San Juan Islands

16 08 2008

July 30 – August 6

Karen had a class until 3:00 PM on Wednesday so we weren’t able to get on the road until about 6:30PM. We drove to Anacortes and spent the night. Thursday morning we caught an early ferry to Lopez Island.

I took a class with Body Boat Blade called San Juan Currents. This is the second time I’ve taken this class and have found it the most demanding. Me, Shawna & Leon and my four classmates met up and reviewed some basic principles of tide races, then headed to the put-in at Mackaye Harbor. The race happens on the flood and is quite remarkable. The flood was 4.8 knots and the winds weren’t really a factor. I had one swim in the morning after two failed roll atempts, but was able to sucessfully roll in the race. Unfortunately, the normal lunch landing was not available so boats were hauled up on rocks at a rathe brutal landing. The race built after lunch and everyone enjoyed surfing to their heart’s content. The paddle back was a little slower than the paddle out. Karen, had a laugh at our expense! We still had another day to go!

Day two of the class we paddle out of Mackaye Harbor to Long Island. Along the way we practiced navigation exercises and played in the current. We lunched on Long island, then put on the water to cross to Cattle point at about 90% of max flood. The water wasn’t as crazy as I remember it last time, though it might be because my skills have increased. Max was 4.7 knots and the wind was probably 5 knots from the north. We managed to catch the top of Goose Island after the crossing and stopped and climbed up on a rock to survey the area we just crossed. The crossing is probably only one nautical mile as the crow flies but we started out aiming up stream about 45 degrees to accomplish the crossing. We paddled up the Cattle Point and played on the eddyline before breaking out and crossing back over to Deadman’s Island at Max flood. After working our way around the island we broke out and paddled through the mellowing waters of Cattle Pass down to Fisherman’s Bay and the take out. After sorting out the car shuttle I went back to Joanne’s and met up with everyone. They had paddled down toward Mackaye and back before the currents really kicked up, then practiced various rolls. A pleasant evening was had by all, sitting on the deck eating wonderful food and drinking a couple beers before turning in after a couple days of fun and hard work!

It was nice to wake up Sunday morning & know I could sleep in a little! Karen got up at the crack of dawn and went on a morning paddle down to Lopez Village with Joanne for Coffee. I slept. About noon Jenny, Bob and I decided to paddle around the North end of Lopez, then down to Spencer Spit. We had the wind and current with us except the last mile which made for a nice leisurely paddle! Back at the house, Karen and I paddled a mile or two down to Shark Reef & back, then spent a little time working on rolling with Marcel and Henry. Both had great advice for me!

Jerry & Claudia cooked a wonderful Turkey dinner for everyone & soon enough it was time to say goodnight and Goodbye, as we had to catch the 7:15AM ferry to Orcas for Karen’s Performance paddling class. Joanne actually got up Sunday morning to say goodbye. I can’t tell you what a wonderful host she was!

We had a leisurely breakfast at The Sunflower Cafe, then met Karen’s classmates at BBB. I hung around then took Karen up to the lake for her class. Today would be a no-paddle day for me. Instead, I decided on a hike up Turtleback Mountain. I got very lucky and found very few people and some fabulous views!

I headed back to the park, set up camp, showered, then picked up Karen. She had a great day and was very excited about the training.

Day two of Karen’s class was at Obstruction Pass. I dropped her off, then went back to BBB and met Thomas from Copenhagen, then picked up a boat for him at Shawna & Leon’s. We met up with Joanne, Henry, Leslie & Don at West Sound. I had never paddled at West Sound and was pleased to find a boat launch – a rarity on Orcas! We spent a few hours on a nice leisurely flat-water paddle. After lunch on Victim Island Henry and Don paddled back to Lopez and the rest of us paddled back to the put-in.

Karen had another great day of training. I picked her up at the Pass, we cleaned up, then went to Shawna & Leon’s for a barbeque with them and Thomas who has been staying alternately with them and Matt & Djuna. Way too much food was consumed – Pork chops, sausage, oysters, salmon, salad, veggie kabobs and on and on! Time got away from us and soon it was time to head back to camp. We should have taken them up on their offer to camp there. It was much quieter than the campground! Next Time!

Tuesday morning we said our goodbyes, caught the ferry to Anacortes, then managed to be the last car onto the Ferry to Port Townsend. We got lucky and managed to arrive in P.T. in time for a pint at Port Townsend Brewery, then dinner at The Fountain Cafe before retiring for the night.

We actually managed to get on the water on Wednesday. We put in at Potlatch State Park and paddled over to Union. The wind kicked up against us a little on the way back. Wouldn’t you know I fell out of my boat & Karen had to rescue me 😉 A little while later Karen came out of hers and I returned the favor. A little rolling practice and it was time to head back to Portland.

Another fantastic trip which ended too soon!




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