Sailing San Juans August 2002

This is the official “Adventurer” trip log for the San Juan trip. It is written by the skipper. You can read the parts that apply to you.


July 31

            Arrived in Anacortes about noon after sleeping on Snoqualmie Pass. The day has just cleared and the temp was warm--beautiful. I bought food and some equip at West Marine. Then on to Cap Sante Marina. It all took until 5 pm. I was thinking of starting out, but decided to stay there for the night and enjoy a dock. I cooked burger, onion, raw fries and salad. Then visited with many people. To bed at 10 pm.


August 1

            Off at about 8 for Sucia. I passed Cyprus and out and up.

            I headed for Sucia at 4 pm. Since there was a high wind warning from the northwest I went for Echo Bay and got a buoy. I went to shore and walked to Shallow bay and visited with a family with a girl and boy who were swimming. They said it was warm--nice swimming. I walked on and visited a group at the group camp. Then back to the boat and put together a dinner to cook on shore: burger, rolls and salad. After dinner, I talked with two friendly girls who had been playing there on the beach for several hours. They were going to go swimming and swim with the otters. They had seen a family of otters and said the otter babies would follow them all around.

            Later I walked over to Fossil Bay. There were several children fishing. They were catching perch using cooked spaghetti as bait. I walked back in the dark.

Aug 2

            Up at 8 am, overcast. I made breakfast of eggs and ham. At 11 am I was off, by way of Ewing bay. Then on to Blanchard Cove on Patos. On the way over the sun came out and the day was beautiful from then on. I anchored and put a 300 line to shore. Two otters were on hand to greet me. On the way in, I broke off my oar, but was able to use it anyway by moving the lock up.


I walked to the light house. Then I sat on the edge and read from  "The Light On The Island" (a book about a family who lived on that island) for an hour. Sunny and warm. Finally back to the boat. As I ate dinner of fried chicken, rolls and broccoli, two Bald Eagles watch from a tree above me. After dinner I walked and then dinghyed around to the south side of the island. There I read more of my book. At 9:40 I rowed back in the dark. To bed at 11.

Aug 3 Sat

            At 4 am the wind shifted to SE and it was warm and humid. By morning I had some waves.

            Up at 7 am to a beautiful morning, thought windy. So, I moved over to Shallow Bay on Sucia. I anchored and went ashore on the east end.

I walked the Lawson Bluff trail, but stopped alone the way to see the tide pools near the entrance. Then I hiked the rest of the trail and back. I explored the Sand Caves now called the China Caves. From there I crossed over to Echo Bay and walked the rocks a bit. Then up to the Ewing Bay Trail. Several people walked by including a friendly family with 2 small girls. They were interested in the Patos book. At noon, I walked back to the boat and made lunch.

            Then I decided that I would explore more of the island by boat. I went out of the bay and thru the Little Sucia channel. Then out and around into Fossil Bay. As luck would have it, a boat was just pulling out of the dock and I got a place. There were many friendly families including one with a 3 months baby and 2 small girls. We had fun talking. There were two boys on the boat just ahead that were diving off the boat. They always wanted me to watch. After dinner I went down to the center beach and hiked to the high point by Little Sucia. Later, my neighbors with two boys went to make a fire at the beach and I was invited along. We had a good time talking of boats and Africa. To bed at 10:30.

August 4

            Up at 8am to cloudy skies. Breakfast of cereal. A bit of rain, but light. I catch up on journal and then walk over to the to the main field and on up the Ev Henry trail.

            Back at the boat at 11:30, I head out for Orcas. It is windy, but not wavy. I anchor at North Beach and walk into town to the food market. There I meet old friends, the Berdans. I buy food and Ice and walk the 1 1/2 miles back. By now it is sunny and warm. The wind is down some, but I then I try to sail. It is not worth it due to large boat waves.

            I arrive at Shallow Bay and go ashore immediately.

There are several families and I join a Germain couple who’s little grand daughters are playing there. We discuss sailing. The weather is warm and sunny for a hour before a breeze comes up and I decide to move the boat to the west end. I tie to shore and anchor. Dinner of burger, buns, and salad. Then over to Echo Bay for the evening and talks with families. Finally back to the boat for the night. Early in the evening the are rolling waves hitting me and I can't see why–wind is not from there. Shallow Bay is just a rolly place.

