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Old 03-07-2012, 12:18 PM   #1
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PNW Summer Berthing

In my perfect little world, we'll be bringing our boat up to the PNW in late May and bringing it back to the SF bay area in late September. We plan to fly back and forth a couple of times each month (not fun) and spend a couple of weeks each trip cruising the islands (both San Juan and Gulf) and maybe Desolation Sound. My questions are -

1. Is there typically temporary berthing (4 -6 months) available?

2. If so, I'm assuming Anacortes or Bellingham would be best for accessibility to the islands. Does anybody agree or have better options?

3. If it's Anacortes or Bellingham (or another one), which is easiest to get back and forth to SeaTac airport?

4. Also, marina security would be important to me. Are some marinas more secure than others? Can you recommend marinas?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Oops! Forgot that. It's a 48' Offshore Pilothouse. LOA 51'
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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PNW Summer Berthing

Quote:
Nsail wrote:
In my perfect little world, we'll be bringing our boat up to the PNW in late May and bringing it back to the SF bay area in late September. We plan to fly back and forth a couple of times each month (not fun) and spend a couple of weeks each trip cruising the islands (both San Juan and Gulf) and maybe Desolation Sound. My questions are -

1. Is there typically temporary berthing (4 -6 months) available?

2. If so, I'm assuming Anacortes or Bellingham would be best for accessibility to the islands. Does anybody agree or have better options?

3. If it's Anacortes or Bellingham (or another one), which is easiest to get back and forth to SeaTac airport?

4. Also, marina security would be important to me. Are some marinas more secure than others? Can you recommend marinas?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
*I can't speak to availabilty, but that you can determine by talking to the marinas. Bellingham is just completing installation of a bunch of new docks and may be able to accommodate your arrival.

Bellingham offers accessability equal to Anacortes, and yet has better airport access. You can fly from Bellingham to Seattle in 38 minutes, or drive the distance directly down I-5.

The Port of Bellingham "Squalicum Harbor Marina" has security on staff 24/7, but I can't give you a comparison to Anacortes "Cap Sante" marina. I have only had one minor theft in fifteen years in Bellingham.

You can reach the Squalicum Harbor office at 360-676-2542.


-- Edited by Carey on Wednesday 7th of March 2012 03:38:04 PM
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Quote:
Nsail wrote:
In my perfect little world, we'll be bringing our boat up to the PNW in late May and bringing it back to the SF bay area in late September. We plan to fly back and forth a couple of times each month (not fun) and spend a couple of weeks each trip cruising the islands (both San Juan and Gulf) and maybe Desolation Sound. My questions are -

1. Is there typically temporary berthing (4 -6 months) available?

2. If so, I'm assuming Anacortes or Bellingham would be best for accessibility to the islands. Does anybody agree or have better options?

3. If it's Anacortes or Bellingham (or another one), which is easiest to get back and forth to SeaTac airport?

4. Also, marina security would be important to me. Are some marinas more secure than others? Can you recommend marinas?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

*

The information*may be a little dated but...* When we came down from Alaska in 2007 we found slips in Everett, WA, Spencer's Landing on Lopez Island*and Semiahmoo Marina, Blaine, WA,* north of Bellingham.**During June through the end of August you may find a sub-let since a lot of locals head north for the summer.** We spent the winter of 2007/2008 in Canada and found a great affordable slip just outside of Vancouver BC on the Frasier river through Craig's List.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:19 PM   #5
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

I believe (last time I checked) that Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes has a significant wait list. There are five or six other marinas on Fidalgo Island that may have temporary moorage available. I have had no experience with any except Cap Sante (Port of Anacortes).

