer wheels after adding our hopes to each brought us to a peaceful meditative frame of mind. Perfect for this short vacation.

Our home for the next few days