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Old 10-03-2014, 11:56 AM   #1
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San Juan's in late October

We bought a Nova trawler a couple weeks ago and we are headed up to Olympia to pick her up after October 12th. We have a few days to poke around tha San Juan's on our shake down cruise before we head out of the sound for the big left-hand turn toward SF Bay.
Let's pretend that the weather will be perfect and all the fish in season are biting. Leaving from Anacortes, where are the best two or three places to go? We have a dinghy and a generator, so we won't really need marinas. Just awesomely beautiful places to hang out on the boat and the beach and cook awesome meals.

Pictures speak a thousand words. Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:37 PM   #2
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In my opinion.... Sucia and Stuart Islands (go to Prevost Harbor on the north side of Stuart, Reid Harbor on the south side is very protected but you're in a deep hole with zero view), Eagle Harbor on Cypress (it's actually a small bay, not a harbor), and if you want a marina stopover, Westsound marina. If you go to Westsound you can rent a car out of Eastsound and they will deliver it to the marina and pick it up after you leave. Then you can explore Orcas Island, which is well worth exploring.

Patos Island (Active Cove) is a very cool place but there are only two mooring bouys and the anchoring is not so great.

Spencer Spit on Lopez has a big beach if you want one of those.

We absolutely despise Roche Harbor and Deer Harbor and wouldn't be caught dead in either place. Roche Harbor does have an interesting history but Deer Harbor is just an annoying, overpriced resort. Friday Harbor is okay if you want to be in a busy place with shops, restaurants, etc.

An interesting place to anchor is Garrison Bay on San Juan Island. Be careful going down Mosquito Pass from Roche Harbor to get there. Not dangerous, you just need to pay attention. Garrison Bay is the site of English Camp where the British had their outpost during the border dispute with the U.S. Some of the original buildings are still there. Good anchoring in firm mud.

We have other favorites spots in the island's but they are all small bays with anchoring only and no shore access unless one owns land on shore.
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:44 PM   #3
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Good luck on your trip south. Exactly 1 year ago, I was leaving SF and heading north to the great Columbia River.
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutarious View Post
Where are the best two or three places to go? We have a dinghy and a generator, so we won't really need marinas. Just awesomely beautiful places to hang out on the boat and the beach and cook awesome meals.

Pictures speak a thousand words. Thanks.
I have to agree with Marin, Sucia would be at the top of my list. Since you asked for photos and specifically wanted a beach for cooking, here's both:



[Sucia, Echo Bay, Mt. Baker in the background]

I also like Garrison Bay on San Juan Island or either of the harbors on Reid Island.

Have a great trip!



[Echo Bay at Sucia Island]
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Old 10-03-2014, 03:23 PM   #5
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Note that Sucia has six bays you can use, each with its own unique features. They are Ewing Cove, Echo Bay, Snoring Bay, Fossil Bay, Fox Cove, and Shallow Bay.

Echo is the largest and, like Ewing Cove, is exposed to southerly winds. Fossil Bay has a couple of docks in addition to the mooring buoys. We've used all the bay's but our personal favorites in terms of the surroundings and views are Fox Cove and Shallow Bay.
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
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Poet's Cove Resort on Pender Island. I wrote a review on TripAdvisor. It's on the Canadian side so you have to check into Canada at the office right there on the docks. I see some reviews are not very positive recently, but we had a fantastic, beautiful time there a month ago. Swimming in the warm pool overlooking the docks at night with other boaters was one of our favorite memories of the trip.

The other one I'd do again in a heartbeat is Tod Inlet (again, Canadian). The cove is a narrow, deep sanctuary, so beautiful, and you can walk easily from the cove dock to Buchart Gardens in Victoria. This time of year Tod Inlet won't be crowded, it will be magical.

So many choices...
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutarious View Post
We bought a Nova trawler a couple weeks ago and we are headed up to Olympia to pick her up after October 12th. We have a few days to poke around tha San Juan's on our shake down cruise before we head out of the sound for the big left-hand turn toward SF Bay.
Let's pretend that the weather will be perfect and all the fish in season are biting. Leaving from Anacortes, where are the best two or three places to go? We have a dinghy and a generator, so we won't really need marinas. Just awesomely beautiful places to hang out on the boat and the beach and cook awesome meals.

Pictures speak a thousand words. Thanks.
I'm actually pretty surprised you are going to take a new to you boat down the coast so soon after buying it. Have you made this trip before?
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lutarious View Post
We bought a Nova trawler a couple weeks ago and we are headed up to Olympia to pick her up after October 12th. We have a few days to poke around tha San Juan's on our shake down cruise before we head out of the sound for the big left-hand turn toward SF Bay.
Let's pretend that the weather will be perfect and all the fish in season are biting. Leaving from Anacortes, where are the best two or three places to go? We have a dinghy and a generator, so we won't really need marinas. Just awesomely beautiful places to hang out on the boat and the beach and cook awesome meals.

Pictures speak a thousand words. Thanks.
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I'm actually pretty surprised you are going to take a new to you boat down the coast so soon after buying it. Have you made this trip before?
+1!

Lots of prep before you do a major relocation like this as well....like spare parts, (especially fuel filters!), a float plan, and time to divert into shelters when the weather turns crappy. This can be the best time of year for that transit, and at the same time, the weather can turn in a heartbeat.....
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:09 PM   #9
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Poet's Cove Resort on Pender Island...
Poet's Cove is a nice little marina. So is the marine park next door.