August 5

            Up at 8:30. At 10 it cleared up and I was off  for West Beach for gas and to see if I could stay there. They were full. I stay around there for a while and walk the beaches. It is a very nice area with lots of families and maybe some day it might be nice to stay here.

             I am off to Matia. The south cove of Matia is gorgeous, calm and most inviting. One other sailboat just ahead of me.

We talk. I dinghy in and walk to the other end of the island. It too, is beautiful, but with a very noisy crowd there. I walk back and make dinner of burger and salad and bums. After dinner I hiked west and then south to the point and sat there and read. Beautiful. Back to the boat for the night.

August 6

            Up at 3am to close hatch since it has started to rain. Rain drops hitting the water were making splashes of light in the phosphorescent water.

            Up at 8 to rain and wind. I left since it was fairly shallow and the tide is very low. I did not want to get caught in there. Off to Echo Bay and a buoy right in close. I read and wrote unit 11 when it stopped raining. At 1:30 I contacted Sandee and they were about to leave Anacortes. I hiked and read all day until they arrived at 7 pm. Then we make dinner and talked and walked over to Shallow bay. We rafted on the buoy.

August 7

            All night was very rocky, but they didn't seem to mind. Up to beautiful clear skies and a low tide. We went ashore and checked tide pools in Echo and also in Shallow Bay.


 Then we hiked to the China Caves where the grand kids and I climbed into the caves and took pictures.


Then back to Echo Bay and sailed Moondance out to the south and then north to Patos. There we stopped in the NW channel to eat lunch. Then we were off to the island. We dinghyed to the old dock area and hiked to the light house. There we picked blackberries and took pictures.


Back to the boat and off to shallow bay. The GPS tells us we are being swept off corse and allows us to head a different course. We drop anchor at Shallow Bay and the kids and I go to shore. We build and great sand castle while dinner is being prepared. Just as dinner is ready the tide has come up and destroyed our castle. Off to a great dinner of stake, salad and mashed potatoes (They have just come from land and I welcome the fresh food). Finally we are back to Echo Bay were my boat has kept the mooring buoy. This time a very calm night.

August 8

            Up at 8 to a beautiful calm day. After a breakfast of pancakes made by Haylee on my boat, we are off--Tristan in my boat. They go into West Beach to get ice while Tristan and I go on to Disney Point. There we mount my new ore and go for a dinghy ride. Both dinghy and boat are being swept along at 2 knots, but it is calm and we stay together. Then on the Stuart were we accidentally enter the shallow rocky south entrance. It works very well, though, even with  a -1.5 tide. Then we get a spot and the end of the dock.

            The kids asked if we had any fishing equip, and I hauled out the two old rods. I had nothing but 1/2 inch hooks, but they fished anyway for two solid hours.

They would do nothing but fish. Even when we wanted to eat they wanted to fish. But we ate and then went over to the county dock by Moondance and dinghyed to ashore. Pete and I walked to Whale Watching point and sat for a while. A great sunset. On the way back Pete saw his dream house (shack) and said he wanted to move there. Back on board we had hot chocolate.

August 9

            Up at 8am Tristan is out fishing again and Haylee has made friends with the neighbor's cat. But, we are off for a hike to the school house. The old trail is still in use, but at the other end there are No Trespassing signs facing back. At the school house, we find a family selling tee shirts to make money for them to go to school. Since they are not usually there, you take one and get an IOU to send them money later.

            Back at the dock, we are off for Roche Harbor. On the way we go thru Johns Pass with no trouble even though the tide is against us. At Roche, we are directed to the C dock for a Med Tie. All boats are backed in side by side. We end up between two 40 footers, Undy & ... There are many children and much socializing.

Tristan is fishing and Haylee makes friends with many girls. But her best friend is Emily. I walk and find Dave on the outer dock. It is so good to see him there in the San Juans.  Then we go swimming. After dinner we walk the docks and look at many sail boats. Then we attend the famed Colors Ceremony. The kids are impressed. Then we go walking the shops.

August 10

            Up at 7:30. Dave and I go up and look around. We put in wash and then go shopping. Pete is up and gets donuts for us all. We sit on the walkway and eat and watch people. I see the folks I sat around the campfire with several days ago. After we say good by to many friends, we head out for Jones Island. When going out into the main channel, we meet up with huge tide rips and little progress. It takes an hour to get across the channel and all the stuff on the table is spilled on the floor. At last we arrive at Jones north bay and set an anchor/land tie. We take a walk across the island and then around the west side. There are many beautiful views on a warm day.

