Day 9 of Cody’s San Juan Islands trip

Roche Harbor to Fisherman Bay –

This hazy, smoky morning began with a shower at the marina, a quick coffee for all of us and a stop by our friend’s boat to pick up our battery before departing on our longest sail of the trip so far.  My wife had visited Lopez Village about five years ago for a brief afternoon and had fallen in love with the cute little town and laid back setting.  She was really wanting to go spend a bit more time there and show her friend Jen around, so Fisherman bay was to be revisited.  We motored out of Roche harbor in no wind at all, but after about three miles, a nice breeze from the north filled in so we killed the motor, hoisted sail and had a wonderful downwind ride for the remaining 11 miles to fisherman bay.  On two occasions much larger sail boats clearly changed course to come sail by us, say hello and comment on what a cute little boat we had.  Clearly I am biased, but Sweet Potato does have some striking lines.  Jerry Montgomery knows a thing or two about drawing a nice looking boat!  

bowl at Fishermans BayWe dropped anchor in Fisherman bay once again and, since it was such a quiet and peaceful setting, decided that we would spend the rest of the evening cooking a feast on the boat, watching the sunset, and listening to an audio book.  The cockpit was a bit crowded with three of us while trying to prepare and cook a meal, so I was ordered to the foredeck with a cold beverage.  A short while later I was handed a delightful plate full of food and a refill of my beverage.  We all enjoyed our meal as the sun set, and spent the next few hour telling stories and sharing laughs.  Days don’t get a whole lot better than this one as far as I can tell.

Day 4 of Cody’s SageCat cruise of the San Juan Islands

After having some Strawberry Rhubarb “hand pie” Cody travels from Lopez to Friday Harbor –

Fishermans BayThe alarm on my phone awakened me at 6:15 so as to get a good start on arriving at Holly B’s Bakery somewhere near their 7 o’clock opening time.  I dressed for the day and paddled across the bay under yet another crystal clear sky and steady breezes.  The bakery already had a crowd when I arrived only a few minutes after opening, but I soon understood the reason for said crowd.  The pastries available were many and all appeared (and smelled) quite divine!  I ended up settling on a house made Strawberry Rhubarb “hand pie” and it exceeded my expectations!  I can wholeheartedly recommend Holly B’s bakery on Lopez Island to anyone who happens to be traveling through this quaint and spirited little village.  

Lopez VillageAfter breakfast and a quick walk around Lopez Village, I made my way back to the marina, paddled back to the boat and stowed the SUP for the day’s sail.  I was scheduled to meet my wife, one of her best girlfriends Jen and our dog Occy in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island Sunday morning where they would be arriving by ferry.  The breeze was blowing about 8 knots and was forecasted to continue to do so all day, the sky was completely clear and the sail would only be a bit over five miles.  I checked the currents and they were going to be moving at just under a knot during the time of this trip, I I set out for what I hoped would be a short and pleasant sail.

wind reportThe first three miles went very smoothly (apart from very heavy powerboat traffic from all directions which made large wakes converging from every direction nearly the entire time) but as I approached San Juan Island, large gusts of wind began sweeping across the water.  I quickly tucked in the first reef and felt under control again but the gusts continued to strengthen.  Soon the second reef was snugged down and only then were the gusts more manageable.  The sailing conditions were tricky as the wind would go from 10 knots to 25 knots and then back to 10 knots within the span of about 30 seconds.  To complicate matters, the heavy traffic coming into and out of Friday Harbor made for some extra maneuvering in tighter quarters than I would have preferred.  Upon arrival at Friday Harbor I dropped sail, motored into a shallow and secluded corner of the harbor and dropped anchor, a bit frazzled by the hectic last two miles of the trip.

Upon arrival I learned via a text from my wife that she would be arriving on an afternoon ferry instead of a morning ferry the following morning, so I spent the evening walking around Friday Harbor and getting a few needed groceries at the local market.  Friday Harbor is a bustling little town on a summer weekend and it was a fun change to take in the local sights and night life.

Day 3 of Cody’s SageCat cruise

Spencer SpitThe sun rose the next morning to a lighter breeze but still the same clear and cloudless skies.  After an eggs, toast and coffee breakfast, I set to work tensioning the rig.  It all went exactly as described by Dave and I was able to do it rather easily while swinging at anchor with the mast still standing.  Spencer Spit is a beautiful place and I would have happily spent a day there, but the tides and currents would be helping me along if I got an earlier start for my next hop over to Fisherman Bay on the opposite side of Lopez Island.  I cleaned up my breakfast, stowed some gear, pulled up the anchor and set sail.  The day was glorious and under full sail I coasted along at about 4.5 knots for the entire 8ish mile trip.  The first half of the sail was downwind and around the north end of the island followed by a very fun upwind leg traveling south down the west coast of Lopez island.  The rig now looked and behaved perfectly and I was able to really sail Sweet Potato as she was meant to be sailed.  

After motoring through the tight and winding channel channel entrance to Fisherman Bay, I was greeted to a large but completely protected bay with plenty of space to anchor.  I picked a nice and secluded spot with plenty of depth for my little craft and set about inflating my Standup Paddle Board (SUP).  I own an 8’ zodiac that I had used as a tender for my Cape Dory 25D, but it seemed rather large, bulky and heavy to carry on the much smaller Sagecat.  The SUP worked very well for me and, when rolled up, could either be stowed under the cockpit sole in the main cabin or, more commonly, under the tiller in the cockpit.  

I rowed to shore and was apparently just in time to catch the tail end of happy hour at the marina restaurant which overlooked Fisherman Bay.  Some other boaters told me about a bakery in Lopez Village (about a 10 minute walk down the road from the marina) that had a reputation for being in a league of its own but was know to sell out rather quickly, so I’d be well advised to get there shortly after their 7 o’clock opening time. I thanked them for the tip and as the sun was getting low in the sky, paddled back across the bay to the boat and enjoyed yet another marvelous sunset.  The temperature quickly dropped and the breeze was still present, so again I hopped in the cabin and settled into a few more chapters of the book before retiring for another pleasant sleep.