July 5 – Port Browning to Anacortes

leaving port browning

Looking back at Port Browning Marina in the early morning as we were leaving on our way to Anacortes.

It was glassy calm and clear at o-dark-thirty this morning. The forecast calls for wind to fill in later in the day, but it sounds like there will be less wind in the San Juan Islands than in the Gulf Islands. Today might be a good day to get back to Anacortes.

heron on breakwater

A lone heron was sitting on the steel pipe breakwater at Port Browning Marina when we got ready to leave. The bird, pipe, trees, and shoreline cast interesting reflections in the calm water from the glow of the early morning sun.

port browning morning

It was glassy calm at Port Browning this morning. This view is looking out from our slip at the marina.

reflections at port browning

The early morning sun and calm water made for interesting reflections as we looked back at the shoreline in Port Browning when we left.

We cast off the dock lines at 0600, and headed out under sunny skies and calm water. As soon as we got closer to Plumper Sound, we found lumpy conditions and about 10-15 knots of wind on our port beam. The wind turned behind us in Plumper Sound.

Boundary Pass was really lumpy too. We were there at maximum ebb, which always causes lumpy seas and whirlpools. Not the best time, but at least we didn’t have a lot of wind on top of the current. As we started out on our course to cross to cross the pass, we noticed a big ship heading west from Vancouver, which would go right across our course. Needless to say, we didn’t want to be in front of the fast moving ship! We decided to slow down and wait for the ship to pass.

Then we looked to the west and saw another ship emerging from Turn Point! Now there were two ships crossing our intended course. We looked at the shoreline and noticed a small cove that was fairly calm, so we turned into the cove to wait out the ships.

Then we noticed a THIRD ship heading west from Vancouver! The gods were definitely challenging us this morning. We can’t remember ever seeing this much shipping traffic all at once! We idled around our little cove for almost a half hour waiting for the ships to get by. Then, when we did start across, we had to go through the wakes from all the ships.

The wakes from the big ships are huge, and we try to avoid being too close, but sometimes we just have to make the best of it. We had way more boat motion that we wanted so early this morning, but we slowed down and got through the wakes okay, and then continued across in about a 2-foot chop with 10-15 knots of wind from the southwest.

ships in boundary pass

We had to wait for about a half hour for three ships to pass before we could get across Boundary Pass. This photo shows two of the ships passing as we waited by the shoreline.

leaving canada boundary pass

As we were crossing Boundary Pass, this is a look back to Canada. This shows our course as we left Plumper Sound.

When we got closer to Spring Passage, the seas became calmer. However, we were still fighting an adverse current and it was slow going until we reached Orcas Island. We turned into Deer Harbor and idled there to call U. S. Customs. Our Nexus passes allow us to clear customs via cell phone. If they give us clearance over the phone, we don’t need to stop. If they want to inspect us, they will tell us to stop at a customs dock. This time we were cleared over the phone, and we continued on our way.

approaching spring passage

As we looked forward toward Spring Passage and the San Juan Islands, the seas began to smooth out and it became more comfortable.

blind bay shaw island

There were lots of boats anchored in Blind Bay on Shaw Island when we went by in Harney Channel.

washington state ferry shaw island

One of the Washington State ferries was unloading cars at the Shaw Island terminal as we went by in Harney Channel on our way through the San Juan Islands.

The sun had disappeared and clouds filled in as we entered the San Juan Islands. The seas were fairly calm but it had become a very gray and uninspiring day. We headed through the islands in Harney Channel and continued on to Thatcher Pass. Rosario Strait was at slack and the wind was still down when we crossed. The current in Guemes Channel was turning to flood as we got to the entrance. The current gave us a nice push on our way to Anacortes.

landing barge

This unusual looking landing barge passed us as we made our way through Thatcher Pass, heading toward Rosario Strait.

We arrived in Anacortes at 1145, stopped at the Marine Servicenter fuel dock to fill our diesel tanks, and then continued on to our slip in Anacortes Marina. The clouds persisted until later in the day when the sun finally broke through. It always feels good to be back to our home marina.

mickey in carrying case

We keep the kitties’ carriers in the forward cabin and sometimes Mickey likes to crawl into one of them for security. That’s where he spent most of this morning’s cruise.

It was a great trip, even with the maintenance challenges. We traveled a total of 400 nautical miles and had a great celebration dinner at Dent Island Lodge for our 40th wedding anniversary. Now we will work on cleaning up the boat and figuring out what we need to do to get our electrical system working properly again. Pretty sure some new batteries are in our future…

phoenix anacortes marina

The sun came out near the end of the afternoon, and Phoenix looks good back in our home slip at Anacortes Marina.

6 thoughts on “July 5 – Port Browning to Anacortes

  1. We sincerely enjoyed cruising along with you electronically. Your narrative and pictures were great. We, too, are glad you are back safe and sound.

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