Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Way Home

Cruising the San Juan's
The Beautiful San Juan Islands
We departed Montague Harbour in the Gulf Islands on August 9th heading southward down Trincomali Channel and Plumper Sound passing familiar stops like the adorable Hope Bay Public Wharf on North Pender Island and Breezy Bay, another favorite on Saturna Island, the site of beautiful Saturna Island Winery & Bistro.  After passing through the Gulf Islands, we headed across “The Big Pond,” the waters dividing Canada and the U.S. known as Boundary Pass and entered our beloved San Juan Islands.  It was a beautiful sunny day with flat, calm seas, an enjoyable cruise through the San Juan’s and across Rosario Strait to Anacortes, Washington where we cleared customs.  
Approaching Anacortes
We walked into town and enjoyed the Anacortes Arts Festival, five blocks of booths lining both sides of the street displaying unique handcrafted arts for sale along with local entertainment, food, and a beer garden. 
Leonard had worn his Metlakatla shirt which he had purchased in Alaska; and as we passed a lady in the crowd, she lit up with excitement and asked us if we were from Metlakatla.  We had visited the town on our recent trip we told her, and had enjoyed the Native village and dance performance.  She said she lived in Ketchikan and we chatted some more.  
At Anacortes Arts Festival
I mentioned that I had kept a blog about our travels and had looked up the history regarding Metlakatla B.C. and Metlakatla Alaska.  She smiled and asked me if I had heard of the book entitled “Challenge the Wilderness.”  I told her no and she pulled the book from her bag and proceeded to tell us that it was written by her father, George Tomlinson, who had recently passed away. 
His book is about his life as a young boy with his father, Robert Tomlinson, who served as a medical missionary with the Tsimshian Natives to assist the famed Father Duncan who established both Metlakatla B.C. and Metlakatla Alaska.  It was such a special encounter to meet Susan Tomlinson Durbin, daughter of the author.  She ended up giving us the book which is full of first-hand accounts of adventures in the wilderness, experiences of both her father and grandfather with historic photos.  What a special gift!  We also had the pleasure of meeting our friends, Pam and Bruce, for dinner that evening at their lovely home on Similk Bay, located between La Conner and Anacortes.  We had a nice visit and learned more about their recent travels.  The following morning we left for Seattle, Leonard departed with the boat and I drove the car which we had left in Anacortes over the season.  From Anacortes to Mt. Vernon I encountered a backup due to road construction but eventually made it to the freeway for the two-hour drive to Seattle.  In the meantime, Leonard had his own challenges departing through the Swinomish Slough.  This narrow, twisting channel is shallow and dredged only periodically.  
Elliott Bay Marina, Seattle
Got d’ Fever was moving with the current at 9.4 knots and Leonard noted that the depth coincidentally showed 9.4 feet.  As he neared the south end of the Slough where logs are stored, a tug was putting together a log boom so Leonard had to wait - an uncomfortable situation while in current and shallow depths with nowhere to go!   Fortunately he didn’t have to wait long and the tug captain motioned Leonard to come through.  Now in Skagit Bay, Leonard continued down Saratoga Passage between Camano Is. and Whidbey Island, then through Possession Sound and into Puget Sound arriving in Seattle at 6pm, a nine-hour trip for Got d’ Fever.  
Mr. Heron Welcomes us Home
This season’s excursion had been rich with experiences; we thoroughly enjoyed the people and small boardwalk villages of Southeast Alaska, the mountains and glaciers, and the awe inspiring scenery and power of the Gulf of Alaska.

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