Sucia to La Conner

August 31, 2021

There was more hiking to be done on Sucia so we loaded up in the dinghy and headed to shore. Today’s hike was the one out to Ewing Cove. It’s a great little hike that takes you to the northeast point of the island. Tonia was on the lookout for starfish as always and we found a good one. Along with other various wildlife. We got a little picture happy again so here you go…

After the hike we cast off and headed to La Conner. We decided on that path so we could go on the inside of Whidbey and check out at least two more destinations before we call the trip to an end. Had a nice cheese plate on route – from the Salt Spring Island Cheese factory of course!

Upon arriving at La Conner we took a look at options and found there was space on the Swinomish Yacht Club reciprocal dock so we headed to it. The dock master and his wife happened to be there preparing their boat for an upcoming holiday weekend cruise with their club so they helped us dock and we chatted with them for a while. They asked if we saw Docktails while in Alaska and we reported that had happy hour with them multiple times. I had forgotten that Tessa was a Past Commodore of Swinomish YC.

After settling in we made reservations at Nell Thorne and Waterfront Bistro and headed into town. After a bit of wandering around downtown, it was time for dinner and it was delicious!

Sucia Island: China Caves & Echo Bay

August 30, 2021

Fossil Bay

The previous day we promised Mayli & Boris’ son Michael that we would hike with him to explore the China Caves. This is something we had done with him a few years ago and it’s still his favorite thing in the San Juan Islands. We set of from Fossil Bay and hiked over to Shallow Bay. Once there, we traversed the shore rocks to the China Caves because it was low tide. We had a great time climbing around and squeezing thru all the areas.

Can you find all the climbers? 😉

Once we were able to extract Michael from the caves, we headed back to the dock so we could feed them lunch and say bon voyage to Ships N Giggles. They needed to travel back for work or school or some nonsense like that.

We also moved the boat from Fossil Bay over to Echo Bay and took up one of the linear ties. We did this because the upcoming low tide over night was going to be a foot lower at Fossil Bay and we didn’t really want to risk the already shallow water by the dock. Plus, Echo Bay is a bit more central to hiking the other half of the island.

After the short trip we decided to take another afternoon hike. We had never done the trail on the other side of Shallow Bay that went by the Lawson Bluff so that was the choice for the hike. It was a beautiful hike and we found some more climbing spots for Michael for future trips. We also got a bit camera happy so…

Tonia was thrilled to spend this time with her sister Emily and so happy she could make the trip out.

Turn Point Lighthouse & Back to Sucia: Fossil Bay

August 29, 2021

We started the day by finding a new crew member camped out on our kayak. A seal decided that flipping our kayak over made a great resting place.

In the morning we did the Turn Point Lighthouse hike before boating to Sucia. Boris and Mayli also joined in the fun. Partway into the hike is the Teacherage Museum so we checked that out. Also nearby is the honor-system treasure chest that had Stuart Islands t-shirts and gear for sale. Pretty neat. The hike to lighthouse leads you past the grass airport and then you arrive to a beautiful view of Boundary Pass and Canada in the distance, which was full circle as we passed this lighthouse coming back into the states.

Tonia and Emily decided to hike around and see a beach so I hitched a ride with Boris and Mayli. We found out that their dinghy fuel tank was not 5 gallons but 3. Therefore, we ran out of gas on the voyage back to the boats. Since we didn’t know how long it would be for Tonia and Emily, we called Steve and he came to the rescue and towed us back. Tonia and Emily got back before Steve arrived and laughed at us as they passed.

Once back we said our goodbyes to the Tyee cruise and prepared to travel back to Sucia. Emily had never been, so we wanted to go over and show her the splendor of the island. We also convinced Boris and Mayli to extend their vacation and stay just one more day.

We broke up the five-boat raft, and after we got all the anchors up, we motored over. Boris does not like to travel slow, so they jetted over and found that there was enough dock space for us in Fossil Bay. I was a bit concerned with the dock because the water in that area was just not that deep. After consulting the depth and tide predications, we determined that we were good for the evening and settled in.

