This TR has nothing to do with skiing, but I hope it will entertain while we wait for the snow to fly. My sweetie, Terri, and I took a trip to the San Juan Islands of Washington and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia this last week. We had some wonderful times in a beautiful corner of the continent.
We sailed on Polly-Barb, a Beneteau 321 (32 foot sail boat) owned by my brother and his wife who are kind enough to let us use her when we please.
We left Bellingham’s Squalicum Marina in the morning, sailed across Bellingham Bay and said goodbye to local waters as we passed the Lummi Island ferry “Whatcom Chief” and headed for the waters of Georgia Straight, in the northwest corner of Washington, tucked up with British Columbia.
Our destination was Sucia Island on the northern border of the state, a state marine park about three miles long in the shape of a horseshoe. We found a parks buoy in Snoring Bay and settled in for the night in this tiny fjord at the southeastern tip of the island.
The Bay had a variety of wildlife evident. We saw eagles, seals, porpoises, herons, and bugs to name a few.
Here are two more views from around the island. Notice that skiing is never far from anything we do here, as Mt. Baker attests in the background.
After a dinghy tour of Fossil and Echo bays we were off for the land of the maple leaf, Canada itself. In the following picture you see Polly-Barb’s dinghy, Sucia Island on the left and Orcas Island on the right.
A couple of hours later, after dodging a freighter we entered into Canadian waters at Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island where we cleared customs and were off again in a flash. Imagine not having to present your passport to anyone, you check in over the phone. There is nobody at the station, and the guy on the phone was polite too!
We sailed on to Annette Inlet on Prevost Island. This is a small, narrow, shallow inlet with wonderful anchorage. We set the hook near the mouth and were treated to a fabulous sunset with our wine:
The next day, with a good steady southwest wind in our face, we rounded the northern head of the island and entered Trincomali Channel and then Plumper Sound. We had a great morning of sailing and entered Port Browning in time for lunch. There was a large encampment of people at the small Marina that were there for a set of races, which we never quite figured out. There was a sail race going on when we entered the inlet but many of the people there were obviously kayakers. Anyway, as we left Port Browning we saw spinnakers from race boats headed right at us as they headed for the finish:
Our destination was Poets Cove in Bedwell Harbour, where we had checked in with customs the day before. As we exited Plumper Sound and entered the Straight of Georgia we spied whales ahead. Orcas to be more exact and correct. We were under power at this point so we cut the power and drifted as we watched them surface and breath before heading down to hunt salmon. I noticed an animal heading our direction and got a long shot of its dorsal fin
It kept getting closer
Until it either went just in front of Polly-Barb or just under her bow, but either way it targeted us with a swim-by.
We saw several other orcas further on at the head of Bedwell Harbour, one even breached not too far from us. I’ve seen killer whales at other times, but this approach is the closest I’ve ever been associated with.
Our stay at Poets Cove was relaxing and enjoyable, but they tore down the old, cool hotel and bar and put in a “Whistleresque” (in the words of one of the folks on the dock) place that is nice looking, but no equal to the funky old one.
At Bedwell you are very close to the border. This picture shows a light and head in Bedwell Harbour in the foreground, Stewart Island in Washington in the medium ground, and the Olympic Mountains of Olympic National Park in the background. It was taken from the cockpit of Polly-Barb at our slip in Poets Cove.
Next day we set sail for the USA and chose to clear customs in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. This was much more of an ordeal than going into Canada, despite the best efforts of the amazingly patient, polite, and efficient border agent. We taxpayers get our money’s worth from this guy.
Clearing customs, we sailed across San Juan Channel to Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island where we dropped a hook in the shallow, mud-bottomed bay. It was sunny and nice when we arrived and we watched the action on the shore at the local marina.
After a good night’s sleep we woke to a different scene:
This forced us to wait around until the fog cleared. Even though Polly-Barb is equipped with radar and a GPS navigation system I didn’t want to duel with the Washington State Ferries and other large floating objects out there without being able to see them unless I had to. We waited and suddenly at noon the fog cleared and the day began in bluebird glory.
Olympics looking south
Mt. Baker looking east-northeast.
This was our last day and we enjoyed the sights as we approached home:
We reached Bellingham, sorry for the trip to be over, but blown away once again by the beauty of our region.