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erps 09-07-2009 06:36 PM

Labor Day weekend in the San Juans

Just back from ten days in the San Juans. We found something new this trip. We were on the beach at Clark Island talking to another boater who asked if we had seen the "old mine" on Orcas Island? I told him I was aware that there were some on the west shore, but he pointed south to a nearby shore and said there was one there too. He gave me a visual landmark, which I later took a hand bearing to and plotted it on the chart. I got out a local cruising reference to see if there was any mention of it and saw that there was none (Gunkholing San Juans). So when we left the next morning, we went looking for this reported mine. When we arrived at the referenced feature, we didn't see anything that looked like a mine and we thought the guy had been pulling our leg. We followed the shoreline a little further west and found the mine. Here is a screen shot of its location that includes a lat/lon:

and here is a picture from Nikko of the mine remnants:
I rowed ashore and found a second mine that went back into the hill about 40 feet along with some old steel rails on the beach.

We had a campfire 7 of the 10 nights we were out. What can I say. I like sitting around a campfire in the evening. Here is a campfire on Jones Island with Nikko tied up to a state mooring buoy in the background.

We spent two nights at Sucia Island. Here is a Shallow Bay sunset:

We also spent a night in Reid Harbor, Stuart Island and walked out to the Turn Pt. Lighthouse.

Along the road, we passed by the Stuart Island gift shop, which consisted of a chest of goods along the road. You picked out the trinket you like and in the zip lock bag with your choice is an envelope with an bill for the goods that you mail in later when you get back home. Here is Sandy at the store:

At Garrison Bay, I took Nikko, which draws 6 feet of water into water that was only 5'6" deep. That was on our way out at the juncture with Mosquito Pass. I cut a corner and Nikko came to an abrupt stop. So much for the brand new bottom paint I just put on. Anyway, my ego took a severe beating as we sat there for the next two hours waiting for enough water to get her back off. I rowed our primary anchor off the deep beam and attached a halyard to the anchor chain to heel us over and get us off a little sooner. It worked well.

The wind came up the last two days and we were actually stuck at the dock at Anacortes for a half day while the wind blew as much as 39 knots. We were waiting for the wind to get below 20 knots so we could get the boat out of the slip without hitting anything expensive. I can collide with things with pin point accuracy going forward in Nikko, but backing her in a cross wind does not give me the option of aiming for the least expensive property. Anyway, back to the real world tomorrow.

smackdaddy 09-07-2009 07:05 PM

78 Attachment(s)
Wow erps - that looks like a great time! When you said "mine" I was expecting a rusty, spiked ball with Swiss markings evilly waiting blow up unsuspecting stinkpotters.

Thanks for the pics dude.

CharlieCobra 09-07-2009 07:12 PM

Yeah it was blowing this weekend. An early taste of things to come.

jackdale 09-07-2009 07:26 PM

Very nice. I have not been down in a couple of years. I am still trying to figure out how I can take a cruise and learn into the San Juans - legally.

Remember - there are two kinds of sailors: those who have been aground, and those who are about ro go aground. I am in the former.

Is Rosario Resort open yet?


erps 09-07-2009 09:04 PM


Is Rosario Resort open yet?
I went up East Sound in the work boat in August to take a look at the resort to see if it was open yet, as Sandy and I have gone there for our anniversary before, and we would like to do it again. I didn't see any activity at the upper resort pool, but I could see some boats and activities down by the marina pool, so it looks like the marina portion is open at least.

Here's a link:

Rosario Resort Marina - Orcas Island Marina - San Juan Islands Marina

jackdale 09-07-2009 10:40 PM

I think that the marina has been open throughout. A friend went last spring and had problem getting a slip.

Thanks for the update and link.


Faster 09-07-2009 11:11 PM

Nice report, Ray... glad you're back on the water.

tdw 09-08-2009 01:04 AM

Camp fire by the that really is about as good as it gets.....


(love the the ever alert faithful hound......he/she a Boston ?)

erps 09-08-2009 10:15 AM


(love the the ever alert faithful hound......he/she a Boston ?)
Yep, that's Buddy, the one eyed Boston. He snores and he farts, just like a regular guy.

Wiley1 09-08-2009 01:24 PM

To my mind one of the best cruising areas in the world, especially after Labor Day weekend and before school lets out in the summer. The Gulf Islands fit in the same category. Nice pictures, thanks.

Did you get to see Turn Pt at full ebb tide? Pretty amazing. We made the trip to Reid Hbr, Stuart Island from the dock at Mystery Bay, Marrowstone Island in about 10 hours without a breath of wind the whole trip. Engine at idle, "current sailing". That Canadian Current Atlas is super valuable when planning cruises.

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