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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Positioning Ourselves In Prevost Harbor Off Stuart Island

Positioning Ourselves In Prevost Harbor Off Stuart Island

From Anacortes we headed straight to the northern end of the San Juan Islands to spend one night on the hook in Prevost Harbor before we checked in at customs in Bedwell Harbor, British Columbia. Stuart Island was just south of  Boundary Pass and Bedwell Harbor and just short of a heavy fog bank that just seemed to hang around the western edge of Stuart Island. As we arrived in the harbor, we immediately spotted this Fathom 40 (below - just like our previous boat, same color too), we cruised by to say hi to the owners, thought maybe we'd know them,…

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Preparing, Packing And Planning…

Preparing, Packing and Planning…

After spending this past winter holed up at home in northern Michigan remodeling our kitchen, we feel we're more than ready for some new cruising adventure, so we are preparing, planning and packing to head west soon to begin another fun boating season. First we'll visit the Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River in Northeast Utah/Southern Wyoming, then we'll continue on to Puget Sound in Washington State, there we'll put in at Anacortes and cruise north into Canada's Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and more. Check back often, the fun is soon to start.

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Unusual Encounters

Unusual Encounters

Not long after we set the hook for a peaceful night at anchor in Oak Bay along comes this racing skull with mostly women aboard. I think we provided some amusement as they had a ton of questions about the "cute tug boat." We knew they were a friendly and happy group when they started to inquire about what sort of alcoholic beverage we might provide them for happy hour. Apparently they were on a end of class, fun, outing and were not being too serious about practicing. You wouldn't normally think you'd run into many social opportunities when anchored…

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Island Blackberry Pie For Lunch With Friends On Lopez Island, San Juan Island, Washington

Island Blackberry Pie for Lunch with Friends on Lopez Island, San Juan Island, Washington

Nothing can be sweeter than a slice of homemade island blackberry pie, unless it's being able to connect with good friends who live on Lopez Island. When we were making plans to revisit the PNW again this year we immediately let our friends Dave and Judy know we were coming. After several calls to negotiate where and when we'd all be able to meet while we were in the San Juans it all miraculously came together on Monday. We would leave Roche Harbor mid-morning and head right to Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island. We put something into the crockpot in…

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A Big Welcome To Roche Harbor

A Big Welcome to Roche Harbor

Succcess! After two nights on anchor in Garrison Bay we called Roche Harbor Marina early Sunday morning and were put on the waiting list. We only waited a half hour or so before they called us in. The busy harbor was in stark contrast to our previous night's surroundings. With the holiday weekend in full swing we were pretty quick to pick up on the electric, party atmosphere. As were were coming down the fairway, we spotted another Ranger Tug just a few slips down from where we soon docked. We had noticed their dinghy tied to the back of…

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Customer Appreciation Party

Customer Appreciation Party

On our way to the Roche Harbor Customer Appreciation festivities. Apparently, if you are in Roche Harbor on this special day you are invited to this amazing party. Your choice of many fine wines, tasty seafood sandwiches and live band were the highlights of this party, all put on to thank the community, mostly boaters, for visiting Roche Harbor. We were only minutes tied up at dock before marina personnel came to out boat to make sure we knew about the party. What a way to get in the party mood and join all the other boaters who had already…

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Peaceful Nights – Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

Peaceful Nights – Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

We left Friday Harbor this morning after a quick walk through town. We wanted to get into Roche Harbor today but knew it would be full for the Labor Day holiday weekend, so Jim looked up anchorages in this area on Active Captain and came up with Garrison Bay as a good choice since it is just around the corner from Roche Harbor – we could hang out here for a day or two and try to secure a slip at the marina on Sunday or Monday when the holiday traffic slows down a bit. Just minutes after anchoring, way…

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Friday… In Friday Harbor

Friday… in Friday Harbor

On our way into the San Juan Islands, we cruised by Olga, on Orca Island. So many people had recommended this little village as a great place to stop. If we have time we might return here and stay a night, but right now we're headed to one of our favorite ports in the San Juan's, Friday Harbor. Last time we were here, three years ago, it was winter but as I remember not much colder than it was today. We arrived here just before the Labor Day weekend and we find a much busier harbor with only a few…

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