Monthly Archives: August 2015

Uncharted Islands – Chuckanet Island

Sunday morning we crossed to the south of Chuckanut Bay to explore Chuckanut Island. Chuckanut Island is the Nature Conservancy’s Cyrus Gates Memorial Preserve. We landed on the southern shore at low tide when a isthmus forms between Chuckanet Island and a protected bird sanctuary to the south. A perfect place to land the “dink”.

 
We walked the sandstone beach admiring Nature’s carvings the result of years of wind, rain, and waves which have shaped surreal designs into the cliffs. 

   
 As we walked around the island we found a easy way up the cliffs to a trail across the island. As we ascended the rocks we found a rather unkept trail which we used to meander around the island, from the northern beaches and tidepools to the southern cliffs. 

   
    
    
   
We explored the tide pools on the island before headed back to the boat for lunch.  

  
   
The local harbor seals of Chuckanut Bay and the looming slopes of Mt. Baker bid us farewell before we headed back to Anacortes and our workaday world. An adventuresome weekend of discovery in the San Juan Islands. 

  
  

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¬†Uncharted Islands – Inati Bay and Teddy Bear Cove

We motored north from Clark Island towards Cherry Point to round the north tip of Lummi Island. The bar towards the north end, coupled with a strong wind, and an ebbing tide created a considerable swell. We unfurled the headsail to push our way through and steady the rock of the boat. Rounding Lummi we were greeted by postcard views of Mt. Baker and a pod a seals sunning themselves and their pups in the heat of the first rays of August.   

Mt. Baker

 

Pod of Seals, North Lummi

 

We were headed to Inati Bay on Lummi Island. Inati is a small cove across from Bellingham Bay on the East side of Lummi. Anybody is welcome to anchor there, but to go ashore you need to be a member of the Bellingham Yacht Club or havea reciprocal as we did from Anacortes Yacht Club. Upon arrival we were greeted by a bald eagle and a great blue heron as we disturbed their peace. We dropped anchor and made a B.L.A.T.s for lunch before heading ashore for a little exploration. 

Eagle in Inati Bay

  

Exploring Inati Bay

  

Inati Bay

 

There wasn’t a lot to see or do on shore so we followed a logging road up into the hills. It was a steep climb that ultimately offered no views and lots of bugs but was littered with interesting old heavy equipment of logging efforts past. Exploring them made for eerie post apocalyptic conversation (mostly zombies). 

Along the old logging road

  

Old logging equipment

  

Inati Bay pose walking the log boom


Back to Pangaea for a sail across Bellingham Bay to Chuckanut Bay where we dropped anchor near Teddy Bear Cove. My father, who did his undergraduate studies at Western Washington University, mentioned “I helped haul many a keg to that beach over 50 years ago”. As we anchored nearby the beach the wee hours of night would prove that many a keg was still being hauled to Teddy Bear Cove on a hot summer night, and that college student  reveries and midnight swims hadn’t changed much in half a century. Although, Western Washington students on summer break wasn’t the only thing that kept us up at night. We had dropped anchor near the railroad tracks on the East side of the bay in order to optimize our 270. “I wonder how many trains use this track?”. We certainly found out, with half a dozen passing by before dusk and at least another half dozen through the night. 

But before we were kept up much of the night we first we decided the cold waters of the Salish Sea looked inviting enough for a swim as we headed into the dog days of summer on August 1st. My daughter was the first to inspire us to take the punge.  

First to commit!

  

Jumping into Chuckanut Bay

  

Cooling off in Chuckanut Bay

  

“Its not that cold!”

  

Mother/Daughter Polar Bear Plunge

  
  

“It really isn’t that cold”

  

I join in…”Its cold but it feels good!”

 

  
    
 As the shadows grew longer we treasured our perfect positioning across the bay to optimize our 270. We decided we had won the best anchorage because the last rays of summer sun fell across our bow as we ate our dinner in the cockpit.

  
    

Sunset across Chuckanut Bay

 

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Uncharted Islands – Clark

From Vendovi Island we headed north through the Salish Sea leaving Sinclair Island to port and Lummi Island luming off our starboard bow. 

Pushing near 90 degrees it was one of the hotter days in the San Juan Islands that I can remember. With swirling tides around Lone Tree Island and The Sisters rocks we maneuvered ourselves between the rocks (home to many sunbathing seals and their newborn pups) to secure a mooring buoy in the small bay on the eastern side. 

