Nov 182016

monica-bennett_matia-adventures_take1-2-of-1monica-bennett_matia-adventures_take1-2-of-11 monica-bennett_matia-adventures_take1-3-of-11





























Her name is Matia — a darling little Ranger Tug boat that I am in no doubt, thoroughly smitten over.  I’ve been wishing for a little tug boat for the longest while (even when we had our last boat) and my tug dream came true late this summer when hubby bought it for me.  For US.

Matia was built in Kent, Washington at the Ranger Tug factory and came home to the San Juan Islands with us.   HOME is here now (we’ve uprooted from Eastern Washington and are selling off some of our property.  Anyone interested in a cute little slice of Heaven in the charming town of Roslyn? Comes with two 30 amp plugins, a historic cabin, fruit trees galore (plum, apple and cherry that bear the sweetest fruit perfect for pies or just plain pickin’ off the branches and savoring the flavor while you stroll around the property).  A golden, sun flecked pasture is your view with the sweetest horses as neighbors – let me know if you know anyone interested.  I’m kind of hoping it won’t sell.  Don’t tell the hubby :)

We’ve been looking in the islands for another slice of Heaven and by golly,  I think we’ve found it!  Keep your fingers crossed for the Bennett’s because if this happens then our Silver Girl will have a new home, situated waterfront along the Salish Sea with views of the strait where orcas and humpback whales come to play and bald eagles soar high above.  Did I mention there is also a beach with the most amazing tide pools (according to our {hopefully} new neighbor who happens to be the nicest fellow) and a boat ramp too? And a nice big patch for a garden (a garden) . . . and, and, I could go on I tell ya.  I’m very hopeful the seller accepts our offer *fingers crossed*  But what shall be, shall be (I shall remain very hopeful!)

Now back to Matia, Hubby and I fondly named her after the island Matia, which just happens to be one of our favorite islands in the San Juan archipelagos.  She’s one of the smallest islands and boasts some of the dreamiest hiking trails that reward with breathtaking views.  It’s a glorious place that holds blissful memories for hubby and I — we can hardly wait until we visit again.

There are so many things I adore about our boat and the galley is tops on my list.  I do only have one little electric burner, which is fine and dandy — but the situation is as such — when we’re under way cruising up and over the waves out on the Salish Sea, or settled in for the night on the hook — that little electric burner won’t turn on due to the huge power draw it requires (we must be plugged into shore power or have a generator on board).  So underneath that electric burner is a place to pour denatured alcohol into and cook over that.  I’ve tried it and well, lets just say I’ve decided that we needed a bigger, beefier cook top.  Enter the Dickinson Sea-B-Que.  Thanks to my friend Laura who runs the fabulous travel (airplane, airstream & boat!) site, Riveted, she told me that the Dickinson grills are by far, the best and can I just say?  I couldn’t agree more.  Thank you Laura! Not only does the Sea-B-Que look stunningly gorgeous mounted on the railing, it’s a powerful workhorse that comes with porcelain grates that will get sooooooo hot you’ll be able to sear anything beautifully!

Thus far I have prepared on the Sea-B-Que, endless pots of coffee, cast iron skillet eggs, toasted raisin bread with melty butter, roasted veggies, Cajun grilled salmon and even boiled about five big pots of fresh caught Dungeness crab.  This grill has been my savior and has completely updated my galley.  Also, compared to the other marine grills out on the market, the Sea-B-Que will never flame out.  It’s very true and you’ve just heard it from me.  I was skeptical but while we were on the hook in Blind Bay (in between Shaw and Orcas), it was W I N D Y !  You could hear the wind angrily whipping around the grill and the flame still blazing away inside powerful and strong like a raging lion that would not give up. I was so impressed it didn’t flame out!  Compared to the previous two grills we’ve had on our past two boats, there is no comparison.  None.  It was quite disheartening because it’s no fun when you’re enjoying life out on the water when you go to check on dinner that should be cooking up nice and hot on the grill to only discover it’s been sitting there getting COLD because the flame, flamed out.  What?!  I’ve been there way to many times, thankfully never again.

Our experience buying Matia with Ranger Tugs has been such a pleasure and believe me, we’re experienced boaters who have been around the block or two regarding boat purchases.  This experience with Ranger was such a breath of fresh sea air!  They care about their customers, just like our friends Nick and Karen at Airstream of Spokane care about their customers.  They really, really give a darn.  They even have an online forum similar to Airstream where boat owners can discuss anything boating and Ranger Tug related.  I want to really thank Andrew for his patience while hubby and I tried to figure out which boat would be ours, and Kenny for his incredible patience with me and always being there and also a huge thank you to Glen who got us up to speed on piloting the boat to the San Juans.  Thank you sweet fellas !!

I also want to say I’m so sorry for not being around here as much this summer (your sweet emails of concern warmed my heart).  For me this summer was a whirlwind – it passed so quickly!  My garden at home did rather well, plenty of beautiful red sweet tomatoes but my poor tomatillo plant, what happened I still wonder?  Hundreds of fruits on that little bush but they never grew into “fruit.”  It’s like they remained so tiny in their papery shells and eventually just fell off.  Zucchinis, collard greens, lemon cucumbers (lemon cucumbers!), and Chinese eggplants all did well.  It’s been a bit of a withdrawl process weaning off the fresh veggies.  But so it is.  

