RE: Fast boats look funny going slow...
I think you're right about folks staying closer to home - which really is a pretty sane decision to make... instead of "oh my God, we can't afford the fuel any more, sell the boat," think along the lines of "ya know, we've had this boat for XX years and we've never been to (place 15 miles away)."
I took some friends to Spencer Spit on Labor Day. As we had lunch and chatted, there was a continuous procession of boats heading SE towards Thacher Pass. This last weekend, Friday Harbor seemed plenty packed, and coming back on Sunday there was plenty of company.
It still seems like a pretty good deal to me. I burned somewhere between 15 and 20 gallons to go from Anacortes to Friday Harbor and back - well less than a hundred bucks. I had a place to stay when I got there (anchored out - no $$), a place to cook dinner and make breakfast (so they're virtually free compared to dining out). Anchored for a couple of hours in Indian Cove on the way back for a bit of lunch and catching some sun.