You might consider Oak Harbor Marina in the city of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. The marina is city owned and operated and should be able to offer you side tie moorage for your length of vessel. Oak Harbor is*3 to*4 hours from the San Juans either through Deception Pass (timing your transit with the currents) or through the Swinomish Channel (La Conner, WA). Oak Harbor Marina is 360-679-2628.*

Oak Harbor is also about 2.5 hours from SeaTac Airport. There is the Whidbey SeaTac Suttle (bus) which offers 9 roundtrips per day from Oak Harbor to SeaTac. They are at 877-679-4003.* The cost is around $35 each way.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Neal, congratulations on the Offshore 48.* I was hoping you would buy her.* Great condition and obviously loved by her previous owner.* See you back in the Bay area in the fall.* There are several of us Trawler Forum members in the area.* Look us up!
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Try La Conner Marina operated by the Port of Skagit County. I keep my boat there. The small town is interesting, security is good, and the San Juans are only 2 to 3 hours away.

Anacortes has several marinas, and as mentioned above, many slips are empty in the summer and available for sublet.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:52 PM   #8
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Allegant airlines flies into Bellingham. Check them out for flights from your area.
Have you considered Sidney BC?
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:59 PM   #9
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Campbell River (gateway to Desolation Sound and places north) has good berthing accommodation (e.g. Discovery Harbour Marina) if you wanted to leave your baby up there for a bit.

There is a small airport near Campbell River but a 30 minute drive would get you to the Comox airport, which is considerably larger (but I don't know the airlines that it serves other than Westjet).*
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:00 AM   #10
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PNW Summer Berthing

If you're going to spend a couple of weeks each trip, then you might consider the need to be so close to the islands and consider other factors. For example you could keep the boat in Seattle. It would only subtract two days from your total cruise and there's lots to do in town. That said, I think Anacortes, La Conner, Bellingham and Everett are all quite accessible by airport shuttle.

Perhaps a bigger concern is provisioning. In Anacortes, there are two good size grocery stores, two hardware stores and a West Marine within a 5 minute walk of the Cape Sante marina. La Conner has a smaller grocery store that's not bad, also within walking distance. I don't recall that B'ham has very much that's a short walk from the marina (except for marine supplies), same with Everett. You'd probably want to use taxis to get to the store and back at those locations.

I was in Cape Sante marina this weekend and they have a lot of shiny-new docks that are all empty. I don't know if they're not done installing them, or they're all slated for transient moorage. I'd give the marina a call.


-- Edited by bobc on Thursday 8th of March 2012 09:05:04 AM
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:54 AM   #11
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Quote:
bobc wrote:
If you're going to spend a couple of weeks each trip, then you might consider the need to be so close to the islands and consider other factors. For example you could keep the boat in Seattle. It would only subtract two days from your total cruise and there's lots to do in town. That said, I think Anacortes, La Conner, Bellingham and Everett are all quite accessible by airport shuttle.

Perhaps a bigger concern is provisioning. In Anacortes, there are two good size grocery stores, two hardware stores and a West Marine within a 5 minute walk of the Cape Sante marina. La Conner has a smaller grocery store that's not bad, also within walking distance. I don't recall that B'ham has very much that's a short walk from the marina (except for marine supplies), same with Everett. You'd probably want to use taxis to get to the store and back at those locations.

I was in Cape Sante marina this weekend and they have a lot of shiny-new docks that are all empty. I don't know if they're not done installing them, or they're all slated for transient moorage. I'd give the marina a call.



-- Edited by bobc on Thursday 8th of March 2012 09:05:04 AM
Bellingham has the advantage of the airport, and direct flights to many locations including Seattle for other connections.

However, the closest grocery store to the marina is a mile or so. Taxi would be good.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:21 AM   #12
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Thanks to everyone. It's been a big help!

I do like the idea of Seattle and my wife would prefer it. It's a great town and obviously a lot easier access to SeaTac.

Questions -
1. Realistically, how long would it take to get to the San Juans at around 10 knots?
2. Are there nice places to stay overnight on the way (either marinas or anchorages)?
3. I've studied extensively about weather, commercial traffic, etc. from Anacortes and north of there, but haven't done much south. Is the traffic much worse and how does the weather compare?
4. Any other different things I should be concerned about?
5. Any recommended marinas (secure and close to downtown) in Seattle?

