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Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands...

The San Juan islands are a boater's paradise here in the Pacific Northwest. After meeting up with @Matt Derrick, @EphemeralStick, and @CrowTheBard a couple weeks back, I decided to venture back out on my own again and explore some more of the islands. The route I took this time:

sanjuanislandsmap-png.52501_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


sj18-jpg.52520_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}

My best friend and first mate, helping me navigate!

All throughout the San Juans and Puget Sound there is what is known as the Cascadia Marine Trail, which is a saltwater "trail" leading to various points of interests, marine state parks, and campgrounds....many of which are only accesible by boat. I believe most, if not all, of the campgrounds have mooring balls or docks you can tie up to for a small fee or you can always drop anchor for free. There are tons of of little islands and bays like this to explore:

sj1-jpg.52502_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}

James Island Marine State Park

sj2-jpg.52503_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}

James Island Marine State Park

After spending the night here, I awoke the next morning to the beautfiul sight of a pair of killer whales cruising not far off shore, just before I was about to depart. Adult orcas are around the same size as my little 22 foot sailboat, or slightly bigger....so I couldn't help but recall the story of the Robertson family back in 70s. The family of 5, plus a friend, spent over a month adrift in the Pacific Ocean in their 9 foot dinghy after their sailboat was capsized by a family of killer whales about 200 miles off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. They were eventually rescued after a passing Japanese fishing boat spotted their flare.

sj3-jpg.52504_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


I cruised up the Lopez Sound and spent a night at the sleepy little "town" of Olga before continuing west to spend a night in Blind Bay on Shaw Island. Found a nice little bench atop Blind Island to enjoy a couple beers as I watched the Orcas Island ferry in the channel below and waited for my crab pot to soak for a couple hours.

sj4-jpg.52505_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


Success! I kept the biggest two for dinner..... stuffed my face full of fresh hot crab over toasted garlic bread with melted cheese.

sj5-jpg.52506_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


sj6-jpg.52507_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


sj7-jpg.52508_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


The wind picked up and was howling all night long. I decided to hook up to a mooring ball this night, and although it is rare....they have been known to break free from their anchor. If the mooring ball I was attached to broke, then my boat would be on a straight path for a big reef and I'd awake to my boat slamming into the rocks downwind. I couldn't shake that thought throughout the entire evening, and kept waking up every hour or so.

sj8-jpg.52509_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


Next day I sailed up the East Sound of Orcas Island to the touristy little town of Eastsound to meet up with a friend for a couple days.

sj9-jpg.52510_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}

Looking out at my boat anchored in the bay, from town.

sj10-jpg.52511_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}

'Quit fuckin around dad....let's go sniff around on shore already...'

Continuing on from Eastsound I made my way to Jones Island (an island that is home to a bunch of semi-tame deer), remembering the directions and tips @CrowTheBard had given us on our last journey up the same passage. Navigating a route is a lot easier after you've done it once before, eh Crow?

sj11-jpg.52512_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


Heading up the west coast of Orcas Island the salmon were jumping like crazy all over the place! The last night was spent on Sucia Island, a beautiful but very popular and often crowded place during summers. The name Sucia means dirty in Spanish, or in a nautical sense: "foul". It was named this in the late 1700's due to all the reefs and hidden rocks scattered around the island, that made navigating it dangerous. The island served as a hotspot for smuggling and rum running back in the day. I opted to anchor in Shallow Bay on the west side, as I'd read that it was a great spot to watch sunsets from.

sj12-jpg.52513_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}

Shallow Bay, Sucia Island

The spot definitely did not disappoint!!

sj13-jpg.52514_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


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sj15-jpg.52516_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


The next morning I cruised out of the bay and drifted in the channel for a bit while I cooked breakfast on the boat. Peanut-butter french toast with some improvised "hobo style" pineapple-peach "syrup". Not a bad view to enjoy a breakfast to, but FUCK those big powerboats jetting by with their big FUCKING wake... when half the shit in my boat ends up spilled all over the floor of the cabin... seriously, fuck those guys.

sj16-jpg.52518_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


I had planned to stay out another week or so and cruise around San Juan Island, but my dog ended up getting real sick (from eating some bad food somewhere I suspect). So, I opted instead to head back for civilization where I can take him to the vet in the morning to get some meds and let him rest up in the comfort of a house for a few days.

sj17-jpg.52519_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_{posttime}


If you are thinking of getting a boat, DO IT! There is nothing like fair winds and following seas to put a troubled mind at ease. If you're in the Pacific Northwest, come sail out to the San Juan Islands....drop an anchor, stay for awhile, and have fun exploring this beautiful playground!
 

