September 16 – Port Browning to Double Island

port browning sunrise

It was calm overnight and in the early morning at our Port Browning anchorage. The light of the early morning sun reflected in the calm water and made for a glorious sunrise.

After a calm night at anchor in Port Browning, we woke this morning to another wonderful sunrise. We decided it would be a good day to return to the U.S., and spend a couple more days in the San Juans before we had to be back in Anacortes.

morning in port browning

Looking out into the harbor at Port Browning in the early morning light.

As we prepared to leave Port Browning, the wind freshened around 0900, and we got away at 0945 with an intended destination of Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. We always enjoy anchoring in Reid Harbor, and figured that was a good place to stop toward the end of our September cruising.

port browning shoreline

The shoreline at Port Browning glows from the sunrise.

kayak with spinnaker

While we were getting ready to leave, we watched this paddler sailing his kayak with a spinnaker, taking advantage of the morning breeze.

kayak with spinnaker close up

This closer picture shows how the kayaker is controlling his spinnaker.

We set our course to head south in Plumper Sound, cross Boundary Pass, and go through Johns Pass to reach Reid Harbor. We timed our departure so that we would cross Boundary Pass and enter Johns Pass near slack current. We’ve been through Johns Pass before. It requires some careful navigating and it is much better at slack current.

chart boundary pass area

This screenshot from my iPad shows the area where we navigated today.

As we left Port Browning, we encountered stronger winds in Plumper Sound, which moderated as we made our way across Boundary Pass and got closer to U. S. waters. We rolled a lot in the waves and swells until we were about half way across.

view of mt. baker from boundary pass

Looking to the east, Mount Baker rises above the blue water and makes for a scenic crossing of Boundary Pass. This photo was taken when we were about half way across.

Since we timed our passage to be crossing Boundary Pass near slack current, that probably explains why we saw a bunch of boats (including a couple of whale watching boats) idling in circles near Turn Point, just outside Prevost Harbor. The whales were probably feeding! As we neared Stuart Island, the whales must have moved on, because the boats started to leave the area. Several very large motor yachts kicked up their throttles and continued past us at high speed, leaving some big wakes that really rolled us around for a while. Sure wish that large power boat operators would look back once in a while to see how dangerous their wakes might be to other boats they pass!

stuart island from boundary pass

Before we changed our plans, we were headed toward Johns Pass. You can see the opening to the pass if you look carefully toward the center of this photo of the Stuart Island shoreline from the middle of Boundary Pass.

As we approached the entrance to Johns Pass, we discovered a problem with one of our water pumps. Jim thought he could fix it once we stopped, but, after a brief discussion, we decided to change our destination. Instead of heading to Reid Harbor where we would be further away from Anacortes, we turned southeast and headed toward Orcas Island. We decided to stop at Double Island in West Sound, where that we would be closer to Anacortes in case Jim wasn’t able to fix the pump.

rosie at double island

Once we were anchored at Double Island, Rosie stretched out and really relaxed on our galley counter. The buildings at Double Island are visible in this photo looking out the port windows of our cabin.

There were no other boats when we anchored at Double Island, and it was a great place to tackle the pump. Jim found a small obstruction in one of the check valves, and was able to remove it and the pump was working again. Hooray!

sunset at double island

The setting sun cast a red glow on the overhead clouds that was reflected in the calm water of our anchorage at Double Island. A nice view to end the day.

Three other boats came in to anchor before nightfall. It was a little windy and the wind kicked up a few waves that kept us moving around most of the afternoon, but things settled down before dark. We fixed guacamole from our ripe avocados and enjoyed a quiet evening.

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