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