After a wonderful charcuterie al la Mayli, a few of the crew went on a short kayak/hike around Fossil Bay, which is spectacular. You can quickly see how it gets its name. Fun fact: UW’s Burke Museum has a dinosaur bone from Sucia Island!

Reid Harbor, Stuart Island (8/27-8/28)

August 27, 2021

With Emily aboard, we departed Bellingham and motored to Reid Harbor at Stuart Island to rejoin the Tyee Yacht Club San Jaundering cruise for two nights. As we passed Sucia we met up with Boris and Mayli on their boat Ships N Giggles. We cruised over and set the anchor. Ships N Giggles dropped their crab pots and came up to raft.

Tom Tidyman came over to join us and we spent a wonderful evening playing the card game Pirate Fluxx. Can you say ARRR?

August 28, 2021

The Tyee fleet came in throughout the day. We had already planned to add two more boats to our raft. When Coda and Symphony (Laughing Loon) got close enough to radio in, we started the preparation. Boris and I put together the stern anchor and he dinghied out to pull the boats into position and dropped the anchor. Tom decided that he couldn’t miss out on the fun so he brought over his boat Alexandra to join the part. Below is the final raft.

The rest of the day was spent checking crab traps and relaxing on the boat. Tonia and Emily also went onto Stuart Island for a nice hike. They scoped out the first part of the hike we planned for tomorrow, including the Stuart Island School Teacherage Museum, and had two encounters with otters, one under the dock and another that peaked around the trail at them and then took off to the water with its mate. And they met a mother and daughter taking their boat cat ashore for some nature time!

The Tyee group had a progressive boat happy hour that concluded a wonderful day in the islands!

Bonus video of tiniest hermit crab!


August 26, 2021

We got up early and made our way over to Bellingham – a side trip to pick up Tonia’s sister Emily. It’s also the first fuel dock we’ll be pulling into since leaving Ketchikan.

The trip over was short and other than routing around tug traffic was nice.

Pulling into Squalicum Harbor we got right onto the fuel dock and took on 479 gallons. This is about 50 more than we used on the trip up to Alaska but that was justified given the additional five days of cruising we did in the Broughtons and Desolation.

The afternoon was spent preparing for Emily to arrive and getting some projects completed. We walked up to the grocery store and stopped at Goods Local Brews on the way. Tonia found a good blackberry ginger cider that she liked made by the Bellingham Cider Company. After getting the groceries we took a Lyft back to the boat and started getting cleaned up.

The day went spectacularly until an incoming boat tried to take off our bow rail. Unfortunately, Tonia had just showered, and I was in the shower when the boat arrived….so don a quick robe and shorts and we popped up to the bow to witness the other boat still ramming our rail. They were just about a foot too short for the slip in front of us while there was a whole huge space behind us. Wish they would have gone where they would have fit. When we arrived, the dock was full but as the boats cleared out the dock was wide open and had large spaces as you can see below, so we didn’t worry about it.

Shortly after the drama ended, Emily arrived and it was time for dinner. We trekked over to Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill for their last reservation slot of the night and a lovely welcome meal.

Here are a couple random pictures from the “hike” to the store:

Back in the US & Sucia Island

August 25, 2021

The day has finally arrived to head back to the US. But the trip isn’t over yet! We’re going to spend another few days in the San Juan Islands for the Tyee Yacht Club’s San Juandering cruise.

The trip from Ganges across Boundary Pass was nice and smooth. We crossed over the border as we were passing the Turn Point Lighthouse and submitted our paperwork via the CBP Roam app. Having already done it going into Alaska, we now had our verified traveler and decal info readily available. The border officer called us within a few minutes and cleared us to enter without having to go to Friday Harbor. Yay! So we changed course and headed directly to Echo Bay at Sucia Island.