Thanks again!
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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PNW Summer Berthing

For the last 5 years I have moved my boat from Everett to Anacortes for the summer months. I have had good luck finding moorage on Craiglist, either by responding to ads, or placing a "moorage wanted" ad myself. it's a 6 hour haul in our 8 knot trawler from Everett to the San Juans.* I have tried to do a moorage swap but so far haven't had any luck.

*

*


-- Edited by Max Simmons on Thursday 8th of March 2012 11:01:15 AM
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:21 AM   #14
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Most areas and marina have temporary moorage.* In spring boats start to move around for the summer months.* In stead of one permanent moorage you might want several temporary around the sound and islands. **I dont know why boaters are so infatuated with the island and as the sound offers about the same thing.* *I can email you a list of the Puget Sound and Island Marinas if you email at rw58ph@yahoo.com
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:29 PM   #15
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PNW Summer Berthing

Quote:
Nsail wrote:


Questions -
1. Realistically, how long would it take to get to the San Juans at around 10 knots?
2. Are there nice places to stay overnight on the way (either marinas or anchorages)?
3. I've studied extensively about weather, commercial traffic, etc. from Anacortes and north of there, but haven't done much south. Is the traffic much worse and how does the weather compare?
4. Any other different things I should be concerned about?
5. Any recommended marinas (secure and close to downtown) in Seattle?


*1.* You can do it in a long day.

2.* Yes.* Between Seattle and the San Juans there are (on the mainland side) Edmonds, Everett, Oak Harbor (on Whidbey Island), La Conner, and Anacortes.

3.* The weather in the south sound is about what you get everywhere else.* The wind patterns and strengths can be different than what's going on up north at any given time because of the influence of the conversion zone but basically the weather over Puget Sound tends to be pretty similar from one end to the other.* We make the drive from the Seattle area to our boat in Bellingham and back almost every weekend and have been for the past 13 years.* Most of the time if it's raining in Seattle when we leave it's raining or thinking about it in Bellingham.

In terms of traffic you'll probably find a lot more in the islands during the summer months than you will down south.* Plus the traffic is much more "jammed together" in the islands where down south there is more room so the boats tend to be spread out other than the folks who are fishing or are in a sailboat race.

There is more commercial traffic up north than down south because of the shipping to and from Vancouver and the numerous Washington State and BC ferry runs.* But they all stick to their routes and lanes pretty closely so we've never found the commercial traffic to be any issue at all up north.* I would imagine the situation is the same farther south but with perhaps somewhat less shipping traffic.

4.* The south sound is really boring in our opinion which is why we don't keep our boat there.* And the distance to the islands is just long enough that people who keep slower boats like ours in the Seattle area (and who aren't retired) get to the islands maybe once or twice a year on vacation.* One big reason we keep our boat in Bellingham is that we can be in the middle of the islands in a couple of hours, which means we can go there on any weekend the weather cooperates.* Go out Saturday morning, enjoy the afternoon, evening, and following morning in the island and come back Sunday afternoon.*

As opposed to a full day's cruise from Seattle just to get within sight of the islands and then have to turn around and go back if all you have is a weekend, we can drive to Bellingham in two hours and then go out.* The same would be true if we kept our boat in Anacortes.

You will most likely have to sub-let a slip for the summer.* I believe most marinas have a fairly short limit on how long you can stay on the guest dock.* Squalicum Marina in Bellingham used to and may still have a sub-let list and if you got on it they would notify you when a slip tennant was going to sublet their slip and give you the contact information.* We did this for the first two years we were there while we waited to get a permanent slip assignment.

The new docks Carey mentioned are replaceing old docks and I suspect that when the project is completed all these docks will be assigned to permanent residents.* Last I heard there was a pretty long waiting list for slips in Bellingham, particularly in the 36-46 foot range.

5.* Marinas in the Seattle area are very expensive compared to the marinas farther north or south.* That may or may not make a difference to you, but we much rather spend a lot less on moorage in Bellingham and put the savings in the fuel tank.* Plus, of course, be much closer to the San Juan and Gulf Islands which is where we like to cruise.* We have no interest in boating in the south sound so even if the moorage costs were equal we would't keep a boat down there anyway.





