Salish Sea Cruising



We sailed Chaika locally for ten years before taking off for Mexico. Now that we are back she has returned to her former role as our "floating summer home".  One of our favorite local cruising destinations is Active Cove up in the northern San Juan Islands: tough to find a free buoy, but real nice if you get one.

The first and last nights of our trips north from Seattle usually are at the bay just south of the Port Townsend Canal.  Beautiful view of Mount Rainier and good for an early start out into the Straits.

The hike up to Eagle Cliff makes Pelican Beach a favorite stop. Note the Washington State Ferry emerging from the fog bank.

Into Roche Harbor to clear Customs, then down to Westcott Bay to pick up friends for a daysail down to English Camp and back: the GPS tells all.

One of the advantages of having a heavy, full keel boat is that we can anchor out in open roadsteads and not be affected much by swells and boat wake. We like a bit of rocking in an anchorage, like here behind the Java Islets.

Going in through the reefs to this anchorage by the Pellow Islets is a bit hair-raising, but we first did it almost 25 years ago with a little 21 foot sloop we had, and have been going in ever since.

We'd always been intrigued by anchoring inside the hook of Dungeness Spit off the lighthouse, and we finally got to try it.  Not great holding, however: cobbles.  With the sunset the wind set in down the Straits and we started dragging, so we decided a nice evening sail back into Sequim Bay would be a better idea.

Taking the dinghy around the point to the dock from the small cove inside of Eagle Point.

See the reef with the seals?  We didn't, years ago with a previous boat and went right up on it. Just recently we were on the beach there at Clark Island and watched a small sailboat under power hit it at speed: crew member on the foredeck went right over the bows into the water.  Fished out, no harm done.

A favorite spot at Blake Island: a quick escape from the city on the backside of the island facing the Olympics.
And of course the Third of July in Liberty Bay for the fireworks is an annual tradition. Watch out for that corner of the bay with the really muddy bottom!

This very picturesque cove at Toe Point on Patos turned out to be a bit too exposed to wind and current for comfort: our stern anchor dragged that evening due solely to the current on the boat.

Sidney Spit is an anchorage with some of the nicest beach hikes around. The hike around the lagoon (with a dinghy shuttle across the mouth) is not to be missed.

Fabulously lurid sunset over the Gulf Islands from the buoys in Reef Harbor.

Sequim Bay always seems wonderfully remote and quite; a nice stopover when going out the Straits.

This peaceful spot facing Orcas Island turned into a nasty lee shore with breaking waves the following morning when strong downslope winds rolled down Mount Constitution. Though we were on a buoy, it was a very low tide and we were almost on the beach.

Summer rain shower on the south end of Lopez: straight down rain, and we are cosy in the cockpit under the boom tarp with mugs of hot tea.