Sailing up here will definitely teach you a thing or two. We made it up to Hope Island day one. Great spot. I was afraid it wouldn't be protected enough, but w/ winds from the S, we were more than fine anchored off the N of the island.
Day two was rainy. We didn't want to sit around and wait for slack tide to go through Deception Pass, so we went through during a 7kt ebb. Uh, that was interesting. More like running whitewater rapids in a sailboat. The eddies were amazing. And that was just the beginning. Winds were already averaging 15-20 kts from the S and it was only 9a, so we decided to head
N up Burrows Bay and on thru Short Bay, w/ the intent of crossing Rosario and shooting straight thru Thatcher Pass on a nice broad reach. Once out of Short Bay, we got the sails
up and cracked off at a decent pace, but within a 15-20 minutes, we were near the shipping
channel, and had to decide whether pass in front of or behind a barge. I knew we could easily pass ahead of the barge, as we were on a run at this point towards Thatcher and could easily go beam to the wind. Or so I thought. We did beat the barge, no problem, but we almost immediately found ourselves in a serious current
off Belle and Bird Rocks. Honestly, I had incorrectly assumed we could head
off to the NW (wind from the S) after passing the barge, with the rocks still well off to port, but the current
was 5 kts+. Honestly, I guess I could have jibed and headed back E, and in retrospect, that would have almost certainly have been better, but I didn't. Instead, I fought the current and averaged 1-1.5 knots for a good 45 minutes. All the while, I was entirely too close to the rocks. It wasn't relaxing, and it taught me a big lesson I should have already known-- while you may be in the clear with one obstacle, clearing it a little close may not give you adequate room to clear another one. That being said, unless I'm intimately familiar w/ an area, I'm not doing something like this again. While the map showed the rocks, I assumed winds and our planned point of sail was all that mattered. Currents clearly rendered that assumption wrong.
Anyway, enough dwelling on the bad. Thankfully, everything else went well from that point one. We headed over to Jones Island, which was chock full of boats in its north cove, so we impressed the crowd by dropping anchor
between the shore and the closest mooring
buoy. You gotta love retractable boards and rudders.
Next day, winds were light, so we motored through the Wasp Islands and then continued E to Bellingham Bay, where once again, S winds picked up, but this time we were on flat water
and wind speeds never exceeded 11 kts. We set ourselves up for a nice beam reach and quickly achieved constant 7 kt SOG. We tacked back close to Chuckanut Bay and headed W to Inati, which I had read was a nice anchorage. The books
were right, it's quite an amazing place. We anchored close to shore, w/ the the waterfall well within eye and earshot. Once the rain subsided, we took the dinghy
close in for an inspection
of the waterfall. I'll leave it at that, as I believe anything above tidal flats are technically private. Anyway, fun stuff. We were lucky to have it to ourselves for most of the evening.
The next day, I was forced to cut short our trip for family
reasons, so I decided to leave the boat at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham. The sail across Bellingham Bay was pretty rough, with 20-25 kt winds at 9a in the morning. We were pretty happy to get into the harbor, but were pretty frustrated to discover the slip we had been offered wasn't available. We eventually sorted things out and got another slip and cleaned the boat up. I'm now heading back up tomorrow for a weekend sail. We'll probably just keep the boat up there this summer and sail weekends + maybe a week or two.
That is, assuming we can get a longer term slip. The current one is only available thru July 1. After that, we need to find a new slip, and Squalicum doesn't currently have any available, so let me know if you have any ideas. We'll need one that can safely handle 14ft beam and 34 ft length.