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Old 09-20-2019, 02:28 PM   #1
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Possible June Trip to PNW ... questions

My wife and I are talking about a possible trip to the Pacific Northwest with our Acadia 25. It is a single inboard and draws 2 1/2 feet with a full keel.

Thinking maybe Exploring area around San Juan Islands - I have never been there and know nothing about about it. Trip would likely be end of June -ish for a week or a bit longer.

Any info about anchorages, marinas, put in's, fuel - points of interest, etc ... I am an open book looking for any and all info - we are in the very first stages of researching a place to explore.

I ahve attached 2 pics of our boat.

Bob
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:16 PM   #2
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Boat looks quite well suited to the mission. I would only suggest that if you are going to drag it all the way from Wisconsin, you should plan a longer stay. Three weeks would give you a chance to really savor the experience.

You are about to be overwhelmed with advice, but you still will need charts and book(s) to make sense of all of it. I recommend you goto FineEdge.com. They specialize in the stuff you want. Start with Waggoner Cruising Guide. Get the spiral-bound version; very handy on your chart table.
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:22 PM   #3
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...and their $16 planning chart to the San Juan and Gulf Islands will be indispensable on those cold Wisconsin evenings.
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:34 PM   #4
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Good advise from 'Prof and the San Juans would give you a lot to see. I agree 3+ weeks would be the best to justify the long tow you're facing.

The concept also has some headroom for future years, if you like your first cruise. If you have the time and desire, you can trailer your boat up into British Columbia and even visit SE Alaska via the Bellingham WA ferry.
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:51 PM   #5
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I agree with Bill. Waggonerís is a great resource for the San Juans. There are others of course and we all have favorites, but Waggonerís is the place to start.

The San Juans are a great place to cruise. The end of June tends to be cloudy and wet. Not that we canít have sunshine and warm weather, but count on it being cloudy and wet. June also is a lot less crowded than July or August yet all the facilities have ramped up for the summer season. Basically, it is a good time to go.

As you look at the San Juans, Iíd pay special attention to the WA state marine parks. Lots of places to anchor, mooring balls you can grab, and many have docks to land your dinghy or even tie up overnight. With over a dozen state marine parks to choose from, there are lots of options. https://parks.state.wa.us/844/San-Juan-Islands-Region

Anacortes would seem to be a great place to put in, and then you have a short trip across Rosario Strait to get to the Islands.
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:07 PM   #6
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Bob,
Great advice so far. Areas I like in the San Juan's include: State Park (mooring balls available) Jones Island (though I heard there was a fire there this year), James Island, and Spencer Spit; marinas of Friday Harbour, Roche Harbour, and Rosario Resort. You could also go to the British Camp located on the west side of San Juan Island (close to Roche Harbour). Lots of interesting history regarding US, Canada (British) relationship and how the border was determined.
Enjoy your stay, but you will want more than 1 week (trust me on that).
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:21 PM   #7
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+1 on the longer time. A week doesn't give you much time. June is good in that you will have less crowded anchorages and marinas, weather can be good or iffy, but being from MI you are likely not adverse to less than perfect weather. End of June school is out, the weather starts getting better and the State Marine Parks fill up with boats. Again, probably similar where you live.

The Waggoner Guide is a good start and is updated annually so good for current data. The Dreamspeaker guide for the San Juans goes into much better detail of anchorages and places to visit. If I were to pick only two guides to start with it would be those two.

From there, tell us what type of one or two week cruise you like in your home waters, and I bet you could get a few of us to to recommend a couple itineraries for you to consider when you are out here.

For trailering, Anacortes is a decent starting point. It's easy to access from I-5, and gets you right into the islands. You can launch at the Cap Sante marina and park there. They have parking that is in town at their marina, and when I have taken my small boat out for a week long cruise I've chosen to leave our truck/trailer there. Their boat launch is actually a sling launch - they sling your boat right off the trailer and put you in the water, so there are operating hours. They have good quality inexpensive fuel. There are some great first stops very close to Anacortes - a local favorite is Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island - its mostly owned by the state Department of Natural Resources, to protect Eelgrass habitat they have free mooring buoys to use there. Its about 7 1/2 nm from Cap Sante.

Bellingham is another good launch site into the islands. I've never launched there, and can't speak to the experience. Its a conventional boat launch with up to two week parking next to the marina. Its actually closer to I-5 than Anacortes is, a little harder to navigate through the streets to but google maps makes that simple. If your first stop is going to be one of the more northern islands in the San Juans, like Sucia Island, Bellingham is going to put you closer to start from.