The main issue we've had wtih Poet's Cove is wind. Almost every time we've been in there, either to clear customs or stay in the marina on the way home from a Canadian cruise, the wind has been screaming (so to speak) through the bay and making it an absolute bitch for everyone trying get on or sometimes off a dock.

Other than that, we've always enjoyed our overnights there. The crabbing can be good in the bay, too.

On the subject of Canadian waters, but near the US, one of our favorites is Sidney Spit, particularly in the off-season when the crowds are gone. Great view in all directions and a really good beach. There are a fair number of mooring buoys or, if it's not crowded, one can go to the dock. A bit tricking getting in and out but once one learns the channels (there are two of them), it's pretty straightforward.
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:05 PM   #10
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Rosario is another nice spot (US) - not much more than the marina and the resort building to the whole town but we had a very nice time. Good clean showers at the marina, nice pool, decent little store and casual dockside grille with outside seating. The resort is posh, fantastic food in the resort restaurant. The slips are awfully tight with tight turns and really small fairways, but we danced and squeezed our 46-footer in okay.
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:50 PM   #11
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Regarding the fishing, I am not sure. I know you can get some monster ling cod there, but fishing is pretty specific to reefs and tides. And there are salmon there at certain times of the year. Unless you have someone to go out with, I'd look for other forms of entertainment. If you only have a couple/few days, I'd not bother with Canada or Customs as its a time sucker. Stay away from Orcas. Its full of weirdos (Orcazoids). Go to Friday Harbor on San Juan or Fisherman's Bay on Lopez instead. +1 for Sucia, but no services there.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:03 PM   #12
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Normally I'd agree on Customs hassle, but we found it pretty quick and easy. About 10 minutes into Canada for five of us at Pender, friendly as always. We checked back into the US at Roche Harbor, of course that included the usual nasty hostility and mirrored sunglasses and interrogation, but even that only took about 15 minutes.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:19 PM   #13
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Normally I'd agree on Customs hassle, but we found it pretty quick and easy. About 10 minutes into Canada for five of us at Pender, friendly as always. We checked back into the US at Roche Harbor, of course that included the usual nasty hostility and mirrored sunglasses and interrogation, but even that only took about 15 minutes.
Well, there is the 10 minutes of dealing with customs, and then there is the travel time to and from those harbors which could be a hassle if they are not on your itinerary.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:47 PM   #14
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We've been clearing Candian Customs for decades in the floatplane and in the boat. We have always found it to be a very quick and easy process.

At Pender/Poet's Cove clearance is by phone outside the office at the top of the ramp. As we have been in the system for years, the agent on the line usually feeds our information back to us as soon as I give my name--- names, addresses, boat name, even friends' names if we've taken them in before. So my end of the clearance process is usually a string of "yesses" and "that's rights."

We keep meaning to get a Nexus Pass but that's only good for the individual it's issued to. If we have guests it would do us no good as we'd still have to clear at a POE because of the guests. So we keep putting it off.

Pender is on the way to just about anywhere we would be going as we enter the Gulf Islands. The only destination that renders Pender inconvenient to us is Cabbage Cove on the southeast end of Saturna Island.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:58 PM   #15
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My real question would be what you have seen before in the area. There is so much to see. For instance if you haven't been to Lake Washington and Union then they're worth the trip. If you haven't been to Vancouver or Victoria then I'd never want to leave the area without going. We love islands so loved Whidbey and San Juan. If you haven't explored Olympic National Park then Port Angeles is a great jumping off spot. We enjoyed heading south from Port Townsend down Hood Canal and the to the Pleasant Harbor area and beyond. And would never leave the area without Neah Bay and the Makah heritage in the area. This is without the beauty of Seattle and the Flight museum which was amazing. Now we are more marina types than anchoring but at the amazingly economical rates there (well, we are use to the Bahamas and Southeast US), what a deal. And part of the real fun for us was just motoring around the various islands, circling one after another, taking it all in.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:52 PM   #16
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We did video cruising guides to all six spots on Sucia Island (our favorite), but here's the overview video:

Boaters Guide - Sucia Island - YouTube

And here's our video guide to Patos Island (another favorite):

Boaters Guide - Patos Island - YouTube

And I echo Marin's suggestion of Cypress Island. Depending on the weather, choose from Eagle Harbor or Cypress Head. We actually liked Cypress Head better, as it has fewer mooring buoys but the same access to the best hiking in the San Juans. We are talking to DNR about creating video guides for Cypress, but used and recommend the Dreamspeaker guide book to the San Juans by Anne and Laurence Yeadon-Jones for that island.
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:35 AM   #17
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Clark Island is nice
Friday Harbor, Deer, Roche Harbor for dockage.

Really can't go wrong anywhere up there
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:44 AM   #18
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Clark Island is nice
Friday Harbor, Deer, Roche Harbor for dockage.

Really can't go wrong anywhere up there
You really can't. So much to see. We just made it to California today but had a marvelous time in Washington, Alaska, and our brief time in Oregon.
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Old 10-04-2014, 02:39 AM   #19
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You really can't. So much to see. We just made it to California today but had a marvelous time in Washington, Alaska, and our brief time in Oregon.
Are you going up to the delta on this trip?
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:39 AM   #20
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Are you going up to the delta on this trip?
When we're doing more on the water exploring in November, we will.
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