A side note:  A bit of an exciting experience happened, Airstream flew out to film/photograph/interview me in my silver girl over the summer!  I can’t say too much about what’s to come, but it was a day I will never forget.  I felt like a queen :)  Can’t wait to share with you more as it all unfolds.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you’re snug as bugs in rugs — Autumn is upon us — a new season for new beginnings.  What a beautiful life it is and continues to be ♥  

Warm hugs to you,

Monica XOXO

Aug 212012

{ Chef Gretchen Allison – Duck Soup Inn, San Juan Island – Washington State }

As you slowly travel down a forested gravel drive meandering alongside a golden sunlit pond, you soon find yourself at Duck Soup Inn.

Situated in a fairytale-like forest setting complete with giant pine trees, twinkling lights and lanterns hanging here and there, you soon realize that your dining experience at Duck Soup Inn will extend beyond your dining table. Once again, we were amazed and rightly so.

Continue reading »

Aug 152012

One thing that we have come to learn while spending time here in the San Juan Islands is that people take things pretty slow.  No one is really ever in a rush and for us, that is very comforting.

We’ve spied these cute little candy apple red mopeds and scoot coupes all over San Juan Island and often wondered to ourselves what it would be like to have a ride in one of them.  Taking life slow and really exploring the island is how I always perceived the experience to be.   Of course B was always chiming in with his opinions.

“Oh mommy, it would be so fun!”

Could you guess how happy he was when hubby and I told him that today would be the day we would go and take a scoot coupe out for spin?

Pretty happy indeed. Continue reading »

Aug 092012

Today we are on the West Side of San Juan Island specifically at Lime Kiln State Park.   Comprised of 36 acres, Lime Kiln is considered one of the best places in the world to view whales from land.  I will tell you that it is spectacularly beautiful here.  Sweeping views of Haro Strait with the whale’s swimming gracefully through the waters will definitely take your breath away if not put a tear or two of emotional happiness in your eyes.

The lighthouse and park are both run on a voluntary basis thanks to the “Friends of Lime Kiln Society.”  Thanks to the society, the park and light house have remained in excellent condition.  It’s a wonderful thing don’t you think to see people volunteering their time, for free, to help preserve history?

Continue reading »

Aug 082012

We have arrived on San Juan Island and I would like to thank you for coming along with us as we begin our second journey in the San Juan archipelagos.   To be able to share with you the adventures, beauty and everything else that this island has to offer makes me very happy (and excited!).

But first thing is first.  A special visit to our favorite beach.  SOUTH BEACH.

“I don’t remember coming here mommy…”

“Oh but we did come here and sooo many times,” I told B as we walked along the beach.

I was glad to have him back here to begin the memories again because this was such a special beach to us. Many memories here.

Years ago we began coming here to the beauty you see before your eyes. Perhaps you remember when we visited in the off season and I made an easy seafood dinner? That was a beautiful day for sure!

Today a celebration of s’mores was in order. It felt good to be back.

~ a very different kind of s’more (assembly instructions below)

If you have not had the opportunity to read my piece on the Huffington Post about Orcas Island you can do so here.  It was a labor of love writing about Orcas.  All of these islands are the same but yet all have very different “flavors.”  I feel so very lucky (and honored) to be able to write about them for the whole world to read and discover.

A Special Kind of S’more


  • Nabisco Chocolate Wafers (instead of the chocolate bar)
  • Biscoff Spread (instead of the graham cracker. If you are unsure of what Biscoff Spread is, google it but be warned, it is amazing!)
  • Jumbo Marshmallows (cut in half, length wise)
  • Currants


Step 1
Spread the chocolate wafers with the Biscoff
Step 2
Toast your marshmallows and place on top of one of the wafer with the Biscoff spread
Step 3
Sprinkle some tart currants on top and seal this heavenly deal with another chocolate wafer




Jan 072011

You have arrived at South Beach. This is one of the most spectacular beaches you will find on San Juan Island. As you drive along the scenic winding roads on San Juan Island you approach a sign that reads, “South Beach.” It doesn’t look like a beach would be there, but as you turn and drive up the (long) hill, all of a sudden, you reach the top and subconsciously take your foot off the gas to slow down and for a moment time stands still and the entire world and the heavens seem to just open up right in front you. You hold your breath and can not believe what you are seeing.  The beauty is absolutely unimaginable here, which is why everyone flocks to this destination and which is why, we towed our Airstream through ice and snow on the roads to get here early and to get a prime spot for a day camp.


Jan 032011

Friday Harbor here we come! Except forecast is calling for snow, “Don’t worry honey,” hubby says as he hitches up the Airstream. “It won’t stick, it’s too warm.” I knew him and knew him well, there was no changing his mind.

From the looks of these photos of our ferry ride, what do you think? Stick it did and for our entire trip. Melted during the day of course and then froze solid again at night. This song and dance lasted our entire trip although towards the end there was enough asphalt visible on the roads that we were able to negotiate some towing to San Juan County Park and South Beach.

Our first night though, we camped in the parking lot above the Marina. Can’t complain, at least we were safe and made it off the Ferry in one piece.

Here are some pictures of the ferry ride: