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ChappyMike

New to PNW

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Hello All! 

Been an active member of this site for a few years now, but sadly never scrolled down past "Boat Talk" to see the boards based on location! We relocated to Portland last year from California and have a 280 Signature on the Columbia. After finally ironing out a few issues once we got the boat in the water, we finally had a good ending to our boating season. Hauling out in about a month for a winter storage, but will be back on the Columbia in April. 

We got talking to a fellow PNW boater this weekend and he suggested trailering out boat to Bellevue and heading to the San Juan Islands for a week or so. I've spent the past 48 hours consumed in researching the islands and it is officially a MUST for us next summer. Does anyone have recommendations? Any one planning a trip next summer and want to buddy up? What's the water/weather/tides/current like in July/August? 

Thanks in advance and already counting down to next summer...

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not sure why you would start in Bellevue unless you want to start in Lake Washington and go thru the locks.  You are going to find it very difficult to find long term parking as well.  Check out the Port of Edmonds with their hoist and own parking lot, or head right up to Anacortes where they have 2 marinas with hoists.  If you leave Edmonds, make one direction a trip thru deception pass.  Narrow and tides are ripping like a large river, but very pretty.  That will lead you out to the islands for hopping around.  Make sure you visit Orcas Island and Friday Harbor for touristy visits, but get out to the uninhabited islands like Sucia, jones Island and stewart Island.  Lots of cool places to moor, maybe get dock space (look for reservations on the state websites, it gets busy up here).  Have good charts and watch for shallow rocks and bars.  Tides will change by 10 feet or so twice a day.

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15 minutes ago, adam72 said:

not sure why you would start in Bellevue unless you want to start in Lake Washington and go thru the locks.  You are going to find it very difficult to find long term parking as well.  Check out the Port of Edmonds with their hoist and own parking lot, or head right up to Anacortes where they have 2 marinas with hoists.  If you leave Edmonds, make one direction a trip thru deception pass.  Narrow and tides are ripping like a large river, but very pretty.  That will lead you out to the islands for hopping around.  Make sure you visit Orcas Island and Friday Harbor for touristy visits, but get out to the uninhabited islands like Sucia, jones Island and stewart Island.  Lots of cool places to moor, maybe get dock space (look for reservations on the state websites, it gets busy up here).  Have good charts and watch for shallow rocks and bars.  Tides will change by 10 feet or so twice a day.

Thanks for the info! Sorry, I meant launching in  Bellingham, not Bellevue. I'm hoping to avoid some of the current-prone areas like you talked about. 

We plan on getting a good chart book, as well as installing a chart plotter with bottom mapping (gives me a reason to upgrade!). 

What's the weather like during June, July, August? We don't mind some crowds or staying on the hook, but just looking for temps and typical winds. From what I've seen on Youtube videos and in photos, the place always looks so calm!

 

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Bellingham makes more sense......   The currents aren't as bad as what you would think.  If you need to go thru a tight spot or into a marina that will have a current going by, just watch the tide and go on the slack (when the water isn't moving).  Deception pass is really beautiful.  The tides/current/whirlpools add to it all.  Absolutely no problem with a power boat.  Can get iffy in a sail boat going against the tide.

Weather in June will still have occasional rain/windy days, but nothing horrible.  You can always hide on the leeward side of the islands if it blows.  July and August will be awesome, but CROWDED....

There are a ton of cool books out there about cruising the San Juans that you might look for.  Lots of blogs out there with current info.  Bring your passport and head up to Canada for a day or two as well.

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Thanks again for the info! We will probably go up in July or August - we don't mind the crowds and I'm comfortable anchoring if need be. I'll be looking up possible reservation spots for the weekend and then hope to get mooring balls during the week. We're taking the winter to better prep the boat with VHF, GPS/Radar, all maintenance, and a few updates. Can't get here soon enough!

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