Cruising the San Juans: Part 6

Cruising the San Juans: Part 6

Stuart Island to Sucia Island

Stuart Island and Reid Harbor definitely left their mark on our hearts. So much so, in fact, that I am setting part of my NaNoWriMo novel there. We were fascinated that so many people live there, yet the only way to access the island is by boat or small plane. In some ways, it reminded me of my own childhood home. We had roads in and out of the tiny community where I lived, but we had no power (we used a generator) and it took us 30 minutes to drive to the store or to school. I think the seclusion really spoke to me for that reason.

dinghy in reid harbor
Jim checking out our fishing spot at Stuart Island

We decided to leave Reid Harbor and anchor for a night in Roche Harbor. We needed water and to dispose of some trash and the people at Roche said we could do both things if we purchased some fuel, so we made our way to the marina, zig-zagging through multi-million dollar yachts and sailboats that could fit ours inside of them.

sucia island dinghy
Dinghy on Sucia Island

We got ran our errands at the marina and then made our way back out to anchor in the harbor. There were so many boats out there, we had a hard time choosing a spot (though not as hard as we did in Friday Harbor), and with the wind picking up, we were feeling kind of unsure when we left in Brutus.

We walked around Roche Harbor and watched the boats and planes coming in and out for a while. To be honest, we only spent enough time there to see the highlights so we could say we’d been there and then we left. When we got back to Willow, the wind had changed yet again, and we decided we’d rather spend another night in Reid than risk a sleepless night in the wind, so we pulled up the anchor and made our way back to Stuart Island.

sucia island, san juans
View from Fossil Bay, Sucia Island

Our spot was still open when we got back, so we dropped anchor, prepared a nightcap and enjoyed the sunset in the protected harbor.

The next morning we got up and started making our way toward Sucia Islands. Our friend, Pamela, had instructed us to keep our eyes out when we passed by Spieden Island because you can often see exotic non-native animals, such as big horn sheep and Fallow deer left over from the island’s days as a playground for big game hunters. It is now privately owned and a wildlife sanctuary, but it was sure neat to scan the shores and hillsides searching for animals.

tent on shallow bay
Someone’s camp spot on Shallow Bay, Sucia Island

We pulled into Echo Bay just before sunset, set our anchor and grabbed what was left of the 5 pound bag of peanuts we bought at Costco and sat outside to relax. The next morning we loaded Katie and our camera gear into Brutus and motored over to Sucia Island. It was such a beautiful island, and we only saw a small portion of it. Our time is always limited when we bring Katie because she can’t figure out how to behave herself on a leash. We will go back again without her and hike some of the spots we missed.

trail on Sucia Island
Walking through the forest on Sucia Island


Check back next week for the final episode of our trip to the San Juan Islands.







sailing the san juans

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