12 June 2014 | Orcas Island
The sail made for us by Hasse and Co. in Port Townsend, our faithful offense to the bruiser winds all the way down the coast, was ripped off the boat while safely harbored in Judd Cove. It’s almost ironic how after 7 months in Santa Ana’s and fool’s anchorage and Murder Bays and storms in Morro, this would be the scenario for our shore-tore-lore.
Well it was swept under. It tore on our own equipment after Vince left the boat just for a few hours. I called the sail loft-- we just had the sail made ( last year) and they were more than helpful, encouraging us to fix the sail ourselves because that's the way they make their sails: easy for sailors to repair. Luckily, we were safe in a cove and not at sea.
With a quick briefing (debriefing?), we did not have to plan a-few-grand-vacation to Port Townsend--Though a road trip did sound enticing.
Meanwhile, on the dock, we carefully cut our sticky-patch opposites of opaque sail material. Vince held the headboard overhead, which weighs damn near 20 lbs., to match our edges by the suns’ definition. Did we get smart fast? We tied some line to cleats and propped the boathook through an eyelet to suspend the thing there as we passed big needles, with pliers and palm, through the cloth.
Problem solving. That is the essence of sailing. Wind changes? Pull in on that line, adjust, problem solved. Need a knot that will slip easily when I want it to and not at all when I don’t, bowline, problem solved.
It’s rewarding BECAUSE it offers so many challenges.
Right now, we are mostly in the challenge mode. That is merely because we are not sailing. It’s an end to its own means, as well is it never-ending … like a snake with an appetite for its own tail.
Now, under the awning of our Orcas Island beach RV, Vince stitches away at the borders of our double-sided patches. With Awl and plank, he sews new hems and patches his sail. After watching him, I can’t say I am dying to offer my help. It looks miserable, but more importantly, he looks like a soulful sailor. Mending your sails is important on simple, economic levels, but also complex, symbolic levels. When you have had the experience, you have to do the tedious work to process it afterwards. Almost consequential, it seems to be a pattern of our lives; how something we experience proceeds to the minutiae of digesting what our experiences have given us. It’s after the album’s last note, it’s just after the last chapter’s page turns blank. For me it is memory. It is the expansion and vividity of the lessons we have had, and to make what was, what we made of it. We are truly in control.
Any how. It is a sail repair! Whoo!
We got all the crap off the boat so that we may keep moving forward. We are working and living together. I am quite enjoying a brand new form of ‘height gardening’… and Vince, well he’s sewing and working in close proximities. I sometimes have a weird dream about mountains of folded sails covered in mud. It is unexplained.
comforts of 'home'
20 April 2014 | Bellingham
A big trip can wear you down, and returning from exploration can make you feel nostalgic for the comforts of home-- but what are they really? It's a hot shower, a decent grocery store, a kitchen, a comfy bed, a kindness from friends... you know? I'm pretty sure I know how to find the comforts of home in every port I visit.
What's more rare is the feeling of swaying to sleep in a safe hull, knowing everyday, everything you need, though minimal, is right there. There's no replacing the feeling of boat life. Yea, we got cravings: Old Town Cafe, Tony's coffee, but the basal comforts of home is reliability and stability.
On land, I am blessed to have close family and friends who are dedicated to understanding, growing and self-enhancement. They are the ones who I can always rely on for advice and wisdom, and they are truly soulful enough for me to miss them when I leave. But, it is these people who insist I travel and send them stories.
Other than that, a place is not completely reliable. Humans are about as stable as the rocking sea. Land for me has become a place where people are tossed to an unnatural degree of slavery and obligation. Once you have cruised, the amount of freedom on land just becomes disproportionate.
So many people are inhibited into never moving forward or letting go because they can't face their darkness or lacking with a clever eye. Sailing taught me to just keep the necessities, keep an eye open, because you risk missing something wondrous. With the love of my partner, Vince, in my heart, and the love of my family, all I need is a small backpack of things to keep me going and get me inspired.
Sailors have to be seasonal. I suggest making seasonal plans to fit your boat's life. Gardening is a great way for me to work and travel, I am looking into an opportunity to go to Alaska to work for the summer.
Vince has a couple projects, all boat related. The trimaran's getting a haul out, too. Hawaii is still calling us, so we are keeping our intentions to the west until we get some money and repairs made. We are in a position to reassess and re-orient towards a goal. This is hard, and has been made more difficult by some, but we have had time to think and appreciate extreme beauty and grow from harsh lessons, that's the comfort of home, not the place or the convenience. To have a calling and a vision, and fill it with wisdom and compassion (and PATIENCE.... ugh....) it feels great to begin looking in a watery direction once more.
