Sunday, September 1, 2013


The topic for September is “Feeling Nostalgic…kids going back to school…sharing our roots, families and Fall traditions.”

I want to talk about September as a boater, which is intricately tied to the ‘back to school’ calendar.  Turns out, no matter how old we are, we’re forever dependent on the ding-danged school calendar!

Not only was I a student in the public school system and attending college when September was ‘a beginning,’ but I also taught high school English, followed by several years as a high school principal.  The last week in August and the first week in September always signaled a time for hard work, angst, excitement and tension. 

You would think that after I retired from my principalship, I’d be happily ignorant of school starts.  I wish!

For the last fourteen years, the beginning of September means my husband and I, aboard our forty-five foot trawler, Intrepid, turn our boat south and make way to our marina slot in Anacortes, Washington.  On purpose, we hold back in British Columbia, waiting for the ‘get-ready-for-school’ boaters to head back to the U.S./Canadian mainlands.   You should know that both countries share the labor day weekend holiday, so the majority of boaters cruise south BEFORE that weekend. 

Parents, grandparents and students alike, want to reach home a good week before school starts.  That means the oceans are ours the last week in August.  So we plan carefully around the boat stampede.  For instance, we hit the gorgeous boating haven called Desolation Sound the last week of August when the crowds have left.  Next we putt through the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands, gleeful not to to dodge boats and their wakes.  Once we’ve slid into our slip in Anacortes, we’re smiling about a stressless, traffic- free three month sojourn to the hinterlands of B.C. and back.

So our Fall tradition, given the lovely temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest in September, is to let the school-focused crowds empty our ocean playgrounds so we can enjoy a pleasant trip south.

Have you noticed this phenomena?  Have you tapped into it like we have?  Are resorts, cruise ships and other touristy venues empty by the last week in August?  If so, are prices down and opportunities abounding?  Curious minds want to know!

Happy Fall, everyone.  Let’s hope the pace is slower for you in the Fall as it is for those of us who are boaters!   Rolynn


Jannine Gallant said...

Enjoy your peaceful time, Rolynn! Tahoe is similar. We survive on tourism, yet the locals are thrilled when the throngs of flat-landers go back to school after Labor Day. Our streets empty of traffic, and we all sigh in relief.

Margo Hoornstra said...

I'll never forget a bumper sticker I saw on a trip south. It said 'Welcome to Florida! Now go home.' Having been raised in a college town, we hated September when the students invaded.

Leah St. James said...

Hi, Rolynn! This sort of reminds me of Elizabeth Lowell's "Death Echo" which takes place around those parts. It's about a transit captain (our hero) who has to get a yacht from point A to point B, and the agent of a private security agency (our heroine) who has to save the world from something stored on board. Luckily, your experience sounds WAY more peaceful and fun than theirs! :-)

Leah St. James said...

I think my point about that was supposed to be how beautiful the area sounds! :-)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks to Jannine, Leah and Margo for commenting. I am reminded of the tides...the seasons move people from place to place as well, don't they. Like tides, there's no turning of 'em!

Some of my boater friends start their season when the other boaters have gone back to the marinas. Smart!

Alicia Dean said...

Hmmm...I never really thought of the lasting effects of the school calendar. But your boating time sounds amazing...enjoy!