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Discussion Starter #1
This summer I want to take my boat up to the San Juans, Washington. If anyone has done this, do you know if it's legal to anchor off any of those many tiny islands, or are there many restrictions as to where you can anchor? I'm talking about the ones that are so small that no one lives on them. Thanks
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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No anchoring restrictions but the islands that are not part of the state park's system are private, so going ashore might be a problem. Lots of nice state park islands though. Do you have a particular area in mind? What kind of boat do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, I have a West Wight Potter 15. I don't know the San Juans too well; I have been there cruising in other boats about 3 times and I know that there are a ton of tiny islands less than 1 sq. mile. Do you know where I could find out which ones are private.
 

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S/V Lilo, Islander 32
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Here is a book I would highly recommend...

A Cruising Guide to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands
LINK

We have used this a lot in the sound and a bit in the San Juan islands. Worth every penny, and I tend to be rather frugal. Great information about all the little places, where you can get ashore or not, hazards that may be around anywhere you might want to anchor, etc.

Another good resource is...

Gunkholing in the San Juan Islands
Amazon.com: Used and New: Gunkholing in the San Juan Islands

... and is likely available from your local library if you live in the pacific northwest.
 

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erps has been cruising up here longer, but my favorite guide is

Amazon.com: Gunkholing in the San Juan Islands: Jo Bailey, Carl Nyberg: Books

Written by a couple of folks who have been cruising the area for many decades. They tell great stories, and have a true love of the area.

A bit outdated, though. That shouldn't matter much.

The Wagonner Cruising guide is updated every year, and is more "marina oriented"
The Waggoner Cruising Guide, Annual Guide to Northwest Boating from Weatherly Press

The Maptech chart guide for the San Juans works well for me:
http://www.maptech.com/search/prodsearch/PDF/WPB1510.pdf

Since you are going to be slow (sorry) and 3 knot currents are real common, I'd recommend the following current current atlas: (don't forget to also purchase Washburn's 2009 Tables, so that you can use the atlas)
"http://www.shearwaterkayaks.com/shop/chartsnav.html]"

I'm looking forward to my 4th summer of cruising the San Juans. I've managed quite well so far with the above publications, a hand-held GPS, compass, and a bit of common sense. I expect that you can too.

Make sure you let us know when you will be up there, and we'll watch for you!

Best wishes,

David
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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And here is a link to the Waggoner Cruising Guide, I use it the most.

The Waggoner Cruising Guide, Annual Guide to Northwest Boating from Weatherly Press

As far as I know all the small islands that are not public (park, DNR, etc) are private land, but you'll be surprised how many parks there are. Some are hardly used, the favorites get pretty crowded in the summer. The one across from us rarely has a boat in it and it's a nice sandy beach. We usually have a group of about 12 Wests stay at the marina here every year, great boats. No matter which island you are on please remember that the islands are VERY dry during the summer months, extreme fire danger and there is generally NO fire fighting equipment available.
Something else you will want to have and use is the current tables, they can run pretty hard and it can end up taking you a long time to get somewhere if you are fighting it. Have fun.
 

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Wow.. agreement on Sailnet.. Cool!

Funny thing about John's comment on the islands being dry. My son Mark, who was eight at the time, got stuck by a cactus on Jones island.

That was our first cruise in the San Juans, and unexpected to say the least.

He was less than impressed, when I spent time photographing the incident before I removed the spikes...

David
 

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The Lovely San Juans

I have had the fortune of cruising around the San Juans...what an experience. But, most of the small islands aren't for anchoring. I suggest if you like hiking...anchor at Cypress in Eagle Harbor...very nice. Also, James Island is nice..good hiking. Sucia is also agreat place to anchor and play. They are all worth cruising around and looking at. Good luck.:)
 

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Have you thought of where you want to launch?

Places that come to mind are Bellingham, Anacortes, Cornet Bay...

Don't know where else....
 

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Speaking of anchoring, what sort of ground tackle do you have/plan to use? I've been to the northernmost of the San Juans, but have not anchored there yet. I've got a smallish Danforth (maybe 15#) with 30 ft of chain but am thinking of upgrading to something a little more substantial.
 

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Never been here, but launching here might save you some time..

Washington Park
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Speaking of anchoring, what sort of ground tackle do you have/plan to use? I've been to the northernmost of the San Juans, but have not anchored there yet. I've got a smallish Danforth (maybe 15#) with 30 ft of chain but am thinking of upgrading to something a little more substantial.
I have about the same anchor as you and I have around 30 feet of chain with plenty of rode.
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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When we first started cruising the San Juans we were using a small Danforth recommended for our boat size. It was really hard to set. If there was any eel grass, it wasn't big enough to get through the eel grass and into the mud. I think the bottoms in the more popular anchorage get pretty plowed up and the small anchor was hard to set in those conditions too. We really didn't start sleeping well until we moved up to a 22 lb Danforth for a 25' sailboat. It sure made life a lot easier. Nowadays, there are lots of anchor choices, but you'll sleep better if you bring along a big one, whatever it is.
 
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