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ContinuousWave: Trips and Rendezvous
Pacific Northwest Trip Recommendations
|Author||Topic: Pacific Northwest Trip Recommendations|
posted 02-06-2013 04:01 PM ET (US)
To all you whalers up in the Pacific Northwest. I am looking for some recommendations for about a five day vacation up in your neck of the woods. I am thinking about towing the Montauk up from Santa Cruz towards the end of the summer or early fall and spending about five days doing some exploring.
I would prefer to find a hotel/cabin to use as a base and take a lot of day trips. Not opposed to a one or two night boat camping trip either. Just trying to get some ideas here.
Would love to do some exploring up in the San Juan Islands area. Someplace with a decent boat launch and a place to get some good meals.
Post here or feel free to email me. Thanks in advance!
posted 02-06-2013 04:42 PM ET (US)
posted 02-06-2013 07:18 PM ET (US)
If you want to explore the San Juan Islands you've got several options.
Friday Harbor would probably be my pick in your situation. Lots of restaurants, several hotels, vacation rentals if you want a house/condo (check VRBO and the like), and a nice marina to keep the boat in.
Roche Harbor, Deer Harbor, Rosario Resort, and Lopez Islander are other options, but Friday Harbor has more choices for restaurants and hotels than these spots.
You could either take the truck and trailer over on the ferry (not sure how expensive the ferry would be with a trailer) or launch in Anacortes and boat over to whatever destination you choose. Come to think of it, you could stay in Anacortes and do day (Anacortes to Friday Harbor is less than 30nm).
If you are interested in camping, there are lots of options at the state parks in the area. James, Jones, Sucia and many others are beautiful and fun. Great day stops too if you enjoy hiking and exploring.
The Waggoner Cruising Guide has the most up to date boating info on the PNW waters. Marinas, state parks, etc. In the interest of full disclosure I work for the guide, but I used it long before I began working there and it's a great resource.
A trip along the west side of San Juan Island in the summer often results in Orca sightings, but be sure to stay 200 yards away from the whales.
Let me know if you have more questions!
posted 02-06-2013 07:24 PM ET (US)
Do you want a spot to keep your boat in the water or do you plan on pulling it out each time? You can go out by ferry, it's expensive hauling a boat, or you can take all the stuff you need for 5 days and go out by boat.
San Juan County is only 15800 in population scattered basically over four islands. Orcas and San Juan are ones to look at for lodging. Finding lodging with a dock is kind of tough.
posted 02-06-2013 08:45 PM ET (US)
Five days in the san juans will make you wish you had ten. Anacortes is a good place to launch. There is a good ramp west of town at the ferry terminal. Or go up to bellingham and launch. $7 and parking is unlimited and free. From there it is a half hour to friday harbor. Each of the main islands has motels, hotels, or B and B's. You can usually call your housing provider and they will come to the dock and pick you up. Roche Harbor is a neat place to start, just a few minutes past friday harbor, and you can get a room at the hotel de haro. Almost ran out of fuel once and had to put in there but the fuel dock was closed so we got a room. I and the wife took our old 15 all over. Carried camping gear and camped on jones island and stuart island. September won't have much in the way of crowds and usually the weather is nice.
posted 02-06-2013 09:03 PM ET (US)
Here are a couple of places on Orcas Island that have parking, docks, and launch ramps. You'll be driving to dinner from either place, unless you cook your own.
Nothing is really cheap in the San Juans, but these 2 are fairly reasonable by island standards.
Orcas is pretty central in the San Juans. Trailering the boat over will cost in the neighborhood of $200. You only pay on the "to", not the "from".
Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is bigger, as mentioned, with more places to eat.
I'd be happy to hook up on Orcas, as that is where I keep my boat. Maybe we could even get some of the other locals and have a mini rendezvous.
|Tom W Clark||
posted 02-06-2013 09:59 PM ET (US)
Clearly the San Juans is where you want to go. Given that the San Juan islands are sort like living in Venice Italy (you can get everywhere you want to go by boat), I suggest you avoid the headache of trailering across on the uber-expensive ferry and simply launch for the mainland and boat across Rosario Straight to your destinaton of choice.
