The Sailing Vessel Apropos

San Juan Islands Trip

August 4-13, 2006

Destination: San Juan Islands

Crew: Jim, Karen

Day 1: Lake Union to Port Townsend (35nm)

Departed Lake Union around 10am on Friday for a 10-day trip to explore the San Juan Islands. This motoringwas our first extensive cruise and our first time sailing outside of Puget Sound. The weather was sunny but there was little wind so we motored north. After lunch a northerly wind started picking near Point No Point so we raised the sails and tacked our way north. Arrived at Port Townsend at 7pm and anchored a few hundred feet from shore. Paddled the kayak to a dock and had dinner at a restaurant with live jazz. After dinner we found another pub with live music and listened to some great guitar and harmonica blues  players.

Day 2: Port Townsend to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island

Up-anchored at 8am and motored out of Port Townsend. About an hour into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the engine alarm sounded and the temperature gauge was in the red. Captain 'I'm no diesel mechanic' tried not to panic, even though we were in the middle of a very busy shipping lane with not a breath of wind.  There was antifreeze in the bilge and the problem was eventually traced to a loose coolant drain plug near the bottom of the engine. After tightening the plug, refilling the coolant tank, and cleaning up the bilge, we were soon under way again. We spotted a pod of dolphins as we motored across the channel.  They are very fast and powerful swimmers and like to surf the bow wave. Crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca can sometimes be hazardess with high wind, strong currents, and huge cargo ships, but it was more like a pond on this day. The wind finally picked up near Cattle Pass at the south end of San Juan Island so we raised the sails and sailed up the San Juan channel to Friday Harbor. We arrived at 7pm and found a spot to anchor in a very crowded harbor. Fired up the barbie and had brats and corn for dinner.

Day 3: Friday Harbor to Massacre Bay on Orcas Island

Kayaked in to Friday Harbor to get coffee and breakfast, then walked around the friday harborsmall town. Up-anchored at noon and motored across the San Juan Channel, then raised the sails orcas islandwith 10 knt winds and favorable current. Sailed to the far north end of West Sound on Orcas Island. We decided to pull into a small marina to charge the batteries for the first time since leaving Seattle. Left the boat plugged in and took a walk along a small windy road, finding this closed restaurant to take a break as Karen was 5 months pregnant. After the batteries were fully charged, we motored a short distance and dropped anchor off Skull Island in Massacre Bay. Seemed like it would be a good place to read a thriller novel as it was even a full moon night! Before going to sleep, I checked the deck for pirates then lowered the crab pot next to the boat in 25 feet of water.

Day 4: Massacre Bay to Echo Bay on Sucia Island

Pulled up the crab pot in the morning with 6 Dungeness crabs inside. Very exciting since this was our very first attempt at crabbing. Three were keep-able males (females must be released) breakfastand  Captain crabs'Crabby' was at once in a great mood! Celebrated the catch with a bacon & egg breakfast. Up-anchored from the muddy bottom at 10:30am and motored out of West Sound. Winds were too light for sailing, so we motored all the way to Sucia Island, arriving 3 hours later. We dropped anchor inside Echo Bay and had a relaxing afternoon, taking turns on the chair that we hung on the main halyard. Kayaked to Sucia and hiked around the island. After working up an appetite, we returned to the boat to prepare a tasty Dungeness crab dinner. hikehikecrabchair crabdinner

Later that evening we splurged with our fully charged batteries by using the microwave to make popcorn and watching a movie on the 38" lcd flat panel tv with surround sound. Who says you can't have the luxuries of home on a boat!

Day 5: Sucia Island

This was our first non-sailing day, and we woke up to rain and fog. Was relaxing sleeping in with the sound of the jimkarenrain hitting the teak decks. We met another couple (Tom and Sue) with a Hans Christian 43 and checked out each others boat. Was fun seeing a sister ship and sharing stories with fellow cruisers. Spent the rest of the day relaxing and ate spaghetti for dinner. Captain enjoyed playing guitar and reading during downtime and the expecting mother kept busy knitting a baby blanket.