Seneca said: "If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable."
12 April 2014
We came home and I want to turn right back around. The house Vince and I have worked on and the garden we created over the 6 years together has been lost in major deception. In general the human sickness is reverberating and I return to the barely-lapping bay where I can become passive.
The end has been the hardest part. I have to look at my own impact as a human, with scrutiny and severity. Everywhere is hard edges, rules and misunderstanding. If there's a need for battle, all is already lost. A solution is ever more patience and truth. Attachment and investment blinded me, never the sea water or wind. I am incredibly liberated yet heavy-hearted to finally have it all out of my life: I realize it has always been my intention and I failed myself in welcoming the disengagement to try and protect years of accommodation and sanctuary. Sailing is so freeing, that possessions cannot matter, they will fall in the drink forever, and they will weigh you down-- yet I still cared about my garden and little farm and fort so much that I would risk everything, even honor, to try and gain my place among them again.
The experiences on the ocean truly opened my eyes and provided an expansive setting for alchemizing the soul. Out there, it is easy to be a part of beauty, of true love. On land, I can hardly hold my head still at the faces, the cars and missing trees. As capable as all humans are of being just and decent, there is a shadow side to it all that lurks around us even in cheery springtime sun. I am abashed that my love for the natural earth is far more advanced than my love for humans. In sea-searching I understood the devastation humans have left in the heart of wild, sacred places-- now I must understand the devastation that is left in the wild, sacred hearts of each human as a part of my land-search for truth. Perhaps as a part of my search I can sense the faith and beauty dwelling there as well.
The most valuable thing of sailing is the experience. It is being crew. It is keeping your watch and keeping your cool. It is this oceanic appreciation and love that is worth this lifetime and though you want to bat the annoying doldrums and thuggish storms away, they are there to reveal something about yourself. When phosphorescent dolphins and magnificent whales leave your bow, yes, it's impossible not to try and chase them, but they will return and to greater delight.
I thank my readers, and hope our stories inspired. This is Xoe, Over and out.
A long farewell to a friend
09 April 2014 | San Juan Islands!
Sunny and following seas
The ocean was lovingly yet assertively pushing us toward home. I did not grasp what this meant although I have returned here annually for the last 14 years of my migratory, gypsy life. We had become so endemic to the sea, neither seasick nor impatient with doldrums in the last push of our adventure that had so dutifully provided us with the ‘fair winds and following seas’ of a sailor’s dream. It was the first long permittable weather system we had seen. Often tested by mean currents, atrociously adverse winds and heedlessly daunting weather systems that floated among the premises of our boat and morales, we had finally reached a sort of steadiness.
Albatross glided en masse as the last of the oceans swells curled under our bow. In the long run of things, it seemed a short sight of the ache and struggle I am sure we endured. This is the way it always is when you are experiencing life to the very soul of itself. You think, “Thunder, all-around pelting rain, and not a dry pair of socks, I have got to change my ideals and get my head right-- if I ever step foot aboard again-- I should just as well blast myself to fasting in India.” The sun peaked through before us and the soundless rush and trickle of the guiding ocean tipped us nearer the coast of Washington. Home!
We made good speed night and day, thanks to the auto-tiller’s persistence and our paranoid wakening. Since our battle and fringing storm-evasion on the southerly grand left-turn, our big right-hand turn (and truly the most easterly heading we had yet made) was so welcome; we had thought the sea had tested us well enough to favor us.
At that easterly turn the air dampened and soponified into a spongy cleanness of oxygen I could hardly fill my head enough with. The ocean teaches many odd lessons, some delusional, some profound. One of the most literal I found to be was that the ocean loves the land. It takes the purest, lightest dew and casts it into clouds, which, through convection, trees and other sweet green explosions soak up. This clear delineation of billowy clouds marks land, and beneath it, through rays of enlightening sunlight, was the mossiest, wettest piece of earth I could want in my heart. Often I return to ‘home’ in Seattle, where the plane shocks me into cold and savage road-rage of a very white variety. This was different; how gently we rocked up the coast, and how many amazing animals and humans we had met along the way gave me a sense of holistic return to my misty forest.
