Early Summer Cruise – San Juan and Gulf Islands

"The ocean has always been a salve to my soul…the best thing for a cut or abrasion was to go swimming in salt water. Later down the road of life, I made the discovery that salt water was also good for the mental abrasions one inevitably acquires on land."

– Jimmy Buffett

Note:  I've gotten a little behind on posting my log entries… catching up!
Tuesday, June 22

Cap Sante to Reid Harbor (Stuart Island)

Distance 29 nm 

Moorage: State Park Float  

Nice afternoon run to meet up with “Ghost”, “Teaghlach”, “Dem Bones”, and “Richie Buoy” on the State Park float at Reid Harbor. 

From Summer cruising 2010

After arriving, I found that my dinghy outboard didn’t want to run, and after some tinkering, it continued to do so… Everyone retreated from the cool evening and the party continued on “Dem Bones”, where I was sitting in the salon with the rest of the mob.  I thought I heard a faint splash through the conversation, and happened to look out the back doors to see Jenny’s (my twelve-year-old black lab) grey face disappearing over the edge of the swimstep.  I jumped up and found her dog paddling between the boat and dock!  I grabbed her by her collar and hoisted her onto the dock where she stood soaking wet and tail wagging.  She’s no beginner at falling in the water, but the scary part about this episode is it nearly went unnoticed.  I’m certainly glad I noticed her, otherwise Reid Harbor wouldn’t be a very fun place anymore… 


Wednesday, June 23 

Reid Harbor to Roche Harbor

Moorage:  Roche Harbor Marina

Short run to Roche Harbor for the 23rd Annual Tollycraft Boating Club Rendezvous.  This year’s theme was “Tolly Fiesta”.  I am the Immediate Past Commodore of the club, so I arrived early with the rest of the bridge as well as some early birds to prepare for the weekend. 

The rendezvous was a huge success- The weather was great, the atmosphere festive.  We even had a mariachi band play during Saturday’s happy hour and dinghy parade. 

After getting my dinghy outboard after rebuilding the carburetor, I enjoyed some nice sunset/ moonlight dinghy rides to Garrison Bay and back.  I am very impressed with the new dinghy and it’s performance. 


Roche Harbor DInghy Dock


Sunday, June 27 

Roche Harbor to Reid Harbor 

Moorage:  Anchored 

Short, slow run back to Reid Harbor.  Rafted with Ghost and Teaghlach anchored in the bay.  Brett, Bob and I took a sunset dinghy cruise out Johns Pass and into Boundary Pass- the water was smooth as glass and the sunset possibly one of the most breathtaking I have ever seen.


Monday, June 28 

Reid Harbor to Ganges 

Distance: 63.2 nm to date 

Moorage:  Ganges Marina 

Slow run (1400-1500 RPM, 7-8 knots) to Bedwell Harbor to clear customs.  We were a bit delayed at the customs dock, as Ghost received a thorough search by Canadian Customs.  

Ganges is a great little town, home to many free spirits.  Ganges has become one of my favorite spots to visit- a great grocery store, hardware store, liquor store, and great places to grab a bite to eat.  I’ll be back later this summer…  


Tuesday, June 29 

Ganges to Tod Inlet 

Distance: 26.8 nm (90.0 nm total) 

Moorage:  Anchored 

Nice cruise to Tod Inlet, situated at the bitter end of Brentwood bay.  A lovely anchorage that feels way more remote than it actually is.  Swinging on the hook, you would think you were miles from anywhere, but a few hundred yards up a trail through the woods is a bus stop and the gates to Buchart Gardens.  

 Rafted to Ghost, anchored in the inlet, with Teaghlach on her own hook.  A nice, relaxing couple of days.  A few rain showers seemed to make it even easier to just take it easy on board… 


Volunteer park hosts (B.C. Parks), Warren and Donna from “Auntumn Mist” invited us over for cocktails and fresh-caught prawns.  The prawns and the hospitality were both delightful. 


Thursday, July 1 

Tod Inlet to Friday Harbor 

Distance: 38 nm (128 nm total) 

Moorage:  Port of Friday Harbor 

Departed Tod Inlet  in rain under cloudy skies.  The breeze was light and the water flat for a nice run.  Spied Orca whales in Boundary Pass, surrounded by whale watching boats.  I kept my distance and snapped a few photos. 

Cleared US Customs at Roche Harbor.  Was scolded by a cranky Customs agent for not having Jenny’s vaccination records on board.  I’ve never been asked in all the times I have crossed, so I simply forgot…  After stomping around the boat for a few minutes and confiscating some limes I had on board, she let Jenny and I go on our way. 

Continued to Friday Harbor, where I got a slip for the night and an opportunity to plug in to power to put a good charge to the batteries and take a much needed shower.  I spend a fair amount of time at Friday Harbor, which feels like a home away from home… 


Friday, July 2  

Friday Harbor to West Sound, Orcas Island 

Distance: 8.5 nm (136.5 nm total) 

Moorage:  Orcas Island Reciprocal Dock 

Short run to West Sound via Wasp Passage.  Docked at OIYC dock with Briar Patch. 

Although a bit exposed to wind and boat traffic, this is a nice spot- quiet and low-key with nice shower facilities. 


Saturday, July 3 

West Sound to Deer Harbor 

Moorage:  Anchored 

Slow cruise to Deer Harbor, where I rafted to Briar Patch, anchored in the harbor just off the marina.  Met up with marina neighbors on “Wind Walker”, who were staying at the dock.  This is a great anchorage, especially when the docks are crowded for the holiday.  It’s nice to be able to retreat to the quiet of the boat swinging on the hook. 

Was joined by my co-worker, Chris and his dad, Mike for fireworks.  Deer Harbor puts on a great display. 


Sunday, July 4 

Deer Harbor to Friday Harbor 

Moorage:  Anchored 

Arrived at crowded Friday Harbor just as a fresh breeze kicked up.  Anchored and rafted to “Briar Patch” on the west side of the Brown Island cable crossing.  Went to shore and enjoyed a great dinner at the San Juan Island Yacht Club.  Friday Harbor is a festive place on the 4th, with a lot going on. 

Returned to the boats before the fireworks to find the wind had shifted about 180 degrees, putting us very close to a buoy, so we separated, pulled anchor and re-set just east of the cable crossing.  Anchoring in the middle of a fireworks display is interesting… 

The next morning, “Briar Patch” and crew headed for home, so I idled over to the marina and got a slip.  It was a nice, lazy day at the dock. 


Tuesday, July 6 

Friday Harbor to Echo Bay, Sucia 

Moorage:  State Park buoy 

Beautiful run to Sucia- arrived to find Fossil Bay full to the gills with all buoys and docks full and several boats anchored.  I considered dropping the hook, but things were getting pretty tight, so I elected to motor over to Echo Bay.  Echo Bay was also pretty full, with all buoys taken.  I tied to the linear moorage system, which also filled up by nightfall.  A nice breeze was blowing through the bay, which kept things comfortable. 


The next morning as boats started to move out, I idled over to a mooring buoy for a change of scenery and a little more solitude.  I love swinging on the hook or a buoy…  I had a great time cruising around in the dinghy and hiking around on shore.  Sucia is a great place to photograph. 






Thursday, July 8 

Echo Bay to Cap Sante – returning home. 

Not being in a hurry to get home, I cruised all the way at displacement speed of 7 knots or so.  The weather was perfect and the water nice for a great ending to a wonderful trip.  

Life is good… 



Trip Summary: 

192.7 Nautical Miles 

28.5 Engine Hours 




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