The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain.
A few weeks back, I shared a story called Lee Night that was, in part, about spending an evening watching boats go by our house. I wrote:
As boats float by the house, I can’t help but feel like I’m the creepy guy on the beach watching girls walk by. Every boat is different and interesting in myriad ways.
Now that Labor Day has passed and boating season is winding down, I’m taking an inventory of the interesting boats I’ve seen over the summer. After Lee Night, I admit I became a full-on boat creep, watching from my deck as they float by, unaware of my peering lens. I collected a tiny fraction of what passed, but still captured an interesting group of boats.
This summer saw heavy traffic from boats full of tourists, usually going to watch whales. The “whaleboats” as we call them are always noticeable because of their size and speed. Few recreational boaters choose to burn as much fuel.
One that always stands out is Blackfish (which is an old name for killer whales).
Another is the Western Explorer.
Sometimes the whales end up in the water in front of our house and the big whaleboats show up.
If you crop a photo just right, you can pretend that a friendly sailboat is the only boat watching the killer whales.
Tourists are also ferried around on other boats that are more focused on destinations. This is the Puget Sound Express.
The Salish Sea is a commercial waterway used by all kinds of boats, both local and international. In the distance, there are almost always huge ships traveling in Canadian waters to Canada.
We don’t see these behemoths in US waters our side of Orcas Island, but we see many barges and other large boats used for transporting items to the islands that don’t have ferry service.
You find the strangest things on barges. That’s a two-story house.
Lindsey Foss is a fire-fighting vessel.
A local service will tow you if your boat has a problem.
An sometimes a Canadian Warship goes by.
The vast majority of boats that pass our house are recreational or privately owned. Cabin cruisers are a dime a dozen, but sometimes more impressive boats pass by.
M/V Pelican is a 1930 78ft Classic wooden fisheries research vessel that recently started doing charters.
Our friends Mahol and Deb live on this 65′ boat called Salish Song. Yes, that’s a lovely palm tree adorning their rear deck.
New Pacific is a 97′ expedition yacht that was recently refitted to have a 60kwh hybrid energy system that reduces the use of the boat’s generators.
This caravel style sailboat is one of the biggest we’ve seen.
Like cabin cruisers, sailboats are very common in all shapes and sizes.
And of course, small crafts like kayaks. Sea kayaking is one of the most popular activities in the San Juans. Jet Skis are prohibited, thankfully.
Not a boat. Or is it?
I’ll miss boating season and being on the lookout for interesting boats. They’ll be back before we know it.