Day 6: Echo Bay to Jones Island

Left Sucia at 9:30am under heavy fog. We used the radar/gps overlay on the chartplotter so we couldjones see the charts with gps and obstacles with radar at the same time. Captain 'I hate motoring' was disappointed we couldn't sail as we motored all the way to Jones Island.joneshike The fog lifted by 11am and we reached Jones Island at noon under mostly sunny skies. We tied onto a mooring ball in the bay and kayaked to the island. We hiked the island loop and spotted woodpeckers and deer . We had planned on going to Roche Harbor but decided to spend the night on Jones.  We found one of the great things about cruising is to not have a rigid plan but be flexible and enjoy the experiences. Had lamb chops for dinner and set the crab trap before going to sleep.


Day 7: Jones Island to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island

Pulled up the crab trap to find a 12-arm starfish inside but no starfishcrabs. It took a while to free him from the trap. Motored out of Jones Harbor and headed towards Boundary Pass. Set the sails after the wind picked up an hour later rocheand pulled into Roche Harbor at 3pm. We radioed ahead for moorage and were told we would be docking Mediterranean style, meaning backing up and tying the stern to the dock. This can be tricky especially with a 10knt crosswind and a heavy displacement boat. The dockhands were waiting as we pulled up and thought they could use lines and pull the boat in by hand, but soon realized they were like fleas trying to move an elephant. They finally used the engine power of a small barge to push us against the dock and secured the lines.  Captain 'frazzled' was in much madrona2need ofmadrona1 a bloody mary from the Madrona Bar & Grill. After 6 days of "roughing it" on islands like Orcas, Sucia and Jones, it was a welcome change to be at a resort harbor. We took advantage of the restaurants and reprovisioned at the grocery store. In the evening we watched Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" at a live outdoor theater. Before going to bed, Captain 'the deadliest catch' paddled the kayak about 1/2 mile in the dark to place the crab trap.

Day 8: Roche Harbor to Reid Harbor on Stuart Island

Walked around the resort in the morning and visited a cruising couple with 2 kids on a 42 foot Lord Nelson. Departed at 1pm,  drifted by where the crab pot was placed and pulled it aboard. The catch was 1 female undersized swingcrab which we released. The wind picked up to 10-15 knots so we sailed for about 3 hours, circumnavigating Stuart Island! We dropped the sails to motorhike through John's Pass, a narrow passage between Stuart and John's Islands. Anchored at Reid Harbor after dropping the crab pot in 30 feet ofwoodenchest water. After dinner we kayaked to shore and took a long walk to a schoolhouse, stopping along the way to swing on a rope-swing. Next to the schoolhouse is a large wooden treasure chest with t-shirts inside. You take whatever you like and send a check in the mail later. We ended up getting 4 shirts, then checked out the schoolhouse which is used by a few children living on the island. It was about a 3 hour walk and we got back to the kayak after dark. It was also a long paddle back to Apropos.

Day 9: Reid Harbor to Kingston

Up-anchored at 9:30am and motored to the spot where the crab trap was placed. Was excited to see 10 crabscrabs but 9 were female! We decided to keep the 1 male and use him for an appetizer. Hadcrabs light sunsetwinds and favorable currents, so we sailed most ofspinnaker Haro Strait, between San Juan Island and Vancouver Island.  With the spinnaker we sailed across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and all the way down to Point No Point before dropping the sails and motoring the rest of the way to Kingston in the dark. We anchored, watched a movie, then went to bed exhausted from a long trip. 

Day 10: Kingston to Lake Union

Up-anchored and pulled into the dock at Kingston. Ate crepes for breakfast then sat in a coffee house relaxing and reading the paper. Back at the marina we saw the couple we met on Sucia Island and stopped to have a chat about our trip since we parted. Left Kingston at 2pm and flew the spinnaker and main to cross Puget Sound.  Went through the Ballard locks, under 2 drawbridges, and arrived at our Lake Union moorage at 6pm.


Trip Statistics
Ports visited 8
Nautical miles 235
Engine hours 46
Crabs caught 10