Jill was at the helm when we coaxed Yahtzee off the dock in Anacortes against a stiff cross-breeze, and while closing the gate and stowing fenders I heard a voice yell, “Hey, Yahtzee! I hope you guys are feeling better!”
The salutation — from a blog reader who noticed the boat — brought a smile to my face and I answered with what else but an uncontrollable hacking cough. That wasn’t the response I was digging for but we all got a good chuckle out of the moment. It’s always fun to meet readers and his well wishes sent us out towards the San Juan Islands on what would end up being a turning point day for all of us and our battle with the flu.
The perfect cure
Sailing westward into the San Juans, it felt like a heavy weight was slowly lifted from my shoulders and left somewhere on the east side of Rosario Strait. The tranquility of the islands beckoned with open arms, welcoming us home to a place we know well and love dearly. We’ve missed not being around here as much this winter, but we don’t need to anymore.
The scenery, the people, the slow pace of life and the lack of anything to do with the noise of the mainland and its many trappings came flooding to the senses while bobbing off Spencer’s Spit State Park. The islands almost feel like a different country and with no other boats around, we felt like we had the whole thing to ourselves.
Back in our element, we rowed and paddled to the beach and even in an evening downpour, delighted in the life we’d missed. When we returned to the boat, Jill and Magnus headed down below to dry off and get dinner going, but Porter wanted to stay out and practice rowing. I let him go at it for a while and when he was having trouble getting aimed back at the boat, I went out in the kayak to offer assistance. It only took a few quick tips and within seconds the little Waterman was rowing full speed ahead. He was back in his element, too.
Saturday morning we woke to an odd snow shower that gave way to brilliant, warm sunshine. With the kayak and dinghy already in the water, we made for shore again and lazily walked the beaches and grassy green trails. The boys laughed, played, stomped in puddles and wrestled on the lawn, and at one point, I found myself sitting on the end of a picnic table just watching and smiling. I felt great.
A few hours later we hoisted Yahtzee’s mainsail, let go of the park mooring and made for Friday Harbor and a date with friends. The sun remained bright overhead while a 10 to 12 knot easterly pushed us through Upright Channel and into the harbor. It was one of those lazy sails that, no matter how much our speed fluctuated in the erratic current, it never mattered how fast or slow we went. We were sailing, and that’s all that mattered.
That evening we were invited to our friend Mark’s family home on San Juan Island for dinner. The house is located on the northeast corner of the island and it enjoys sweeping views of San Juan Channel, President Channel and Orcas Island.
As usual, the company was as great as the setting and when Porter walked into the familiar dwelling, he made for the large windows, looked out over the water and islands and said with his arms outstretched, “This is the life.”
We all agreed, he nailed it.
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