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post #1 of 8 Old 07-10-2006 Thread Starter
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Kids in the San Juans

We are taking our first Cruising trip in the San Juans the last week of this month and would like to get some advice. We have two younger kids and would like to be able to find some fun activities for them to get excited about for that week. What are some destinations or don't miss locations that might make this a well rounded trip for the little ones.
We will be staying around the four main islands for the entire trip.

Thanks,

Andy
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-10-2006
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Hi, Andy

We might see you up there-- we have two kids (girl, 7, boy, 9) and we're doing a one week charter out of Bellingham for a week.

For our kids, the goal is

1) Not getting too tired
2) Fishing and hiking for son
3) Beach play and hiking for daughter
4) Some "developed area" time for both (see below)

Number one is important-- even doing an overnighter can be tiring for us, especially if we sail a lot. We didn't want to schedule too much sailing during the week, nor too much "out back and on the hook" for our first week. The kids have done overnights with us, but for this length of trip we wanted to be conservative on the destinations and sailing time.

So, we'll spend our first two nights at Sucia, which is very family friendly and has lots of hiking and exploring options. Spending two nights will mean we'll have time to explore on land.

Our next two nights will be at Roche Harbor, in a slip, so we have some "developed area" time, showers, swimming pool, cafe, etc. Not really roughing it, but should be a good experience.

Next night is Rosario-- good trip there, but then a slip and shore time, showers, pool, things for the kids.

Last night: Inati Bay or Chuckanut Bay. On the hook, more rustic, but should have time to explore before we're back in Bellingham.

So, overall the schedule is less agressive and the destinations are less remote than my wife and I would prefer, but we're aiming on the side of caution for the kids to make the week a winner. Next year we might do two weeks, and rough it more in remote areas.

Have fun, and let us know what schedule you decide on. We've got our reservations at Roche and Rosario already, since we heard they can fill in the summer.

Jim H
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-10-2006
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Kids in the San Juans

You should try to include Stuart Island with moorage at the State Marine Park in Prevost Harbor. There's a great hiking trail to the lighthouse on Turn Pt. with commanding views across the strait into Canada. Also, if you cqan go around the West side of Stuart past Turn Pt. there is often a pod of Dahl's porpoises that will ride your bow wave. Welcome to the Great Northwest! Roche Harbor will be a zoo with dozens and dozens of huge powerboats (100ft.+) milling about.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-11-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardElliott
You should try to include Stuart Island with moorage at the State Marine Park in Prevost Harbor. Roche Harbor will be a zoo with dozens and dozens of huge powerboats (100ft.+) milling about.
Prevost Harbor was on our list, until we started getting concerns about the kids and play. We might just go there instead of Roche, and cancel our slip reservations. We see enough powerboats on the Columbia River.

If we do Prevost, should we be concerned about showing up early for a mooring ball, or should we basically plan to drop the hook.

Thanks!

Jim H
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-11-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks

Thanks for the tips. I have been reading "Afoot and Afloat in the San Juans" and "Gunkholing the San Juans" so many of those places are on our list. We were coordinating this trip with four other boats and the last week of july was the only one that work for all of us. It is our first time up there, so even if it is crowded, which everyone is telling me it will be, I think we will have a great time. I am hoping that there will be plenty of other kids around that ours will have a few to play with now and then.
Next time we will shoot for a less popular cruising time up there.

Happy Sailing everyone,

Andy
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-11-2006
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If you don't have at least one of them I would suggest picking up one of the cruising guides for the San Juans
Gunkholing in the San Juans Islands by Jo Bailey & Carl Nyberg Is a great one for the little interesting details on various islands along with being a good cruising guide.
A cruising guide to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands second edition by Migael Schearer gives good boater info for the whole Sound and the San Juans.
Make sure that you have/get the latest editions though as the older ones can be out of date on things such as fuel stops.
Either should be available through Borders or Barnes & Nobels along with being available online in several places. Either is a well spent 30.00, both tell you were the sandbars and rocks are.

It looks like we were posting at the same time Andy.

Last edited by RWD46; 07-11-2006 at 11:20 AM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-11-2006
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Kids in the San Juans

If you arrive early at Prevost Harbor you might have space at the Marine Park dock which accesses the hiking trails. If not, there are many mooring buoys and good anchorage.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-11-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardElliott
If you arrive early at Prevost Harbor you might have space at the Marine Park dock which accesses the hiking trails. If not, there are many mooring buoys and good anchorage.
Thanks, Richard. We'll seriously consider it.

As for cruising guides, I really like the DreamSpeaker Guide for the San Juan Islands: http://www.fedpubs.com/subject/boat/dream_sanjuan.htm

The Dreamspeaker guide is cool in that it has hand-drawn (but chart-verified) representations of mooring areas that show the general locations of mooring balls, recommended anchoring spots, etc. I've found the guide accurate based on where we've been in the San Juans so far.

Another tool that we really like is the Current Chart Book and annual Currents guide for the area for plotting our course with the current instead of against. The annual guide gives hourly chart numbers for every day of the year, so you can see how your route is affected.

That said, if you're chartering, don't buy too many guides. Most of the ones mentioned above should be on the charter boat waiting for you. On the boats we've been on, the charts have even been marked with red in the areas where previous charters ran aground (and where we're supposed to avoid).

Jim H
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