73, 74, 75 and 76
Four Days in the San Juans
A Mid Summer Trip
Laconner to Spencer Spit on Lopez Island
We left the house just before 12:00pm and headed north. Its the first test of the
trailer with the new disc brakes Mark and I installed over the last two
evenings with the new bearings and seals. We hope the grease splatter on
the side of boat will be gone. We pulled off on the SE 8th exit to
double check the lug nuts. The new brakes seem to be working well and
the hub temp is good. The rest of the drive to LaConner was uneventful.
Once at the marina we transferred the gear to the boat and then found
the lift operator. This launch is a sling launch. They don't do
sailboats, but the attendant say's they have done some Macs. Without our
mast on this trip I told him we were really a powerboat anyway. Once
done with the waiver it was off to the truck. We pulled into the sling
area and he ran the straps under the boat. The forward one is just
behind the chain plates and the aft one 12" in from the stern.
notice that the trailer was a bit off center, but he was able to lift it
off anyways. Once off the trailer we headed down to the dock. The tide
is very low and it's quite a site to see the boat flying through the air
high above the dock. After a gentle landing in the water we walked the
boat back out of the slings and tied it up. A quick trip to park the
trailer and we were ready to go.
We wound our way north through the Swinomish Channel
and out past Anacortes and Guemes Island. Crossing Rosario wasn't
and we let the autopilot handle the steering. Seas were 2-3'. Things
calmed down as we approached Thatcher Pass and we cruised in around the
south point of Frost Island. We found no buoys on the south side of
Spencer so we went through the cut to check out the north. There's
nothing there as well. We decided to go back to the south side and
anchor. We found a good spot tucked inside the moorings about half way
down the spit. The Bruce bit hard and we were securely anchored in 14'. The weather says the wind may go north, so we put out the guardian
anchor toward the beach just in case.
Nick and I inflated the dingy on the bow (boy is that
electric pump great), then we
settled in for dinner. We decided to skip the beach and instead put the
movie Garfield on the computer mounted in the new entertainment center. It worked well and we enjoyed the movie and snacks.
Having good speakers and a sub-woofer makes quite a difference in our
floating theater. We then settled in
for the night. We've gone back to Nick in the cockpit and Sam and Mike
in the aft berth. Dawn and I are up in the vee berth. We extended the
port side and added a memory foam topper. It's nice and spacious and
comfortable now. With the divider moved back to the pole we have a nice
private forward cabin.
Nick noticed the stars as he was getting ready for bed. The moon set early and tonight
at midnight is the peak of the Pkeades meteor showers. We folded back
half the connector and opened the cockpit to the show. Everyone turned
in around 10:30pm.
Anchor +1.2 ah Lights out, -6.8ah
Spencer Spit, Lopez Island
We woke around 9:00. The ferries have been going by with their fog horns
wailing. It's a heavy fog that makes it hard to even see the beach. After a light breakfast we tidied up and I took the boys to the beach.
Things were nice and quiet until we took some large rollers on the beam
and Dawns huge cup of tea she had unsecured on the cockpit table went
flying leaving a mess to clean up. I filled the ballast to settle things
down a bit.
It wasn't long before Nick called in saying Mike was hurt. Dawn and I
grabbed the medical kit and headed to shore. Mike had been playing with a
jelly fish on a stick and it shot a stinger at him that got him in the
chin. So much for listening to my warnings to leave all the jellies on
the beach alone. We didn't have the topical benadryl, so Mike and I
headed back to the boat. He was in alot of discomfort both from his chin and
above his left eye where he touched with his fingers. He took a benadryl and I applied
the gel but it took a while to have an effect. I put on a movie and got
out the pop and pringles to distract him. After the movie he was ready
to head back to the beach. Sam and Dawn have created their biggest
driftwood fort yet. It's a sprawling palace with a custom roof and a
We may have to eat dinner in it tonight. I switched the beach anchor to
stern cleat to keep us more nose on to the wakes from passing boats.
I then headed back to the beach to do a photo essay on the masterpiece. Once
we finished the photo session it was time for dinner. Wary of attracting
bees we decided to return to the boat. Dinner was a delectable Philly
Cheese Steak Hamburger Helper, loved by predictably all except Mike. The
boys and I then headed to the beach for a final bit of fort time and a
garbage run. Dawn was left to a bit of peace and quiet in the boat. Sam
and I went off to find the garbage while Nick and Mike manned the fort. On our return, Mike was in need of a restroom so we all rowed back to
the boat. We were settling in for the evening when the boys spotted some
marauding felons prowling around the fort. They attempted to dislodge
the ridgepole but failed although they did collapse a section of the
Outraged and steaming for a fight the boys and Dawn piled in the dingy
ready to kick some butt. By the time they reached the beach the hoodlums
had given them the slip. Nick prowled the beach searching for someone to
chew out to no avail. Sam and Dawn assessed the architectural damage and
made repairs improving the structure and no doubt making it both vandal
and earthquake proof.