Back at the boat, Haylee and Tristan take their dinghy and head to shore. They do so well, that we approve all travel by them selves. Haylee has spotted a girl named Lily from the boat Cowboy from Anacortes and she plays all afternoon with her. I go in with Tristan for a while and play with them--much fun. Many things for dinner; a little from each boat.

As evening comes on we sit in the boats and talk. The straits to the north are beautiful at dusk. A toy is forgotten on shore and so Pete and Tristan are off in the dinghy, but not before Pete takes an impromptu swim as he gets in.  Dave and I take a walk, but Pete is too cold to go. We walk around the NW loop of the island in the dark.

August 11

            Up at 8 am. Breakfast and a little dinghying. Then off to Friday Harbor by sailing right from the moorage. We sailed east of Jones with a modest wind. Pete, and Sandy flew a spinnaker. It was good to see a spinnaker flying in the San Jauns. We are in Friday Harbor at about noon. There we meet with Cowboy and Haylee and Lily play for a while. Then Dave and I are off to get much needed food and ice. Pete and family are off to the Whale Museum and buy stuffed whales. Then we have burgers at McFriday–good. After some dockwalking, we head for Turn Island. The currents and wind are too great there and so we head north around Shaw to Blind Bay. It is calm with still water and a good anchorage. While folks talk and make dinner, the kids head out in the dinghy to find friends. They have a good time paddling, but no friends.

August 12

            Quite a north wind picked up during the night and we are getting some waves. This is common here in the morning. After breakfast, Pete and family are off for home, and Dave and I head out for Reid Harbor. We sail some, but near Jones the boat waves become too much for the light wind. We roar by Spiedem making 9 mph with the current. At Reid we get a spot on the large floating wharf.  We tie and have lunch. Then we are off for our hike. We pack a dinner of spam and bread. We visit the school, the cemetery, the airstrip, and sit a Whale Watching Point (Lovers Leap). We watch a sailboat coming around Turn Point; The’re sailing smoothly for 20 minutes, but making absolutely no progress because of the currents.

At the end, a puff of smoke and they are off. We have our dinner there of spam sandwiches water and candy.

            We walk down to the light house and talk to a friendly family about the history of the light.  As evening set in, we head back. We divert to go down to the county dock. We see Petes dream house. Back at the wharf, we see now have 9 boats on the wharf. They are all very friendly and we  talk to a couple about their 29 ft trawler. Dave was considering building one like it.

August 13

            Up at 8 am to a very warm day. No dew this morning. There is a breeze from the north of all places, but we are sheltered from it. After breakfast we head out and through Johns Pass. Then on north to Canada. The crossing is calm and warm. We arrive at Bedwell in late morning and it is a bit breezy. We get through customs with out difficulty. They like to see passports or birth certificates, but two photo ID will do. No pitted fruits are fresh vegies. USDA #1 potatoes in their bag are acceptable. Bedwell, (now Poets Cove) is the same friendly, family oriented place that is always was. The pool is gone, but will be replaced with a modern somewhat smaller pool, but with much sunbathing space. The rest was the same, but this fall all will be torn down. In it’s place will be a courtyard and 43 room hotel. Condos will dot the hill above. Customs will stay.

            We are off on the dock. We find a group of children selling shrimp, 12 for a dollar. We give them a US dollar since they are so friendly and they are overjoyed. After lunch, we dockwalk and take showers. Then we dinghy over to Beaufort Park for a short walk. The day is breezy but very warm and sunny.

Camping at Beaufort is available and cost on a per person basis. Back at the dock,  we make dinner of burgers, string bean salad and Canadian Fries (Those are raw fries with the peelings on, since we agreed to eat the pealing of our US potatoes). In the evening we dock walk and spend a hour talking to a couple with an 8 mo old girl. She is a good traveler.

August 14

            “The Day Of The Winds” Up at 8 am to a gale. We hike to the top of the hill behind the harbor. We see huge waves on the strait. Later in the morning, we take lunch and bundle up in life jackets and row around the bay to Beaufort Park. It is calmer in that sheltered area. We have lunch and,  lie around in the sun and I read for a while. Later we are off for a hike north. This is the only path by land, out of here, and it is hard. We hike alone the bay for a ½ mile with views of the bay. Then the path turns straight up for 400 rise. There is a great view of the bay. To get the parking lot you would have to walk down much more, and we did not. Or you could walk still higher to Mt Norman for a view of the island. The winds are much less now and we head down and back to the dock.

