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Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Cruise to Echo Bay on Sucia Island

July 8-14, 2013 Cruise to Sucia and Blaine

Day 1: Bellingham to Echo Bay on Sucia Island

We left Bellingham's Squalicum Harbor at about 1230 on Monday, July 8, 2013. The bimini was up and the command bridge our chosen spot for the cruise out to Sucia Island.

The first leg of our journey was a heading southwest across Bellingham Bay, around Carter Point on the south end of Portage Island followed by a turn northwest up Hale Passage between Portage and Lummi Islands. As we headed through the pass we spotted the little Whatcom Chief ferry heading back and forth between the mainland and Lummi Island with its dozen or so cars and the foot passengers that make up the remainder of its load. We keep an eye on the ferry as we near the route it takes so as to avoid any possibility of tangling with her. We manage fine and soon head out the north end of Hale and into the Strait of Georgia, the vast area of water that leads far to the north and the long reach west to Vancouver Island. The Strait can be a nasty experience for any boater, windy and choppy or, on some days, calm and flat as a mirror.

Today we were in luck. Though not flat calm, it was a comfortable ride west towards Sucia.  We passed the northern tip of Lummi Island, rounded the Point Migley buoy and the outer islands including Matia, Sucia and distant Patos all came into view though somewhat shrouded in the marine mist.

After some 3 1/2 hours of cruising we entered Echo harbor and slowed as we headed toward the linear mooring lines. The harbor was dotted with a dozen or more boats, mostly anchored scattered across the bay. Others arrived as the afternoon went along.

We pulled up parallel to the long linear lines and tied up, fore and aft, to the rings attached to the lines. Engines shut down, we shut down all unnecessary electrical devices to save battery power. With hours of sunlight left only the fridge really needed to be running.

Since out last season of cruising we had acquired a new Honda 1200 watt generator. Safely tied down up on the aft cockpit roof which acts as storage for our crab pots and extra pfd's (personal flotation devices). Our shore power cord will plug into the generator which will help keep our  batteries charged while we are at anchor more than a couple of days. I am looking forward to seeing how well it works.

Meanwhile, we keep a wary eye on our ties to the linear lines. A 9 foot tide difference will come in this evening and we are concerned about whether there is enough play in our lines to compensate for the height of the tide as it rises and falls. 

I head down below for a nap and Leslie to the command bridge to read. Later on we'll dinghy ashore for the first time to register ourselves, take a walk and do a bit of beach combing. There is a charge for anchoring in the Washington state marine parks of which Sucia is one of many. We buy a pass each year, a sticker attached to our windshield, which pays for all our visits to the parks for a year. But we still must fill out a small registration form and turn it in to a drop box ashore. 

The only sound we hear is the water lapping against the boat. Otherwise, the harbor, though a couple dozen boats are at anchor, is absolutely silent.