We anchored in Neah Bay where we had embarked, 6 months ago, and where we first met the ocean’s fury head-on. We laughed at the swells pressed to the Puget’s mouth remembering the initial horror of our new tenancy. I admit I have never talked to the wind and tide, the whales and fishes, the lightning and waves so much as this trip has reminded me I am able. It’s been said that humans left Eden when cursed with the curiosity of sin. I believe that is so for certain folks. We can still talk to a great spirit freely, we just need to have it stricken into our minds the memory of such Paleolithic symbol-language-- faith. Many of us are not nearly as dumbfoundedly amazed and utterly stupefied as we should be at the natural resounding infinity of things. I am sorry for that. As we entered between Vancouver Island and Tatoosh Islands, I felt the presence of humans again, the logged mountain tops, the smoke and steel flashes of cars on some low highway.
Anyway, Neah Bay is a depressed fortress of a once fierce tribe. It’s dryer than a skinny skeeter and of no use to some thirsty sailors. We swept away at 10- 13 knots to Port Angeles where we dove into the nearest dive like fishes and knocked glasses with a few fishy locals.
I sniffed the air like a hound once we turned around the (freaky long) spit. There rested the relaxed sweetness of cottonwood blossoms. The wind threw punches at our headsail (learn yer fightin from the sea’s gales and yeel never risk defeat) and Vince was all ropes and sea-spray—I was admittedly swooning to the max, nose dipped into the thick air. Though I had missed mushroom season in fall, I had the luxury of stuffing my nose with that embalmed memory of spring’s sweetness. The anchor dropped and the GPS drew our lasso of success (stuck in the NW mud quite nice).
And now we are northerly close to being home, home where spring has been reborn into pansies and hyacinth. I feel so much a belonging to this place rolling in audiences of pines and spiraling spruce. Though I have always felt I belonged to the earth, I now feel I belong to her seas as well. These forests mark the earliest muses of exploration for both the young Vince and Xoe. We have traveled successfully and know the figure and rituals of the ocean—thankful for surviving the leap of watery faith.
Of the many inhaling and pendulous lessons the ocean taught us was of huge death. We had been treated to fields of dolphins, symphonic whales and arrangements of seabirds, but with a fisher’s dark warning on our departure from Eureka-- we were to face death and the destruction from the event at Fukushima. While we noted quite a bit more flotsam and less life on our northerly trek, we were met by a seismic dead grey whale afloat and marked by seabirds. Floating high, we saw the disembodied mass out of place, delicately serpentine in the swell of the ocean. Though we were at too quick a pace to query on the cause of death, the whole fleshy whale was a look up close of one of the world’s largest, least understood beings. To understand the experience of this creature, even partially, is something we cannot fathom. The bigness of her spirit was as heavy as the leaking clouds above, feeding the birds and sharks in its final extraordinary migration. The baleen and fin stuck lifeless into the air, all surrounded by the ripples of life. I thought in the mythic part of my brain whales were some kind of untouchable sacred wild mystery—not so—all life is equally finite and fragile. Humans are the only (proven) beings that understand we will die. Imagine an animal that was conscious of ocean-sized consequential actions.
The destruction we cause to our world is so resoundingly irresponsible and shallow—and the effects are more complex than a simple, closeted mind can digest. Yet for convenience and comfort we lose a whalish portion of our very souls. I find the ego-centric, sniveling cultureless wads of entitled human materialistic conformists to be an affront. The excuses of lackadaisical nihilism are endless and not a one is coherent or justifiable. I cannot proscribe anything easier than mass suicide for the enrichment of our planet, but sailing has taught me of flowing unity and stern natural paths. So I say this: go and get very uncomfortable. Go lose that useless ego-spitting lard in your Sense Of Adventure and experience something that makes you feel very small and precarious. (Though those reading this are dear to me, they are the very luminous, witty souls undamaged by my unbridled verve. So. ) I think if people got more happiness from the natural earth without cursing paroxysms at a soggy shoe or a pang in their gut they might even be enlarged to the verge of understanding an inkling of what happens beyond the borders of their own skin. Once it's hilariously miserable, you can always keep the enlightenment that you had to earn... that's the problem, making the feeling stick around isn't it? You are still looking at the screen? There’s a dead grey whale drifting to the bony shores of your world. Very fondly and respectably yours as always.
01 April 2014 | eureka, ca
We sailed in, or surfed in more accurately, in a full-out gale. We started the trip by avoiding small craft advisories, but then, who can wait around for perfect conditions? Sometimes the SCAs were the perfect conditions, no risk of doldrums there. So we got a little adrenaline rush as the gale built and built, sailing for 30- plus hours, and we got a nice solid rain, so we were wet already when the waves began crashing on the boat.
