Schooner Zodiac Spirits and Seafood Cruise – Day 3

Schooner Zodiac Spirits and Seafood Cruise – Day 3

WJ Tested: Sailing the San Juan Islands Aboard Schooner Zodiac Included a Visit to Roche Harbor and Tastings at San Juan Island Distillery.

Schooner Zodiac Cat Abbey

Schooner Zodiac cat Abbey takes a well deserved nap between shifts in the chart room.

Following a restful night of slumber in our bunks on Schooner Zodiac in the calm waters of Parks Bay off Shaw Island of the San Juan Islands, we were woken by the ringing of the 7:00 am breakfast bell. The delightful aroma of a delicious and hearty bacon and potato scramble, conjured up by Cook Ian Relay, was enough to entice us into the galley.

Sailing the San Juan Islands on Schooner Zodiac

Spirits and Seafood Cruise – Sailing the San Juan Islands on Schooner Zodiac.

At 9:30 am it was time to raise the anchor and set off towards our first destination of the day, Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Shortly after leaving Parks Bay, Captain Tim Mehrer gave the orders to prepare to sail Schooner Zodiac. All hands immediately jumped into action, went to assigned sailing stations and began the task of raising the sails.

Passenger Martha, 84, takes a turn at the helm of Schooner Zodiac.

Passenger Martha, 84, takes a turn at the helm of Schooner Zodiac.

The weather and the wind were with us, making for ideal sailing conditions. With a bunch of novice sailors aboard (meaning all of us passengers), getting up to a sailing speed of 9 knots while running against a 3 knot current was impressive.

Note: A knot (pronounced: not) is a unit of speed, equal to one nautical mile.

Schooner Zodiac Sails Past Spieden Island in the San Juans.

Schooner Zodiac Sails Past Spieden Island in the San Juans.

After a couple of hours of sailing, Zodiac passed by Speiden Island and by 1:30 pm had dropped anchor in the bay at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.

Roche Harbor on San Juan Island

Roche Harbor on San Juan Island

Lunch today included a variety of freshly-made pizza and salads – definitely a good way to make sure we were set for our afternoon visit to San Juan Island Distillery.

Freshly-made pizza for lunch on Schooner Zodiac

Freshly-made pizza for lunch on Schooner Zodiac

By 2:30 pm passengers were boarding tenders for the short ride into Roche Harbor, where we then strolled along the country road for about a mile to the distillery.

San Juan Island Distillery

San Juan Island Distillery

San Juan Island Distillery not only makes bitters, gin and brandy products, but is also home to Westcott Bay Cider. Partners Rich Anderson and Suzy and Hawk Pingree have developed a rather diverse distillery, and our group enthusiastically took part in tastings of Spy Hop Gin, Westcott Bay Cider, Pommeau, Thimbleberry Brandy and Lavender and Wild Rose Liqueur.

Spy Hop Gin at San Juan Island Distillery

Spy Hop Gin at San Juan Island Distillery

Westcott Bay Cider Tasting at San Juan Island Distillery

Westcott Bay Cider Tasting at San Juan Island Distillery

San Juan Island Distillery near Roche Harbor on San Juan Island

San Juan Island Distillery near Roche Harbor on San Juan Island

Arriving back aboard Schooner Zodiac shortly after 4:30 pm, it was once again time to motor. This 60-minute journey took us to our mooring destination for the night – Reid Harbor off Stuart Island.

Schooner Zodiac: Sailboat Rebecca Susan

Schooner Zodiac: Sailboat Rebecca Susan

Before dinner, kayaks were lowered and passengers explored the sheltered bay. The “Rebecca Susan”, a small sailboat, under the command of First Mate Kris, also took passengers for a short sail until the dinner bell rang.

Schooner Zodiac Cook Ian Relay Prepares Seafood Paella

Schooner Zodiac Cook Ian Relay Prepares Seafood Paella

Schooner Zodiac provided a variety of bottles of Westcott apple cider to accompany cook Ian’s huge dish of seafood paella. A yummy apple crisp with vanilla ice cream followed the main meal and was a sumptuous way to complete the evening while watching the sun go down in the islands. What another absolutely perfect day of San Juan Island sailing!

Next… Sailing the San Juan Islands on Schooner Zodiac and Disembarking in Fairhaven, Washington

Previous… Day 2: Sailing the San Juan Islands Aboard Schooner Zodiac – Visit to Lopez Island.

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