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.
We’re back on the water for part 2 of our 2012 cruising! We’re having a very nice sunny and dry stretch of weather…but a little on the cool side. There’s definitely a nip of fall in the air.
We woke to a rosy sunrise and cold morning (45 degrees). Clouds filled in later, but cleared by midday and it was quite pleasant. A great day to try out our new Superwinch to launch the dinghy and take a hike!
The new winch works GREAT! It’s wonderful to be able to push a button and hoist the dinghy. Not too noisy either. We are quite pleased with our new arrangement.
The hike from the State Park (link: Stuart Island Marine Park) at the head of Reid Harbor to the Turn Point Lighthouse is abut 4.5 miles round trip. This is one of our favorite boating hikes, and we’ve been doing it since the late 1970s when we first started boating in the San Juan Islands. Much of the hike is on the main county road on Stuart Island. It’s usually dry and dusty, but after the past couple of rainy days, we encountered several places where we had to get around gooey mud and mud puddles. Plus, the county had recently put down large chunks of crushed rock, which was good for the ATVs that use the road, but not so good for hiking!
We found some familiar things as we reached the top of the hill: Stuart Island’s school, the Stuart Island museum (formerly their one-room school house), and the Boundary Pass Trader’s Treasure Chest with lots of souvenir clothing that they sell on the I.O.U. system. We found a couple of shirts to buy.
We also found a wonderful display of finely made wooden bowls, being sold by Alex Olson of Stuart Island Woodworking. Alex lives and goes to school in Seattle, but spends summers with his family on Stuart Island. He uses mostly native wood found on Stuart Island, and his work looks great. He plans to display his bowls for sale in this location through the middle of August. Alex said he can create custom bowls by request. If you’re interested, please leave a comment in the “Leave A Reply” box below, and we will send you his contact information.
Once we reached the Turn Point Lighthouse, we discovered a new addition. The Turn Point Lighthouse Preservation Society (http://www.tplps.org) has restored one of the buildings on the site and has opened an historical museum there. It’s a great museum with a very thorough display of historical events about the lighthouse and the lightkeepers, and we enjoyed browsing through all the artifacts that are on display. While we were there, a host was available to answer questions.
Back at Phoenix, we enjoyed being able to hoist our dinghy back to the boat deck easily with our new electric winch, and settled in for a quiet evening.
First, a note. We are now back in Anacortes after a one-week cruise from July 2nd to the 8th…but we did not have access to the Internet while we were out, so publishing the posts from our cruise has been delayed. This is the first post from our cruise…more to come soon!
The weather conditions in Anacortes looked good this morning…grey and overcast, but no strong wind and no rain. This was a good morning for us to head out for our first cruise of 2012.
We caught the outbound current in Guemes Channel, and crossed Rosario Strait near the slack. We found lots of boat traffic in Harney Channel this morning, including several ferries. One of the ferries came up behind us as we motored west in the narrowing channel by Shaw Island…we got caught between the oncoming ferry and a large power boat with an enormous wake next to us paralleling our course, so ended up turning toward the beach and slowing almost to a stop, then going in a circle so that we could cross behind all of them. Harney Channel can get really crowded in July and August!
This was our first opportunity to use the Navionics iPad app “Marine & Lakes U.S. and Canada” for navigation. What a neat tool! It has an outstanding display, fast seamless operation, and runs from the iPad’s GPS without the need of a cell connection. The GPS does use a lot of battery, so we discovered it was best to have it hooked up to a power source. We set up the iPad alongside our 10-year-old Raymarine chart plotter and found there was no comparison…the iPad was much better! In addition to following our course, the app also provides a great tool for looking up the tide and current information for any given location.
First time out every year we get to see if things work. Most things were okay, except… The AIS wasn’t working, but that turned out to be a loose wire. And the knot meter didn’t work, and we thought that might be due to something being stuck in the paddle wheel…but no matter how much maneuvering we did, the knot meter still didn’t work. We’ll need to do more investigating to find the problem.
We turned into West Sound and found the anchorage behind Double Island empty so decided to anchor there for a few hours to wait for the current in Speiden Channel to change. We were heading on to Reid Harbor, and wanted to avoid the strong adverse current along Speiden Island. Waiting until later in the day would give the current time to moderate and reverse.
We left Double Island around 1500 and found much less boat traffic than we experienced this morning. And more favorable current! However, the clouds thickened and we had light rain most of the way. Even though we waited for more favorable current in Speiden Channel, we still encountered a strong tide race with lots of whirlpools near Limestone Point.
We found lots of boats in Reid Harbor, but there was still plenty of room to anchor. It turned into a cold, rainy night. But the heavier rain held off until later in the night, so we were able to barbecue salmon for dinner, along with steamed green beans. Felt nice to be out on the anchor again.