I was chatting with Coast guard, Vince full-body turning the tiller, and we tested our rain gear. By the time we saw the entrance to Eureka, and after finding NO online info, and being told we were not authorized by Coast Guard to stay there... we were hauling 17 knots down 15 footers in the freezing rain-- and it was getting dark.
Once in the breakers, it sure seemed like we had gotten away from a building gale, but into a river estuary about a foot or so deep. Coast guard cannot authorize anything. They are pretty much there to talk on the radio and give you weather reports you can get on the other channel. But it's comforting to have a non-robotic voice there for ya. Anyway, our GPS made things look pretty bleak. No one wants to try and anchor in a river outlet, and nobody wants to risk getting their boat stuck in shallow muck.
Coast guard did come through (probably risking authorized unhelpfulness) when we told them we are going to have to return to sea. They gave us the number of the city. I got this guy Donald. "Hello sir, we are a sailing vessel seeking overnight shelter from the building gale..." I started in radio voice. "Well you came to the right spot, come on down that river lookin thing to Woodley Island," said a friendly, unofficial voice. He told us of a public dock with water and power hookups that he was turning on right as I spoke to him. He told us he'd be by the next day if we needed groceries or a tour of the microbreweries in the Humboldt area.
Sure enough, people did stop by the boat. Lots of curious folks stopped to ask questions and wish us luck on our voyage. One guy came and brought us sailing magazines and bagels from the local bakery. The local natives had gathered for the first time since 1820 to do a healing ceremony for the river estuary just around the corner from our boat. The commissary of the yacht club even came and offered us rides, showers and anything that would help our stay in Eureka. Some local author dropped his signed book off at our boat for 'doldrums.' We met Bobby, a local artist, who invited us in for some stew and stories when it was pouring outside. It was a nice get-away from the boat, we went across the peninsula on a gorgeous beach-walk.
Actually, the very port we thought we would have to turn away from turned out to be the most hospitable port yet! We got shower passes to the local gym and two free weeks on the dock.
We are waiting for this gale to pass, but it is clinging to the shore. 'Small craft advisory' just doesn't have the foreboding it once had. All this storming and thunder is sure reminding me of home-- hence the stormy rock photo, one of a series-- and I am ready to come back. We have become more like the ocean, deeper, fluid, intuitively aware, and quite a lot saltier. Also, we have become irreversible stewards of the land and sea.
One recurring theme on this trip was meeting a wide array of humans whose homes and land have been illegally or unrighteously taken from them. We have had the pleasure to meet many active stewards of the natural planet on this journey.
It's not odd that responsible people who desire the least impact on our world would be the ones to loose the most. Each otter and heron are pendulous in our hearts. Each new house built is over a memory of the plum and huckleberry that were there before.
Sailors that we have befriended live simply, to be true. Solar and Wind power become the most logical source of energy. Close monitoring of any garbage must be handled either in grocery planning or before a recycler before the dinghy ride to the boat.
In reality, when we are a responsible, small, closed-circuit, the whole circuit of our planet becomes easily integrative. Parcels of land like parcels of our heart may face destruction and can even be spoiled. I have inherited the sailor's faith of knowing there is always the pulsing sea and the fraying wind. I know that all the wrong in human hearts cannot burn away the ocean, though they may try, and it rushes into any mistaken idea that we have any sort of lacking on this earth or to the stewardship of it. The ocean has this great ability to ball up trash and wash it ashore, nets and buoys and plastic and the white-trash Styrofoam (my personal nemesis). I feel the tides as the trash of life becomes digested and changed into something else, and what it's bringing to me is in the form of great (at least more soulful) people and an awe of the forces set before my eyes.
Speaking of force, I leave you with a Yoda quote.
"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the force around you, between tree and rock, even between the land and the ship."
Go to the Port side!
25 March 2014 | sausalito ca
Oh, Sausalito. How we missed you. The way north has been all about port hopping. I was kind of stumped when I googled such sparse information about these ports, as they are commonly cruised. Here is a little crash course guide for those of you wishing to do this sail, port-hop style. (This is the name of my next hoppy-porter beer, nobody steal it!)
Santa Barbara: slippery, free open anchorage. "Fool's anchorage" means you cannot be a fool, and you cannot be unobservant. Ever. Winter runs from Oct. 31- April1 and that means winter anchorage about 3 miles out from the pier, past a blue barge that has a recording of falcons being fed. It will drive you nuts. Summer anchorage is marginally safer and much more convenient.
