Seattle – Miss You Already!

Seattle – Miss You Already!

As we approached the final weeks of our PNW cruising adventure, I asked Lisa if there was one place she wanted to visit before our trip came to a close. Unsurprisingly she said, “Downtown Seattle of course.” That's why we positioned ourselves at the Bainbridge Island anchorage for two nights before we made the short 8-mile trip across Puget Sound into Elliott Bay and finally to the Port of Seattle's Bell Harbor Marina. The reason we like docking in downtown Seattle is that, as visiting boaters, everything we could possible need is with 10 blocks or so of the marina,…

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Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island sits north and west of downtown Seattle – Eagle Harbor was our choice for one night on the hook. On a clear day, you can plainly see Seattle’s skyline eight miles to the east across Puget Sound. Eagle Harbor is home to the City of Bainbridge Island, which can be a little confusing. Kind of like New York, New York but in this case it’s Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island! After finding a suitable spot to anchor, we dinghied to the city dock so we could explore town, this being our first visit by boat. We were fortunate in…

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Torpedo Town USA – Keyport, WA

Torpedo Town USA – Keyport, WA

After doing some research of the Liberty Bay area, for our planned stop in Poulsbo, I stumbled across information on the little town of Keyport, WA., nicknamed "Torpedo Town USA. Its major tourist facility, the Naval Undersea Museum is located at the a small U.S. Navy depot, Torpedo Research and Testing Facility, tasked with ranging and repairing torpedoes for the U.S. Navy and allies. The museum features exhibits and displays on undersea technology, including the Trieste II, which descended to 20,000 ft (6,100 m). After pulling anchor in Poulsbo, we arrived at Keyport's free town dock, in a matter of…

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A Taste Of Scandinavia In Poulsbo, WA

A Taste of Scandinavia in Poulsbo, WA

Poulsbo, sitting at the edge of Liberty Bay, is a delightful, highly Scandinavian influenced, community. This quaint, picturesque, little town has a strong Norwegian heritage. Its founders came from Norway via Michigan and Minnesota to settle in a landscape that was similar to their own snow peaked mountains and fjords. Other Scandinavian immigrants soon followed. On a prior visit to Poulsbo, we had docked at the city marina, so this time we decided to anchor out in the protective confines of the bay and dinghy into town for a our on shore leave. We arrived late afternoon, so we hung out…

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Port Townsend Recommendation

Port Townsend Recommendation

Over the years people have highly recommended a visit to Port Townsend, WA, but, for whatever reason, we have never made the stop. During our trip out west this year, we put Port Townsend on our planned route as we headed south from the San Juans toward Puget Sound. Port Townsend sits at the northeast point of the Olympic peninsula where Strait of Juan De Fuca and Admiralty Inlet meet. In the late 1800s Port Townsend was intended to become the main city in the Puget Sound area, so a great deal of new buildings and Victorian houses were built.…

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Transiting Desolation Pass In A Pocket Of Fog

Transiting Desolation Pass in a Pocket of Fog

After spending a pleasant night on the hook at Hope Island, we woke to a blanket of fog so thick, we could hardly see more then 150 feet in any direction. We waited and waited until finally, close to our planned departure time, the fog began to lift a little. We pulled anchor, turned on our radar and headed towards Deception Pass. A safe trip through Deception Pass needs to done at slack tide. We needed to be positioned at the pass for the optimal tidal event. The fog continued to lift as we made our way to the pass,…

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Catching A Mooring Ball At Hope Island

Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Leaving the dock at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, I saw our fuel gage flashing a bright red “low fuel” light, setting my mind into a bit of a panic. Idling to the fuel dock, I was hoping we’d make it before running completely out. how embarrassing would that have been, I haven't run out of fuel since I was in High School. The good news is we made it to the fuel dock without conking out in the harbor. Confidently fueled up, we headed through LaConner and up into Skagit Bay, where we caught a mooring ball off Hope…

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2013 Ranger Tugs / Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

2013 Ranger Tugs / Cutwater Rendezvous – Anacortes, WA

One of the ancillary benefits of boating are the many social opportunities present. Everywhere we anchor or dock we'll either run into old friends or we'll end up meeting some very interesting people. We can’t think of a better place to do this than at the annual Ranger Tug/Cutwater 2013 Rendezvous, held this year at Cap Santé Marina in Anacortes, WA. Because we’d been cruising for an extended period of time, in British Columbia, we decided to arrive a few days early so we could get caught up on the usual boat chores, which included a thorough cleaning of the…

