Traveling the Liquid Highway

A former client of mine, who bought property on Decatur Island, told me recently that transportation was his only hesitation in buying outer island property.  He went on to say that if he’d known how easy it was to travel back and forth, he’d have bought years earlier.  He said I needed to write a blog about it….so here it is.

When I moved to Fidalgo Island, in the late 1980’s, I was amazed by how many people I met who’d never visited the islands to the west.  Since then, I’ve logged hundreds of hours on the water and have come to view it as just another highway…albeit liquid, that’s in place to get me from one point to another.  Viewed from that perspective, visiting the islands or even going up into Canada is just a matter of finding the right boat to get me where I want to go.

Island Express arriving at Decatur Shores

Currently, there are two passenger ferry companies doing an awesome job of shuttling people from Anacortes to points west.  Traveling with them is a unique experience that only sounds intimidating the first time.  After that, you’ll find meeting the fellow travelers going to docks or beaches throughout the San Juan Islands a wonderful addition to your travel experience.

Paraclete picking up at beach on Decatur Island

You’ll be amazed by the little coves and hidden rock outcroppings that people hop off onto to go to their island homes.  At each stop, everyone pitches in to help load and unload and the sounds of laughter echo throughout the boat, as old acquaintances reunite and get caught up with each other.  Sometimes, on busy summer weekends, the bow of the boat is so loaded with coolers, backpacks, groceries, plants, and building materials that it’s amazing the skipper can figure out what goes where….but they do.  I’ve even met people who live on ferry-served islands that prefer using the passenger ferries instead of the Washington State Ferry.  They claim it’s worth the extra expense because it’s so much easier and they get to their home much much faster.  Paraclete Charters offers the opportunity to “go for a boat ride” so you can sample how fun it is to travel our liquid highway….maybe I’ll see you there.  If so, say hi….I’ll be the one with the big black and white dog and a ridiculous amount of stuff….

Sunset arrival on the Paraclete


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