September 17 – Double Island to Anacortes

sunrise at double island

The early morning sun cast a rosy glow on the clouds and created a nice reflection in the calm water at our anchorage at Double Island in West Sound, Orcas Island.

We woke up to another calm morning with a rosy sunrise. We’ve certainly had wonderful weather for this short cruise! Can’t remember another September when we’ve had such a long string of dry, warm days. Love it!

It’s Monday and we have to be back in Anacortes by Wednesday. We debated whether to stay out in the San Juans for another day, but decided that we were ready to get back so that we could get started on waxing the boat. The annual waxing needs to be done before the weather turns, so it seemed like a good idea to get back to Anacortes so we can start on that project.

The current was against us in Guemes Channel this morning, so we opted to set our course to return to Anacortes via Obstruction Pass, across Rosario Strait, then along the east shorelines of Cypress and Guemes Islands.

approaching the ferry landing on Orcas Island

As we turned into Harney Channel, we approached the Washington State Ferry landing on Orcas Island.

We left Double Island at 0900, and had the current with us as we cruised through Harney Channel. We encountered white caps and a strong northwest breeze as we crossed East Sound…which seems to be the normal weather pattern when the winds come out of the northwest.

Orcas ferry landing close-up

A closer view of the ferry landing on Orcas Island.

It was slow going with some strong whirlpools as we motored against the current in Obstruction Pass. We got there at maximum ebb! Once we got through the pass and started across Rosario Strait, we found the seas relatively calm with an easterly wind. Couldn’t explain why the wind was coming from the east, as it was a northwest wind elsewhere. Guess it’s just one of those weather anomalies caused by local weather patterns. It was a slow crossing, as we still were bucking the current, and we encountered more strong whirlpools as we passed between Towhead Island and the north tip of Cypress Island.

Obstruction Pass from Rosario Strait

Looking back at Obstruction Pass from Rosario Strait as we were on our way across.

As we made our way south along the east shorelines of Cypress and Guemes, we enjoyed having the current with us, but then we got caught in a large, turbulent tide rip near the north end of Guemes Island. It slowed us down considerably and things got exciting for a while!

Mt. Baker from Rosario Strait

As we approached the northern tip of Cypress Island from Rosario Strait, we had a nice view of Mt. Baker in the distance.

We arrived at Anacortes Marina in a light northwest wind. Got back into our slip, cleaned up the boat, and headed to the post office to get our accumulated mail. The forecast continues to call for sunny, dry days…which will be great for the waxing job ahead of us. Even though we had only a week for this September cruise, as always, we are left with wonderful memories of cruising in the islands.

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