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Don't travel as much anymore now that I have a place on acreage to garden and work on projects, etc. Also getting out and sailing on my boat around the San Juan Islands when I can. Not too fond of bigger cities longer than a few days....much...
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Coywolf

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Hoping to base out on the Olympic side of the Pudget this winter, and get started on buying a boat to learn/live in.

I'm aiming for a 30+ foot Bluewater boat. What make/model of boat do you have?
 
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iamwhatiam

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Hoping to base out on the Olympic side of the Pudget this winter, and get started on buying a boat to learn/live in.

I'm aiming for a 30+ foot Bluewater boat. What make/model of boat do you have?
Nice. Have you been to Puget Sound before? I just have a Catalina 22 w/ a wing keel. It's not bluewater, but fine for sailing protected waters. I bought it to learn on and hoping to sail it up to Southeast Alaska in spring of 2020. After that, I'll probably be ready to sell it and get a larger boat.
 

Coywolf

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Nice. Have you been to Puget Sound before? I just have a Catalina 22 w/ a wing keel. It's not bluewater, but fine for sailing protected waters. I bought it to learn on and hoping to sail it up to Southeast Alaska in spring of 2020. After that, I'll probably be ready to sell it and get a larger boat.
Ya, I have been up there. I work for the NPS, so I am hoping to get a job at Olympic and base out of PA , Sequim, or Port Townsend area.

Never been sailing before. I still have to buy my van this summer and move up there. Still have a lot to learn
 

Coywolf

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When you get tired of the winters, it is an easy downhill run here to the islands...
This is something I would be interested in after I get much better at sailing. I've heard moorage is damm near impossible to get down there, though. And living on anchor is not advisable?
 

lucidsalt

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This is something I would be interested in after I get much better at sailing. I've heard moorage is damm near impossible to get down there, though. And living on anchor is not advisable?
Hawaii has a bad rep in the cruising scene. And deservedly so for many a reason. Sailing between islands is full on offshore conditions with weather windows absolutely necessary because of how the channels between the islands accelerate the winds. There aren't a lot of natural harbors. These aren't atolls so the anchorages that do exist are open roadstead and rolly. And finally the few good anchorages that exist are mismanaged by the state agencies. They say land locked states on the mainland have more registered boats than Hawaii.

Probably the biggest actual obstacle is that with every harbor you get a time limit of 120 days per calendar year. A permanent mooring is near impossible to get.

The pluses of Hawaii are obvious. It being warm year round means the minimalist anchor out lifestyle is easy. With the 120 day temporary permit you are legally allowed to live on your boat. The cost for anchoring is currently $1.25 per foot per MONTH!!! And remember that 120 days is per calendar year which means you can get 240 days in a row if you arrive at a harbor September 1.
 

CrowTheBard

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Awesome cruise report man! Loved it! So stoked you got out there.

Hope Shadow is doing well.
What do ya got planned next?

Cheers,
Crow
 

CrowTheBard

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View attachment 52582
Back out on the water my friend.... Hope to see you out here soon! Oh, and the rodent is all better now. Back to his old ways View attachment 52583
Awesome man!!!!!
Where are ya? I’m working thru Monday or Tuesday (gotta earn some cash back after that haul out) but then I’m free!

d2611c2f-ae01-48d2-be1b-0466eb6aa8f3-jpeg.52586_Spent the past week sailing around the San Juan Islands..._Boat Punk / Sailing_Squat the Planet_4:43 PM


My buddy caught this shot of Tusitala charging back into the bay sporting her new colors.

Cheers,
Crow
 
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iamwhatiam

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Awesome man!!!!!
Where are ya? I’m working thru Monday or Tuesday (gotta earn some cash back after that haul out) but then I’m free!

View attachment 52586

My buddy caught this shot of Tusitala charging back into the bay sporting her new colors.

Cheers,
Crow
She is looking soooo nice. Good job man! I'm on Sucia tonight, Patos tomorrow and then slowly heading counterclockwise around. Catch me if you can!
 