Clark Island is a Washington State Park with sandy beaches on the west side and a gravel beach with stunning views of Mt. Baker on the eastern shore. But for some reason we had never been to this park before. 

 

Mt. Baker and seals sunbathing

  

Mt. Baker

  

The good ship Pangaea

  

Clark Island State Park

 We headed ashore to walk and exlpore the trails on the island. We found beautiful forests of Pacific Madrona, interesting rock formations and geology, and perflectly framed views after views of Mt. Baker melting away in the late July heat.  

Mt. Baker and the Sisters (peaks to right)

  

Mt. Baker

  

Exploring Clark Island

  

Mt. Baker

  

Pacific Madrona forest.

  
   
Clark Island has several nice camping sites and composting toilet facilities on it. It is ideal for kayaker campers (and there were plenty there) although the currents between Clark and Barnes and around the rocks can be very swift and swirling during peak ebbs and floods.  Be careful. 

Nicest composting toilet ever!

  

Taking “the dink” around Clark Island

  

Moorage on East side of Clark Island

  

Sunset and high tide w/Lone Tree Island in background

 We returned to Pangaea for happy hour and dinner to watch the sun set and the moon rise over Lummi Island. It was a perfect summer day in the San Juan Islands and a new discovery for us to see Clark Island. Only once in a blue moon do you get a day and a evening like this. We’ll be sure to return here, perhaps to camp, at some point in the near future.

Mt. Baker at sunset

  

Blue Moon rising over Lummi Island

  

Blue Moon rising over Lummi Island

 

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Uncharted Islands – Vendovi

I grew up in the San Juan Islands, an archipelago of around 300 islands near the Canadian border. The San Juans are about 90 miles North of Seattle in an area known as the Salish Sea. I’ve been sailing and exploring the San Juans since I was a child and every summer we make a point of returning to the islands for a few days of cruising familar and favorite places. However, this year we decided to explore islands and inlets in the San Juans hitherto unknown to myself and my family.

To beat the weekend crouds we pushed off from the dock at Cap Sante Marina and headed out at by the light of a full blue moon for a quick trip to Saddlebag (aka Scallywag Island) to drop anchor for the night. This island is well known to us, especially my daughter who spent weeks at a time each summer at Pirate Camp in Anacortes. She learned to sail to this island and spent countless hours exploring it with her campmates looking for rumoured pirate treasure. It was also the location of a hosted team building event for my work group who came from around the world to feast on a classic Pacific Northwest seafood dinner of salmon, crab, prawns, and oysters. 

Blue Moon Sail

Speaking of crab, it had just been the opening of crabbing season the weekend prior and as we discovered in the morning we had anchored ourselves in a minefield of bouys marking baited pots far below. The gentle swing of the overnight breeze and the changing of a blue mood tide found us with a bouy and line wrapped around our rudder. We struggled to get it off before the owner of the pot happened along to help us and to bark salty dog advice to us about dropping anchor at night without proper flood lights on our bow. We bit our tongues straining to not give him advice about placing his crab pot in a state park designated anchorage. His consolation prize was a single “keeper”.

Waking up at Saddlebag Island

  

Tangled and crabby

  

A keeper

 
We headed to Vendovi Island, a recent aquisition by the San Juan Preservation Trust, a non profit organization committed to preserving and limiting development in parts of the San Juan Islands. Its a rather small island of just over 200 acres and once belonged to the Fluke Family (of Fluke Corporation)  and was originally developed by John Fluke who until recently was buried on the island. His cemetary remains as a memorial. 

The island caretakers (Shawn and Heather) welcomed us at the small dock which is open to the public from 10am – 6pm May through September. The island features the caretakers self sufficient compound, the Fluke cemetary, and a few miles of trails to various beaches and overlooks with beautiful views of the San Juan Islands and surounding Cascade Mountains.  

The visitation hours are strcitly enforced.

  

Donations can be made at http://www.sjpt.org

  

Caretaker’s garden

  

Old saw mill on the island

    

The Fluke Family exhumed and relocated his remains. It is now a memorial

  

Vendovi Island North Cove (island access)

  

Rocks at Sunrise Beach

  

Low tide at Sunrise Beach

  

 

Vendovi hiking trail

  

Soft bed of lichens

  

Paintbrush Point Overlooks

  

Paintbrush Point Overlook

  

Jack’s Back Overlook

  

Exploring tidepools

  

Exploring Sunset Beach

  
 We headed back to the dock and had lunch at Vendovi before heading north to Clark Island State Park for our next uncharted isle. 

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