Swinomish Channel, Anacortes and Spencer Spit

18 June ’18 –

After talking with the Choey Lee owner I do the dishes, secure the boat and motor to the Oak Harbor Marina dock to get so gasoline, dump the porta potti and fill the water tank.

The boat that hit SWEET PEA.

The day is quickly getting hot and there is not a breath of wind as SWEET PEA departs Oak Harbor and heads Skagit Bay. There is a fair amount of boat traffic in the marked channel and no wind. If it wasn’t for the boat moving under power it would almost be uncomfortably hot.

Turning into Swinomish Channel I’m traveling an inland canal that will lead past La Conner and then to Padilla Bay and Anacortes. The canal is narrow and boaters are asked not to put up a large wake. Most powerboats don’t care and SWEET PEA is tossed about as these inconsiderate people.

La Conner is mostly a tourist stop. There are still a good number of crabbing boats with their crews working on the traps in preparation for the next opening of the fishery.

North of La Conner a large barge passes by putting up a huge wake. This is dangerous and damaging to the fragile shoreline. I’m amazed that a commercial boat captain is acting so recklessly.

The swing bridge near Padilla Bay is open and SWEET PEA motors through with a helpful current. The large mudflats are covered with birds, including a few bald eagles.

The railroad swing bridge.

After 2.5 hours Swinomish Channel is transited and SWEET PEA turns towards Anacortes Cap Sante Marina. I stop at the fuel dock to re-fill the fuel tanks – six hours of motoring today – and then hail the harbormaster on VHF for a slip assignment.

It is early in the season so there is plenty of space for a 17′ sailboat (the transient slips are designed for 50’+ mega-yachts).

After settling in a slip I head to the Safeway next to the marina. After storing all the groceries I head to the showers and then settle in for a fresh oyster dinner and a cool beer.

Momma Kitty inspects the new stores for important items like kitty treats!

Momma Kitty and I are asleep early as tomorrow is an early start to ride the current into the San Juan Islands.

19 June ’18 –

The wind forecast is for the small craft advisory to end by 7am and a sourtherly 10-15 knots increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon. I look forward to a fun sail across Rosario Strait though the wind will be against the current.

Depart Cap Sante at 8am and motor into Guemes Channel. The wind is 5-8kts on the nose, expected with a southerly wind, so I motor through the narrowest part of the channel. Clearing Green ‘3’ mark up go the sails and SWEET PEA sails under full main and 150% genoa in the nice breeze.

The wind doesn’t hold … not even for thirty minutes! Sailing with the current SWEET PEA slips into the kelp field just off of Reef Point, Cypress Island, in no wind. Down goes the genoa and I motor out into Rosario Strait (chewing up kelp fronds with the outboard). Nothing but light puffs of wind come out of the south and then come from all points of the compass. I drop the main and motor through Thatcher Pass heading to Spencer Spit State Park.

I grab a buoy on the north side of the spit. The buoys on the south side are all taken even with me arriving at 11am.

After lunch a the current turns SWEET PEA beam on to the wakes coming from the many boats coming through Thatcher Pass and heading north to Harney and Upright Channels. I toss the secondary anchor overboard to turn the bow towards the wakes.

The cockpit is hot so I set up the boom tent. This works well until the southerly wind comes and it becomes chilly. I go below to be comfortable. The wind knocks down the wakes making the late afternoon and evening very comfortable.

Afternoon under the cockpit tent at Spencer Spit State Park.

Before going to bed I pull up the stern anchor and stow the boon tent. Boat traffic had dropped down after 7pm so I’m hoping for a calm night of sleep.


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