Thursday, July 6, 2017

Music, Wildlife, Nature and Two Awesome Young Men -- Wednesday, July 5, 2017

In early morning I walk around the grounds by Anthony's Restaurant to get some steps, because if we anchor out later today, my exercise may be limited. As I return to Willie's Tug, my eyes fall on some ivory that has fallen from the piano Krystal played a few nights ago.  Have more fallen?  Or could it be that someone keeps placing them on top the piano bench in hopes they get glued back on. Take it from me, that is hard to do and get them level.  Ask me how I know....

So much for planning ahead, and I have to admit I am the woman to blame for our departing Cap Sante earlier than Herb plotted.  Herb’s plan was to traverse Guemes Channel at slack for advantage of the ebb.  I guessed the time it would take us at the pump out, but was wrong.  So what do you do?  Go in circles in Padillo Bay wasting fuel, or waste it going down Guemes Channel?

We cruise through Guemes and timing is right for one thing – the Guemes Ferry has just crossed in front of us to the Anacortes side, so no worry about having to adjust course to miss her.  This ferry dock is so hard for me to find, and I will try to remember that we should look toward the white building.

Traffic is light and looks like most is coming toward us to fill vacancies left by boats that apparently came in just for last night’s fireworks show.

Except for Mystic Sea whale watch vessel, which overtakes us, doing 14 knots.  We brace for the tremendous wake we have experienced by her in the past, but this time it is only some rolling.  She is about 500 feet off our starboard, which makes the difference.  Friend Jim will remember our displeasure that year.

We go toward Lopez Island to anchor out, but then Skipper has a second thought.  

“Let’s go to James Island, since we have not been there in several years,”  and a review he read on Active Captain said the person had not been bothered by the raccoons.  Hey, it can’t be any worse than Jones Island a few days ago.

Mt. Baker gleams in the warm sunshine that has not melted her load of snow (and probably won’t). How many photos of this beautiful scene do I have in my archives!

Mt. Baker, seen from Willie's Tug's Cockpit
This being a very short trip, we arrive to see space at the dock on the south side, and Herb attempts to swing around for a bow out starboard tie, which will be better when the 10 to 20 knot winds kick up later in the day.

No so.  As we approach, we see a man who is working on his sailboat on the opposite side of the dock, go below for two boat hooks.  He calls out that there is a 2-knot current coming across the end of the dock, pushing us out.  Even against his personal policy, Herb activates the stern thruster, but it is not able to overcome the strong current.  The sailor tries to catch my throw of the stern line, but we are too far away.  He then says to steer toward the end of the dock and he will get our bow line.

Success!  He quickly secures the bow, then reaches the midship cleat with the boat hook and pulls us in.  Thank you, Lord!  And thank you, sailor!  He is Norm, and bought his boat, Wandering Star, a month ago and began working on fixing it up.  He is also waiting on the current to change to the opposite direction to help him get off the dock to continue his cruise today.

Another small boat comes in behind Willie’s Tug, and Herb and Norm go to help him get to the dock.

After lunch we take a very restful and rolly nap as the winds increase, then walk up onto the island to check our the trails.  Nope, it says “Difficult” and I know that is meant for me!

So while we look for another trail, I think I hear a woodpecker.  I see a tiny bird pecking, pecking away, at the bark on a madrone tree, and wonder if that is the pileated woodpecker mentioned in some of the travel guidebooks.  But Mr. Google suggests it is the Downy, which is the tiniest in North America.  I must be seeing the female, which does not have a red spot on its head.  Click the link below and scroll down to see the female.

Downy Woodpecker

Rocks call to be photographed, and the shell of a hermit crab catches my eye. The photo shows its size compared to the toe of my shoe.


The steep path to the beach on the north side of James Island has a helpful handrail to slow down the gravity pull as you descend, and to grab onto as you climb back up. This is just a very lovely setting!

Kayakers from White Salmon in eastern WA on the Columbia River brought kayaks on the Washington State Ferry that sailed out of Anacortes.  They are now paddling from island to island and sleeping in tent in a campsite on shore. One of the children asks if he can have Mom’s long bed, but she laughs and says,  ”No, I’m the tall one.”   She asks which boat is ours, and if we fish.  I tell her Herb just went online and bought his fishing and crabbing license, printed off his temporary copy, which is good for ten days.  Sounds like a trip back to Seattle to get our mail soon!

Good question from one of the boys:  “Can you use both the temp license and the permanent one after you get it?”  I think about this for a couple of seconds before I give an answer that makes sense to him.  (It’s been a while since I had small children.)

Back to our side of James Island, we find Willie's Tug....

Earlier today we had seen a boat cruise by to see if there was room on the dock, and seeing none, they went about fishing. Reviews say many people come to the dock for day trips, or just for a potty stop in the building ‘up the hill.’ Watching their chance, they return when space is available.  We walk outside Willie’s Tug to greet them, Nick and Nikita, whom we learn are of Russian descent.

Nick and Nikita

As we visit, Nick tells us his story of how he came to be in the United States. 

He and his parents lived in Chernobyl, and fled to Estonia after the incident there, to escape from the resulting radiation. 

He also tells me, “After President Reagan made changes to allow refugees to enter the US, my mother and I immigrated.  Unfortunately, my father had passed away by this time.”

So he was born abroad and came here when he was two years old.  In the Russian community it is a custom that families stay together until they can be self-sufficient.  As an adult, Nick still lived at home with parents until he earned enough money to build a house for himself without getting a loan. 

He goes on to tell about Russia invading Ukraine.  Somehow the discussion gets around to politics, which Nick says he loves to talk about, but if the conversation gets ugly, he shuts it down.  Nikita came to the United States later in life – is ‘later’ the right word??   He is a very young man!!!  But did not come here as a two year old, like Nick.  The families became Christian after coming to the US.

Herb tells them about our experience in Europe during 9-11 and how the Russians at Oktoberfest in Munich toasted us, as Americans to show their sympathy for us.

I ask how Nick got a ‘kitchen pass’ to go fishing without his wife, and he tells me he wanted to go fishing for salmon, but she is pregnant and said she would not enjoy the rolling of the waves while cruising or fishing.  She suggested he take his friend Nikita.

Nick says he loves the Ranger Tugs, and that his uncle makes the interior trim for the ones made in the plant in Monroe WA.  They ask to take a peek inside, and we give a tour, including the master stateroom.  It is a delight to visit with these two young men.

Nikita and Nick
Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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