Happy 2023! We spent our second New Year’s Eve on the boat, this time in Friday Harbor. Last year we were absolutely spoiled with midnight fireworks viewing off of our stern in Port Townsend. This year was a much quieter celebration.
We’ve been in Friday Harbor for three months now! That’s three months on the dock with plenty of time spent on the mainland with family. Even with the our time off the boat, we’ve still been able to explore the island and mix in with the community here.
Shane and the boys have been able to take up rock climbing and I tried pilates for the first time.
I’m so grateful to have access to the library on the island. They have such an extensive collection for being in such a small building. Apart from their catalog, the librarians work hard at creating enjoyable experiences for the youth here.
Kelly played basketball for the first time with the local middle school boys team.
We’ve met others wintering on their boats here too! We attended a holiday boat party when the power was off and there was snow covering the marina. Walking the docks in the dark while trying not to slide down the ramps from the king tides was a memory for sure.
I’ve published a few videos I had from last year. I’m grateful I did, especially to have the memory of Shane learning to sail Coco Mar in Port Townsend. I have a video of our coast getaway and a lot of clips from last summer’s cruising left to do something with.
The wind here, as experienced onboard, is night and day to Port Townsend. We are so well protected here in comparison.
Being onboard full time this winter is a new experience. Each week I had a couple days to get all of us fully showered, do laundry, get groceries from multiple stores to find the best prices, and schedule appointments for things like haircuts and teeth cleanings.
This year, I’m learning to schedule in time for showers. We’re by no means lacking when it comes to any of the above, but doing everyday tasks are not as convenient as they once were.
Grocery prices are an eye opener for sure. I knew it was expensive to buy groceries here after tracking our expenses this past summer. For example, I found the same smoked salmon we have purchased here for $14.99 to be $12.99 back in the valley. Laundry detergent, toilet paper, chips, coffee, and alcohol are all items I’ve paid much more here on island than on the mainland. I’ve adapted my shopping in the past month though and have been able to save more money. To be honest, coffee is still a bit of a pain point. Paying $9.99 for 12 ounces of Seattle’s Best Coffee makes me wince a bit. On a positive note, the island is still cheaper than if I were shopping in Blaine where plant-based butter was $10.99, compared to the same butter being $5.99 here.
Another big difference I’ve been coming across is produce quality. I heard a man complain about it to the checker last week, who explained it’s the off season. We still have apples, carrots, potatoes and even lettuce. The Donoghs are not going hungry over here.
Regardless of the changes to our budget, there’s a reason why we’ve met so many people who have moved here with their families. The environment around us is out of this world, the community feels like the small town we had while growing up, and being separated from the mainland has more positives than not.
While San Juan Island has been a great hideaway for us, it’s still just a a winter moorage stop. We’re working on our Spring/Summer plans for cruising now. In the meantime, I’d like to learn to take more ownership over our boat, learning how to navigate and trim the sails as skipper and know more about our systems. I’ve been so lucky to be surrounded by amazing water women out here, who are so capable on their boats. I’d love to be a more confident onboard partner to Shane over the next six months. Especially if it allows him to get in more paddling time.
Wishing you a cozy and safe start to the new year!