If your boat is a planing boat your starting location doesn't matter much. From Anacortes you have more options if the wind is up, you can go to the south to avoid the north winds mucking up the northern ends of the islands, or to the north to avoid the south winds mucking up the southern ends of the islands.
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:01 PM   #8
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Why not plan longer in the Washington area, then store your boat over the winter in Comox BC on your trailer. Where my boat is in for refit has lots of room for boat storage and very cheap rates. The benefits of Comox is that you are at a jumping off point for Desolation Sound and the Broughtons the next summer.

There are two marinas side by side in Comox and about 10 % live in Alberta so for them roughly a one hour plane ride (you can fly into Comox on a commercial airline). Leave your vehicle in Wisconsin and have your trailer and boat towed to Comox and put it in the water there and have the trailer returned to the boat storage area, again at a reasonable price.

You could leave your boat in British Columbia for year three, leaving it in Prince Rupert and using this location as a jump off point for Alaska.

So is your boat suitable for Alaska cruising?

Go to the three mark in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=JcAvQSdvdyg
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:26 PM   #9
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Bob, I've boated in the SJ's three times, once with my own boat, twice with charters.


One thing that surprised me is how close everything is. From one port to another seemed to usually be about 25 miles and because they are so close together, usually the waters between the islands are calm because they're sheltered.


Anacortes is a great place to launch. There's a Safeway store just a few blocks from the harbor to provision on your way to the launch. The guys at Cap Sante Marine are fantastic--lots of help, very friendly, etc.


Our favorite places: Jones Island, Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, Rosario, Sucia Island. Each of those is good for 2 days if you have the time.


And take lots of pics and share them.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:25 PM   #10
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Anacortes or Bellingham for a launch site. Agree that the Waggoner is absolutely essential and will have all you need to know about the area. One of the local charter companies has a little guide they give out to visitors that recommends a counterclockwise loop around the San Juans and we concur. If you spent 10 days you could poke around and see an awful lot, with short runs between anchorages.

Agree that the marine state parks are a wonderful resource. The mooring buoys and docks are first come, first served. They have toilets and sometimes water, but no waste disposal. You'll want to include some nights at the dock to see local flavor, re-provision and dispose of your waste. Bring good walking shoes!

Be prepared for the weather. One year it will be cloudless and warm all of June, while the next will be cool and drizzly for the entire month. It's generally mild...mid 60s to mid 70s during the day, 50s at night...but you never know. Bring fleece and rain gear and be prepared to have an amazing time no matter what.
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:28 AM   #11
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Nice boat, Bob B! We get up to Mineral Point, WI in early July each year. Maybe we could meet on one of those trips? We towed our 28' Shearwater Yawl (predecessor to our Albin-25) out to British Columbia for a cruise up to Desolation Sound 10 years ago and had no problem at all. However, the Shearwater was designed for easy towing with light displacement and a flat bottom allowing her to sit down low to the road on her trailer. Nonetheless, we've towed our Albin (26" draft) up to Lk Superior several times, and to the North Channel.

I really like your hard top over the entire cockpit. I'd like to replace our cockpit canvas with a hard top, a mod that many Albin Owners have done.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:22 PM   #12
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That boat is fine for the San Juan Islands. Anacortes Cap Sante marina is sling launch only and is pricey, $57 round trip for a 25’ boat. Squalicom in Bellingham has nice ramps and is very inexpensive; like $9 for launch and parking. But, they have a limit on days now; five only. Although we have parked on the roadway in front for 2 weeks without issue and in the gravel overflow lot across the street for 11 days just last month. It’s a commercial area and a side street should you go that route. I would call the office a few weeks in advance. They were very friendly.

Most of the crossings are very protected. There is some open water like Rosario Straight which can get ugly but checking the weather et al will alleviate most of it. The islands themselves are very protected cruising.

In the northern end is Sucia Island State Park, which I highly recommend. We love Shallow Bay on the west side, but it is a small anchorage which can be crowded. But the sunsets are spectacular. Stuart Island is another nice, protected anchorage. We prefer the Prevost Harbor side but Reid Harbor is also beautiful, large, well protected and with a nice mud bottom.

For marinas we prefer Friday Harbor but Roche is also there. Friday has a grocery store within walking distance up the hill. Garrison Bay and it’s surrounding bays is cool. You can go walk around English Camp for some history of the area. Blind Bay on Shaw Island is a good anchorage; big, relatively protected and not normally crowded. Usually it’s very quiet.

There are myriad other places to drop the hook and some public docks that are first come, first served. Definitely bring a dingy or kayaks. You’re gonna want to go to shore for walks or tool around and check things out. I agree about the weather. Prepare for anything. It could be cool and rainy. Or sunny and warm. We joke that summer doesn’t start here until July 5th.

Lots of wildlife: blue heron, Orca, porpoises, bald eagles, sea lions, harbor seals ...

