Day 7 of Cody’s San Juan Islands Adventure

SageCat Sweet Potato goes from Jones Island to the famous destination of Roche Harbor –

We paddled ashore in the morning with our breakfast supplies and cooked a mountain of a meal.  Eggs, hash browns, warmed tortilla shells, coffee and some bananas really started the day off on the right foot.  After cleaning up and taking our cooking gear back to the boat, we set off to hike around Jones Island.  There is a nice path around the perimeter of the island which is about four miles long and provides some wonderful views of the surrounding islands and waters.  After our hike, we were all rather over heated so we paddled back to the boat, changed into swimsuits and went for a (rather short) swim!  The water in the islands hovers in the mid to low 50s year round and so you don’t see many swimmers in them and when you do, they tend not to linger too long.  

sailing near Jones IslandAfter cooling off, we stowed whatever gear we had out, weighed anchor, and headed off to our next stop, Roche Harbor, about six miles west and slightly north of our anchorage at Jones Island.  We again were treated to light breeze and calm seas for our day’s sail.  As we cruised along we listened to an audio book and enjoyed the sun and cool breeze.  We were able to sail the entire way to Roche Harbor, only dropping sail as we entered the crowded and bustling bay.  After a few minutes of motoring around and looking at my charts, struggling to find a spot suitable to anchor, I finally selected a spot to drop the hook very close to a beach and not too far from the full-to-the-brim guest dock.  After checking our depth and the tide charts, I decided that it would be most prudent to anchor off the bow with our primary anchor and off the stern with our secondary anchor to prevent us from swinging during the very low tide in the middle of the night toward the beach, which could possibly have left us with our keel resting on the bottom.  Stern anchor set, we inflated the SUP and headed into Roche Harbor for a couple hours of sight seeing before the sun set.  

It was during this evening that we noticed some very beautiful colors in the sunset, which alerted us to a thickening smoke in the air.  The previous day we had thought the air looked a bit hazy, but hadn’t thought much of it.  This evening was a different story.  As the sun sank low on the horizon, you could easily look straight at the dull orange ball.  Our air quality and crystal clear skies would not be nearly as pristine for the remainder of our cruise.  As it grew dark, we made our way back out to the boat and slept deeply as we were all exhausted from a long day of hiking, swimming, lounging during a sunny sail and exploring a new town.  A day well spent.  

Day 6 of Cody’s SageCat San Juan Islands Cruise

Cody and crew go from Friday Harbor to Jones Island –

After a nice breakfast in town, we stowed the gear on the boat and set out for our next destination, Jones Island, about five and a half miles to the north of Friday Harbor.  The breeze was a very steady seven knots or so and also coming from the north, but the skies were clear and the seas were flat, so we enjoyed a few hours of leisurely tacking back and forth across the channel working our way up to our desired destination.  The wind was forecasted to increase in strength through the night and continue blowing from the north, so we chose to anchor in the small bay on the south side of Jones.  When we arrived we found that there were four mooring buoys, all of which were occupied by large yachts.  Not to worry as we were again able to sneak between them and the shore line with plenty of extra depth and swinging room for our tiny boat.  The water in this bay was exceptionally clear and we could easily see every detail of the bottom and were able to inspect the set of the anchor as well as the daily habits of several little crabs meandering around the bay.  

Jones Island

Jones Island is a state park and the only permanent structures on it are a few very nice outhouses (if an outhouse can ever be described as being nice).  We spent our last few hours of daylight after our arrival on the island cooking another delicious pasta dish and had some fine garlic bread to go with it.  A group of teenagers and their guides arrived by kayak as we were cooking and as they set up camp ashore, came into contact with a creature which would torment them for the next 12 hours.  The fearsome Jones Island raccoon!  Apparently living on such a small island with very few predators and not a huge food supply leads to some very bold raccoon behavior.  As we ate, we watched a raccoon continually raid their picnic table, tent and food bins despite several angry, shout filled chasing back over to the bushes.  We again witnessed this several times during the night as I was awoken by a bright light shining through the port aboard Sweet Potato.  I sat up alarmed the first time this happened, only to discover that it was these campers, shining their high powered flashlights through the bushes and trees, trying to spot this raccoon and his/her buddies as their continued raids on their supplies were keeping them up in the campground.  I was very happy to be safe and snug in our cozy little cabin as I rolled over and went back to sleep.