is the watch word for an enjoyable trip. Destinations Deciding on where to go depends on the amount of time that you have available, where you are starting from, expected weather, and type of boat that you cruise. It also requires a change in attitude towards known destinations. Friday Harbor might be a very busy, tourist trap in the summer. In the winter, Friday Harbor becomes a very charming town with lots of character. Places we might not pick as destinations in the summer transform into wonderful stop-over locations during the winter. We have had the good fortune to live in Sidney, Vancouver, Seattle, and Anacortes over the last 30 years. So we have had excellent starting points for Gulf Island, Puget Sound and San Juan Island trips. During the winter trips we tend to stay a little closer to home. The following section provides some potential itineraries for winter cruising. We mention some of our favorite locations, but these are by no means the only great destinations. Our itineraries are generally geared for trips of seven to ten days in duration. Many times we have added and subtracted from the destinations depending on weather, schedule, and the unexpected but enjoyable social gatherings! San Juan Islands Salish Lady was moored in LaConner during 2014, a great spot for a trip into the San Juan Islands. We planned a relatively short trip of ﬁve to seven days, with most of our time visiting harbors, but we scheduled a few days to just hang out at anchor. Our planned itinerary included Friday Harbor, Reid Harbor, Roche Harbor and Deer Harbor. If we had more time we might have added Rosario, or crossed the border into Canada for a couple of days in Victoria or Sidney if the weather was very settled. This itinerary allowed us to spend most our time visiting places that we ﬁnd too busy during the summer. Since, we also like to get out and hike, the State Park at Reid Harbor, and the Mausoleum and Sculpture Park and hiking trails near Roche Harbor make these locations particularly attractive destinations for us. Our ﬁrst stop was Deer Harbor. The resort and marina is quiet in winter and
we found ourselves pretty much the only transient guests. We had dinner with friends and enjoyed some walks on the lovely trail that heads south from the harbor. If time allows, we often have dinner at the Deer Harbor Inn Restaurant (open for Friday – Sunday dinners during winter.) From Deer Harbor, we went to Reid Harbor where we spent two lovely nights on the hook. We walked the trails at the State Park and took a walk to the school just outside the Park boundary. From Reid Harbor, we crossed to Roche Harbor. This is where the very nice sunny days included extremely strong winds. We spent three days waiting for the winds to drop. This is when we measured winds in excess of 40 knots. We also ran into some friends that were planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Roche Harbor. It wasn’t long before the Salish Lady was selected as the destination for an impromptu potluck dinner. Unexpected social gatherings have become so much a part of the experience that we now pack some extra snacks and party favors. The wind ﬁnally died and we moved on to Friday Harbor. We enjoy Friday Harbor, but we especially like it during the winter. The holiday decorations make the town feel homey and a little like the simpler Christmases of years ago. Of course, everything is a little less hectic and everyone seems a little more friendly. We did not stop in Rosario this year because we ran out of time. This is another favorite winter cruise destination for us. Missing Rosario was simply the price we paid for our days at Roche.
Photo above - Roche Harbor is open for business all year. You can get some last minute happy hour snacks at the store. Photo below - During a short walk from the Dock Street Marina in Tacoma, you can enjoy the architecture and public art.
NW YACHTING JANUARY 2016 51
Northwest Yachting covers yachting and boating on the west coast of the United States and Canada