I could go on... I like the name of your boat, too.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:30 PM   #13
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I forgot. Check out Blaine Marina. They have ramps and longer parking. Open water crossing to the SJ Islands tho. Iíve never used it but have friends who have. There are also the Gulf Islands which are Canadaís version. Lots more up there but perhaps that is another trip.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:29 PM   #14
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Man ... gonna be a long freaking winter ... I appreciate all the info ... in checking out some maps, the Friday Harbor area really looks nice, then to read others recommendations just gets me excited . All the suggestions are certainly appreciated. My wife and I are starting more serious discussions. I may purchase the cruising guide this weekend.

Anyone have info on crossing the continental divide with a 9000 pound trailer?

My boat is 8’6” wide, trying to figure a dingy for my wife and our 2-60 pounds dogs is daunting. Thinking about inflatable to stow over aft deck, or just tow a longer larger dingy. Any suggestions here as well.

Moby Nick,

We would love to get together, we live North of Dodgeville in the timber. We do get to Mineral Point and meeting a fellow trawler forum person would be great.

Cruising the San Juan Islands is sounds amazing.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:51 PM   #15
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Inflatables are the typical dinghies that are used. An inflatable with a soft bottom are fine but you do have to be careful of rocks and barnacles. Sandy beaches are a rarity around here.

I prefer to anchor out or catch a buoy and walk on the beach at the state parks. However, if you prefer marinas Friday Harbor is a nice stop. Busy but the town has a lot to offer. Rosario resort isnít my favorite as there is less to do within walking distance. Deer Harbor is a nice small marina, but again, not a lot to do within walking distance.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob B. View Post
Thinking about inflatable to stow over aft deck, or just tow a longer larger dingy. Any suggestions here as well.
We stow our dinghy on the cabin top. Air floor model so it is a tad bit lighter than a roll up floor. Weighs about 59 lbs. it is doable but awkward. A 2.5 Suzuki pushes it. It wonít plane it, but who cares. I believe itís 6í8Ē. Capacity is 440 lbs total. Iíve had three adults on it; total weight ~470 lbs. Any more boat would be a pain to get up on the roof for us.

A lot of people here use kayaks, but getting out of them at a swim step can be really challenging.
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:05 PM   #17
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Bob, There's a member of this site, Richard Cook....TF handle RCook....who has done extensive long-haul trailering and small boat cruising in Washington, through British Columbia and and into SE Alaska. He really knows the ropes about towing boats great distances and where to go once you get there. I think he even wrote a book on the subject. Maybe Richard will have some comments for you as you plan your trip.
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:23 PM   #18
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Bob - You'll have a great time in the islands, whether you spend just a week or more. Lots of cool places to visit.

We made quite a few video cruising guides to the San Juans, and produced the WA State Parks DVD Cruising Guide to the island's marine parks. Here's a video overview of Sucia Island (with 6 other videos on the individual places there):

https://youtu.be/YT5Bd_WnjeU

PS - My wife lived in Bayfield and Herbster for many years...
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:29 PM   #19
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The best system for smaller boats is to have your dinghy on its side on the swim platform. Here is one of the cheaper options I have found, there are pricier ones but I think this is about the cheapest you will find for a dinghy on your swim grid.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/weav...roductBookMark

Towing a dinghy isn't great, rolling it up and keeping it in the boat isn't that useful. And if you get a small kicker, like 2 - 3.3 hp weight will be reduced and you can muscle it about. There are plenty of these on the used market out here. Also another possibility is a fishing trolling electric motor. You can find these used as well.

Here is a great resource for intro into the coastal Washington and BC coast. The over views are very helpful. Don't be put off with the "challenges" discussed, these challenges are all doable if you do it correctly. As you will hear often in these videos "(such and such) is to be respected, not feared."

http://slowboat.com/guide/info/slowboat-webinars/
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:58 PM   #20
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I live in Anacortes and used to live on Lopez Island. First if you can move your trip back to mid July, you will have better weather. June is sometimes Junuary. All the recommendations on launching and anchorages are good. My suggested itinerary is launch Anacortes using their sling or look at the commercial ramp at Secret Harbor which is free. Anacortes is very cruiser friendly, walk to everything. Bellingham is a nice town but the marina is at least a mile away from downtown. Spend the night on the hook at cypress island, only 12 miles from Anacortes. Pick up a mooring at Sucia island, a great marine park. Head over to Stuart island for another night on the hook. Then on to Roche harbor on San Juan island. Decide if u want to go pay for a dock at Friday Harbor. From there hit spencer spit park on Lopez Island, and the back to Anacortes. You could do this in a week but 2 or 3 is better. Finally for a dinghy, check out sea eagle inflatable boats. They have some really good options for lightweight hybrid dinghies such as the paddle ski you can stow on your roof when blown up for the trip ( under 44 pounds) but fold up into a package you can store on your boat or truck.
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