San Juan Flotilla: Day 4 – Victoria, BC to Roche Harbor | NW Explorations


San Juan Flotilla: Day 4 – Victoria, BC to Roche Harbor

We enjoyed another relaxing morning in Victoria today.  Conditions for our departure weren’t optimal until 1pm, so we had plenty of time to continue to see the city.  Most of the crew went out for breakfast in the morning, some to the Empress Hotel and others to the mini donut stand across the street!  We stayed busy provisioning and buying souvenirs to take back home.

At 11am Morveren headed out.  Peter and Britt needed to catch a ferry out of Friday Harbor so they left before the rest of the flotilla.  It was a lot of fun having them along, and the energy they brought to the group will be missed.  However, by the sound of it, this will not be their last time on the water.  I think they are hooked!  By 1pm the rest of us were off the docks and headed out of the harbor.

We were greeted by more blue skies and sunshine.  It was another beautiful day on the water with light winds and calm seas.  Captain Tim led us through the narrow passage between Vancouver Island and the Discovery Islands so the skippers could get some practice maneuvering in tighter spaces and with strong currents.  These areas are great practice for those who want to charter boats on the Alaska flotillas, and everyone did great.  After crossing Haro Straight, we navigated the narrow Mosquito pass and arrived at Roche Harbor.  There we were reunited with Morveren.  Harbor seals and marine birds abounded today.

Roche Harbor is a beautiful marina on San Juan Island.  Historically, it was a large lime works and cement company complete with a company town.  Many of the old buildings and lime kilns remain, and the area has a rich history.  The marina also offers a couple shops, restaurants, and a grocery store.  A fish market on the dock sells the days catch.  A short walk away is a lovely sculpture garden and a mausoleum.

We gathered on Hele Mai this evening and shared stories, wine and hors d’oeuvres.  It was a happy hour indeed.  Spirits were high after a successful and gorgeous day on the water.  We went separate ways for dinner, some up to the restaurant and others back to the boats to cook.  At sunset we enjoyed the Colors Ceremony the Harbor puts on each night.  Watching as the flags were lowered and the national anthem played we couldn’t help but to reflect on how lucky we are and appreciate the sacrifices of those who continue to keep us free.

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