Whether you’re starting from the South Sound or the North Sound you will eventually connect to the beginning leg of A ‘Park Like’ Setting
Leg 1: To Hope Island State Park
Our point of origin for ‘A Park Like Setting’ is near the Whidbey Island side of the Mukilteo Ferry Route (+47° 58′ 30.77″N, -122° 20′ 32.56″W ). As you head north on the inside of Whidbey you’ll navigate (Chart 18423A) up Saratoga Passage cruising past the Port of South Whidbey at Langley, the entrance to Holmes Harbor and Cama Beach State Park.
With Camano Island to the east, you’ll hug Camano’s shoreline all the way to Rocky Point on the north end on the island. You’ll now head toward Strawberry Point and round it up to the NE keeping the red buoys to your starboard side to maintain a proper distance from the shallow area. As you pass the entrance to the Swinomish Channel, Hope Island is 2 nautical miles directly in front of you.
Ala spit will be on your port side, Hope Island on your starboard as you approach Lang Bay. Find a good spot to drop the hook and you have arrived at Hope Island State Park. There is no dock on the island. If you plan to venture ashore, you’ll probably want to drop your crab pots from your tender as you head to shore to explore the 200-acre island. There are campsites and beaches along with a nice trail to the other side of the island.
Leg 2: Hope Island to Jones Island (25Nm)
You’ll need to check the tides in Deception Pass to select your time of departure. For detailed navigation through Deception Pass, consult your charts and be aware at all times to the ever changing whirlpools and currents.
After passing Lighthouse Point, you’ll cross the Rosario Straights (Chart 18429). Set your course for Thatcher Pass (Chart 18420) as you enter the magical land of The San Juan Islands.
Once inside Thatcher Pass you’ll head to the northwest taking Willow Island on your starboard side then bending slightly west with your next waypoint being the entrance to Harney Channel, between Shaw and Orcas Islands (Chart 18434).
As you arrive near Broken Point, head toward Pole Pass, slowing to NO WAKE as you cruise through. Navigate around the north end of Reef Island as you cruise past (a quick stop at Deer Harbor for fuel or other provisions is an option) Deer Harbor.
With Orcas Island’s Steep Point on your starboard side, follow the shoreline around as you move north up Spring Passage (between Jones Island and Orcas).
As you arrive Jones Island there are rocks on the east side of the entrance to the north bay. This is where the islands only dock is located. Jones Island is a very popular place and for very good reason. In some folks opinion it is the gem of the San Juans. The dock is not huge so getting space on it is a bit of a crapshoot. In addition, there are a number of mooring buoys in the bay and if they are taken you can also set anchor.
Jones Island is 188 acres of pure state park. There are several campsites and a trail system that takes you all over the island. There are many deer on the island, please don’t feed them! Welcome to Jones Island, get situated, relax and enjoy.
Leg 3: Jones Island to Sucia Island (12nm)
When you finally decide to leave Jones Island, likely due to the 3-night limit, the run up to Sucia is fairly short. A side trip that might be worth taking, head up and around Waldron Island to see if you can spot some Black Fish, porpoises maybe even some orca whales.
The standard route to Sucia is directly up Presidents Channel almost due north from Jones. The docks are located in Fossil Bay. Each dock is 12’x160′. If the docks are full there are several spots for spending the night on the hook. Collectively, Fossil Bay, Echo Bay and Shallow Bay have 48 mooring buoys. When you venture ashore Sucia has several pit and composting toilets and a water system with reservoirs totaling 22,700 gallons of potable water. There are also 55 campsites and 16 picnic sites along the over 6 miles of trails. The buildings on Sucia include a parks department work shop, 3 picnic shelters, 2 reservation group camps, and 1 underwater scuba park.
From here you can create your own adventure, continue north up into British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, West toward Vancouver Island and Victoria or East into Bellingham Bay. We’ll be posting more cruise segments like this one, over time you’ll be about to connect a few together as you wish!
Resources: Get an Annual Moorage Permit from Washington State Parks, for this trip it is well worth it.
Send us your comments and suggestions for other segments…
Hope Island State Park
Courtesy: Washington State Parks
Jones Island State Park
Sucia Island State Park
Photo Courtesy Washington State Parks