Watmough Bay, Lopez Island


Tuesday, April 2
After a weekend of beautiful spring weather, spent at work in it’s entirety, I scanned the forecast for the the next few days when I have my days off. Looks pretty good – I see the little cartoon sun and the cartoon cloud, but no cartoon rain. Marine forecast for the San Juans shows no real wind. Although I always have a long list of things I should be doing around the house, what’s the rush? The only one that I will really face punishment for its neglect is the lawn. It’s spring, and it’s growing like a weed, which coincidentally is what it is greatly comprised of. I powered through the lawn, threw some clothes in a bag, gathered some food from the fridge, and after a couple of quick stops in town, I was aboard and ready for an afternoon shove off.

I had current on my tail running out Guemes Channel, and with hardly a breath of wind, Rosario Strait flat as a millpond. I watched ships coming up Rosario by AIS, so I planned my route to stay out of their way for a comfortable crossing at around 6.5 knots, heading for Watmough Bay.


This was my first time visiting Watmough Bay, which lies on the southeast corner of Lopez Island. It’s a narrow bay with a rock cliff on the north side, dramatically rising to 470 feet in elevation. The south side is lined with evergreens and bitter end of the bay is a lovely beach of sand and gravel with some huge boulders where the beach meets the rock wall.

Anchorage was easy in about 12 feet of depth on a mud bottom, where the Bruce Anchor set with authority. Mine was the only boat in the bay, and aside from some families visiting the beach by land, I had the place to myself. I fired up the grill and made some dinner.



The bay was quiet and peaceful. I played some guitar and worked from my Complete Norwegian: Teach Yourself book before turning in for the night.

Wednesday, April 3
When I got up the next morning the sun was shining. I got up and began the day with some morning coffee and breakfast.


I hopped in the dinghy and idled around the bay, which I shared with several pair of nesting Canada Geese.


The beach is very nice, and I bet a great swimming spot in the summer. I beached the dinghy and set out for a hike.


After checking out a trail map, I made my way up a trail leading to the top of Chadwick Hill, the rock which makes up the bay’s northern edge. The “trail” was not much of a trail, rather a scramble up a steep, rocky ravine that I wouldn’t consider an exaggeration to describe as dangerous. After climbing most of the way to the top, there was an intersection with a more obvious, safer trail, which was my route down. Distance-wise it’s not very far- maybe a mile – but a gain of 470 feet is a leg burner. Once at the top of the ridge, the views were amazing.



It was a beautiful spring afternoon, and I just had to pause a while and sit on the beach to enjoy it a while.

Back on the boat, I had a stressful afternoon of napping, more guitar and Norwegian practice, and re-programming the preset radio stations in the stereo…

A little bit of a breeze kicked up out of the northeast. This would not be the place to hide out in a blow from that direction, and I suspect it is not as protected from the south as it would appear on a chart.

Thursday, April 4
Morning saw overcast skies and a few sprinkles of rain. I pulled anchor, headed for home. Another flat crossing of Rosario Strait. Sprinkles ganged up and became rain the closer I got to Anacortes. It was still a nice run home.


Another great cruise…

Trip total: 24.7 Nautical Miles
View my track from this cruise.

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5 Responses to Watmough Bay, Lopez Island

  1. Bart N. Bartelme says:

    Thank you for your information, we plan on checking the bay out next weekend.
    Bart N. Bartelme

  2. Jolly Mon says:

    Enjoy! Since I wrote that piece, some mooring buoys (free) have been installed. There is still plenty of room to anchor if they are occupied, though.

  3. Crystal Mervyn says:

    Amazing! Was there an outhouse by the beach?

  4. Jolly Mon says:

    As I recall, the outhouse was a short walk from the beach.

  5. Crystal says:

    Thank You! Is there a way to remove my last name from my post?