Monday, September 5, 2011

Blind Bay to West Sound Marina, Orcas Island

3 September 2011 Saturday

The sunrise over Shaw Island was beautiful. I'm on a leisurely morning schedule and enjoy my morning routine, and wait until 0930 to depart. Yesterday as I was coming along the Orcas shoreline, I was filled with so many memories of living and visiting the islands during the last 25+ years.

 I motored over to Bay Head Marina near the ferry dock. You can see it has a narrow entrance.

 I taught sailing out of here when I lived on Orcas and used some of the boats from Sailing Foundation that were located here. Here are a few of the boats anchored off the ferry landing.

I meander down West Sound looking at homes, docks and boats and pull in to marina and tie up. It is only 3nm from Blind Bay. The Kenmore sea plane comes in right after I dock and drops off an island visitor. I've flown up here often and the view of the islands is spectacular.

Rae on the left, Andy on the right.

My friends, Andy and Rae come down to Shatoosh. I've known these folks since 1965, I was a brand new 2nd Lt in the US Army attending Physical Therapy School and Andy was one of the class instructors. Later she became Chief of the PT Section and was an incredible mentor in my life. Rae was also a PT in the Army but I never knew her until after she retired. They both lived on Crane Island for 30 years and now live high atop Mt Woolard, just down the road from West Sound and the Ferry landing. Often I have gotten to house-sit for them on both islands. They are very special people and have impacted my life as well as island life through their many charitable groups that they volunteer for.

We head for Crane Island to cruise around it.

Andy takes the helm

Rae calls Margaret who lives on Crane to tell her we will cruise by her place and wave.

Islanders would rather have you stop in for tea, so we go through narrow Pole Pass and find a spot on the small Crane island docks. I swing Shatoosh around and dock on her starboard side. Margaret meets us and then we walk along a path with nicely cut Salal on each side. She has been busy with summer projects, new windows for the cabin, newly cetoled garage door. I see many old boats that I am familiar with; The Argo, and Babette's old dock boat which I used to run back and forth while house sitting, especially for night runs. It was safer than using Andy's whaler. Margaret now owns it. As all the ladies became older, they moved to Orcas to make life easier for them. Living on Crane is not easy, everything must be hauled on and off. That includes 50 gallon drums of gas for the boats and tractors and island cars. Andy had an electric Suzuki several decades ago. When you build a house, which they did twice, everything is barged onto the island--cement mixers, supplies,etc. After building their 3rd house which is on Orcas, they are still leading very busy lives at 85 years young. I was barely able to squeeze in a visit with them.

Argo an Ed Monk Design

Babette's ole Dock boat

Hide A Bike in a Tree
40 years later
Can you see it?

Margaret's Cabin

After departing Margaret's cabin with a bag full of freshly caught and cooked crabs, we head for the west side of the island to see their old houses. The first one was built in the early 70's and is a small cabin nestled in the trees overlooking a nice cove. In the mid 80's they built another one that was larger up on the point above the cove. Both locations were wonderful and we had many a good time there.

Cabin to the right
larger house on point.

Sabra and Baten
Crane Island 1983
Original photo by Rae

 Here is a photo from one of my trips there. Sabra and Baten moored in the cove. This is my favorite photo of them together. Andy had Baten designed by Jay Benford and built by Jensen Boat Yard in Friday Harbor. It was their work boat and many a trip was made through Pole Pass from Orcas to Crane island. They grew their own veggies, had chickens who laid yummy eggs, the cows gave milk and calves were born. and the donkeys were for fun. Since it would not be wise to bring bulls over for breeding, they took the services of artificial insemination which was performed by the Shaw Island Nuns. I always thought it was a bit unusual that nuns were in the breeding business, but I guess God's work comes in many forms. Summer haying of the pasture always was a group effort and I loved driving the tractor and gathering the hay. It was nice that they could see their old places. We continued around the island and motored back to the marina. We finished off the day with dinner in Eastsound. It was so much fun to have them on Shatoosh and to go to Crane. A day full of memories about island life on Crane. Wow.

Our Route Today

PS. I forgot to mention that many years ago, Andy and Rae went to Sweden and chartered an Albin 25 to cruise the canals across the country. Andy is from hearty Swedish stock and Rae descends from the
First Pilgrims on the Mayflower. NO wonder they can do all that they do and have done. My hat goes off to all the ladies who have lived on Crane and Orcas Islands. They are a special group.

Day's run 11nm
Total: 171nm