Saturday, July 8, 2017

Deception Pass is a Piece of Cake for us! -- Friday, July 7, 2017

Having never been through Deception Pass, and due to the fact that the Strait of Juan de Fuca is predicted to have small craft and gale warnings, Herb had checked the tides and currents yesterday and told me slack is at 9:24A.  Best time to go though the pass, as we have been on the walk bridge above the Pass in years past to see boats get tossed about during swift current.  

So last night we ‘slept fast’ and when I awaken at 4A, I start the coffee pot. Coffee makes all things possible.  We are off the dock at Cap Sante at 7:30A for the two hour cruise to Deception Pass.  The sun is very bright, good sign, and Mystic Sea tour boat is still at her slip, good sign!

Out into Guemes Channel we see the Guemes Ferry start her short straight- across trip from Guemes Island to Fidalgo Island.  We slow to let her pass ahead of us and I am fortunate to get a couple of photos.

Skipper’s plan is to round Fidalgo Head, cruise by Skyline Marina, tucking in behind Burrows Island to avoid the stormy conditions in the Strait.  We cannot avoid a tiny stretch, which has current flooding out and winds coming against us, resulting in white caps.  Wind waves are two to three feet and we get spray. 

At one point the wash covers my windshield so that I cannot see a thing, and I facetiously say, “Herb you are instrument rated on your flying pilots license, but what about your captain’s license for boating?”   "Yeah, yeah,"  tells me, "We have AIS, radar, and we are fine."

Wind waves are at least four feet, and we are glad they are not as bad as one year when we, with a group of other Ranger Tugs, crossed the Strait of Georgia in worse conditions.  All survived. No one hurt.

We always have our radios on both Channel 16 and the traffic channel, and hear the Coast Guard respond to a message that a boat near Lummi Island (north of Guemes Island) is taking on water.  Another boat named Fresh Air gives the Coast Guard information on the boat, and is later complimented by the CG on their professionalism in boating.

As we bounce near Skyline Marina on the south side of Fidalgo Island, we laughingly say we should have taken Bob up on the offer for a slip there.  If we knew the slip number now, we could always tuck in there if we need to.  But we continue cruising between Skyline and Burrows and do escape the fury the Strait of Juan de Fuca sends this far north.

Herb tells me we will turn to port as we round the point ahead; then we will see Deception Pass straight ahead of us.

We arrive at the Pass ten minutes before slack and it looks pretty flat, in spite of the large vessel that speeds past us, throwing a big wake.  Sailboats come out, and do not seem to be experiencing any rough water.  

Minutes later we pass under the bridge at 9:14:45A and I take a photo at that precise moment.  Herb mentally calculates how long it took us from Cap Sante.

Continuing on into Skagit Bay, we thread a gazillion crab trap buoys and half a gazillion boats anchored, either fishing or checking their traps.  I wonder how they find their own buoys, and I suppose by Lat/Long.  Herb tells me he can mark a waypoint on Willie's Tug's chart plotter.  Hmmm…. Amazing.  There’s more I need to learn about the instruments.  No photos here, as I am busy watching for the next tray buoy near our path.

I try to learn to recognize the brand or manufacturer of boats we see on the water, but this one is a mystery to me.  I take a zoomed shot with the Nikon to see if I can see it written on the hull.

Continuing our cruise south in Skagit Bay, we see the very colorful Victoria Clipper overtaking us at 27 knots.   Yep, a big wake, and water bottles sitting on the counter of the galley fall.  A fighter jet comes directly overhead, but no photo because I am bracing for wake of clipper. These wakes are not dangerous for us, as Ranger Tugs are very seaworthy and we can prepare for them.

Later she calls Securite’ for going through Deception Pass.  Herb sees on AIS that she goes through at 6 knots, probably for her passengers’ sight seeing pleasure.

Oh, Wow!  Not another one!  Still in Skagit Bay, we see the San Juan Clipper coming toward us at 22 knots.  Yep, another big wake.  My, my!  She is equally beautiful.  The red, white and blue tug at my heart.

Knowing our location, Bruce texts that we would enjoy stopping at Langley on Widbey Island, and suggests some places for dinner and wonderful ice cream.  I get excited over that, and we call Langley for availability.  Too late!  They already have full capacity for a few days with a large group coming in.  We thank them for responding and continue our journey, heading for Kingston.  

I call the Kingston Marina and am told since I am two hours out, I should call again when I am only thirty minutes out.   At that time, they tell me that slips 12 or 13 would work for us, just come in and pick one.

We arrive at 3:25P on seas one foot or less, choose #13, and settle in for the rest of the day.

San Juan Clipper

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Friday, July 7, 2017


  1. I am really enjoying traveling with you, sitting on the couch. Your blogs are Greaaaat! 🤗

    1. Bobbi, you are too kind! Thanks for reading, and commenting. Where are y'all now?