A Lone Humpback and the Beginning of Fall

Our summer boating weather seems to be taking a turn towards fall. We headed out of Anacortes last Tuesday with bright blue skies, calm winds and water as flat as a lake.

Our destination was Garrison Bay on the NW side of San Juan Island. Wally wanted to do a bit of salmon fishing and crabbing is always reliable there.

In route we were treated to a lone humpback whale sighting in San Juan Channel. We might not have ever seen it if it weren’t for all the whale watch boats loitering around. There are legal guidelines for vessels that are in proximity to whales so we checked in with the captain of the Prince Of Whales tour boat. He clued us into the location of the humpback whale, which was right off his bow. Of course, we slowed down and loitered a bit to see the giant dude as well. I think it was feeding as it came us to the surface for brief periods and stayed in the same area for quite a while.

Sorry, no pictures… it was too far away but we did get to see a tail dive once. We have never seen a humpback in this area of the San Juan’s so that was quite a treat.

Photo courtesy of the Prince of Whales website.

Cruising in the fall can be really nice as the boat traffic is minimal, anchorages are not crowded and marinas always have space. Weather is often still warm but fronts can definitely move through bringing rain and sometime wind.

Couldn’t ask for a prettier San Juan day for cruising.

No fish were caught but there certainly were some crabbies that came to visit. It was a relaxing 5 days, nice walks with Bentley on the Bell Point trail, a trip to Riche Harbor in the whaler for lunch and lots of cards with our friends who joined us on day two.

Anchored in front of English Camp in Garrison Bay.

Just like a curtain dropped, it felt like fall did as well. A weather front was moving in which brought rain…lots of rain and eventually some wind was in the forecast. A small craft advisory was going into affect so we decided to head back a day early to get in front of that. What is a SCA and why do we care so much??? Well, A Small Craft Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service as a warning when winds have reached dangerous speeds. Sustained wind speeds that govern the issuance of a Small Craft Advisory vary depending on geographical areas, but are generally between 20 and 33 knots.

The San Juan Ferry was taking the scenic and sheltered route to Victoria along Spieden Island.

The inland waters of the San Juan Islands are generally somewhat sheltered from the worst of the high winds but to get back to Anacortes or any mainland area, one must cross over open straits which funnel winds from the ocean into the adjacent channels. Combine that with tides and currents and a potential ass whoopin can be yours if you don’t pay attention to the weather. Ass whoopin’s are something we actively try to avoid. So now that we are retired and have more time and good sense, if Wally the “weatherman” says we gotta go, we go.

What a difference …so gray and overcast.

Although we have over a month before head south in the new Road House (next post I promise), we were anxious to get back to Anacortes to finish moving in and perhaps do a short shake down cruise somewhere nearby.

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