After my three day weekend in the San Juan Islands, I arrive back to the Anacortes Cap Sante Marina. Already the place seems more welcoming as Jim and Gayle, Debbie, and Kim have all arrived, and Karen and Hailey are on their way. The friendly faces and laughs help ease me through the “back to work blahs.”
All the mud puddles around my rig and my psyche from three straight days of rain last week have disappeared. The rain has done wonders to settle the dust from the boat trailer traffic. The weather forecast for the week couldn’t be better. I have moved my rig up to Site #2, with only one other rig in between me and the marina. I can see hundreds of gorgeous sailboats from my bedroom window. So things are looking up here. I have settled in, and committed to seek out the beauty of my surroundings.
I start with a little “retail therapy.” Anacortes has one of the largest West Marine stores I have seen, like a giant Toys’R Us store for grown-ups. I buy a new pair of Sperry Topsiders, so I can feel like I am on a boat, even when I’m not.
The rains last week kept me indoors, so I am eager to explore the Tommy Thompson bike trail. At 6.5 miles round trip, the trail follows the waterfront, cuts through a boat yard, and runs across an old railway trestle across Fidalgo Bay to March’s Point. The trail was named for a local railway enthusiast.
Nothing lifts my spirits like a lighthouse, and I had passed up a beauty on my way from the Port Townsend Ferry, not wanting to stop while towing. So I backtrack to Fort Casey to tour the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Like Westport and North Head, this is another Carl Leick creation, only this one is built in a very different non-traditional lighthouse style. Built in 1093, it is more along the lines of a Spanish mansion. Admiralty Head sits directly across from Point Wilson, the lighthouse in Port Townsend’s Fort Worden, both guiding ships through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Though small, it has lots of historic buildings, including Toby’s Tavern, built in 1890. Toby’s is known for their Penn Cove Mussels, some of the most famous shellfish in the PNW. Tonight’s offerings are white wine and basil or spicy steamed in five different peppers. I request “half and half.” Paired with Toby’s own “Parrot Red Ale” from the Anacortes Brewery, this makes the perfect “last supper” along the seacoast.
Anacortes has been a significant destination for me since I first began heading northwest. Not only did it come highly recommended by friends, coupled with the fact that it is the premier yachting gateway in the PNW. But it has felt like a noteworthy milepost as I have been exploring the Pacific NW coastline since early May. I am now out of coastline, and must turn east if I am to make it to Glacier National Park before the Going to the Sun Road shuts down. So this final week in Anacortes will be my last week near the ocean for who knows how long. I am not yet ready to leave, so it is a bittersweet goodbye. It may not have been a love affair, but I could sure move in and stay awhile…
“It isn’t that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.” — Sir Francis Drake