Seattle is a tease.
This summer, while other parts of the country are roasting in three-digit temperatures, La Seattle, like a beautiful woman capitalizing on her looks, has been playing hard to get. Locals expect lousy springs. This year, there was no spring at all. Still, La Seattle kept egging us on, a few hours of sunshine here, some gorgeous blooms there.
One thing we can [usually] count on here, is decent summer weather after July 4. Not this year. Nope. Non. No siree! While we were in Europe, my friends had to deal with more teasing (a few hours of sunshine, a gorgeous 4th of July,) followed by clouds, and cooler weather. Last week, when I stopped by Madison Park, a favorite neighborhood on the shore of Lake Washington, this is what I saw...
|Lonely lifeguard watching over a lonely swimmer|
|Another lonely lifeguard watching over three pale-looking Popsicles...|
Last week, as soon as we returned from the warm and sunny Mediterranean, Junior and a good friend headed for the Seattle Yacht Club. Even though he started attending sailing camp in 2nd grade, this was Junior's first racing camp! It was offered only once this summer, and reserved for more experienced sailors. It turns out Junior and his buddy were the youngest ones there. My son paled under his impeccable (Spanish) tan when he realized that for the next few days, he was going to compete with teams who were at least two or three years older. I bet Junior really felt like... a junior at that point. He need not have worried. In spite of mediocre weather (it rained all day on Thursday,) cold water, and strong opponents, the young boys won one of the races and scored a very honorable 3rd place during the big regatta at the end of the week. Le Husband was very proud and took a few [fancy] pictures to celebrate.
|Proud of their 3rd place!|
All we heard about over the weekend is how Junior now wants to open a bank account in his name, and start saving to buy "his own V15 (sailboat)" by the time he enters high-school. It is going to be a while before he achieves his goal, but the child is driven. Who knows? I may have a future Eric Tabarly or a Michel Desjoyeaux at home. They can't all be soccer or baseball players after all!
Meanwhile, locals were considering pulling their fleece jackets and warm fall clothing out of their closets. The weather was Le-topic-du-jour on Facebook. Unbeknownst to most, La Seattle was waiting patiently, ready to strike again. On Saturday morning, the big tease was back in rare form: Gorgeous sunny sky, no clouds, summer temperatures. Perfect timing since this family had decided to go on a much-needed sailing adventure. You may remember our boat, Mistral, a beautiful 22-year old Catalina, lovingly restored and maintained by Le Husband.
We had not seen Mistral since the end of June. In a good year, we have already taken several overnight cruises by mid-July. This year, as you may have gathered, things are a bit different. Everyone was looking forward to seeing the old girl again, and to settle in for a weekend voyage in the Puget Sound area.
|Our favorite beach house... because it travels!|
Ah, Mistral. Together, we have had most excellent adventures! No long cruise for us this summer alas (Europe was too hard to resist.) Short weekends will have to do.
Have I mentioned that we all love boats? We have owned boats for 10 out of our 15 years in the Pacific Northwest. Ski boats. Cruisers. A sailboat. Like a lot of locals, we started with lake boating. It was fun while it lasted, but as soon as friends took us out cruising around the Puget Sound with them, we were hooked. A few months later, we bought our first cruiser. We never looked back. While Junior was young, we did not own a boat. We live inland and were miserable in the summer. What is the point of living in Seattle, and putting up with nine months of grey/rainy skies if you can't be on the water when the sun finally starts shining? So we chartered boats, and took them around the gorgeous San Juan islands, north of Seattle. Finally, we came back to boating, thanks to Mistral. Le Husband learned how to sail when he was a young boy in France. He was itching to get his own sailboat. The rest is family history.
Islands, inlets, secret coves, peaceful anchorages, state of the art marinas... all within hours of Seattle, our home base, make this area attractive to boaters from all over the United States. If you do not own a boat, WA state ferries can still take you to some of our favorite destinations, but not all. We have been lucky to be able to explore the Pacific Northwest on our own boat, and this is a privilege we do not take for granted.
What do we do on a typical boating weekend? You know, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. We eat, we drink, we explore. Most importantly, we relax. There is something magical about being on the water. Le Husband, who works hard during the week, is a different man as soon as he dons his skipper hat.
|Picnic on board: Simple food, but everything tastes better on a boat|
|Hailey the Yellow Dog, relaxing...|
|A boat, a boy, a boom, and a bag of chips: Isn't life grand?|
|Boat + sun = Happy, relaxed Hubby|
Thanks to Mistral and her predecessors, we have discovered some incredible places. There are favorite ones, and we go back often. They usually involve a small town, and a comfortable marina, with friendly tenants. When we arrive, we feel right at home. There are favorite boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops...
|Scallops taste better when enjoyed on the shore|
There are hidden trails full of surprises...
There is admiration (always)... There is envy (sometimes)... There are plans being made (often)... One day, one day...
Mostly, there are moments shared by our family. Not all perfect, not all grand, but who could help smiling when the sun shines like it did during these two long, wonderful days? La Big Tease be darned. She may be moody again tomorrow morning, or the day after, but we will go back out. Mistral is waiting.