Departure Port: Oak Harbor; Departure time: 6:30am; Miles cruised today: 49; Total miles cruised: 49; Winds: light to moderate; Seas: all kinds of conditions; Water temperature: 51
Greg and I are both awake before the alarm sounds at 5:15. A quick breakfast of instant oatmeal, juice and coffee lets us get off the dock and underway by our target time of 6:30am. The breeze is chilly, out of the west. I unfurl the jib on our way out of Oak Harbor, but the wind fades by the time we turn toward Polnell Point. We’ve timed our departure so we’d reach Deception Pass in the last half hour before slack and turn to flood, and our passage to Deception worked out perfectly. In all my previous transits of Deception Pass I’d always stayed in the wider main channel, but today we decide to shoot through the much narrower northern channel, called Canoe Pass. It has a tricky turn to the left halfway through, and we were quite close to rocks on either side of the boat. It was a fun stretch of water, and we got a nice bouncy ride in the outflow, once we emerged onto the main Puget Sound.
Wind is steady, out of the west, so I raise the main for some motor sailing. Our progress is slow, since we’re bucking the current of Rosario Strait. Swell coming down the Strait of Juan de Fuca creates confused seas which test us with a corkscrew motion for about half of the crossing. As we near Jack Island on the San Juan side the motion eases, and we can enjoy the ride. We enter Thatcher Pass and head toward the north end of Lopez Island. I give our friends Duane and Lori a call when we near the north end of Lopez, and they are standing on the edge of their clifftop deck, 600 feet above sea level, to wave at us and greet us by ringing their bell. I reply with a couple of blasts from the air horn. We feel duly welcomed to the San Juans.
We choose a route past the north end of Shaw Island, transiting narrow Pole Pass and heading out toward the south end of Jones Island. A nice steady southwest wind greets us when we reach open water, so I fly both sails and shut the engine down. We average around 3.5 to 4 knots most of the way across to Speiden Island. We get bounced nastily by chop and rip current on our way to Johns Island, and we drop the sails for our final run into Prevost Harbor. On our way in, we encounter a small fleet of whale watching boats, which have apparently located a pod of Orcas out on Boundary Pass, on the Canadian side.
Prevost Harbor is sparsely populated with only 10 or 11 boats, some at anchor, some on mooring balls, and 2 on the state park dock. We had intended on anchoring, but at the last minute opt for tying up to the dock. It will be convenient for going for a shore walk, and it’s been a long day. One of the boats at the dock is a MacGregor, so we immediately strike up a conversation. Owners are Larry and Laura, nice folks who have owned their 26M for just over a year. They recognize our boat’s name from previous blog posts, and we enjoy the conversation.
Barbqued hamburgers, eaten at the picnic table on the dock, cap a full day, and a great start to the trip. We’re sitting just 2 miles from the Canadian line, and a mere hour’s run in the morning will bring us to the Canadian Customs Dock.