Tiny Pearl Island

Celebrating my husband’s birthday at Roche Harbor last week gave me a perfect opportunity to capture a few photos of a cement truck being ferried across one of the most popular summer anchorages in the San Juan Islands to Pearl Island. Can you imagine the weight carried by the landing craft, Pintail, while it continues to float and remain seaworthy?

The Pintail leaves Roche Harbor’s boat launch for Pearl Island (top center of the photo)

Notice the Pintail listing to the left or port side?

Mission accomplished on Pearl Island!

Pearl Island residents enjoy a front-row seat to lots of boating activities. On the north side, vessels are underway in Spieden Channel traveling to and from Roche Harbor or sailing westward into Canadian waters to clear customs at Sidney, British Columbia. On the south side, anchored boats dance to the rhythm of waves, tidal currents, and visiting boaters’ schedules. And each summer evening, they are treated to Roche Harbor Resort’s Colors Ceremony complete with a Cannon Salute before the American flag is retired at sunset.

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The seven permanent residents and their part-time neighbors might not always have it quiet, but living on the 37-acre island at the mouth of Roche Harbor is guaranteed to be entertaining. Whether you inhabit a million-dollar, architect-designed home or you choose to camp in 30-year-old canvas tents perched on wooden platforms as members of a third-generation island family, Pearl Island holds a treasure chest full of memories.

In fact, one family organizes an annual scavenger hunt for their children. They also enjoy hollering greetings to kayakers on Washington State’s smallest state park on one-acre Posey Island lying a quarter-mile offshore from Pearl Island’s northwest corner. One unique feature of this marine park is that all boaters can enjoy the island named for its wildflowers, campsites are reserved only for human- or wind-powered watercraft.

(Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology)

Roche Harbor can be entered on either side of Pearl Island, but the safest route is on its west end. We were fortunate that the tide was high enough for our sailboat’s keel to pass through the east entrance, a shortcut when our transmission failed in Spieden Channel. Twilight, calm wind, and little current (a rare occurrence in the riptide-riddled waterway) allowed us to use our 10-foot inflatable with a 15-horsepower outboard to tow our heavy-displacement boat into the harbor. God answered our prayers. We spent an expensive week tied up to a dock awaiting a replacement transmission, but we couldn’t think of a better place to be marooned.

“Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:28-30, NKJV)

Have you ever found yourself in danger? What did you do?

Thanks for reading!



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2 Responses to Tiny Pearl Island

  1. Lynn says:

    Hi Deb,

    We are one of the few that are blessed to have a home on Pearl, Is. Enjoyed reading your remarks on Pearl. It’s really a remarkable spot where we face all the action of Roche Harbor bay, over looking Roche.

    God Bless
    Lynn and Lori

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