Ahhh, Sucia…

20130522-192300.jpgThis was one of those weekends that was on the radar for a while as a possible boating weekend. This was Victoria Day, a long weekend for Canadian friends and rumor had it a few of them were planning to head for Sucia.

I had a few occasions that required celebration before heading out on the boat.

First was Friday, which was May 17, or Syttende Mai, the celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day – commemorating Norway’s Independence from Sweden in 1814. For the last few years, my friend of Norwegian stock, Dave, and I have taken in the festivities in Ballard and celebrated our Norsk heritage. To all of my Norwegian friends and family I say, Gratulerer med dagen.

Saturday was a surprise birthday party for Uncle Oly. He turned 70, and a nice surprise party was thrown. It was nice to catch up with cousins I don’t see enough. After that, another birthday party for my friend, Lisa. After two dinners I waddled home to my bed, hoping to be up and moving early.

Sunday, May 19

I was up early – earlier, in fact than I would have been on a normal day. I got up, tossed some clothes in a bag, and was out the door in short order. A quick stop at the grocery store and I was on the boat. Shortly after opening, I was at the fuel dock, topped off the tanks, and I was under way.

The skies were overcast, but the water calm when I left Anacortes. As I rounded Guemes Island, I encountered a little chop. After running a while at planing speed, I was loping along at around six knots, autopilot doing the work of steering the boat.

Just off Sinclair Island, a hundred yards or so off my bow I saw what looked like a whale spout and a dorsal fin. I kept my eyes open, and a few minutes later a repeat – multiple humpback whales. I watched them surface every few minutes, but was never quick enough with the camera.

As I continued toward Sucia, the chop continued to build as swells rolled down from Georgia Strait creating two-foot seas on the nose. The autopilot performed nicely, driving the boat into the slop and the ride was comfortable.

When I arrived at Fossil Bay, there was room at the dock where I joined Enough Time, JaCarol, Breakaway, Tolly Roger, and Adagio. The latter three are Canadian friends spending their long weekend at Sucia. I’m the latecomer here, but they allowed to join the fun. JaCarol had to leave shortly after I arrived, despite Carol’s potential vision problem of just not seeing herself going to work the next day. Playing hooky just wasn’t possible, so we waved goodbye as they headed for home.

It was a relaxing afternoon on the dock, as the skies cleared and the warm sun shined. I had intended to purchase a State Parks moorage pass, and was happy to meet up with the ranger who sold me one on the spot. I had heard before that buying the pass from the rangers at a specific park, rather than online, benefits the park system of that area as the sale of the pass shows up as revenue for that park. The ranger confirmed that, and was happy to sell me the pass. If you spend seven nights on a dock during the life of the annual pass, it will pay for itself. Additionally, the convenience of not having to carry cash or check is added value.


Fossil Bay is known as a great spot to take in a sunset, and this evening we were treated to a beauty. Several of us walked over to toast the evening colors.




It was a beautiful evening for a bonfire.


Monday, May 20
It felt good to sleep in a while. After some breakfast and a little walk on the beach, I saw the others off as they headed for home. I had another day before I needed to be back, so I decided to go see about grabbing a buoy at Patos Island. I’ve never stayed there before, so I was hoping I would have the advantage of it being a week day early in the season and I would be able to get a buoy.


It was a flat ride over to Patos, which is only a few miles from Sucia. As I entered Active Cove, I saw that both buoys were occupied. As I motored past, the skipper of a sailboat at the first buoy indicated they would be leaving soon if I wanted to stand by, while the skipper of the other boat hollered from the beach that I was welcome to raft off his boat. I elected to just mill around and wait. While waiting, I decided to check the updated NOAA forecast. The forecast had upgraded its wind prediction to a 15-25 knot westerly later; wouldn’t make for a restful night. Perhaps another spot might be better.

I decided to leave Patos behind, and motored back to Sucia; this time tying to a buoy in Echo Bay. I was one four boats in the bay. I relaxed on board, listening to some good music, and accidentally took a nap. Later on in the afternoon, I dropped the dinghy and went to shore for a hike.


Sucia offers great hiking, and one of my favorite hikes is the trail to Ewing Cove. As I walked along, I came upon a family of Canada Geese, so I paused to watch them a while.

I shared the trail with the goose family for quite some time. I really would have liked to have gotten past them to continue my hike, but I received a zealous Hissssss whenever I got too close, so I kept my distance.


Back on the boat after a nice hike, I made some dinner. Throughout the evening clouds rolled in and the winds picked up. By the time I went to bed, it was really blowing and the cabin windows rattled with the gusts. After dark I could see the anchor lights of the other boats dancing across the bay. I think my prediction of a rocky night at Patos would have come true. Wanting a good night’s sleep, I made a good decision.

Tuesday, May 21
Late in the night it began to rain, and I awoke to the sound of raindrops on the cabin top. The wind had shut off and low clouds laid over the bay. It was really quite pleasant, and there is something enjoyable about waking up to mornings like this (every once in a while). When the time felt right, I untied and slowly made my way toward home. I was inside, warm and dry, and enjoying the ride.


Tip total: 59.1 Nautical Miles
View my track from this trip.

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2 Responses to Ahhh, Sucia…

  1. Deborah says:

    Gorgeous photos, great post. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

  2. behan says:

    I’m officially homesick for the Pacific Northwest! Thanks for sharing your stories and photos. –from Puget Sounders who find themselves in SE Asian waters…