Sequoia Changing Latitudes

30 August 2023 | St. Helens, Oregon
09 August 2023 | Bellingham, Washington
21 July 2023 | Boat: Bellingham; C&B: Scappoose
10 July 2023 | Egmont, Sunshine Coast, B.C., Canada
02 July 2023 | Walsh Cove, Desolation Sound, B.C., Canada
23 June 2023 | Westview/Powell River B.C.
18 June 2023 | Ganges, Saltspring Island, B.C., Canada
22 June 2019 | Scappoose, Oregon
27 May 2019 | Back home in Oregon
09 May 2019 | Villas Alturas Hotel, Costa Rica
02 May 2019 | San Vito, Costa Rica
23 April 2019 | Golfito, Costa Rica
11 April 2019 | Panama City, Panama
04 April 2019 | Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
22 March 2019 | Jamaica
11 March 2019 | Zar Par Marina, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
18 February 2019 | Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
31 January 2019 | Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
21 January 2019 | Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua
04 January 2019 | Portsmouth, Dominica

Bellingham and the San Juan Islands

09 August 2023 | Bellingham, Washington
Barbara Johnston | Partly cloudy, warm
Here we are, dear friends and family, in Bellingham, waiting out some rain showers. We came back from our Oregon and California “adventures” 10 days ago and have spent six of those days with our Austrian exchange student from many years ago (Cori) and her husband (Jens) and two young boys (Finn, 12½ and Simon, 10). Aboard Sequoia it was an adventure in group living; we really did have a fabulous time. These boys are almost like grandchildren to us. But we have no experience with grandparenting, so it really was an adventure, with many rewards.

From Bellingham we crossed into the San Juan Islands and headed north to Sucia Island. It’s been many years since we have spent any significant time in the San Juans (nearly always choosing to go north to Desolation Sound as we did earlier this summer.) But I think I had forgotten the charm and beauty of these islands, despite a heavy load of visitors. Facilities have been upgraded in many cases, and I have the impression that the population of boaters may still be slightly less than before the pandemic.

Sucia is an ideal island to visit with children. Finn and Simon were at work almost as soon as we had the anchor down. They helped with inflating the dinghy, launching the dinghy, lowering the outboard and securing it in place and making sure that everything else was shipshape. (To be fair, the boys have a fair amount of sailing experience in the Baltic Sea, but it has been several years since their grandparents sold the sailboat.) It wasn’t long before they were both in the dinghy, exploring the Echo Bay anchorage and spotting a variety of sea creatures on the bottom in shallow areas. They recruited Jens and Cori to take them ashore, where they had a good hike.

Sucia is full of trails, going off in all directions. The next day, we all went ashore. Craig and I hiked to Fossil Bay and back. We all met on the beach of Echo Bay. Cori had made a nice lunch which we enjoyed sitting on beached logs under the shade of madrona trees and backed up to what appeared to be an eroding old shell mound (Native American garbage pile, created before the Europeans came). A superb addition to the lunch was a gift of freshly grilled salmon from a fisherman on the Shallow Bay beach. (I suspect the boys stood close by, admiring the fish, and that was what resulted in the contribution to our lunch.) Cori tells me that beaches in the Baltic have no drift logs piled up on the shores. I’m sure we saw that when we sailed in the Baltic 6 years ago, but somehow it didn’t register.

That afternoon the boys went off with the dinghy again, while Cori and Jens explored more trails and shores; Craig and I went back to the boat to fuel up our personal reserves after the high activity level led by Finn and Simon. Dinghying continued well into the evening. The header for this blog post shows Cori and Simon heading back to the boat in front of majestic Mt. Baker, at dusk.

On our third day together on the water, we headed over to Friday Harbor to get hot showers and stoke up on supplies (do you have any idea how much food pre-teen boys eat?? I had been making a liter of fresh yogurt about once a week on the boat, but with Finn and Simon aboard the rate increased to once a day.) We were actually able to sail for a brief time on the way to Friday Harbor – first time we’ve seen any significant wind in days.

We didn’t see any significant tourist attractions while in Friday Harbor, but we took care of the necessaries. For Finn and Simon, number one on the list was to fill the fuel tank for the dinghy motor. At Sucia Island they had taken it down to about 2% of capacity. The motor was starting to cough on our last trip back to the boat. We also took care of laundry, had a nice dinner out at a Thai restaurant and the aforementioned hot showers and grocery shopping.

Next stop: Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. It’s a lovely marina, with picnic tables, barbecues, a nice little store with ice cream cones for the kids and fresh food for breakfast and lunch. There was a swimming pool on offer, but we found out it was not heated, and enthusiasm evaporated. Instead we went on what was supposed to have been a long walk, but instead evolved into a blackberry picking expedition. We had failed to bring any bags or boxes, so most of the berries went into mouths. We did send Finn and Simon out the next morning, and they came back with enough berries to enhance our morning yogurt and cereal bowls. I went for a walk that morning, and found a dedicated path atop a cliff, backed by gorgeous houses and grounds owned by the rich, and perhaps famous. I’m sure it’s a beautiful spot to live, but the expensive detailing is somewhat overwhelming.

With that, our time with Cori, Jens, Finn and Simon was about to expire, so we returned to Bellingham yesterday, getting in a bit more sailing, nearly all against a strong current. They stayed with us last evening and we went to a sushi restaurant on the other side of Squalicum Marina. The kids love the conveyor belt delivery of various sushi options. Cori and I biked over there while the rest went in their car (a rented Tesla). The family slept on the boat and departed for the south yesterday morning. They are finishing up a six-week motor exploration of the west coast before they return to Germany in about a week. Cori very kindly used their car to take me on an extensive shopping trip to supply up for our next guests. Today is our “in between” day to relax and clean the boat from top to bottom.

Home is beginning to lure us back. I expect to write one more log entry, which should include time in Barkley Sound on the outside of Vancouver Island. Stay tuned!
Vessel Name: Sequoia
Vessel Make/Model: Outbound 44
Hailing Port: Portland, Or
Crew: Craig & Barbara Johnston
We are the proud owners of S/V Sequoia, Outbound 44 hull #5, built for us in Shanghai, China in 2001. In 2003-04 we crossed the South Pacific to Australia; in 2008 we sailed to Glacier Bay and back -- those voyages have been archived and are no longer available. [...]
We care about the world and its people, and try to live responsible lives, mindful of ourselves, the places we travel to, and the people we meet. When we are away from home, we miss our daughter and son and extended family, and try to get together as much as possible. And, dear reader, we look [...]
Sequoia's Photos - Main
Photos from the beginning of our summer cruise to B.C.
11 Photos
Created 18 June 2023
Photos from the beginning of our summer cruise to B.C.
No Photos
Created 18 June 2023
Putting Sequoia aboard the M/V Merwedegracht in Victoria, B.C.
3 Photos
Created 29 March 2017
Photos of our preparations to have Sequoia shipped by freighter from Victoria to Europe.
6 Photos
Created 13 March 2017