Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kirkland, Washington
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Let's get a rough idea of plan that might work for you, and we can fill in the details.
With a San Juan 23, if figure you can make 4.5 knots (The sad reality is that this is most likely going to be a mostly motoring trip this time of year.
I'd recommend you stop once or twice on the way up..
Mid Sound stop: Both of these are not out of the way
Edmonds: My home port. Nice marina, nice town.
or, about 3-4 hours north is Langley, also on the way. Small marina, but good anchorage to the south. Nice small town with a movie theater and pizza joint.
I'd recommend you go through Deception Pass, instead of LaConner. If you go through LaConner, then you wind up way farther east than you want. You should wait for the tide change at Deception Pass, or else you'll get thrown around a bit and/or pushed backwards.
In order to wait for the proper timing to get through Deception Pass, you can anchor north of Hope Island. It's a great stop with a really cool rope swing.
Once through Deception Pass, you just need to cross Rosario Strait and you are in the islands!
If you are leaving the boat and coming back, then the easiest/cheapest way is to leave the boat at Friday Harbor and take the ferry. I believe they take reservations. If you want more fun, and have some extra money, I'd leave the boat at Fisherman's Bay on Lopez and take the seaplane back.
I am happy to help you with specific details/ports of call if you wish.
As far as your specific questions:
1) You will find that the currents headed north will be opposing you, from .5 to 1.5 knots in Skagit bay. Don't let them sweep you east into the shoal area. Watch where you are in the channel. Entering Possession Sound by Mukilteo will cost you a knot or two of current during an ebb. You can adjust your transit or Rosario Strait based on current, and try to ride a flood north.
My understanding is that you want to travel East of Whidbey Island. If you decide to cross the straits of Juan de Fuca, they you want to time your transit northward so that you transition to flood from ebb about an hour after you clear Point Hudson.
2) As far as Whidbey timing is concerned, then, you just need to watch when you are going through Deception Pass, and avoid entering Posession Sound on an ebb.
3) I'd leave the boat at Friday Harbor, when returning to work, Go for the seaplane and Lopez if you can afford it!
How's this for a start? I won't be up there, but my boat (blue Catalina 30) will be, with my brother aboard. Say hi if you see him.
Please make sure that you have all the proper safety equipment, a working compass and charts. I highly recommend the Wagonner's cruising guide, as well as the Gunkholing South Puget Sound and Gunkholing San Juans books.
I can help you with specific timing and route issues.
How's this sound so far?
1987 CS 36 Merlin "Kyrie"
"They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house. I'm not made of stone!" -Krusty the Clown