It’s All About Friends

The news reports are finally coming out of Canada that Prime Minister Trudeau is considering re-opening the US/Canada border in mid-August. For us, that’s too late in the summer for a trip in Yohelah – we have camping plans in Nonnie’s Diner for late August and September.

Besides, we had already made plans for two trips “up north” to the San Juan Islands when we didn’t know whether the border would even reopen at all this summer. After sailing and exploring in Puget Sound for nearly 30 years, we know the best times now are times when we’re sharing the trips with friends.

Fourth of July for us is traditionally spent with our friends Bill & Dara from Portland. Bill & I met working at Oracle straight out of college in ’94, and the four of us traveled and sailed together frequently (here locally and on charters in BVIs and Greece) until it was time for them to make a family. When we returned home to the Pacific NW from cruising in ’10, they started coming up with their kids for that long holiday weekend, and Rob & I loved the time spent with all of us packed on the boat together.

Now the kids are grown and it was again just the four of us for the weekend. It was fun remembering that we’ve been traveling together for 27 years and have made so many great memories. This year was just a four day trip from Poulsbo to Port Townsend, but included two of the best days of sailing we’ve had in Puget Sound in years.

From Port Townsend, Rob and I headed north for a rendezvous with the Hamman family. Rich and Cindy were neighbors at Shilshole when we first bought Yohelah and had her out on A Dock. Cindy has since become our very trusted advisor in all things real estate, and they’ve remained fast friends in our sailing adventures. Last year we met up at Sucia Island and had a “socially distant raftup”. Cindy was still working her very active real estate practice, and concerned about covid germs. So we rafted but stayed 6′ apart at all times. This year, all being vaccinated, our raft up again consisted of shared dinners and games in our cockpit in the long days of a Pacific NW summer. The weather was unseasonably windy and a bit stinky, but we adjusted and changed plans to more protected anchorages and still had quality time (and even fit in a Pizza night!).

And next month there’ll be one more round trip up north, this time without Rob as a women’s sail. When I came back from cruising in 2011 I was a little lost. I wanted to still be out sailing, but we had family responsibilities. I found the Women Who Sail group on Facebook and realized I wasn’t alone in that yearning to be out at sea and still traveling. I joined some of them on a cruise in La Paz a year or so later, and became friends with two of the women on our boat (Val and Katy, both Californians). They’ve since been up here for a quick 4 day lap around the San Juans a few years ago, and are this year returning for a 10 day full meal deal. We’ll be joined by my friend Kelly, who also was part of our Cuba (and next year Croatia) crew.

So even though we’ve “done” the San Juans more times than I can remember, we still love the opportunity to return and share those beautiful islands with friends, old and new. We’re always grateful to have the opportunity to feel a little guilty when the laughter from our cockpit gets a little loud on a beautiful summer’s eve.