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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…