Life is good on a boat’s transom…

Twenty days. 260 nautical miles. Two countries. 

Objects lost at sea: 2 pairs of sunglasses. 1 Fedora hat. 1 flashlight. 1 wrench. 1 winch handle. 

Successful rescues at sea: 1 dinghy. 1 boat hook. 1 fender.

Photos taken: Too many to count. 

Friendly people met: Too many to count.

All in all, a fine Northwest boating vacation, I’d say.

As I take a few minutes to reflect before we go back to our busy routines on land, I realize that one can learn valuable lessons while observing life from a boat transom.

Lesson: Boaters are an endless source of inspiration and entertainment. They are an eclectic, friendly, fun-loving, bunch. Power boaters seem to be the loudest. They are the ones who sit on the docks and yell at each other from a comfortable chair (even if the other guy is sitting a few inches next to them.) Sailors are quieter. They tend to keep to themselves, and when tired of the commotion around them, disappear inside their boats. If we were in France, sailors would be les Parisiens of the boating world. Power boaters would be les Marseillais; jovial, outgoing, loud-spoken. 

Boaters relaxing… 

Beach Boys hits on a hot summer afternoon? Count them in!

Just another fun evening for the merry members
 of the Roche Harbor Yacht Club

Lesson: Boating involves a great deal of resourcefulness. It is one thing to be able to plot a course; read a compass; plan a trip around tides. It is another one entirely to be willing – and able – to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty whenever something on board needs to be tweaked/patched up/replaced. I have a theory that a successful boater is part Indiana Jones and part Carl Griswold. While on board, Le Husband never seems to sit still, constantly tuning up, checking, fixing parts; or, as I like to call it: “puttering around.” The funniest thing is that while he dislikes working on the house or his car, he will jump into action, tools in hand, whenever the boat (his greatest pride and joy) needs attention. And he is not the only one. Boating is the perfect activity for hyperactive personalities.

Getting advice from the “Old timers,” always willing to help…
Boating can be a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it… 

Lesson: As a stress reliever, cruising works better than anti-depressants/therapy/yoga combined. Who can resist the soothing rhythm of a boat bobbing gently in a peaceful bay, as herons fly by and disappear in the sunset? I don’t remember sleeping as soundly as I have over the last three weeks, in a long, long time.

Lesson: Chores remain chores, on a boat or on land. But chores undertaken as a live-aboard seem somewhat lighter… An important skill to learn is mastering the use of quarters (US and Canadian,) and keeping a full supply on board at all times. Life in a marina revolves around quarters!

Typical marina grocery store: Pasta, pasta, or… pasta?

A laundry room with a view

Window cleaning…

Lesson: There are some friendly, helpful people, out there! A simple fact, and one that is easy to forget while watching the daily news on TV. There seems to be a lot of genuinely nice people working or living around marinas, both in the U.S. and in Canadian waters. These guys made the trip even more special (loved the quirky cab driver – and Santa Claus look alike – who took me grocery shopping; waited outside the store and carried my bags back to the boat on Pender Island, BC!) 

All boaters know the importance of friendly, competent deck hands!

A mellow islander greets guests on Orcas Island, WA.

Lesson: Cute and quaint are overused words. Cute- and quaint-averse people should therefore stay away from the Gulf and San Juan islands. Warning: Cute and quaint overdose in an island near you!

Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA
Darvill’s Bookstore, Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA
A resident of Montague Harbor, BC., lives here…
Fire escape ladders,
Hotel de Haro, Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, WA

Lesson: While cruising the Pacific Northwest coastal waters, it is best to keep an open mind and a healthy sense of humor…

That’s John Wayne (aka “The Duke”) greeting boaters
at Port Townsend marina!

A frequent promise in the islands…

… and if all else fails…

A Roche Harbor [boating] tradition: Hiring the Phecal Phreak…
(private joke, for boaters only) 

Lesson: To guarantee a successful cruising vacation, pick the right boat. Pick the right skipper. Pick the right crew. And always, always, pick the best seat in the house. 

A bientôt. 

Sidney Spit, BC

All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Please do not use without permission

Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

Or click a link below to read the next (or previous) post...allons-y !

Leave a Comment

Join la Mailing List

Be the first to read stories and travel tips I don’t share anywhere else!

No spam, ever. That’s a promise. Visit the Privacy Policy.

Les Catégories