With his true Norwegian heritage, Will is anxious to deckhand. We lunch at a place only locals know about (no, we're not going to tell you where). Once fortified, we head out for an island cruise. As we head into Guemes channel, we point out the house for sale reputed to be owned by Farrah Fawcett, Randy's by the old Wyman's Marina, Dakota Creek with a huge ship currently under construction, some of the houses we looked at before we pledged our hearts (and pocketbook) to the cedar house, and of course, we point out the ferry. We look at Guemes Island and wonder what it would be like to live somewhere you can only go by ferry. A place which until recently didn't have so much as a store.
It takes a certain type of personality to want to live on an island. We will be living on an island next year, but we like the proximity to our very own Commercial Ave., complete with hardware stores (Marine and conventional), book stores, bakeries, resturants of various ethnicities, and of course the Rockfish Grill. The Rockfish Grill has a logo which looks just like the yellow-eye Sara caught in Alaska, which she now realizes to her dismay has been fileted and eaten without even so much as a trophy photo. "My fish was bigger than any of these guys' fish!" Sara exclaims. But since we didn't stuff it, didn't even photograph it, it's just another fish story. A legend in her own mind.
So, living on Fidalgo has all the advantages of living on an island, but doesn't keep one shackled to a ferry schedule. As we continue around, we realize there are houses on other islands without even ferry service. To live in one of those houses, you would have to be a real recluse.
Washington may have its share of reclusive people, but does not as it turns out have Brown Recluse spiders. Tom and Sara and Will compared notes about the remarkable spiders they have found in their houses, and Will says he too has caught a couple of whoppers just lately. He speculates that the spiders came in out of the rain and said, "Hmmm. It's nice in here. I think I'll stay."
After circling the island, we head back toward Cap Sante, and can see our house quite clearly looking back at us, between Hat and Huckleberry Islands. Even at that distance we can tell it's our house, and besides, it give us an excuse to look through the fancy new binoculars we got at Captain's (on 15th St.) last time we were in Seattle. Cap'n Tom had done lots of research on the 'Net, and both Cap'n Tom and Sara had comparison shopped at several reputable marine supplies, but Captain's had the people who really knew optics. The binoculars, while not the most expensive available, are a wonder. For the first time, Sara as navigator can actually read the numbers on the aids to navigation from a reasonable distance. It's hard to believe that something as simple as a combination of lenses could create such a magical product. Sara keeps grabbing the binoculars and looking at things, including a real working tug which is heading south at the same time we are, but more quickly. The tug boat looks like business as it moves smartly down the channel. We look like fun.
Deckhand Will gets his turn at the helm as we make our way around the islands. He gets to feel the effects of the currents as the tide floods. He studies the radar, depth-finder, and chart. He muses that it would make a good interactive game. Knowing Will, if he gets bored enough on the weekend he could write one.
When we come in, we notice the fuel dock is uncharacteristically slow, so we pull up for our first refueling since we took delivery of the boat. Cap'n Tom and Deckhand Will "do the math," so we will know a little before the tanks will be full. Together they listen for the characteristic gurgle as the tank nears full but before it spills out the overflow. Thanks to their accurate math and keen ears, both tanks are filled and the pump shut off without spilling so much as a drop. For good measure, we buy a little plastic container with suction cups and a foam gasket which you can put over the overflow, and thus assure the purity of the water in case there ever should be any splash-back from the pump. We love the pristine water, and want to do our part to keep it that way.
We return Pacific Puffin to her berth. Deckhand Will wants to learn anything and everything there is to know, but recognizes we're still learning too, so he mans the bow lines while Sara takes the stern, and the Puffin lands back in her perch. We make fast, bathe her in Salt-Away, and head over to Randy's for dinner. Randy seats us in a nice booth overlooking the channel we had traversed a few hours before. We look out at the boats going by, and watch the seals at play. The seals seem to like Randy's dock, and provide free entertainment nightly.
Randy is running for Port Commissioner. We ask him what he would get to Commission if he won, and he explains how much is under the jurisdiction of the Port. It's quite a lot as it turns out, not just the Marina and the Airport, but also much of the waterfront land. Randy gives us a rough estimate of the annual budget, and it jolts us back to reality to realize how much can be done with $7 million. Corporate life, not unlike political life, can distort a person's perspective.
We have a delightful dinner, forget to save room for dessert, and go home to the cedar house. Luckily for Deckhand Will, there have been no recent spider encroachments, and we all sleep peacefully on our last night before the inevitable trip back South.
A note on spiders in Washington:
Residents of Western Washington may find themselve sharing their domicile with Aggressive House Spiders, Hobo Spiders, and Giant House Spiders. The good news is we have no Brown Recluse Spiders. The bad news is, all spiders are poisonous at least to some degree.
Giant House Spiders compete with Hobo Spiders for food and cool web sites. So, if you see Giant Spiders you probably won't have a major problem with Hobo Spiders. Spiders usually will not bite you unless they are molested. A common cause of spider bites is to put your hand in a work glove, physically trapping the spider so that he has no choice but to bite you or be crushed. Some of us have long suspected that any activity requiring work gloves is to be avoided.
Also, be sure the spiders do not compete with you for your cool web sites.