Blind Bay, Shaw Island

It took three hours to reach Blind Bay, motoring the whole way from Skyline in Anacortes. I had calm weather and a significant flood tide helping me. Entering Thatcher Pass on a flood tide or leaving the islands through it on a ebb tide works great. Try that with the opposite tide, and it can turn into a nasty piece of water. All the passes are like that though, but Thatcher is probably the worst because of all the traffic. The sheer rock walls rebroadcast the choppy waves without absorbing much of the energy at all. Even in the best weather conditions, the chop from traffic can make it feel like a pinball machine.

I’ve owned Solace for nine months now, and finally have a depth sounder and ground tackle that I trust. Up to this point, I’ve only sailed her to destinations I know well. Now I plan to take her to new anchorages, and I decided to start with Blind Bay on Shaw Island.

The video above pretty much says it all. I anchored between the two little islands on the southeast shore. The mud gave a solid holding and the location kept me out of the southerly forecast. There was a significant southern wind the next morning, and I think it was generated localy. I imaging a stiff southern wind is common in the morning during the summer. Good to know, as these local wind patterns are great to anchor in and top off the batteries with the wind turbine.

I took the dingy over to Blind Island and was litterally overjoyed to find it convered in blue camas. Seriously. These plants were a staple food for the Native Americans and the species was taken to the brink of extinction by American settlement. The only other place I’ve seen this wild flower thrive is Watmough Bay.

Blue Camas and Yellow Death-Camas

Blue Camas in the foreground and Yellow Death-Camas in the background. Photo by J Brew

The majority of flowers have already been fertilized. The plants were all bulging with undeveloped seed pods. I’m planning a return trip in a month to Blind Island or Watmough Bay to collect seeds. I have a few plots in Anacortes where I’d like to foster a wild garden. The bulbs are harvested just like onions. The natives would slow cook them for two days in makeshift ovens; basically a primal version of the modern crock pot. Natives would cultivate huge fields of this spindly blue flower and weed out the yellow death-camas. These two plants are identical, except for the flower.

Saturday found me in Friday Harbor where I met up with friend and wildlife photographer, Katie Jones. On the way out I ran into Stormy and Chloe of I had a beer with him and caught up on his latest adventure. Apparently, I had just missed Adam Nash, who gets credit for recognizing my boat at the dock and telling Stormy.

I rode a monster ebb tide out Cattle Pass, hoping to catch a forecasted south-westerly to slingshot me around the south end of Lopez and home to Anacortes. The Strait of Juan de Fuca was a placid lake. With a limp mail sail raised hopefully, I motored home.

I have to apologize for the lack of pictures. I have lost my camera and am in the process of replacing it.

Related posts:

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 9
Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 10
Decatur By The Numbers
5 Responses to “Blind Bay, Shaw Island”
  1. I love reading about how people used the native plants. I’ve tried to introduce the camas lily to our property but I think we do not have the right combination of moisture and sun it requires. What a sight to behold I’ll bet that was. These almost-summer days have me missing our Cal 34.

  2. dave says:

    love Blind Bay! wonderful place to stay!

  3. alan says:

    I’ll give you my old point and shoot, it took 90% if the images on my blog, runs on AA batteries. I have published dozens of images from this sweet little camera. Its yours if you want it. Its a Canon A720 I think, if you can’t turn pro with this camera its not the cameras fault 🙂 I always think its so funny when people write asking me what type of camera gear I use. I never have the heart to tell them the images were taken with either my 15 buck craigslist camera or the super nice one that took me 4 months to save for and was 125 on CL 🙂 Come get it, it comes with lots of free beers.

    • Thanks for the offer, Alan. It would be appropriately poetic if I got my next camera from you, but I already scooped up a Canon PowerShot off eBay. I got the exact same model as my last one because it treated me so well.

      The weather is looking great for a rendezvous at Stuart this weekend. You down?

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