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Old 04-07-2011, 21:41   #1
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Sailing in the Puget Sound End of July

We will be sailing up to the San juans from Olympia Washington at the end of July. Would like to spend a couple days up there , before we head back south to Portland Oregon . Looking at charts there seems to be a zillion places we could anchor or hit a marina. Don't have passports yet , so don't want to mess with Canadian entry. Any local knowledge and suggestions would really be great. Probably be two boats. Our 44foot islaner with 6 foot draft , and a friends 38foot seawind catamaran. Have dinghies and anchorages are fine. Or if there is a marina with transient births we shouldn't miss.........
Thx in advance , Bob
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:02   #2
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

As someone who doesn't get down beyond Admiralty Inlet anymore, let me list off a few of my favourite places to sail/anchor. I haven't been following your cruise, so I don't know if you have specific interests like things-to-entertain-kids or dogs-on-board, etc.
  1. Port Townsend. Great things to do ashore, very sailor/nautical oriented. Excellent B&Bs for a night ashore. You can anchor just off the waterfront, or get a transient berth, or (with power dinghies) anchor across the bay between Indian and Marrowstone Islands (the interesting dog-leg entrance opens to a long bay, every inch of which is easily anchorable, yet everyone seems to try to crowd into Mystery Bay.
  2. Mats Mats Bay: You probably will not be able to anchor here, but an interesting place to visit if you have time. Just south of the Port Townsend Canal, a hurricane hole nonpareil in a place with no hurricanes, and chock-a-block with boats every time I've been here. A good dinghy tour, but usually completely windless and stifling; last I was there a sailing scow with window boxes seemed permanently anchored.
  3. Sequim Bay/Sequim: The John Wayne marina was a great stop 10+ years ago; haven't been sailing here since. The bay entrance is nearly perfectly blocked by the bars, but you enter via a long cut between them. This is one of the few places you can *see* why all the west coast bays and waterways are dangerous. The bay itself is a lovely bit of serene water, great for dinghy sailing (when I was there, more wind in the southern reaches.) Anchor behind the sandbar for a day of reading books, or take the bus from the marina into Sequim, the 'blue hole' of the Olympic Peninsula, famous for the sandspit (good walking park) and locally known as a retirement community (not sure if there is a nightlife here.) There is enough commercial lavender grown in the region to make you think you've fallen into a victorian linen closet.
  4. Anacortes: Excellent active waterfront; transient berths are great, and some people anchor just east of the boatyards. There's a marine trade store here with an ecclectic collection of nautical supplies and gew-gaws to which I make regular pilgrimage. Again some nice places ashore to spend a night. Haven't found much in way of fine dining here, probably because I'm usually here to do boatwork, but plenty of regular restaurants and watering holes.
  5. Neah Bay: I've never sailed into here, just visited by road. It looks like much of the bay is anchorable, I don't know if there are transient slips. Ashore there are several very interesting hikes, especially the Cape Flattery Trail. The museum is definitely worth a visit. Great place to wait for a favourable weather window by reports; the commercial fishing fleets tuck in here at times.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:17   #3
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

Port Ludlow is a nice spot. Good marina, nice anchoring spots, mostly a bit deep.
Mats Mats Bay used to have a lot of derelicts, but it's been cleaned up some.
We never have had any trouble finding a spot.
Follow the range finder when you enter, and don't enter or leave on a low tide.
South of Port Townsend Bay is Marrowstone, another place to visit, although out of your way on a trip to the SJ's.

In the SJ's Garrison Bay is great. Lots of room and stuff to see.
Nearby Roche Harbor is fun for a history tour. Quite touristy, a good check in spot when returning from Canada and a place for power boats to try to impress each other.

Blind Bay on Shaw Is. is a good place to unwind. Anchor way in the back for best peace and quiet.

We'll be in the islands from the 18th to 26th so stop by if you see us.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:39   #4
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

Pick up a copy of the Waggoners Guide 2011. It will have tons of information regarding anchoring and marinas. There's also cruising guides to the San Juans. Browse through 'em and head to a place that piques your interest. It's all good.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:38   #5
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

Port Angels: a bit farther west from Sequim Bay/Sequim/Dungeness Spit. Last time I was there it was a medium sized working town that was starting to become more touristy. In town you can find Swains, the ultimate general store.

