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Friday Evening in Friday Harbor

What a gorgeous end to a fantastic day. The sky cleared in the west as the sun set and the contrast of the warm sunlight against the dark gray sky was spectacular. We got out the chairs and moved our operation to the top deck of Airship and watched the sunset.





Boat people are a lot like Airstream people. We got some new neighbors earlier this evening (a 34ish foot sailboat) and we quickly struck up a friendly conversation shortly after they pulled into their slip. They're from Portland, and they had also just come from Anacortes. They were curious about the Nordic Tugs and asked if they could come check it out (of course!) 

Later, when Kevin and I were up on the top deck, sipping our spritzes and watching the sunset, we saw an Aspen (a power catamaran, built in the same factory as our Nordic Tug) coming into the marina and down our row…quite fast. Okay, maybe it's his home marina. He knows it well. It's late and he's trying to get home in time for the Friday night high school football game. (But he's late, because we can hear the touchdowns from our top deck.) 

Then, he starts trying to pull into a slip. Sort of. Things go south, quickly. It's like he's dyslexic and doing the opposite of everything we expect to be seeing. He gets VERY close to the boats across the row from us. The woman on the back of the Aspen is yelling from the cockpit into the driver at the helm "I don't think you know what you're doing!!!" Then, when he should be stopping the boat, he guns it forward instead, crashing into a couple boats and the dock. We can hear that he's using his bow and stern thrusters (side-to-side front and back controls) but it looks like he's using those the opposite direction as well. Pretty quickly, he's banging into three boats at once as the owners are emerging from their happy hours to figure out what's going on. They're able to push him off of their boats with apparently no damage, and he sits out in the middle for a second, and then continues on down the row looking for another spot. 

Our new neighbors grab a few long lines and throwable PFD and head over to try to help. 

The Aspen sits stopped for a bit, in between the two rows of slips, and occasionally guns it forward or backward randomly (to us), and we can hear the bow or stern thrusters running longer than they should. It's like he's trying to learn what the controls do, right there after whatever route he's already taken to get here.

Our neighbors were able to get over there and get the attention of the Aspen driver. They threw a long line across the stern of the Aspen and got the kid on board to grab it. Just as the kid grabbed it, the driver gunned it forward again and I heard our neighbor yell "Stop the engine! Turn the engine completely off. Don't touch any controls." He then directed the kid to wrap the line around the port side bow cleat and they were able to pull the Aspen into a slip and get them tied down successfully.

Apparently this was a charter and the guy was obviously pretty shaken up and embarrassed. Imagine that you're that guy, and in front your family with a whole marina full of people having cocktails watching the sunset…you tank it that badly. But no one seemed mad. The other boat owners were all quite helpful and sympathetic. (Well, except that one guy who quickly rushed out and put a few more fenders on the front of his boat, while saying loudly "Are they coming this way? Are they coming this way?")

A very good example of something we learned in our training: In the marina, don't go any faster than you're willing to hit something. Also, perhaps more training is in order for this guy before he next heads out in a quarter-million dollar, seven-ton boat. 

We were a little hungry after all that chaos, so we went inside and I cooked up our local Lopez Island clams (in a bacon/garlic broth) and served them with a fresh green salad. Delish!


Tomorrow, we're going out in search of Orcas and adventure. Wish us luck!


  1. Joy @ Joyfully Green Joy @ Joyfully Green

    Hi Laura and Kevin,

    I’m happy to have found your blog–this post was so funny to me (the nervous guy with the extra fenders–I swear, I have seen that guy!). It came up as a “related article” suggestion as I was typing my own post about watching a view from the marina, so I included it in the related articles section at the bottom of my post–here it is, if you’d like to take a look:

    As a photographer myself, I appreciated the lovely shots–that dramatic slate sky, with the setting sun–gorgeousness! Thanks for the enjoyable post!


    • Hi Joy,
      Thanks so much!! Glad you found us. I’ll bookmark your blog too…sounds right up our alley!

  2. Tiffani Tiffani

    Im so glad you got to see the mausoleumt! I love that area. And Im sorry you didn’t get to see my mom. She seriously lives at the cafe….

    • Super trippy (that mausoleum)! We both really dug Roche Harbor, so we’ll be going back, and next time we’ll try to time it to see your mom!! 🙂

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