            Later we discover the shroud is out of its notch in the spreader on our boat, and so we lower the mast. There is much help since we are on the main dock and people walking by all the time. It is soon fixed. We sit in the boat and talk to everyone who notices we are from Montana. Yes, we brought the boat all that way. We have found the famed NW passage, it is called I 90. Since the winds where so bad, so long, the marina is at full. Dinner is of Spaghetti and bread. After supper we neat Dan and Anne and walk to the light south of the bay (cell phone point). Then we come back to their boat for tea until 11 pm.

August 15

            Up at 7 am to a CALM day. We have breakfast, final good-bys and on south. The strait is calm and sunny, and the porpoises have discovered us. They play by our boat for several minutes. We take pictures and marvel at their swimming ability. We move south and then over to Rum Island Park.

Nice camping spots and shelter on both sides. I read for an hour as Dave hikes around the head. Warm and calm. Then we are off around Geoch Island. Finally, we are headed back to the US across Haro Strait. We watch as USCG boards a 35 ft sailing vessel near us. They are on board for 30 mins as we both motor east. Later they tell us it was a routine boarding, but they check everything in the boat with great detail. We clear customs.

            Then we are off to Garrison Bay. We anchor in the shallows near the dock at English Camp. We go ashore to the grassy meadow of the camp. There is a museum with a very nice family video telling the story of how the American’s on the east end of the island, and the English as Garrison lived and defended their areas until Kiser Wilhelm ruled that the San Juans belonged to the US. Next we walk around the beautiful Garrison Point trail. Back at the boat, we make dinner of pork stake, salad, and raw fries. That evening, we talk and watch dinghies go by.

August 16

            Up at 8am to another glorious day. How can we continue to have so much great weather for so long. After breakfast we are off to see southwest San Juan Island. It is calm and we motor  slowly out into Haro Strait. Then we notice many boats converging on a spot just to the south. We are off and are rewarded by a great show put on by the K-pot of orcas. One large whale breaches, while others slap the water with their fins. We are right in front of the San Juan County Park. Later we go ashore to visit this beautiful park. There are many camp sites, a group camp, museum, and trails. Then we sail/motor back to Roche.

            We are off to the pool. The day is warm and we swim and sunbath for several hours. Dinner is burger and sourdough bread. In the evening we dockwalk. Later we sit with a family and watch the colors ceremony. After dark, we close the boat and listen to many CDs.

August 17

            This is Dave last day and he is off on his bike at about 8:30. I walk to the Mausoleum and then back to the pool. At 11 I am off for Deer Harbor.

            After riding the tide rips again I arrive at Deer Harbor. This is a nice family oriented marina; not cheep, but very friendly. Later I spend a while at the nice pool. There are many families there. At 4 pm, my old friends  the Butlers come and we talk for a long time. Then we motor out to Jones Island and eat dinner on the boat. We have to catch up on 10 years of our lives. After we get back they have to leave and I dockwalk and watch many kids catching shrimp.

August 18

            Up at 8 am. There is fog to the west over San Juan Channel.

\The weather is changing. Breakfast of Pancakes. Finally I an off to find the two girls and I give them one of my “San Juan Adventures” books. Then I am off through the islands and back to Anacortes. I go by Orcas, Shaw, Lopaz, and finally out over Rosario Strait. The motor has been slowing down and I can tell it is straining to make even 5.5 mph. Then suddenly some carbon breaks loose and it is back to normal. I motor to Saddle Bag Island. The anchorage is full of weeds, but bottom is good bottom. I go ashore and hike all around the Island. This is a small version is Jones Island. I like it very much. There is a lot of open area on the east side. There are several nice camping spots. The north anchorage might be better if the wind is not from that direction. After dinner I go over to an old 29 ft sailboat and talked with the couple for and hour. They were just heading out for a week.

            Up at 8 and off through the fog to Cap Sante. The small lift was broken, but they took me out with the large at the same cost. It took 4 hours to get ready. That afternoon I drove the pickup over to Deception Pass and Hiked around Reservation Head. There is a protected float just onside of this head for boat moorage. That is a very nice hike with many beautiful views. Later I had dinner at Rosario Beach and Head. This is one of the only areas where one can usually see ocean breakers. It is facing the open Straits of Juan de Fuca. Back at the marina, I walked the docks and then slept in the boat.

August 19 off for Montana over the NW Passage.