This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cruise to Sucia Island

Last Saturday we cruised out to Sucia Island with friends Rick and Jean Scribner and daughter Kate and her husband Nick. It was our first "real" cruise since owning the Key of Sea.

We left Squalicum harbor at 9:30 am and sailed south towards the southern tip of Portage Island where we rounded the tip and headed north through Hale Passage which offers views of Portage on the starboard and Lummi Island on the port side. The tide was flowing in our direction that morning so we were able to take advantage of it easily increasing our speed from 7 to 9 knots.

We broke out into the Strait of Georgia and across the shipping channel to the little hand-shaped isle of Sucia, an extremely popular state park and a part of the San Juan archipelago. As usual the main moorage spots in Echo and Fossil bays were filled with weekend boaters. We slowly cruised along the shore, and tucked into a small inlet I spied what appeared to be a buoy floating in the middle of a quiet little cove. Our binoculars proved me right and we nosed in towards it finding ourselves completely alone in what I have since found out was called Snoring Bay, a narrow inlet dead ending at a perfect crescent-shaped beach and with 40-50 foot high sandstone cliffs all around topped with native Madrona and other pine trees. We tied up to the lone buoy and let the wind slowly turn the boat into what wind there was.

Here is a photo taken from the cliffs above Snoring Bay of the moorage we had. This is not our boat. It does show you what the spot looked like. Wow!

A lunch of ham and turkey sandwiches, cole slaw, and various libations were served before everyone settled down for an afternoon nap. The silence was broken only by the light breeze and an occasional group of hikers who stopped at an overlook above us and looked down on what had to be a pretty beautiful site, a 32 foot Bayliner yacht moored in the middle of this perfect little cove with all aboard living up to the name of Snoring Bay.

Late in the afternoon, we reluctantly untied and headed on a new route home. We headed south back across the Strait of Georgia and Boundary Pass and into Rosario Strait. After passing Barnes and Clark Islands on our port side and Orcas Island on our starboard, we crossed the shipping channel and tucked in close to the towering mountains at the south end of Lummi Island, rounded the tip and into Bellingham Bay. On our starboard was the private Eliza Island dotted with summer cottages of all shapes and sizes. Ahead of us, some 9 nautical miles away was the skyline of the city of Bellingham.

Our cruise to Sucia had lasted only about 2 hours while our return took nearly 4. However, we were also able to claim having circumnavigated Lummi Island and to have moored on our first island. What a thrill it was to cross all that water, take in the natural sites of seals, birds and dolphins. The salt air as well as the pine air near the islands drove home the reasons we live hear in the northwest and why we own a boat.

We docked the Key of Sea just as it neared sunset. Washing the salt spray off her as the sun went down and buttoning her up for the night, I felt a real satisfaction for having accomplished something very real. Out there in the elements the weather can change within moments, the icy cold water can be hundreds of feet deep, rocks and shoals and reefs and floating logs await anyone unaware enough to venture near. Whales rise from the deep unexpectedly, eagles soar overhead, dolphins accompany your wake and I can't wait for our next adventure at sea.