Mike and Linda Navarre dreamed of a home with a view of the water for their retirement home. They lived in Federal Way, WA at the time. Linda worked as a Customer Service Manager for Bank of America. Mike worked as a Computer Specialist for the FFA at the Air Traffic Control Center in Auburn.
Mike wanted to enjoy the “Island Life.” Since he had roots on Lopez Island. His parents purchased the Lopez Inn Resort on Lopez Island which they renamed the Ebb Tide Resort. One of the tougher jobs Mike had was to take the boat to Friday Harbor to make bank deposits. Mike enjoyed the laid back Island life where people knew each other’s name. He remembers how on Lopez people waved at the cars going by because they recognized their neighbors. It was so rural that at that time the telephone system was run out of a home. You would dial the operator to reach someone. The operator might say something like she is not home since I just saw her drive past the office. Besides that rural atmosphere Mike always enjoyed the water activities like fishing, crabbing, clamming. The water and island life is in his blood. Linda; however, did not want to have anything to do with ferries. Because of that they were thinking about looking for a place on the peninsula for their retirement home.
Mike’s mom purchased a home on Camano Island in 1996. Mike and Linda spent a month on Camano cleaning and painting his mother’s new home getting it ready for her to move in. During that time Mike was thinking that the Island was exactly what he would like for a retirement home, but he was reluctant to say anything to Linda. Linda had eventually mentioned that she thought it might be fun to see what was available on the Island. That was all it took. Within a week they had a lot. Mike loved the lot so much that he didn’t even negotiate on the price for fear of losing the lot. That was in 1998. Even before starting to build Mike would sit at the lot admiring the view and dreaming what it would be like when the house would be built.
When the house was being built Mike would drive up the road to their house and look out over the water and say “what a blessing. I will see this view every day that I drive to my new home.”
Just before Mike and Linda retired they started the construction of their home. They had worked with an architect to design it so that almost every room has a view. They moved in in 2004.
Every room is designed to make the most of the view.
People had told Mike and Linda that they would get tired of the view, that it would just become second nature and that they would stop appreciating it, but Linda says she never gets tired of it. Every morning she looks out at the sunrise and still appreciates it. The views are every changing. Sometimes there’s a mist over that water that gives kind of a fairytale effect. Other times it is bright and clear and you can see Mt. Baker, Pilchuck and the Three Sisters. Sometimes the water is like a sheet of glass. Other times you can see whitecaps sparkle on the blue water, or the tides make the water a dark grey or deep turquoise. “We see our home and our view as a gift from God” Linda says.
Mike got his low key, water-centered, Island way of life. He takes his North River 20 foot boat to the State Park. From there they cross over to Baby Island and Fox Spit to crab. On the last day of fishing a couple seasons ago Mike was fishing with John Granger at the “racetrack” between Hat Island and Point Allen, at the south end of Camano (It is called the racetrack because boats troll in a racetrack like circle). They had caught one salmon, lost another, so fishing was decent. Although the fishing was good John who was fishing with him suggested going to Greenbank. Mike reluctantly agreed. This was the last day of fishing for the season. About an hour before they planned to quit Mike caught a 25 pound blackmouth. This was good for first place for the running Derby that the Elger Bay store on Camano Island runs from November through April.
I can personally testify that to the beauty of the view from their home. Linda is the aunt of my best friend from college, Scott Miller. Scott’s mom, Koyce and Linda are sisters. A few summers ago I was spending a month writing sabbatical at my property on Camano and camping in tents.
Scott came up to visit with me and was staying at Mike and Linda’s place. We golfed, and hung out at my campfire.
Scott invited me to stay with him at Mike and Linda’s and it was an incredible respite from camping. The next morning I woke up and enjoyed the beauty of the sunrise and a hot cup of coffee with Mike and Linda. I agree with Mike that the Island life is special. A few years ago when I was still living in Indianapolis, far from the waters of the Pacific Northwest, Mike took Linda, Koyce, Scott and myself out on his 20 foot North River boat. We ran across to Baby Island to pick up his crab pots which was full of crab. It was a wonderful day for me to be out on the water, tasting the salt, watching the gulls, and seeing the sparkle of the sunlight on the water.
Mike and Linda are thankful that their dream has come true: perched on the hill above the Camano Island Country Club they have an incredible, ever changing view; and Mike can live the Island life on the water that he loves. Every day they wake up thankful for those things, and being thankful they graciously share them with others.