Mats Mats bay has a sandy bottom with no rocks at the NW corner. In the past I have been willing to anchor overnight in very marginal depths near the NW corner of the bay. An all chain rode on short scope could anchor between some of the permanent moorings given how protected the bay is. The entrance to the bay is a .25nm or so west-bound leg following range marks then a .25nm or so south bound leg. Right at the turn there is a rock that sticks up from the general seabed, I can't remember whether it was towards the inside or outside of the turn but there is enough water to pass over at a +1 or +2 tidal state. I found this rock once on a negative tide and had friends find it once too.

Mackaye Harbor/Barlow Bay: At the SW corner of the Lopez Island just before entering San Juan Channel. The only really protected anchorage at the south end of the San Juans. If you arrive late and don't want to press on in the dark this is a good place to anchor overnight.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:00   #6
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

"We will be sailing up to the San juans from Olympia Washington at the end of July..." Uhh....I believe you mean motoring..... :>) Sorry...just couldnt resist!
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:36   #7
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

I haven't lived there for several years but I used to keep my boat at the old alcohol plant resort. Located south of Port Townsend just north of the bridge to Indian Island. Quiet and out of the way but nice folks.
Make certain you make Point Wilson near the slack tide and grab the outgoing to carry you across the Straits. Then if you timed it right the incoming will carry you up through cattle pass to Friday Harbor and beyond. I liked Sucia Island.
Enjoy.
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:47   #8
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

You may not need passports even if you plan to enter Canadian waters. Good entry port is South Pender Island that used to be open in the summer months. I heard that there is an enhanced Washington State drivers license available that is acceptable for entry into Canada and re-entry into the US... check it out. If you do plan to cruise Canadian waters, check the firearms restrictions carefully. Great time of year to be cruising up there... Capt Phil
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Old 05-07-2011, 13:11   #9
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
You may not need passports even if you plan to enter Canadian waters. Good entry port is South Pender Island that used to be open in the summer months. I heard that there is an enhanced Washington State drivers license available that is acceptable for entry into Canada and re-entry into the US... check it out. If you do plan to cruise Canadian waters, check the firearms restrictions carefully. Great time of year to be cruising up there... Capt Phil
Some sites to check out for crossing the border

DHS | Crossing U.S. Borders

Safety and Security - Admissibility

Firearm Users Visiting Canada
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Old 05-07-2011, 13:36   #10
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

Also check Canadian Customs Gulf Islands for the Enhanced Washington State drivers license acceptability... Capt Phil
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Old 05-07-2011, 15:06   #11
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Re: Sailing in the puget sound end of july

Zillion of places in the San Juans - I have been known to anchor in Indian Cove on Shaw then head out the Sna Juan Channel between Lopez and San Juan Island on the way to Neah bay. With (and this is important) the right tidal current you can get quite a boost on your way to Neah Bay. Otherwise, avoid it.

It is a long days sail to Neah bay if you depart the San Juans early and don't mind motoring if needed.

Once in Neah Bay fuel up off one of the 2 fuel docks and either anchor out or get a slip. Quieter to anchor out. Get a good sleep and plan you departure based on the expected time to arrive at the Columbia.

I tend to leave Neah Bay at first light or just before and then to adjust my speed to arrive at the Columbia an hour or so before the slack. This gives me a chance to listen to the chatter and to ask for a bar report. The Columbia bar is not to be underestimated.

If the weather is good you might try going through hole in the wall. This is the passage between Tatoosh Island and Cape Flattery- pass here: 48N23.324 124W43.946. You will be able to see the rock awash tothe south in the center. Go halfway between the rock and tatoosh is. Often you will see the locals zooming through at 20 kt.


Regards, Ethan
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:29   #12
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Re: Sailing in the Puget Sound End of July

Wow, some great advice here.
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:35   #13
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Re: Sailing in the Puget Sound End of July

Had a great weekend in the San Juans. Saw a pod of Orcas at the SW side of Lummi Island. We had them all to ourselves for about an hour and then the whale watching boats showed up. I can only think that with the number of whale watching boats there, it is a regular occurrence. Might want to check it out
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:33   #14
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Wow , this is awesome. Thanks every body for the tips. Guess it's time to pick a few an start planning. Only gonna have a few days to play up there. Senormechanico , how would I recognize your boat ? Where ya gonna be when ? We will be aboard our 44islander silvergirl .
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:46   #15
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Re: Sailing in the Puget Sound End of July

SVSilvergirl.
I'll send you a PM.
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