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Last Stop In The San Juans – Spencers Spit

Last Stop in the San Juans – Spencers Spit

Spencer Spit, situated on the eastern side of Lopez Island in the San Juan Island chain, is a Washington State Marine Park, which means the area has mooring buoys, beach campsites, and hiking. We’ve never anchored or moored here, so we choose this spot as our days end destination, after we departed our yacht club friends at Garrison Bay. What’s nice about Spencer Spit is that one can choose which side of the spit to anchor or catch a mooring ball on, depending on the expected wind direction. We had no concerns about wind that day and spent a calm…

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Grand Traverse Yacht Club Contingent Overtakes Garrison Bay – San Juan Islands, WA

Grand Traverse Yacht Club Contingent Overtakes Garrison Bay – San Juan Islands, WA

We left Roche Harbor to go whale watching in Haro Strait, the water was glassy smooth. It would be the last chance for a whale sighting this trip to the PNW – unfortunately it was not meant to be, but we had fun looking. Our next stop was Garrison Bay and a long-planned rendezvous, by boat, with fellow members of Grand Traverse Yacht Club, our boating club in Michigan. Richard and Diane, Steve and Deb, Jim and Geri, Fred and Lisa and Mike and Carol had all flown out to the PNW to charter two sailboats to cruise the San…

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Roche Harbor – A Boating Mecca

Roche Harbor – A Boating Mecca

In 1845, the quaint waterside marine village of Roche Harbor, on San Juan Island, started out as a trading post for the Hudson Bay Company. By 1857 both the United States and Britain were claiming the San Juan Islands as their territories, based on a dispute over the western border of the islands. The dispute was settled in 1872 when an arbitration was rendered in favor of the United States. In 1881 the Scurr brothers bought Roche Harbor and started mining the rich limestone deposits, turning the harbor area into a mining town of 800 people. By 1956 the limestone…

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Hiking On Sucia Island To See Caves, Rock Formations And Beautiful Pacific Madrona Trees

Hiking on Sucia Island to See Caves, Rock Formations and Beautiful Pacific Madrona Trees

Leaving Friday Harbor behind us we cruised to Sucia Island, a Washington State Park sitting in the San Juan Islands at the base of Strait of Georgia, only 3.5 miles from the Canadian border. Our 16-mile ride, from Friday Harbor, was short and uneventful, however during the last few miles we had no leeward protection from the southeast and the open waters of Rosario Strait, so it was a little lumpy. Taking it slow and steady we made it into the well-protected cove of Shallow Bay, where we happily found a mooring ball available; our plan was to spend a…

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Reunion In Friday Harbor With Willy’s Tug And Circle T

Reunion in Friday Harbor with Willy’s Tug and Circle T

Friday Harbor is a picturesque town and the largest small town in the San Juan Islands; you could say it's the hub of commerce for the islands. This was our third time staying in the harbor. It has been said that the boating community is a small world, our slip just happened to be right next to Herb and Willy from Willy’s Tug, Tim and June, on Circle T, from California were also docked nearby. Both are Ranger Tug owners we know from our cruising time in the PNW – most recently when we all joined the Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation…

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Toodle-oo Canada

Toodle-oo Canada

We left Vancouver Island in our wake as we bid Canada goodbye, with our bow now pointed toward Haro Straight, we began to feel the pull of our country drawing us back to familiar shores after the close of a long-planned boating adventure. It was late in the day when we arrived back into home waters, so after checking in with customs at Friday Harbor, we idled back out and across the San Juan Channel to anchor overnight in the protected confines of Parks Bay, off Shaw Island. It’s our cruising philosophy, when paying for overnight dockage, to strive to…

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Bear Sighting In Chemainus, Vancouver Island, Canada

