We rounded Stuart Island and found ourselves in Haro Strait headed for Spieden Channel and Roche Harbor. In Haro Strait were two whale watching boats and several other boats milling around, so we figured that this was good whale watching territory. Unfortunately we saw no whales.
The entry to Roche Harbor was uneventful. We dropped anchor at 5 PM in 9.5 m of water just off the outer jetty which accommodates Customs at 48N36.7, 123W09.5. For the first time I was totally satisfied where we had dropped anchor: near Customs and the marina, well clear of other boats, and in 9 m of water.
We soon saw with binoculars that the jetty also accommodated the commercial float planes. Soon the float plane taxied along our starboard side, around our stern, along our port side, then to the jetty. Thirty minutes later the float plane started taxiing through the anchored boats and gunned is engines and took off between the boats.
We went ashore to reconnoiter the place and found that the wharf leading to the marina has 90% of what we were looking for, i.e. showers, laundry, post office, grocery store, cafe. Brenda and I had dinner of chowder and fish & chips at the cafe and at the suggestion of the waitress wandered to the Hotel de Haro to ask about access to the internet. The girl at the desk very graciously offered us access to their WiFi inside their premises for no charge. (This blog can expect a flood of photographs soon.)
Roche Harbor is a pretty place that has kept its old buildings and its historic feel. The harbor is wonderfully protected. It appears that this end of San Juan Island was in Canadian hands before the long running "Pig War" border dispute was resolved by arbitration. There was a British Army garrison here and a Lt. Roche oversaw the building of the first two lime kilns. Thereafter Roche Harbor thrived as the biggest producer of lime west of the Mississippi, exporting to as far as China.
At sunset there was a colorful ceremony of the lowering of 5 flags which included several national anthems, "taps", and some Sousa marches. This was punctuated by loud "cannon" fire. It appears that this sunset ceremony is a daily event.
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