Saturday, August 10, 2013

Guests; Rains in the Night; Matia

Dear Gma,

Mom and Marsh arrived yesterday early afternoon, 24 hours after our arrival, having also managed to catch the 12:35 boat. Spackle greeted them with delirious, wagging joy--particularly when Mom started giving him crackers. *We* were all eating crackers; Spackle clearly needed to have crackers as well.

They admired Ian's handiwork of the morning, the most necessary part of which was yellow jacket eradication. We now have at least six traps, all teeming with swarms of dying killers. The numbers are unbelievable, and so vast that, as with the Passenger Pigeons in their heyday, we feel absolutely no compunction in killing as many as we can.

Ian's dad, Dan, arrived later in the afternoon from the 3:50 ferry, to a much less enthusiastic greeting from Spackle.

"WOOF," said Spackle firmly, alerting us that something out of the ordinary was going on. "WOOF. WOOF!", he said, and continued saying it, ignoring both our laughter and our admonishment. He woofed until helmeted Dan, riding his motor-assist bicycle up through the tall grass from the lane, got close enough for a contrite Spackle to sniff him and give him an apologetic lick on the hand. In our experience, dogs do not like wheeled people. Spackle has gotten used to bicycles in the city, but they are still a rare sight in a pasture.

All together, we decided to take an evening spin in the boat before looking for dinner, and all enjoyed our race out of West Sound and around Crane Island. We ended up eating--ravenously--at the "beach" (their seasonal outdoor seating area) at the Lower Tavern in Eastsound.

At 4am I awoke, and seconds after I checked the time, I heard the thunder that had been predicted. Seconds after that I heard rain pattering on the awning over the front door and on the extra awning material on a heap of junk on the ground under the porthole. I spared a moment to savor the fact that Dan was in the tent and I was under the roof, then I suddenly remember that I'd left the VHF radio on the boat, powered on, and plugged into the outlet, which draws from the boat's battery. I felt less smug about my roof.

In the event, I found this morning that the radio had not killed our boat battery (phew!). Ian had started a breakfast of bacon and eggs and coffee when I returned to our damp camp, radio in hand, and we listened dubiously to the weather report of scattered showers and light winds. We had hoped to go out to an island not reachable by ferry--one of the main attractions of having access to a boat in the San Juans.

Mom and Marsh arrived from the Blue Heron Inn where they also spent a night under a roof, and, undaunted by the occasional chill spattering, we all decided to make a lunch and hit the water.

Don't get me wrong, it started out cold. I, as skipper, like to have my face above the wind screen when I'm driving, and today pellets of icy water beat onto my cheeks and and ran across my glasses. A chill wind, only partly created by our speed, battered us. We pulled into the harbor at Jones Island to assess. The dock was full, the rain had almost ceased, and ignoring Dan, we decided to push on. By our next possible landing place at West Beach, around 10 minutes later, the clouds were lightening, the tide was slowing, and things were looking up.

Since a 19-foot ski boat travels comfortably at around 25 MPH (unlike the sailboats in which Ian's family cruised the San Juans when he was a child), Matia, off the north coast of Orcas, halfway around the island from our land, was suddenly considered to be a reasonable destination.

We headed there; we found a spot on the small dock; Spackle waded on the beach; we claimed a picnic table and brought out our lunch; we piddled in the composting toilet; the sun came out and suddenly, as northwesterners do, we were all complaining about the heat.

The trip back to West Sound, with the turn of the tide and the slight rising of the wind, was exhilarating rather than alarming, because the sun was out and the rips and eddies sparkled and glittered as the boat danced across them.

We saw porpoises, seals, bald eagles, and cormorants, and all agreed it had been a hugely successful outing.

And then we had naps.

xox, Calin

P.S. I remembered to take the radio off the boat today.

one-fingered on my phone

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