An impromptu invitation to go crabbing on the north side at Saddlebag Island by a fellow boater introduced us to his favorite seafood spot. I’m no crab lover, but I enjoyed the experience of traveling the Swinomish Channel past La Conner perched high on a Grand Banks powerboat’s flying bridge. You view the environs from a totally different perspective than from a sailboat at sea level. In the photo below, the flying bridge is stationed above the inside main cabin. Grab a seat behind the short tinted windshield adjacent to the antenna and you can steer the boat from outside. And when not underway, it’s a great spot to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine!
Grand Banks trawler
Posted in Dot Island, Huckleberry Island, Saddlebag Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity
Tagged Bay View State Park, Cap Sante Park, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, Dot Island, Fidalgo Bay Resort, Grand Banks powerboat, Guemes Island ferry, Huckleberry Island, kayak, kayaking, LaConner, Padilla Bay, Saddlebag Island, San Juan Islands, Swinomish Channel, Washington State Dept. of Ecology, Washington State Marine Parks, www.blog.debgarland.com, www.debgarland.com
Sailing to the outer San Juan Islands can be a delightful experience. Destination islands that are often passed over by those who ride the Washington State ferries or boaters who prefer the amenities of mooring at marinas where there are docks to access restaurants, shopping, and a place to walk the family dog. Not to mention chatting with other boaters about their vessels, adventures at sea, and new harbors they plan to visit. Clark Island and Barnes Island are separated by a narrow channel and are located northeast of Orcas Island. Barnes is the smaller of the two islands in this photo.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Barnes Island, Clark Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity
Tagged Barnes Island, Charles Wilkes, Clark & Barnes - Islands at the Edge, Clark Island, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, San Juan Islands, San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, smuggling, U.S. Geological Survey, Washington State Dept. of Ecology, www.blog.debgarland.com, www.debgarland.com
Not everyone desires to live on an isolated island, but it may surprise you that islanders have their limits. In 2012, a fierce January storm swept away a major portion of Sinclair Island’s public county dock, leaving its U.S. Post Office perched close to the edge of the remaining timbers. It took a prolonged push by residents for more than three years to convince Skagit County officials to take a first-hand look at the damage and decide how to restore the islanders’ easiest access to their homes and property. This is especially important for mail delivery and meeting emergencies. It appears San Juan County, which installed a dock on Obstruction Pass, might be the perfect partner with a solution. Stay tuned.
Posted in San Juan Islands & Vicinity, Sinclair Island
Tagged amateur radio, Anacortes, Cottonwood Collection, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, Larry Kelly, Mary Leach, Obstruction Pass, San Juan County, Sinclair Island, Sinclair Island - A World Apart, Skagit County, www.debgarland.com
My husband and I met John Fluke, Sr., the owner of Vendovi Island, in the early 1980s while employed at his high tech engineering firm, John Fluke Mfg. Co., Inc., in Everett, Washington. I helped the new in-house patent attorney apply for engineering patents with the U.S. Patent Office. One of my fondest memories was a surprise birthday celebration. The late John Fluke, Sr. had an office close to my department and my colleagues invited him to sing happy birthday to me. My husband enjoyed a similar experience when this big-hearted man entered his cubicle a few days after he was hired and asked him how things were going. Befriending his employees was Mr. Fluke’s management style, and it was a pleasure to work for him.
Photo credit Ferdi Businger – San Juan Preservation Trust
Posted in San Juan Islands & Vicinity, Vendovi Island
Tagged Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, eagles, Fraser River, Harbor seals, Inc., John Fluke, John Fluke Mfg. Co., Peregrine falcons, Pigeon Guillemots, San Juan Preservation Trust, shell middens, Sockeye Salmon, Sr., Vendovi Island, www.debgarland.com
A friend of ours decided to get into sailing in a small way. He purchased a 12-foot wooden lug-rigged Pelican dinghy designed by Bill Short and built by the Smith brothers on nearby Samish Island. From him, we learned a group of owners often sailed to Cypress Island, camping on their favorite east-side beach. When Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources turned the area into a marine park, it was officially named Pelican Beach.
Photo courtesy of DuckWorksMagazine.com
Posted in Cypress Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity
Tagged Anacortes, Canada, Chili, Cypress Island, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, Harbor seals, Pan Fish North America, Pelican Beach, Samish Island, Secret Harbor School, Smith brothers, Washington, www.debgarland.com
Standing guard at the entrance to the San Juan Islands, south of Thatcher Pass, is James Island. For several years, we confused James Island with Jones Island, another marine state park near Deer Harbor on Orcas Island unless we consulted a chart. Then an elementary school idea occurred to me as we sailed west from Anacortes and the mainland, passing James Island before Jones Island. Mentally filing their names in alphabetical order solved our problem!
Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Posted in James Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity, Writing
Tagged boating, camping, crabbing, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, fishing, hiking, James Island, sailing, San Juan Islands, snorkeling, Washington State Marine Park
Threading our way through Deception Pass at slack tide and motoring north past Anacortes, WA, I was surprised to glance up and find an historic light station perched on the southwest corner of Burrows Island. From Skyline Marina, I can look west and see the steep-bluffs and heavily forested island, but the oldest intact wooden lighthouse in Washington State is hidden from my view. Designed by U.S. Light-House Board architect, Carl W. Leick, and built in 1906, the lighthouse helps ships navigate Rosario Strait and warns sailors to steer clear of nearby Dennis Shoal and Lawson Reef. Ironically, the lifesaving station where light-keepers once rescued ships’ crews in peril, now needs rescue by a crew of skilled and unskilled volunteers!
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Exiting Deception Pass aboard a 16-foot Safeboat, we skirted Allan Island on a day trip to circumnavigate Fidalgo Island, home of Anacortes. This small town with its several marinas is known as the “gateway” to the San Juan Islands. Allan Island and Burrows Island sit on its western doorstep within sight of Skyline Marina. This is a photo of Cap Sante Marina with Anacortes in the background.
Posted in Allan Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity, Writing
Tagged Allan Island, Anacortes, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, Eric C. Anderson, Lopez Island, Octopus, Paul G. Allen, San Juan Islands, Sperry Peninsula, Tatoosh
One of the best things about the San Juan Islands are the number of marine state parks that can be visited by marine craft, self-propelled or driven by an inboard/outboard engine. The island is remote enough to keep the less sea-savvy visitors away, but close enough to tempt those with enough skill and sense of adventure to meet the challenge of crossing a semi-protected stretch of saltwater and camp overnight on this treasured island. On a calm day, it’s an easy hour ride in an inflatable to the dock in the north cove. Here you can see picturesque Turtleback Mountain towering over Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, your point of departure for Jones Island.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Posted in Jones Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity, Writing
Tagged camping, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, Deer Harbor, Jacob Michael Jones, Jones Island, Orcas Island, San Juan Islands, Turtleback Mountain
“You have a cabin?” I asked our remedial reading assistant in the school district where I taught grades K-5. She replied, “On Center Island in Lopez Sound.” Being the informed sailor I am, I needed to consult one of our nautical charts aboard our sailboat. Sure enough, I spotted a small island between Decatur Island and Lopez Island. I wished I’d met her earlier to arrange a visit, but their property was for sale and sold a few months after our chat.
Photo courtesy of Washington Dept. of Ecology
Posted in Center Island, San Juan Islands & Vicinity, Writing
Tagged Center Island, Deb Garland, Deb Garland's San Juan Islands & Beyond, Decatur Island, Dungeness crab, kayaking, Lopes Island, Lopez Sound, oysters, rock scallops, San Juan Islands