A Sur Reel life for American couple aboard their Riviera 575 SUV

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A moment in the middle of nowhere.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – Jess and Jennifer Roper live in San Diego in southern California “simply because the climate is so pleasant all year round,” says Jess.

They prefer to spend their summers exploring the bays, sounds and waterways about 3,000 kilometres north, between Seattle in Washington State and British Columbia.

“We think they are some of the most spectacular waterways in the world,” says Jess.

The couple have owned boats for many years and always enjoyed the lifestyle although Jess’s career as the CFO of a rapidly growing company held most of his attention.

They attended the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2014, looking for a new boat that would perfectly suit both entertaining, fishing and cruising.

Jess and Jennifer Roper.

“We loved the layout of the Riviera 445 SUV, the single-level living and the quality of workmanship that is so evident in the motor yacht. And it is perfectly designed both for entertaining, fishing and living aboard.”

As Jess was planning retirement in late 2016, they realised that they would need more space for long months of cruising and didn’t hesitate with any other model but decided to move to the 575 SUV.

“I particularly love the four individual seats across the helm of the 575 SUV,” said Jennifer. “It was also great to work with the Riviera team on interior colours and soft furnishings. I love navy blue.”

For Jess, the attractions of the SUV collection and the 575 in particular are the space throughout the motor yacht and the manoeuvrability and fuel efficiency afforded by the Volvo Penta IPS system with integrated joystick control.

Sur Reel at anchor.

Jess Roper takes up the story through excerpts from his blog:

We arrived at South Lake Union in Seattle where we took delivery of our new Riviera 575 SUV, Sur Reel. We then drove her through the locks that lowered us from fresh water to salt water and on to Puget Sound.

We spent the Fourth of July enjoying Lake Washington and the stunning backdrop of Mt. Rainer and it’s glaciers on a clear, warm Seattle day.

Top: Stunning scenery.
Above: Jess and Jennifer at Roche Harbor.

We were fortunate to attend a four-day Riviera Experience with 36 other yachts at Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands, south of Vancouver and just inside the US border.

We met many great people whom we later joined on boating and fishing trips over the summer. Roche Harbor is one of our favourite spots and we visited the quaint location several times and will be back.

Victoria in British Columbia is a picturesque city with a European flair and is the capital of British Columbia. Victoria is home to the famous Empress Hotel. The iconic Edwardian château-style hotel facing the city’s Inner Harbour that was built between 1904 and 1908.

It was the opening weekend of the Dungeness crab season so we headed with some other boaters to Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor for a few days to load up the freezer and enjoy a couple of major crab feasts. There is nothing like eating fresh crab caught a few hours earlier.

Mid August we joined four other boats for a five-day fishing trip, our first fishing outing of the summer and it was the first good test to run the boat in rougher seas and offshore.

In this remote area, they call it catching, not fishing, and Jennifer caught the biggest salmon between the two of us.

Brentwood Bay in the Gulf Islands is a nice spot to spend a couple of days; good food and a nice little marina. The seafood chowder was phenomenal; the best chowder we’ve had anywhere.

The Butchart Gardens, close to Brentwood, are stunning and heavily attended by visitors throughout the world. The Gardens, covering about 55 acres, were developed by Jennie Butchart, wife of Robert Butchart who built a quarry and a lime kiln on the site. From 1906, the Gardens were developed by the family and initially included a Japanese garden, an Italian garden and a rose garden.

The elegant Butchart Gardens.

We misjudged our supplies so stopped off at Refuge Cove’s general store. Nice swimming here with water temperatures just a tad under 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees C).

In late September, we did a five-hour road trip in the truck to Tofino and stayed for a few days at the famous Wickaninnish Inn. Near Tofino we were lucky to see a few bears foraging for king salmon as the fish made their way up the creek.

British Columbia is a magnificent place and we are fortunate to have spent a few months here.

Top: Jess and Jennifer encountered orcas many times during their voyages.
Above: Near perfect reflection of the moon and snow-capped mountain tops to the left. Impressive, given that it is September and we are at sea level.

Four things stood out during our travels – friendly people, stunning waterways, abundant wildlife, and tasty food. In total, we have travelled about 1,500 nautical miles on board Sur Reel over the past few months exploring numerous islands and interesting destinations.

This is God’s country.

We are really looking forward to next summer.

If you would like to read more of Jess and Jennifer’s adventures, they are covered in detail along with many more adventures of Riviera and Belize owners cruising the fabled waterways of the world in “Celebrating the Riviera Family”, our plush 188-page limited edition coffee table book. To purchase your copy, please click here.

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