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Old 05-19-2014, 11:37 AM   #1
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Need Safe Recommendations

As recently posted elsewhere, I'm scheduled for powerboat training at Anacortes Yacht Charters June 13 - 15. After that we are on our own for four nights in the San Juan Islands on a 29' Ranger Tug. To broaden our experience we really would like to spend a night on the hook and a night on a mooring ball. The other nights will be at a marina. It will all be covered in the training, but while I have experience anchoring out on lakes and rivers, I have zero experience with tides or changing sea conditions, and I've never picked up a mooring.

So assuming that weather forecasts allow, I would appreciate your recommendations for safe and easy places for a novice to anchor and to pick up a mooring. We have not established any cruising agenda for the area yet, so we're open to suggestions (although we are not planning to enter Canada this time). Also any insight on how busy these areas might be or suggested arrival times would help a lot.

Thank you very much for your help.
BD
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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Good time to go, won't be super busy yet. We always chartered the first part of June and one year caught week of incredible weather with record temps AYC should be able to help you on the skills and a suggested itinerary, they have been helping newbies for years. Does the Ranger come with a dinghy? One of our favorite anchorages was Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island, not far from Anacortes. Beautiful hiking on shore around the harbor, it's a park, no development. We always went out of Bellingham, so gravitated further north and had much more time than you do, and given you only have a few days, will defer to locals for their suggested itinerary. I'd have Rosario as a marina stop to enjoy the resort there, but it has a lot of sentimental value to us. Won't bore you with that story but it was key to getting us into boating. One time we just anchored off went in and got massages and used the pool for the day. Big fun!
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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BD,

In your class you will practice picking up a mooring buoy, probably at Spencer Spit while on your way to Friday Harbor for the night. There are so many places in the Islands that are Safe and beautiful too. We like being on the hook in Garrison Bay just south of Roche Harbor. Nice Historical site to visit, protected and easy mud bottom anchoring. If you get there by leaving Friday Harbor and going through Cattle Pass, you will definitely want to time it with tides going out of Cattle Pass near slack and heading up the coast of San Juan Island. Which is also a good time to see Orcas on that side of the Island. Otherwise go to Garrison via Roche Harbor, very protected. We also like Stuart Island, Reid Harbor is very protected, has mooring balls, small dock or anchoring space. Great trails out to Turn Point Lighthouse, or on the other side of the island is Prevost Harbor, same amenities and sunset views. Sucia Island is another great one with Fossil Bay having larger docks and two of them, mooring balls and anchoring space. I would suggest downloading the free Waggoner's Cruising Guide too. Go to their website, it is a great resource if you don't already own a copy. It will be on your charter boat along with other guides and tide book as well as current charts. You will use all of them in your class as you plot and plan a trip. It is part of the class when we took it from AYC. There will be a lot of suggestions on where to go and spend the nite. Have a great time planning and going.
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Good time to go, won't be super busy yet. We always chartered the first part of June and one year caught week of incredible weather with record temps AYC should be able to help you on the skills and a suggested itinerary, they have been helping newbies for years. Does the Ranger come with a dinghy? One of our favorite anchorages was Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island, not far from Anacortes. Beautiful hiking on shore around the harbor, it's a park, no development. We always went out of Bellingham, so gravitated further north and had much more time than you do, and given you only have a few days, will defer to locals for their suggested itinerary. I'd have Rosario as a marina stop to enjoy the resort there, but it has a lot of sentimental value to us. Won't bore you with that story but it was key to getting us into boating. One time we just anchored off went in and got massages and used the pool for the day. Big fun!
Yes AYC has already emailed me a suggested itinerary but I really like to have multiple options and recommendations. Thanks for yours. Yes the boat does have a RIB (yet another new thing for us), and the suggestion about the hike is a great one. We're trying to get an idea of what the cruising lifestyle affords us, so that is something that we'll want to experience.

Thanks!
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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Keith,

Thanks for your suggestions. It's great to hear from someone who's actually taken this same course and worked with these people directly. It's really reassuring to hear that we're not crazy for considering these things.

I will certainly take your suggestion to download the cruising guide. I have their Great Lakes edition and we've used it for the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. I will make sure to put it on a tablet and bring it with us.

BTW, thanks for the offer to stop by in the other thread. We will certainly look for you on the dock!
BD
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:26 PM   #6
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More reassurance the San Juan's are great particularly if not crowded. The boat you will be on opens extra anchorage due to its small size and shoal draft. Just get one of the many good cruising guides and pick your spots. You should think about Stuart Island and Sucia Island moorings and anchorages. Take the walk to Tern Point(Stewart Isl.). We have cruised all over that area and it is almost all good. If there should be heavy fog give care to the heavily traveled ferry routes they are well marked on the charts..
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:14 PM   #7
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I agree with all of the above and would add Matia Island to that list, it has a very nice protected harbor also. In addition you might take a look at Inati Bay on Lumi Island as a site to visit. Please get in touch when you get up this way and perhaps we can meet for a beverage or two.
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:08 PM   #8
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If there should be heavy fog give care to the heavily traveled ferry routes they are well marked on the charts..
Fog. Now there's another thing that I don't get much of. We did have some on Superior once but it was while we were docked and we just stayed put. Thanks for the advice. I suppose things to avoid are maybe even more important than things to check out.
BD
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