104, 105, 106 and 107
Northern San Juans
A Summer Trip
Previous Part of the trip
Fox Cove, Sucia Island
It was a calm and quiet night in Fox Cove. Dawn rowed to shore with the dogs
around 8:30am. It's going to be a low -1.8 tide at 11:04 this
morning. On my trip to shore near that time I checked the depths around the inside of the
buoy we are on for future reference if we ever need to anchor. At
the extra low tide inside where we would anchor there is about 3' of
water which would work with all fins up, another great feature of a Mac.
As I was walking along the beach a stranger approached
and asked if I was 'Duane Dunn?'. He has read all about our
travels on this website and saw the name of our boat. Their Mac is
over at the dock in Fossil Bay and they are camping because their kids
are older and too big to all fit at night.
I spent some time planning for tomorrow's passage, it looks like
we should skirt over by Matia then turn south to take advantage of a
very strong current going south. Slack before flood is at 12:45pm,
as long as we go south before then we'll be in good shape.
A late breakfast of French Toast and Sausage was a
good start to the day. The boys and I then loaded up in the dinghy
for our big adventure. Ever since we were at Sucia in 2003 Nick
has wanted to return to the cove we went ashore in that had great caves
in the rocks, at least great to an 8 year old. This cove happens
to be in the NE corner of Echo Bay, quite a distance from here. To
reduce the walk, Mike took the helm of the dinghy and we went north
around the outside of Sucia to Shallow Bay. We pulled in to the
shore at the middle beach that is just over a low rise from Echo Bay.
This cut our distance to walk in half.
From there we walked first along an access road, then
a wide trail, and finally a narrow trail along the cliff until we were
above the target cove with the caves. We had to take a narrow
steep trail down to the edge of the cliff then walk down a fallen log to
reach the beach. Finally, there it was, the cave much talked
Nick and Mike were able to enter the cave and crawl
about inside. Sam thought better of this in his advanced age and
waited above outside. They finally managed to make the transit
into the cave and up the chimney to the outside where Sam waited.
Once they had explored thoroughly the full cavern
system they were satisfied. We made the trip back along the beach
as there was an hour or so of beach left to walk on before the tide came
in and cut us off. All the varied eroded sandstone was really cool to look at and
play on. Some caves were like mouths with harder stones embedded
in them like teeth. We finally came around far enough to have easy
access back up to the road. From there it was a short walk back to
the dinghy and a fast trip back to the boat.
Dawn had spent her 2-1/2 hours alone cleaning and
dealing with barking dogs. Not the most restful time. Once
back everyone wanted snacks and drinks. The boys made soda with
the soda machine and basically messed around as boys do. Finally
everyone quieted down around 5pm. A bit past 6pm Dawn took the
dogs and the boys to Little Sucia in search of firewood. The dogs
could run free there and hopefully wear themselves out yet again. A heavy
layer of clouds has rolled in and we may get a little rain.
Everyone returned around 6:45pm with a dinghy load of firewood
and a wet dog. Jenny walked out on a log that at low tide is well
up the beach. At the current high tide it is in about 3' of water,
I guess dog's eyes can't tell the difference with the clear water and
she jumped off the log. It was a good test
of her PFD, after she disappeared under the surface she quickly bobbed
back up and was able to swim to shore. She survived fine but was a
sand magnet and is a bit cold.
We had a dinner of hamburger helper and French bread,
then all piled into the dinghy already piled high with wood to go to shore for smoores. The fire
started easily and soon it was dark. The boys started flaming
marshmallows with abandon and soon had smoores galore.
A few sprinkles fell but stopped initially only to
return with renewed energy after an hour or so. We filled a
shopping bag with water, dowsed the fire, then motored back to the
boat in the rain.
Soon we had everyone tucked inside and things dried
off. It began to rain in earnest and the wind picked up quite a
all turned in to read around 10pm and the storm blew through and was
done by 1am.
Sucia Island to Rosario Resort, Orcas Island
Up at 8:30am Dawn made the final trip to the beach here while I prepped for
today's journey. We are headed south to Rosario Resort.
Around 9:30am the dinghy motor was back on the bracket and we were ready
We stuck close to Sucia as we started out to avoid the
contrary 2.2 knot current down by Orcas. We passed Fossil Bay and
Snoring Bay before setting out to Matia Island. We wanted to see
what the anchorage there looked like for future trips. We went
down the east side of Matia and between it and Puffin Island. Now
we are out in Rosario Strait proper and the ebb current is against the
wind which makes for an occasional rough ride. We were however
getting 2 -2.5 knots of current push south.
We rode the current clear south to Lawrence Point
where we turned west for Obstruction Pass. A slight detour took us
by Doe Island State Park for a look where there is a buoy and small dock.
This is one of the few places to stop along the east shore of Orcas
Island. We'll have to try it sometime.
A quick trip through Obstruction Pass took us
into East Sound and soon we were up at Cascade Bay where Rosario Resort
is. We radio'd in but couldn't get a slip as they were backed up.
