Oak Harbor to Anacortes – 6/24/14

Our cruising destination this summer is the Broughton Islands, which are located on the coast of British Columbia, just above the top of Vancouver Island. We passed by them in 2005, on our way to Alaska. On this trip we plan to explore some of the many channels, inlets and islands which we didn’t have time to enjoy in 2005. We’ve allocated 6 weeks for the trip. We’ll average around 40nm a day on the way north, but slow down once we arrive in the vicinity of the Broughtons. If things go well, we’ll travel as far as Nakwakto Rapids and Belize Inlet before turning around for the return trip.

It’s always a goal to have the boat in the best possible condition before starting out. In preparation for this trip we went on a week long shakedown cruise on south Puget Sound, back in May. A few problems surfaced, including an anchor light which had failed, and a wheel bearing on the trailer, which had also failed. We had just enough time to install a new anchor light and get the trailer fixed. I also took our Wallas Stove over to Scan Marine for servicing, and I got the unwelcome news that, after 12 years of hard use, it was finally beyond repair and in need of replacement. In addition to replacing the stove, I had Blue Water Yachts replace our house batteries. The old ones had reached the end of their useful life. With a pair of 50 watt solar panels on board, plus new batteries and a new stove, we have high hopes of being in our best shape ever, electric wise.

We rose early on June 24 for the drive over to the Sound, with boat in tow. We arrived at Oak Harbor by 9:30am and took our time rigging and launching the boat. By noon we were in the water and off heading out. Under mostly clear sky we motored out of Oak Harbor and made the turn toward Skagit Bay. We picked up a light breeze from the south, so I raised sails and found I could make close to 4 knots with the combination of wind and a favorable current. We were able to sail for several hours, but the wind finally failed about 3 miles before reaching the south entrance of the Swinomish Channel. I had tried to time our arrival to coincide with a favorable northward current, and the channel cooperated nicely. We lined up with the range markers and channel buoys and enjoyed the scenery along the channel, past La Conner, and out into Padilla Bay. We arrived at Cap Sante Marina at 5:30pm, and tied up in our slip.

We’ll spend the next several days here in Anacortes, participating in the 25th annual MacGregor Owners Rendezvous. Early on Sunday morning, we’ll cast off and head north, on our way to the Broughtons.