Have taken a class out of Anacortes, chartered there once, and will be chartering again this June. Each time we've used ayc.om and been very happy, the quality of their boats exceeds other places we've chartered (BVI's, California). Our experience, while not extensive, have been a little more positive than the flavor in the above posts, but of course each trip is different.
1. Tides/current - yes, they can be large, but 10 knots is rare. Get a copy of the Current
Atlas for Juan de Fuca Strait and also Washburn's Tables for 2011. They will give you a graphical depiction of the currents at the date/time you are going. Plan to go through narrow passages at slack water
, and watch the tides when you anchor
and you should be fine. The current
in the San Juan's themselves are a little less than further north, and on a week's charter
out of Anacortes you'll unlikely go much beyond the San Juan's.
- not a big deal. Check in at Victoria or Bedwell Harbor, it's just by phone
and only takes a couple minutes. On return, Roche Harbor or Friday Harbor is a good choice, it takes longer and a bit more of a pain, but not a big deal at all.
3. Going ashore - yes, some private areas that should be respected. But, plenty of shore areas too. In particular, a hike up Mt Constitution is a highlight (dock at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island). Get a good guidebook - we like the Dreamspeaker Guides.
- definitely be prepared for rain. But, we have gone the whole week in early June with not a single
- not consistent like the BVIs, but early morning is often good. The days are very long, sunrise is at 5am in June, so you can get going early. But, be prepared to motor
6. Scenery - fantastic. Well worth it in my opinion.