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iamwhatiam

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Awesome man!!!!!
Where are ya? I’m working thru Monday or Tuesday (gotta earn some cash back after that haul out) but then I’m free!

View attachment 52586

My buddy caught this shot of Tusitala charging back into the bay sporting her new colors.

Cheers,
Crow
That is a badass shot of you and the ship too!
 

CrowTheBard

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She is looking soooo nice. Good job man! I'm on Sucia tonight, Patos tomorrow and then slowly heading counterclockwise around. Catch me if you can!
That is a badass shot of you and the ship too!
Keep me posted! I’ll be working like a demon to get a few paying projects done so I can spend a few weeks sailing.

Fair winds Comrade!
Cheers,
Crow

Edit: also thanks! Loooooots of work to get her back in the water, but I must say, she looks sexy as hell to my eye now haha.
 
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iamwhatiam

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Holy fuck. Learned a good lesson today. Had a bit of a scare. I know you @CrowTheBard and others tell me to keep an eye on the currents. Up until now, I always thought....meh, they don't seem so bad. Well, coming thru Thatcher pass was a great sail, wind in my favor. Then winds died until I get to the south-east tip of Cypress island. I'm coming up the channel there in-between Cypress and Guemes the wind picks back up. I think great, I can raise the sails again. Let me head out to the middle of the channel where the wind will be stronger. Nevermind those rippling waves (current)...they don't look too bad.

I raise the sails and am trying to beat in to the wind but not going anywhere. So I turn off some more and some how the jib gets wrapped around the forestay. Now the wind and the waves are hitting me broadside, I'm heeled over pretty far and getting tossed around, and that stronger wind I was hoping for......well I got it. One hand on the main sheet ready to release it if a gust comes, the other hand trying to work the jib sheet to untangle the sail , and my elbow steering the tiller. I'm sure the couple other boats watching me blither around were pretty entertained. I thought a couple times the boat might just heel all the way over in to the water.

Luckily a little bay was nearby I could duck into and lower the sails. Looked up the wind report and it said 17 mph winds. I know that's nothing for you, but I was scared shitless there for a minute on my little boat with my experience level.

I guess the point I'm trying to make to any new sailor reading this, is don't underestimate the elements or get over confident. Just a couple miles away, there was zero wind and then boom! I'm nearly shitting myself lol. And keep an eye on the currents!
 

CrowTheBard

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Holy fuck. Learned a good lesson today. Had a bit of a scare. I know you @CrowTheBard and others tell me to keep an eye on the currents. Up until now, I always thought....meh, they don't seem so bad. Well, coming thru Thatcher pass was a great sail, wind in my favor. Then winds died until I get to the south-east tip of Cypress island. I'm coming up the channel there in-between Cypress and Guemes the wind picks back up. I think great, I can raise the sails again. Let me head out to the middle of the channel where the wind will be stronger. Nevermind those rippling waves (current)...they don't look too bad.

I raise the sails and am trying to beat in to the wind but not going anywhere. So I turn off some more and some how the jib gets wrapped around the forestay. Now the wind and the waves are hitting me broadside, I'm heeled over pretty far and getting tossed around, and that stronger wind I was hoping for......well I got it. One hand on the main sheet ready to release it if a gust comes, the other hand trying to work the jib sheet to untangle the sail , and my elbow steering the tiller. I'm sure the couple other boats watching me blither around were pretty entertained. I thought a couple times the boat might just heel all the way over in to the water.

Luckily a little bay was nearby I could duck into and lower the sails. Looked up the wind report and it said 17 mph winds. I know that's nothing for you, but I was scared shitless there for a minute on my little boat with my experience level.

I guess the point I'm trying to make to any new sailor reading this, is don't underestimate the elements or get over confident. Just a couple miles away, there was zero wind and then boom! I'm nearly shitting myself lol. And keep an eye on the currents!
Some mistakes must be made to truly understand and appreciate the powers you’re gliding between. Some mistakes are only made once and that’s enough haha.

Nice sailing shipmate. Around 16-18 is when your boat probably wants a reef in the main. Especially hard on the wind in slop. Remember the wind alone really can’t pin you down in a keel boat. You may get butt clenchingly hard over, but once your sails are mostly parallel to the water they are just spilling wind. Good instincts keep a hand ready to cast off the main sheet.

Nice story. The sea always makes the best ones.

Cheers,
Crow
 
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