Summer Adventures

It’s taken the weather a little while to sort itself out, but summer is finally in full swing. The San Juan Islands are abuzz with boaters, and adventure lurks behind every corner. For the fourth of July, I babysat a friend’s boat in Fisherman’s Bay off Lopez Island. I spent three nights rafted to the side of Tuwamish, staying handy to fend off any emergencies while she swung at anchor, awaiting her family. As usual, Lopez did not disappoint with their stunning firework display. Eager…

Desolation Sound Marine Park

Solace anchored in Desolation Sound Park

The northwest wind was heavy and steady at 15 to 20 knots. It had been like that for three days with no end in the forecast. My engine appeared to be running well, so I shoved off the dock and carefully dodged the other boats transiting the Lund Marina. As I rounded the most northern point of mainland before Desolation Sound Marine Park, my engine began to sputter. I throttled down to just above idle, hoping I could limp in. No dice. With a half…

Canning Seafood While Cruising

Preparing Oysters to Can

At Frenchman’s Cove I came across a pile of perfectly sized oysters in clean water. As a local recently reminded me, the ‘red tide’ will soon be making an appearance with the warmer waters and so the availability of oysters will only go down hill from here. How can I preserve the harvest? I’ve flirted with canning, but it’s always seemed like more trouble than it was worth. The canner I have in storage is a *huge* 24 quart monster. Canners, jars, and supplies take…

Sailing and (Meteor) Showers

Sailing Mount Baker

Dark grey clouds hung low in the air, muffling sounds and lending a stillness to the morning. Not an ideal looking morning to take the boat out, but the forecast was for clear sky this evening. Still salty from a sauna I’d had late last night with friends, I longed to take a shower but the day beckoned me with a promise of adventure. After a quick trip to pick up a Friday Harbor friend from the ferry terminal, we set out. It was an…

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 9

Two Goons

Day 15, Saturday 9/13/14 The weather up here has been ridiculously great. It’s only rained once, blew hard twice, and no sign of fog. I awoke to another blue-bird day. After morning coffee, we loaded up Izak’s belongings into the dingy and dropped him off at the Aquila as Andy and I made our way to the farmers market in Ganges of Salt Sprint Island. What an awesome market! They had the most beautiful fruits and vegetables I’d ever seen and art of all kinds….

Crabbing with Family

Bayliner 288

After years of cheerleading and encouragement directed at my parents to get a four-season boat so that they could join me on adventures, they finally got one. No-one in my family but me has any sailing experience, despite three generations of avid boating, so it was no surprise when they purchased a Bayliner 288. The four-day trip we took last weekend was months in the planning, yet only considered a ‘trial run’ for the three-week trip we’ll be taking in September. If it wasn’t for…

Pender, Saturna, and Tumbo Islands

Pender Island Bridge

It’s Saturday, the day-after the 4th of July. One of the heaviest tourist days in the San Juan Islands. Andy’s boat, Gladness, and my boat, Solace, are the only ones at the government dock on Saturna Island. I woke up this morning to the squawk of a heron and water as placid as a pond. As I sipped my morning coffee, a pontoon plane landed and dropped off three people at the end of the dock. This seems to be the most popular form of…

Dungeness Crab Cakes

We are very fortunate to live and to boat in an area where dungeness and red rock crab are readily available through a good part of the year. During the open season, we are able to catch, cook, clean and preserve enough to cary us through until the next season. While we are in open season, we feast on fresh caught crab dipped in butter or in wonderful salads while putting up the remainder for our use when fresh caught is not as available. The…

Gunkholing in the Salish Sea

gunkholing in the san juan islands video

From Wikipedia: Gunkholing is a boating and sea kayaking term referring to a type of cruising in shallow or shoal water, meandering from place to place, spending the nights in coves. The term refers to the gunk, or mud, typical of the creeks, coves, marshes, sloughs, and rivers that are referred to as gunkholes. While not necessary, gunkholers typically seek out the serenity of isolated anchorages over the crowds of marinas and popular bays, and a minimal draft is preferred, since gunkholers tend to go…

Hope Island Marine State Park

The Victoria Clipper Shuttle

Labor Day weekend dawned and my wife and I were badly needing a get-away. Things have been just crazy at both of our jobs and stress had been running high for several weeks. Before setting out on the boat, we decided on some criteria our destination had to meet: Be calm and relaxing Have good crabbing Be somewhere we haven’t visited before Skagit Bay and Similk Bay, tucked between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands met this criteria nicely. To be fair, we had been to Hope…

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