Bear Sighting in Chemainus, Vancouver Island, Canada

Always on the lookout for something new to experience, we decided to visit Chemainus on our return trip south, through the Gulf Islands, on our way back to the U.S. The name, Chemainus, originates from the native shaman and prophet “Tsa-meeun-is,” which stands for Broken Chest. Legend goes that the man survived a massive wound to his chest and then became a powerful leader, his people took his name to identify their community, Chemainus First Nation. Later founded as a logging town, in 1858, the town is now famous for 39 beautiful painted murals that grace the downtown buildings depicting the town’s…

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Into The Light… Jedediah Island

Into the Light… Jedediah Island

The closer we got to Jedediah Island the calmer the waters and our nerves became. As we sliced through the channel, with the powerful push of following seas behind us, we traveled between Jedediah and Bull Islands (both islands are protected by two larger islands, Texada and Lasqueti), making our way to the leeward side of all the turbulence in the straits. Almost magically the wave activity became a non-issue. We immediately found a pint sized, well-protected, cove suitable to drop anchor, a boat was just leaving so we hovered out a bit until they were off and the anchorage…

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The Storm

The Storm

Leaving the calm of Pender Harbour behind us, we headed out toward the Malaspina Straight, pointed southwest towards the Gulf Islands. We were aware of the storm that was to arrive later in the day and, based on the weather reports, we thought if we left early enough in the morning we’d miss the high winds, as it’s only about 36 miles across to Nanaimo, on Vancouver island, our planned, end of the day, destination. No such luck! Not long after we left the calmness of the protected harbor, the waves we encountered were steadily increasing in height and uncomfortableness.…

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Pender Harbour… Calm Before The Storm

Pender Harbour… Calm Before the Storm

We timed our departure from Chatterbox Falls to catch the first slack tide at Malibu Rapids; once back into Jervis Inlet we enjoyed a leisurely cruise, retracing the 40-mile route as we headed for our end of day destination, Pender Harbour. A lot of the Canadian boaters we met during our Desolation Sound cruise this summer recommended a stay at Pender Harbour, a natural harbor just off of the Strait of Georgia. The harbor has a number of marinas and a few good anchorages to choose from along with a little town, grocery store and several restaurants close by. By the…

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Leaving Chatterbox Falls, Princess Louisa And Jervis Inlets Behind

Leaving Chatterbox Falls, Princess Louisa and Jervis Inlets Behind

And then it was time to leave, we could have stayed at Chatterbox Falls at least a week and not gotten bored of our surroundings, the other boaters we'd yet to meet or the indescribable energy of, what Jim calls the, "Inner Sanctum." Taking advantage of a picture perfect day for a photo op with falls in background. Back out in Jervis Inlet, we had a clear view of the gorgeous snow-capped mountains.

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Last Night At Chatterbox Falls

Last Night at Chatterbox Falls

With Some Absolute, a Little Tonic and Santana to Light the Way By our third night on the dock we were really starting to feel at home as we helped some boaters leave the dock and others tie up. This exchange of boats happens daily at Chatterbox Falls. Seaplanes were coming and going and after the second slack tide of the day, the dock was full again. How could we not enjoy our time at the falls with Absolute and Tonic sharing the dock with us along with a little Santana to ease nature's daily ritual as she transformed the day's blue…

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Dinghy Ride To Malibu Club For Ice Cream

Dinghy Ride to Malibu Club for Ice Cream

One of the things we had come to enjoy while cruising in the Pacific Northwest this year was our time exploring away from the boat by dinghy. We would try to get as much information about where to beach our dinghy so that could do a nice hike and maybe encounter a freshwater lake or woodsy waterfall. On our last full day at Chatterbox Falls we decided to spend the day taking a dinghy ride from the dock at the falls all the way back to Malibu Rapids (5 miles) to visit the Malibu Club, a summer camp for high…

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Dinghy Ride Away From Shore For Better Vantage Point Of The Falls

Dinghy Ride Away from Shore for Better Vantage Point of the Falls

While out exploring by dinghy at high tide, we idled in as close to the falls as we dared, waterfall mist soaking us as we floated over the seabed we had earlier in the day been walking on. We were also able to get a better vantage point of the waterfall in it's entirety as we got farther away from the dock. For those so inclined anchoring in front of the falls is possible, providing the best viewing of the falls. The falls (above) were created by the heavy rains of late. If you're interested in some scenic property, there's a…

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Chatterbox Falls… Hear It Roar!

