Sailing Vessel Apropos
Destination: San Juan Islands
1: Lake Union to Port Townsend (35nm)
Lake Union around 10am on Friday for a 10-day trip to explore the San
Juan Islands. This was
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.
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.
2: Port Townsend to Friday
Harbor on San Juan Island
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
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
and the problem was eventually traced to a loose coolant drain plug
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
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
to anchor in a very crowded harbor. Fired up the barbie and had brats
and corn for dinner.
3: Friday Harbor to Massacre Bay
on Orcas Island
in to Friday Harbor to get coffee and breakfast, then walked around the
Up-anchored at noon and
motored across the San Juan Channel, then raised the sails with 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
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.
4: Massacre Bay to Echo Bay
on Sucia Island
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) and Captain '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
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.
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!
5: Sucia Island
first non-sailing day, and we woke up
to rain and fog. Was relaxing sleeping in with the sound of the rain
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.
6: Echo Bay to Jones Island
Sucia at 9:30am under heavy fog.
We used the radar/gps overlay on the chartplotter so we could
charts with gps and obstacles with radar at the same time. Captain 'I hate
was disappointed we
couldn't sail as we motored all the way to Jones Island.
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.
7: Jones Island to Roche
Harbor on San Juan Island
up the crab trap to find a
12-arm starfish inside but no crabs. It took a while to free him from the
trap. Motored out of
and headed towards Boundary Pass. Set the sails after the wind picked
up an hour later and 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.
in much need
a bloody mary from the Madrona Bar &
After 6 days of "roughing it" on islands like Orcas, Sucia and Jones,
a welcome change to be at a resort harbor. We took advantage
restaurants and reprovisioned at the grocery store. In the evening we
watched Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" at a live outdoor
Before going to bed, Captain 'the
deadliest catch' paddled the
kayak about 1/2 mile in the dark to
place the crab trap.
8: Roche Harbor to Reid
Harbor on Stuart Island
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
and pulled it aboard. The catch was 1 female undersized crab
released. The wind picked up to 10-15 knots so we sailed for about 3
hours, circumnavigating Stuart Island! We dropped the sails to motor
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
of 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.
9: Reid Harbor to Kingston
at 9:30am and motored to
the spot where the crab trap was placed. Was excited to see 10 crabs
but 9 were female! We decided to keep the 1 male and use him for an
appetizer. Had light winds
and favorable currents, so we sailed most of
Haro Strait, between San Juan Island and Vancouver Island.
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.
10: Kingston to Lake Union
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
and arrived at our Lake Union moorage at 6pm.