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Old 02-04-2016, 09:58 AM   #1
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Cruising San Juan Islands

Planning on participating in a charter cruise out of Bellingham WA. The group is currently at 14 boats and may grow to a few more. My question is for those familiar with the area. Can a group of trawlers this size cruise comfortably in San Juan's near Bellingham? Looks like we will anchor out most of the time.
Thanks
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:31 AM   #2
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Absolutely! Lots of places to anchor out in the San Juans, might get a bit crowded if you don't pick your spot early, but nothing like Catalina island (so cal.) anchoring.

Sucia Bay was one of our favorite spots, very well protected,pretty good crabbing.
You'll love it!
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:59 AM   #3
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I can think of only three anchorages that could take an extra 14 boats. What time of the year. Hard to imagine 14 boats wanting to go now and in the summer there are only two anchorages that usually don't get overcrowded. Fortuneatly they aren't close.

Are you doubting that it can be done? How many days? This may be the same people that do cruises to Alaska and I wonder how they do that. That many boats in most anchorages is too many IMO. And that's assuming there are no boats there to begin with.

CRusty Chief,
I don't understand how picking a spot early will make an anchorage less crowded but i'm sure this charter business is experienced and knows what they are doing.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:13 AM   #4
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"Are you doubting that it can be done? How many days?"




The 2nd week in September, for a week.
Not being familiar with the area, I just wanted to know if a 14-16 boat fleet would have trouble finding space if they stayed as a group.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:21 AM   #5
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Planning on participating in a charter cruise out of Bellingham WA. The group is currently at 14 boats and may grow to a few more. My question is for those familiar with the area. Can a group of trawlers this size cruise comfortably in San Juan's near Bellingham? Looks like we will anchor out most of the time.
Thanks
The short answer is NO. 14 boats arriving together at one anchorage will overwhelm the place. The San Juans are very crowded in the summer. I would suggest you divide up in smaller groups of 4 or 5 boats and plan on having 2 or 3 boats on one anchor. Also plan on doing shore ties if possible. Then you can get 4 or 5 boats in a small place.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:25 AM   #6
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"Are you doubting that it can be done? How many days?"




The 2nd week in September, for a week.
Not being familiar with the area, I just wanted to know if a 14-16 boat fleet would have trouble finding space if they stayed as a group.
I would be surprised if you could anchor any where near each other at that time of year.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:49 AM   #7
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Dave,

I am one of the local guys helping out. The areas we are looking at will be a bit tight but with rafting, catching moorings and anchoring it should work. Our friends and Northwest Explorations have helped out tremendously and have plenty of experience with this size of group.

Bob
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:06 PM   #8
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Dave,

I am one of the local guys helping out. The areas we are looking at will be a bit tight but with rafting, catching moorings and anchoring it should work. Our friends and Northwest Explorations have helped out tremendously and have plenty of experience with this size of group.

Bob
Then you are in really good hands. After Labor Day, the week days should be good, on many islands there are anchorages/moorings in adjacent bays and the group can split up but be in easy hiking or dinghy distance from each other. You'll have a blast!
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:51 PM   #9
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To name just a few, Echo Bay at Sucia, Roche Harbor, Reid Harbor and even Prevost, can easily handle that many boats, especially in September.

Nothing to be worried about.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:02 PM   #10
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If you go after Labor Day-- and if you can stand being around that many boats and that many people, which sounds absolutely hideous to me-- there are lots of places in the islands that will work as the kids will be back in school and the crowds will be gone.

If you go during July or August you run the risk of encountering some pretty crowded locations alhough that many boats can still be jockeyed into position in many of the more popular spots. Fortunately they won't fit in the really nice spots so us local boaters will remain safe from your invasion.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:14 PM   #11
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The flotilla consists of MTOA members from the east coast who fulfilling a desire to cruise an area that many who live there take for granted and a few local members that are willing to show them around. The atmosphere has a feel much like going to a rendezvous with friends that have never met. Should be a great time. The trip will be after Labor Day and many of the spots listed above are on the list. Marin we will make sure to steer clear.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:34 PM   #12
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Have a great trip. We are just working our way back to Seattle after the better part of a week in the san juans. I particularly like his time of year, though we had to do a bit of jockeying to avoid some high winds.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:29 PM   #13
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A couple of years ago we did a two week cruise after Labour Day, in the Gulf Islands. To our surprise, the summer crowds had been replaced by the retirees. On Sept 15th, I counted boats anchored in Montague Harbour and found over 100. The summer crowd capacity of Montague wasn't much over that number.
That said, the weather at that time of year is usually very nice, lots of sunshine, cool mornings and evenings, few storms.
If you choose your overnight stops well you will have a wonderful time.
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:01 PM   #14
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Marin we will make sure to steer clear.
No worries. Where we mostly go in the San Juans the general public does not and cannot go.
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:03 PM   #15
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The answer is absolutely! But I did spend Seafair week on the lake. If you are a curmudgeon you probably aren't traveling with a flotilla of 15 anyways. Have a great trip!
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:38 PM   #16
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When you settle on a floatplan, I'd really like to hear what it is -- so we can avoid that mob of boats when we're chartering there too this summer. Not to join the pile-on, and I think a pair or even a trio of boats traveling together is fun, but a D-Day invasion flotilla like that kind of defeats the purpose of getting away from it all. So much for leaving the crowds behind.

If any cruising area has the capacity to handle a group like that it's the San Juans for sure, but somehow I have this image in my mind of a plague of locusts or in this case, a swarm of hungry water bugs devouring everything in its path, long lines to use the three or four showers even in Friday Harbor, taking every slip in Pender, you could walk across the rafted boats in otherwise-serene Tod Inlet. Might as well go to one of those giant sandbar parties in Florida.
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:58 PM   #17
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We will be up that way around the middle of May, then back through around the end of August. Never been there yet, but plan to have fun. You all will have a GREAT time.
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:30 PM   #18
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When you settle on a floatplan, I'd really like to hear what it is -- so we can avoid that mob of boats when we're chartering there too this summer. Not to join the pile-on, and I think a pair or even a trio of boats traveling together is fun, but a D-Day invasion flotilla like that kind of defeats the purpose of getting away from it all. So much for leaving the crowds behind.

If any cruising area has the capacity to handle a group like that it's the San Juans for sure, but somehow I have this image in my mind of a plague of locusts or in this case, a swarm of hungry water bugs devouring everything in its path, long lines to use the three or four showers even in Friday Harbor, taking every slip in Pender, you could walk across the rafted boats in otherwise-serene Tod Inlet. Might as well go to one of those giant sandbar parties in Florida.
If you book that party into a cruise through the Broughtons, at a different marina each night, any time of year, that business is welcome and convivial.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:58 AM   #19
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Apparently some of you have real anxiety issues and zero empathy for people who are taking the time to actually check something off of their Bucket List. The San Juans are a big place so I'm sure we will all fit.

I guess some of you will not be dropping in to say hi but instead will be hiding behind your keyboards with the doors locked. If you do want to join in send me a PM and I will share the proposed itinerary.
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Old 02-05-2016, 01:06 AM   #20
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I hope to see you. Not sure when exactly but we will be looking for you.
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