San Juan Islands

September 11-15, 1989

It was sunshine all the way — good accommodations, good sailing and calm waters throughout the treasured gems of islands, and all 29 passengers congenial and happy to be able to enjoy the delightful cruise with the friendly, capable skipper-owner Ken McDonald. His mascot, Jake, a black lab soon made his friendship known. Fifteen members and 14 friends left S.E.H.S. parking lot at 8:10 a.m. — traveling with Baxter Shaw, always dependable and courteous. We missed his comfortable coach — out of service due to mechanical problems. Overnight at La Conner Country Inn, arriving there at 3:30 p.m. with time to explore the waterfront, etc.

Day 2 — 9 a.m. drove to view historic Deception Pass, with its narrow, rock-walled channel with strong tidal surges passing through. This was a forerunner of the later viewing when we passed through aboard the Viking Star. Casting off at about 1 p.m., we cruised south down the Swinomish channel which empties into Skagit Bay, then northward past Hope Island and the north end of Whidbey Island, and then through Deception Pass, crossed Rosario Strait and meandered through the islands, arriving at famous Rosario Resort on Orcas Island about 4 p.m. Everyone had a view room and deck overlooking the East Sound Bay. At 5 p.m. we enjoyed the famous 1,972 Aeolian pipe organ concert and lecture.

Day 3 — a fancy breakfast aboard the V.S. and a cruise among the islands with plenty of room for comfort and viewing the never-ending beauty. At 10:30 a.m. docked at famous Roche Harbor and toured McMillin Estate, Hotel Del Haro where presidents and famous people such as the late John Wayne have stayed. Lunch aboard the V.S. — a feast of cracked Dungeness Crab and all the trimmings. Midafternoon found us back at Rosario’s for a tour by Rosario Vans to the top of Mt. Constitution. Later, some enjoyed the outdoor heated swimming pool before dinner while others waited to swim by moonlight.

Day 4 — again aboard the V.S. for a delicious breakfast as we cruised viewing the islands — sometimes sighting eagles and sea lions — on through Obstruction Pass and Rosario Strait, and through Guemes Channel passing the pioneer town of Anacortes. Along in this area we voted on the name “Squim” for one of the 77 Orcas Whales that reside here. This choice, by popular vote and description, was adopted by V.K. Charters. We entered the northern end of Swinomish Channel, different from the scenery of entry, and arrived back at La Conner at 11 a.m. for our farewell to Skipper Ken McDonald and the “Viking Star.” We drove south again over Deception Pass to Whidbey Island and Coupeville for lunch, then to Ft. Casey and the Keystone Ferry to Port Townsend where we had a short viewing of old historic homes. Port Gamble was next; then we crossed the floating bridge after waiting for the submarine (previously sighted from the ferry) to pass through. We spent the night at Poulsbo, the Scandinavian Village.

Day 5 — arrived at Bangor Submarine Base at 8:30 a.m. We were greeted and welcomed aboard in behalf of Admiral Jones by Lt. Comdr. Hibbard, Jane’s nephew, who introduced us to our guide for the tour, Chief Petty Officer Johnson. This was called a windshield tour. Security is very tight, but we were amazed as we drove around the base at the immensity of the area and the number of buildings and beautiful landscaping. Even though information is highly classified, we learned much of interest from the entertaining officer. This is where the Trident Submarines are berthed, and missiles stored and men on the submarines trained, etc., and much work done. We left the base at 10 a.m. — by-passing Bremerton and Tacoma after crossing the Tacoma narrows bridge — lunch stop at the Rib-Eye near Centralia. Home early by 5:15 p.m. at the S.E.H.S. parking lot.

Participants were Murray and Wilda Agate, Glenn and Verna Aplin, Rita Baxter, Ingrid Carmichael, Melvin Carter, Marge Estenson, Bette Hack, Beatrice Hill, Gertrude Halvorsen, Miki Hutchison, Bonnie Ledford, Mary Mallery, Pauline McNiven, Frances Newsom, Cleora Mersdorf, Olive and Ronald Ross, Marguerite Schaefer, Fred and June Shatz, Elma Shuck, Maryelton Schutz, Mary Smith, Dorothy Turner, Mildred Weatherby, Robert Wilson and Jane Hilt (leader).

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