I enjoyed the solitude and the sunset as the water turned to liquid
On their return just after dusk we gathered in the cockpit to discuss
our next day. The boys want to be back on the beach early defending
their turf. After perusing the charts and tide / current tables we
decided we will call Blakely marina a look into a slip for the next
night. This will let the boys hang out on the beach into the afternoon
and allow us to arrive later without the worry of finding space. Dawn is
looking forward to coffee, ice cream and a hot shower.
Were all tucked in at 10:00pm
Spencer Spit To Blakely Island Marina
It's another foggy morning. I woke at 6:00am to blanket of fog so thick I
couldn't see the next boat over. The ferries are heavy on their horns
this morning again.
By 9 the sun has broken through and it's going to be a beautiful day. Dawn called Blakely and we have slip
C14 reserved for tonight.
Breakfast was pancakes and bacon on the griddle which has been a great
addition to the stove. Everyone devoured the food in the blink of an
eye. The boys were concerned about the local Spencer Spit gang that was
tearing down an adjacent fort so they piled into the dingy and rowed to
shore to assert their ownership of their domain.
Once Dawn and I got things cleaned up we radioed Sam and had him pick us
Dawn went for a walk, Nick collected a bushel of crabs in his net, and
Mike got a timeout for doing rude things to stranded jellyfish. Sam put
the final finishing touches were put on the 'Beach Bungalow' including a
sign and a huge flag pole. Inside a couple more recliners were fashioned
and the finest driftwood chalet ever created was ready for it's better
homes and gardens photo shoot. Once done, we all piled in the dingy and
We fell back on the bow rode and pulled up the stern anchor, then
started the motor. Mike was on the bow doing the anchor raising. He did
great until we reached the last 30' and he had to lift 15' of chain and
break the 16lb anchor out of the bottom. I pulled it up the final
stretch and Dawn turned us east and out of the anchorage.
It was a short trip through the Frost Island Cut and across the channel
to Blakely. Once up to Peivine pass we turned into the narrow entrance
to the marina. When close enough, we spotted the slip and determined
which side would be toward the dock. Everyone sprang into action. Dawn and
Sam fendered the boat and attached the dock lines as we slowly turned
into position while I switched the dingy over as it was predictably on
the wrong side. Sam then took charge of the dingy making sure it was
barged on the port side while we maneuvered to back in. As we approached
the dock he switched to the aft line. Just as we needed to stop our
slowly drifting aft progress with a burst of forward, the idling motor
quit. Sam and I sprang out the side for the dock and slowed the boat
avoiding a dinghy motor smashing impact. A quick toss of the bow line
from Dawn and we were settled in. All in all a very efficient piece of
work by the crew with no muss or fuss.
Dawn and the boys went up to the store to pay the slip fee while I did
the final setup with spring lines, fenders, and the power connection. There are also quite a few small flies so we put out the screens
including the bow hatch screen which fit perfect on it's first use.
The boys fished and explored until dinner. Hamburgers on the grill was
the fare of the evening followed by ice-cream for desert. Everyone then
settled in to a shell painting session up at the tables by the store
while we watched the sunset. At dusk we headed below and watched "Coach
Carter" then went to bed.
After run to Blakely before charge, -10.4ah
Blakeley Island Marina to La Conner
It was a calm night. Dawn enjoyed a nice hot shower and we breakfasted
on hashbrowns and scrambled eggs. The boys spent some final shore time
while we prepped to go. The dingy is now back rolled up on the bow and everything
is ready for the trip home. We headed out at 11:30am. Once out
of the marina entrance we turned NE through Peavine Pass and across
Rosario Strait. Sam handled the piloting in his usual efficient
way. We took a different route back, passing north of Cypress
Island and south of Sinclair Island, then going north of Clark Point on
Guemes Island into Padilla Bay. There we turned south and passed
between Huckleberry Island and Saddlebag Island. We're told there
is excellent crabbing to the east of Saddlebag.
We then made for the Swinomish channel entrance
markers. It was a uneventful trip south through the channel to
LaConner. We tied up at the dock and the attendant helped up slide
the boat forward into the slings. The boat lifted off bound for
the parking lot. I went and brought the truck from the parking lot
and with very little effort the boat was snugly back on the trailer.
These sling launches are very nice. We pulled over out of the way
into the shade and put things away making the boat ready for the road.
It was a nice drive back home although there was very heavy traffic in
Everett for a Sunday afternoon.