First and foremost, the Channel is dredged!
For this cruise our starting point is La Conner. Either you were able to take Friday off and come up from your home port or you are lucky enough to keep your boat there permanently!
The La Conner Marina location puts you in position to set sail for the Islands in the morning. La Conner is full of great options once you get settled. Walking First Street is a must. It is filled with shops and restaurants where you will surely find something for everyone.
The marina provides a lift via golf cart if you would rather ride than walk. Just give them a call and they’ll come pick you up (as long as you aren’t staying till last call). Any last minute or forgotten items can be found in town.
Marine services are abundant. Detailing, parts, supplies and all repair services are all within a couple of blocks from the marina.
Saturday morning we depart for a (approx.) 43 nautical mile cruise arriving in Sidney, BC.
The segment from the north end of San Juan Island across Haro Strait is a popular hangout for Orca. Again we suggest getting the kids away from the (insert electronic entertainment device here) and get their eyes scanning the water, who knows, maybe a group of porpoise will escort you to Canada?
Sidney is home to the Canadian customs dock where you can make your entry into Canada official.
Saturday and Sunday night
After you clear customs, get your slip assignment and get situated at the dock. Head shore side and check out Sidney!There are plenty of shops and stores to stock up on all the things that you weren’t allowed to bring into Canada 😉
Check out the Destination: Sidney page.
*An option for a second night here is to go sit on the hook at Sidney Spit Provincial Park.
A scenic cruise to Telegraph Harbour Marina, 29 miles, begins the northern path through the Gulf Islands.
Entering Telegraph Harbour you will first see Thetis Island Marina on your port side, Kuper/Penelakut Island to starboard and the Telegraph Harbor Marina at the top of the bay. As you advance up the harbour have a member of the crew count how many bald eagles they see.
Monday and Tuesday Night
Thetis Island Marina and Telegraph Harbour Marina are both located on Thetis Island and in Telegraph Harbour. We invite you to read our story on Telegraph Harbour, “A time capsule in the Gulf Islands”, to discover some of the magic that inhabits this destination.
Thetis Island Marina has a Pub, Liquor Store and a small store right at the end of the dock.
Telegraph Harbor has a ‘Bistro-Soda Fountain-General Store’ that also has some wine, general items and limited marine supplies. Overnight moorage offers access to clean washrooms, showers, and laundry. Garbage and recycling are next to the main building.
The ‘kids’ will enjoy the shuffleboard, swings, horseshoe pits and the outdoor ping-pong table. The covered gazebo hosts a Farmer’s Market on Sundays in the summer.
Upon entering Telegraph Harbour, you will contact either marina on VHF channel 66A (all marina’s in Canada are on 66A).
A fun day trip… Stroll over to the ferry and “Walk On” for a trip over to Chemainus on Vancouver Island. If you are in need of groceries or other provisions Chemainus has everything you need plus world famous murals all over town!
Wednesday you embark on a 26 mile cruise down the east side of Saltspring Island to Otter Bay…
… If you are in need of (beverages) supplies (ice cream) or fuel or just want to see a cool little town, duck in just before Prevost Island and visit the marina town of Ganges before you settle in at Otter Bay.
Wednesday and Thursday Nights
Otter Bay Marina is a quaint and wonderful cruising destination. There is a restaurant/general store. One of the great things about Otter Bay, 2 pools! One for the “adults” and a “family” pool.
An important note on this one… Get up early and head to Roche Harbor before the Custom’s dock gets crazy! It’s just a 16 mile trip and it makes all the difference in the world to get there early (before 11am).
*Navigation Note: Pay special attention to Danger Reef in the middle of Spieden Channel before you approach Henry and Pearl Islands.
Your path is a simple one, exit Otter Bay and Head for the northwest tip of Stuart Island (Turn Point) and then head for the west side of Pearl Island to enter Roche Harbor.
Friday and Saturday Nights
The most festive nights you will find at Roche Harbor (make sure that you have reservations). Roche is a magical place. One of the first “Boatels” in the San Juan Islands opening as such in the mid 1950’s, Roche Harbor has been making family boating memories for almost 60 years.
We guide you on a brief excursion, just 8 miles, over to Orcas Island and the Deer Harbor Marina.
Sunday and Monday Nights
Deer Harbor is also a mainstay in the San Juan Experience. An energetic new owner continues to inject energy to the staff led by Harbor Master Marc Broman. The genuine friendliness is the first thing you notice. Take a day trip in your tender out to Yellow Island. The crabbing (in season) is great just south of the marina too. There is even a van to use if you need to run into town.
You have to go to Friday Harbor, it’s the ‘little-big’ town of the San Juans! A town that is full of everything you may need, it even has a hospital now!
Walk through town, check out the Whale Museum, go see a movie in the historic Palace Theater. Or just got up to King’s Market, buy some steaks, ice and your favorite beverage. Then come back to the boat and relax and enjoy!
Well, hardly a cruise at just 5 nautical miles but it is still beautiful!
Wednesday and Thursday Nights
There are a couple of options in Fisherman’s bay.
Criss-crossing back over to Orcas Island we head toward Rosario Resort and Marina.
Friday and Saturday Nights (depending on distance to your homeport)
Rosario is one of the most unique historical buildings in the state, maybe even the country.
Well it’s time to head home. We would love for you to share with us some of the memories and stories you created along the way. Boating is magical thing, in life it’s all about the journey. In boating, it’s the cruise and the destination…