San Juan Islands May 2015 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Chartering
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  • 1 Post By wristwister
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Old 11-14-2014
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San Juan Islands May 2015

Been several years since I was there.
  • Recommendations on bareboat services?
  • Anchorages?
  • What to see and do?
  • What not to see and do?

Looks like a party of 6 or maybe 8. Mostly nonboaters, but willing to learn. Probably doing a trawler-type or cat.

Comments and advice welcome.

Thanks,
JB
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Old 11-18-2014
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Re: San Juan Islands May 2015

Favorite anchorage: Shallow Bay on the west side of Sucia Island

Best hiking: Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island

Must get: T shirt at Stuart Island treasure chest

Best kept secret: Vendovi Island. Can't overnight there but cool stop

Stay away: Cattle Point Pass between Lopes and San Juan Islands. Bizarre waves and currents

Funnest day: grab a mooring ball at Spencer Spit for the night, rent bikes on the beach, ride to Lopez Village for ice cream cones

Best marina: Friday Harbor. Always room, and fun town.

... I could go on and on, I'm sure you'll get lots more suggestions.
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: San Juan Islands May 2015

Consider re-posting your inquiry under: Destinations/Pacific Northwest. You may get more replies.

Visit this site, buy the book Home | Waggoner Cruising Guide.

It will be your main cruising resource in the San Juan Islands.

If your time permits and you all have passports, consider hopping over to Canada. Two places in particular. Ganges on Saltspring Island. For a very (and then some) large splurge you could dine at the exquisite Hastings House. Or, you could have a beer and a burger at The Treehouse Cafe and take in some great music. This is a highlight of my family's summer. After that head over to Montegue Harbor. In May, the harbor may be peaceful. In the summer it's too crowded for my tastes. Instead, anchor on the north side of the peninsula by the "Shell Beach". Just ask a local in Ganges to point it out on a chart.

Get the Waggoner guide ASAP so you have time to dream and plan.

As far as charter outfits go, San Juan Sailing in Bellingham, WA would be my first recommendation. boats are maintained to the highest standards. They will also be able to suggest itineraries. Welcome to San Juan Sailing. The next is Anacortes Yacht Charters. Anacortes Yacht Charters.

A word of caution. May is "iffy" weather wise. It could be glorious. It could be wet, cold and rainy. The best Nw weather is July 5 - Sept 30.

Good luck.
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: San Juan Islands May 2015

Cabbage Island, at the southern end of Saturna, is our favorite anchorage.
If you go to Ganges check out the movie theater, the Fritz.
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: San Juan Islands May 2015

Good notes, guys. Thanks for your help. I'm sure we'll plug this all into the plan.

Hangup: RE Anacortes charters vs San Juan Sailing: I used Anacortes in the past and they did well. SJS looks like it's several miles further from the cruising area -- any thoughts on that? Due to the size & makeup of the group, I may end up having to choose based on available inventory, but whatever other information you have is appreciated.

JB
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: San Juan Islands May 2015

I doubt any difference in distance equates to more than a few hours time on the water. I own a charter sailboat in Seattle. The biggest reason I recommend SJ Sailing is that I Have talked with their charter customers and boat owners while cruising. Nothing but rave reviews. I have also talked with the folks who run SJ Sailing. They are an independent, well run outfit. That is, they don't have an affiliation with Sunsail or Morrings. I hope to buy a newer/bigger boat in the future and put it in to their program.

I can't say anything bad about the Anacortes operation. I think they are a Morrings (sp?) affiliate. I just have not had any direct contact with owners or charter customers.

If you do have a size able group make sure you start making any necessary marina reservations soon after January 1.

Also, Deer Harbor on Orcas is also a family favorite.
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Old 11-19-2014
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Re: San Juan Islands May 2015

I've done charters with both San Juan Sailing and Anacortes Yacht Charters. Both are good. SJS has more sailboats and the boats are more consistently equipped with their required gear. Anacortes is closer to the San Juans, but it's not a major factor to me.

You'll want the Waggoner's Guide, as mentioned already. Also, currents are strong so you'll want to get a tide atlas and try to be going with the current rather than against. Make a huge difference.
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