It is a cloudy morning as we rush to catch the ferry from Anacortes to Sidney, B.C. We are blessed to live in an area that offers such a diverse selection of beautiful and exciting places to visit and provides such close adventures. A favorite for us is Vancouver Island. Located in British Columbia Province, Vancouver Island is 460 kilometers (290 miles) in length, 80 kilometers (50 miles) in width at the widest point and is home to the capital of the province.
Being an island, the only way to arrive is by plane, boat, or ferry. The Washington State Ferry leaves Anacortes, WA and arrives in Sidney, B.C. This time of year there is only one sailing and you must make reservations. The ferry makes a brief stop at Friday harbor, the last U.S. stop before heading into international waters on the north side of San Juan Island.
Sunshine, pale blue skies, and wispy clouds greet as we cross the imaginary line indicating we are leaving U.S. waters and entering Canada. Sparked with anticipation as we venture closer to our holiday weekend, the island life and small communities beckon us to visit. The first stop as we finally make it through customs is the Sidney Bakery. We needed a sweet treat from this popular bakery to greet us as we start our adventure.
Sidney is located on the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula, so we have to drive south in order to catch Highway 1 north. We don’t make it far on the highway past Victoria before traffic is diverted. An accident involving a tanker truck shut down Highway 1 in both directions, the main arterial for the island. Our 2 1/2 hr drive north now turned into a 5 plus hour drive.
We turn around and catch Highway 14, which takes us along the south end of the island and over to the west coast before we can finally head north again. What is normally a two lane highway use to logging trucks and very little traffic has become the main road for north and southbound traffic diverted from the only major highway on the island.
The drive is scenic as it winds along the coast, the pacific ocean providing an expansive view. We stop in Sooke for a quick lunch and a bathroom break. Luckily we had a full tank of gas because it was the last real stop for miles (or kilometers.) Lines of traffic fill the road as we follow each other on this rural road. We briefly stop at Jordan River to watch the wind surfers. Even though we’re on holiday and flexible, we still have a long drive ahead of us so we only stay for a few minutes. We breezed through Port Renfrew. I wanted to stop but the traffic was moving steadily so we stayed the course.
The road curved through the mountain range. Lush vegetation and large forests greeted us as we drove past. Narrow in some spots and with bridges over waterways down to only one lane, everyone drove courteously and with caution. This little side excursion was not on our list of things to do, but being on vacation requires flexibility and the willingness for different adventures, so we went with the flow and enjoyed a view of the island we would probably have not seen otherwise.
We finally arrived at our destination, a cute little cottage in Nanoose Bay. It was seven hours later, tired and ready to remove ourselves from the car, we snuggled in for the night. After all we still had more adventures coming.
I am not a boater.
Yet, I live on an island surrounded by boats. And in a community whose history and present is immersed in maritime traditions and industries.
I work for the Waggoner Cruising Guide, the Bible for Northwest Boaters. I manage the online presence of the Anacortes Marine Trades Association. And, I am the treasurer for the Anacortes Waterfront Alliance.
But, I am not a boater.
Unlike most of the locals in Anacortes who hike the trails on Fidalgo Island or complete the LOOP at Washington Park, I like to walk the docks at Cap Sante Marina.
Spending a day on the water whale watching with Island Adventures is a favorite adventure.
As a photographer, my favorite subject is boats, especially the large ships being built at Dakota Creek Industry, Crowley Tugs, and Washington State Ferries.
A bucket list dream for me was to tour a Washington State Ferry. That dream came true when I won a Washington State Ferry photo contest and the prize was a behind-the-scenes tour of a ferry route of my choice.
Wooden boats fascinate me. Yet, I am not a boater.
It was a chilly November day and the crowd buzzed with anticipation for the launching of the Polaris, a traditional Viking ship. I was in awe of the craftsmanship and the beauty of this amazing work of art. Later, the builder, Jay Smith, did a talk on Norwegian Boat Building. Most of what he said I did not understand, but I was drawn in and wanted to know more.
Each year, the Anacortes Waterfront Alliance (a.k.a. Anacortes Small Boat Center) celebrates getting out on the water with the Pull and Be Damned Messabout. They invite the public to take a ride out on small boats provided by local organizations. I watched in fascination as each boat rowed out into the bay.
I may not be a boater but with events like the Messabout, working for a company that dedicates itself to boating, and being exposed to boats on a daily basis certainly tempts me to be a boater.
Short Stories of passion, of life, of people.