Our final stop for this run through the islands was Jones Island, another one (of very many) that we had read intriguing things about but hadn’t managed to stop at before.
Jones is quite small compared to Sucia or Stuart (although quite big compared to Blind Island!), located near Deer Harbor and not that far from Friday Harbor… we’d heard it’s often very busy during the summer months, but we were hoping our luck held out and a dock might be in our future, although we knew a dock was a bit of a trade off here… yes, easy access to shore with Hobie dog, but the raccoons were supposed to be very, very aggressive… on your boat at night, probing open hatches and ports, generally being a menace.
We got a very early start from Sidney Spit because we knew the currents were only going to get more against us as the day wore on. By 8 in the morning we were out in the middle of the Haro Strait doing another VERY easy phone check in as we transited back into the United States… anyone cruising this area would be crazy not to get Nexus cards! We battled our way east through the Spieden Channel as the current ramped up near its peak for the day of 5 knots (yes, basically our under power boat speed)… channeling a little rusty river running knowledge we basically eddy hopped down the north side of the channel, staying out of the main current and, near the east side of the channel, actually getting a boost from a counter current. A slightly sketchy “eddy peel” out into the President’s Channel slingshotted us across to the north cove on Jones Island, where at the early hour of 9:45 everyone was leaving for the day, giving us our choice of dock spots… not bad for 3 days before 4th of July weekend!
What followed for our last two nights of this trip was, quite honestly, more of the same… a great island to explore with a few different trails through the interior and around the shoreline, easy living on the dock, reading under a shade wing, a happy hound dog, and grilling in the cockpit… basically the best of the San Juans experience! Of particular interest are some projects they’re undertaking to try to create more habitat for the Gary Oak, a tree that was once ubiquitous in the region but has lost a lot habitat over the years.
Only near mishap was completely self inflicted. Night one we heard raccoons running around on deck, so we knew the reports were accurate and they were a real problem when on the dock. Night 2, someone (OK, Bass) forgot a pilothouse window during the “close up the boat drill”… interesting to wake up at midnight to a raccoon landing squarely on top of the cooler with a loud thump, and staring right at us! Fortunately, a little mayhem-like-yelling made him decide to simply turn tail and go out the way he came in… had he ventured in further, I fear a very ugly two people-one dog-one raccoon melee would have broken out. So, word to the wise, the reports of raccoons at Jones Island are NOT exaggerated.
Other than the ‘coons, with a mellow vibe and great scenery, Jones is definitely somewhere we’re heading back to. Unfortunately, with this trip coming to an end, we had to high tail it back to Bellingham. A long day of mixed motoring and sailing in some pretty warm weather (with the requisite ferry dodging), with a quick stop off at Eagle Cliffs for the hound dog, brought us back to Bellingham for one day of boat projects and, quite importantly, the long delayed application of a proper boat name and hailing port to the stern. Not only does this look a heck of a lot better, but it also frees up some precious pushpit space that was taken up by the “temporary” (read almost two years) name boards.
Next up, a fall trip into the Gulf Islands, coming to a blog near you soon! In the meantime, a token shot of how patient Hobie is… the drive home was so hot, with sun behind us in the afternoon, that we had to tape “shade” to the windows of the rear of the Audi to keep her cool… needless to say, while bombing across Oregon at less than legal speeds, we thought “beer logo towards the inside” was the best policy: