- Capt. Eric
San Juan Islands and Orcas!
Updated: May 5, 2019
With a short window of a few weeks to explore the San Juan Islands before we must leave Washington State, we decided to head down from Blaine and start exploring. This should be the first and last time for Di in the San Juan Islands so we were intent on making it count.
The trip began with a stop in Semiahmoo marina to add some fuel. I had planned for a short stop that would put us at the right time in the main channel to have the currents and morning calms with us but like so many good plans, everything changed as soon as we started pumping fuel. Contrary to our last refueling, we got the normal pump, not the high speed one which we can easily cope with. Imagine pumping 300 gallons using a pump that is no different than your local gas station and you'll understand. Over an hour later and we finally left the marina and shortly after entered the Straight of Georgia.
Marine forecasts had predicted up to 15 knots of wind and seas of 2 to 3 feet, easy sailing conditions for Enfin and her crew.
We had a little bit more wind, up to 20 knots and slightly choppier and more pronounced seas. Not a problem for Enfin, but poor Princess did not enjoy that part of the ride. We'll have to train her to relax more underway. We did it in the car, so we know how to do it, but it will take time.
Within a few hours we started getting into the lee of the San Juan Islands and the day got brighter for Princess and all aboard.
We squeezed through Peavine Pass, just south of Obstruction Island. The names alone give you an idea of how close and tight things get there.
Nothing difficult or dangerous, but definitely interesting and scenic enough to keep you on your toes.
Turning South towards Hunter Bay I noticed in the distance a couple of small tourist boats stopped, and within a couple minutes saw the tell tale of spray of orcas blowing.
Being very respectful of the required distances, I stopped the boat, and to our amazement we got to see a whole pod of orcas, including a huge male. To say the crew of Enfin was excited would be an understatement. Di was on the bow, snapping pictures, Princess was poking her head though the lifelines quizzically wondering what these big animals were, and following their every movement intently.
What a glorious way to start Di's visit to the San Juan Islands!
We anchored in Hunter Bay, a large well protected cove that would provide us shelter from the strong SW winds forecast for the night.
We put our trusted Bullfrog tender in the water and took Princess for a well deserved walk, were she got to see a couple of deers, crabs on the beach and chipmunks. From her fluffy tail, all was well again, and we returned home to a warm boat to toast the evening and our fist day in the Islands.