-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 8th of March 2012 02:07:42 PM
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:05 PM   #16
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Another possibility that hasn't been mentioned is Bremerton which is across from Seattle via a ferry ride. The ferry terminal in Bremerton is along side the fairly new marina so a short walk to your boat.

I mention Bremerton because I'm fairly certain they have vacancies and I believe the lowest prices in the Puget Sound area. From Seattle you can get public transportation to SeaTac airport if you don't have a car.

http://www.portofbremerton.org/marinas

Ron


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Old 03-08-2012, 06:00 PM   #17
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Bremerton has very nasty currents, with the exception of 1/2 hour around slack 2 times per day. Not a problem if you check your current charts.

This is one of the reasons it is an empty marina.

Port Orchard may have room - no current problem there

Brownsville is probably cheaper, plus they usually have the best price on fuel.

Good luck
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:33 PM   #18
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Marin,
1. you left out Langley on Whidbey
2. South sound boring? Only if you've seen it, otherwise, lotsa interesting ports and places. the glass museum in Tacoma, the Tides tavern in gig Harbor, hanging on a state buoy anywhere. We've always aspired to the Gulf Islands in the winter and the South sound in the summer.

Unfortunately work keeps interfering . . .
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:43 PM   #19
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

Marin forgot to mention all the debris and logs frequently found in Bellingham Bay. IIRC the majority of his friends and aquaintences have had damage to their boats from running over said debris. He also advises that the winds in the Islands can be double the prediction, causing difficult boating in that area. He will cite the local Seattle weatherman as a source of that information. As you probably know from reading his posts he and his wife feel that they need to both stand watch while underway, use both chart plotter and paper mapping and radar as needed to safely navigate the dangerous waters in Bellingham Bay and the San Juans.

I would stay as far away from Bellingham as I could unless I had local knowledge. I've never encountered these horrible conditions when I go there, but I'm sure someone who boats there frequently knows the dangers. I only go there every 5 years or so because it's out of the way and not a very interesting or inviting place. It's "on the way" to nowhere so no real need to stop there.

Of course, I moor my boat in the boring "mill pond" of Puget Sound. A place where the auto pilot drives most of the time with only occasional dodges of debris. Much more enjoyment of the scenery and wildlife is possible this way. I've had no problem getting to the San Juans during my vacations every year since 1979. I did miss one year when the mother in law died 2 days before our vacation. My bad luck. It sounds like the OP plans trips of 2 weeks or more each visit, so maybe a Saturday/Sunday trip isn't exactly pertinent to this question.

Depending on the cruising tastes, and moorage options, the OP may want to arrange a 2-3 week unattended moorage in the Canadian Gulf islands perhaps near Nanaimo with a ferry ride back to Vancouver and then to the airport. There is a lot of beautiful country up there which is not nearly as dangerous as Bellingham Bay.

The South Sound also has many interesting places to visit. Everything from cities by the water, to docks and anchorages in quiet bays, some with few houses to blight the view.

Just my opinion of course, but then I've lived here all my life and still find new and interesting things to do.

Ken
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:31 AM   #20
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RE: PNW Summer Berthing

As Marin said, Seattle is a long day, but in the summer we have long days, so it works. If you do decide on Seattle, you'll probably want to avoid marinas on the fresh water side of the locks. The locks can be busy in the summer, and add a lot of time to the trip.

My last boat was a 4.5 knot sailboat and I would spend the first day getting from Everett to Pt. Townsend, and the second getting to Friday Harbor or Fisherman's Bay (Lopez). Port Townsend is a fun place and there's a grocery store across the street from the large marina, or you can just anchor near the ferry dock and dingy into town.

If the weather is iffy for crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca , you can run up Saratoga Passage between Whidbey and Camano. You can then anchor in Penn Cove at Coupville, or go into Oak Harbor where you can anchor, or get a slip. Both are an easy day from Seattle. If you go to Penn Cove, try the steamed mussels at Toby's Tavern. This route, while more protected, also requires you to then go through Deception Pass, or through the Swinomish Channel (otherwise known as "running the ditch").
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