Clam Chowder Days

The sky is cloudy, the wind is blowing, rain threatens. Looks like today we are inside curled up with a book by the fire. This describes many of the days we have here in the San Juan Islands, some of my favorite days. Clam Chowder days.

What better meal than a hearty bowl of clam chowder on a windy, wet day? I can think of none. That we harvested the clams with our own clamming tools, and canned them ourselves makes the chowder, to me, taste even that much better.

Our goal is to eventually be cruising the San Juan Islands full time, not tied to the shore and bound by our jobs, but free to explore all that the islands have to offer. Until that time though we spend every minute we have, out there, sailing the Puget Sound. Cruising on the weekends and vacation, mapping out our future of self reliance, discovering those locations that provide us with the essentials we need to live a life of suffinciency here in the San Juans, harvesting the incredible bounty that is here, and finally preserving that bounty. In this website we will share our adventures with you as we work toward our goal of total freedom and sufficiency here in the San Juan Islands.

The Gwa Wis at full sail

We started this adventure five years ago when we relocated from Yakima. Ken has been coming here with his family since he was a child and had always wanted to live here. He brought me here for a visit in the spring of 2007 and I fell in love with the area, I could not get back here fast enough. The decision made and jobs found we relocated to Anacortes and so began our journey toward this goal of living life to the fullest in the most beautiful area I have ever seen.

Ken and I are avid outdoors-men, fishing, camping, hiking, and sailing, so naturally the first thing we wanted was to get a boat and get on the water. Our first boat was a little sailing dinghy we purchased in LaConner. My first sailing lesson in that boat was right in the mouth of the Cap Sante Marina where we have our current boat, the Agadda Da Vida, moored. Many wonderful hours were spent puttering around salmon fishing, crabbing, and clamming that first season here in our little boat.

salmon fishing, sailing the san juan islands, fishing, cruising the san juans

Ken's Salmon our first year here

I am sure many people thought we were crazy when they saw us launch her from her utility trailer at Washington park and head off to troll for salmon at Indian Village on Guemes Island. Ken caught a beautiful salmon there that year. This first little boat kept us on the water until we found the Gwa’Wis, a 26 foot Pearson Ariel. With the Gwa’Wis we were truly free to discover all that the San Juans could offer us and for the next couple of years we sailed her everywhere the wind blew.

So many wonderful trips that opened up the San Juans to us. Our first trip was to “Alice Bight,” where Ken gave me my first “star,” a phosphorescent critter that glowed in my hand for several minutes before slowly fading out. Subsequent voyages have taken us to Orcas Island, anchoring at Roche Harbor, Sucia Island and a really beautiful anchorage at Matia. Our favorite place is “Our Bay” (it isn’t officially named), where there are the most delicious oysters I have ever tasted. We’ve been to Reid Harbor, McKay harbor, Garrison Bay, and many many more, yet there are so many more places to see and explore. No matter how many times we visit an anchorage I find something new. Such is the wonder of the San Juan Islands.

Agadda Da Vida at anchor in Ried Harbor

As with most boaters, we have stepped up a bit from the 26′ Gwa’Wis, to our 32′ ft. Endeavour sail boat, the Agadda Da Vida. Having a wood stove, hot water and a shower in the boat makes us able to sail year round and some of my favorite sailing is in the winter. Being anchored out at one spot or another, with the wind blowing, and rain (or sometimes snow) falling, us inside with the fire blazing and a book at the ready and for dinner that most wonderful of dishes: Clam Chowder!

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