Photographed through the windshield, WeLike’s cabin roof and vintage navigation light form the foreground in this view of the Deception Pass Bridge on a June morning.
SUMMER ARRIVED A DAY EARLY in the San Juans, it seemed. Barbara and I just spent a lovely Friday afternoon sitting outside on our deck, sipping wine, chatting lazily and soaking up sun. Bumblebees nuzzled the magenta foxglove flowers growing on our mossy cliff and birds sang their little hearts out, triumphing over the happily distant but somehow pleasantly domestic buzz of a neighbor’s weed whacker. Ahhh. (Even better that it’s him and not me.)
Tomorrow is the summer solstice, but in this typical Northwest June, rain is in the forecast.
As we finished our wine, the afternoon’s delicious warmth slipped a cog, as we’ve often experienced in these islands, when a breath of cool marine air suddenly whispered in our ears, “I’m the front of the front.”
The exciting news of our Friday came from Jim Smith, a marine canvasmaker on Whidbey Island, who emailed this morning to say that our boat would be ready by day’s end.
WeLike, the restored 1957 Skagit Express Cruiser you see at the top of this blog, needed new clothes — or, to be precise, a new canvas dodger and camper top, the roof and cockpit enclosure that provides shelter from wind, rain and sun.
The old white canvas seemed in good shape when we acquired the boat, and the material remained sound. But a few months ago, the seams all decided to start letting go, like the ripping trousers of a fat man who finally added five pounds too many. If you don’t pay the price for high-quality UV-proof stitching up front, you pay the price later. (Or, in this case, we are paying the price later.)
So WeLike is getting a new top, in UV-proof Sunbrella fabric and using polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) “lifetime” thread, which is supposed to stand up to just about anything the elements can throw at it. Instead of white, the new top will be aquamarine, matching the boat’s topsides.
It’s a big investment, but this will be our island runabout for years to come, and it will also be our vacation vehicle this summer. With COVID-19 truncating other travel plans, we hope to buzz around these islands and do some fun boat camping with our new weatherproof camper top.
The boat has been at Oak Harbor Marina the past two weeks for this project. We plan to go pick it up early next week. I’ll post pictures.
Meanwhile, atop this post is a photo I took two weeks ago when I took WeLike through Deception Pass on the way to Oak Harbor. It’s always a scenic ride going that way.
Happy solstice, wherever you are. To all my Northern Hemisphere readers — enjoy the summer!
P.S. If you’re getting sick of reading about how perfect life can be on our island, you can take comfort in knowing that yesterday a deer climbed on to our deck, walked 15 feet across it to a low-hanging basket of fuchsias that had finally turned the corner in my efforts to keep them healthy, and ate every blossom.