The pier is okay, keep in mind there are people who want your paddles or gas or whatever. Don't even dream of trying to lock a bike there, it's as good as gone. You have to climb up the ladders and people will think you are suicidal when you climb down. Make sure your dinghy/ kayak doesn't get stuck when the tide rises, you can tie it from the bow and make a stern line running at an angle to make sure it stays safe. Saturday and Tuesday markets are well-known, and Santa Cruz Market is the closest, most affordable grocery.
The marina option is spendy but worth it for the Easterly Santa Anas. It is critical to keep up on weather, because these famous winds will hit hard. I heard an average of 4 boats go ashore every year, already this year was 3. The Marina office is next to the yacht club upstairs, you buy a 7$ key card they turn on and off for showers. It's .90$/ft and you have 2 weeks at that price, afterwards it doubles unless you spend 5 days out. You can go south to Ventura's Marina if you are that kinda folk, but I recommend spending those 5 nights at St. Cruz Island just 22 miles south. It's pure magic, full of endemic species that have only associated with kind, nature-loving sailors.
There you can rest in Pelican bay, Prisoners bay (providing protection from northern and western blows) or scorpion and little Scorpion Bays.( Anacapa Island is close, and has a cool arch, but no place to stop there.) On the other side of Santa Cruz Island is Coches, gives different protection. There's more greenery to be hiked around in the western end where Prisoner's and Pelican is. Smuggler's is a favorite, cool hikes and old fruit trees there. Do not go there if there is a Santa Ana risk. I heard from other sailors that any further south is not as welcoming, San Diego and LA are crazy and we weren't inspired to go there.
Avalon on Catalina was recommended, it's the only place on the Channels you can find a store.
Many fishers rest on the northern side of pt. Conception (Coho) . There's a little shelter there, not much, but if you had a bad go around the point, which you should expect unless you go between midnight and two in the morning, you can hop around there and bunker down.
Morrow Bay: After a big bay and a little chute, you get into a nice protected estuary. This town is cute and friendly to sailors, you will feast on fish and chips and usually hear some music. Don't venture too far into where the other boats are moored, they get finicky. Just anchor close to the opening and harbor Patrol will give you a card to fill out. You get 5 nights free, then it's something like 7$ for a 37 footer like ours. The Harbor Patrol is really nice there and they have helped us immensely every time we were there. Look for our Buoy we had to discover for them! We hauled it up as a snag, and they may even let guests stay on it now... who knows... it could be the trimaran's gift to Morrow Bay cruisers. It's between Heavy Mettle and Maureen the fishing boat. They have a dock you can stay on for a few hours, electricity and water, and a nearby park has coin showers... hot ones.
San Simeon is the next, we didn't go there but we were recommended it because it gave protection from all wind directions but the south. And, apparently, they have the best sandwich shop right near their bay where you can use their pier or do a beach landing.
Further North, Monterey Bay. I love this place, we made the mistake of going to the public dock, where I was immediately electrocuted by the sealion-deterring 2X4s with electric wires on them...( that plus wet dock lines= bad hair day... ) So we were about to pay the $1/foot guest price just to get some needed shut-eye, but they put you next to this furry breakwater of barking sealions, so it's kind of a rip-off and a loud one for sleepy sailors. So, just call the Monterey city, or go to the East Mooring field near the fisher's wharf. There it is free for 30 days if you anchor outside of the yellow buoys. It's quieter, and you can easily dinghy or kayak over to a 2-hour dock. There are showers on the fisher wharf. The otters are friendly here too, and the harbor master pretty much leaves you alone. There're very limited resources for boaters here, mysteriously, and you have to walk 2 miles just to get to a tiny express West Marine, which probably doesn't have what you want. The aquarium's 40 bucks.
North in the same bay is Santa Cruz. On the weekdays it's pretty quiet, chill little surf town. Anchorage is nice except the sealions under the pier, we had gotten used to them and they were barely noticed, still, I don't like bringing the kayaks up to the pier because they are pretty fierce in numbers, being approached. During the weekends, the permanent carnival is full swing, and you must get used to hours of hearing people scream , it's pretty hilarious. They tend to party all night. It's free, and not very crowded, so no complaints.
Monterey Bay has the third deepest sea canyon in the world, so look out for greys, humpbacks and Blue Whales.
