On Wednesday we stayed in Fisherman Bay and it was the first day that truly felt like vacation. No alarms were set, there was nowhere to be at a specific time, and we had zero obligations. Officially in the San Juan’s, we were excited to take it easy. Starting on Lopez Island was not the plan (spoiler alert: there was never an official plan), but it was a great first stop. It is not the most populated, or most visited, but it is locally known as the friendliest island. Everyone waves at everyone else as they drive past each other and it is adorable. Definitely not big city living!
There were a few items to look for on shore, but we nearly didn’t make it. As we rowed little Zubie toward the marina, a floatplane started to come in for a landing. Watching it aim right for us was rather unnerving, but watching it land RIGHT in front of us was wicked cool. Bonus points awarded to Kenmore Air for painting it to look like an orca. It remains to be the only orca I have seen in the wild.
We did not get very far off the dock before stopping for lunch at the resort. (We are really living it up.) With full bellies, we conferred with the front desk and set out with a local map into town. I anticipated a bit of a hike after the guy at the front desk offered to send a shuttle if we got tired of walking. As it turns out, it was only about a mile to get to Lopez Village. Maybe. Stretching our legs and walking for more than 42 ft in a given stretch felt too good to even consider calling for a shuttle. Plus, there were blackberries along the side of the road just begging to be picked.
Our first stop was the local chandlery, which I was initially surprised existed on such a small island. I suppose it makes sense since most of the resident likely have a boat of some sort! For our boats, we were on a mission to find a replacement oarlock along with some parts for the new-to-us outboard motor that we purchased a couple days before the start of our trip. Our first night at anchor we went out in Zubie and the motor stalled every time it was in idle. Not great. Craig is on it though and hopes to have it all squared away soon.
Further into Lopez Village we made the obligatory stop at Lopez Island Creamery and were not disappointed. A stop at the local bookstore yielded an awesome new guidebook for the islands. It even has great mini-charts for the entrances into harbors and identifies hazards. Like the really shallow depths in the channel to get into Fisherman Bay. That freaked us out yesterday. We’re learning.
Many of the islands (maybe even all of them?) have a free-cycle section at the local dump. It’s almost like a thrift store, but it is run by volunteers and everything is FREE. There are clothes, books, dishes, and even sweet old ceramic double sinks that would look incredible in my very own rustic cabin on the island. Emmy found another book to add to her summer reading list since she has already devoured three books in the week that she has been here. An unexpected find, we happened to meet up with another couple visiting Lopez on their sailboat. We agreed to meet up with Beth and Cody on Small World later in the evening. When they knocked on the hull they had freshly boatmade rosemary lemon cookies in hand! With rosemary from shore! (Beth, if you’re reading this, I still want that recipe!) it was a lovely night and it was really great to chat about some of the challenges that we all face and some of the things that make it all worthwhile.
If you are looking for a good boating guidebook for the islands, we can now recommend San Juan Islands; A Boater’s Guidebook by Breeding and Bansmer. Plus they are fellow Westsail owners so you know they are cool.