The evening was grand. It was awesome catching up with all the Tyee members that we usually see throughout the summer. For some reason we didn’t get many pictures that day but here is one of us anchored in Echo Bay.

And, finally, we were treated to a nice colorful sunset.

Ganges & Salt Spring Island

August 24, 2021

Rest day! Steve has had us on a tight schedule to get back so he can see his new grandson (not yet born) but the schedule allowed for a stopover day in Ganges.

The first order of business was transportation. We headed up to the marina parking lot and conveniently there is a car/scooter rental business there. And we were lucky. The scooters were rented out later in the day but we could get in just before that reservation. We filled out the paperwork, fitted ourselves for the designer helmets, and took a practice lap in front of the staff to prove we were scooter worthy. I’m wondering how many people wreck them doing the practice?

Off we went. We decided the first stop was going to be almost the furthest away and it had cheese. We zoomed towards the Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm Shop. Zooming may be a stretch. Should have described it as putted towards. Back to the cheese. The Salt Spring Farm shop is a wonderful place. Why? You get to see, and pet, goats and they have cheese!

About the cheese, they make wonderful cheese from, you probably guessed it by now, goats’ milk. You can tour around their property, check out the goats, and get some free samples. And then of course buy some cheese for the trek home. Hope they don’t get to picky about cheese when we cross the border tomorrow. Bonus! Steve got the call from his daughter while we were eating cheese: his grandson was born earlier that morning!

After we had some delicious cheese we headed down the road to the Ruckle Provincial Park. It’s a large park on the south end of the island that was donated but still keeps active farms so they have a wide range of animals for your viewing pleasure. We arrived right as the cattle were fed so it was awesome to see them eating and playing with the hay.

Our time was almost up on the scooters so we started making the way back to the marina. We made one last stop before town at the Ciderworks. They had so many options we didn’t know what to choose so we went with a flight. As with all beverage flights there are good and there are not-as-good but it is was a fun time and a nice location with a great view!

And, it’s time to head back….

Strait of Georgia crossing to Ganges

August 23, 2021

The weather looked good so we had made the decision to get up very early and make the long run down to Ganges so we could spend a day on Salt Spring Island before heading back to the States. And a long day it was. The longest of the trip in fact. We clocked in 13.86 hours and traveled 108.24 nautical miles. Phew…. but a very smooth ride minus a few ferry wakes!

After settling in at the Salt Spring Marina, we headed up to Moby’s Pub for a small bite to eat. We were joined by our fellow Tyee members Todd and Andrea. It was great to see them and see more boaters expanding their season up to Canada.

Desolation Sound: Francis Bay to Refuge Cove

August 22, 2021

Got up early and paddled over to the shore in Francis Bay. The bay has remnants of an old logging camp, including a stairway that looks like they used to get to a dock that had seen better days. Above the shoreline was a road that was mostly overgrown but traversable to a point.

After we were finished hiking, we pulled the anchor and were off to Refuge Cove. Refuge Cove is a nice area that has a marina, fuel, store, and gift shop. They also have a restaurant that is rumored to have good burgers but they were closed for remodeling.

Broughtons onward to Desolation: Blind Channel Resort to Francis Bay

August 21, 2021

We’re starting a pattern: get up, hike, and then boat. The morning’s hike took us to Big Cedar and then on the Viewpoint Trail. Neither were all that strenuous but it’s great to be out getting the body moving.

We decided earlier that we’d stick around until early afternoon so we could transit Dent Rapids (by the Devil’s Hole) at slack current. That also gave us the additional opportunity to hit the restaurant and take in their daily specials. 

After a great lunch we cast off and headed to Dent. We left a little early so when we got there, we had to wait about 45 minutes. We just floated around and when we got impatient, we took the tug passage and transited smoothly.

After the rapids we cruised by all the resorts and came up to Jimmy Judd Island. We noticed a bunch of splashing and then saw huge sea lions as we passed. They appeared to be feeding vigorously.