About a full day up the coast (for us a day and a half tacking upwind) lies Half Moon Bay. It's just around the corner from the Bay area. We arrived in the middle of the night, anchored a solid anchor between sparse sailboats just outside the marina and just inside the nice breakwater. If you were rolled around in swells and need a break, I recommend this spot. You are enclosed by the protection of the breakwater, and we had no problem sleeping through the horn right next to us, which may have been due to heavy fog. Free, not much to do there, not many resources as far as I could see, but they have a nice beach.
Sausalito, our favorite boat home away from home. Check out the houseboats! Free anchorage, and relatively safe, however we did do some slipping around in the shallow muck. There's not a whole lot of room for that as loads of folks live on their boats here. The bay has some fun sailing, you can hike Angel Island and see Alcatraz. There's a chute of wind that comes on through the Golden Gate. The cruiser's club is pretty dang handy. Vince and I are lucky to have some friends here who are members, so we can use it as their guests. It's so nice to come into a port and see familiar faces. We were treated to a night at the cruiser's club where we could enjoy drinks, food and music... and a shower.
NEWLY ADDED: Bodega Bay, North of Sausalito, provided a spot to drop anchor for the night. We didn't go into the bar, where it looks like you can cruise on up in for more protection, we were there on a pretty calm night, so we just hung out in the bay. Lots of fishers cruise by in the early morning, the Coast Guard is super anal here, they will get you for lights and whatever else they can... it seems like a town to be bored in, all we saw from the beach was some RVs camped out.
Eureka turned out to be a really great spot to go. We were stuck in a bad gale, on the radio with Coast Guard for the majority of the day. Remember, Coast Guard can tell you conditions, let you know if you can get into a bar, but they can not tell you you can anchor or tie off to any docks or anything 'unauthorized.' That being said, when I requested shelter from the storm, being wet and tired and in need of resources, they said we should go up to the next open anchorage in Trinity. That was horribly far and exposed to the gale, SO we entered anyway and got the number for Eureka City. I got this great city worker's cell who told us we were more than welcome in and he turned the electricity on. The large public dock is free for 2 weeks. Inside the bar, go to the port side all the way until you get to the Arcata 101 overpass. People are really friendly and want to help sailors at this dock, just be careful, there's plenty of waterheads that are up to no good, don't leave the boat for the night or anything. Englunds is a good place to get expensive marine grade things, otherwise there is another hardware store further in town.
Trinidad, Ca or protection cove is a great little spot to get some shelter after Eureka. It's a quick sail a little further north. Largely a fishing/crabbing mooring site, you have to be careful for pots all the way in. We latched to a mooring tire that clanked all night like sea kittens playing with bells. In the morning, the fishers left and waved, friendly enough, and it seemed like there were plenty of mooring systems for any passer by. There is a wharf there and what looked to be a bait shop.
Neah Bay: this is the next liable place to anchor. Oregon coast was just not very welcoming, given the weather. It's a dry town, so don't let this be the last stop, though, it really is, for a long time. There's a restaurant and a nice protected bay outside of the marina that is primarily for fishers.
Next is Port Angeles: there's a big breakwater here... like, miles long, and it can get hairy in there. We just anchored, though the yacht club has a dock. There's a wharf with a ladder and beach landings are pretty easy, there's quite a bit of resources here for groceries, etc.
All through the pass, watch for logs!
Port Townsend is a friendly place to sailors, but beware the slippery anchorage. There's seaweed everywhere. You can anchor out side of the marina, or with more caution, further west. There's plenty of shops here, and a chill little place for any sailor to want to hang around.
We stopped in Eastsound on Orcas where the boat usually stays, and then over to Bellingham. We had a stormy night in Murder Bay, on Vancouver Island, we couldn't hold anchor so we had to tie to the docks, which is something you may not want to opt for, unless you have passports and a phone to call port officials.
Hope this helps and inspires. It's pretty hairy around Cape Mendocino, and any of the river deltas. Any of the San Juan Islands are protected and worth an exploration, just beware of summer crowds. Bellingham, our home, is fairly protected and has a close community of a few anchor outs in Fairhaven. It's free within bounds, but limited resources very close to the water. The private dock there, guarded but unmonitored on the weekends, has water and plugs. Still, you have to walk down the train tracks if you want to provision. We snuck onto the boat ramp in the middle of the night, no problem, to do the heavy provisioning.
Thanks to all the readers--you are the reason I write. Thanks to all the sailors, our community reminds us why we love doing this crazy shit afterall.