We enjoyed a peaceful, sunny morning at anchor in Echo Bay. By 10am our anchors were up and we were off. We navigated the narrow passage between Succia and South Finger Island, watching as Pigeon Guillemots broke the surface of the glassy water with fish held tightly in their beaks. A family of geese swam nonchalantly right through our flotilla, forcing the boats at the back to divert around them. Harbor Porpoise greeted us once again as we entered the deeper waters off Orcas Island.
We cruised past the sandy beaches of Clark and Barnes Islands, and the steep, rocky cliffs of Point Lawrence on Orcas Island. Harbor Seals basked in the sun on the low lying Pea Pod Islands. We passed the cute Doe Island and Doe Bay Resort, which hosts a music festival each year. We entered the long waterway of East sound where sailboats tacked back and forth in a light breeze. About halfway through East sound, we came to Rosario Resort, and docked in the marina there.
Rosario Resort was once the estate of Robert Moran. Moran came to Seattle with ten cents in his pocket and took up work as a deckhand; later, he made his fortune as a ship builder and became the mayor of Seattle. As a young man, his doctors believed he had only months to live and they prescribed fresh, country air to ease his passing. So, Moran bought 7,000 acres on Orcas Island and built a large estate on Cascade bay where he moved his family. He lived for almost another 40 years. He donated much of his property for public use, which is now Moran State Park.
The original mansion still stands and now includes a restaurant, museum and spa. Most afternoons Christopher Peacock, an accomplished pianist and the general manager of the resort, performs a concert on piano and pipe organ. The concert features original compositions by Christopher and gives the history of Rosario Resort, as well as a beautiful slideshow of photos depicting a day in the San Juan Islands. It is a must see, and we were happy that we were able to experience it.
Most of the group went up to the Mansion Restaurant for dinner. It offers delicious, local cuisine and beautiful views of the water and the rest of Eastsound. After dinner, the crew of Aquila took a taxi to the top of Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands in order to take in the sunset. Mount Constitution offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands and mountains. It was a clear night and a lovely, subtle pink sunset. Our minds are starting to wander toward what’s next, back to work and routine; but before all of that we’ll enjoy another restful night on the boats.