Instead of launching from Skyline Marine on Fidalgo Island (or any of the other launch spots around Anacortes) I suggest you drive slightly further north to Bellingham and launch from Squalicum Harbor, part of the Port of Bellingham, where there are never any lines and the parking for car and trailer is good for five days. You may drive a little further but the crossing is essentially the same as from Anacortes and you'll save a bunch of money on parking and ferry fare.
Whatever you do, take no advice from Jim Hebert about crossing to the San Juan Islands; the guy does not know how to read a chart.
posted 02-07-2013 02:08 PM ET (US)
Bellingham route out to the islands can be less wet than crossing Rosario from Anacortes. I am not worried about the Montauk's ability to cross Rosario, but I do not know how many people are aboard and how much gear. You do not want your gear to get wet on the first day out.
Friday Harbor has more amenities if you do not have a car.
posted 02-07-2013 03:10 PM ET (US)
Trailer your Montauk to the end of the road--literally--at Lund, BC. Start your exploration of the Pacific Northwest from there. VIsit Princess Louisa Inlet.
posted 02-07-2013 07:44 PM ET (US)
And that will add at least six hours on to your driving trip and you have to take two ferries at 200 a pop.
posted 02-08-2013 10:22 AM ET (US)
Thanks for all the input! Time to get out the maps and charts and start planning!
posted 02-08-2013 10:47 AM ET (US)
Even if you don't want to trailer your boat to one of the islands, I highly recommend you somehow get to Orcas and drive or taxi to the top of Mt Constitution in Moran State Park. There is a stone observation tower at the top which was built in the 1930s at an elevation of approximately 2400ft. From there, you can get a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire archipelago laid out beneath you. Simply beautiful.
There are a number of great hikes in this park and others in the San Juans.
posted 02-10-2013 12:37 PM ET (US)
I will second the recommendation that Dennis made in the previous post. The view from the lookout on Mt. Constitution is fantastic.
The day we were there a family of bald eagles was soaring in the updrafts around the lookout. We were at the same elevation as the eagles. There were different species of hawks in the viewing mix as well.
We stayed at the lookout for a good two hours, if not longer.
posted 02-12-2013 11:48 PM ET (US)
One question about the ferries. I read where they only allow 12 gallons of fuel in boats being trailered. Is that only a 12 gallon tank or just having less than 12 gallons in the tank? Got a 28 gallon tank on the Montauk. Anybody have any experience here?
posted 02-13-2013 12:12 AM ET (US)
I've only taken my boats on the ferries twice. There was never any questioning or inspection regarding fuel. I have never noticed it with other boats either. I don't think it will be a problem, but perhaps others can chime in with their experiences as well.
posted 02-13-2013 01:01 PM ET (US)
I took a Montauk by ferry once. It had a cover, we did not get checked. I do not consider a 28 gallon tank as being "portable" and the 12 gallon rule if for portable containers.
posted 02-13-2013 01:22 PM ET (US)
You might find Portland and Willamette and Columbia interesting - plus if you are inclined there could be some terrific fishing in Columbia system. Columbia can be pretty cool you might even get to go through the locks - not sure about all that, never did it but I'd be checking that out. Great walleye fishing east past Cascades. Plus there's always Lake Chelan if you are really exploring and much more. And High Desert Lakes around Bend could be a cool thing - I'd be thinking loop back to Santa Cruz instead of up and back down I-5. Woa, that could be skookum cool.
posted 02-13-2013 03:04 PM ET (US)
I was leaning towards a quick run up I5 on the way up and the scenic route down the coast on the way back. Catch 101 through the big redwoods.
posted 02-13-2013 03:29 PM ET (US)
That works for sure. Ocean cool too - bays would be a good thing, messing around Astoria option. Nehalem, Tillamook Bays are great, and if conditions are good Pacific City and Cape Kiwanda. I would not miss Gold Beach - If I were doing that PCH run I'd be certain to take the full distance ride up the Rogue River to Paradise Bar for sure (out of Gold Beach). If you haven't done that it's one of the best tourist trips anywhere. You go about 125 miles or so RT in a big deal jet boat - Jerry's Rogue Jets been there forever and we used to go with Court Boice - "I'm the best there is at what I do...." and then he slammed the throttles down on three big Ford V8s and we had the time of our lives - and were experienced white water folks and actually ran the Wild and Scenic stretch helping out an outfitter friend of ours for a few days. Great time of year too. There are two options if you do it - take the full tour. You won't regret it.
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