Chatterbox Falls… Hear it Roar!

After our slow cruise through the magnificent granite-walled gorge, we could finally make out Chatterbox Falls roaring at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet. The fall is part of the Loquilts River, which empties into the inlet.  It had been raining for several days before our arrival to Princess Louisa Inlet and although Chatterbox Falls flows all of the time (along with 60 or so others during the spring season due to the sun melting the snow-pack high on top of the mountains) the rain produced many smaller waterfalls and they looked like shiny ribbons on the gorge walls, they…

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Transiting Malibu Rapids To Gain Access To Princess Louisa Inlet And Chatterbox Falls

Transiting Malibu Rapids to Gain Access to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls

In order to gain access to the inner sanctum of Princess Louisa Inlet and subsequently Chatterbox Falls, you first have to negotiate the entrance to the inlet, Malibu Rapids. (This is also where the Malibu Club sits promptly on top of the big boulders at the entrance to the inlet.) Although it is unwise to transit the rapids any other time but slack tide – when the current changes direction and the condition in between when the tide stops going out and before it starts coming in, or vice versa, it’s at this point that the current is minimal and,…

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Positioning Ourselves At Hardy Island For The Run Up To Chatterbox Falls

Positioning Ourselves at Hardy Island for the Run Up to Chatterbox Falls

We were somewhat protected by Texada Island as we cruised 21 miles southeast from Powell River to Hardy Island, located at the base of Jervis Inlet, for our eventual cruise up to Princess Louisa Inlet, Malibu Rapids and finally Chatterbox Falls. Entering Blind Bay we found calm waters ideal for anchoring in a narrow, well protected, cove within Hardy Island Marine Park. As we were scouting for a spot to drop our hook we came across a small black bear strolling by the waters edge. The bear was just as startled as we were and immediately hightailed it up the…

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Wet And Bumpy Ride To Powell River

Wet and Bumpy Ride to Powell River

We had strong, guess you could almost say instinctual, reservations about leaving Lund the next day, it was rainy and quite windy, so we waited a bit to see how the rain and wind conditions would develop. Our intent was to cruise to Hardy Island to anchor out for the night. From the protection of the marina in Lund, we noticed several boats heading south so we decided to give it a try ourselves, thinking we could always turn back if it was undoable. At first, conditions were acceptable, but, as this scenario often seems to goes, it quickly deteriorated…

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Leaving Desolation Sound For The Village Of Lund, British Columbia

Leaving Desolation Sound for the Village of Lund, British Columbia

 Entering the Sunshine Coast... After two glorious weeks of picture perfect boating weather and sensory overload during our exploration of Canada’s Desolation Sound, the time had come to start working our way south/southeast. We had a calm but overcast day to exit Desolation sound from our anchorage in Roscoe Bay. Up next, was Jervis and Princess Louisa Inlets and the much talked about Chatterbox Falls, but first we had to explore a few of the little fishing villages along British Columbia's "Sunshine Coast." Our first stop was Lund (below), a busy, picturesque, seaside village, 120km north of Vancover, only eight…

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Seeking Crystal Clear Water of Black Lake

One of the activities we came to enjoy while cruising Desolation Sound was hiking to the many inland, fresh water, lakes. Black Lake was one such lake located not far from our anchorage in Roscoe Cove. After a short dinghy ride it was easily accessed by a fairly short woodsy old logging trail that continued along the lake for awhile before heading up a big hill. Lush vegetation and huge ferns surrounded us as we explored the trail further up the hill. With the big trees and lush vegetation we felt like we had been plopped down in the middle…

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Wrapping Up Our Desolation Sound Cruise In Beautiful Roscoe Bay

Wrapping Up Our Desolation Sound Cruise in Beautiful Roscoe Bay

We saved the last two days of our Desolation Sound cruise for Roscoe Bay. Once inside the narrow entrance to the inner cove (which guide books state is best navigated on a rising tide), we took our time to slowly cruise the anchorage (photo-below), we wanted to find the perfect spot before we dropped anchor and stern tied to shore. There was plenty of room available, so we could be choosy about our selection which was located all the way up into the bay. Surrounded by pine trees and high rock bluffs, the cove offered, not only a picture perfect…

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