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Old 02-06-2010, 22:09   #1
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Where to Anchor in the San Juans

Each year we go to the 'Juans for a while. We dock up at Roche and Friday Harbor but when it comes to anchoring we're not sure where to go. Sucia and Patos are easy choices and we've anchored at Garrison Bay - all great anchorages. Blind Bay was really windy as was East Sound (mooring buoy by Rosario). Fisherman's Bay (Lopez) was really shallow - not sure I'd take the mothership there again...Can anyone recommend some great anchorages? Thanks,
Bill
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Old 02-06-2010, 22:34   #2
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Some of my usual spots;
Blind Bay
Deer Harbor
Massacre Bay
Reid Harbor
Hunter Bay
Mud Bay
Secret Harbor
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Old 02-06-2010, 22:39   #3
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delmarrey

That is a great list, but I am so disappointed that you mentioned Mud Bay. I have had the whole thing to myself a couple of times.

But one I would avoid: Matia - I found that with a current running it is very uncomfortable.

Fisherman Bay is intimidating and shallow; worse yet, lots of eel grass.

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Old 02-06-2010, 22:51   #4
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If I remember right Mud bay is right next to Indian properties but I like solitude. As for eel grass I use the Delta anchor. It plows right under it.

Matia is too shallow for my taste and not enough wind break. Hard bottom too!
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Old 02-06-2010, 23:41   #5
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I have repeatedly used MacKaye Harbor at the SW corner of Lopez. It's the good start to a cruise thru the islands, one long day from Seattle gets you there or a good end, one long day gets you home. Since you are coming from BC it is on the wrong side of the islands for that but it is still a wonderful anchorage, well protected on all sides if you tuck into the back in Barlow Bay. Very peaceful. Coming in at night there are 2 lights you can use to follow compass courses from and there were plenty of shore lights last time I was there 5 or so years ago.

Spencer Spit and Decatur Head are also nice places to anchor if you have a reliable forecast so you know whether to be on the North or South side.

Coronet Bay just inside Deception Pass is nice, though not really in the Islands.

I've never been to Prevost Harbor on the north side of Stuart Island but might be worth a look. If you get there early and it doesn't feel good, Reid Harbor on the South side of the Island was good the 2 or 3 times I have been there.
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Old 04-06-2010, 21:54   #6
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Thanks for the tips. We anchored on the wrong side of Spencer Spit and were rockin' 'n rollin' all night long. But then again, so were the boats on the other side of Spencer Spit. So what's the secret to Blind Bay - we anchored there for 4 days and were bounced around each day?.... Cheers,
Bill
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Old 04-06-2010, 22:03   #7
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Quote:
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Thanks for the tips. We anchored on the wrong side of Spencer Spit and were rockin' 'n rollin' all night long. But then again, so were the boats on the other side of Spencer Spit. So what's the secret to Blind Bay - we anchored there for 4 days and were bounced around each day?.... Cheers,
Bill
If it's spit you want, try Sidney Spit. But watch the depth.
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Old 04-06-2010, 22:19   #8
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If it's spit you want, try Sidney Spit. But watch the depth.
Sidney Spit is silting in. Approach from near the light and take a course parallel to the spit. You will pass over a very shallow after which it deepens. Near the dock is a deeper hole. Do not trust your depth sounder; use a lead line. There is a lot of eel grass in there; pick up a mooring ball. A 6' draft is OK on most tides. Check the tides for the time you will be there.
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Old 04-06-2010, 22:58   #9
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So what's the secret to Blind Bay - we anchored there for 4 days and were bounced around each day?.... Cheers,
Bill
You must have been having the Northern winds. The four or five times I was in there is was calm. I even went up the mast to replace a anchor light.
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Old 05-06-2010, 00:16   #10
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Stuart Island is hard to beat for protection from most all winds.

Jones Island is also well protected. Just pick N or S coves.

The east cove of James Island is decent when looking at a forecast calling for S or SW winds, though you might experience a little roll w/ fetch from the E and ferry traffic through Thatcher Pass. Personally, didn't bother me. I'll be back there soon enough.

Spencer Spit is nice, but a bit exposed for me. It also gets a little busy for my taste. The last time we went there, we actually turned around and anchored in Sylvan Cove on Center Island. It's well protected from everything but N winds. Only downside is there's no public access to the beach, which is VERY pretty. Made me jealous. I want a home there now.

Did anyone mention Echo Bay on Sucia? If not, go there. It's not the most protected anchorage ever, but on a mooring ball (of which there are plenty), you'll be fine. It's a beautiful and amazing island. The rock formations alone will make your jaw drop.

Lastly, I just mentioned in another thread my recent visit to Inati Bay on Lummi Island. It's very protected and has a waterfall that goes straight into the cove. Great for relaxing. Technically no shore access except at low tide though.

Hope this helps.

Rob
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Old 05-06-2010, 16:39   #11
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We go to Sidney Spit each year and anchor away from the crowds - its the San Juans I'm not very familiar with. The water in the San Juans is pristine! I used to think that Canada had such great environmental protection until I started visiting USA waters. Again, pristine.
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Old 05-06-2010, 21:16   #12
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Thanks for the tips. We anchored on the wrong side of Spencer Spit and were rockin' 'n rollin' all night long. But then again, so were the boats on the other side of Spencer Spit. So what's the secret to Blind Bay - we anchored there for 4 days and were bounced around each day?.... Cheers,
Bill
Waaay back in the SE corner.
There are a series of boats back there on private moorings.
Get in as tight as you are comfortable.
We stayed there for several days. It was great.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:26   #13
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I like Aleck Bay on the S end of Lopez. The N side of Saddlebag Is is good but watch the depths and though it feels open, it's nice weather permitting. Blind Bay is my wintertime SE'lly blowing, anchorage, never been bounced around there but if the wind is NW'ly or N'ly, then go up to the Western shore of West Sound. Couple nice spots there. It's the SE'lies that are hardest to find protection in as Sucia, Reid, Spencer Spit, Watmough, Aleck Bay are open in that direction. Jones is okay on the N end but a bit deep, small and rocky bottom, I'd only use the dock or buoys there.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:27   #14
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Did I miss someone recommending Roche Harbor as an anchorage? I don't have a complete list of the anchorages I've used in the San Juans, but I remember enjoying Roche Harbor quite a bit.

Note to myself: keep a logbook for all future charters.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:54   #15
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Did I miss someone recommending Roche Harbor as an anchorage?
Read the first post.
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