Daily Archives: August 1, 2015

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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