We circled for a while and then finally went over and grabbed a mooring
ball to wait for them to get back to us. Listening to the radio
chatter about overbooking and such we decided to have Dawn row into the
dock and sort things out face to face. She got the situation
resolved and radio'd that we were assigned slip 15 north. It is
all the way inside and was a tight fit to get into. Even tighter
is going to be the fit for the MotorCat 28 in 16 north when he returns.
In no time the boys (minus Sam) were up at the pool.
It is heated to 89 degrees and the report is that it is great. We
BBQ'd another flank steak and made Steak Hoagie sandwiches for dinner
along with fries from the nearby restaurant grill.
The boys and I took the dogs for a long walk up to the
point and soon after we were ready
for a movie. Dawn picked "Dreamer" which everyone watched under
protest except Sam who has his nose in the new Harry Potter book I
finally gave him this afternoon once he completed his summer reading
assignment book. The movie turned out to be a good one and we
wrapped it up and went to bed around 10pm.
Rosario Resort, Orcas Island
Dawn and I got up around 8:30am and after she had walked the dogs we snuck
off to the resort spa. We had a nice soak in the Jacuzzi pool and
a swim in the indoor pool both of which we had to ourselves. After
a nice long shower we weren't ready to return to the boat and the boys so we went to
the restaurant for the breakfast buffet with a beautiful view of East
Once back at the boat, Dawn made omelets and bacon for
the boys using the last of our breakfast supplies. Tomorrow
morning we plan to all eat out. After I did the dishes and Dawn
did some cleanup, Mike, Nick and Dawn walked down to the main dock store
which is not part of the resort and has much better prices. Sam
and I pulled the dinghy, rinsed it and deflated it so we could store it
back on the bow once Dawn returned to help. She bought Sam some
swim trunks so he can leave the boat and go swimming now that he has
finished the 750 page book he started yesterday afternoon. Is that
any way to enjoy a story?
I hung around the boat stowing things away and
basically puttering around and getting
ready for our departure tomorrow. Things are now shipshape and
ready to go, it's a very relaxing and enjoyable kind of work. Time to kick back and chill.
Today is a gorgeous sunny day with a north wind and
not a cloud in the sky. The pool crew returned around 4pm and we
all went to resort grill for ping pong and happy hour. The boys
play a mean game and even Mike is ready for the Olympics. He
saved the ball rolling down the boat launch before it reached the water.
After we were played out we ordered Pizza for dinner.
Once full, we all went for a walk and a bit of shuffle board and Bocce ball.
Too bad none of us knows the rules to either. We then wandered up the hill
to the mansion and scored some great chocolate chip cookies at the front
desk. From there we strolled up to the hedge lookout on the
hilltop for the sunset. We met a nice couple from Canada with a
Schnauzer and chatted about boating. They are from Otter Bay on
North Pender Island which we visited a few years back.
We returned to the boat at dusk for popcorn and the
movie "The Good Shepherd". It was a long and confusing movie and
we didn't turn in until 11:30pm.
Orcas Island to Anacortes
The plan was to all go to breakfast at the mansion but we neglected to
consider the dogs. We settled for what we had in the cooler as
leftovers and some poor pastries from the store. Shortly after 10am we were unplugged and backing away from the dock. The north
wind and low tide made the departure tricky but we pulled it off.
Once clear of the marina's mooring field we opened her
up to 10 knots headed for Anacortes. We had about a 1 knot push
going south in East Sound on the ebb tide. We were briefly against
the current in Peavine Pass but once we turned south on the east side of
Blakely Island in Rosario Strait we took advantage of the peak ebb
current. The current table said the flow was 3.6 knots and at
times we were doing 10 knots through the water but making 14 knots over
The flow lessened some as we turned under Cypress
Island and turned against us when we reached Guemes Island. After
two mid channel stops, one for a low oil alarm, now we know what that
sound is, and one to change fuel
tanks we rounded the head and turned into Cap Sante Marina.
We pulled up to an empty end pier to lower the mast and
get ready to pull the boat out. Mike and Nick took the net and rod
and started a very successful fishing derby, while Dawn walked the dogs. Somehow
she missed out on both the setup and the tear down of the boat as Sam
and I did all the work. The new arch worked great yet again and
soon everything was down and stowed.
Dawn, Nick and Mike headed for the truck while Sam and
I took the boat over to the lift, at least that's what we thought the
plan was. After Sam and I had cast off and were heading down the
fairway we saw Mike still fishing. We yelled to him and he paced
us as we made our way in to shore. He ended up walking all the way
around rod in hand.
Nick turned out to be waiting at the the lift as well.
Dawn spent time trying to figure out where they had both vanished to, but once she saw us
already at the lift she started the long walk to the truck. We had
the boat in the sling ready to lift before she finally showed up with
the truck. It was an easy loading process with the great new lift
and soon the boat was ready for the road.
We grabbed a late lunch at 'Jack in the Box' (where
they failed miserably to provide a complete order) and then
headed south for home. Traffic was light going in our direction
until Bellevue and we had a uneventful trip home.